Web app developer of Stunning for Stripe, Richard Felix walks through the computer programmer life and how an audience matters. Learn about hiring, lessons to scale business, why Ruby on Rails and how solving your own problem can lead to success.
Starting in middle school he was already building computers for other people and once he started Louisiana State University he already learned 30 computer languages.
Listen to Learn why he says all students should learn Ruby on Rails as well as Swift for apple and iPhone developers. Swift Playground is an iPad app where you can play with code and see in real time what changes. It’s a nice way to get immediate feedback on if your code is good or not.
What is the difference between a website versus a web application?
Learn about how he created a music exchange website which taught him many things and how he used that knowledge to build on new projects.
He scratched his own itch with Hngry.com because he and his now wife had the age old question: What genre of food to eat and then Where? The web app conquered these questions and even got him flown out to NYC. Listen to find out more about this inspiring entrepreneurial story and why it eventually was shut down.
www.richardfelix.com is his portfolio of projects
Listen to hear how he fixed his marketing problem so that initial interest wouldn’t fade, why he partnered with better front end programmers (people who make the site pretty vs the code that makes the databases run correctly), csstricks.com and his relationship with Chris and more.
Aremysitesup.com When you have a business that can lose money and sales when your website is broken because of some server issue, you want to know immediately (not 8 hours later) so you can fix it. This site checks for you. Learn how and why he co-developed this site.
How valuable is building trust and giving free information for building an audience AND an audience willing to pay for a service you offer.
Richard Felix greatest success is Stunning for Stripe credit card payments. Again he solved his own problem when making it and now huge and small companies use it. The gist is: you have either recurring payments or credit card of customers on file. Stunning lets you know when someone’s card is 30 days till expiration, payment was denied for some reason and a few other options so you don’t lose customers OR keep customers who haven’t actually paid for the service. Stunning also sends out emails letting people know about the expiration, email to the business about failed payments, chargebacks and also very customizable receipts along with web hooks that can trigger certain emails to let you know what’s going on. All very easy to set up too.
Plus he talks about why use stripe vs a 3 tier PayPal system which has more headaches than you might want to deal with for recurring payments. We chat a lot about Stripe and what it is used for, how it can help you and how stunning makes it even better for a business.
How do we find that One Thing that someone will say “ I”d rather pay you then figure it out on my own.”
Why did he hire someone for customer service? Did he wait to long? What was the number one quality he was looking for? He even discusses team meeting for FAQ’s.
Mr. Felix gives talks and presentation especially about how to make money with recurring payments and web application development. Also because of his building server experience and scaling to customers who have hundreds of thousands of clients, (creating workers) he has a unique skill set to talk about.
Why does he go to comic con and find Phoenix artwork so appealing?
As an African American Male Tech Guy, how has that affected his job prospects and contacts in this field?
Tips for people looking to score a job: especially showing projects that use the skills of the job and jobs that have been completed and projects you have worked on at github.com
Richard even explores his new passion for tea.
APP: Paprika awesome cooking app
Podcasts: Tim Ferriss, Half Hour Happy Hour, Dissect (dissecting behind the music)
Hear his Rules for When and How to listen to the podcasts he loves.
Show notes can be found at www.adoctorsperspective.net/49 here you can also find links to things mentioned, the Travel Tip and a complete transcript.
Justin Trosclair 0:03
49 read or study about Texas as an audience, and he'll start to just intro square. And today we hear Richard Felix perspective.
George 2017 podcast Awards Nominated host, Dr. Justin trust, as he gets a rare to see look into the specialties, all types of doctors and guess plus marketing, travel tips, struggles, goals and relationship advice. Let's hear a doctor's perspective.
Thanks for tuning in yet again. Want to tell you what's going down? We have two more special guests are African American spotlight this week, of course with our tech superstar and then Episode 51. We will have to doctors of physical therapy now what Episode 50 you might ask? Well, it's Episode 50. So I recorded it a while back while I was actually in China, right before I had left to America for about a few weeks. It's 50 get excited. I'm excited. So this week is Episode 49. Next week will be our bingo Bible has some special things in store for you. Thank you for listening. But today's guest Richard Felix is a tech guy. He's created several web apps. Some have made it some did not. But they're all learning experiences. So we dive into that what did he learn? What is he doing now with a stunning and we're going to a deep dive into stripe which if any of you have online processing, or you Shopify and things like that definitely want to tune in, and we just get the experience level of his personality and some of the finer things on the end of the interview as usual. So the child tip will be the end of the episode. All the show notes can be found at a doctor's perspective net slashed for nine.
Let's go hashtag behind the curtain.
Live from dual sick Ville, United States of America. I want to welcome you back to a doctor's perspective podcast. Yes, being the guest today our special guests are both having a little laryngitis. What can we say? But he is an amazing computer guy, web designer from humble beginnings to a successful Empire now welcome Richard Felix of shifted frequency net. Hey, Justin. Thanks for having me. Hey, buddy. You bet. So there's no there's no denying that we may come off a little more casual. We've been friends for college. So yeah, it's been fun to follow each other's career and, and then you finally accepted to be on the podcast. So I'm excited tickled me. Yeah, I'm excited to Fantastic. Well, let's jump in you from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You went to a smart school, they call a magnet schools down here. Yeah. And I think from what junior high or high school, you started fixing computers and designing websites.
Yeah, I started fixing computers, I'd say in high school, sometime. I read a lot of books. And when I was growing up, I'd like to take things apart, and I can really put them back together, my dad started to notice. So you'd get me stuff that I could take a part that was safe. But he always my parents always kind of nurtured that in me. And then I started reading these computer books that were like, here are all the things that go into computers. And here's how everything works. Based on that I was able to start building computers for my family of myself. And I don't think we ever bought a computer from the time that I was a middle school to college, I built all the computers. So that was always cool. And then at some point, my parents realized that people were starting to ask me, like, they started to notice that I was good with computers, and they had businesses and they're like, Hey, can you come and help us with our computer stuff, and my dad and woman didn't get taken advantage of. So my parents told me I should turn it into a business I would actually get money for the value that us providing to those customers.
Justin Trosclair 4:00
You as power Thank you.
And when you say put the grid the computers This was back when people were like an adapter in like a word routers then it was just the all these little pieces that you just bought the pieces in the components and mix and match them together for what somebody was like advanced Legos, I think I did really like Legos growing up in when you want to build a PC, basically you have motherboard that everything plugs into, there's a processor that actually does the computations, there's memory, Ram, so that the computer can hold things wallets on, and then there's hard drives, and you kind of plug all that stuff together and configure it in the best way and you make it all work.
Justin Trosclair 4:44
Boom. And that's why we want i sevens are higher for like computers versus like gaming computers, versus somebody that just serves random plays on
one for for certain tasks you want like a better video card or better CPU, more memory, things like that. And so for every computer type out there are for every type of person who wants to use a computer, there's a particular computer that's best for their needs.
Justin Trosclair 5:08
And you told me with all the programming that you do, you just love Chromebook, right.
I still use Macs.
Use a Chromebook. I don't think I get work done in a Chrome, honestly.
Justin Trosclair 5:23
Very cool. Now you went to Louisiana State University. ls you you started learning more progress. But But before you even began LS you how many languages can you speak? Or could
I'd say 30, maybe I went 30 different programming languages.
But as you get further and further along in programming you, you start to kind of converge on the couple that you feel are best for your style and the things you're trying to you're trying to do. So I'm not deep in a lot of them. But at this point, I probably could program in about 60 of them give in that a lot of programming languages are the same. So once you learn the fundamentals, you can kind of move around and see what syntax
you like the best basically.
Okay, something something breaks, you'd like, Oh, that's why let me go look up that one piece of code for this language, right, using a different lingo. Since you're, since at the base level, you're they're all telling computer the same thing, that there are a lot of similarities in the way that they function. So if you kind of just, if you know programming well enough, you can basically look at any virtual agent figure it out if you have to.
Justin Trosclair 6:38
Okay, not just for just for fun, you have a top three that you use currently, or that you would recommend for all kids, I guess let's set it up this way, you know, a bunch, you know what you're using. Now, if someone was young, or looking to do this in college, or whatever, what are your top three or four languages that you would have learned? Right now
the the one that I'm using the most is perfect language called Ruby, and specifically on top of a framework called Ruby on Rails. Basically, Ruby on Rails is a framework that she lets you easily build web applications, which is a lot of what I do these days. So I'd recommend that one, it's, it's pretty easy to pick up, it can get pretty advanced, but you can write a Ruby on your computer without much more than like a text program. And that Ruby installed on your computer. There's a new language that's come out recently called Swift. It's mostly used by Apple for iPhone applications and things like that. They
they have something on the iPad called swift playgrounds where you can actually download a free app and start to play with the programming language on your iPad. And like see things happening on the screen, you can move stuff around test code without actually committing to install your much stuff on your computer, which I think it makes it really accessible or somebody just trying know, learn what programming is, they give you some tutorials in there that have code that's already made. So you can just change stuff around and see how it changes the flow program, or what breaks, I think that's pretty cool. It reminds me of when I was first starting out the on the apple two computers have gotten a lot more advanced. Now, you start a computer up and it loads a bunch of programs. And then you have to open up a text editor and a bunch of other stuff just to get started and programming. And sometimes you have to install stuff on your computer, so that it can interpret the language that you want to programming. But back in the day, you could just start on a computer. And if you didn't have a disk in the drive, it would just be like, hey, type in some commands. And so I feel like the with swift playgrounds on the iPad, it's kind of going back to that thing. You just open this program, you can start typing commands and see what works and what doesn't.
Justin Trosclair 8:57
See, I think that would be fun. Because when you can easily see trial and error, like oh, that broke it. And then you can see when you fix it. Okay, that's what I supposed to do. You
cannot exact way it's a really short feedback loop. You see what works and what doesn't immediately and you can improve. That's That's how humans do anything successfully, really, you need that feedback loop.
Justin Trosclair 9:17
Let's go to this, give us a, you have a great website. Now, web application, as you called it, what's the difference between like a website and a web application,
the wires are kind of blurring more and more these days. But in general, a website is something that we're all the code is written beforehand. And it just displays a page based on whatever you've previously written. A web application is something that's more interactive. And in general, it's connected to a database. So it can perform all sorts of functions based on code that's more dynamic. For instance, a normal website could be a website for a business where you put information about the business, how to contact them, makes the restaurant, you put a link to the menu. And that doesn't change unless somebody goes in and writes more code, or updates that code, that websites just going to be what they call static. What's web applications can you could have something where a customer comes in, and you put them in a database. And then the next time they come to the website, it can say, hey, person named because they pulled out the database, it allows things to be more interactive in that
Justin Trosclair 10:25
way. Is WordPress or lead pages, those types of things
like web application, those those are definitely web applications. WordPress has a database, where it keeps all the post and images and all that stuff. And same with lead pages.
Justin Trosclair 10:39
Okay, you can I'm gonna let you run with this. So, okay, I might interrupt you here and there. But I'd like for you to talk about I know you've had Music Review site, you've had some food sites, Oh, man. And I and then you've had some that were, they just did just failed, either they didn't catch on, or like some other compete competitor was out there doing it big in veteran, they got bought out and all of a sudden, you're like, all right, well, I'm not, this isn't gonna work for me. And then you pivoted and you pivoted until you've got to where you are now with a site that's actually profitable. And, and what I think most people would dream of doing when they said, I'm going to be a computer program, a program that for a living, walk us through what you've kind of done in the past, and maybe how did that bill to remember now.
Specifically, that music review site that actually started whenever I did not know, web applications very well. And I could just makes static websites. It was called interchange, it started out of the CD swap idea that was way back when make CDs or her thing.
I remember college walking through Yeah, class with the CD player.
So yeah, that was really big. And I thought that it would be cool to mix and match people across the United States, and have them share music with each other because a lot of work happening because we didn't have really good fellowship or anything like that, or all these music streaming sites, it was more difficult to be exposed to new music that she didn't know. So basically, yeah, this was right before it happened in high school, but it hadn't really taken off. But I do remember downloading mp3 isn't as well, but it was I don't even think it was real musically. It was just like people being ridiculous.
I would let people sign up on the website. And I just had a list of people's addresses, I guess we were all less concerned about privacy back and listening is this guy in a dorm room with a bunch of people, but they would mail CDs to me. And that actually know, that's our, I would send them each other's addresses. And then they would send CDs to each other. And I would make sure that people stayed honest and didn't like not do what they're supposed to do. If if somebody wasn't making a CD and sending it off to people, then they would get kicked out. It, it was pretty cool for a while, in a physical when whenever mp3 started getting big, so I kind of shut it down because it sometimes you have an idea. And it's really good for the time period. And then it just kind of goes away because things change. And that that's what kind of happened there.
Justin Trosclair 13:14
I say the first real web application I built was called hungry, hungry, calm. Without the EU, I decided I wanted to learn Ruby on Rails at the time. And I had a problem that I wanted to solve, which was my girlfriend at the time, and I could never figure out where we want it to eat. Everybody's had that conversation. And I figured that if I got restaurants on board,
I could have a website where you could just ask it, hey, based on how I'm feeling or what type of food I want to eat, and what I've eaten in the past, told me what to eat. And it can also be a place for people to have their menus. So that instead of rummaging through the drawer to find all those menus you have from web sites, and from restaurants and everything, you you could just look in this one place. And you know that once it told you where to eat, you could just figure out what you want to eat. It even had a list of favorites. So you could just pick from one of those, and then it would help you out with that. So I did I learn Ruby on Rails and work through the Ruby on Rails programming book while I was building hungry. And it was, I guess, a moderate success from the get go. Because I got some early interest. With the first year I got flown up to New York to a company that was called campus food at the time, they had a delivery company where they had partnerships with local restaurants and college students would not want to go out to get food and they would order food from this database of restaurants with menus that they had online. So they flew me out.
Justin Trosclair 14:54
It sounds vaguely familiar, doesn't it? Right?
They got bought a few times I forget what they're called now. But they're still around in some form. I feel like maybe their hardest. I want to say step up. And that's not that's not the one StubHub is where you get tickets?
Yeah, yeah. So I was in a, I got flooded out for a day. To me with the CEO and co founders of the company, it was it was kind of close this, I built this thing in my bedroom. And all of a sudden, I was at this conference room table, these real business people, I guess. And they're asking me questions about how it worked and and how I was doing and everything. And they didn't offer to buy the app so much as offered me a job working for them, which
Justin Trosclair 15:40
thought would have been really cool. Because they were in New York and New York was hopping in, it seemed like a cool place to learn more things and to really grow, but ended up turning it down because they there one stipulation was that I would write all my future code and actually convert hungry over to working in Microsoft language, ASP, which I did not want to do at all because I thought the ASP was garbage. And I still do actually, ASP has gotten better over the years. Like they got to what I got out of programming SP they moved to ASP. NET, which was a lot better, but old ASP, I just thought it would, it would have made my job not fun. Even though I was working on something I like I wouldn't have fun actually writing the code. So
Justin Trosclair 16:24
why do it? Yep. And they would have owned that. Also,
I guess at that point, I thought that it was a better idea to keep building on my own. And they being good business people. They they agreed with that. And we actually ended up working together on some things anyway, because they had an X access to a database that they were building of. I think they had 500,000 restaurants across the US at that time. And will they allowed me access to their API so that I could pull into restaurants into Hungary as they added them. So we had a cool partnership there anyway,
Justin Trosclair 16:59
you already had like menu, if you wanted Mexican food and you ate at 15 different Mexican restaurants, you could automatically see what exactly news and
yeah, I thought you had them yourself. You could just have access to this database. And that's the power of web application versus a website. Basically, because we had all the menu information in their database there
is that still hungry, hungry is definitely not active anymore. It kept kind of morphing. At one point, it turns to an iPhone app, because iPhone apps are really hot. And I thought that I could get a lot of people using it in that manner. Because with with iPhones, they had access to location. So I could say here are the restaurants that you like that are closest to you. And it allowed me to do things like whenever you decided on the restaurant that you wanted to eat, it could pull up a page where it would have all the notes that you have when you call this restaurant. And you could just tap on a link, and it would make the call for and so you can refer to the list on your phone as you're on the call. But it's sort of dwindled, after big companies like Urbanspoon and Yelp started getting a lot of traction, because they were focusing more on the restaurant side of things. So they got a lot of traffic due to people just wanting to know how good restaurants were, before they even made the decision whether they wanted to go there or not. That's something I didn't foresee coming. So hungry, still actually still exists. But it's just an app that my wife and I use. Just kind of funny because it went it was that my girlfriend at the time we built it to solve that problem. And it went to where it went. And then it's back doing the same thing, but just for us.
Justin Trosclair 18:44
So when you see something like this where I want to say you missed the boat, but we don't always see what's going on. Do you think if you would have put reviews, your site could have competed against Urbanspoon? Or do you have any, any feelings or lessons learned from that experience.
Um, I don't think that if I add a reviews, I would have been able to compete, mostly because they had a lot more money and people to throw at it. And but I also feel like adding review, reviews wouldn't have helped, because due to the nature of the websites, basically, there's was geared to work in one way. And mine would have been mine was geared to work in another way and adding reviews when it really solved the core problem, which is that mine was made to help you with restaurants you already knew. And they were more of a search engine for websites that anybody on the internet really would would might come across, because you just search for a restaurant on the internet. And hey, here's this page that tells you stuff about it. Hungry was never really doing that sort of thing.
Justin Trosclair 19:46
And we explicitly are going to be like, all right, this has 1000 reviews. It's ranked number three in a in Greek food, right? How's it going to be good? Exactly. Let's just go there.
Yep. Alright, so what else? On my website, you can actually see, if you had a Richard Felix icon, we can actually see a list of things that I worked on. And it'll tell you which companies murdered with the app and question, because I feel like that's that's kind of a funny story. It's a funny part of the story.
All along that time, I was still working a full time job writing code. So none of this stuff was really, I thought that it'd be cool to work for myself, full time one day. But I was really just kind of scratching an itch. And I knew that with programming, I could actually solve some of these problems. I was never really good at marketing. Those things, though, I always built the app or the product. And then I hope that customers would find it somehow magically. And that was part of my big problem. Yeah, I would, I would be able to get like an initial big splash with saying, hey, this new thing came out. And everybody check it out. And then things will kind of taper off after a while.
I guess scratch tree another issue that I had, I had an aside hard time side business making websites for people. And I had some friends who I knew were good developers of like the front end type things. Let me back up a little bit. So you're, so when you're making a website? Yeah, there's kind of a front end developer and they are the person that makes it basically makes the stuff that people who go to that website, see. So yeah, the images for the usability, all that stuff. And then they're the people do, the better the backend stuff. And that's basically talking to the server making sure the databases running, right, and that sort of stuff, that code that you never really see. But if it's broken, you notice because things don't work, I had a friend who had a pretty popular website called CSS tricks, it's still very popular, his name is Chris Kohler. Amazingly, even to the day, if you search for some CSS problem on the internet, see, those tricks will come up number one, or number two.
Wow, he had an audience at the time of people who would come to him to learn stuff about, like how to solve this particular problem with their website, or how to make this thing work. And
we always wanted to build something together. Because we thought I thought that it would be fun to work together to make something cool, because I was never good at making things look good. And he wasn't the best at the backend stuff. So I thought, Hey, we have a good idea. And maybe we can make it work. We we built something that never saw the light of day, it had the greatest logo, though, it was kind of just the words punch card, and kind of like a scan Tron type, punch situation. It's hard to describe it, it looked, it looked really cool. I basically was a time tracking application. Because we were both working at jobs were time tracking was a thing we were getting build. We're building our customers hourly for things, and getting built out at one rate while the company was making profit. And it was a cool way to just get started on the project. And that we thought that might have some business value, and people would want to use ended up not going anywhere, because we weren't good at marketing it. And also, we didn't really know a lot of people that are running businesses, we didn't have those connections. So it was hard to get anybody who wasn't in our little circle to use it.
Justin Trosclair 23:30
So able to replace the stopwatch, you can't we talked for nine minutes, that's going to be a 15 minute charge, it was just
great lessons. And also deal spreadsheet, I guess I'm letting you know, like billable hours per employee. And like breaking it down for the owner of the company. So we we shut that down. And then we just kept hanging out online for a while. And eventually we we decided that we had these websites and our customers will call us every now and then and say hey, my websites not working?
Can you take a look at it. And we thought that it would be a good idea to know before the customer called us so we can be proactive? And can we we lost some customers that way we the site would go down because of her be like, Oh, you're you're just terrible. This, I don't know why I trusted you. And now I'm taking my money somewhere else. And sometimes it wasn't our fault. It was like a server which or something out of our control. We started working on this app called are my sites up, which would basically just check your website every five minutes. I think maybe back when we started with 15 minutes, let you know, I email you send you a text message whenever the site went down. So that you would know and you could do something about it before turned into a big problem. And it turns out that that was a really
Justin Trosclair 24:47
hang on a second is that important because I'm looking at my like my personal website, I'm like, man, it could be down for a few days. And I just don't know, if anybody would notice. But if I'm processing, oh, I don't know a million dollars a month in product sales, that could be a big deal. Or if I have advertisers and I make 200,000 a month on, you know, clickable ads on my website, then two hours offline or a day offline and not realizing it
right could be a serious issue. That's where we didn't even really realize it. We were building it to solve our little problem with with the customers that we had. And over time, we realized that it was actually really valuable problems depends on the customer. Because Yeah, a lot of cases you have a database that if it goes down for a few hours, you lose a bunch of money. So you don't want those things to be down. So it turned out that was really successful out of the gate.
Because Chris already had an audience. And later on I realized that, because I want some things after that. And they didn't turn out that that well. And I always wondered what the difference was, why was are my sights up, doing well, and other things weren't. And that's why Chris already had people who who he had helped to learn something. So he provided value to them. And they already trust with him because they knew that he was knowledgeable about web related things. So whenever he said, hey, are my sites I was a thing that I'm working on. And I think it's pretty cool. And it'll probably help you out. People were much more inclined to check it out. And it's actually still around.
Justin Trosclair 26:27
Hmm, you will learn the basics of leveraging people who have an audience and affiliates, without even realizing the exact was actually you know, like I said,
I want things after that. And I didn't realize that was the missing piece so that they weren't as successful it. It actually took me a while to learn that lesson, even though it looking back on it was pretty obvious.
Justin Trosclair 26:49
What is just to know this, because I've studied and I've been raised people that do this. If I didn't know this stuff, I'd be like, I don't know, Richard, tell me what happened. Like, one people sign up. It's like, well, the missing link was right. Somebody else's audience. Yeah,
you didn't build trust as a as a very valuable things. Yeah. There's there's some psychological things related to providing value to people for free. And then in their brain, they kind of feel like they owe you so they're much more likely to buy from you in the future based on on just that. That's why a lot of you offer free tutorials, free guides and and all those things.
Justin Trosclair 27:26
Yeah, that's one reason.
So I guess stunning that which is my more recent, more recently successful I have the one that's been successful enough that I was able to just work on that full time is when I signed up for a payment platform called stripe, that just let me accept credit cards for our my side. So I was really early on the user we talking here. How many years ago that I signed up for stripe? You mean?
Justin Trosclair 27:54
How many years? were you working full time with four other people but also doing a little bit project before you finally got a paying gig with all my sites up? And then now with this strike?
I guess I got my first job around. It was in college because I was working at the ls your computer science department. So that's pretty easy to figure out. And then are my sites up was founded in 2009. So that was nine years after that I started making money on the internet, hungry launched in 2006. So it was it wasn't really making anything, I don't really count that as a financial success.
And then, so from 2009 Oh, yeah. But you learned a lot. And I got better programming and better at making web applications that actually stayed online, which was very helpful for our My Sites up because if you run a website that people will trust, to let them know, and their website is up, like you need that website to be up all the time. So so I had to learn how to scale servers and make sure that that if things some things fail, not everything failed, or my slides about we're always proud that if even if the website was down, sites are still being monitored, because we had web servers all over the the world really and we still do, it can shift the load to somewhere else. If if things aren't working quite right with a website.
Justin Trosclair 29:23
And there's companies that do that they'll just sell you a you want to think country server backup. You like yeah, countries across Yeah,
you know, Amazon has something called Amazon Web Services where you can have different servers in different locations, and they scale pretty easily. I've actually never used that I've, I've always been the guy who builds the servers kind of by hand. So I'm a little lower level that not literally by hand, I guess. But I'm at the terminal writing the code that actually sets the server up instead of trusting somebody else to just plug and play basically, just mostly because that's
Justin Trosclair 30:03
people like me What use Amazon s3 downloads, but someone like you actually can go in and create servers where you want them. And just Yeah,
and it's just because that's my strength. For a lot of people, it's easier to start on a web based platform and then move to some sort of web services does all the scaling for you. those are those are both very viable. And and some some days, I wish that I was on AWS just because scaling databases, and traffic gets to be kind of hairy once you get into having a ton of traffic. Right. But like I was saying, having the knowledge that I've built over learning how to scale servers that are my size up is helping now. So it's all it all kind of builds on itself.
Justin Trosclair 30:47
So what's this, what's this case?
So I signed up for stripe back in 2012. And so are my side. So we've been around since 2009. And it already had customers, the only thing that we're using to get money from customers are receiving money from customers was PayPal at the time. And we were unhappy with how PayPal was handling some things. And in particular there, they made it difficult to have subscriptions. So whenever my sites up started, we actually just had annual payment plans, where you pay $35 a year or $95 a year, depending on or $65 a year, depending on on what kind of how many websites you wanted, what kind of features you wanted, and all that sort of thing. So we write, and we because it was easier to do things once a year, then every month, because PayPal subscription code was really not good. And when we tried it, sometimes it would fail in weird ways. And we don't want to have time. We don't want to have to spend time debugging that that sort of thing. Because we're, it wasn't even a full time job for us. We're working right, eight hours a day and then coming home and kind doing this in the early hours of the morning. And we just wanted to work on the actual app and not have to worry about all the code that went into building. So when stripe came around, it was kind of a breath of fresh air. Because previously, if you wanted to have a website that took money on the internet, your options were basically use PayPal, which is a really easy thing to do. But then you have scaling issues later on or issues with recurring billing, billing people on a regular basis for some sort of subscription. Or you could stitch together a few systems like authorize net, which is a gateway, a payment gateway. But then you'd have to also sign contracts and send faxes to company that was the merchant account. That's, that's the actual bank account that holds the money, because the gateway only facilitates the transaction between the bank account in your website. So you actually have a have to have a nother contract sign to actually have somebody hold the money for you until it goes into your bank account. And it was all I remember at setting up one time and I was like, it's got to be easier than this. Like I'm spending two days sending this thing here and calling this person, why can I just sign up for like I sign up for anything else on the internet? Yeah, and why don't have to have three different applications managing all this, and three different bills and all this stuff. So when tribe came in, they were like, We will package this all into one for you. You don't have to worry about signing up for merchant account, you don't have to get another bank account or anything. You sign up for stripe, you fill out this form with all your business information. And then you can take payments, and we will handle all that other stuff for you. Also, if you're a developer, we we provide you this API, which is a it's called stands for application programming interface, where you can just write code that does all the subscription related things that you want. And in a few lines, you can actually be processing credit cards in taking money on your website without having to do a lot of crazy, staying on the phone signing contracts all this stuff. So I was like, that sounds amazing. Like, what can I sign up? I think they might have started in 2010 or 2011. But so I find out about them in 2012. And when I did, I was like, if we're going to offer monthly subscriptions on our mind size up, that sounds like a great way to do it. So let me sign up for this. When I find that first, right, though, since it was so early, I found out that they didn't have a lot of features that I thought were they they should have. Like, when a customer gets charged send the mercy. They didn't have receipts. So they were really strong in some areas, but we can others that it when a customer has a an issue with their credit card, send them an email, I thought that was the thing that you would have yet a service that was charging people money. Every month, eventually the cards going to fail. And I really had that sort of thing written for our My Sites up. So after signing up for for sure. I was like, well, we need all this stuff on day one. And it doesn't exist. So I guess I'm going to write this code so that we can have this farm is I thought because we needed otherwise we're going to lose money. So I wrote the code for my site's up, and I got it working. And we're pretty pleased with it. And then I realized that since tribe was just starting out, if I turn that code into its own product, a lot of people would have that potentially have the same problem that I did, because they'd be signing up for a stripe, because they were excited about all the things that are offered. But then realize that it did offer a few things that they needed out of the gate. And so they could sign up for stunning, which would help them with that. So basically, I just took the code from that, that solve the problem that I had with our My Sites up and I made it into its own app, that's called stunning. And basically it hooks into stripe, and it sends out notifications to customers. When payments fail gives my customers an easy way to let their customers update their billing information. So if you don't have a credit card form built, you can just use the ones that we provide and automatically linked to an emails.
And we we do a lot of other functions based on top of stripe throughout the customer lifecycle. So if a customer has a charge coming up, and they're only paying you once a year, you want to remind them before they get charged so that you don't have charged bags and had to give refunds. So it was sunny can send upcoming charge emails, however long you want before a charge occurs. You can have email sent out to customers, just gives them that that 30 day, you don't just look at your website, me your credit card statement you like who's this weird company? Oh, and it's like 200 bucks in like, what is this.
Justin Trosclair 36:52
And then you follow just got an email 15 days ago, they would have said your early,
early things because i a lot of a lot of cases that customers see a lot of things on their credit card bill, and everybody's kind of freaked out about fraud these days. So the first thing you're going to do is not contact the company or contact your credit card company instead and be like, I don't know what this is. Do a chargeback or
put a fraud alert on this or whatever. So yeah, it's it's good to communicate with your customers over time about their billing situation. And just things related to their subscription. And so stunning helps out with all of that. It started out as just an in receipts and what we call Dunning emails for stripe customers, which is basically whenever payment fails, it communicates with customers and let them get their account back in good standing by giving them an easy way to update their billing information.
Justin Trosclair 37:47
Now, Richard, this is the part that we've had this conversation before because I'm always curious, like, what's your next project is back in the day, and even today always like what's going on next. But when I think about this, I'm just like, dude, Amazon lets me know, Kohl's lets me know, hey, your credit cards out, this is out. But these are, it's because these are huge corporations. And they do it all internal, where you're talking about a doctor's perspective is going to start selling books, or coaching services. And I'm just one guy, or the next guy who has his own workout video series. And he can get recipes every month. And he's just one guy in a virtual assistant. So it's for the people that don't have brick, and it gets it could still be brick and mortar stores. But you know what I'm saying like Coles and seers, and,
yeah, sporting goods, these probably already have it internally. And for those who don't have it, you're just kind of out of luck, like you'd assumed stripe would have been sending these emails. So at least you know, hey, Bob, and 25, other people failed, and you're still giving them a service that they didn't actually pay for. And you know what to do. Since they were a developer focus, when they started out, they were mostly dealing with low level things like, instead of sitting and eating mail to the customer, they would send what's called a web hook, which is basically a computer sending a note to another computer saying, hey, this thing happened, it's important, you should probably know about it, do something about it. So they expected that mostly developers will be signing up for stripe. And then they would write the code to send their own emails. So they provided that the functionality like stripe would let you know when a payment failed or when the charges was successful. But they didn't allow the user they didn't have the user friendly sub built in. Now they do now you can basically check off the box and say send the receipt to my customers when they get charged. And they let you customize it some in some way. But since they're really not focused on since they're more focused on developers, and not really the customer facing features, with Sunday, you can still do more like you can set up an entire custom HTML email that looks exactly how you want it matches your brand. Whereas with the ones that are built into stripe, you can just like change the color and add your logo, which is good for a lot of people. So stunning just adds more on top of that, like whenever you've reached the limits of what stripe offers, and you want more. But you don't have to write the code yourself, or you can't, and you don't, you're a one person shop or a small company, and you don't want to have to hire somebody for $5,000. To write the code, you can just pay starting monthly, and use it for as long as you need and then
handle it. I know and a lot easier way. Because running allows for better, like anybody can sign up and you studying instead of having to write code
Justin Trosclair 40:32
where so before like either you would get an email from stripe or if Richard did a bunch of different websites for a bunch of different people, you would get the information that this failed. But I as the business person who you wrote made the website for Well, I wouldn't know what's going on. And you're like, What am I supposed to do with all these emails? Like, I gotta go every day. And then my 50 customers, right? their customers payments failed. Like That sounds like a headache and a half or like so that's in my accurate and thinking that would be very annoying for the developer. So you're like, No, no, it's stunning, you just pay a monthly fee. And now every every customer has access all this information plus is customizable. And you can send receipts you can get heads up, these payments are going to fail, let them know ahead of time. And you can get all this done setup.
Right, well offer something called a stripe Connect, which means that anybody who wants to offer a business on top of stripe, it can get their app set up in the stripe. And then whenever customer signs up for stunning, they can click one button, and then from then on their link between stripe and stunning. So every time something important happens in their stripe account, stunning gets a notification, and it can do whatever they want, whatever our customers want to do with that information on the back end. So I don't have to deal with it. Yeah, okay. Right, you know, all you see is the customer is, hey, here's the email templates, I set them up. And I say, when I want them to go out based on white stripes, and and then that's all you have to do. And we take care of all the the the code to keep up with stripe changes and all that stuff, things that you don't see. Because in a lot of cases, people don't want to even know that you just want customer, you, you just want to solve the problem. And you don't want to have to deal with all the things behind it.
Justin Trosclair 42:17
Yeah, cuz that's still a lot of emails, even if I have to personally go in and send them. But if I just have to set up the parameters, which I'm sure you have tutorials of, here's how you set up your parameters. And what email to send if they match. And it just does. Yeah,
we can set of parameters if you don't want. So basically stripe sends out a special web hook if charges successful, they basically send a notification that Sunday saying the charges successful for this customer, here's how much the charge was, here's a bunch of associate information for it. And then it's stunning. If you have a receipt setup, it'll automatically send that the receipt. At that point, you don't have to say something happens in stripe, that's ridiculous. Just to set up the particular or email type in subtle, we do offer us on the call conditions where they is on save you want us to get one particular Hi, you know, welcome to get another kind of email, you can kind of get your customers and say customers on this plan this to input because it was on this and get this from boy. So it does allow you get a little more advanced with that. But anybody can, it's pretty easy. Okay. So in a lot more a lot easier than actually writing the code to do that.
Justin Trosclair 43:32
So you're saying like if I had a website that I was selling something whether I was using, I guess yeah, if I was using stripe or like PayPal, somebody buys something, they might get a receipt from PayPal, but they wouldn't actually get a receipt from Justin, they automatically I would have to go back and look at PayPal, oh Bob bought it, I better send him a receipt. And then I was cinema customized receipt. And if you have a lot of sales per day, that's a whole lot of double, double look in, in in sin and a lot of emails where if you use stripe and you studying, that's a done for you. You don't have to think about it. Otherwise, they
wouldn't even get the fancy receive from you personally, definitely, I think PayPal best to not receipts that are standard. But you can make you can write code to make custom ones if you want. But yeah, by default, it's not something you can make it look the way you want. You just get these generic login a wave, you pay this cut this person and you get one saying, Hey, you got money. So if you want to take control of your brand and make things look the way you want, you want something Yeah, that lets you have more customizable things, just just kind of like signing up for something like MailChimp, set up your own templates. Hey, question, then Shopify, woo commerce. And then stripe are those artists, woo commerce and Shopify use stripe as their backbone. I'm not really sure what the company that where you set up the actual store, they've always been the company, they want to be the company that the internet payment stuff is built on top of. So they provide the okay was to basically the bank stuff. And the code that did the merchant? Is there the merchant service, but with with some cool stuff built on top of it. And it's kind of an all in one platform.
Justin Trosclair 45:08
Okay. Okay. Because I've actually personally use authorize net with a little credit card scanner on your phone. I don't do people still use that?
Other. Okay, so
Justin Trosclair 45:16
yeah, that's good to know. Yeah. So that's what I was using. And I had to use another company to finish it. But before that, when I was in Colorado, you know, I had a terminal, and just this one company, and I just, you know, they took their percentage and everything. But it wasn't on online sales. So that's what we're talking about, like you can still use, you gotta have a payment plan, a payment processing company and stripes, that company, even if you had a shopping network, like on shop, Shopify or woo commerce, you'd still have to sign up for some kind of merchant service, or PayPal,
or stripe. So some of that actually gets the answer. There's other companies out there to enjoy. And generally, a lot of the places now for these online stores, they either only use one company as the back end, which case that would be something like stripe or like Braintree or something like that. Or they allow you to bring your own, you can sign up for your own stripe account, and just bring it over and connect the two, and then you have full access to the whole back. Okay.
Justin Trosclair 46:11
So like when I have books for sale on my website, and, you know, coaching or whatever else, I mean, going into, I could just said I could just sign up for stripe, and then have some code put into the website so that it processes the payment through my website without having to use any other platform, because I'm not offering a whole bunch of services.
Right? Yeah, you can definitely do that.
Justin Trosclair 46:32
Okay, remember, my audiences is we're doctors were entrepreneurs of some sort. Some people are having their little side hustle, like what I'm talking about. And I think this is going to give them a nice overview of not just what stunning would do but also like, this is how you can go and talk to your web developer. Or if you're doing it through WordPress, how you can actually get this thing to work, because I'm pretty sure they have, what they call them, plugins, the infrastructure and all this kind of stuff to make it really easy and just use short codes that
definitely, there are a few more than a few striped plugins that lets you kind of automate a lot of the front end things are in terms of getting collecting customer payments on your WordPress blog, you just connect it to your stripe account in the same way that you connect, say Shopify or whatever. stripe gives you key points tribe gives you a key, and you put that key in the right place in the plugin, and then they're talking to each other. And you can just set up what you want.
Justin Trosclair 47:32
Okay, all right. Yes, you know, I use something called a pixel, my site for the facebook pixel and Pinterest. But you know, all those little pixels you're supposed to put yours. And that's what they did, it was just put the code in, we do the rest, you can set up how you want it to fire and different things. And I was like, I will gladly pay you, whatever it is $99 a year, because I don't know how to do any of that. And when I do try things break.
I'm not the person for this. So trying to find that one thing that somebody like me would say, I would rather pay you then deal with it a lot of her life really.
So plumber, plumber comes out when something explodes in your house on the pipe is leaking or burst or whatever. And you're like, I don't want to figure out a deal with this. I'll call somebody who's really good at this thing. Oh, and I'll pay them. And I know that it'll be solved, set up fighting with it, or thinking that you fixed it, but still worrying that it'll explode in a couple of weeks. Because you didn't do it. Right. That's sort of the same kind of thing.
Justin Trosclair 48:31
Yeah. When did you decide that you really needed a virtual assistant?
Oh, I think you're talking about my employee. Yeah, employee sorry, she, she, she runs customer support. And so she talks to people, whenever they have issues or questions, they're getting started with something and something doesn't quite make sense. or something's not working the way that I think it should, or something is broken. I guess a couple of years in as my user base grew and grew, I found that I was answering a lot of questions over and over, which, in some cases, I could automate away and say, okay, a lot of customers asking about this, this thing, here, let me simplify it, or make it work better, or just fix this problem. And then people stop asking me about it. But even after I'd done that, and I cut down the amount of people asking me those things, there were still people asking real questions that you didn't have to be a programmer to answer. So you just have to know how stunning works, because a lot of times the come in, and yeah, you don't want to read the documentation, you just want to get this thing done. And it's quicker to ask somebody who has done it already, or who knows how it works really well, or describe the problem to them. And then just have them tell you how to do it. A lot of people like to work that way. So I hired her to start handling that sort of thing. For me anything that's like something that's actually broken, gets pushed to me. But other than that, she does a great job handling all the other things. And she's she's more empathetic with customers, which is, which is good, because after a day looking at code, if I get an email about something that I is really important to a customer, but after I get like the ninth one email about that in a day, I'm just like, I don't want to deal with this. She She can have a better attitude, because it's all she has to focus on, which works out really well for the business.
Justin Trosclair 50:26
Now, have you ever had any team meetings with her Where? Okay, here's your top 10 questions, let's create an FAQ and do a walk through or some kind of tutorial videos. So maybe she can just point to the
video. Yeah, we've definitely done that. We we do it on a regular basis, figure out what people are asking about. And she she's actually empowered to do those things ourselves to. She has direct access to our HubSpot account, which is where we have our FAQs in social right things and run it by me to make sure that everything's accurate. But yeah, as we see that people are asking about the same thing. And it's not, it's something that we can actually have answered in an FAQ, then no, I will definitely go ahead and write that down. So they can look it up. But a lot of people don't want to read stuff.
Justin Trosclair 51:15
Oh, you know, one of the one of the plugins that I use, I'm not I'm not bashful in me certain questions, and sometimes it'll be like, 123, you know, just like, this is what I think, why isn't this working? And sometimes that's what they'll do. They'll just they'll send me this one link. And I'm like, that didn't answer my question. Ladies, right. So I had to contact them again of like, I tried this. And then they'll be like, Oh, you know, our site, or whatever it is, it doesn't it's not built for that. You're like, oh, okay, well, now that I know, I'll either not do it, or I will find something that will and it was very helpful. And I hope people understand. We're not just plugging stunning, like crazy right now. I hope people are seeing what's out there. And if they have these aspirations to do the side businesses, these are some of the questions that you're going to have to answer. And potentially we just answered them for you. We have frequently asked questions, what can we do about that? Should we hire somebody else? So hopefully, people are finding this educational? You know, oh, yeah,
every business kind of has the same, same problems for sure. We all have customers and they have needs, and we want to help them to be successful with whatever it's going to offer them. Another thing that she does is she said, she isn't a super technical person, she can explain things on a level that sometimes I can't because I'm, I know how it works too well. So I can't, yeah, so I'll leave out things that are important to understand. And, and she's better at, like explaining every step. And so definitely finding somebody who is empathetic, she that was the number one thing for me, she she's definitely much more empathetic than than I am usually. And I she didn't know a lot about studying or development or stripe or anything, when when I first hired her, I just knew that she would be good at talking to people and helping them out and try to she, she really honestly wants to help customers be the best or as successful as they can be. And so that's the number one thing that I would look for,
Justin Trosclair 53:28
we can get confusing when you have things like, contains blank. And then I don't even remember all the little, but you know, some of these these parameters you'd like if and then contains or equals or sub equals you like, what? I don't know what this means please, can I have a human? Tell me? This is what I want to do? How do I do it? What's different variations? Thank you. I've been written up on Dropbox, I haven't saved on three different hard drives, I will never lose this file again.
And sometimes they just want to know, hey, I said up, can you kind of look it over and verify that ate everything? Right? So yeah, a lot of people and me included, just kind of want to know that there's a human on the other side, who they can trust and who will help them out if they have problems. So a lot of times, it's just assuring because on the internet, like anybody can be anything on the internet, really. So a lot of times you want to know that this thing that you're paying money to or that you're trusting to, especially in stunning space, it's like literally send things to your customers. You want to know that they're kind people, you actually stand behind their work?
Justin Trosclair 54:34
Well, I was trying to put something as simple as customers first name on it. Yeah. heady. And it didn't work. So it just has blank blank, first blank, blank. And I was like, you said this was the code? And I was like, was this only for the body of the email? Because that's a pertinent detail, because now I can add it. Because we've all got that email you like Oh, so but I don't know correctly. I'm not buying your product. Going, comma. Yeah, I was like, Oh, no, it was like, hey, colon, colon, colon, colon. I'm like, oh, whatever. It was like, the worst. Boss. Yeah.
So and a lot of the cases, where we what we do is we try to write features that show the customer exactly what they should expect. So in settings case, just kind of like any email editor, you can type stuff in, and you can put your codes in. And then we immediately show you on the right hand side of the page, what it looks like with real data. So if your customer, if you don't actually have any information, or you use the wrong variable, for your customers first name or whatever, it'll actually just show a blank in that preview, and you can fix it then before anybody ever gets broken email.
Justin Trosclair 55:49
Oh, Charles, clarity.
Sometimes it's a little pay attention. All right, and they ask us, hey, this thing's blank here. And they expect to be blank. And we're like, we and then we have to show them exactly what the previous use for on like, how all that stuff works. But yeah, it definitely, when we did that, it definitely cut down on a lot of issues related to things like that. Because when you cut people have a lot more trust in the system, when they can see the results of the things that they're putting in before the system actually starts doing its work. you telling me I thought it was gonna work stupid testing. And they'll get really upset if they think they set it up. Right. And it doesn't work. And because I think it's her fault. And a lot of times it is because you didn't do that. You didn't make it helpful if you didn't present information right away.
Justin Trosclair 56:41
One, a lot of times it's like, it's two hashtags, you put a space between it that that don't write anything to me. You just you didn't write the code correctly. And you're like, why didn't mean to put the spaceship what you did. And so that's why I had broke, like, that's why we have a programming works. It's simple. Like that is
a very exact.
Justin Trosclair 56:57
Well, speaking of exertion, what's up? Oh, sorry about that, oh, I was
gonna say every now and then I have a day where I chased. I'm working on a problem for a long time. And I realized that it was because of an apostrophe in the one place or something, which was the last time I did that it wasn't in my code. It was in some code, some information that a customer put into the database, just due to the nature of how the code works it solid, there were three apostrophes where they thought there should be two and everything broke. It was a male.
Justin Trosclair 57:28
Oh, how long did that take defeat folks,
since the error was in my code, it took a few hours, because I was like, I don't understand. Every thing here is valid, what it was only happening for this one customer with this one thing they typed in, so nobody else is having the problem. And that that made it a lot more difficult to track down. So it's a few hours.
Justin Trosclair 57:48
Wow. And then now it's fixed for everybody from that one.
Yeah. Everybody else who has that sort of thing happened in there. In in their field with them database. It should be fixed for everyone. Yeah.
Justin Trosclair 57:59
Well, let's switch gears. You ready to switch gears a little bit? Oh, yeah, sure. home, I like to talk about.
You give speeches you've given some speeches with in Las Vegas and Philadelphia, and you're not the most. I want the spotlight. Let's go out there on stage. And I remember talking to your wife one day, and she goes, You should have seen him. He doesn't talk like this either.
You should have seen him. He was up there giving his speech. afterwards. people all around them. Like Can I get your autograph? asking these questions? It's Richard.
I just had to stand back and all my husband.
Yeah, she does have a, I don't think anybody's asked for my autograph. But
I do tend to, I guess light up in situations where I feel like I have something to offer to the conversation. And a lot of times I don't I feel like some people just like to talk to hear themselves talk. And if I feel like I don't have anything important offer, then I'll just kind of shut up and listen. Because I think a lot of people are smarter than I am. But yeah, in I've given talks base, you can geek out with these people. Yeah. Like it's it's people who have the same problems in their businesses, me. And maybe I'm a little further head of them on on our business journey. Or they're hitting me I'm like, how did you fix this thing? Like, how did you get past this problem? So yeah, in those cases, that I'm completely from person, but yeah, in general
Justin Trosclair 59:34
disco, complained it with this one, and Wham it works. And everybody's like, wow, I never thought about it.
Yeah, I think that it was
Justin Trosclair 59:44
We're not really debugging code so much. But it's more it's more like, like business. Business issues, like when you add to this sort of scale, how did you break passes plateau? So it's sounds like boring questions. But when you're like, Okay, this person here has actually done it. And they're standing in front of me, like, how can I learn from them? What would you do? That, yeah, that
Justin Trosclair 1:00:09
that's hundred customers. 200,000 customers?
Yeah, and the headaches and the challenges that's going to obviously create. And sometimes it does get technical you're like, so I've been getting all this new traffic in. Because just by the nature of, say, stunning, stripe is sending us a lot of information. And as we get customers with larger and larger customer base of their own, we have more and more traffic coming into the server from stripe. And I'm like, so when you got to this, all this technical stuff that I was doing was working at this stage. But how do you scale it to this to this stage?
Justin Trosclair 1:00:46
Because you could maybe only have 100 clients, but then you could get one client out of that hundred that has 250,000 clients, and all of a sudden you like, Oh,
yeah, this code doesn't really work anymore.
Do you think goes right? Straight some time, like,
so you have to say, you can have this code that says, hey, when stripe sends me this thing, respond to it and do this thing in real time. And that works when you have 1000 people using it. But once you have 100,000 people using it, you have to make what's called workers and have a bunch of different things that can actually perform the same task, that all work simultaneously. So you get 10 times more traffic, but it spread out among 10 times more things that can handle the traffic. That's like one robot can only do 10 a second, but now you got 10 robots. Now you can do 100. Exactly. It's, you know, hitting limitations of time and scale. So you have to start, and every app is different. So you have to scale based on the information that you're seeing, and what are the bottlenecks for your particular issue.
Justin Trosclair 1:01:50
Okay, have you ever made any video games where you could charge somebody 59? Since the give them a visor instead of a haircut?
know, talking about thinking, yeah,
Justin Trosclair 1:02:02
you can get an X or 99 cents. Oh, yeah, do
that type of stuff. I haven't done that type of stuff. I have made fun apps in the past, but never anything game related. I've always liked to play video games. But that's it's always kind of escaped me the way that they make those particular things work. It's it's a different. It's a different kind of programming, I guess is the best way to put it.
Justin Trosclair 1:02:24
Richard, you enjoy going to Comic Con, right?
Oh, yeah, definitely.
Justin Trosclair 1:02:28
While you crushing all Phoenix that's going on there.
Oh, man. Yeah, I go to Comic Con. And I guess I'm known for always senior artists in the artist alley, who are drawn the best rendition of Phoenix. Phoenix is a comic book character, who is super powerful, and her hair is kind of on fire whenever she's in her super powerful mode. I just think that it's cool to see different how different artists interpret the same source material. I think she looks cool. Because she she's like on fire. She's a symbol of a lot of power, I guess female power as well. So I think that's cool. But I really do think it's cool just to see if I have kind of a wallet Phoenix's in my office and I'm looking at them now. And so there's one where she's standing. She's flying. And there's like a little bird behind her. Because like the Phoenix is a Firebird basically. But this one where she's surrounded by aka actual dragon that's on fire. There's like a really cool Japanese artists, he did that one.
And there's one where she's standing over a barbecue pit. And the Phoenix is coming out of the flames of the BBQ pit and she has like a special in her hand. Like it's, it's, it's, it's crazy what people can do in the same source material. And I kind of like that,
Justin Trosclair 1:03:49
you know, if people haven't seen the the amount of detail that comic book artists can create, and then you throw in like computer graphics on there with it. It could blow your mind like you. I've always felt like like with tattoos. I don't really want your skull and crossbones with Dragons coming out in
the body for the rest of my life. But if it's a really quality looking tattoo, I can say man, this guy is a mate you know if a girl whatever, that's an amazing looking tattoo would never want it but you did a really good job you picked a good artists for I know what they're doing.
So a lot of things. And so always kind of had an appreciation for it. And definitely seeing how different people who are really good at their craft a person same thing that that I really like that.
Justin Trosclair 1:04:36
All right, I just want to mess with you on that one.
I mean, you are part of the
Yeah. Oh, I was just gonna say when I the Phoenix thing wasn't really, I didn't, it's not really well, I started going to Comic Con. I think the initial time I went was just because my It was the first Comic Con in New Orleans, and a bunch of people from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, we're going to be there. And I knew that my wife was really into that. And she would love meeting those people. And so we went for that. I kind of surprise her with that. And
we really enjoyed it. And then I started noticing like as I was walking around looking at everybody's art that Phoenix was the thing that everybody kind of like to do in different ways. So that that's kind of where that came from.
Justin Trosclair 1:05:20
Which by the way if you're into like anything else the gambit or Wolverine, they have those people to
Oh, yeah, she she's definitely very much into Gambit. She's always looking for Gambit and rogue together. They love trying there. There's always this this. There, they're always drawn Gambit and Rogan love in different ways. And so she's always looking for that. And Doctor Who a lot I guess they share.
Justin Trosclair 1:05:43
They share Give me a kiss. Hmm. I'm Cajun.
Yeah, that's exactly how Cajun so you would know. Cole talk about kill they? Well, Mister, mister Felix, Sir, you are a rare commodity. Perhaps you're an African American tech guy. And I'm curious, have you had any struggles with that area that you? Did you ever faced racism or discrimination, getting jobs getting hired or, you know, any of those types of things, I really think I've experienced much over struggles in that way, just because I've always, I guess in the tech community, as it's easier to get by on your merits. If you're if you're really good at something, and people know that you can actually solve the problem and get the job done. Like they need that. And so they will hire you. And so it raised becomes less of a thing. Sometimes, I feel like, and I hadn't really had a lot of full time jobs, and most of the jobs that I've gotten her been due to referrals. So I like I have I feel like the one time I actually did apply for a job with a resume. It was it was that was Silla referral. Come on, our friends was working there. And she was like, you have to meet this guy. He's really good at this stuff. And I guess the interview is kind of a formality. So yeah, I've never come in cold. And then like a please hire me. I've, I've done all this stuff. And seeing other people succeed in place with me, really. But I guess that's kind of it because I started way back when and I've been say in high school.
By the time I was in high school, when we transfer we I grew up in Lafayette, as you know, and I transferred to Baton Rouge right before my senior year of high school. And since I transferred late, they told me that computer
all the computer science classes were taken. And I'll have to start off in whatever computer literacy, where they basically teach you to do
show you the parts of a computer. And here's a floppy disk. And here's how to turn your computer on and off. As the days are like the power button was behind the computer, and you have to turn the key word the monitor off separately.
A lot of people didn't even know that. Um, but yeah, so I was in that class. And I was like, I can't be here. And the teacher realized that I knew a lot, even from that first period in class. And at the end of that period, she took me down the hall to meet
the computer scientists seizure. And after talking to him, they tested me a couple of times, and they realize that actually needed to be in computer science to advanced placement. So I skipped computer science and computer literacy and computer science to and it got put in with the juniors and seniors. Because that's the level I was and I was the youngest person that class. And so by the time I got to
my senior year, there were no more computer classes for me to take. So So I ended up getting asked to teach a class in, in my senior year. I taught like how to develop websites with flash, because flash was really hot at that point. Yeah, so I've always said was so I've always been so far ahead of people that I haven't my feels have been at such a high level that it hasn't really come into a competition. So yeah, I haven't really experienced a lot of it in like overly I'm sure I've got passed over for certain things, but it's not been in my face. It kind of Would you say that say it kind of helps them behind the computer and not meeting a lot of people face to face either. I feel like they have if I was in an office, I like I've seen it in my dad's life and everything. Or he he got passed over for promotions, even though he was better than the other people at the job. And they knew it like you want awards and stuff and other people who weren't black would get promoted ahead of him. So I'm, I'm kind of happy that I haven't dealt with that over it. Because I don't know how to deal with that situation if it actually happened to me in real life.
Justin Trosclair 1:09:47
Because you want to six brothers and you're the oldest
Yeah, yeah. So what you definitely a lot of heat fell on me for being the oldest correct?
My brothers or do something crazy. And I would get in trouble because I wasn't was.
Justin Trosclair 1:10:01
How's that my job? No.
I tried to study? Yeah. Would you say that, that if you're gonna go to a job interview, and you're in your cold? Like, you're just like, I graduated college, I want to go work for Google. I mean, Google is probably the best example because they're so diverse. But maybe they're in a smaller community. And they don't, they're like, I'm not good enough to go to Google. But I can pretty much work in a regular, you know, job. Yeah. Do they? You know, I'm saying they, but should anybody, especially if you're a minority, have maybe like a portfolio to bring with you, or really in the resume, show what you've done and really focus on on the projects that you've accomplished. That way they can look past race a little bit quicker being that what they want our skills to the,
you know, yeah, I definitely think so, I'm definitely coming in with projects that you worked on and seen through to completion, because employers definitely want to know that you can, when the going gets tough, you can actually stick with it and get the job done.
But and, and it also shows that you have initiative, you're not going to sit around and be told what to wait to be told what to do. Yeah, those are things that definitely gets you pushed to the top of the pile.
And projects, definitely where you have shown that you are using the skills that you need in that job, or that you written, even if they're not products that you can sell to someone, if it's a project where you've shown proficiency in whatever kind of programming languages they're using. That's, that's always good to
know, very good in terms of programming. There's a website called GitHub, and a lot of people use it to put their source code on is it's called get something called version control. Basically, whenever you are writing code and you make some changes, you can see the differences between the code that you just wrote in the code that was already there. So is easy to roll back small changes, or see exactly when you change, some of them may things go wrong. But what GitHub, you can actually push that code publicly, and share with other people. And people can build code based on code that you've already written. And in a lot of cases, people use their GitHub profile as their resume. You can say, oh, I've written all this code. It does this. These people on these things, you can see the history of the projects. So yeah, that that's a really good thing to have.
Justin Trosclair 1:12:32
Okay, so somebody in this field would understand what you're saying and be impressed. Okay, check.
I tried to simplify it, but I'm not sure if I did a good you
Justin Trosclair 1:12:44
know, you got it. You got it, man. Just making sure you know, there's there's certain things you don't know about. Unless you're into the field, then you're impressed with and you're like, oh, wow, I didn't know you could, you know, do all these things. Yep. We were talking about marriage. You've been married for a while now. Right?
Yep. Was 10 years,
Justin Trosclair 1:13:01
almost 10 years? What type of advice? Could you give somebody so that they can have a happy marriage? You're always wrong.
Your wife, your wife is gonna be right. Even if you think you're right, just let her be right. Your life will be easy.
Justin Trosclair 1:13:17
Um, let's see, oh, it's definitely spend time together. I, I do work a lot. I work from home. But my, my wife doesn't have a full time job anymore, either. Because she doesn't. She was having a hard time at the job that she had. And I told her we didn't, she didn't really need that stress in our life. Because we didn't really need the money. And so she could quit and find someone else whenever she needed to. So we've been spent a lot more time together and that way, because I can just walk out of my office and go hang out. But what we'll do is we travel a lot. Last year, I think we travel more than I've ever traveled on my wife and we spent like a month in California, basically, all over the place.
I think we started in Vegas, and then we went to San Francisco, and
I guess now California because with a Reno as well. And then we went to Fremont to visit the Tesla factory. We went to San Jose Cupertino, to visit some tech landmarks, like with Apple and Google and
things like that. She has she has a family in San Jose.
That's a Philly, Boston. I don't know it was it was crazy. And we got back into.
I could think it's Yeah, it's still November. We got back at the end of October. And I was like, yeah, right now we just have the holidays. And she's like, she wants to go traveling somewhere. So I think that's what, really, because normally we got to Philly every year, because I have a conference that I like to go through in May. And it didn't happen this year. And she was like, the leaves are changing. And I bet it was really cool. We should go. So we went and we really enjoyed it. So let's get to spend time. You're both foodies. Yeah, we definitely like to discover new food. She's, I'm really big on chicken and waffles and hamburgers. I mean, I like fancy stuff as well. But if you give me a good chicken and waffles that
is one of my favorite restaurants for parents and see houses. When we're in San Francisco with my brother, we we visited the place all samovar tea house. And we didn't realize it could be that good. With if it's brewed right like you think you're doing it right at home, are you just making a lot of black tea and you don't really know all the different varieties and everything. Somebody I've been trying to try to a few times before, because it will say that was really good. And I never tasted good to me. But the one that I had there, that was made properly tasted really good. And so we kind of been a tea house kick ever since we were in Houston recently, we found one there is a really small place where it's kind of a whole Zen thing happening. You can add a setup where you can actually have all the teams that are number and you can actually like go and open each individual canister and like smell the tea before you even order it. So you have a really good idea what you're getting that you can there's like a ritual where you go and it's not really a ritual, but I kind of felt like it. Were there. There are tea pots and tea mugs all over the place. And you can go and pick the one that speaks to you at that moment. Kind of Okay, it's kind of cool that the rituals that are around tea. Yes, she's really big into that and she she likes to have all sorts of
Justin Trosclair 1:16:34
I feel been to Boulder yet to the boulder tea house. Now, we've definitely not been to Colorado, I think we're going to try to get to Colorado this year. Because my brother and his wife live there. And we they live in the Denver area. So we're going to try to get out there. We'll make sure you go visit that place because it is important all the decorations in the place of imported from either Nepal or India or something like that. Keys are just phenomenal. The building itself you look at and you just transported into another country. It's nice.
Yeah, we're definitely gonna have to check that out them.
Justin Trosclair 1:17:06
How nice is it to Denver? I mean, 20 minutes if it's not snowing outside.
Oh, that's nothing.
Justin Trosclair 1:17:13
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I live two exits from Boulder. So it's really close to crazy. 30 minutes tops. Oh, and they also have celestial seasonings. Like the entire company is based out of Boulder.
So that's a cool towards you know that? Yeah. Yeah, man. She would love that.
Justin Trosclair 1:17:29
Yeah, you can go check that out. Matt, see what mass produced looks like versus a fancy like you said like fancy TVs in a great atmosphere.
loose, loose leaf. Yeah, loose
Justin Trosclair 1:17:39
leaf. They actually know, MIT room. It's completely separated. And they're like, Look, if you get migraines, go ahead and stay outside. Because you're going to get one with this MIT room. It was unbelievable. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. All right. So last couple questions. Thank you so much for your time, favorite books, podcast apps, it could be something you secretly love, and some that you just think everybody should definitely take part in. Okay.
Let's see. In terms of apps, I think my favorite app, and I've ever used is an app called paprika. It's a it's a cooking app.
It's a big, it's on iPhones, it's on Max, it's on at least Android devices. And it kind of synchronized between all of them. So I can look at a recipe on the internet. And I can say say recipe. And it actually has code that goes in and grabs the picture from the recipe, it finds out where the ingredients are in the right place in the database. It pulls out the the directions and everything. And like with one click, it's in your library. That's the feet of coding they did to to him make it do that on so many web pages on the internet. It's just crazy to me.
I have a library recipes, and they show up on my iPad in the kitchen. Because we have a nice hello we use when we're actually cooking from recipes. It's on my phone. And it's synchronized between so that when I add something like for my computer, I can then go to the store and add stuff to my grocery list, which is also in the app. And like go down the list and get the right ingredients in the right amounts because it comes straight from the recipe. I really love it because I love to cook.
Justin Trosclair 1:19:22
That's a pretty impressive software to get there.
Yeah, I just the first time I was on a website and clicks a recipe, and it did it. And I was I was just like that just knowing what as a programmer, just knowing what it takes to parse everything out of a website. And because not every website is the same like every website, the things differently. So you have to have write code that can work in so many different situations. So many different pages. And it's like magic.
Justin Trosclair 1:19:47
And one button. Click.
Yeah, it's crazy. In terms of books, I I guess
most of the books on my bookshelf these days are cookbooks. But I do like to read a lot of sci fi. Again, pleasure, I guess, which isn't really sci fi is I really liked the Hunger Games trilogy. That it wasn't that I didn't think the movies were as good as the books is that so a lot of what you hear a lot of people saying earlier, right? Yeah, the books are definitely worth reading. There. There's a movie coming up soon, I think next year. And the name of the book is escaped me. It's about
a world where everything is kind of in VR. Oh, oh, yeah, I got it. Ready. Player One just popped into my brain. That's that's a really good sci fi book. You're trying to watch any trailers for it?
Sometimes it just takes looking around the room. I swear I didn't do it. Again. I didn't look it up on the internet. Use your brain working. Yeah, Ready Player One is is really good. Like post apocalyptic world where everybody lives in VR. It's difficult to describe but it was a really is really good.
world are they the author managed to build in that book. Because it was kind of two worlds. It was like the VR world where everybody hung out and lived in competed in this crazy game. And then the post apocalyptic world where everything is kind of destroyed, which is why I guess everybody was in VR was like the matrix, hopefully.
Justin Trosclair 1:21:19
I kind of remember like, like little pods, but then they had the whole world that they lived in, but like better
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, this this wasn't like, I guess in the matrix, like the world's actually destroyed, and I don't think you could even walk around without dying. It's not that bad. Okay. But yeah, it people like living in shacks and whatnot. Oh, wow. But somehow their computer so work and everybody's on the internet
Justin Trosclair 1:21:44
priorities main priority. We don't have.
we got VR.
In terms of podcasts, I guess, I I learned a lot from people who
who interview people who have a lot of experience in particular areas. I mean, everybody likes the Tim Ferriss podcast is super popular, where he brings on World Class performers with different types in like gets to the bottom of what makes them so special, which, in a lot of cases gets you a lot of information that you would have to take years to learn. Really like that. And there's a lot of your remember, there's a podcast back in the day called the divination, divination. Okay. There's a website called Digg. com. Oh, yes. Glee people. Yeah, people opposing news. And you could vote it up or down or whatever.
And the two guys would have a weekly show every week, where they would get on video and drink some beer and talk about the top news on that website. Oh, boy, it was always pretty funny. One of the guys is now doing a new podcast called half hour happy hour, or for about 30 minutes that he and some of his friends that are on and drink stuff and talk about news and read emails from fans of the show and whatnot. It's it's fun because they they're always drinking so drunk people trying to do a podcast is always kind of funny to me. It's a it's a it's a good podcast for when you're trying a lot of podcasts. I listened to you to learn things. And there's like a podcast I listened to for one, just like doing the dishes or whatever. It's It's fun to learn about random cool stories that are happening around the world. told by drunk people. Have you
Justin Trosclair 1:23:36
noticed when you listen to podcasts, like like, you like to learn something. So some people will like the podcast on while I'm doing other things. I'm like, yeah, some of the stuff I'm doing. I really only can be exercising while I listened to this but I can't I can't be doing it productive because I'm not trying to tune out what I'm podcast listening to. This isn't the latest NBA injuries, you know,
so I have like psycho podcast where I specifically label errands, because can listen to them. Whenever I'm like driving around the car, if I miss something that's not that big a deal. But for other ones, definitely. I want to be somewhere where if I hear something interesting, I can pause it and go write down notes or something like that. Yeah. Because what's the point for now actually learning seven inches going through your brain?
Justin Trosclair 1:24:19
Yeah, I could just do audible or something on that.
I'm also there's there's one other podcasts that I've been listening to recently called dissect. I found out about it recently. Basically, they, each season they take an album, so far, it's been Kendrick Lamar, or, and Kanye West to their albums. And they go through each song. And
they they explained, like, what's the meaning the message behind the songs and some sometimes the stories behind the song. Because a lot of times, rap is so hard to understand you like you. It's easy to pick up the jokes and a lot of the wordplay. But in a lot of times, they're they're actually talking about something deeper, something that has a deeper meaning. And it's nice to have that kind of explained. It definitely is cool to actually break down the songs in here the meetings. That's really is
Justin Trosclair 1:25:17
that really is a true statement right there.
Like they're making like 3040 minute episodes on one song.
Justin Trosclair 1:25:24
But this is all speculation too, though, right?
In some cases, in a lot of cases is it's basically so far, it's been based on history. Hello, Chris is wanting to divorce for songs. He he's he's making references to things that happened in his childhood that you can actually look up.
And art he had his first one was named mad city. And there's references to that, like when he was when he was 16. And when he actually came up with it, and things like that. It's it's history that you wouldn't know, unless we were actually paying attention. That's actually
Justin Trosclair 1:25:59
pretty good. Cool. Because I think I don't want to sit around and watch a lot of behind the scene movies. Like, I don't really care, like the actors feelings on the portrayal of the character they did. But to know where people create a song, and oh, was it really, really eating a peanut butter and honey sandwiches as a kid? You know, you know, to me, like when you really like Drake has some song and they're like, there's a lot of Jamaican vibe to it. And you like, Isn't he a black Jew from Canada. And here is where he used the Hangout was where a bunch of Jamaicans migrated to in his city, and he spent time there. And that's why they have their lives. And then you're like, oh, wasn't that another layer to the popularity of this guy?
Yeah, in some cases, is it just describing what was happening in those? The artist lives at the time? Does that inform some of the things to or just how that your rubber were they or what it happens to them around the time of some of the summit, Kendrick Lamar service? biographical I want to say his first album was completely biographical. Talking about actual struggles on the street and seeing people get shot and not be able to look at some people the same. He actually has a bleep some people's names out of his song because he was literally talking about real people.
Justin Trosclair 1:27:22
Oh, which I didn't realize it all. shady, Tim was the real deal.
Yeah. Crazy. That is crazy. That one's called dissect, dissect.
Justin Trosclair 1:27:32
Okay, well, cool. Anything else? How would you like to people to contact you for more information or see what's going on with with Richard?
Well, if you're on Twitter, are Felix on Twitter are Fei x like the cat? You can definitely keep up with me there or anybody has business questions. I like to keep kind of an open door policy. Because there were a lot of people who helped me with what I thought were stupid programming or business those questions as I was coming up, and I like to pay it forward and help other people who are trying to do the same thing. So you can always email me at Richard at shifted frequency net. And I will reply to you for sure.
Justin Trosclair 1:28:14
Very good. Richard, I really appreciate your time today. sharing this the journey. And I were like we said before, I think a lot of people, they have questions they don't know how to ask, they don't know where to start. And I think you've given them a lot of resources and a lot of brainstorming through through your journey to to know that they can do it as well, and a lot of a lot of actionable steps. So I appreciate your time.
Awesome. I'm glad we were able to make this happen. And that I could help. No problem, man.
Justin Trosclair 1:28:41
Well, 2018 best year ever, right?
Yeah. Let's do it.
Justin Trosclair 1:28:48
Mr. Felix, have a good time. Thank you for being on the show. Like already said, I hope everybody was able to follow along and grasp what he was trying to say. And then you can see that everything we do, we can learn from them, mistakes, things they didn't quite work out. And of course, they finally can build into something that is hugely successful and change the way you live change life. So stay motivated, be motivated as make 2018 our best year yet travel tips. Coming up next, show notes, a doctor's perspective, net slash for nine.
I've got some new things to talk about, of course, you can always review is give us that five star review on wherever you listen, but I got four new t shirts, you know, there's chiropractors, some of them that just like to adjust. There's some like me who rehab and you know, decompression and cold laser things like that. And we call us streets versus mixers. So I created some mixed tour shirts. They're supposed to be kind of tongue in cheek Hope you like I'm also the Atlas at remove the DNS, so therefore check that out. Maybe I like that better. Today's choices tomorrow's health book, version two point O is now out. We got nerve stretches, optimal calorie counter calculators a section on fasting and a whole section on how to budget and try to get your financial life in order. All the things that I talked about all the time. It's over 100 extra pages so get it now bonus my new hot off the presses book needless acupuncture self treatment guy for 40 common conditions is finally finished. It's been in the works for quite a while stop the hurting with no needles are meds, your roadmap to self treat your conditions painlessly with needless acupuncture, it's got pictures, it has descriptions, of course the conditions and I plan to have video tutorials soon. Go to the website and check it out also on the website, but in the top right. All the social media icons are right there whichever you'd like to follow me on, click that button and say hello.
Trump tip this week is something I never used but it's called Tingo apparently it'll automatically rebook your room your hotel room at a lower rate if the price drops and then it actually refund your credit card the difference as chemical Dingo ti n g o.com. Have a great Christmas and New Year.
We just went hashtag behind the curtain and this episode has come to an end. I hope you got the right dose for your optimal life. Please spread the word about this podcast by telling to friends, share it on social media and visit the show notes on a doctor's perspective. net to see all the references from today's guest. A sincere thank you in advance. Even listening to Dr. Justin trust Claire giving you a doctor's perspective.
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