Bright & Early Podcast
Building EnjoyHQ with Sofia Quintero
Brian: Hey everyone and welcome to bright and early the podcast for people building early-stage startups.
I'm your host Brian Rhea.
I talk to entrepreneurs, product people, designers, and marketing pros to learn what works, what doesn't, and why; giving you at least one thing to apply to your business first thing tomorrow.
my guest today is Sophia Quintero Sophia is the founder of enjoy HQ the tool that helps teams keep all their research data in one place she was previously a head of growth at Geckoboard as well as a tech stars mentor Sophia welcome to bright and early thank you very much it's a pleasure to have you on I believe it was Ally Blum from I actually don't know what episode number somewhere around pisode number eight I want to say and she mentioned enjoy HQ back then and so you've been on my radar for a little bit so it's a pleasure to have you on show yeah she's super super nice so for listeners who aren't familiar with enjoy HQ can you just give us the two-minute pitch like what is it what does it do sure so we research platform we help teams and UX teams to centralize customer feedback and user research data to develop research projects and to share insights with the entire organization so we our UX research repository or medium to large-sized organizations and it's all about monetizing insights within the business especially product in science coming from user research okay so like you mentioned it's like meant to be a central repository for what is usually qualitative research data is that fair summary and yeah that's cool right although more customers are bringing other type of data like behavioral data Austria medicine properties into the platform so they can do better segmentation of what they already have and in breach also their user profiles or perhaps their segmentation and personas and so on so it is evolving quite rapidly initially is mostly used for centralizing qualitative information where they tap and then now it's just also evolving into bringing other type of data into the classroom okay when did you when did you found the company when did when did you start we launched publicly in 2016 I can completely relate to that I'm sure can as well weird the idea for enjoy HQ originated for you when was when was the first thought that there needs to be a product that does this sure it was essentially a previous job a gecko board we get reports that beta alanine is dashboard a little bit like enjoy miscue it centralizes when in this case metrics you can see all your metrics and we we focus a lot on helping customers at a time to to be very data-driven and focus on on you know the numbers and how you can reacting understand data in overtime and improve you know your decision-making in the business and as I was working there we pulled this out on that I personally was the head of growth and I was trying to connect a proper team and acquisition and retention and all other stuff together and what I know this is that we were excellent data driven and numbers but we didn't necessarily have a good structure process to collaborate when he came to customer research in user research or even having access to customer feedback coming from multiple sources like there is no a company in the world can say that they don't have multiple channels like customers are talking to you the way they feel comfortable and therefore you have this new problem in the organization where you know you have a ton of channels people are producing a bunch of data and it just becomes really hard to collaborate when I was there trying to solve that problem in different ways and I will say I failed to have it and what I wanted to do was start thinking about that problem differently I'm my co-founder I get on board as well it was one of the first engineers there and was thinking about this and it didn't really treat her just because I was working to get cocoa and I had a challenge having seen this problem over and over again I'm lucky that I had the opportunity to work in different industries and very different roles Ariane's change management a ton of different areas of work I seen and larger agencies I did a bunch of different stuff and what I notice is that in every single team every single team that I joined would have a slightly you know similar problem where it was difficult for them to know you know what do we know about customers what is that research who has not researched with interviewing people our other metrics and we just see the stuff all together and connected thoughts it was always a problem so when I when I was a paperboy I felt like you know like I've seen this enough there must be a way to change it and that's how it for thinking about it mostly it was just the weekends and evenings thinking about these a specific problem and other things that I was interested in I knew that I wanted to start a company anyway so I feel like this was something that I was passionate enough that I really care about enough to just actually do it and try something here mm-hmm you said in there along the way that a Geckoboard you're trying to solve this problem and you failed why why do you say you failed when you were you were there I think just different things it was hard to do the job and at the same time do some sort of internal tool that will the tools that we were we were already using to cosmetic part plus a way of connecting that with Google Drive and what are probably using for research notes and the survey tool and the customer support system is another user testing sessions like you know a lot of these things where and spreadsheets like most teams today they will use our table spreadsheets to put a bunch of information in a way that they believe is that the most centralized way possible but the reality is that you need so much more than that you need ways of searching across things or visualizing things some be able to bring different types of data together so it was complicated so we have a process and when we effectuate would we actually did something about that problem at the time very pulsing wasn't good enough to really create that collaboration between different departments because one thing from our Cathedral my background is growth and acquisition and so on you you always going to have the challenge of like how can we create processes that help us learn from customers faster and have a better understanding across the board and we marketing games always focusing on doing a bunch of research but then it's just most of the time very disconnected from the research process of product teams you know executable teams researching but not necessarily having the same understanding of their processes and how they use that they know how to share those insights together so I would think that that's why I fell because it was there's a lot of things involved into creating that collaboration and it was difficult with a spreadsheet yeah makes sense and the other thing about enjoy HQ is that it strikes me as the sort of project where things could get really meta really fast like where you were you able to use enjoy HQ itself in the early days of enjoy HQ or as it was being built were you using like some inelegant system of hacked together tools that they shoot that you wanted to replace so the first thing that we did like the MVP if you like a search purely a search functionality so we will build because of our background my co-founder and my background was around building data products coming from from Geckoboard we thought about it from an integration perspective so the first thing that we build was this sort of search box where you can connect a bunch of integrations we made sure that the integrations were very very deep that they will we will were able to bring you know not only the conversations that customers were having with the company but also like customer segmentation data being able to update almost real-time so we wanted to just create these kind of Google search box where you will just go through all your support tickets on your server responses all your emails and so on that was the initial thing with it so we were able to use that because we were using ourselves intercom for managing the beta program and so on so that was fine and then you know that in one place you know how we're going to analyze this differently how we're gonna just you know create our workflow so we didn't have that and that was a sadness and feedback the wake of everybody that was using the browser like okay this is fine but you know I need more so that because we were evolving the proto we were evolving the way we ourselves were using and the pain points we were experiencing comparison to the pain points of the company's product so we use it from the very beginning and we fell all the different problems now as a slightly different oh now now our customers tend to be a lot larger than we are and so now we have to kind of use our own workflow and use our own product but try to translate that into what also is experience for a team that has 10 user researchers when we don't have even born so just use now it can just change the process but we still use of course our own tool to do that and now we have we need to do it but he took a while we involved with our customers yeah how large is your team right now we are seven people full-time and we have contracted friends that work with us sure so that's that's pretty interesting than that that you're using your own tool eating your own dog food as they say but you more your team and your needs are as you mentioned they're drastically different from some of your larger customers how do you how do you resolve that tension or how do you strike that balance between knowing what the product needs from your own perspective and balancing against you know different different needs of customers of a different size sure so at the core we you know as a small company we do research the same way you know one you're a solo researcher we'll do research anyway so it would be kinetic same use case when it gets complicated is when you have organizations that have a very stablish large you know product teams with 25 designers 10 researcher 60 proto managers but you have that level of infrastructure the major changes are around how things are communicating like collaboration between multiple team members then you have a bunch of things related to security and governance and you know user permissions and there is a ton of other elements and have to do with how each of these team members talk to each other how the scale of you know the volume of data and number of documents that they'll manage and so on and the way we understand those requirements if you like it's just by talking to people like very basic with phone calls and my team are on calls all the time and the whole spectrum from the demos that we do all the way up into customers for the new features that we're going to launch for the things that we don't know we have the people that turn we talk to them we just talk and talk and talk and talk and show well you know like prototypes and ask for feedback and begging for feedback just like whatever we can do to get an insight into how people work as we continue that process we kind of make friends with our customers too so we have a group of customers in different organizations and different sizes that are very close to what we do in the bin with us for a long time so we being able to go even deeper and go and visit them and stay longer and see how they grow evolve because I think something that has been we've been very lucky is that once the customers start implementing processes around you know user research and establishing a better way of doing customer research in general that involves all the time you start very small and then the thing gets like pretty quickly complicated and you evolve you're thinking about what that should look like in your team so we mean being able to see that over that years now customers stay with us you know almost since the beginning so it's just fascinating how that evolves in our organizations and we have the privilege if you like to be able to have those conversations and really see that evolution happens why honestly is all about like talking to customers all the time and we will use tools like full story and I love watching decisions and I love you know their user testing sessions and so on just the conversations and you know ongoing conversation you kind of replace that no doubt the the earliest the earliest MVP of enjoy HQ you mentioned it estimate you created some integrations enabled some integrations and made those searchable did you how did you decide on those first integrations was that entirely the tools that that you all were using so you started there or did you do a little bit of initial user research to see who your target customers would be how did you how did you decide upon and define that initial MVP it was well partly they use the tools that we were already using because we were familiar but we basically look at the most common tools that people use to come in with customers and the ones that were more popular at the time they actually still are so we did you make that list okay for Customer Support let's do intercom and so you know Sanders and course else is Salesforce and Play services these two ones so we cannot understand well if we're gonna go with pure integrations can we get at least one or two per category and then and then see you know how about couples and so we launched initially I think it was like five integrations okay trying to cover the highest volume yes yeah yeah how did how did you get your very first batch of customers it was mostly initially by me you saying I'm building something so other people there I talked to you know what I was a ghetto born in previous jobs you start building your network and initially was very simple as if doing that exactly building this list before the launch we were very lucky also to join Tech's first program in London and that helped economy because they have this massive network and yeah didn't expose what you're doing very easily so that was a first cohort of people that came through I guess like the textures network and also by all the advertising that they do and their companies were you were you charging from from day one to those earliest customers or was it not at all we actually we finish the program in October and then it was November yeah the following month or so that we actually launched anything started charging we try to tell a couple of beta customers something like ninety nine dollars at a time so they were Joseph Q dot pay and we just worked so much focus on display out we were building this for a while and we're okay cool we have some customers are something of that they're going to pay for these and some of them pay we just were desperate to get it our we just fell like enough that we have something here that we not evolving fast and so we did that if I could go back and provide a will stay a little longer okay you would you would stay in beta for a little bit yeah if you could go back hey is that why do you say that I think we'll have redefine the initial pricing a bit more we could have probably establish a group with larger companies as any startup you know the most like that you normally get you know small companies at the beginning - so excuse a little B you know where you go with the product and ask you a ball when you Fabri am i single actually my customers have a larger companies it would have been better it's usually you know I'm saying all that stuff but in the earth I will figure it out without going through it so I have no idea but if I could magically go back with what I know today yeah of course with the benefit of hindsight we're so what was pricing was getting your pricing right a challenge that you had to face in the in the early days if you changed your pricing model I think of the beginning is super scary to do that and then we can to change pricing change pricing especially with the first cohort of customers and we always grandfather but then as we continue to do that we want and then as the companies were changing and the type of customers that we were getting attraction was changing we were like oh my god what is pricing and we did some crazy things at some point which you say this is 100 orders and gossiped and we didn't have any on features or anything we just sell a couple people faithfully and then we for was like $99 and then we change three tiers and then we change my summers integrations and then we change back to not having our integration we have done several experiments around pricing and the one that we have today I feel that still not perfect but I feel that it's definitely the best so far at least the one that I feel that people have the least friction so yeah as being a ton of experiments around that and then we always grandfather breaks always like super scary to to go and say we want to change price pricing radically and we okay so that so and how do you how did you arrive at the experiments that you've run just through trial and error or is there some resource that you would recommend listeners who are wringing their hands over this very problem as so many sounds are wringing their finger ring their hands up for pricing so try different things so enjoy by pricing telling any of protic well guys they have the sort of very nice block goes around this survey where you kind of get you ask people you know what is too expensive what is too cheap and so on I'm gonna kill completely the blog post by describing it this way I'm not sure we will have to find a link and share it in the notes I'm not sure we know yeah so they have this kind of methodology to release based on that survey and then you can think us we need that at some point and that was kind and helpful pretty didn't really kind of worked in the long term people were staying still giving us like you know feedback dollars is what to spend save or oh no why don't you charge by these or charge by the other stuff and it's just difficult we just keep getting feedback and just don't wanna feedback around pricing all the time every time with your experiment we will get of course people angry because they care about our goal was always to understand you know we'll be paying more for this are we are we delivering in not value for people to feel comfortable with the fact that were charging this much that was all we wanted to understand you know and then what we're actually delivers you know what what people appreciate it from the Apple was they actually core value that was paper and we still struggle with this idea of the volumetric rival you have this only metric of saying that you charge for the you know scales as your customers you use you more and I think products yeah but products like ours that are about centralizing data is it is a complicated thing to get to and we tried so many things but I think that that resource from a price intelligently surveys that we ran doing interviews anybody that were paying about price and we and it all with us you know that's how we really find our thinking yeah that is interesting because you're just off the top of my head here you know your your value metrics could be either like number of integrations that your metering or objects that you're importing from any of those from any of those integrations number of team members that are able to to to log in what are you what what are the what are the value metrics that you've tinkered wrong with or try to drill in on well this is still like apostle so if you think about integrations in particular just because so the premise will be okay well if we have a lot of integrations if our team is connecting a bunch of sources I will get a core value for having all that they think one place that sounds very logical but is not the fact that you have a ton of data on each channel doesn't mean that you have a column inside there okay yes the first thing they born in not necessarily for Renee to insights so the value come from the generation of insights so have another decimal place definitely give you you know speed they give you visibility is a bunch of benefits from it but it doesn't correlate with insight which is ultimately what you want to generate and what is valuable to money its share so there you have there are teams that work for example they will use only one integration and they got no value from that and they don't feel that they have to have other integrations because they're mostly twenty customer interviews and long-term feedback sort of I go for my qualitative reports and so on so oh there are teams are a very heavy integration and that's all that matters to them so when we started looking about whether or not charging based on the number integration it does help for sure but it's not necessarily a bad image just because you have more integrations or sending the platform becomes more valuable necessarily it feels very logical but with time it is not it is not a we are no segment comm we are not a type of tool where will the principle applies very nice and clearly when it comes to qualitative information is slightly different the perception of value in terms of when you have more connections for volume for users as well so again like who does research in the company does not everybody in the company but your team wants everybody in the company to be able to access that so if you charge heavily per user you are actually going against who we are as a company which is we want to enable you and help you to share those insights easily so everybody can benefit from so it's kind of finding a good model where some users can help you know have the power or use the platform but then other users can have the power of accessing those insights otherwise you know imagine if you charge for per user and you have a fantastic company you know employee company that I just going to be unsustainable for a small research team to pay so it is it is challenging that is not as clear as it seemed in paper sounds good but once you implement those changes you realize there's a lot of friction around you know what actually means value to people and what is use or not yeah okay well Patrick Campbell of profit wheels come in on the show at some and early November so I'm looking forward to digging in yeah even more on those ideas thanks for thanks for you shared there Sofia you have a incredibly inspiring and just it incredible generally like back story personally ten year ten years ago you were like basically a penniless political refugee in London and today you are the CEO of your own company so would you tell us tell us your your story there and some lessons that you've you've picked up along the way sure so I'm Venezuela well we we are on the news sometimes not for the right reasons when I smell is going through this crisis and he's been going through a crisis for the last 20 years we we have this dictatorship going on for a while and just the country fell apart when I left that is when I left and as well in 2006 and I left because I was feeling like nervous and insecure there fell like any given point when you go on the streets you just gonna call you know to work or go to the game you can get you can be brought or kill any given time it's just a really awful situation and even if you are in a nice sort of area and so on it's actually works so I feel like first of all wanted to feel safe and second and didn't see a future there and I love Bannister I love my country and it's definitely in 2006 wasn't even close to how terrible the situation is today but at the time I felt okay I need to find my way and as I was doing that like most of my friends now all of my friends and family have left the country it became unbearable and 11 2006 to England mostly because a friend of mine was already there and I just I just in my mind said okay let me just go here two years to learn English because I didn't speak English at all to learn English was just I spoke like a little bit like you know school English like hi my name so I left and I thought okay well I'm gonna spend a year or two there learning English and trying to like just escape this crazy thing for a minute and then everything gets better and of course things didn't get better so I decided to restate it do whatever I call to stay there legally and will reveal my and you know stuff from scratch but at least with the hope that things will work out and it'll be better and the interesting thing about writing to a country from a scratch that way is that if you don't speak the language you're in a good position so I had to you know have to get like whatever job I could get I had to like please don't go to Starbucks and work in some way and just do whatever I call to just get my feet on the ground and learn quickly then I was lucky them to later being able to do a master's degrees and continue working and change like my stages to high-skill immigrant and you know go through the process of preparing myself into the industry but I have to spend a couple of years just just trying to understand how to survive there I didn't have anybody you know from my family everybody left to a different country as well at the time so we were all separated and I didn't had you know sort of money actually had over some money from a friend it was alone and it was hard but I think it just a typical story of anybody that migrated and in those conditions and and then that was it so generally speaking just so happy that I moved there I felt like that was a good place to prevent myself if you like to make different choices around Korean the things that I care about back home and Venezuela I was like a middle class and I was just doing you know I was always into proneural I had a skateboard shop I had a clean and had like yeah bunch of things I always always intrapreneurial but at some point the country just like cooling you know I couldn't do anything else there and it was super so I left you know the funny thing when I tell this story is that I don't know all my friends that are you know successfully they were doing whatever they want to do in terms of careers and so on that they left as well and they tell me like Sophia why are you touring you know I'm also amazing I did the same like this alone of immigrants you know that happy thing is story that it's just it's a balancer interesting story but it's just so common as well well thanks for thanks for sharing all of that that must have been an incredibly to decision to make to leave Venezuela how long how long did you wrestle with that decision before you you know before you finally had to come to the conclusion that you need to leave yeah I think it was like God the last year when I fully decided okay this estate is that if you know I caught a frog in the middle I was going to the gym actually he was like 12 years old and you can see that he was just like hungry maybe somebody's saying him like to do that and it just feels like it you know we have this massive gun so you know I was just ask him for like my earrings and so on but that happened to me many times before and differently scenarios and I was like how long you know how many times does this have to happen to me you know for me to decide what to do and you know what I was so lucky to be able to leave so many people that have still I will say trapped there and horrible conditions so yeah I have thought about it for a while but it's difficult it is such a beautiful country perfect weather amazing people great resources is just like you know government and you wanna do well thank you so much for sharing for sharing that that part of your story and for everything that you shared today about enjoy HQ and lessons you've learned along the way where Sophia where can listeners find and follow you online sure so enjoy HQ you can go to get enjoy Twitter is Sophia cutie Sophia with fq3 and t4 tower and yeah that's it the thing wonderful my guest today has been Sophia Quintero Sophia thanks so much for AMI today thank you all right listeners let's do some closing thoughts here I always love listening to the origin origin story of ideas and they're particularly fascinating to me when it's somebody who is currently you know executing on an existing process with a bunch of hack together tools Docs spreadsheets err table whatever because I guess they are table to start to kind of what's the right word spit span several use cases of spreadsheets of course but at any rate when multiple tools are being pulled together for one workflow it I always find it fascinating when somebody takes a look at that and says oh there's there's an even better way to do this the existing process function although it may be is not quite good enough and so that's certainly what Sophia and enjoy HQ are trying to do by not not by creating a brand new tool that says hey quit using Google Docs quit using air table quit using spreadsheets you know quit using whatever else it is you're using we're going to sit on top of the entire workflow get you know create integrations that pull all of those pull all of that data in add some additional functionality some additional you know piece of piece of value global search or you know however in enjoy surfaces insights makes observations ads ads you know some piece of value that sits on top and across the existing workflow I just think that's that's pretty fascinating as I was listening back to this and thinking about it it it did remind me I try to find the the original quote and I can't find if you know hit me up at the the original quote is basically all business models are basically bundling and unbundling and so you know you're effectively you're either your business model is to either do one thing extremely extremely well and do it better than anything else and not try to do anything other than that or it's to look at you know look at all look at an existing workflow and all the things that are hacked together and then bundle that up into one place so that you can get the entire job done in in one place and in one way and there's there's an interesting thing and I'm still just like you know rolling this around in my head there's an interesting thing I think that seems to be going on right now and software where through integrations data integrations there's there's like an another business model that kind of seems to sit on top of that that says we're not going to try to bundle all of these things together and do them all good enough so that you just get it down in one place we're also not going to try to do any one of them any better than your existing solution we just want to sit on top of your workflow and and offer some value there so like I said I'm still kind of rolling that around in my head and trying to say and trying to understand oh conceptually that's actually bundling that's a bundling model so yeah I'm curious if you have if you have thoughts on that if you if you've heard that quote before and given that some thought let me know what you think there was a similar conversation in this in this slack group that I'm a part of and one of the member was somebody was saying typeform is a great survey app amplitude is a great event tracking app intercom is a great chatting an event messaging app why are there not more apps that have all three of these features and and so I mean my gut reaction was well it's a full-time job to be a great survey app it's a full-time job to be a great event messaging app and so so the answer is yeah yeah you could do all three of those you're gonna do every single one of them less you know effectively less well than any of those solutions that were just just listed so but it sometimes that's good enough the you know the the the business that you might want to you know to build would be to bundle those three together do every single one of them less beautifully then tie for Nia tie for my amplitude right now prom and maybe and maybe that's good enough so super interesting that yeah that they got off the ground with just a couple with a few integrations that covered a large percentage of work of of workflows use cases they're up to I think a couple dozen integrations now when I when I was looking so that's that's fascinating and you know I would love to would love to have been able to dig in a little bit more on you know the idea of when Sofia was saying she wished they would have stayed and beta a little bit longer to figure out to figure out pricing although I mean it's the the way the direction the conversation went was well I mean if they had stayed in beta longer then they would not have been forced to figure those things out and who knows what other what other issues they would have been would have been dealing with but but pricing certainly seems to be one that I'm always pushing for ya know just ship it just get it out there you got a you know ship while you're embarrassed ship before you're comfortable you got to get it out there and see if anything anybody actually wants the thing that you're pushing and the only way or the thing that you're selling the only way to do that is to actually do it pricing feels like it might be one of those areas where gosh it does make sense to kind of sit a little bit longer than maybe I would want to because it does get so complicated and is so difficult it seems to figure out and and and tweaking and changing it as you go pricing is not the same thing as you know copy on the home page or a specific you know interaction on some piece the app that might be a little bit buggy it's pretty core so I know that I'd certainly know people do it all the time change through third pricing and and tweak the business model but goodness it just seems like such a hairy thing and so the the price sensitivity model that that she referred to I will link to it in the show notes price intelligently does have a good post on this there's a good Wikipedia entry on it and if you want to just google for it it is van western door price sensitivity meter I believe that this is a is a Dutch economist so van VA in space Western Dorp w/e ste and do RP so I will link to those things in the show notes and I guess finally it just was grateful to for Sophia to share her personal story I mean my goodness I've nothing to to add to that other than it just is a good reminder to me personally to practice gratitude at all times it's just such an incredible inspirational story for for what she has overcome and so something I that just keeps popping up on my radar is how simple the practice of naming three things that you are grateful for on a daily basis overtime just increases levels of happiness better than any sort of acquisition of more things ever possibly could so in that spirit that three things just off the top of my head as I was jotting notes here that I am grateful for board games my wife and I learned how to play rivals for Catan or Catan just last night we've been fans of the original game for a long time and recently got the two-player version so I am just grateful in general for board games they bring me so much so much enjoyment and I'm grateful for them grateful for my body still working I'm I turned 40 in January and in November I'm doing a one-week backpacking trip with some friends through the Grand Canyon I'm grateful that I will as of right now be able to go on that trip and enjoy it I am grateful for flavored water I do not drink enough water and flavored flavored Seltzer waters like the one I'm holding here in front of me help me to drink help me to drink more water that's a silly thing to be grateful for but I am happy that it exists and so thanks thanks so much to you listener for for paying any attention at whatsoever to this show it is so much fun to create it's a very fulfilling and fun thing to do so thank you for checking it out you can reach out to me to say hello or to give me any thoughts you've got on this episode or any others that you may have heard I am br8 on Twitter that's BR h EI and i will talk 42:13 to you next week
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