The Inventive Journey Podcast for Entrepreneurs
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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stick with it i mean it is a two to four to five year process first of all i'd say today is the day to start a business tomorrow is not as good as today the reason being and i know everybody has on their plate and everything else but the older you get the more responsibilities you have you have a wife you have kids you have all these new responsibilities that are gonna make it harder and harder to start a business thankfully i started the last company when i didn't have a wife and i didn't have kids and it was it allowed me to focus all my time potentially too much time on the business so i'd say start immediately and then i would say just stick with it [Music] hey everyone this is devin miller here with another episode of the inventive journey i'm your host devin miller the serial entrepreneur this uh grown several startups and the seven eight-figure businesses as well as the ceo and founder of miller ip law where he helps startups and small businesses with their patents and trademarks if you ever need help with yours just go to strategymeeting.com grab some time with us to chat now today we have another great guest on the podcast david wax and uh david uh in his own words always wanted to be an entrepreneur so when he was uh five he would uh go around with his brother's wagon from gordon's store selling different stuff candy he uh sold birthday the kids for a period of time and people had emergencies and everything else and then started a business while in high school built and sold computers uh this was the day before you would just buy computers off the shelf so to speak um and then did that went to university got an engineering degree in software as well as in business um and then uh chose the the software how did that work for i do it i worked for a startup for a period of time graduated 2000 did the alternator did a consulting firm um with um health floor businesses with dot com uh when then did equity management for a period of time went into investment firm did that and then moved back to where he was from which was phoenix dad was into real estate and got into doing some real estate related uh software and programs and getting that um and then sold that uh business and started his current business so that much is a brief introduction welcome on the podcast david thank you devin really really nice to meet you and thanks for having me on your show absolutely so and i just gave a brief introduction to um to your full journey but yeah maybe yeah take us back a bit in time and to the the point where your uh five-year-olds are pulling around your wagon and uh the neighborhood yeah so uh like you said i i always wanted to start a company so when i was five my mom would go to price club it wasn't called costco back then but price club and would buy candies or whatever and then she'd get annoyed because i'd take the bag of candies throw in the back of my brother's wagon and sell it door-to-door once i didn't have any candies to sell so i looked throughout the house for something to sell and i found the first aid kit and i went door to door i was four or five years old knocked down people's door when they answered i said are there any emergencies going on and they looked at me like uh no i said okay i'll try back later and that was kind of my first bout of entrepreneurship and then in high school i started a company called macrologic solutions we built and sold computers and that business grew bigger than i thought it was a little hard to shut it down because i didn't want to um let any of my clients down as far as their technical support needs but um it was funny i used to call up my distributor where i'd buy the parts we used to this is back in the days when people would just build computers you wouldn't go through dell really wasn't a thing yet so um i called my distributor and asked for parts i'd say hello this is david wax i need these parts they'd say okay well they'll be ready and you know at the end of the day i said great i'll send my delivery boy to go pick him up and then i get in the car go down there pick him up and he he was none the wiser and this went on for months and then finally he figured it out that i was the delivery boy and the owner of the company but that that business went well it wasn't huge but it was big enough where we had a good loyal following and went off to college to really study to start a business because i knew i wanted to do that so i picked engineering uh and business from uh engineering from the university of pennsylvania business from the wharton school there and is program called management and technology and you could pick your your engineering concentration or major and i chose um software uh computer science because i thought it would be easier to start a software company than a hardware company that's why i did it so um chose computer science did that took five years to get out and then i worked for consulting firms and private equity and all the rest and then i ended up working for a venture capitalist in san diego and after four months i was out on my ass i got fired without cause i got evicted from my apartment i got in a car accident and san diego which is supposed to have the best weather in the country flooded incessantly they were sandbagging around my apartment um so i took the hint that things were not going so great in san diego and i moved home to er and i could talk about why i got fired and all that it's not i didn't do anything wrong it was it was a crazy experience but now you know you almost have to at least give us a little bit of insight that's kind of like yeah joke just right short of the punchline so yeah give us a little bit of insight i worked i don't want to mention names but i worked for a maniac uh venture i didn't when i was first given the job i turned it down because it smelled fishy and then a year later i was doing equity analysis for credit suisse first boston and they reached out again and they said we wish you'd reconsider and so against my better judgment i took the job in san diego that they were not able to fill for a year i don't know who wouldn't want to live in san diego and who wouldn't want to work at a venture capital firm right but they could not fill this position for a year so something was up but i took the position and here i am some kind of smug cocky you know guy that came out of uh ivy league degree thinking i should be working hard on important projects they had me in the back of their storage room at this vc office organizing random crap that the partner at the vc firm purchased he was an incessant compulsive buyer um he had 30 portable dvd players all broken lined up and i'd have to organize those he'd buy truck tires for his g-wagon and i'd have to haul them out to his car and load them into he was just he was crazy and i'm thinking this is what i used my degree for and my prior work experience and then one day he comes into my office screaming spitting i remember he was yelling at me so much that there was spit flying out of his mouth oh before that i was sitting in my office late at night and i'm working on the computer and i'm all alone in my private office and we look out onto a common hall i looked out onto a common hallway and there's an atrium and in that atrium there's a plastic garden owl inside you know in this indoor hallway atrium so i'm working as hard as i can and you know it's late at night i'm all alone i keep looking over at that owl and i say i'll be damned if there's a camera staring at me from that owl so i walk over to the owl i turn it over and sure enough a webcam falls out i'm just like jesus so anyway so uh the guy was nuts he comes into my office screaming one day i didn't know what he was screaming about he claimed that i sold some stock without his permission but anybody who works in la jolla california knows this guy and they know he's an a total uh control freak and he'd never let anybody sell anything without his sign off and i didn't know what he was talking about and i got fired on the spot and then later they offered to hire me back if i wrote a letter of apology in writing saying i had sold this stock and i'm like are you nuts i'm not doing that i'm not so anyway so i got fired at the same time san diego this is back into 304 03 i guess before you can never keep it straight but uh it was you know the the real estate prices were going through the boom you know through we're going through a boom and my landlord was crazy about real everybody was crazy about real estate and i got fire i got evicted because they wanted to sell the place so um it was all very strange um they had some guy show up at my door doing this motion and i found it very you know pounding your fist into your palm i found it very amusing but anyway got evicted from my apartment which was good because that broke my lease just as i was fired so it all worked out but i moved back to phoenix where i grew up and my you know i was kind of head between my legs because over my prior work experience i made pretty good money but i spent it all paying down school debt i had a really five years of ivy league schooling and it was very expensive and i had to pay it off myself so i spent all my money paying down school debt and i had zero nest egg so when i got you know there was no rainy day fund when i got fired i had nothing i had no money so i moved back to arizona with my head between my legs and i started talking to my dad um and and i said you know i don't know what to do and he said why don't you do something it was his idea do something with blackberries and barcodes to provide information on houses this was before the iphone and qr codes were kind of out but not what they are today and i said well i don't know about blackberries and barcodes but why not do text messaging where you could text in for information on a house you'd see a sign hanging from the real estate sign it's called a writer it's the little thing that sometimes says you know number of bedrooms or baths or i'm beautiful inside we created a writer that said text this number uh house one two three four five to this number to get info in the house when you did that you get the realtor would get your lead but you would get pictures of the inside of the house and the description of the house because the flyer boxes were often empty so i said why don't i do that he said okay so he gave me a roof over my head i was then on unemployment but because he came up with the idea and he was my partner even though he didn't he just gave me a roof over my head he got 25 he actually got uh 50 of the company which moved down to 25 which was still way too much but he ended up with 25 of the company um i never really liked the real estate space so at the same time i did at the same time as developing house for cell which was that solution i developed something else called coupons app which was texting for restaurants and bars to send out drink alerts and uh happy hours or going back really quick and i definitely i don't mean to interrupt your journey so he did that with your partner because it sounds like it's even today with real estate it doesn't sound like it's a bad thing if you're driving by and saying okay a little bit more see the pictures inside see what's going on and get the details before i go into the house and see whether or not i'm interested just curious where did that business go to or where is it still live today is it still going did you sell it off did you shut it down that was all part of yeah that was part of sell it so the umbrella company had two products it had house for selling coupons app house for sell i found very frustrating so um the business kind of died a natural death caused by iphone apps and you know anybody could use you could drive up in front of the house use zillow and get all the info you needed back then that you know back in 2004 2005 there was no iphone there was no zillow though that just didn't exist so you didn't have those options but um i i i started going to real estate shows with my sales force and that type of thing and dealing with realtors can be very difficult uh no offense to your realtor clients but i find that and your realtor listeners but they're they're they're the cream of the crop so we're talking about those other ones right i find they're of one of two camps they're either too poor to afford 24.99 a month for three real three signs and the service that goes with it or they're so rich what you offer them doesn't matter so they're not interested so they're either fat and happy or poor and you know broke um and regardless it's 24.99 they always want a deal they always want to you know that's what realtors do they negotiate so you go to these trade shows you're like it's 24.99 and they want to haggle and deal and i'm like screw this so um so that's what happened but we were the first real player in the text in for real estate space um at the same time i created coupon zap and then what happened was i was sitting it was a very small company i was sitting in that apartment my dad gave me i'm drinking you know it was classic startup i had the two liter of diet mountain dew next to me and i'm you know programming away getting these things going and i got a call from marie claire magazine and they wanted to use a text message solution to allow people to text in for products in their magazine so you'd see a page in the magazine you know you'd see some makeup or something and it'd say text this to this number to get info on on the on the makeup and i'm thinking to myself that's house for sale that's the real estate offering they just don't know it so i charged that i didn't charge them 24.99 but i charged them you know a relatively obscene amount of money for this offering um and then that's where house for sell really went it i i didn't really focus on realtors i focused i focused on apartment management and cars so we had for rent media solutions which is still somewhat of a player but i don't know if you remember 15 years ago you go to the um the supermarket you get the little magazine for rent and it was like a little directory of all the apartments for rent and you could uh what we did was you could text in and get more info straight to your phone so that was house for sale but for apartments and then we did auto trader truck trader rv trader um all the traders they were all owned by cox and you know that type of thing so we would do the employment guide all those rags were all owned by the same people and we powered the texting for that at the same time coupons app which i targeted to restaurants and bars and our first client ended up just signing up online was a strip club i'm like go figure so we had a few of those too but you know that was they just signed up we weren't targeting them um then what happened is we got into [Music] abercrombie and fitch toys r us sam's club office max and we were doing millions of messages a day for these major brands so that business got pretty big then when the iphone came out in o8 i was worried that would just squash the business because why do you need texting if you have this amazing phone but what it did was it increased our business because people were so used to pressing you know the two key three times to get a c you know two two two two you know you know yet those old keep that they you'd have to tap each key so many times to text it was hard but when the iphone came out in android it made texting super easy so our business took off uh and then we also got into apps a little bit like we wrote i didn't love apps because i didn't see it as a scalable business but we wrote apps for auto trader and and for rent media solutions and some restaurant groups that type of thing so that that business um did well and i saw some so our core was really the texting and then we had the iphone app and all that which i saw as a commodity because um there are a bunch of people making iphone apps but the texting core we were really really good at but at the same time there's a lot of compliance coming down the pipe as far as if you accidentally send somebody a text that they were not opted into um it could be a catastrophe just um it could be i believe eight hundred dollars per occurrence so what happened was uh and you'd know this more than me devin being a lawyer but what happened was we had a large restaurant group in chicago using us and there's a kid at northwestern university in the law school and he forgot conveniently that he had signed up for text messages through this restaurant group so when he got a text message from us he ran to a class action lawyer and said you know i got this unsolicited text dollars they probably sent ten thousand you know it could be the fees could literally be in the billions um so i luckily we were able to find that this guy did sign up so you know we gave him the finger and sent him on his way but but the stress of that business and then i also saw things like push notifications and other you know i saw text message marketing kind of potentially on the way down so i want it out so i sold that company to e prize which was a um a company doing online promotions they wanted a mobile component and then the next day i started handwritten which is what i do now so that's a long a long journey but that's kind of the more interesting one no that was definitely fun to hear that journey and it's interesting kind of how you weaved it through so i loved hearing it so now i'm gonna ask you kind of the full question because he sold that business definitely makes sense you know he got push notification although i still think it sounds like it's a cool business i'd still use it today but i can't wear it you know push notifications emails you've got so many different things blasts all the time although interestingly enough one of the things that people still tend to respond to and be more engaging with this text messaging so oh still ahead of your time it was still a great uh place but you know he sold that off and now you're saying okay kind of what am i gonna do next so and you know that leads to the handwritten yeah you know how did you come to that idea or how did you kind of come up with that and kind of how did you get that one started so i'd always you know i'm a mama's boy and uh around her birthday every year i'd want to send her a birthday card so i'd stop off i was living in chicago so i'd stop off at the walgreens on the way to the train and i'd pick up a birthday card and it would then sit in my laptop bag and never get sent it would get bent up and wrinkled and all the rest because i'm lazy and then i noticed when i'd walk into my sales people's offices in my own office anytime somebody sent me a handwritten card or a handwritten note not only would i read it i would keep it i would put it on display so when i went to sell or when i sold sell it i sent handwritten notes to all my best clients and to my employees with best intentions but my hands started cramping and i ran out of stationary and i screwed up notes and i'd have to rewrite them 10 times and i just thought gee there has to be a better way so what if i can make sending legit pen based written in ink handwritten notes as easy as sending an email um at the same time i also saw the you know the number of emails that were going out you know it's there's stats out there from back then even so it's worse now that the average office worker gets like 150 emails a day they spend 24 of their time just managing their inbox so email is a chore and then you add i was part of the problem we're sending text messages people get thousands of text messages a month you know you're managing that so you're inundated with all this electronic communication and then it wasn't around back then although it is now slack and wechat and tweets and facebook notifications and face you know all these other forms of electronic communication um uh and it's just overwhelming and it's all noise and nobody really gives it any um any credence because it's all automatable even you know if i were to send you an email that said dear devon comma thank you for having me on your podcast or you might have sent me one like that thanks for having you you know it was probably automated and i uh i discount it in my head i'm like oh that's anatomy even though there's nothing in there that has a graphic or anything else i just know it's automated sure so i thought there's definitely a lot of things and we use automation and i think that there is that kind of that difference of if it's handwritten now i do have one question then we'll get to kind of where you're at today but you know it seems like and although i have absolutely no idea that with all the technology you could make a printer that makes it a looks very it's i would maybe not because i've never seen it that you could do it so a printer would make it look just like handwritten but what's the difficulty or you know because i'm guessing that you explored that or looked into it or you know maybe my assumption's wrong but you know what is the reason why a printer can't do that handwritten type or look and feel to it did you see the impression and pushing down and be able to see the difference yes so it's a few things so typically we'll write on stationery that so there's a company out there called postable that does exactly what you say they will you type in a note they will laser print it in a quote-unquote realistic looking handwriting style and when you get it you'll know it's laser printed there's just a there's something about a laser print that maybe they haven't mastered but it's masterable for us we often write on very high quality stationary that we can't really ref you know i mean we we laser print the stationery so i get you know using our digital presses so i guess we could but then we also have some clients like some high-end luxury brands that send us foiled and embossed stationary we can't feed that through a laser printer it just doesn't work and then also people do the smear test they will lick their finger and it'll smear and then also the way a pen follows the bumps of the paper we use toothy paper intentionally it just tends to look different now that's not to say that down the road we're not going to explore creating images of what we would write and then laser uh ink jetting or laser printing that on a page as a low as a lesser cost version of what we're doing that's potential but right now we're trying to provide the best most realistic highest end version and that is written in pen and it does leave indents on the paper and it um follows the nooks and crannies of the paper and it does pass the smear test and it is probably one of the hard things is to introduce imperfections in other words a lot of times when you hand write something it's you know bigger and smaller yes you know and you scribble something out or you you know you don't write it quite perfectly yeah and it's almost harder to make something imperfect as opposed to perfect when you try and do that so i i just thought it was interesting because it seems like oh there's so many different ways and yet you know you never see that there's really something that can replace a handwritten note if that you know if you want to have that kind of feel to it and we even do that with some of the letter you know some of the things we do we'll do different gift boxes and letters and things we'll send out to clients and you know some of what we'll do is a you know kind of a mailer that's they're printed out but a lot of times we'll still even if nothing else put a handwritten address on the envelope such that they know that it's from us and that somebody actually took the time to send them out to it specifically as opposed to just you know kind of hundreds going out so it's always interesting to keep that personal touch so now that you kind of had the idea you built a business and you've been in business you know just give you know is it as you've built that up and you know kind of figured out how to do that has it been a rocket ship to the top has it been one where it's been hard to find the right or market bid has it been ups and downs or kind of how's it going the first several years were very slow um and that was probably twofold number one i wasn't 100 focused on it after selling the last company um i uh immediately turned around and started this one and i also met a a woman and got married and you know moved and all this stuff so my focus wasn't entirely there that's part of it the other part of it is uh and this is getting um a little bit theoretic or philosophical i should say we didn't have our own robots and because we didn't have our own we were using an off the off off the shelf solution which was crappy um but i feel bad saying that if they're listening but um that solution was no good in order to really scale the business we needed our own robot and i honestly believe there's a little bit and of if you build it they will come i mean when we had when we were in a tiny little space we got enough business to fill that tiny little fulfillment space then we got a bigger space and we filled that space and now we're in 10 000 square feet and we're filling that space there's you have to have the space to allow the business to grow and you have to have the capacity to allow the business to grow and now we have 115 robots um you know 40 people we've got the capacity there and we're growing into it pretty pretty quickly the last three four years have been great growth um we made the inc 500 list last year we'll make it again this year um pretty pretty good numbers on like 148 i think um so we're doing pretty well growth now but it's also a lot of small numbers we were very tiny four years ago um so so yeah we're we're doing well now um we're at a good clip we're hiring a lot of people that type of thing people are finding out about us you know we are a very niche business it's not like everybody needs handwritten notes um but uh as people learn about us we're we're fortunate to to to build the business pretty quickly so yeah not as fast as sell it the text messaging company it was right place right time and it grew it grew fast oh cool no and it's it's always fun because i mean you know you see a business in several years and most time people think oh they're just doing great and they've got all these clients it's like oh they must have just they had a great idea and it's like no there's almost always inevitably that build to the business oh yeah years and there's that but he always just here this is where they're at today and they're on the list and it's you know it's going great and it's like you never get to hear that back story and yet there's always that you know i didn't know if it would work and if it works oh yeah the market fit and everything else so appreciate that that insight so yeah i would say if you can if you can get the business going in two years you know and if depending on how you look at it two years a long time or two is not a long time when you're in it two years is a long time when you look back two years is not a long time but it took sell it it's solid two years where i could afford to live and then it started taking off handwritten um it's taken it took we're now in year seven and a half it took a solid four years um so yeah i mean it you have to be patient um you have to be patient no and i like that because i think that you know too often people get the glamorized hollywood version of overnight success and it's overnight success 10 years in the making and even if the business goes quicker than that it's hey i didn't start us before that and i did you know things before and gain experience and things didn't work out and i learned my lessons and i had ups and downs yeah all that goes into it and yeah we get the kind of hey get rich quick and it's going to be an overnight success and you have you know it's great to hear that for 99.9 percent of people it's not that way absolutely as as we wrap up toward the end and there's always more things i'd love to dive in on the technology and how things are going and where things are headed and maybe we'll probably have to have you on again another time because i think it'd be fun to dive into that but as we wrap up this episode i always have two questions at the end of each podcast 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 um the worst business decision was i honestly involving not thinking through the ramifications of becoming business partners with my my father um first of all i will never i love my parents dearly but i will never ever go into business with family again the dynamics of family are never appropriate to business um i don't want my kids to go into my business you know it's just it's not right in the end i don't care if he's a minority shareholder he's still my father right so you can't have the same conversation in a business context with somebody if they're your father it just doesn't work well and and you can't pull away the equity he didn't deserve there was a time um i don't want to get into it but there was a time when i should have pulled away more equity and um i didn't um i'm happy that he walked away with 25 of the company because it provided a lifestyle adjustment for him and took care of him and i gave some to my mom and i'm hoping um you know some of that will trickle down to the other my brothers and stuff god forbid when when the when you know when things happen i don't even want to think about that but i'm glad that i was able to provide for the family that way but i shouldn't have had my hand forced and it wasn't because if i think back to 2004 when i started sell it it was my fault for making a bad decision and saying oh sure 50 50. no it was it shouldn't have been that way um it should have been five percent or something um given what he had or he should have had to put more money in yeah struggle it's interesting you hit on that i think family dynamics always add in you know even more complexity because one year if you were working with someone that you never knew you'd probably be more shooting negotiators family always there want you have that extra hey i don't want to offend them i got to see them at christmas and thanksgiving and things don't go as well you want to salvage the relationship and so you know it can also be very positive working with family can have the added benefit if you know the person you're working with you know that you have a good relationship with them you know their strong strengths their weaknesses and they'll be more forgiving when you mess up and all so it's it is that interesting i think family sometimes it works out awesome other times you're saying i wish i'd never done it so it's always one of those balances so i love that mistake and lesson learned from that second question i always ask is and this is a reminder before we get to the second question um for those of you listening if you were we do have the bonus question this episode we'll talk a little bit about intellectual property so if you want to hear us talk a little bit about that after the normal episode wraps up definitely stay tuned now with the second question which is if you're talking with somebody that's just getting into a startup or a small business would be the one piece of advice you'd give them um stick with it i mean it is a two to four to five year process first of all i'd say today is the day to start a business tomorrow is not as good as today the reason being and i know everybody has on their plate and everything else but the older you get the more responsibilities you have you have a wife you have kids you have all these new responsibilities that are going to make it harder and harder to start a business thankfully i started the last company when i didn't have a wife and i didn't have kids and it was it allowed me to focus all my time potentially too much time on the business so i'd say start immediately and then i would say just stick with it you have to adjust the business to market demand and needs you see coming at you but stick with it um stick with the core you know find what your core is and that can be you know again it can bend and ebb and flow but stick with it for at least two years because you only lose quote-unquote lose when you give up it's not like a baseball or basketball game that has a number of innings or a time limit you only lose when you give up so if you can stick with it you know i was working two jobs when i started sell it um but yeah and it was on unemployment for part of the time so if you can figure out ways to stick with it um you know that's what separates um those that make in those that don't no and i like that and i think that you know now the whale of flavor that is doesn't mean you stick with it you never adjust you never pippy you never right now you gotta adjust because there's always going to be you know those things that come up you didn't anticipate or the market's telling you something different so i think stick with it and be willing to adjust and pivot and with both of those characteristics because you don't want to get locked in and say oh i got to just stay with this and this is my idea and if i push hard enough because sometimes it's not a bad it's not a good idea or it's a good idea but it's not implemented correctly in a a list different marketplace but i love that because i think there's definitely a lot of value and a lot of wisdom to that well as we wrap up and before we dive to the the bonus question if people want to use your service 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 your contact here or connect up to you find out more well please visit handwritten.com it's h-a-n-d-w-r-y-t-t-e-n if you want to sign up use discount code podcast and you'll get five dollars in free credit send yourself or a loved one a card um there's also a way on there if you click business you can get a whole sample kit so see for yourself that passes the sniff test and the lick test and all the rest i'm david b as in boy w-a-c-h-s twitter so at davidbewax um or linkedin just look for david on handwritten at linkedin those are the best ways or david at handwritten is my email address so feel free to reach out to me directly um happy to happy to chat and discuss you know either my journey or hopefully handwritten if you're interested in using the service awesome well i definitely uh encourage people to check it out use the five dollar discount code and otherwise uh see if it can there can't be a place that you can use it both in your business or in your personal life either way but uh appreciate that offer um well thank you again for coming on the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure 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 feel free to go to inventiveguest.com and apply to be on the show we'd love to have you and share your journey two more things as a listener one make sure to click subscribe in your podcast player 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 last but not least if you ever need help with patents trademarks or anything else with your business go to strategymeeting.com and we're always here to help and love to chat with you so with that now it's uh it's that fun part and it's always all the episodes are fun and all the parts of the absolutely fun but i always enjoy talking about intellectual property because that's always a bit of my passion so um it's always fun to do the bonus question so with that i'll turn it over to you to ask your number one intellectual property question so i have a competitor local in town in phoenix that has totally ripped off our website like on our website we have a picture of a robot pen their website a picture of a robot pen our website it says integrate and automate their website integrate and automate they've just gone point by point and created a dollar store knock off as i call it of our website what can we do to protect the website the external wordpress website that ebbs and flows you know do we take screenshots of that and copyright it trademark it what do we do to protect against these jerks from doing what they're doing if anything or do we just say it's not worth it you know and i'll answer i'll ask one question i don't normally try to answer your question with the question because it always drives me back but let me give one follow-up question so i can give a fuller answer which is are when they knocking it off are they also knocking off the actual brand the name of the company or did they at least rename it they renamed it uh offer a similar service using the old crappy robots we no longer use the off-the-shelf ones um they offer a similar service but um i just don't appreciate their uh you know plagiarism no and i definitely get that they're not flavors because if they and no this wasn't your case we'll give the the background that's why i asked that if if they had copied your trait you know the the your brand in other words the name of your company or the name of the products you're you know a categories or something of that if they're copying those type of things that falls under trademarks in other words if it's your brand and they're saying hey we are trying to make it so that you know our the name of our business or our url confuses people that way or the name of a cash phrase the name of a product or service that all and all fun falls under trademarks and branding so where they haven't done that then you would and or did in addition if they had done that you also have what's called copyrights and that's kind of what you refer more to of you know this is the images we use the look in the fill you know of our website and they've you know they've either copied it or they've made it so substantially similar that they're trying to cause confusion and that oftentimes will fall in their copyrights now copyrights are going to be there's kind of a blatant copyright of ripping off if they actually took your exact language or they took the actual image then that's you know they're infringing on your copy of their copyrights and so that would be one thing is to you could go register those copyrights then you can see you know how much you want to ratchet it up as far as um you know going after them and that's always kind of a balance of the return on investment if they're a small startup that doesn't make hardly any revenue they're not eating into your business then you got to decide do i want to kind of relax word squash them now or you know stop it before it builds or saying hey they're just a small business i think they're going to go out of business it's not worth investing a lot of money into this then you may just say it's not worthwhile but i'll take it for the example at least this discussion that they're at least gotten big enough that you're wanting to they're impeding on your business or otherwise there's a fear there a worry there that is worthwhile to go after him then i would probably want to register the copyrights you know your website you can take screenshots of either all of the website or if there's particular parts of their most important you register those you don't have to register copyrights but what it does is one it shows that you have ownership shows ads at least by this date we we establish our rights to that copyright and it also gives you more um more benefits as far as going after damages in other words because you register it because it's a registered copyright when you go after them or if you need to go after them you can get increased damages for their their infringing of copyrights the last part of that and i know it's a bit of a longer answer and i try and condense it down into a shorter answer um is you can also go after more anti-competitive nature in other words they are and that can kind of fall under copyrights it can fall into trademarks or a combination of both but in other words their overall motivation is they're not just trying to compete outright with you and if they were they they can certainly compete they can go buy the off-the-shelf product but if they're trying to simulate making it basically confusing so that the customers think that it is your website or is associated with you where it's the same looking bill and they're otherwise right in your coattails then it's almost that anti-competitive nature and then there are a few ways to kind of go about that by saying it's not you know not quite to the anti-trust but kind of along those same lines and we could dive into that as a separate conversation it gets a little bit more legalistic but there are kind of those things as well when they're trying to actively cause confusion the market plays there are additional avenues to go with whales so those are a few thoughts it's a great question it's a more complicated answer than i can fully embellish in the the end of the podcast but definitely if you or the listeners if you have any follow-up questions or the listeners do or you have any other questions feel free to go to strategymeeting.com we're always happy to chat answer questions and make sure you get taken care of with that we'll go ahead and end the podcast and appreciate coming on david the the podcast it's been a fun it's been a pleasure and wish the next leg of your journey even better than the last thanks devin you