E139 Pierre de Wulf: Co-Founder @ ScrappingBee

Episode 139 April 17, 2022 00:28:45
E139 Pierre de Wulf: Co-Founder @ ScrappingBee
NoCode Wealth
E139 Pierre de Wulf: Co-Founder @ ScrappingBee
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Show Notes

Pierre de Wulf is the co-founder of ScrappingBee, a service that handles headless browsers and rotates proxies for you.

Pierre is bootstrapping ScrappingBee, currently making $1 million ARR with a team of 3, and sharing all the lessons learned along the way.

Twitter: @Pierredewulf

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Episode Transcript

Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:16 Once upon a time, there were 10s of 1000s of makers struggling. Every day they built for hours and hours but didn't chip. And they didn't earn enough income. One day, the no code wealth podcast came to help them find a way because of this, makers became founders and live the lives they deserve. Because of this, founders live lives of abundance, freedom, and creativity. That's what I'm really all about. Hello, my name is Aziz and from being a poor boy born to a single mother in North Africa, to fail in multiple startups, yet learning a whole lot to barely escaping alive the war in Ukraine, given living as an illegal immigrant. I've lost everything twice. And now, I'm rebuilding my life one more time, 1% a day, sharing the wisdom of luminaries I've interviewed on this podcast from Google executives to Amazon, Microsoft, Forbes, Technology Council, Harvard Financial Times, and even a priest from the Vatican church. Every everyone is welcome here. So let's begin. My guest today is Pierre de Wulf. Pierre Is the co founder of ScrapingBee, a service that handles headless browsers and rotates proxies for you. pF? Is bootstrapping scrapping be currently making $1 million ARR with a team of three, and sharing all the lessons learned along the way? Yeah, how are you today? Pierre de Wulf 2:02 Hi, well, thank you for having me. And I'm fine. Fine. Thank you. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:09 I would like you know, this podcast can go in a more business or personal, you know, direction to you these days? What seems to be a topic or a goal, or a realization that you keep on thinking about that demands your thought? And that is important for you? Pierre de Wulf 2:31 That is a good question. And something I've been recently thinking about more was, Okay, what's next? Well, what's going to happen? After scraping be? Because so scraping be I've been working there for three or four years. I feel like I'm not going to work there for another 10 years. I don't know. I just feel it that way. And so I'm just wondering, okay, once I'm done with scraping be what am I going to do with my life? What am I going to build next? What are going to be my, my priorities? How am I going to invest in the communities? How I'm going to try to make a difference in the world? So I'd say that's what I'm thinking about blood lately. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 3:35 Thank you, and I love your thoughts. Yet I will play the devil's advocate. You know, there is a philosopher that was saying that humans try to optimize and to grow all the time. And sometimes it's unrealistic, unhappy, it's escaping from the moment rather than being present. And I'm not saying I agree or disagree, I'm just asking for you. Why does there need to be a next, if what emotion or what would be missing from your life if there was no real next, it was more of 10 years of doing the same work. Just wondering because, you know, for example, in karate, or in martial arts, you can do the same punch for 10 years or something like that, in order to perfect it and they don't think about like the more advanced cake or the more advanced thing, it's about being in flow with the process. So Tai Chi is one of that they say that Tai Chi masters become the best as when they become masters. They become the best that kung fu or martial arts because they do almost the same things until they become so perfect at them that other people cannot even compete. So what are your thoughts about this? Pierre de Wulf 4:58 Yeah, so It makes me thinks about an internal debate like something or some thought I have internally like intensity against consistency, basically. So do I want? So yeah, just as you said, like, keep doing the same things in order to be in peace with myself, or is the best in what I'm doing? Or do I want to discover something else elsewhere that I do not know. And I'm think, at least at this stage of my life, that I'm looking towards the later so I think I want to discover other things. Not because there is something missing currently in my life, but just out of sheer curiosity, like, that's what drives me discovering new things, talking to new people going to other places. And so, I also understand when you said, okay, so you could be trying to escape something from your current life by look by trying to look after something else, constantly. And so the way I see things is, like, I move, I stop on this place for a few years, just trying to go dig to a subject, trying to improve myself trying to learn new things, trying to participate in a new communities. And then I moved on to a new topic, to a new chapter. And maybe that will change when I'm, when I grow older, when I have a family when whatever, I think everything changed constantly. But currently, that's, I think that's how I want to live my life. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 7:07 Thank you. And when you move on to a new place, what do you take from the older place? Are you excited about starting from scratch and building the whole thing? And the difficulty and bootstrapping and all that? Or do you take some resources, relationships, new things from like, valuable things from the old place in order to not start totally from zero in the new place? Or how do you approach it? Pierre de Wulf 7:38 Well, yeah, I think I take as much as I can. Because, for me, the goal is not to do something difficult, is not to create artificial difficulty, for the sake of difficulty, if I can do it in an easiest way, because I had this experience, because I know those things and those tools, I would use it totally. So yeah, I think I take everything I learned along the way. I think the most important lesson I learned, they are engraved in my memory. So it's like, I cannot not take them to the new places. I'll go to new places I'll visit. And yes, it is to like, every adventure, every chapter is a break at building your your life physically. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 8:35 I love what you're saying. My own experiences actually, like if we use your metaphor, anytime you go to a new place, it's so difficult to succeed, like the probability and the need for being at a good place at the right place at the right time, having some luck knowing the right people, it's like a tremendous task. And therefore, actually is the friends, the communities and the people who you make along the way like that make all the difference and allow you to be able to explore and to create real value in this world in new places. Because one of the truth, even about entrepreneurship, you can create the perfect startup but you can be a bit too early or too late or like not say the exact words that the marketplace needs to hear. And suddenly you'll go bankrupt and fail even though you did something great. But to me, it's like a noose and again, your metaphor, if you know people who are at another place and who are already have built some foundation there. If you go and that foundation lifts you to share the value you have, then you're a lot more likely to help people than being an unknown, anonymous person in the middle of nowhere, trying to build that foundation. What are your thoughts about this? Pierre de Wulf 10:02 Ah, I totally agree. I think we we all build. I mean, maybe not all. I mean, I'm obviously bas because I am building in this very digital word, of course. So of course, there's Twitter, there's podcast, there's website, they're these infinite amount of resources. So I can only talk about what I know. But for sure, for us. Everything we build, we build it onto top of someone else's, someone else's work someone else's thought someone else's tools, someone else's advices. Yeah, totally. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 10:48 How important was networking and or have an alive and like the right? people within the community helping you contributing to your success? Did you have experiences that because you knew someone that you helped in a way that helped you back that made all the difference? Or because a lot of founders, they neglect networking, they think that technical skill is everything. And if you create the right thing, then people will come to you and your success is guaranteed? Well, to you, which path did you follow? Did you create a community of people helping each other? And that made all the difference? Or how did people contribute to your success? Pierre de Wulf 11:37 Okay, so I'd say that I'm not a big networking guy, like, I don't go to cocktails or to parties, and I'm not the kind of guy will will talk to everyone. You know, trying to be friend, anybody, I'm not the type of person, I don't have a big network, either. Like, I've only been working for a year in Paris, I haven't gone through a prestigious school. So so there is that. But I was lucky enough to come across some very generous person in my life. And in particular, particularly, for example, during my last job, which was also my first computer job, as a, as a CFO of this company. Well, I made the deal with him, which allowed me to, to quit the company, but to also do get unemployment benefit from the French state, which was key for me to begin working on my own project. And in order to get those unemployment benefit, I needed basically to have a letter from my former employee employer, stating, well, yeah, Pierre is quitting, but from mutual agreement is not quitting only by himself. And yeah, no reason at all to do this. And yet he did it. And it was out of sheer generosity, you know, so I'd be lying, if I'd say that. I did not have help from people early on. But yeah, definitely not a big network, at least in the beginning. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 13:35 Thank you. And nowadays, since you're always exploring, always trying to move to the next place. What trends or industries or fields seem to attract you or new ideas that could be a place for you to go next. Pierre de Wulf 13:55 I always have all those almost open door in my head about things I want to explore. But I'm not sure yet if I want to go all in in it. So I'd say there's three things that got me interested recently. So first, there's 3d modeling. So I've recently been learning blender. And I, I just like it. I learned a lot along the way. I think it's very interesting. You learn a lot about our computer works about computing imaginary. And also I think it's an interesting field. There is maybe no no business to make around it. But to just think that gets me going. Then there's no cut space. This I found it amazing. I've been using using it a bit more recently. And there's definitely some awesome tool to build around it. And yeah, I think it's suddenly is the beginning of this warfare. And, and so first thing is a woodworking like, there's part of me who just want to open a woodworking shop somewhere in the French countryside and, and live and live from it. So yeah, those are my three underlying interest currently. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 15:20 Thank you. And as someone who grew up in France, do you feel the culture there was helping you become an entrepreneur and some of the things you learned from the French culture? And made you a better entrepreneur? Or are you different from the people around you, and unique in a way that allowed you to be an entrepreneur, while most people will be more focused on being an employee and doing having jobs and doing work? Pierre de Wulf 15:54 So so I wouldn't say I'm unique in any way. But I wouldn't say that friends really do say, like, really promote entrepreneurship from an early age, like they definitely don't. And I think it's a shame. And it's like, yeah, when you're in school, or in the university, yeah, it's like entrepreneur are, by default, those bad greedy people making billions over the back of 1000s of slave employees. It's so of course, I'm, I'm exaggerating here, but that's the, the ID the impression I got. And I wish more people talk about entrepreneurship as, as something normal, you know, like, it shouldn't be exceptional to be an entrepreneur, because actually, it's not. It's not an exceptional thing to do. Like, you meet entrepreneur every day, like when you go buy some bread, when you go to the shop, when you go change your tire when you go to the doctor, when you you know, every day you meet entrepreneur, and an intrapreneur shouldn't be is not only someone like Elon Musk, or Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, whatever. And so, so yeah, I wish in France, entrepreneurship, was demystified and was made more like a no more best. And yeah, or promoted way more. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 17:34 So what attracted you to the entrepreneur life or with, you know, ups and downs and worries, and sometimes you don't know if you're making a mistake, or what tomorrow will bring or anything like that. Pierre de Wulf 17:49 I think what attracted me was the freedom that went, that comes out of an entrepreneurial life, like, mastering my time, for me was the biggest goal I wanted to achieve as soon as possible. So, you know, I wanted to be able to have a lunch with my grandfather and spend three hours on lunch with him listening to him telling me stories about his life, with having to go back to work for someone else. And secondly, being able to yet to create big outcomes for myself. Like, when I worked in Paris, I knew that whatever, whatever work I did, whether it was bad work, or awesome work, the big outcomes would be for my CEO for my bus. And it happened, like, not thanks to me, but the company sold for $200 million. And yeah, none of the employees got money out of it. And only as a funder, that's that big outcome. Possibility. So, so yeah, I'd say that those words are two main reason that led me to, to work on my own. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 19:09 I like that, it seems to me that curiosity, freedom, as well as being rewarded for your contribution are very important for you. Is this correct? Pierre de Wulf 19:21 Yeah, you're you're right. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 19:24 Do you see or perceive or believe that a lot of people are similar to you that they follow their curiosity they go after their freedom? Or do you believe it's not even cultural, some people are born to look for safety and to stay within their comfort zone, and some people are born to be outside their comfort zone. And like for me, for example, if I stay within my comfort zone, sometimes you think look, and we spoke about this when I play the devil's advocate, but if I stay doing the same things every day without expanding, I feel like I'm dying. Or it's like, I don't know how it is, like a feeling inside, like, you're not living, you're repeating the same day again and again and again and again. And it's horrible. Well, for some other people who I had, you know, a corporate job before, and I quit it, because every person I spoke with, they're like, yes, we come every day we do our work, we go watch TV waiting to be 60, something to retire. And I'm like, what if you die at 40? Or 50? Pierre de Wulf 20:34 Yeah, so definitely time is something we could talk about for hours. And I totally agree with you. About your initial question, I think we all like to stay in our comfort zone. But I think some people have aesthetic comfort zone, and other people have a moving comfort zone. And so when you picture it, you tend to think as a comfort zone as this, you know, like, as it's green carpet in the middle of somewhere, and you want to stay on this carpet and not move. And so that could be, yeah, maybe people will take a full time job and, and just stay there for 40 years. And they're very happy doing it and staying on their comfort zone allowed them to really build an happy life, like they genuinely enjoy it. And others also have this carpet, but the carpet is moving and something growing something shrinking something going as a compositor, the complete opposite side of the room. And I think I'm on the moving comfort zone. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 21:50 What believes or perspectives Do you have that allow you to have such a moving comfort zone? And what advice to any person who really have such a static comfort zone, but they're unhappy in order to expand that comfort zone? Because one thing, some people might have tried to expand their comfort zone, but they failed and failed and failed again, which is normal. You know, all successful people are part of the club of constant failures. But some people think, Oh, if I failed once or twice, then I'm not good enough. And this is not meant to be and maybe I'm not the right person and all that. So what beliefs allow you to continue exploring, even in the face of the unknown and of failure, and what advice do you have to people who want to have such a move in comfort zone? Pierre de Wulf 22:48 So as a failure, I'd say that no one cares if you fail, like really. And I failed. Very often, almost every day, I try something. And I felt like, I don't know, like, I tried to cook something new. And it's not good at all. I tried to draw something and I'm terrible at drawing. And so it's ugly. And I tried to, to read a book, and it's just too boring and too long. And I don't finish it like I fail, probably every week. But no one cares, because first no one knows it. And even if they did, they wouldn't care. So I wouldn't let failure be a mark of whatever except a mark that you tried to do something new. And second, I'd say yeah, if you fail, keep trying maybe something totally different. And, and try to really wonder, what do you really want to try? And do you want to try this? Because you sue someone else trying it and you want to be like him? Or do you genuinely want to try these things? Because deep inside you, you know that? You'd love it? You'd love it. You know? Like, I've seen people you know, wanting to write a book because they saw those famous people on Twitter writing books. And so they thought, Okay, if I want to be successful, I need to write a book. But in the end, they don't like to write and so they fail, as you could say, but if you try to genuinely wonder, okay, why do I really like why do I want to like, Why do I want to get into it don't say, Well, you could fail like, you might not reach the plateau. Your first try. Let's incrementally, incrementally you'll get better and better. That's for sure. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 24:50 Thank you. And actually, I find that people who fail a lot are the most interesting, introspective, and full of wisdom. compared to people who are lucky to happen to like, get a lot of success, they are more shallow or they don't see life with such depth or the pain and suffering of failure teaches you to be humble and that keep going, you know, when you keep going like rakia, even if you're getting punched in the face. Yeah, exactly a great person, like really solid human beings. Pierre de Wulf 25:26 I agree. Yeah, just keep going. No one cares that you fail. And eventually, you'll find your thing, Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 25:35 like, and really like, I want to stress that point. Nobody do things. Nobody cares. They have 20 Other things that they will be thinking about. And the next minute, yeah, after you. And the second thing, what is the alternative, really, because it's like life or people, they don't care if you fail, but they also don't care if you succeed in many ways. And so it's only you who should take from life and create what you want and your freedom. Nobody will come and say, Oh, I will give you like, a million dollars every year so that you can have the experiences and have dinner with your grandfather when you want and blah, blah, blah and visit India. And like if nobody will, like you have to create that. I mean, the only alternative is your left passes by you don't create it, and you're 60. And you'll regret and think, Wow, I never did all the thing that I wish I would have done. And then even then nobody was care. So at least now people won't care about you failing, but you're trying and that gives you energy and motivation to wake up in the morning and feel today, maybe could be the day I changed my life. Pierre de Wulf 26:47 Yeah. That's perfectly put like, I have nothing to add to the subject. Yeah, I completely agree. Weighing the alternative. And try to get your only answer that answer that question for yourself. And you'll say what you really want in your life. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 27:10 Thank you very much, Pierre. And if people want to follow you to learn more about you to learn about your current business, or any future projects, what are the best links for them to do so. And I'll make sure to write some in the description. Pierre de Wulf 27:27 So if they want to learn about what I share, I share a lot on Twitter. So usually less profound stuff than the stuff we talked about today during the this great conversation. But yeah, I share everything I learned my failure my day to day experiment on Twitter at the other views. And for as a business. Yes, they could go on a scraping b.com. And if they do some web scraping either an API, just come and say I on the super chat and I'll be there. Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 28:00 Wonderful. Thank you. Yeah, it was a privilege and honor and enriched in conversation. And I wish you a great day full of curiosity, freedom and failure. Well, Pierre de Wulf 28:15 thank you very much for having me. Like I did not expect that conversation to be to be that good. That profound and to talk about that thing that yeah, it was definitely. I definitely love it. Thank you so much.

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