Ep. 102

Interact’s 10th Birthday with Our Co-Founders! with Team Interact

Join us for a special episode as we celebrate a decade of Interact! Our co-founders, Josh and Matt, will take us on a journey through the past, present, and future of our company. From their early visions for Interact and how they’ve shaped the company into what it is today to how they feel about Interact’s growth and their hopes for the future. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or an avid quiz-maker, this episode is packed with insights from 10 years of building a successful quiz platform. Tune in to celebrate with us and discover how our story can inspire your own journey.

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Hi guys. Welcome back to Interact’s Grow podcast, where we talk about all things marketing and help you grow your business. I’m your host, Jessmyn Solana, and with me Damaris and Jackie today is our two co-founders because it’s a very special day. It’s actually our 10 year anniversary, so everybody please welcome Josh, our CEO, and Matt, our CTO.

You guys. Welcome, welcome, welcome to the. Fourth attempt of us trying to record and Matt’s browser breaking every single recording. Yeah, leave it to the CTO to you know, break everything. Sorry about that. A little ironic. But yeah, hopefully this works. Thanks for having me. Just wanna say a quick hello.

I’m really excited to be on, I’ve seen it grow from, grow from the beginning, and I am very excited to finally join and be a guest, so thanks for having me. I’m excited. Hopefully it works. Yeah. Hopefully, hopefully we get through a full episode today. Yeah. You know, you guys have. Been in this together for 10 whole years, which is a super long time.

As it is today, what would you say has been like your most favorite memory and maybe like the most challenging one? Wow. Good question. These spaces are great. No, really good question. If you’re listening on a podcast, things, go to YouTube. Check out those faces. That long pause was several faces. Yeah.

Huh. Do you have any I, I need more time to think. Yeah, I mean this whole journey has just been ups and downs, so very, very high highs and, and low lows. And so I’ll start with the positives ’cause those are a little more fun to jump into right off the bat. So Honestly, one of my favorite, favorite memories has just been honestly, it’s just been like hiring people to join the team and like that’s really been one of like my favorite things.

Like every time we found someone to join us on this journey, it was like, oh my gosh. Like we actually have something that people wanna join and help out on. And I think for so long we felt. Kind of like alone in it early on, like in the years, and like, it was very tough. And so every time we were able to find someone to join us, it was very, very exciting and a very big, high.

Very, very, very fun. I. One other memory is just any time that Josh and I have come together and just been able to work on projects together has been extremely exciting. Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to like brainstorm a lot together. And then there’s rare occurrences where we get to come together and do like a, we call them like growth hacking projects or something, and we get to work closely again together.

And those are just always like really, really fun. It kind of brings us back to like our old college, like, like apartment, dorm life type of routine where it’s just like, oh, let’s, let’s stay up all night. We get excited. It’s like, let’s stay up all night and just like, think about this and build it and stuff like that.

And so it allows us to kind of tap into that young energy again and start like getting excited about things. And so that’s, that’s always been great. And then I’ll, I’ll save the negatives. I’ll let Josh, you can, you can stay a little. Okay. Okay. Positives, we can, we can go positives and then negatives.

Yeah. Yeah. I think mine are actually pretty similar because one of my favorite memories that is consistent over time around the team growing is he used to be really, Frustrating and tough when I would figure something out. I love the idea of like just exploring a problem to the fullest extent and finding a solution to it.

What I really don’t love is like then having to repeat that a hundred times or a thousand times or 10,000 times, and in the early years, that was the reality like. We would go and solve a problem, and then it’s like, great, now you get to do that process ag nauseum, like forever. You’re never gonna be out of this.

And it was like that for, for many years. So I think one of my favorite things now is getting to like go out, you know, meet with a bunch of people, talk to customers, explore a problem through research papers, find a solution, and then. Honestly, like is a testament to the quality of like all of you and the rest of our team.

Like almost as soon as that solution has like an inkling of existence, then it’s like, Hey, you know Jackie, or Hey Jess, or hey Damaris, like, do you wanna huddle and like chat about this idea? And then it’s like, pass it off, you guys run with it. Make it better than I ever could have. In terms of like building out the actual concept of whatever that, that inkling of an idea was.

And. I was gonna make a joke about Matt saying hopefully this works as the podcast. ’cause I’m like, that would honestly be like, if we were to write a memoir about starting this company, that would probably be the title. Like hopefully this works. Yeah. And yeah, it’s cool because now. We get to do, hopefully this works like many, many, many more times than we used to.

It used to be like, oh, let’s try this idea. You know, we can only do one at a time. Now it’s like everybody on our team is so autonomous and like so creative and problem solving in their own right, that we can be trying like 10 things at the same time. And then we all were like super analytical as a team too.

So, you know, and nobody has an ego, so it’s like, cool, my thing worked great. Let’s keep doing that. My thing didn’t work great, let’s scrap that. Right? Nobody is like, you know, tied to their ideas. It’s all about like, let’s just move forward together. So that’s, I would say, like the ongoing favorite.

Memory of just like getting to do that over and over again is like, so cool. And then, yeah, on the other side, like just the, the hacking away, that term has been so ruined but the original concept of it, Meaning that you just try a bunch of things and see what works. That’s so much fun. Like the beginning when it used to be me and Matt and Ethan, our third co-founder who still is the designer for Interact I.

We would just like go and work for two days straight in a apartment in Pasadena. Like, and I, I mean straight, like, I don’t think we slept more than like maybe an hour. We couldn’t sleep. We had too many, we were drinking too many monsters at that time. Oh God. So we weren’t able to go to sleep. Literally took like eight years off my life where you just like, drink monsters, grill steaks, eat pizza.

And then work for 48 hours straight. Yeah. So that was, that was the beginnings. But it’s so much fun ’cause you’re like, gosh, like I have this idea. I think it’s good, and then let’s just like do it. Mm-hmm. So it’s still fun to get to do that except for now it’s like, Now it’s different because it’s not such high stakes.

It’s like, then it was like, well, nothing exists and this is like kind of all or nothing. But now it’s like, well, the team is running things. The team’s continuing to innovate and any sort of like, you know, black box projects we do are all just like value add, like, you know, stuff to, to stuff to increase the, the top line and the bottom line rather than like, if we don’t do this, everything falls apart.

So, It’s nice. I don’t know why I envision like Matt with the Monster drink and just giving it to Josh, like, here, just keep drinking this thing. I imagine you guys just crushing, crushing monsters, like, oh gosh, yeah. Not wrong. Get yoked. Oh yeah, God.

Yeah, I completely agree. I do wanna touch on some negatives though, ’cause I don’t want to brush over those. Like, something that came to mind that when I was talking about the team, which was a positive, was I mentioned there can be a lot of feelings of loneliness. And honestly as a, as a founder and a lot of our listeners are, are small business owners and stuff too, so, you know, I’m sure a lot of people resonate with that feeling of like, just when things aren’t going well and you aren’t growing, which all small businesses go through periods of really great growth and excitement, and then down periods of just like what’s next?

Things aren’t growing, things are plateauing, and that can be extremely stressful. And very, very lonely when you don’t have like, like a team, a good team to lean on when you’re trying to come up with the next idea. And it can be very, very stressful. So like, I do wanna say like, I hope there’s some people out there that resonate with that because you have to go through those periods and those.

Burnout periods. Those periods where we just kept trying and trying and trying and nothing was working. And it got like, you know, almost an unhealthy amount of like, trying, trying, trying, trying. Instead of just sticking true to your core business, he gonna come values, you know, like pushing forward and having some like and having.

It just lagged for a second. I just wanna check, I just wanna check that everything’s okay. Good. You’re good. You’re back now. Okay. So you just have to go through those periods and just really push through and so those were just some of the hardest times for me. Especially on the tech side too, like.

I always had Josh to lean on, but with the pure technology stuff too, sometimes I just felt so alone, didn’t have a team, and that was really, really hard. And so yeah, that’s just some of, some of the lows that we have experienced over the years. Yeah, I I, I would totally echo that. I think that’s the hardest one for me too.

And we haven’t talked about this. A ton publicly. We talked a lot about the beginning and how hard that was. But I don’t know about you, Matt, but I actually feel like the pandemic time was harder than the beginning. Mm-hmm. Because we hit a point where, The way we were approaching engineering wasn’t yielding the results that we needed with like, kind of, we were doing some offshore stuff and kind of running it that way.

We realized that wasn’t, that wasn’t gonna work for our purposes. Like they were, teams were great, everything was great, but like it just wasn’t the right fit for what we needed to, to have happen with the company. But simultaneously there was this crazy runup in salaries for engineers which. We’ve seen the fallout of now, right?

Like there’s so many layoffs happening and you know, that didn’t work out super great paying those high prices for engineers, but we just couldn’t compete being a bootstrap company. And that went on for like close to two years where it was just like the growth is not happening. And we, we really need engineers to, to come in and, and innovate on some of the stuff that is like this backlog.

We don’t really know if or when this is gonna end. And at the same time, we’ve already been doing this for like eight years and built up a substantial business and a substantial brand like, you know, I read a lot of biographies of founders, like probably two or 300 at this point, because that’s the only way to stay calm in that, at least for me, because like I.

Amazon almost died nine years into business. You know, L V M H almost died many times. Dyson didn’t make revenue for 10 or 11 years. There’s, there’s just every company has examples of like getting, you know, a decade in. They have a whole brand. They have traction, they have tons of customers, they have loyal audience, and then it’s still.

Is really, really difficult. But I would say that that was, that was probably the hardest stretch of the company from my perspective. I think in the beginning you have like all this, you know, oh, this could happen and that could happen. And then you do it for a while and you’re like, This is really tough when like, you, you come to expect a certain growth trajectory and a certain like, you know, path that you’re on and then all of a sudden it’s not that.

Mm-hmm. And you like have to like go and rebuild a bunch of stuff. That’s super difficult. And I would imagine that like anybody listening who owns a business and has owned a business for an extended period of time, has experienced that like, And it also is, it is that lonely feeling because from the outside everybody’s like, whoa, you guys are incredible.

You did X, Y, Z, like you bootstrapped this, whatever. And you’re like, Nope, it is tough. It is tough. Yeah, that’s great. Sorry, we can add your hairs look so shocked. No, I, no, I just think it’s, they’re valid points. It’s, it’s interesting to hear it from the other end. I think it’s because we see it totally different because we are, we’ve came in later in the, in your journey and we’ve sort of, Or trying to make the, the business more successful.

So we really weren’t there in the ni and greet of like the caveats and all of these things that were happening, you know? So it’s just very interesting to hear that from a different perspective. Mm-hmm. I think there’s also this like, like as an employee of a company to an extent, like there’s less stake, right?

Like generally, if. Let’s say like Interact didn’t make it for whatever reason. Like we could hypothetically go out and apply for jobs, but you guys are entrepreneurs. You know, like what’s that next step? You’re kind of risking it all on this company that you started when you were 19. I. Yeah. Yeah. And, and once you get, you know, pretty far in, then it, it does start to feel like, yeah, there’s, there’s a lot at stake.

And there is, I mean, our skills, I would say, I don’t know if you agree with this, Matt, but I think our skills are, are transferable, but they’re also quite different. Like, I get asked a lot of questions by people who are like VC backed companies, like companies that have taken funding and I’m like, We have almost no overlap.

Like what, what we do every day as founders, which is like, you know what, what’s gonna affect the bottom line and what’s gonna move us forward, make the company more stable? How do we attract the best talent? That’s like what we spend all of our time on. Versus if you take the, the venture capital, which is like the traditional startup path, You know, 60, 70% of your time sometimes is spent fundraising and like dealing with boards and stuff, and we don’t do any of that.

So there’s hardly any overlap with like, kind of that side of the world. And then I think, I think we would both just get really frustrated in a slow moving big, big company because, you know, like I said, I think one of the things that like makes us both. Excited about working is like shipping things quickly.

Like, what’s gonna work? Let’s try this. Mm-hmm. And if it was like a nine month cycle to try one small change I think that would be, Tough. Yeah. And that’s why it’s so amazing when you find the right people to come alongside you, alongside you and join the company. Like all of you, because honestly, there’s this aspect, I, it’s like kind of like founder’s burden.

It’s like there’s a burden of, like you said, it’s kinda like a make or break thing for the founder. But I think what’s amazing about finding the right people is that you kind of can start distributing that burden amongst like everyone. So it’ll always be a little different. But at the same time, it’s like you can heavily rely on like your team members, your and, and everyone who’s working alongside you.

And when they have the same type of ownership in the company, meaning like, I feel like I, I’m a part of this company. I wanna see it grow, I wanna see it succeed, and they care about it. Then you start alleviating some of that pressure of everything on your shoulders to, well now it’s a team game. And that’s kind of, it’s kinda like the difference between kind of like a.

Singles tennis player versus kind of like being a player on a football team. And it’s like you have a whole team behind you. You’re all trying to achieve success rather than I’m just out there trying to win a championship by myself. And so that’s been really exciting. And the, over the last couple years on, on my side of the business on engineering, I’ve been able to hire two incredible engineers who have come on, and I’ve been feeling this recently of just like, Wow.

I’ve been able to really share a lot of the burden of the, you know, engineering of this company and tech of this company on some highly skilled engineers, and that’s just really made me feel so much better. And now I can really pour my energy into what I’m good at and what I can do to make the business pour forward.

And that’s like been a really exciting thing. Yeah, I totally agree with that one because I mean, I, I can think of specific examples for everyone here and For like Annie, our COO, where people that have taken things that I used to do and then run with it and made it their own, I think everybody on our team does that really well.

Like mm-hmm. They make everything their own, but we are all very aligned around wanting to help the customer, wanting to build something that’s sustainable, long lasting that makes a a positive difference as much as possible. Mm-hmm. In, in the lives of customers and in the lives of each other. And so yeah, you can just like take the things that are maybe not our, our strongest suits as founders and you know, bring somebody in that is better at that.

And I think that’s, That’s really cool. I mean, this podcast is a perfect example of it, right? Like I kicked it off, ran it for a while. Like I said, I do not enjoy the process of like doing something a lot of times. So then, you know, I meet with Jess, I’m like, Hey, you wanna do a podcast? You wanna run it? And now we’re two years later, it’s on that, it’s just hit the a hundred episode mark.

It’s growing. And you know, I, I think there’s so much potential and it’s a super unique asset. I. That interact as a company has, as a team. We have this podcast is like incredibly rare in, in the software world. And you know, same thing with like YouTube with Jackie and then Damaris taking over onboarding and AI stuff.

Like those are all things that, that I did manually and you know, kind of prove the concept a little bit. But then I. Would, they would not be where they are. If it wasn’t for each of you. Like taking it, running with it, making it your own, like it just wouldn’t be in the same place. So then that does allow me to go back and focus on like the things that I really enjoy and that I’m uniquely skilled at.

I’m rather than having to like keep all these things going at the same time. What do you guys say to the entrepreneurs that are listening that are maybe like just starting out in their business or they’re really feeling one of these slumps where they don’t have the resources to bring on a team that they can, you know, take, have, take over these certain projects?

But they’re, they’re really feeling that loneliness. Is it enough to just know that you’re not alone? Because, like Josh, you said you, you’ve read all of these co-founder stories or founder stories or like Yeah. What do you tell them? Like what would you advise yourself to do differently or what would you advise them to do?

Yeah, I mean, one thing that I’ve learned, I mean, this was us in the beginning, right? We, it was Josh and I, but we did not have a team for, for a very, very, very long time. And so something that I’ve learned along the years is don’t make work. Everything. If you pour all your meaning and all your life goal into building that business, you’re gonna fail and you’re gonna burn out, and it’s gonna be miserable.

Especially when things aren’t going well, right? So you might get, feel really good when you’re growing, but then it, you will not feel well and if your entire self-worth is in that company, not a good idea. So I think early on, I think Josh would agree with me that we both tended to kind of tie our personal like worth and our personal success into the company.

So if the company was doing well, we were doing well, if the company was not doing well, We felt terrible. And that’s not a healthy place to be in, I think. You have to find a community of people. You have to have family, friends, other things outside of work to really ground you and to help you have meaning so that you aren’t putting, risking your entire self-worth on a business.

’cause that can go up or down. So that’s one important thing. The second thing too is Just remember your why you started the company. Remember those core values? Josh and I were cracking up before earlier this week because we realized that we’ve been talking about interact, using the same exact words and the same exact language, with the same exact pitch for 10.

Years and it hasn’t changed. And that was really refreshing ’cause it was like, wow, we really have had this goal that we’ve been working towards and we kind of, we stuck to it. And so I think always having that to come back to. So you aren’t panicking in those times when things aren’t going well and you’re trying to grow and stuff like that.

Is really important, tap into why you started it. And Josh and I have bounced off each other to really ground each other in that like, why did we start this? What do we want to do? What are the objectives here? And we’ve always had to come back to that when things are tough because it really helps center you and guides you and real realize your priorities.

So those are a couple of tips. I totally agree with the first one. Like it can’t be everything. And I would add that I don’t think the goal is for it to become nothing either because mm-hmm. You know, I still, I. Do feel the effects of like, oh, we’re doing really well or we’re not doing really well, or, you know, whatever metric I’m looking at, right.

It’s still has an effect, but I think it’s like a sliding scale. Like is it a hundred percent? Is it 50%? Is it 30% of how you feel? And I think there’s a manageable. You know, rate in there where it’s like, it’s, it’s some percentage of how you feel, that’s fine. But what’s the other, you know, 50, 70% of your life, you know?

And for a long time, like I, I hadn’t built those things up, hadn’t prioritized them. ’cause that’s kind of the, the I don’t know, the. The dramatized, lauded version of it, of like the entrepreneur that just is like a savant who works 14 hours a day and has these epiphanies in the late night after they’ve been, you know, working all day long.

And it’s like, that’s, that’s a bunch of crap. Like, I think it’s ridiculous. And, you know, someone was asking me this the other day at a dinner. They were like, how? How do you stay like calm with all of this? And I was like, well, like wake up. I meditate twice a day. I exercise every day, go on walks every day.

I read these founder books every day. I talk to friends every day. I spend time with my fiance every day. Like all of these things are in my day. And they’re very, very, very consistent. Like I. They’re a priority over the work. Like I’d rather not do the work and continue doing those things because I know if you just keep on doing the work and doing the work and doing the work, you won’t have the longevity and the real rewards I think start to calm after you like break through, you know, years 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12.

Like when you get to that point where like you’re becoming like a master of the craft. Yeah, I think you can only do that. You can only do that if you have like all those other things in place, the family and the friends and all that, right? Like it’s, it’s, it’s not gonna happen if you just try to like lone wolf it for mm-hmm.

Forever. So I would say that’s the hardest thing about it, especially in the beginning. You feel like, you feel like it’s attainable if I just push. For X amount of time. Mm-hmm. And I would just say the one thing that I would say after doing it for 10 years is that is not true. It’s like, oh, not true.

Mm-hmm. There is no amount of time that you can push to which you will fix all the problems, because guess what? As soon as you fix a problem, you’ll realize there’s a bigger problem. Mm-hmm. And if you’re in the habit of just trying to push through until you fix all the problems, you will never stop and then you’ll burn out.

And I did, I, I definitely burnt out like for a couple years. After, after maybe five years I just like was so, so tired and depleted. And now I’ve kind of like reemerged, but with all these other things in place, and I think that’s the only way to do it. Mm-hmm. Do you think that that discovery was made, like, Sort of in conjunction with like how old you were, where you were in your life, because I mean, nineteen’s really young, you know, like, yeah.

Like, I guess, like my question is, being so young, how did you come up with like the conclusion you wanted to, to keep continuing this company, but also like, do you think that that came up because of where you were in your life? Yeah, that’s a really good question. And I think like the way I think about it is back when we were in college, when we were 19, it was kind of like, eh, we’re in college.

We’re young, we have nothing to lose. I. Let’s keep going. And then I saw other people start getting jobs, like full-time offers from companies straight outta college. It started going off and doing their thing, and it was still like, well, we’re still having fun. Like let’s just keep going. And then it was kind of like this naive approach of just like, man, we’re young.

Let’s just keep going. We’re young, let’s just keep going. And so, A lot of it in the beginning for me, it took years for me to realize like, oh, we are running an actual business that is like legit. And it didn’t hit me until like a few years ago when we had, like, I looked around we were at one of our company offsites that we do, and I just looked around and I saw all the people there.

And I think we had like 8, 8, 9 people. And it just hit me. And I was just like, oh, this is a real business. This is a real team. And it’s funny to say that ’cause it’s like, well, it’s like Matt, you had like years to realize that and like you were growing and adding team members and it’s like, yeah. But for some reason I think I’ve always had this more naive approach at that thought from when I was 19 of, Hey, why don’t we just keep going?

Like, we’re young. Let’s keep going. And I hadn’t really lost that, which. It is both a good and bad thing. I think it’s a good thing because it, it, it just kept me positive about what’s next and kind of gave me this like, positive energy of, Hey, what do we have to lose? Let’s just keep going. It was also a bad thing because I think I.

It, it was always kind of, I thought of it almost like a, almost like a hobby. You would think of a hobby kinda like, Hey, why not? What, what’s the big, what’s the big deal? I didn’t think of it as like a real job. I didn’t, I didn’t really know how to tell people what I was doing or working on because it just always felt like this small class project Josh and I were working on, and that I, I kept that going.

What that ended up leading to was a lot of like imposter syndrome and like not thinking that I was a real c t o and that, oh, this is just something we started in college. What’s the big deal? And then like I said about a couple years ago, it kind of hit me and I was like, oh wait, this is like a real business.

This is awesome. Like we have a team. And I, and it kind of started being like, Oh, I’m very proud of this. I’m proud of what we’ve all done together. I’m proud of everything that we’ve accomplished and. I am able to do this job and I am good at the things that I’m good at, and I can find people to do the things I’m not good at.

And so I started getting a little healthier. Now who’s to say that didn’t come with maturity of just aging and now I’m 31? And maybe that just came a natural progression. ’cause at the same time, we’re growing a business, we’re also growing up and adding years. And so you do gain a level of maturity. But with those two happening, that was kind of, that was kind of my journey and my experience.

I love that. Yeah. I, I would, I would say it’s kind of everything, right? Like it’s, it’s the aging. I started meeting with a coach pretty early on, like when I was 20 maybe. And you know, his name’s Mark. He is like part of our team now. Basically shout out to Mark. That was crucial, like having a, a seasoned voice to meet with.

Mm-hmm. I think the most crucial thing about that, like, and I know there’s a lot of coaches listening. I think the thing that really helped me with that was like, he never pushed me to, to change or to stop being so obsessed with, like, growing the company or like caring so much about how the company was, you just kind of sat and listened for.

Three or four years. And that’s, that’s really powerful I think when somebody can just like listen and then eventually you hear yourself talking and you’re like, why do I care so much about this? I don’t know if that’s a function of age or just like hearing yourself say the same thing for three years in a row.

You’re like, okay, maybe I don’t wanna do this anymore. Like maybe I wanna see this differently. Something that Matt said made me realize something that I’ve thought about a lot, which is especially when you like bootstrap a company the way that we have, there’s so many people telling you that like, you’re not doing well.

Like, we’ve always gotten this where people are like, oh, that’s cute what you guys are doing. I don’t laugh, but it’s like, it’s, it’s very demeaning, especially mm-hmm. From the funded world. But having some insights and like hearing about the, you know, the size, like the actual revenue and customer numbers of some like heavily funded companies.

I’m like, we’re bigger than that. Like they get the headlines and they get the X amount of millions in funding, but like our company actually is bigger than that as an actual company. I think that’s, You know, parallels about what Matt was saying, where it’s like, oh, we, we have really made something that’s substantial and meaningful.

Even though like those voices continue to this day, like people are gonna continually, you know, cut us down and, and belittle what we’re doing. Because it’s, it’s not, it’s not traditional. It’s not like the normal path. And so you get a lot of, you get a lot of Hate, I guess is a strong word, but like you do get haters for sure.

Hmm. And to touch on your previous question, Jess, here’s tip alert. Mm-hmm. For all your entrepreneurs out there, tip alert. Yeah. Drum ball, I would say yeah. Having a mentor like Josh was just talking about like, or a coach or someone you can just talk to has, is extremely helpful. And, and that really gives you someone to lean on if you’re alone in this entrepreneur founder’s journey.

And then a second thing would be also that just hit me, is also find a co-founder too. That’s always an option. Like I feel like, I don’t know, Josh, you probably know more about the stats of like how many companies make it when it’s just a solo founder versus a co-founder. I don’t really know, but I would say that Having someone to go through the journey with you, even if you’re in the early stages is something you can definitely do.

It’s an option. And to find a like-minded person to go through it with you to have them to lean on is, is really, really good. A story that hit me while you were talking, Josh, is. Another podcast exclusive. I don’t think we’ve ever talked about this publicly. But like ear early on, like it, we, there was a point where I didn’t really know if I wanted to be a founder and want those responsibilities, and that was hard for me.

And so I, I. Wanted to have someone come in and just take my, you know, take that founder rollover. And I just wanted Josh to be a solo founder and I just wanted to sit back and be a normal engineer. I didn’t want, I didn’t want the responsibilities. It scared me. I didn’t wanna do it. And what we quickly found like very quickly and was that that doesn’t work.

Like being a solo founder is very, very difficult. And there’s like another level of loneliness that we were just talking about and, and, and things that come along with that. And so pretty quickly, I. I saw that and then wanted to jump back in, and I wanted to jump back in. It was only gonna work if me and Josh were founders sharing that responsibility.

Coming together as one. And I think like that’s been extremely powerful too. And so I can only imagine there’s people out there that could also benefit from having someone go through the journey. There’s been times where he’s been doing really well and picks me up and there’s been times when I’ve been doing well really well and I pick him up.

And so to have that shared responsibility there is like beautiful, it’s a beautiful thing. I love that. And can I just add that you guys add that for the entire team too? Mm-hmm. Like you were talking about your business coach Mark. I’ve never met another company, or I don’t have a friend who works for a company that’s offered a coach within the role.

And I remember when I even first heard about Mark, I asked Jess, I’m like, do you work with him? Am I gonna benefit from this? What are we gonna talk about? And she was like, oh, yes. I’ve grown a ton from, from just. Being able to sit and chat with him. And you do, you learn so much. And so I, I get that like being a co-founder is on another level, but in terms of our entire team, you’re also empowering us with just as much like work-life balance, autonomy and, and compassion about what we do.

And I think that also contributes to why we’re so successful. And when I say success, I just mean like the group of people that we have. Mm-hmm. Working on all of the projects because you guys really empower us to be. As perfect as you both are. Yeah. Shout out Mark.


Well, and I wanna add, I wanna add something interesting that I just thought of right now because in the process of interviewing people for interact, I think that I quickly realized, like I’ve become very protective of I need. Our, our culture and our company values to really shine through this candidate.

And I think that like when, when you are looking for talent, I can sort of understand like, it, it reminded me when you guys touched, when we started this conversation of how important those values are. And you can sort of almost feel that it’s like a vibe check, right? It’s like vibe, are you vibing with the company cultures and, and what this company stands for.

And I think that that is 100% A big, big, big part of interacts culture, and I think that’s 100% very important, like company value or, or I don’t know how else you would say it. That has helped sort of interact, be where it’s at today, and I think it’s, mm-hmm. It’s so interesting to hearing you guys saying that because even when I’m like chatting to people, I’m like, but.

There’s one little thing I’m looking for, you know, there’s just like one little thing, you know, and it’s, it’s so interesting that we all have it, but we didn’t know. We didn’t know we had it, I guess, you know, until we started working here, so, yeah. Yeah. It’s amazing. One big difference between now 10 years from when we started is like having that solidified vision and culture for the business.

And I remember a a point probably. Six or seven years in Josh where we got tasked to actually sit down and try to come up with our company vision and values that we wanted to. And if, you know, one thing about me and Josh is to get us to actually sit down and complete a task in a like session of time is very difficult.

Like we are more kind of free flowing thinkers. So to put a process around something is a little difficult for us. So it took us weeks and it was only supposed to take us like a session, but over actually probably months, I think it took us it, it, that was very helpful. And so to really sit down and think about what are the values we want in the team, what are the values we want in the business?

And really write them down so that we always have that to come back to. And it’s evolved a little bit over time as we’ve added people and we’ve learned things. But that was extremely helpful. So founders out there. Again, another tip. Spend the time actually doing that. Even, it might feel a little silly if you’re just like one person or two people or whatever, like, ’cause I know it did for me at the time, but to actually go through and do that was such a helpful exercise and always gives you something to point back to when you’re hiring, for example, or when you’re making business decisions.

It’s very, very, very helpful. And yeah, I’d never realized in the beginning how important interpersonal like relationships are on a team and how to deal with those. And that was new, you know, not only was this Josh and i’s like pretty much first job, it was like the first time working with a team of people and like, now we’re leading it, so how does that work?

And so that was a big surprise for me. And then the culture thing, like you were point touching to, was also a, a big, big surprise. That we’ve learned. Yeah. And our, our team is, is so. Good about this, right? Like each of the examples that, that have come up, like, you know, whether it’s one of you guys hiring somebody or you know, representing us or writing a, a messaging for a conference or whatever it is, right?

Like, there’s this quote that I really like. You, you wanna become a clock maker, not a time teller. If you’re founding a company and. You know, I think to add onto that, right, like I think everybody on our team is continually elevating themselves because they want to like, and I think it’s a testament to like, The people that are on the team, everybody wants to just keep getting better at whatever their craft is.

And so then as a whole, we just keep getting better and it’s not like, oh, you know, the founders or the leadership have to like figure something out and then, you know, disseminate that down to the right teams and then, you know, it just gets repeated over and over again. It’s like, Everybody on their own teams in their own role is like figuring stuff out and solving problems and moving the ball forward.

And then the whole entity moves forward together. And I think this, it is a good. Point Jackie, and as you’re saying, talking about like working with Mark, I think something that, you know, Matt and I, we have to work on our co-founder partnership. Like it’s, you have to work on it. Right. And I think that it’s not just like a natural thing and, and.

And we do that and it’s developed over time. I think where I’ve seen co-founders not work out is when they don’t do that, like, or their values are not in alignment or they just have different goals or whatever. So I mean, it’s, it’s definitely like something you have to work at. But it’s also tremendously rewarding because like there’s stuff that.

We can talk about that really only like we experience as, as the founders in terms of like the stresses and fears that come up and stuff like that. And that’s like, I. Invaluable. And like we’re also just good friends, even though, you know, we sometimes act like there’s a feud, but there’s not. Yeah, I mean, I think you guys have done like a great job though, like figuring it out as the years have gone by, like.

That’s super important. Yeah. And it is just like a developing thing, you know? Mm-hmm. And it changes over time too. Like any, any relationship. It’s like, you know, in the beginning such us we’re hacking away at stuff, and now it’s like more about the team and who are we gonna bring in and who’s gonna add, because at this point, right, like just focusing on, on our individual contribu contributions is a bad idea.

We will, we will slow down if we try to make it all about ourselves now, whereas in the beginning, like it is all about you. Like there’s nothing there, there is no team. So it’s, you really have to like, continue to work at it. It doesn’t just happen. Hmm. Love it. Sorry, my dog tried to make an appearance, so I had to mute for a little bit.

I saw her all good. It’s, it’s her lunchtime, so she’s like, why is this running longer than it usually does? So I’m gonna ask this question one more time and hopefully Matt’s browser doesn’t break. I hope so. In the last 10 years has interact, become what you thought it would be? I’ll answer with the same answer that I had three times before that process.

It’s okay. Three times for us, the first time for everyone listening. Yeah. So maybe I can, I can keep it concise this time. So we, we, we’ll meet up, sometimes me and Matt do like founder hangouts. Our, our whole team is, is remote, as I’m sure you know, if you listen to the podcast. But we’re all remote and so we meet up sometimes just to hang out and catch up, talk about life and talk about business stuff too.

And we were in Paso Robo saying like the central coast of California going to wineries, just hanging out and chatting. And we were talking about how we’re really different as people, like our personalities are like, Opposites. Whenever, whenever we do like strengths finders and stuff with Mark, it’s just like, like all the opposites.

Like you have these ones and you have these ones and there’s no overlap. It was really hilarious. But one of the things that we do have in common is just sticking with it. When we choose, we’re gonna do something. We’re just like, we’re gonna do this thing and we’re gonna stick with it and see where it goes.

I would say, I don’t know if this is true for you, Matt, but I, I think I, I enjoy it. Like, I enjoy the process of like the middle, like the, it’s not like the quick wins and the up into the right, it’s like it’s the middle where you’re like making slow progress and gradually improving at something is really enjoyable.

And I think we both have that. And so in terms of the company that we’ve built, I think everybody on the team is, is really skilled at that as well. Or maybe it’s innate. I don’t know what it actually is. It’s, it’s just like I see this problem, it’s a very complex problem, and I’m gonna go in and I’m gonna work at it every day and slowly chip away.

And the goal is not to solve the problem and make it go away forever. The goal is just to get better at solving the problem. Our team is really, really, really great at that. And we all do it together and we all help each other in that, and we’re all like together in that. So you have like support when, like Matt said, you know, one of us gets tired, the other one’s like, Hey, let me jump in and like handle that for you for a week.

You go take a vacation or whatever. Right. I think that’s the organization we built. So in terms of like, I don’t know. I don’t know what we set out to build. We didn’t know we were young, but I, I, I think it really reflects about like what matters to us as people. I. Yeah. Yeah, 100%. And for me, I think to answer that question, I first have to answer like, well, what is interact like?

Are we talking about the team? Is it the product? Like is it the goal for the future? Like what is it? But all of those things have changed tremendously over the years. And so in the beginning, if you had asked me like, what is interact gonna be? I’m like, oh, it’s a lead gen quiz platform. And then there was a point where I thought it was gonna be like an all-in-one like marketing suite with all these different apps that you could add and stuff like that.

Which is not what we are today. And so then that changed. And then I thought we were gonna like leave quizzes all together and do like more like other marketing tools and stuff like that. And so that changed tremendously. Like interact, the product that changed a lot. Interact, kind of, the team has also changed, but I think.

We are today. What Josh and I always wanted, we wanted a team, and I’m sure the listeners by now are like, all right, they must really hate their team because they keep bringing it. But but truly it’s like we, when we talked about what is the vision for interact, what do we want to become? From the beginning it was like, we wanna find people and build a team around the idea of building something cool.

And it started off as cool, just cool, like building something cool and then it kind of turned into well building something cool that also helps other businesses. ’cause we started learning. Wow, we’re a small business. It’s hard to grow a business. How can we fulfill a need for all these other businesses and how can we market to them and help them out?

So then that kind of became it. And so as the vision changed, the only thing that stayed the same was that team. We wanna find people who rally and care about this almost as much as we do to the point where we all want to build something cool. I. And that’s what it all comes back to. And that was our initial thing, building something cool.

So although that’s something cool will change and evolve as we grow, I think finding those people is really what we wanna do. You guys, thank you so much for hopping on with us. Hopefully we get you on more episodes to talk a little bit more about interact and like your vision, what you guys think.

For those of you who are listening, would love to hear if you guys have any questions for our co-founders that we could answer for you guys. And we’ll see you guys next time. Thanks guys. Bye. Bye everyone.

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Jessmyn Solana

Jessmyn Solana is the Partner Program Manager of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. Outside of Interact Jessmyn loves binge watching thriller and sci-fi shows, cuddling with her fluffy dog, and traveling to places she's never been before.