Hello ! Who are you and what are you working on?
Hi! My name's Matt and I'm an independent developer from Australia with about a decade of software engineering and leadership experience.
By day, I lead a team of software engineers at a boutique development house, to produce creative, solid, hand-crafted solutions for clients of all sizes.
By night, I've recently launched a product called Resoundly as a side-hustle. Resoundly allows anyone to create a podcast, without recording a thing. Users can start a podcast by simply typing the content and Resoundly will convert it to speech and host the podcast. No more microphones, audio software or even re-recording mistakes.
What motivated you to get started with? How did you come up with the idea?
I'm a keen podcast consumer and advocate, but I was surprised to learn how much (time, money and human resources) goes into creating, producing and distributing each episode. Consider the content creation, recording, re-recording (mistakes), production, editing, compressing, uploading, distributing...This produces great results in a lot of cases, but it isn't for everyone.
I built Resoundly with the mission to make the process of creating a podcast, as easy as simply writing the content. This will (🤞) open the podcasting medium up to an even bigger catalog of quality insights by brilliant people.
I'm not naive to think that Resoundly will replace the high quality audio productions we currently enjoy today. But it can serve (at a fraction of the cost) under-represented use cases such as:
- Local news outlets to distribute their (already) written content
- Educators (teachers, lecturers) to provide material over an audio feed
- Company audio newsletters
- Bloggers to offer their written content in an extra medium
- Onboarding documentation as a supplementary source
Can you tell us the story of your business from idea to where you are now?
I'd recently sold a tech business and I was on paternity leave from my day job, watching my beautiful daughter sleep...and sleep, and sleep (infants sleep a lot). I'd gone from a busy, intense day job where my time was blocked out weeks in advance, to...well, nothing for a few weeks.
My wife and I were consuming a bunch of podcasts and at one point over this time, I started to consider and appreciate the vast amount of effort going into each episode.
Being in the tech industry, I'm aware of what's happening in AI/ML, and more specifically how natural synthetic voices have become (and continuing to develop).
So: the time to stop and think, the substantial podcast consumption plus my understanding of the tech space collided. I wondered if anyone was doing a good job in the niche of cost effective, natural text-to-speech podcasting. I didn't find anything.
I sat with the idea for a month or two and ran the idea past a number of people - business leaders, creatives, people in the tech industry. I felt like the idea was validated enough to give it a try, so created a low fidelity demo and it felt and sounded quite good.
After demo-ing it to various people and listening to feedback, I started to add more 'production'-like with features such as the ability to merge audio snippets (eg. music) and add pauses to make it feel even more natural and enjoyable.
Of course, I also needed to build the more tedious features into the application like accounts and subscription - so it took about six months of late nights before I released.
What has been your biggest failure or struggle?
Initially, and to a degree, now - my biggest struggle has been my believing that this will work as a business. Being a solo founder, I only really have friends and family to spur me on with this endeavor - so I don't want to be naive with their encouragement.
Only time will tell I guess.
And what has been your biggest achievement or success?
For me, the biggest achievement from this process hasn't necessarily been the resulting product (even though I'm extremely proud of it!). But it's been the relationship with my amazing daughter and astonishing wife that's blossomed during the time of hustle.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
It's still super early days for Resoundly. I've yet to explore many avenues of marketing. So far I've launched on Product Hunt which has helped gain dozens of new trials and subscriptions.
Describe the process of launching the business.
After releasing to production and testing things like the hosting stability, analytics, recurring payments etc - I launched to Product Hunt to gain feedback from a larger audience.
That's the launch story so far!
Did you use Betalist or PH or other Startup Launching Platform for Launching ? How was that experience ?
Product Hunt. The experience definitely produced adrenaline and a little anxiety. The marketing website traffic grew over a thousand percent very quickly and people were commenting, emailing and signing up. I had a couple of late nights and early mornings!
What’s your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
Resoundly has a subscription business model - specifically a monthly subscription.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced and obstacles you’ve overcome? What are your goals for the future?
It's still early days. But my goals are to grow the number of subscribers and MRR, whilst keeping churn low. I'd love to have the option to work on Resoundly full time.
Let’s talk about your marketing strategy -- how do you market Resoundly and grow the service?
I have plans to invest in search engine marketing and social media marketing. Resoundly is a new type of product, so I need to educate people that you can in fact, create a podcast without recording a thing.
What platform/tools do you use for your business?
- Gsuite for email, docs, storage
- Asana for managing tasks and feature list
- Laravel (PHP Framework)
- Various AWS tools
- Cloudflare for the application CDN
- Digital Ocean (servers and object storage)
Who’s your most inspirational CEO or founder?
I'm inspired by Ray Dalio (Bridgewater Associates) and the way he grew Bridgewater. He developed and executed so many innovative approaches to both the hedge fund world and also productivity and leadership. He considers everything so logically and develops models around the insights. Read 'Principles' by Ray Dalio. What a man.
Might be a cliche - but I'm also inspired by Steve Jobs (Apple) and the level of detail he mandated for product development. I hope to imitate that (with a lot more empathy!).
Finally, Tony Hsieh (Zappos). In his book 'Delivering Happiness', I learned of how he embedded empathy into his management style and customer service. Very inspired to replicate.
What’s your advice for fellow aspiring entrepreneur who are just starting out?
It's extremely beneficial to develop a monetization strategy during the initial product development (i.e. before launch).
I built and ran an app for a few years before selling it in early 2019. It was a free mobile app from the beginning, but it was costing me money to maintain (server costs, developer licences etc). I tried various methods to monetize - paid promotional content, paid features, affiliate marketing etc - but it wasn't substantial enough to keep the motivation there.
For me at least: the motivation and excitement of building and launching a free product wares off and becomes a burden, even if there's 40,000+ users. You still get support requests, feature suggestions, bug reports etc, which you need to maintain (with no compensation).