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Greg Goodson

Cofounder, Rafflecopter

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON December 29, 2015

Discussion

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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
Hi - I'm Greg Goodson, cofounder of Rafflecopter, a SaaS app that helps you run and manage the process of running an online giveaway. We're a bootstrapped startup located in Boulder, CO and have been working on the business for almost 5 years.
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Junius@juniusfree
Hi @GregGoodson How will you spend your time if a you've got one hour to solve a user problem/need? Thanks!
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@juniusfree Hey Junius! After answering tens of thousands of support requests over the years through our help desk, email, social media channels, etc., I’ve come to learn that while 90% of the questions we receive are questions that we’ve been asked many times before. That said, it’s always worth spending some extra time addressing the specific question that’s asked. We have a few hundred macros set up in our help desk (we use Zendesk) and while these help us get through everyone’s questions in a timely manner, writing a sentence or two specifically addressing the users’ question / need goes a long way in making the person asking the question more comfortable with the answer. If I didn’t answer your question, feel free to elaborate!
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Junius@juniusfree
@greggoodson Thanks! Sorry if my question is vague. My question is actually related to product development.
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Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
@GregGoodson thanks so much for joining us. How do you compare marathon running to running a business? Are there skills or attributes which are transferable to both? Would be awesome to have you on @twentyminutevc and hear more from you!
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@harrystebbings Hey Harry! Thanks for writing in :) Yeah - there are definitely some attributes. First, I can tell you that running a business isn’t a sprint. In the first 6-12 months of running Rafflecopter we treated it like a sprint, working the longest hours. Took me a while to calm down from the hype of “starting a startup” and running a business. If I had to compare running a startup to a running event, I’d say it’s more like a multi-day race (http://multidays.com/). I’ve run about 30 marathons / ultra marathons over the years and I always dreaded not finishing a race that I’ve started (DNFing). Running a 50 mile race, it’s almost inevitable you’ll hit highs and lows, but you push through it and not finishing is never an option. I think having that mental mindset is pretty important and has transferred well to running a business. Yeah - would be happy to chat further. Can you tell me a bit more about @twentyminutevc?
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Yoshi@dnxx28 · Freerance Engineer
@greggoodson Hi Greg-san! I'm Japanese Yoshi! So Are you gonna launch Rafflecopter in Japan or other countries or is this possible to associate about Internet of Things?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@dnxx28 Hey Yoshi! Technically, you can use Rafflecopter no matter where you’re located, but as of now (and if I’m understanding your question correctly), we only offer Rafflecopter in 6 languages, and unfortunately Japanese isn’t one of them. We have plans to go beyond those 6 languages, but I’m not certain Japanese is on the list of next languages to implement. While a third of our traffic is from outside the US, Japan isn’t a country that we get a lot of interest from to be honest. Not 100% sure the reason that is.
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Adam Rotman@adamrotman · Co-founder, Stencil
@greggoodson what's it like having a startup in Boulder, CO?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@adamrotman Thanks for joining us, Adam! A fair amount of the population is into outdoor recreation here. That stands out first. Boulder, CO is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, so our hiking, skiing, trail running, climbing, and other sports are second-to-none. It’s a fun place to be in that regard. The city itself isn’t that big -- around 100k population IIRC. Lots of pros and cons because of that. Maybe a little tough to hire because of that compared to living in a city (though Denver is a 30-45 minute drive from here). The tech scene here is great. Plenty of great tech companies have locations here (Gnip / Twitter, Soldfire, Google, Sendgrid all come to mind). Big IBM campus just outside of town as well. It’s expensive here though. We moved here in 2011 to focus on the company and have watched commercial and residential rents skyrocket in a short amount of time. Starting to see a trend of folks moving to the outskirts of Boulder.
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Kingsong Chen@kingsongchen · Dev
Hi Greg, when did you realize there was a market for Rafflecopter and how did you find your first customers to champion you?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@kingsongchen Hey Kingsong - thanks for joining us! Before Rafflecopter, my cofounders and I were working on an app that would allow blogs to embed an affiliate ecommerce store on their site. As the non-technical cofounder, it was my job to find product market fit back in those days, so I emailed hundreds of bloggers who I thought would be a good fit for this project. In surveying and interviewing these folks, it was pretty apparently that a lot of them were hitting the pain point of running a giveaway on their blog (everyone was asking their readers to enter by leaving a comment in their wordpress comments section). So we decided to work on an MVP, got one out the door in 6 weeks, and almost immediately there was a good amount of interest. I think the amount of time that we saved our early adopters made it a no-brainer for them to champion the product. Also, a giveaway widget embedded on a site is inherently viral, so we got a lot of interest in a short amount of time. Once we had ~100 people beta testing and using our product, the word quickly spread from there. Being ‘invite only’ the first 6 months also helped.
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Emily Hodgins@ems_hodge · Operations @ Product Hunt
@greggoodson thanks for joining us today! During your career to date, what's been the best piece of advice you've ever been given. Flip side, what's the worst?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@ems_hodge Hey Emily - thanks for inviting us to participate! My first job out of college was working at an ad agency that specialized in search marketing. I was always impressed with the founder of the company. After working there for a handful of months, I remember talking to my dad about how I was so impressed with his leadership and how he was able to grow a company from 2 people in an apartment to 100+ employees in a span of 5 years. I thought that was cool & really looked up to him. My dad’s response was that every morning he puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like you. Maybe that’s not advice per se, but that’s always stuck with me. Worst advice? I interviewed at a company after I had freelanced a bit where chatting w/ the CEO of the company, he scanned my resume and told me it was a bad idea to put that on my resume. When we receive resumes, I love seeing freelance projects, side projects, and passion projects.
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Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What has been the most successful online giveaway Rafflecopter has been a part of?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@jacqvon Thanks for having us, Jacq! Trying to determine the best promotion run through our platform is all relative based on how it’s being run or who is running it, but we had Arnold Schwarzenegger run a giveaway with Rafflecopter a few years ago, promoting his new book. The winner of the giveaway sent a script of a voicemail to Arnold, who then recorded himself reading the script out loud, so the winner received a custom voicemail message. I thought that was a really creative prize. It received a heck of a lot of entries as well.
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Aaron Miller@millerboyz999 · GPShopper
How do you mainly see your clients utilizing your service? Mainly blog promotions, non-profits, companies?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@millerboyz999 Hey Aaron! Our service helps folks run a sweepstakes promotion, where an item is given out to a selected winner in an entry pool at random. Our clients use Rafflecopter to give away an item as a way to engage their fans, grow their network, or just as a way to give back. A good example is we have a lot of authors and publishers using Rafflecopter to give out copies of a newly released book. Running a giveaway to give out a few copies of a book before it’s released to the public for instance is a good way to get your fans excited about the release date.
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Amber Mrs. Moto@confidence101 · Financial Office manager
@greggoodson I don't really have a question but I just wanted to tell you how easy raffle copter makes it to enter and keep track of contest entries! Keep it up!
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@confidence101 *Blushes* Thanks Amber! It’s comments like these that keep us motivated. It’ll be an exciting 2016 for us… can’t wait to show you what’s in store :)
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Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What's the biggest thing you changed your mind about in the last year?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@jacqvon I’ve never fully bought into remote working 100% until 2015. Have always been about 90% of the way there, but in 2015 I’ve turned the corner and changed my mind on remote working. I see the benefits now. Rafflecopter is like a store that’s open 24/7/365, and to structure a work day from 9-5 is silly. And to force someone to come into the office when their work might be better in a different environment doesn’t make sense.
Ben Tossell@bentossell · newCo
@greggoodson what is the startup scene like since @bfeld started making waves years ago?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@bentossell Hey Ben! My cofounder and I never visited Boulder before moving here. We just wanted to leave Atlanta tbh. Our lease was up, had heard good things about Boulder, and read “Do More Faster” (probably aware that TechStars is HQed here too). @bfeld being in town had an influence in us moving here. I can’t tell you what it was like before 2011, but the number of startups w/ less than 10 employees has grown a lot in the last 5 years. We’re only 8 employees ourselves, and there are many other companies in town just like ours more so now than 5 years ago. Also, the number of coworking spaces, accelerators, etc. has blown up too. I think there are 4-5 fairly large sized coworking spaces w/in 3 blocks of our office. I have to think a large part of that is just good WOM from other people that enjoy it here. It’s a good startup scene though - lots of people are really transparent about what they’re doing and a lot of good people live here and want to see you succeed. I think that’s what you get from being in such a small town (in relation to a startup in NYC or Silicon Valley).
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Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
What is your best marketing tip?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@jacqvon Have a great product that legitimately makes your users' lives better. I've seen brilliant marketers struggle marketing mediocre products for years when they simply don't have product market fit.
Ryan Hoover@rrhoover · Founder, Product Hunt
Greg! Welcome. What's the most creative use of Rafflecopter you've seen so far? Any other surprises since you first launched the platform?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@rrhoover Hey Ryan! We had a fellow give out $3k worth of meat once for a Memorial Day grill-off promotion once. It was tough not to pay attention to that. I don't know where the average person would store that much food at once, but I think that was part of the joke. Something that's always been a surprise is how many people use Rafflecopter in other countries, and what countries adopted it. Many folks from Brazil, The Philippines, and the UK started using Rafflecopter right out the gate. We talk to people around the world every day. Never really considered that when we first launched.
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QueenLear@queenleariv · ConnectionAgent-Co-Founder @ButtonPoetry
@greggoodson @rrhoover are there any regulations or challenges that you've encountered because of the international success?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@queenleariv Language barrier has always been something. But as far as sweepstakes laws in the US and other countries, we always tell our users that's something that we leave up to them.
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QueenLear@queenleariv · ConnectionAgent-Co-Founder @ButtonPoetry
@greggoodson Thanks for your time! It sounds like Rafflecopter is a great engagement tool for a pre-existing community. Is there any discovery type functions so a company might gain new followers via people who love/have used/won items from Rafflecopter in the past or is it solely integrated into a company's silo-ed community?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@queenleariv Thanks for joining us! Yeah - it is a great tool for your current community. Users of Rafflecopter that already have an established community behind them tend to use Rafflecopter more and more and churn less than those just launching their business or starting out. It's a pain point of users that we hope to address longer term. But a lot of Rafflecopter users in the beginning were (and still are) bloggers. Companies started using Rafflecopter only after they saw bloggers / influencers using it that they were working with. We've seen companies be successful at running an influencer campaign alongside a Rafflecopter giveaway as a good way to launch a new product. While we don't have this kind of discovery tool, there are tools out there that help run influencer marketing campaigns. Grouphigh comes to mind > http://www.grouphigh.com/
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QueenLear@queenleariv · ConnectionAgent-Co-Founder @ButtonPoetry
@greggoodson Also, it sounds like it's been a great tool for authors, as you mentioned many book give-aways. Do you have a favorite book from 2015? (that did or didn't use Rafflecopter)
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@queenleariv I read a fair amount of business strategy books and books on meteorology (hobby of mine) over the last year, but I think I read 'Good to Great' and 'How to Win Friends and Influence People' on an annual basis. If you haven't read these books, I can't recommend them more: http://www.amazon.com/Good-Great... http://www.amazon.com/How-Win-Fr...
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QueenLear@queenleariv · ConnectionAgent-Co-Founder @ButtonPoetry
@greggoodson @queenleariv It might be fun to create a books collection on PH to follow which books have used Rafflecopter and which you enjoy reading? I'd follow those :)
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QueenLear@queenleariv · ConnectionAgent-Co-Founder @ButtonPoetry
@greggoodson @queenleariv also, super small world... my cousin is a Meteorologist in CO!!! :)
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@queenleariv Yeah - we could probably make a pretty extensive list tbh (we have a pretty big library of books at our office). Plus all the books I got for Christmas :)
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@queenleariv It's a fun state to be a professional meteorologist in I'd imagine. If you don't like the weather in Colorado, just wait 5 minutes.
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Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Hey Greg! What is your hiring philosophy? How do you evaluate talent?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@eriktorenberg Hey Eric! The qualities that I look for in job candidates is their ability to multi-task, their ability to work independently, their level of initiative, and how strong their work ethic is. I base all my hiring decisions after that. Almost all of my questions in an interview try to find the answers to those questions. Easier said than done. I'm also very picky about deciding who we'll interview. If it's clear that the applicant is just firing their resume and cover letter off to hundreds of companies, we're not interested. A custom tailored cover letter and resume specific to the position we're trying to fill goes a long way.
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Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
Also - what advice do you have for entrepreneurs thinking about where to build their company?
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
@eriktorenberg Hmm - where to build your company... I think I'd say go where your heart desires, but just make sure you'll be comfortable there for a good part of a decade and the surrounding area can support what you're trying to do. I've seen a few 100% remote companies start in the hometowns of the founders. You don't have to be in a tech area / big city anymore to start an internet software company. There are trade-offs, but it's mattering less and less.
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Greg Goodson@greggoodson · Cofounder, Rafflecopter
Thanks for the chat everyone! If I can answer any followup questions, feel free to connect w/ me at @greggoodson on Twitter or shoot me a message at greg@rafflecopter.com. Cheers & Happy New Year!
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Jacqueline von Tesmar@jacqvon · Community at Product Hunt ⚡️
Thanks for being on Greg! It was a pleasure hearing your thoughts 🙌