Welcome to the Join Up Dots business coaching podcast interview with Ajay Goel
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Introducing Ajay Goel
My guest today, on the Steve Jobs inspired Join Up Dots free podcast interview is a man who is the classic side hustle entrepreneur, that grew his work into something life changing for him.
He started Wordzen. which is a chrome extension and allows busy entrepreneurs to talk into a microphone and have their emails changed into error free, grammatically correct messages.
Not as you would think buy some transcription bot, but by actual people who listen and bring the human element into the approach
As he says “Reduce the time you spend on email by 90%. Have emails professionally written while you’re lying on your couch, playing with your kids, or walking in the park. Its not transcription, we don’t just type the words you dictate. We listen to what you’re saying, and then write a professional email to match your intent, tone, and the context of the email thread.”
How The Dots Joined Up For Ajay
So it actually started as a side project, but now 3 years later, it brings in $1 million in recurring revenue.
Which lead him, to develop what would become GMass!
This was born out of the frustration.
While recruiting writers for his other Gmail product, Wordzen, he was disheartened by how difficult it was to communicate with all of his writer prospects at once.
He simply needed to inform the five candidates that the position was of the 1099 and not W2 variety, but to his dismay, he had to find each conversation with each editor, hit Reply, and type a personalized message.
Boom another business was born
So is it as simple as find a frustration and then bring it to market? Or does it take a lot more to build a business that works?
And where does he see most side hustle going wrong.
Staying in the development phase or something else?
Well let’s find out as we bring onto the show to start joining up dots with the one and only AJ Goel
During the show we discussed such weighty topics with Ajay Goel such as:
Ajay Goel shares how he forced himself to learn as much of the process of chrome development as possible for three key reasons, which perhaps has held him back a little.
Why he loves the Buddhist expression “The meaning of your life is whatever you are doing right now”
We talk about how difficult it is to keep up to date with the latest developments in software and why this shouldn’t frighten anyone tacking a new software role.
Ajay reveals how amazing it is to see every generation have the same fear that technology is going to end everything good as they know it. A fear that is proved wrong time and time again.
How To Connect With Ajay Goel
Or if you prefer just pop over to our podcast archive for thousands of amazing episodes to choose from.
Audio Transcription Of Ajay Goel Interview
When we’re young, we have an amazing positive outlook about how great life is going to be. But somewhere along the line we forget to dream and end up settling join up dots features amazing people who refuse to give up and chose to go after their dreams. This is your blueprint for greatness. So here’s your host live from the back of his garden in the UK David Ralph
David Ralph [0:26]
Good morning to you and welcome to another episode of the join up dots podcast. Yes, it’s going to be a rocking and rolling one, I have God, I haven’t interviewed anyone for about a month now. So I don’t know if I can still do it. But maybe maybe I’ll be able to find my way through because today’s guest is a professional. He’s one of these guys that can just ease you through life. I’ve got that feeling that big clusters him or maybe just very good at covering it. But one thing for sure is he is a classic side hustle entrepreneur that grew his work into something life changing for him. He started words sandwich is a Chrome extension and allows busy entrepreneurs to talk into a microphone and have their emails changed into f3 grammatically correct messages. Now, not as you would think by some transcript bought little Terminator that sits behind, but by actual people who listen and bring the human element into the approach. As he says reduce the time you spend on email by 90% of emails professionally written while you’re lying on your couch playing with your kids or walking in the park. It’s not transcription, we don’t just type the words you dictate, we listen to what you’re saying. And then write a professional email to match your intent, tone and the context of the email thread. So it actually started as a side project. But now three years later, it brings in about a million in recurring revenue, which is brilliant, which led him to develop what became g mass. This was born out of frustration, while recruiting writers resolve a gmail product was and we’ve spoken about, he was disheartened by how difficult it was to communicate with all of these writer prospects at once. He said we needed to inform the five candidates that the position was at the 1099 and not w two variety. But to his dismay, he had to find each conversation with each editor hit reply, and type a personalized message, boom, boom, and now the business was born. So is it as simple as finding a frustration and then bring it to market to solve it? Or does it take a lot more to build a business that works? And where does he see most side hustle going wrong? Staying in the development phase, or simply something else? Well, let’s find out as we bring on to the show, to start join up dots with the one and only Mr. AJ girl.
Ajay Goel [2:37]
AJ, how are you, sir? Hey David. All right, that was quite the introduction. Thank you,
David Ralph [2:44]
you have got one of these things. But when I first saw it, and I’m going to get straight to the chase of his words, and I thought to myself, this is brilliant. This is what everyone needs. And then I thought to myself, Is it safe? people listening? What happens? If I want to send a sexy messages to people? Will your guys pick up on urban? and translate that? Can I got any control on this?
Ajay Goel [3:07]
Well, we have written romantic sexy messages for our users before, especially in the context of online dating. Most of our users are not using the service in that manner, but are using it in a professional business manner where its sales people contacting prospective clients or company owners reaching out to company partners. But people do use it from a personal need. And we have been successful in helping them. And our editors have a unique ability to get inside the user’s mind to replicate their voice. But do it in a way that they sound.
Is their best version of themselves.
David Ralph [4:05]
Did you think they’d be able to get into my mind, AJ? Because I don’t even know what’s going on in my mind at the time?
Ajay Goel [4:11]
Well, you’re a tricky one. We have we have rare exception cases. And you might fall into that category based on the little that I know about you so far, David Yes. I think I probably would.
David Ralph [4:23]
Now, right? So let’s talk about worsen. And there’s so much I want to talk about today. So I’m getting straight into it. Is this something that was an obvious business, because Chrome extensions, there’s hundreds of them, there’s probably thousands of them. And I find the majority of them seem very great for the first five minutes. And then I think to myself, Oh, they’re too fussy. They’re too busy. They’re too bad. And I thought about them, I get rid of them. This one seems that it’s going to be a runner is going to be something that will stay with me, I’m going to enjoy this. Was it like that straight off the bat? Or was it one of these things that has become more simplified and more user friendly as you proceeded through?
Ajay Goel [5:03]
I like to think it’s the latter, obviously, because I’m the owner of the company. And I want people to have a good impression of it. But there’s a big difference between the Chrome extension that we wrote, and what most Chrome extensions are. Most Chrome extensions are a side project to a bigger business. So most Chrome extensions are some guy who works for a bigger company who’s written an extension that works alongside a larger product. So for example, there’s a Dropbox Chrome extension. But the Chrome extension isn’t the main way that Dropbox is used. There’s a slack Chrome extension. But the slack Chrome extension isn’t the main way slack is used with the words and Chrome extension. The Chrome extension is the main product, there is no other application that the Chrome extension is on the side of it is the main software product. And so because 100% of our attention is on that aspect of the service, it works well. It’s clean. It’s not clunky, it doesn’t make your Gmail interface all screwy and weird. It just, it enhances it. It’s like a little, like a little, little morsel of pleasure in your Gmail experience.
David Ralph [6:28]
Oh, I love that sound about a morsel of pleasure? Yeah. Could you
Ajay Goel [6:35]
came up with that on the fly here? You know, I’m
David Ralph [6:39]
your whole branding come to us for more sort of pleasure. I think that would work perfectly. Because I downloaded one recently was a gmail thing. I think it was called assaulted. And it sounded quite good, first of all, and it would all come and it drove me mental. It was too fancy. There was
Ajay Goel [6:55]
barely that there was actually one of the more popular Gmail extensions. I haven’t used it myself. But I’m surprised to hear you say you don’t like it, because there actually are lots of people that do like that particular one.
David Ralph [7:10]
Yeah, I’m a simple man, I like an inbox. I like to put a star on things that I want to respond to, and then delete the rest, you know, just just sort of moved through. So when you when you build something like this, because I know there’s going to be a lot of listeners out there, AJ, that are into programming into coding? Did I actually have to learn Google Code? Or is it a sort of HTML? Or what what kind of code is, is it a standard thing that people can use?
Ajay Goel [7:38]
David Ralph [8:52]
Now, most people out there won’t have all those skills. So is it just teams that build these things? They do individual the sole opinion of the entrepreneur laying in his underpants on the bed with his laptop? He’s not going to be able to do this or maybe is?
Ajay Goel [9:09]
Generally Yes, I think the general approach is to build a team where you have an expert in those various disciplines that I mentioned, I happen to be a cheap ass. And I like to do as much stuff myself as I can, because I hate spending money. So I’ve forced myself to learn as much of that my self. So that one, I’m in control, and I can make changes whenever I want without having to reach out to somebody, and to so that my expenses are as lean and minimal as possible. And three, I’ve always had this fear, and this this is, this is something that has probably limited my my growth and my success throughout my career. But I’ve always had this fear that if I have a bunch of programmers and designers who build the software that I want to build, that if one of them leaves or if one of them gets hit by a bus and stuff isn’t properly documented, that then I’m in this bind, that would be really difficult to get out of. And so my my defense mechanism against that has been to handle all of the software aspect of the business on my own. And that’s I’m almost 100% positive, that’s a defeatist attitude, or, or an attitude that isn’t going to serve my best interests in the long term. But it’s just, I guess it’s a it’s a quirk of mine. I agree.
David Ralph [10:58]
Yeah, I agree with that. Totally, I think, from the City of London, when if I used to manage teams, which I did, I used to like to know every part of the process. And mine was not a fair that somebody got hit by a bus. Because to be honest, I don’t know anyone who’s ever been hit by a bus, do you? We all say that. But no one ever gets hit by a bus
Ajay Goel [11:18]
tonight. It’s funny, you mentioned that, especially being in London, because I I was in London when I almost got hit by a bus about two years ago.
David Ralph [11:33]
Okay, so you almost that’s not stealing is it is like no one is falling over on a banana skin ever. But we talk about that all the time. But yeah, I like the process. I love to know, the ins and outs. So but I know if somebody is ripping me off, basically, I like to know if somebody says it’s going to take this long, I can say no, it’s not, it’s going to take this long. And I think feedback as well.
Ajay Goel [11:56]
That’s so interesting. I know, so many, I have a lot of entrepreneur friends who are not technical people. And these days, almost every entrepreneur has some software component to their business. So because they’re not technical people, they have to find someone who is either a co founder who’s a software developer, or they have to hire a team of software developers, or they have to hire a company to build their software for them. And I hear this complaint so much that they have no insight into whether they’re being taken for a ride or not. Because the entrepreneur, the non technical entrepreneur has no way to gauge whether their software development team is doing a good job for the right price. In every other discipline of business, the entrepreneur can get somewhat of a sense, right? Like you can get somewhat of a sense if your marketing guy is producing for what you’re paying. And you can get somewhat of a sense, if you’re, if you’re bookkeeper is producing for what you’re paying them. But with technology, it’s it’s, it’s a lot more difficult for a non technologists to do that, I almost think there’s a business idea there, there’s like, there’s a business idea of being like, like a big brother to whoever your technology team is to ensure that they’re taking the right approach for your business. I’ve been asked a lot by my entrepreneur friends to be that big brother, for them to watch over their tech guys,
David Ralph [13:34]
what you need, you need like a recording software with a clock on it, that you can sort of whizz through and see how much work they’re doing. And it just sort of leaves markers at certain points. So if you look at it, and you wish for him for like, an hour and a half, I haven’t done anything at all, when you know that something’s going wrong. like they’ve got to be on the game all the time.
Ajay Goel [13:55]
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I’m sure I’m sure that software exists. I
David Ralph [14:00]
just created something I thought you were gonna say. Brilliant idea. And we work out 5050 on this one. You think he’s out there already?
Ajay Goel [14:10]
Maybe I’m not as good of an entrepreneur as I thought. So yeah, I’m turning down brilliant billion dollar unicorn ideas right here.
David Ralph [14:19]
Going to create a podcast after that I was going to create all these things that have never been done before. And and just sit in my underpants on the beach. Well, you know what,
Ajay Goel [14:28]
let me let me say this. If, if 10 years ago, someone had come to me and said, hey, I’ve got this great idea where you type out what you’re up to in 140 characters or less. And it goes out to all your followers, and I’m going to call it a tweet, I would have said, That’s the dumbest idea in the world. So So what do I know? What does what does any entrepreneur know?
David Ralph [14:57]
This is a good question. AJ, right. Okay, so what makes an idea become something that somebody is passionate about, like words and right, you’re sitting there, you come up with this idea? What made you want to push through with that, and not say, What a stupid idea. It’s like, I don’t get Snapchat. And if you’ve listened to enough episodes of join up dots you you will hear me say this all the time. I don’t get it. I don’t see the point of it. I don’t see why I should be building content that disappears in 24 hours, it just seems a stupid idea. But it seems to be doing quite well for itself. So what is it about an idea that becomes sexy to that individual?
Ajay Goel [15:36]
Well, I think it’s that individuals background and experiences that makes an idea sexy, because that person’s background and experiences is what is going to drive the passion for a particular idea. So in my case, I had been building email products for a long time. And I have always known the email ecosystem really well. And I had also recently taken an interest up in writing. So I’ve enjoyed doing some freelance writing over the years. And I’ve also had friends and colleagues asked me to review important writing material before they submit it. So thinking like University application essays, job applications, and even important emails, like an email to your boss asking for a raise. I’ve reviewed and edited all kinds of emails for friends, that are emails of importance. And so I had this feeling that there was this general need for a service that improves people’s emails. What I learned as I got into it is just how much people’s English truly sucks like most people, especially in the United States, and I tend to think that people and other English speaking countries have better English than United States. Americans do.
David Ralph [17:09]
But you don’t have to guess. Do we know that? Yeah.
Ajay Goel [17:15]
So I felt like there was a need for it. And it turned out that as I pitched words, and as this tool to correct your English and improve your email, most people like, didn’t really care about that, it turns out that most people don’t care about having perfect English in their emails, even when it’s in a professional setting. But what I found people do care about is saving time writing emails. So that’s where I found the value is so actually words, and used to be the service where we just edited and proof read your English to make sure grammar and spelling and punctuation were correct. And then we would also improve your sentence structure your organization, we will make you sound as smart as we possibly could. But that didn’t really hit home for people what hit home was this concept of talking into your phone and talking in natural speech and saying, I’m an earner and pausing and repeating yourself and tripping over your words. And then having that distilled into a well written email, that’s where the value was, because that’s where I could save people time. And whereas the average person sitting behind a desk might spend a couple hours a day handling their email. Now they can do it in a much shorter time, just by talking naturally, it’s not as it’s not as mentally taxing to just talk in your natural voice, kind of just how like you and I are talking right now David it’s not as mentally taxing doing that, that having the Think of the perfect words and write your own emails.
David Ralph [19:04]
But let’s play some motivational words. And then I’m going to delve back into this because I’ve got a good question. And it’s a good one, AJ, is Oprah.
Oprah Winfrey [19:13]
The way through the challenge is to get still and ask yourself, what is the next right move? not think about, Oh, I got all of this stuff. What is the next right move? And then from that space, make the next right move, and the next right move, and not to be overwhelmed by it? Because you know, your life is bigger than that one moment, you know, you’re not defined by what somebody says, is a failure for you. Because failure is just there to point you in a different direction.
David Ralph [19:45]
Well, we’re going to come back to what Oprah is talking about, because I’m interested about the next right move with yourself. But Americans drop the you in things like color. Okay, which in England, we don’t we say color co l? Oh, you are? But you do see Oh, are? So if I was sending an email, and I was saying, you know, lots of color? Did I do your team spend it in the way that we would? Or is it sort of an Americanized version?
Ajay Goel [20:13]
Yeah, that’s excellent question. They would, they would attempt to determine that you’re a British user. So if they could see that you had use that particular spelling and multiple words, because as we all know, that applies to more words than just color, then they would probably pick up on the fact that you’re a British user and not alter the spelling there, because because technically that spelling is correct. And the editors themselves use some automated tools to check for mechanical things like spelling, punctuation and grammar. So in most cases, no, that would be left as is because that would be technically correct. For for you as a British user,
David Ralph [20:56]
Roy. Okay, so I wouldn’t have any worry about saying sending out an email that was misspelled all over the place. Although it was spelled right in another country.
Ajay Goel [21:06]
Correct? Yeah. Yeah. Now, there are some interesting differences from country to country. So for example, so my, my origin, my my ethnicity is Indian. So I grew up in the United States, one of my parents grew up in India, but I’ve been to India a lot. So I have been witness to some of the subtle differences in how Indians speak in English versus how Americans speak in English. So there are some phrases that an Indian citizen might use that that would be unheard of in, in the United States. For example, oftentimes a business person in India will end an email with with kindly do the needful, which the translation for for an American would be. Please get back to on the above are please, please do as requested. And so that’s, that’s part of their dialect that we wouldn’t necessarily want to change. Because even though it doesn’t quite make sense to us as Americans, that that is what would make sense to the recipient of that email in India. And so we try to preserve some of those country to country dialect. And that’s something that we’re at the editors are always having to learn about.
David Ralph [22:31]
Now. I yeah, I’m gonna come back to Oprah. Again, I’m gonna have to because another question popped into my mind, because I know, in India, for example, certain villages can’t talk to the villages just five miles down the road, they’ve got totally different dialects. So the more I look at what you’ve created, the more of a nightmare it is, surely.
Ajay Goel [22:52]
Yeah, you know, it’s so I wouldn’t say we’re that good, where we know the the dialectic says from village to village, and but on a on a country basis, you know, we’re getting there. And maybe someday, maybe when we’re a billion dollar company, with users and every country around the world, maybe we’ll be that granular. And, and, and our editors will be that knowledgeable,
David Ralph [23:19]
that doesn’t blow your mind with software development, development. You know, what’s coming out the fact that, you know, we were getting cars that can drive themselves, and this can do that. And that can do that, which even two years ago wasn’t even thought about it. It. It frightens me, AJ, I worry that we’re moving into the land of the terminators, where we’re going to be destroyed by what we’ve created.
Ajay Goel [23:46]
Yeah. So I can kind of see I see your point. And I’ve often thought like that as well. But then I think that I feel like like, it’s easy to say that now is the best time to be alive because we have this cool technology or that now is the future. And it certainly seems like that with the internet and self driving cars and virtual reality and augmented reality, and all this automation happening around us. But then I also have to think that every generation, at some point thought that, wow, like look at what is going on now, and must have been fearful about what’s to come. So for example, when the printing press was invented, and that led to the Industrial Revolution, surely people thought like, oh, man, what’s going to happen? Now, it’s a really exciting time to be alive. But if this technology goes any further, you know, I might not have a job or something else is going to take over the world or aliens are going to invade us soon. I mean, there’s always going to be this fear of the unknown, this fear of the future. Yeah.
David Ralph [24:56]
The jumping in there, the fear before was not so unreal, everything now is becoming, as you say, virtual reality, we’ve already got reality. So why do we have to spend so much time making virtual reality? You know, which is leading to a whole generation of people never coming out in their bedrooms? Because it’s more exciting in their bedrooms and being in life? Am I saying?
Ajay Goel [25:21]
Yeah, well, I could argue the same thing about about telephones. So before telephones, what did people do? They had to go to people’s houses to visit them to talk. And now telephones allowed them to stay at home and talk. So isn’t that the same as going from reality to virtual reality?
David Ralph [25:41]
I don’t know is it because it’s still a person is a person at the upper end isn’t it is still a HTC, age, human to human interaction? Well, I can plug on these goggles, and I can just live in a weird world. And there was a guy I read about on the internet the other day, that got so much into this virtual world where he basically starved himself to death because he didn’t come out of it, because he was just obsessed by living in this virtual reality.
Ajay Goel [26:09]
I think what is going to happen is that a lot of people will eventually find that virtual reality is better than reality. And that’s the idea of virtual reality is to create worlds and experiences that aren’t possible in your own reality. And I mean, I don’t know enough about the technology to know how a situation of a person starving themselves might be addressed. But it sounds like an addressable problem.
David Ralph [26:40]
He’s mad. That’s what you’re saying, AJ? He’s mad. And and he needs a girlfriend.
Ajay Goel [26:47]
Well, I’m wondering if he wouldn’t have starved himself if he was in his own reality to begin with.
I’m is a girl would be an excellent way to have tabs kept on you.
David Ralph [27:04]
Yeah, I agree. I agree with you slightly,
Ajay Goel [27:06]
especially the controlling ones. Yeah.
David Ralph [27:08]
And I didn’t have very well, they really do. And they do it in subtle ways. Well, okay. So let’s get back to Oprah. Okay, because I’ve been clinging to that, because I’m a professional podcaster. Now on there, she says the next right move. And it’s always I listened to that. And sometimes I think you’re bang on Oprah. And other times, I think it’s a bit mystical, because sometimes you just can’t get the right move. How did you do that? From the beginning part of getting that idea about words, then? Because you got this idea? And you go, right, okay, we’re going to do this. I don’t know what the next right move is? How did you sort of progress through?
Ajay Goel [27:44]
you know, I, I’m not sure I still know what the next right move is, you know, my next moves have generally been guesses, based on intuition based on stuff that what’s happened for me when I developed words, and so you know, I really like the there’s a Buddhist kind of philosophy or a Buddhist saying that the meaning of your life is whatever you are doing right now. And so, I don’t know that any of my moves have been the right move, but I feel like my moves have been the move that I was meant to make at any point in time in my life.
David Ralph [28:32]
So I said, such you, you just kind of went with the flow and had a conversation of, oh, that guy’s interesting, I might ask him to help. And he just kind of did stuff.
Ajay Goel [28:44]
Sort of, I mean, I had an idea for words, and and I put together a plan to build it, but I didn’t know whether it was going to be successful or not. And I didn’t have a grand vision for it. In the beginning, it was just this little idea in my head of may can email a little better for people. And I didn’t, I certainly didn’t know that it was the right move at the time. And if I, if I go back, and, and, and kind of, you know, join the dots of my life, I feel like it was the right move for me now. But I couldn’t have known it that it was just an idea and something that I was interested in. And
you know, people still,
people still kind of get a chuckle out of me describing what I do. Because they know a lot of people don’t quite understand why anybody would use the service, why anybody would want an editor to look over their emails, or why someone would want to give up that bit of privacy to have another person seeing their emails. So it can be a concept that’s, that’s difficult to swallow for a lot of people and so often met with resistance when I’m talking about that the idea. And, you know, I think I’m a I’m an easily impressionable person. And so when, when I met with resistance, that often makes me think that I didn’t make the right move. And so I need to regain my confidence and regain my motivation. And that’s, that’s easy to do by looking at our user base and reading comments from people who say they love the product and the service. But you know, there’s a there’s a balance of, of like, feeling like I’m on the right journey and the right path and, and wondering if I’m not, and I kind of enjoy walking that fine line, and always being in that state of questioning things and wondering,
David Ralph [30:48]
which is the entrepreneur way, isn’t it? You know, I say to everyone, it’s all white being an entrepreneur against living in corporate land. But in corporate land, I would say no, 90% of the time, I just switched up at the end of the day, there were certain days when I had things going on, and it bounced around me, but most of the time I’d switched up with entrepreneur land, you’re basically doubting yourself over time, you’re thinking things through over time, you’re watching TV programs, not hearing a word of it, because you just kind of sort of switch off. Do you have that same issue?
Ajay Goel [31:21]
Yeah, I do. I have constantly running thoughts in my mind. And you know, as an entrepreneur, we wish the people that worked for us also did the same and didn’t turn it off at the end of the workday, as you described.
But yeah, yeah, I do. I mean, I think every entrepreneur has a bit of that, that, that craziness that, that edge, that that,
that that heart hard to hard to, it’s hard to turn it hard to turn it off. And I think sometimes that makes it hard to, to have healthy relationships as well.
David Ralph [31:59]
Well, I am I agree, I was having a conversation with my wife this morning. And she said, you know, you don’t see your friends much anymore. And I’m talking about sort of old friends. And I said, I don’t kind of understand, and I’m very much about driving forward, I’ve got the ambition to create what I’m creating everything is kind of a struggle, a challenge. And I went for a drink with one of the guys I first met when I was 16. yesterday. And all he could say was I’ve got another 10 years of an amount of beer. It was just like he was on death row somehow. I just found it really depressing. And she said to me, are you going to see him again, I went highly unlikely. I said, I just found it really, really sad. But they didn’t have the same challenge on a daily basis. And I now think that is what entrepreneurial life is about is not about hitting home runs all the time. But it’s keeping yourself stimulated, keeping yourself challenge focused, I think it’s a good thing. And I would be interested to see what the of an entrepreneur is compared to a corporate guy. You know, whether it that ability to be thinking constantly and trying stuff. Does that keep you going longer? Are there more 100 year old entrepreneurs and there are 100 year old corporate guys?
Ajay Goel [33:17]
Oh, yeah. You mean just, you know, as you lose the Lust for Life? Yeah, you die off earlier. Yeah, yeah, that would be, that would be an interesting study. But you know, I remember I remember reading about some Island, and in the, in the eastern half of the world, where, like, I forget the name of it, but this island has the most the most centenarians per capita out of any area in the world. And it’s not because they’re entrepreneurs, and have this great lust for changing the world and jump springing out of bed every day to get on this mission. It’s just because of their, like healthy lifestyle, and then natural foods they eat, some study is going on them anyways. That what you said is interesting, but I just wanted to offer this like counterpoint of this island, whose name I can’t remember that has a lot of people who are over 100 years old, because of their lifestyle and whatnot.
David Ralph [34:15]
England, it was probably England. Island about people forget the other side of a side of the Atlantic. Now we’re getting back on to the software development brain. How do you keep up with it as well. But this is one of the things that I always been because it’s moving on at such a pace. Other than the people actually at the front end. It’s like the Google guys, you know, the Google guys, you look at Google is a search engine, but you get into it, and you think, Oh, my God, this is like amazing what they’re doing, you know, how do you keep ahead of the curve to be able to create? Or does that not matter? Should people not be frightened of starting something? Because I think it’s already sort of moved ahead of him?
Ajay Goel [34:58]
Yeah, that’s a good question. Because as a software developer, and an entrepreneur, I can’t always keep myself up to date on the latest software development technologies, because I’m spending so much time running and operating the business. And I’m developing the software for it as well. And so that leaves little time to learn and research to make sure I’m keeping myself up to date.
That’s what you’re asking, right? I feel like I might have, because I
David Ralph [35:35]
look at some I was having a conversation, I’ve just come up to four years of join up dots and where it is now. And where it’s going to be very, very shortly is a world apart is totally different. And first year, I was doing a podcast, basically, second year, I was thinking, why the hell am I doing this podcast? You know, what, what’s the angle, I’m just doing it, I’m not really sure. And then the third year, I started to get clarity. And Sophia, we’re building into it. And it’s all starting to come together. Now, I was saying to a guy earlier, a friend of mine, and I said to him, you know, if I had known what I know, now, four years ago, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to tackle it. Now that is doing an environment in its concept really doesn’t change that much. You record you talk, you know, but in software development is changing all the time. And I don’t know if I could have the energy to get involved in that environment, when literally, I’ll be swimming against the tide over time trying to keep up with the people in front.
Ajay Goel [36:36]
That is a really interesting point, you mentioned that looking back, you don’t know if you know, if you knew what you know, now, you don’t know if you would have had the courage to tackle him. So that that definitely applies to me also, because every software product I’ve created has turned out to be way more complex and require a lot more work than I originally anticipated. And when I think about all the hours and the late nights and the lack of sleep, that has contributed to the creation of these products, I sometimes think like holy cow, if I if I had known that, that’s what it was going to take, I would have, I would have found something else to make me happy. You know, I so I had a prior before I started doing what I’m doing now I had this other email marketing company that I eventually sold to this private equity group. And then I, I took a couple of years off just to reflect and read. And I remember, my my daily routine at the time consisted of my my girlfriend is now my wife, my girlfriend that I would wake up, she had a job that she would go to, but she would drop me off at Starbucks every morning. With my laptop, I get a latte. I’d spend the morning reading the news, I spend the afternoon chatting and texting with friends. And then she’d come pick me up in the evening, we’d have dinner together, watch a movie, and enjoy the evening together. And that was pretty much my daily routine. And when I reflect back on that, like year or two of my life, that was probably the happiest years of my life. And so yeah, sometimes sometimes I wonder,
David Ralph [38:24]
yeah, it’s just if I am big on people taking on the challenge, and everyone I speak to I say to them, you know, go for it, it’s not gonna be easy, but you know, go for it. And I had the same advice myself before I made the corporate leap. You know, I spoke to a guy, he said, yeah, it’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be worthwhile at the end. And I say that to everyone. But I still don’t know if I could do it in your environment. I think it’s too fast.
Ajay Goel [38:54]
I don’t know if I could do it in yours.
I mean, I always have, I find that I the people that I respect the most are the people that do something. So the most different from what I do. So like performers, like actors and singers and, and, and people on TV, and that would include podcast hosts and entertainers, where the thinking and the mindset is so different from my own. Like, I really look up to you guys, because it’s like, wow, how do you how do you do that?
David Ralph [39:31]
It’s interesting, isn’t it? Now I look at you, you look at me. And I think that’s the problem really isn’t it at its core, everybody looks at the finished article. And they don’t look at the but doubts, the insecurities, the things that are going on behind the scenes, the bits, when you’ve got more money going out, when you’ve got coming in, you’ve got you know, we’ve all been through that when you’re growing stuff. And you think to yourself, this is the end. I don’t know how I’m going to get past this. But you do. And I’m going to play some words now that emphasize that brilliant is Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs [40:04]
Of course, it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards. 10 years later. Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something, your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leaves you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.
David Ralph [40:38]
Do you believe that they will join up? Do you have trust and faith even though you haven’t got the answers sometimes
Ajay Goel [40:44]
AJ? Man, I love that speech. I’ve listened to that speech several times. And that’s a speech where Steve Jobs talks about how in college, he took a calligraphy class, which led to the creation of fixed with fonts on the Mac, which led to beautiful typography on the on the Mac. Yeah, I love that speech. And I love that particular example that he gives in that speech. So sorry, what was your question? Again, I got lost. Thinking about that speech?
David Ralph [41:13]
Did you have the trust? Do you have the faith? You know, what he says is, you’ve just got to do it, you got to do it. And when you look back, you can go Oh, God, I can see how I got here. But as you’re proceeding through more often than not, you’re just in the dark with nothing but faith that is all going to turn out all right. Do you have fat? Do you have that constantly? Do you struggle with keeping that faith?
Ajay Goel [41:36]
All the time. I mean, as I as I as I mentioned earlier, you know, people challenge the words and concept. A lot. You know, one of my one of my earliest memories? Well, when I say earliest memories, that probably makes you think childhood. But one of the first conversations I had after I started with after I started working was with this friend, kind of a not so much a friend but like an entrepreneur colleague. And at the time, there were no editors editing the emails for users, I was doing it all myself. And the way I had it set up was if somebody submitted an email, and it was 4am, in the middle of the night, my phone would go off, make a noise, I would wake up, I would go edit the email, and then I’d go back to bed. And that worked out because, you know, there were only a handful of emails coming in daily because the service was Sunday. And I remember describing this to a friend. And he goes, he goes, wait, wait a second, wait a second, let me let me understand you’re saying that. In the middle of the night, your phone goes off, you hop out of bed, run to your laptop, correct somebody’s email, and then go back to bed. And you’re not even charging them for it. Because at the time, it was a free service because I was just trying to get users and I hadn’t monetize the product yet. And I said, Yeah, any any burst out into laughter. And it made me feel like crap. And sometimes I I think, man, I really want to make words and successful so that I can go back to him. And, and, and laugh in his face over over what I built.
But But yeah, to go back to your question.
Yeah, you know, I I totally feel that way. I often feel like I am on this path. And I don’t know where it’s leading. But I hope that with words and you know, I’ll be able to connect the dots looking backwards?
David Ralph [43:44]
Oh, absolutely. You will, you totally will, you know, because anything that has got value and efficiency benefits is going to be a win. It really is. You know, my only concern was the one I had right at the beginning. And you’ve emphasized all the way through the kind of privacy angle, but I suppose if you are using the service you for go to privacy, don’t you? I suppose?
Ajay Goel [44:09]
Yeah, you know, I mean, I have a I think I have a unique perspective on on privacy. Our privacy is as we would say here. I think I think privacy is something that a lot of people like to get all up in arms about and take it on as a as a noble worthwhile cause. And I think, you know, in a lot of cases, privacy is important. But then there’s a whole lot of other cases where privacy isn’t so important. So, you know, like Facebook just went through this whole Cambridge analytical scandal, and people got all up in arms about what information Facebook as and who they’re giving this information to. But from my perspective, with what Facebook is done with people’s information, how many people have actually been harmed? By that, and I’ve been, I have lots of information on my Facebook profile, and I can’t, you know, I like getting, I like getting ads that are relevant to me. And that’s because Facebook knows a lot about me. But in any case, so with the words scenario, yes, they’re sacrificing some privacy, in order to have another person write your emails for you. But you’re what you’re gaining is productivity, and you’re gaining time back in your life. So you have to ask yourself, is that is my privacy, more important than how much free time I have in my life? Or would I rather be more productive and have more free time in my life?
David Ralph [45:39]
Yeah, no, I agree with it. Totally. You know, I don’t mean, there’s anything that goes out for my emails, I would have any concerns about at all. But the way I do it, I actually just record a voice message and link it to an email and send it out more often than not. So the people just get me talking. And
Ajay Goel [45:55]
yeah, really, what technology to use
David Ralph [45:58]
for that there’s a little bit called a voice gain. And, yeah, it No, it’s not the voice spice.com. And all I do is just click on it, and it converts it into an email link, or a or a URL or whatever. And I just send it out. And so it’s me talking. And you don’t have to spend time and you know, because otherwise it’s more than peace I just recorded little link voice spice and bang,
Ajay Goel [46:25]
out he goes, but then on the recipients. And do you ever get somebody emailed who’s annoyed at you for sending an email that way? Because now they have to spend time listening to the recording rather than reading?
David Ralph [46:38]
Well, not for me, because I’m a podcast host people.
Ajay Goel [46:42]
You’re a celebrity, you can do whatever you want, I can
David Ralph [46:45]
do whatever I want. Yeah, now ASAP personal connection. It’s that now actually hearing the voice that I’ve been listening to on the podcast directly talking to them. So it works very well, for me, and I use it a lot. On the other regard, would it matter? Something I would care if somebody just you know, sent through something that I could just click on them? Listen, I think it’s more personalized, isn’t it?
Ajay Goel [47:07]
I think it is. But so the reason we don’t do that, and what we’re kind of pitching is that it’s it takes more time to listen to recording and to get all the information absorbed, that’s in an audio recording than it does to read a message because in reading a message, you can skim through some of the superfluous stuff and get to the heart of the matter by by skimming and reading. Whereas you can’t quite do that when you’re listening to audio. So the the concept that we’re selling is that it’s more efficient on the sending side to talk and have somebody else convert that into it’s written form. And on the receiving side, it’s more efficient to read them to listen.
David Ralph [47:55]
may do both. I come from a training background where you you had visual audio, you had all these sort of different learning styles. I can’t man Well, I it’s been years since I’ve done
Ajay Goel [48:07]
Yeah, I remember that too. Yeah. And
David Ralph [48:09]
Couldn’t you had like the email as in text, but if you want to hear it in audio form, click on this. And it’s the person just
Ajay Goel [48:15]
yeah. Yeah, yeah, that’s, you’re right. people’s brains work in different ways. And as we said,
David Ralph [48:22]
wine mind works in a very weird way. I spend all my time thinking different things. And some of it I shouldn’t be thinking about AJ. But um, well, I am going to think about is actually playing the music that leads us to the bit that we’ve been building up to, which is the Sermon on the mic, when we’re going to send you back in time to have a one on one with your younger self. And if you could go back in time and speak to the young AJ, what advice would you give him? And, well, let’s listen. This is the Sermon on the mic.
Unknown Speaker [48:56]
Here we go with the best speed of the show.
Ajay Goel [49:13]
Hey, AJ, well, you’re 18 years old, and you’re about to go off to college,
you’re going to be really nervous talking to girls. And that’s okay. Most people are, but do it anyway, it’ll build up your social confidence, which will translate into business confidence. Because to be successful, you need to learn how to communicate with people and get along with people. And talking to all people you encounter in your college experience will will help you with that, you’re going to face a lot of pressure to go to medical school. So if you will, the study of medicine, go for it. But if you don’t, then pursue what you’re most interested in. And whatever it is that you’re most interested in, try to be the best at that. So even if it’s something non traditional, if you want to be an actor, or a singer, or a tennis player, do it and try to be the number one actor, singer or tennis player. As you start your career, you might find that it’s easy to sit behind a computer screen and develop something great, and the hope that the world will see it and use it and it’ll become successful. But that’s, that’s not the way the world works. The world is very relationship based and people based. And so the importance of developing human connection is probably the most important factor and being successful in whatever you want to do in your life.
David Ralph [51:10]
I tell you, what’s the number one best way that our audience can connect with you?
Ajay Goel [51:16]
Oh, well, all my products are email based. So I’m going to say send me an email. My email address is my first name at words and calm. So AJ a y at words, calm, which is W o r d z, calm, and
David Ralph [51:33]
all the other social media links we will have on the show notes. AJ, thank you so much for spending time with us today, joining up those dots. And please come back again, when you’ve got even more dots to join up. Because I do believe that by joining up the dots and connecting our past is the best way to build our futures. AJay Goel, thank you so much.
Ajay Goel [51:50]
Thank you, David. It’s been a pleasure.
David Ralph [51:51]
Hey, Jay, go. I really enjoyed him. As I said to him afterwards, I said, it’s always better in a podcast when the podcast guest isn’t playing the Superman role. And you do get it where people sort of make it out to be so easy, and that everything just naturally joined together. And you kind of think that it doesn’t, I don’t know anyone really but had all the pieces what I might have had all the pieces, but you can’t see how they’re fitting. And then little by little, it’s like doing a the world’s biggest jigsaw puzzle, you get the edges done. And then you start moving into the middle. Or sometimes you start on the middle and you move to the end. And whatever way you do it, you still get to the end, which is your business, your dream life, and happiness and fulfillment. And it’s certainly the case like you’ve just got to start picking up a piece and looking at it and thinking is that the right piece for me now and putting it down and then putting another one down and little by little you get something that you can start making a bit of money on and then that sort of gives you a bit of reward you feel like validation. And then you can take some of that profit invested back in to build it out into a bigger format and it just keeps on going round and round. You’re never going to be happy with it. But you are going to be able to have a life that you love and enjoy every second of the day. And that is what of course join up dots is all about and so come on come across the website join up dots at join up dots.com and we have got a load of good stuff going there teaching people how to start a business finish a business rocket a business, connecting with experts across the world, it really is going to be the hub that will make all lives come to fruition as long as you want it. Good enough as long as you want it enough with all your heart. Until next time, I will see you and thanks very much for being here looking at yourself. That was David Ralph and that was join up dots Cheers. Bye bye. See ya
David doesn’t want you to become a faded version of the brilliant self you are wants to become so he’s put together an amazing guide for you called the eight pieces of advice that every successful entrepreneur practices, including the two that changed his life. Head over to join up dots.com to download this amazing guide for free and we’ll see you tomorrow on join up dots.