Will van der Sanden von Dux-Soup

Gr├╝nderkaffee Folge 047

Ich bin Jeroen von Salesflare und das ist Founder Coffee.

Alle paar Wochen trinke ich einen Kaffee mit einem anderen Gr├╝nder. Wir sprechen ├╝ber das Leben, die Leidenschaften, das Gelernte, ... in einem intimen Gespr├Ąch und lernen die Person hinter dem Unternehmen kennen.

F├╝r diese siebenundvierzigste Folge habe ich mit Will van der Sanden gesprochen, dem Gr├╝nder und CEO von Dux-Soup, einem der f├╝hrenden LinkedIn-Automatisierungstools auf dem Markt.

Dux-Soup entstand, als Will seiner Frau dabei helfen wollte, potenzielle Kunden f├╝r ihr Unternehmen zu finden. Als Entwickler baute er Tools zum Scrapen verschiedener Websites, wie Yahoo, die Gelben Seiten und LinkedIn. Als er seine Software anderen Leuten vorstellte, stie├č er auf reges Interesse am LinkedIn-Scraping, so dass er beschloss, sich darauf zu spezialisieren.

Trotz der Ungewissheit, die mit dem Aufbau eines Tools auf einer anderen Plattform verbunden ist, vor allem inoffiziell, gibt es Dux-Soup jetzt seit f├╝nf Jahren und hat mehr als 60.000 Benutzer f├╝r seine Software gewonnen.

We talk about how to build a remote team, why Dux-Soup mostly employs freelancers, why they price their product lower than competitors, how Chrome sets the internet standards, and why listening is a founder’s most important skill.

Willkommen bei Founder Coffee.

Salesflare erhalten

M├Âchten Sie lieber zuh├Âren? Sie finden diese Folge auf:


Jeroen:

Hey, Will. It’s great to have you on Founder Coffee.

Will:

Ich wei├č, dass es sehr nett von Ihnen ist, mich zu Ihrem hervorragenden Podcast einzuladen.

Jeroen:

Thank you. You’re the co-founder of Dux-Soup. For those who don’t know yet what you guys do, please explain it to the listeners.

Will:

Sicher. Dux-Soup ist ein Software-Tool, das Ihnen hilft, LinkedIn f├╝r die Lead-Generierung zu nutzen. Es hilft Ihnen, indem es Daten von LinkedIn abruft und die Arbeit automatisiert, die Sie sonst manuell erledigen w├╝rden.

Jeroen:

Was sind die h├Ąufigsten Anwendungsf├Ąlle, f├╝r die Ihre Software eingesetzt wird?

Will:

The most common and basic case is to use LinkedIn’s internal notification system. And in that scenario, you would use Dux-Soup. You would first use LinkedIn to find a group of people, as in your target audience and then you would use Dux-Soup to automatically interact with them – at a pace that is within what is humanly possible to avoid tripping up or upsetting LinkedIn and then visiting each profile one by one, triggering the notification system. And by that way, getting in touch with people who will be interested in your products or suites.

Jeroen:

Sie nutzen Linkedin also als Plattform f├╝r die Akquise?

Will:

Exactly. But that’s simply using the notification system in LinkedIn. So you would actually set up your profile in LinkedIn to make it clear on what products and services you offer so that people who receive the notification will be able to tell who it is that you are or what you could be helping them with.

Jeroen:

Sie besuchen also nur Profile, und wenn die Leute sehen, dass Sie ihr Profil besucht haben, schauen sie sich das an und sind dann vielleicht interessiert.

Will:

And obviously when you do that at scale, when you do that with thousands of people each month, then if you have let’s say 5% of people actually connecting with you, then you already have a lot of leads to work with. That’s the most basic scenario. Then the next level up from that really is to use automation of Dux-Soup to automatically invite or to automatically message people in LinkedIn. And those messages are ultimately personalized for a profile that you’re targeting. You start with a Sales Navigator search or a search in maybe LinkedIn and type the message. Then you start the robot and then the robot will send out the invites for you.

Jeroen:

So you don’t need to do that manually?

Will:

Besonders.

Jeroen:

Wie viele Jahre gibt es euch nun schon?

Will:

Nun, schon seit ├╝ber f├╝nf Jahren.

Jeroen:

F├╝nf Jahre? Ich kenne viele LinkedIn-Tools, die kamen und dann wieder gingen. Wie kommt es, dass ihr ├╝berhaupt noch dabei seid?

Will:

Well, obviously being determined to make it work but also being able to deliver software that is more than just a gimmick. Quite a few tools that were out there when we started, well, they weren’t really very user friendly or they weren’t really built with a particular workflow in mind. And we really try to make a difference by providing software that does think of how we use this. And by doing that, we’ve really differentiated ourselves and managed to build up a huge following and a huge customer base of people who are using the products on a day to day basis. I think it’s really being determined to make it work and looking and listening how the product is used, which allowed us truly to grow from only a few hundred in the first year to over 60,000 users right now.

Jeroen:

Nice. And all of that without really upsetting LinkedIn. I suppose that’s partly because of the limits that you guys have clearly set up in the software. With a lot of warnings when a user wants to up them. Is that the main reason why LinkedIn has not decided to ban you guys?

Will:

Well, it’s not really up to LinkedIn to ban us, fortunately. We’ve had a lot of measures in Dux-Soup on the one hand. Measures to make sure that the pace at which the robot works is as much in line with what is humanly possible because obviously, a robot could just churn out a hundred messages in an hour. But that isn’t something that you wouldn’t really do. We always aim to really just build something that automates the human process but not overuse the generosity of LinkedIn to make them upset. On the other hand, it’s also that we built it from the start and looked at technical measures to avoid any technical detection by LinkedIn as well. We worked on both of those areas.

Jeroen:

Understood. If I’m not mistaken, you started Dux-Soup because you wanted to help your wife with one of her projects. Is that correct?

Will:

Yeah. That’s correct and that’s very good that you remember that as well.

Jeroen:

I think I read it on your website or so. I don’t remember exactly.

Will:

It’s true. My wife was setting up a publishing business and she was aiming to get in touch with different schools and as part of the exercise, we were trying to get a hold of leads or contacts at schools to approach. At first, we used cheap labour from cheap labour countries to do this manually from different websites. But then, me being a software developer, I figured surely I can just write a script to do this, which I did. And I started building out something that would scrape basically things like Yahoo when Yahoo was still a thing, Yellow Pages when Yellow Pages, that’s our only audience.

Will:

And when we started using it and showing it to people, it turned out that LinkedIn was definitely of interest to a much wider audience than initially expected. That’s when we started to have a look and see what was on the market and found that at that point, the products that were out there clearly showed an interest of people to have something to work on LinkedIn but the products were charging too much for too little functionality. And then I thought, this is a good place to see if we can establish ourselves as a leading LinkedIn automation tool.

Jeroen:

I didn’t know about that part of the story where actually you built a whole series of scrapers and then ended up specializing on LinkedIn. That’s interesting. Is Dux-Soup your first startup company or did you have startup companies in the past?

Will:

Well, I worked for a startup in England for a while as a developer. And after that had started on my own with a product called Swivel Script. And before that time, even before my professional career, I was basically coding up stuff, solutions that were hopefully useful. But it was when I started with Swivel Script that I thought of doing more. Well, Swivelscript was already a product in a similar space to what Dux-Soup does. It was more a technical solution where you could script automations in the browser. And it was fairly difficult to sell – meaning that people basically couldn’t get their head around it, what it really did. We were looking at that and I thought that I could just build something like that. To make myself self-sufficient at the very least. I started looking at ways of tweaking what I knew and what I had to do, something that would let people just install and use the tool without doing too much thinking.

Jeroen:

Swivelscript was basically like a Swiss army knife but people didn’t know exactly how to use it. And now you’re really basically making a scalpel with Dux-Soup. Really, really focused on one single thing.

Will:

Absolutely. That’s the big difference. And it just makes it all easier for people to try it out. With Swivel Script, you couldn’t really just install and then try it. You’d have to basically be the fellow for really doing anything with it. But now with Dux-Soup, you could just be an end-user. If you read the blurb, it says, “Well, this is what it does,” you can just click and install and within two or three clicks, you will be actually using it. And that was always key – to make the journey of the customer as simple and as short as possible from reading about the product to using it.

Jeroen:

I’m personally a Dux-Soup user as well. It still has a ton of functionality in there but it’s not terribly unclear how it works. It doesn’t have the most modern design either but it’s very clear and like, “I am going to do this and then that’s going to happen.” I do appreciate that. If I’m not mistaken, you started Dux-Soup all by yourself, right?

Will:

Yes. That’s right. Basically I started coding it in the evenings and on the weekends until we had enough users for me to quit my day job.

Jeroen:

Wie viele Nutzer waren das?

Will:

That must’ve been I think between five and 10,000. Somewhere around that.

Jeroen:

Sind das 5.000 Nutzer, die ein Abonnement bezahlen?

Will:

Nein. Nur 5.000 Nutzer. Vor allem am Anfang haben wir die Anzahl der Nutzer wirklich verfolgt, nur durch die Zahl, die Sie im Chrome Web Store sehen, die in der Tat die Anzahl der Leute ist, die die Erweiterung installiert haben.

Jeroen:

Sie haben es geschafft. Jetzt seid ihr ein Team von vier Personen? Weil ich auf der Website vier Personen sehe, oder sind es mehr als das?

Will:

It’s more than that. For marketing, we’ve got two people and for our support team, there’s three. And then for professional services, Joel’s joined recently. Then I have someone for QA. We have two more and for development, there’s another two and there’s me.

Jeroen:

Ich habe mich verz├Ąhlt. Also etwa 10 bis 15?

Will:

Yeah. Well, to be honest, all these people are all freelancers. The number of people tends to fluctuate. I know this sounds a bit harsh but it’s always between 10 and 15, depending on the things that we’re doing. If there’s additional development required I’ll get a few developers temporarily onboard. But I would say the actual core people who are always within this expanding and shrinking – there’s two in marketing, there’s three in customer service, that’s five. There is one in professional services, one in QA and for engineering, I do all the development myself.

Jeroen:

Well, that’s still impressive that with that amount of people you’re able to serve 60,000 users. Are there any things you do to make that possible?

Will:

Yeah, absolutely. Basically from the start when I was doing everything myself including support, development, including the upkeep of the service and well, basically everything that goes with it, we realized that a small change in a part can either increase or decrease the loads you can support or in product maintenance et cetera. And from the start, I always had the aim and we made it a goal to make sure that there was a minimal support requirement. That’s also why the product had to be easy to use. It had to be easy to install and easy to upgrade and to manage those subscriptions, so that would be easy for us to roll out new releases. From every angle, we are the product with as much zero maintenance as I could get it.

Jeroen:

Das macht sehr viel Sinn. Die Verringerung des Hilfebedarfs der Menschen ist definitiv eines der wichtigsten Dinge, die Sie mit Ihrem Produkt erreichen k├Ânnen. Nur so aus Interesse: Was haben Sie eigentlich beruflich gemacht, bevor Sie Dux-Soup ins Leben gerufen haben oder w├Ąhrend Sie Dux-Soup ins Leben gerufen haben?

Will:

Ich war haupts├Ąchlich als freiberuflicher Programmierer t├Ątig und arbeitete f├╝r verschiedene staatliche Stellen. Ich habe Entwicklungsarbeit geleistet.

Jeroen:

Sie haben sich bereits selbstst├Ąndig gemacht, aber wie hat sich Ihr Leben vom freiberuflichen Entwickler zum Leiter Ihres eigenen Softwareunternehmens ver├Ąndert?

Will:

Die gr├Â├čte Ver├Ąnderung ist, dass ich jetzt alles von zu Hause aus mache. Das ganze Team ist da. Jeder arbeitet von zu Hause aus. Wir treffen uns alle aus der Ferne, um zu diskutieren oder uns auf den neuesten Stand zu bringen. Ich muss nicht mehr jeden Tag eine Stunde durch den Verkehr fahren, sondern gar nicht mehr. Man muss wirklich aus dem Haus gehen, nur um sicher zu gehen, dass man aus dem Haus kommt. Und das war wirklich die gr├Â├čte Ver├Ąnderung. Und der Mangel an sozialen Kontakten, den man mit anderen Aktivit├Ąten ausgleichen muss. Das war definitiv die gr├Â├čte Ver├Ąnderung, aber zum Guten.

Will:

One of the biggest changes on this as well is that you’re actually working on a product where you are in control and you’re the one calling or making decisions on what should go in and what shouldn’t go in and what gets built first and what doesn’t get built first. There’s no politics about who wants what. People I’m sure who’re listening and work in medium or large companies or for the government know that when a project or any activity gets done in these areas, there’s always a lot of time spent on sorting out the politics really. I was glad that for Dux-Soup there’s no politics anywhere.

Jeroen:

That’s also definitely one of the things that I very much enjoy about leading a small company is that you don’t have to deal with a whole ton of politics. We try to keep it as much away as possible. It also sounds like you guys do some things in a pretty typical way, using a lot of freelancers instead of hiring people for the long term. Are there any companies in that respect that you model yourself after or that you look up to when you do these kinds of things?

Will:

No. I’ve read about a few companies. I remember reading about one. I can’t think of the name of the company. They did a presentation, online meeting software, they were bought by Salesforce. I do remember reading but I thought that’s the environment that I would like to work in. It was two guys who founded the company, living in different cities. They only worked remotely and they built an entire company just as a remote company, I guess until they were sold. I wouldn’t say that I’m remote myself but they did inspire me to think like that. That’s definitely the way to work and the way to build a company, especially for a small company where you need all the flexibility that you can get where you can’t really commit, especially in Holland – with the laws around hiring people and firing people.

Will:

Just the cost of hiring people permanently, the commitment is not something that is not a burden that you need, if you don’t even know if your products will last for half a year or even a month. Coming from that starting point of maintaining maximum flexibility, there really is no other option than getting filtered in and with the current state where basically everyone has broadband that is good enough to do online meetings or just online get-togethers. Meeting sounds a bit too formal, that’s all.

And with all the technology for software development where this development is really straightforward to deployment of software that’s all in the cloud. If you don’t have to commit to anything, any permits expenditure or a lump sum expenditure, then you avoid it and you just basically pay for what you use because you don’t know if you’ll receive the next day so to speak.

Jeroen:

It’s much better to keep everything variable, especially if you’re a bit dependent on LinkedIn perhaps.

Will:

Absolutely. That plays a role as well. It has a pretty big role. At the moment now we’re just at such a mode of operation that I don’t see the need to really change the model apart from maybe getting a few permanent hires in just to make sure that the knowledge about the product and the business is secured in case I get overrun by a bus, as we say.

Jeroen:

Was h├Ąlt Sie eigentlich in letzter Zeit nachts wach?

Will:

I’m just thinking about how Dux-Soup can improve and in what areas we should be spending our time and also which areas we should be possibly dropping from the products. I have a lot of interaction with customers in the opening support context but also customers who do webinars. And whenever you have a conversation with someone who either runs into an issue, I mould it over and think, “Well, this is what they said.” Just trying to place these things and seeing how we can help or use that to improve the products and basically make sure that Dux-Soup always stays relevant and always stays ahead of the curve.

Jeroen:

Es h├Ârt sich so an, als w├╝rden Sie die meiste Zeit damit verbringen, das Produkt zu entwickeln und ├╝ber das Produkt nachzudenken und es zu konzipieren. Ist das richtig?

Will:

Yeah. Absolutely. My background is software development. I’m from the era of when the 8-bit home computers were popular or when they were existing. That’s when I started working with computers and started coding a bit. Coding has always been the part I enjoy most. Well, apart from that later on, especially coding something that people use. I remember one project from years ago, one of my first jobs. I remember when I approached him, we spent I don’t know, I think nine months with a team of somewhere between six and 10 people, building a solution that just got canned.

Will:

And I thought it was shocking that there was so much work that was going on from all areas. I guess since then I really felt that you can’t just code for the sake of code but you can do that, obviously it takes a short time. If your code is unused, if there’s no customer to use your product or to run your script or whatever, then you might as well not have written the script at least from my perspective and the way that I approach it. Later on, I really got more coding in the context of something that does something useful for someone.

Will:

Then when I started building, you obviously end up having to do a lot more like deployment, marketing. Basically, everything that comes with the business. At first, you do it yourself and as Dux-Soup grew, the first thing I did was move some more support for a function, get a permit of a freelancer who full-time agreed to handle support. But also actually on the accounting and then later on the marketing. And so it’s really just for me, just basically pushing out the testing, pushing out all the functions that weren’t really adding much value and also to be honest, that I didn’t find to be that interesting. That just leaves me with products or with actual software development but also the product management basically goes to a box.

Jeroen:

Und in diesem Zusammenhang habe ich eine Frage an die anderen technischen Sologr├╝nder. Wie sind Sie in den ersten Tagen an Vertrieb und Marketing herangegangen und was w├╝rden Sie anderen Solo-Gr├╝ndern raten, die einen technischen Hintergrund haben?

Will:

Well, the advice I would give them is to build for the market. When you build a product, you always have a vision in, “Well, this is what the product’s supposed to do,” and you should always build towards the vision. But when you start delivering a product and put it in the market, then you should really see what the market does with it. If the market does not respond to your product, then you can’t blame the market. You have to blame yourself for building something that nobody wants and as painful as that might be, the sooner you realize that and start seeing what changes you can make, the less painful it will be. I would say, make sure to build something to what you believe in and test it out and then change as much or as quickly as you can to do something that people actually want to use.

Jeroen:

And maybe related to that because that’s still a bit about product I would say. Did you very much take the “build it and they will come” approach? I build something and then it will grow by itself or were there specific things you did to actually accelerate that growth?

Will:

Die Strategie der Markteinf├╝hrung bestand darin, etwas zu entwickeln, das etwas tut, von dem wir wissen, dass die Leute es wollen. Und weil wir sahen, dass es LinkedIn-Automatisierungsprodukte gab, die gekauft wurden, und es eine tats├Ąchliche Nachfrage nach dieser Arbeit gab, haben wir den Preis so gestaltet, dass er etwa ein Drittel oder ein Viertel des ├╝blichen Preises betrug, oder sogar weniger als ein F├╝nftel. Die Preisgestaltung war eine echte M├Âglichkeit, den winzigen M├Ąrkten, die es gab, auf die Spr├╝nge zu helfen. Das war ein Element.

Will:

The other one was to get involved with a few of the LinkedIn, what you’d call these trainers or speakers, especially the early adopters of LinkedIn for social selling and to get in touch with them to try the product and just to make sure that they were aware of the product.

Oft waren diese Leute sehr daran interessiert, zu sehen, was sonst noch entwickelt wurde, weil es f├╝r sie auch bedeutete, dass sie ihrer Konkurrenz immer einen Schritt voraus waren, was sie wussten, was auf den Markt kommen w├╝rde. Und indem wir uns an einige dieser Leute wandten, konnten wir sie dazu bringen, ├╝ber die Software zu sprechen und auch zu schreiben.

Jeroen:

Easy to use product, price it low so it can gain market share and talk to influencers. That’s how I need to summarize it.

Will:

Ganz genau.

Jeroen:

Cool! Was gibt Ihnen Energie und warum arbeiten Sie jeden Tag an Dux-Soup?

Will:

Well, the thing that gives me energy is especially when there’s a new development in the products that we worked on for a while. And the last big development that we did was the dashboard showing the statistics of your campaigns. And then just hearing back from customers being really happy about the features or “Well, maybe put this.” Just getting feedback both positive but also let’s say, constructive criticism.

Will:

Just seeing what you built. And maybe I sound like a broken record but once you build something that you think gives a cool feature or that does something cool and then I put it out there and then actually get people to just get in touch with you, to tell you about what they think. Like I said, I’ve worked years also on other projects where you just build stuff and you build and you build and you’re at zero. You don’t do zero then you want to pitch to a customer and just get all this feedback and just have all this momentum with the community. I would say that for me, is the biggest thing really about what makes me happy about doing all this.

Jeroen:

Etwas zu bauen und zu sehen, dass die Leute sich daf├╝r interessieren.

Will:

Ganz genau.

Jeroen:

You mentioned that you work from home from the start. At first, you were doing a day job and then Dux-Soup on the side. But now it’s like every day working from home with the team remotely. How do you manage work and life? Do you put clear barriers between the two? Is there a work time and a life time or is this overflowing into each other? How do you manage that?

Will:

Well, there is definitely an overlap. Well, I have a basic schedule for my day. It’s not a very tight schedule. Although now my oldest daughter started cycling to school so there is one less family task on my list in the morning but otherwise I’ve been cycling the kids to school. Then when I get in, I check my mail like everyone else and generally speaking, I do about a one or two hours of product development, then have lunch, then check up with my support team. In the afternoon do an hour of support for tickets or support goals. And then towards the end answer some emails or do some writing.

Will:

In the morning I do the coding, in the afternoon more of the communications, just writing. And that’s generally what I do every day. And obviously depending on what the main activities are, there are still the marketing events happening or if certain content is producing them, I end up spending more time on creating content than doing coding. But as a general rule, that’s how I break down the day. They definitely overlap. And often still do a bit of work either taking a feature that I like, a webinar or when LinkedIn has an update that needs to be addressed or when there is an influx of support tickets that indicates some other issue in a product that needs fixing.

Will:

Abends w├╝rde ich auch einige Fehler beheben. An den Wochenenden verbringe ich etwa die H├Ąlfte des Wochenendes damit, arbeitsbezogene Dinge zu erledigen. Und an allen Tagen w├╝rde ich sagen, dass ich wahrscheinlich etwa zwei bis vier Stunden am Tag arbeite, um mich mit dem Team auszutauschen und sicherzustellen, dass alles reibungslos l├Ąuft. F├╝r mich gibt es keine wirkliche Trennung zwischen meinem Arbeitsleben und meinem Privatleben. Und ich genie├če es sehr, diese strikte Trennung nicht zu haben.

Jeroen:

Es scheint, dass Sie viel Zeit mit Arbeit verbringen. Wie bleiben Sie geistig und k├Ârperlich fit, wenn Sie ein solches Arbeitspensum bew├Ąltigen?

Will:

The one area if I’m not really seeing it as work, basically by pushing out everything in the business that I don’t enjoy naturally or most things that I do, I just enjoy doing it. That really helps. But definitely I do about one hour of some cardio exercise each day, just to make sure that I don’t turn into a job at heart. And every couple of weeks meet up with some people in terms of drinks, just to blow off some steam and just to get out of my Dux-Soup. Just to see some other parts of the world.

Will:

Although we know with the whole Corona crisis, it’s been a bit better now but in the past few months, that element really was going on possible review. We tend to do quite a bit of traveling as well as a family. Like I said, I still do a bit of work but it also is good to just see other places and other people, even though you’re working in the meantime as well. Outside travel, a bit of exercise, going to the pub and I do like going to concerts as well, which is also impossible at the moment.

Jeroen:

Auf welche Konzerte gehen Sie gerne?

Will:

Quite like alternative rock. I think it’s called stoner metal or stoner rock. I quite enjoy the genre. But also hip hop and electoral drawn bass. Well, most things that play in venues of around between five and 800 people where musicians are clearly really into what they’re doing, that’s a great atmosphere.

Jeroen:

Wo sind Sie ans├Ąssig? Das k├Ânnen Sie selbst und das Dux-Soup sein.

Will:

I’m in Breda.

Jeroen:

Breda. That’s, for the international listeners, very close to the border with Belgium in the Netherlands.

Will:

Exactly. Especially Antwerp. It is only a 40-minute drive and Rotterdam is about half an hour. Amsterdam because everyone knows Amsterdam – it’s about an hour but then again most places in Holland are about one hour from Amsterdam.

Jeroen:

Are there a lot of startups in Breda? I personally don’t know.

Will:

There’s quite a big community, which to be fair I don’t really mix with. Not on purpose or anything but it’s only later on that I realized that there was a community, mainly via a guy called Gino.

Jeroen:

Gino Taselaar.

Will:

Gino Taselaar. Yeah. And Pascal van …

Jeroen:

Pascal van Steen.

Will:

Ganz genau.

Jeroen:

Ich kenne sie auch.

Will:

I meet up with them once a year in Breda. Because he’s in Amsterdam but he’s thinking of coming back as well because there’s quite a lot to do in Breda.

Jeroen:

Cool! Aber bevor wir zum Lernen ├╝bergehen, B├╝cher und so, m├Âchte ich noch eine Frage kl├Ąren. Woher kommt der Name Dux-Soup?

Will:

Dux-Soup? It basically comes from an expression in English. And when you Google it, you will find it. It’s called something as easy as duck soup. There’s also a movie from the ’60s I think that uses duck soup in that really. There it was, easy as duck soup, which is something that is easy or seemingly easy to do. And that’s why duck soup then the X represents Excel because initially a big elementary product was downloading data from LinkedIn into a structured format to a spreadsheet. That’s why the X is there.

Jeroen:

Got it. I never understood that. I saw the duck and I thought, “Sure soup, I guess.” That’s cool.

Will:

Nun, meine Frau hatte auch diese Idee, und sie ist wirklich h├Ąngen geblieben. Ich glaube, viele Leute m├Âgen einfach das Bild der Ente. Wir freuen uns, dass wir jetzt viele Entensuppenliebhaber haben, denen die Ente wirklich gef├Ąllt.

Jeroen:

Now going into learning. What’s the latest good book you’ve read? And why did you choose to read it?

Will:

I’m probably one of the bad examples here but I really don’t read any books.

Jeroen:

Null?

Will:

Yeah. I think just zero. When I say I’m trying to read books. I think I read books like Jerry nonfiction or a comedy. But this is years ago. I haven’t read any real book in probably 15 or maybe 20 years.

Jeroen:

I’ll change that question. Do you do anything else to keep learning? Do you follow things on social media or do you listen to podcasts or specific blogs you follow? What is something that you’re reading or listening to or whatever they really recommend to other people?

Will:

Not really. There was a website called the Register, which you might not know. It’s an English technology website. I used to read Wired, which I quite liked. And they do sometimes still have interesting interviews with people who’ve done interesting things. But I can’t really say that in my routine or in my day to day life, I do that. I only can use a phone and whenever there’s new technology, I hear about it via communication with my team or just reading the news over the internet. I don’t really have any startup websites or blogs that I really follow and say, “You should really go and spend some time there now.” No.

Jeroen:

No worries at all. It also doesn’t have to be a startup. It could be anything else that inspires you.

Will:

Ich w├╝rde sagen Spotify. Ich verbringe die meiste Zeit auf Spotify.

Jeroen:

Musik.

Will:

Ganz genau.

Jeroen:

Cool! Gibt es etwas, das Sie gerne gewusst h├Ątten, als Sie vor f├╝nf Jahren mit Dux-Soup anfingen?

Will:

Well, what I would have maybe known, although I’m not sure able to make much difference, is how much of stranglehold Google has on Chrome and on the development of web segments, which can be a real pain. As a product we fight a lot against it. We’ve built stuff that caters for changes in LinkedIn but also changes in Chrome. That can be a real pain. Well, recently, I don’t know if you noticed they did different cookie spec that changed the way that the cookies ultimately make sense.

Jeroen:

Ich habe etwas dar├╝ber geh├Ârt.

Will:

The same site that attributes…

Jeroen:

Auch die Erzeugung von Ver├Ąnderungen.

Will:

… you and many other companies. And this is just one example of many where you think that it should really be Google who’s making these decisions. But because Chrome is now just closing down the openness of the web. And I think maybe this is a more fundamental problem of the current development that because Chrome is really, especially with the chromium alternatives is becoming a de facto standard for web development that the HTML spec and everything around it becomes secondary. And it’s just Google calling the shots and I think it’s just bad. If I knew differently or if I knew better so many years ago, it wouldn’t really have changed.

Jeroen:

Nein. Ihr Einfluss auf Google ist wahrscheinlich gar nicht so gro├č.

Will:

No. I don’t have much impact on Google but I know they don’t seem to have a very good way of communicating with their paying customers. That’s on the one hand. It also created the opportunity, obviously Chrome being a platform where you can build an extension like Dux-Soup. You couldn’t have done that if you still had all the different standards for building extensions and all the different subtleties with the HTML into implementation. The fact is that Chrome is the platform that also creates the opportunity.

Jeroen:

Ein zweischneidiges Schwert.

Will:

Yes, exactly. Now I’m just happy that it’s succeeding.

Jeroen:

Letzte Frage. Was ist der beste gesch├Ąftliche Ratschlag, den Sie jemals erhalten haben, oder etwas, das Sie unseren Zuh├Ârern, vor allem Startup-Gr├╝ndern, mit auf den Weg geben m├Âchten? Was ist eine Sache, die Sie gerne mit ihnen teilen w├╝rden und die Sie f├╝r wertvoll halten?

Will:

To stay critical of what they’re doing and really critical. I’ve said before but not to build something and nobody understands it to say, “Well, it’s their loss.” No, it’s not their loss. If you build something, just make sure that you always listen and understand how people are using it. If they aren’t, then why not? Because if you don’t listen, nobody’s going to be using your software.

Jeroen:

H├Âren Sie weiter zu und ├╝bernehmen Sie die Verantwortung, wenn die Dinge in eine andere Richtung gehen.

Will:

And don’t take it personally.

Jeroen:

And don’t take it personally. That’s great advice.

Will:

It’s very tricky. If you’re a techie like myself, you can be quite stubborn, which can be a good thing. It’s not about you, it’s about the customer.

Jeroen:

Ja, genau. Cool! Nochmals vielen Dank, Will, dass du bei Founder Coffee dabei warst. Es war wirklich toll, dich dabei zu haben.

Will:

Vielen Dank, dass ich hier sein durfte.


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Jeroen Corthout