Set High Standards For Your Team
The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
Set High Standards For Your Team
The Inventive Journey
Starting and growing a business is a journey. On The Inventive Journey, your host, Devin Miller walks with startups along their different journeys startups take to success (or failure). You also get to hear from featured guests, such as venture firms and angel investors, that provide insight on the paths to a successful inventive journey.
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i'll advise that person to set a really high standard for team and keep it go consistently because on the uh again it it's not the product that matters because businesses startups change their product their business model a lot and they experiment with that but having really great is uh key [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur has grown several startups in the seven and eight figure businesses as well as the founder ceo of miller ip law where we help startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com we're always here to help now today we have another great guest on the podcast pigeran nazdarian or as close as i can to pronouncing it right um tigran uh is a quick background got a degree i think in physics and a phd in astronomy if i'm correct um came back and uh to or came back to an engineering degree after that and started creating wordpress plugins as a software company and so he started out with three roommates while he was finishing his phd doing that as a business and then the business evolved to be a subscription-based model and then a software as a service or sas business um that took about three or four years to get to that rate or that phase um and tigran started out as the developer then as vp of engineering and now as ceo so but that much is a quicker brief introduction welcome on the podcast thank you david i appreciate the opportunity to talk about invention technology and business so absolutely so so now i've given kind of a quick run through to a longer journey so why don't you take us a bit back in time and uh how your journey got started with physics and astronomy and then we'll chat from there okay great so while we are asked what what what has it common with startups and business but there are actually a lot of things that shape you from the school years and this is uh my journey i loved physics a lot matt in high school and i chose this is this as my profession as my uh later major uh study so i learned physics in university and first i didn't thought much about whether i will be inventor or businessman or techno or business person but at least i always thought about myself as a person who loves technology loves invention and to love science so science is kind of frontier the edge for the invention we base all our inventions on the latest if we can on the latest uh scientific knowledge so i was like the latest one the scientific knowledge and uh this was where i edit myself until so now so you get into so you do physics as an undergraduate and then phd in astronomy now you know so that one you know those ones at least make sense you said kind of the overarching is science and kind of interest in that for realm now um i think if you mentioned as you were going through and getting your phd you also had kind of three roommates that were starting a business doing wordpress plugins if i remember right so how did you kind of get involved with that you know what did you because that sounds like you know it's almost more in engineering or software so did you have a background or was it more they said hey you might find us enjoying or you're looking for a part-time job or kind of how did the how did you get how did you get going with your roommates to do wordpress as you were getting a phd in astronomy and naturally with our college mates we were uh first during the first second years we were doing some websites site like web development but during the time it turned into a full-time job when uh we thought not about building like one-time projects with websites but creating our own products so this was like a next level uh for us creating software and at that time like oh 10 years ago uh wordpress was on its rise it is uh popular more popular of course now but it was always under its rise uh since uh uh it's beginning so we thought about wordpress and creating software for wordpress ecosystem which is plugins and templates so it was kind of natural for us a lot of students in our country invest in armenia a lot of students in our country tech students they have a kind of second job with software engineering or web development or that industry so and it's natural that at some point you need to decide whether you want to continue uh in science you want to go become scientists or you want to become engineer but for some it may be kind of boring when you compare engineering with science because science looks interesting and promising and it is but engineering when done properly went down with enthusiasm passion and it's really interesting it's not it's not doing like standard stuff but uh it comes close to being inventor and this is uh what is the beauty of engineering now one kind of one question following so i think you started to touch on it and you know i found that interesting but now did your when your roommate started up this business so they approach you and say hey we want you to be on board did you say hey this looks really interesting i'd love to participate or kind of how did you get involved you know it sounds like they kind of have the original idea for the wordplus program plug-ins as it was kind of coming to be of interest and catching it you know a great arriving as far as um you know people doing those but kind of how did you get involved with the roommates as far as kind of what was that what had that transition i would say it was not my idea that people approached but we were we are four friends we started started together and during these years it was kind of natural that we thought about doing something together so the and uh we were four people later some other engineers joined not our college mates i would say but friends to reference through our common friends we tried to have the best team possible and we actually succeeded in that i mean here is an important point being a roommate or being a college mate it doesn't automatically mean that you should involve someone in the same project because okay um hiring uh slow uh firing fast need to con consider that especially if you if you work together with a person who is your friend who who is not only a business person and it's not only working relation you you need to think twice before working with person who may not stay for long because it's it's important to keep balance between like working and for relations and uh i know i think there's there's definitely you know working with working with friends can be beneficial in the sense you know them you already have a relationship you know their strengths on the other hand you know once you're done with work you're still seeing your friends you're still going to hang out if your roommates are still living together and so it does have that kind of added layer of pressure onto the business relationship because you don't have that you know this distinct uh break in the relationship where you take those breaks so no one's one question so he got into this you know he kind of got in with the roommates he started the business it was originally wordpress work press if i don't get tongue-tied plug-ins um now as you do that you're finishing up your phd as you finished up your phd or maybe you're still working on the phd and i guess i didn't barefoot but you know as you're finishing that up was this evolving into what would be a full-time job a side hustle kind of something that you think would be interesting but not going to pay the bills or you're saying hey no this is really where i'm going to focus my time and effort as i because i'm looking for that way yeah after doing my phd i make at some point a lifetime choice whether i should uh still try to do some science or completely be involved in the industry in engineering i chose the second one and i don't regret about that so uh after that full time it was of course and yeah during the years we got a lot more experience and we set up different processes and we started to build a bigger company so and so it sounds like okay you decide i'm going to be all in gonna you know this is going to be my full-time endeavor you know i still have my other degrees and maybe i'll trickle back to those at some point but right now i'd love to focus on this i think it's a fun business now how'd you guys do that i think you had started just creating the plugins and then you know having people subscribe or otherwise purchase them and then you guys evolve the business first into a subscription-based business and then into a sas business so what kind of prompted that evolution or kind of what prompted that change over the period of time after you guys got started first we when we started plugging business we didn't consider it as startup it's just business in i.t and of course we wanted to have growth we have we need to have more customers and it's natural but startup requires a different mindset totally growth oriented and goal oriented so we thought can we go behind wordpress plugins to create something even more important and more usable so for that purpose we closed our business with plugins and we started the new by setting our focus on fast growth and setting our focus on providing a better value than just a couple of plugins a better value although we didn't have a couple of plugins we have more than 50 plugins but we thought about creating a platform where people can create the websites for themselves and their customers as well and from a to that which should contain hosting should contain different infrastructure for optimizing websites for backups and even maintenance after website creation so we we thought about going big and we thought about uh the solution which can be really helpful to a wordpress community so now as you kind of think about this is how we you know offer better value better enticing customers better position ourselves and started to evolve to those different models were they beneficial were they in the right direction did were they more difficult or kind of tell us a little bit about how that part of the journey went because i think that these kind of where you're at today as far as with the business what you guys are doing so how has that evolution gone yeah exactly this part of the journey is very important uh because when you have some idea in mind you want to create exactly according to your idea but a lot of learning comes later when you see how people use your product what are their real needs not what you thought but what they need so at some point we thought about a lot of like components in the platform as being usable and they are usable but during the time we figured out that there are some parts which are more important and some features and some experience which is more important than because it saw some pain points for uh web developers and app agencies so we put our focus on that this is the way you can create more useful product which shows really some pain points of customers and not uh all uh some solution doing everything people don't need everything people need just specific thing to solve their specific problem and uh we created our hosting platform in uh i think two years during two years uh with a team of uh less than ten engineers and there during that time we experimented a lot and even now we always continue uh experiment to figure out what's the best solution for the customer where what we should spend more time improving and what we should cut and just remove from our business and uh solution and we did actually that step several times keep focus you need to get rid of some components you don't you need less no i think that you know there's a oftentimes there's a temptation to overbuild or to build more because you know you get almost wrapped up in a lot of the technology a lot of the cool things that you could do rather than focusing on the things that will drive the revenue drive the clients and what they are actually wanting so i definitely think there can be that your trade-off where you're always having to guard against doing that now so that that kind of gives us an idea so now taking that as the next step where does that put you at today kind of where you guys are at are you still building are you still doing the sas model you're now kind of took or evolved down to the ceo role so kind of where are you guys at today and kind of looking a bit into the future where do you see things headed we are in a stage of growth now we think we get the product and we have project to market fit so we are in a gold stage we varsas we kept that business model with trial subscription with trial and we have some things to do to not only i would say only please customers but uh sessional parts we need to add to platform experience for example for a person creating websites professionally an important feature an important experience is managing their own clients because they don't build for themselves so this is part we are working on now and we hope we'll get it soon and and another important uh part of our platform and uh our solution is ai side build that this is truly revolutionary uh allowing people to create websites using the artificial intelligence and this is innovative solution there is no other solution like that and we experiment with that we and we think it can be useful not only for consumers from people creating websites from themselves but also for agencies and professional people who make their living by creating websites as a tool to create uh templates and prototypes and even complete websites in an automatic way to save their time and their resources so we think about this and we think we see the perspective of the site building platforms and site building experience uh as something that can be automated and that should be automated people spend a lot of time doing manual work there most of websites they are created manually they are not generated by outbreaks and with the we see there a great potential for automation same way like ai penetrates and in other technologies and in other industries we see web development as the industry which should be automated this is our vision and automation means doing less manual routine work but focusing more on more creative and more meaningful stuff sounds like a fun direction to be headed and a lot of opportunity ahead of you so now with that as we kind of have taken a bit through your journey all the way from you know getting the degree now to being the ceo of the company um i always it's a good transition i would ask two questions at the end of each journey so we'll jump to those now so the first question i always ask is along your journey what was the worst business decision you ever made and what did you learn from it what's the worst decision and the best decision just the worst decision and what did you learn from it okay the worst decision was i spent with my team more than a year to creating one software uh which we never released later we we had six or seven engineers spending one year to that solution why it went wrong because we didn't figure out they didn't thought about beyond creating a product i mean it's not only engineering it's it's a part of okay your credit solution can you find market to can you have enough resources to support it to stay ahead of competition and we might mistake my worst decision was that we i lead that project without thinking too much about the future and also without thinking about focus because this the same thing they were doing different projects as well these projects were critical for us so it was a waste of time and resources but i draw a lesson from that that focus is really important better to do one thing really good really where something that your customers will love absolutely rather than 1000 things that none of them is completely or not perfect but if not not much usable no and i think that you know that is a a very a good point it's kind of what we touched on a little bit earlier in the sense of having that focus of hey this is the product we're going to do it very well we're going to understand that you know i i'm probably the same thing of you know i always like oh there are all these different possibilities we could do all these cool things and we can you know change all these things and so you get excited about a lot of different areas of technology which isn't bad and that's what you're how you keep you know keep innovating and keep creating new products but when it gets to the detriment of now you're no you know you lose focus and you're doing those products that are maybe good next generation or things you can do in the future at the expense of doing something well now it can be detrimental so i definitely think that makes sense so now the second question i always ask is if you're talking to somebody that's just getting to a startup or a small business what would be the one piece of advice you'd give them uh let me think a couple of seconds i'll advise that person to sit really high standard for team and keep it consistently because on the uh again it it's not the product that matters because businesses startups change their product their business model a lot and they experiment with that but having really great is uh key to success and this is what i'm proud of having great team attendant no i think that i think that is a great piece of advice and that definitely something that people should take to heart well now as we wrap up with the uh podcast um you know people want to reach out to they want to hire they want to use your sas or service they want to help or need help with plugins they want to be a customer they want to be a client they want to be an investor they want to be an employee they want to be your next best friend any or all of the above what's the best way to reach out to you contact you and find out more feel free to contact me through linkedin or check out products or contact even at facebook all right well definitely it sounds like a lot of different places to connect on the socials um and definitely uh find out more so um and i think you also have the the website web10.ohio is that right and that dot io 10 web i said webten ten web dot io dot io so well i definitely encourage people to reach out find out more if you need help in this area or have any other questions about uh tigran's journey definitely reach out now for all of you that are listeners if you have your own journey to tell and you'd like to be a guest on the podcast we would love to have you feel free to apply to be on the show could just go to inventiveguest.com few more things as listeners one make sure to click subscribe to your podcast players so you know when all of our awesome episodes come out and two leave us a review so other people can find out about all of our awesome episodes and last but not least if you ever need to help with patents trademarks or anything else just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us a chat thank you again tigran for coming on the podcast and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thank you very much you