Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:15
Once upon a time, there were 10s of 1000s of makers struggling everyday. They built for hours and hours but didn't ship and didn't earn enough income. One day, the no Caldwell's podcast came to help them find a way because of this, makers became founders and live the lives they deserve. Because of that 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, with no opportunities, just sheer hard work, to failing multiple startups, yet learning a whole lot to barely escaping alive the war in Ukraine, even 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 have interviewed on this podcast from Google executives to Amazon, Microsoft, Forbes, Technology Council, Harvard, Goldman Sachs, Financial Times, and even a priest from the Vatican church. Everyone is welcome here. So let's begin. My guest today is Grant Shaddick. Grant is a co founder of della and new kind of screen recording a new kind. Grant is a co founder of tele a new kind of screen recorder helping people make better videos at work. Dela provides screen and camera recording for making an impression. It's fully customizable, instantly shareable. All in your browser. Grant, how are you today?
Grant Shaddick 2:13
Doing great, thanks, how about yourself?
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:15
I'm feeling lucky, happy, optimistic and ready to speak to you today. So to begin, what's the backstory of tele? How did the idea come to be? And how was it to meet or work with your co founder? How was that? The start of everything?
Grant Shaddick 2:34
Yeah. So the the backstory of tele is that my co founder and I, we were before we started tele we'd been working together for a few years on different projects. And the idea for tele came when we were both working at a company called Envision, which is a big remote company, which is not particularly special these days. Most companies now are in some form, embracing or dealing with remote work. But we were working at Envision before the pandemic and before remote work was kind of a norm. And for us this was the first company that we'd worked at that was fully remote. So there was a lot of fascinating practices that that was we sort of saw there as people who've never worked remotely before. But the one that caught our eye the most was this idea of asynchronous communication. So where instead of people having to communicate live in real time, for example, on a call, or a video call, you could communicate with people in your own time, and they could process and read or watch your communication in their own time. And the part of it that interests us the most was this idea of being able to share videos with your team, while the rest of the organization and envision had this interesting practice where they sort of mandated that the product teams make videos about what they're working on and share it in a shared Slack channel. And then the rest of the organization can tune in in their own time, and watch all these fun, interesting videos about what the product team is up to. And to us that just seemed like such a cool idea. And and we sort of dug into that whole space, this idea of making videos about your work and sharing it with other people. We dug into that some more and that's kind of where the start of the teller idea came from.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 4:33
I love this. We're gonna discuss teller a lot as well. But I want to begin with you moving from being an employee where somehow your check feels at least to be certain that you know how much you're earning at the end of the month to be in a startup co founder where you have to hunt in order to eat where there is a lot of uncertainty. It's a totally deaf frame lifestyle? How was it? What makes you ready for it? What's about your personality that would make either one of them a better fit?
Grant Shaddick 5:10
Yeah, I mean, I was not, you hear a lot about these entrepreneurs and founders and makers, you kind of have that in them from the very beginning, you know, they, they quit, they quit school, or they drop out of university or right, right away after college or something, they decided to be an entrepreneur. That was not what I did. I just went and got a job, and then got another job, and then got another job, until I finally understood technology and how to build stuff and and met the right people that were also thinking like that. So, so to me, it was it was an it was it felt like an opportunity. The first time, my co founder, and I went and kind of did our own thing was just that another co founder, had this interesting idea. And the three of us thought we could do it. So we quit our jobs and gave it a go. And at the time, we sort of had some security, having worked full time jobs for a long time. So it wasn't a crazy leap. And I mean, what, what, what, what, what allows me to do this, I mean, yeah, you have to, you have to be willing to walk into some uncertainty. And for some people, that's, that's harder than others, I've just been lucky that, you know, I've, I've not had to go to, you know, really, really from, from something to completely nothing. And that's just, that's just a fortune that I'm grateful for. But I think the other thing is having people around you that support you on that, that process, even just from a personal side of things, so long as you've got friends that you can kind of complain to and cry to and, and, and loved ones that you can do that as well. It makes you know, whatever challenges come your way. Trying to do things solo, it makes it a bunch easier.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 7:02
Thank you. And while building your company, did you spend time learning about entrepreneurship, about business about all that? Or did you use your skills and just common sense and logic in order to create your plans, your strategies, etc?
Grant Shaddick 7:21
Yes, at university, I studied, what what is called in New Zealand commerce, which is basically business or business school or something. But entrepreneurship was not something that I was interested in, I was studying business so that I could go and work in business somewhere. So I was not particularly interested in in that then. But after working a couple of like, regular jobs, I guess the idea of doing your own thing was became more appealing. And it was then that I started reading and learning more about, you know, startups and technology and running a business and innovation. So I did I was for a little while a real like business book tech book nerd, where I would read a lot of the big tech books you'd seen, I barely ever read. Like, when I was younger, I never read anything, I was the worst reader, non fiction, nonfiction, I just wouldn't read anything until I decided to get into entrepreneurship. But then I sort of read all these typical business books. So I did that for a while and then I think by the time I took the plunge to go and start something, I'd cut back on my business book reading and, and felt like I had some grasp of what to do and then have just kind of taken it from there was learning on the go,
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 8:44
thank you. And when it comes to tele and you told me the backstory, what do you believe or feel makes it unique. While there could be other alternatives or options for people to use,
Grant Shaddick 8:58
yeah, I think this is a this will be different for every founder or maker depending on their product and their industry. The way that we think about it teller, which you know, we're we're in a competitive space, but not a not a crazy competitive space, I think I think it's gonna get more competitive but the idea of screen screen recording and making videos at work is something that's becoming more and more familiar to people and the biggest incumbent in the spaces loom which I'm sure a few of your listeners will will have heard of, or, or even be customers of, and, and the the comfort we get out of competing with them as you know, Luma focused on this idea of making it as easy as possible, as efficient as possible, as simple as possible to record your screen and camera and send that to somebody to communicate whatever you need to so they focused really hard on on making that whole processes as As as delightful as possible for people, and they did a really good job of that, what we try and do is we try and, you know, reach a level of parity on that degree, but then try and work out, how do you make that medium more of a creative medium, like, we still to see the screen and camera recording as its own format, its own mode of communication, that's going to become quite distinct in the in the ways that we communicate at work, I think it'll really be a primary way for people to, you know, to communicate and work remotely. And the same way that a video call right now a video call is like a standard way for people to communicate and share information at work. And we think that a screening camera recording will will be as as important if not more in the future. And so we take that idea, this idea of a screening, camera recording, and are now trying to, to give people a set of creative tools around that. And that's been our starting point from the beginning. So the use cases that we do better on the features that we build, the way we market ourselves is really all about trying to appeal to people who want more of an expressive set of tools and an expressive medium to communicate like this and make videos like this. Whereas loom and a lot of the other people in the space, they focus on efficiency, and, and, and speed and, and that's fine. And we let them do that we're going to we're going to be the ones that turn it into a more expressive fun tool to use.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 11:33
Thank you and what caught my attention is the notion of asynchronous communication venues and tele for that because for some reason being connected is not only unproductive and distracting, but it leads to a kind of burnout where at the end of the day, you totally feel drained because of answering answering messages quickly and all that. So how because okay, you worked in a company before that was remote or hybrid at least way before this was a thing? So tell me about that. What did you learn from that company and how it was managed that helps you to think about the future of tele as a tool for people not to be present at the same time yet connect and understand each other without there needing to be this instant messaging urgent response. Need?
Grant Shaddick 12:34
Yeah, it's it's a tricky one. Because, you know, there's, there's, there's so many kind of like primary urges when it comes to communication, when you're someone reaching out to someone being like, Hey, can you give me an answer to this or, like, take a look at this, you know, and there's an expectation that people are always online and available. So there's some this it's definitely a tricky space to operate in. Certainly, the particular thing that we saw, back at Envision when it came to asynchronous communication, or asynchronous video, at least, was this idea of, the better the video, the the better the result. And this comes back to like, why we focus on making it a creative and expressive medium. There were like a handful of people back at the company, who really put a lot of effort into the videos, they really tried to make funny videos, well made videos, they put a lot of time into them, arguably too much time. But the end result was they made something that people really looked forward to and engaged with, and, and reacted to and laughed at. And it meant that there was a lot of hype around, you know, what these people were working on and making and just simply the video, which is which is unique to be able to kind of create that experience in the workplace. workplace communication is usually so dull, and boring and, and kind of, you know, you have to follow a process and this, you know, certain tools that you can use. Whereas, you know, you can be in an office with someone and, you know, they're people, people can be funny and tell stories and create, you know, a bit of a an atmosphere, and we wanted to be able to give, we want to be able to give people the tools to do that when they're making their own video. So I guess our insight is that if we can provide simple tools for people to be able to express themselves and tell stories and share interesting and entertaining things, the the quality of the communication will get better and and the engagement from from other people will get better. And we see that same pattern kind of exist inside organizations, but also outside organizations. So if you are a creator or freelancer or you run a small business, there are similar interactions with your teammates or your customers or your audience where the same principles apply. And that's what we're interested in trying to solve is how can we make it easy for people to express themselves without having to learn how to be a video editor? We can just give you the kinds of tools that you can use in a work context that makes that possible.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 15:05
Thank you. So are you saying that an unintended consequence on use case for tele is people use it? Using it as a cool and fun editing? Software for small videos?
Grant Shaddick 15:19
Yeah, absolutely. People, people use us quite practically for for simple things like, look, here's how you do x. And then people will will take that further and and make make something that's that's quite humorous and fun and spend some time on it. So yeah, there's definitely people who, who invest more time and into create funnier, interesting, and entertaining things.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 15:46
Thank you. And as a cough, either co founder and someone in the entrepreneurship space, are you aiming to make this more of a lifestyle business where you keep your team small so that you don't need to manage people? Or do you have plans if you can scale to expand to have teams to manage? And what is your perspective on being a manager, a leader and be having many people under your supervision and responsibility?
Grant Shaddick 16:15
Yeah, the the ambition is for this to get as big as it possibly can. We know that. We know that the space has the potential, and that's what we're excited to be able to do. So. Yeah, we want this to be big tail is very small at the moment. But that's been partly by design and and circumstance. But you know, we, we expect things to grow. My me and my co founder are both fans of keeping things small, and trying to create a team of people who can deliver as much as possible individually and add as much value as possible. And that's, that's the kind of team that will want to build in terms of managing bigger teams like obviously, that there will be something that we we I mean, hopefully that's something that we get to do. The way that I think about leadership and management is it probably comes down to by example. Like I'm, I'm a, I am inspired by leaders, who are people who can lead by example, and know how to get their hands dirty and get stuff done. And, and set that example, I'm not so much a fan of people who had just kind of management by, by by trade and and operate like that, I think that good leaders are people who can who can set the right example. And that's kind of, that's the kind of thing that I would like to do and hope that we can build a company in a culture where, where the leaders can operate like that, too.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 17:49
Thank you. That's really interesting. And so I have to ask you, a lot of founders really, really hate the idea of having people that they're responsible for their work, that they will need to, you know, basically management and manage them. I know you said this management by example. But still, you have to make sure that people do their work and finish it and all that. What about you? What beliefs or perspectives Do you have that makes you excited about doing that compared to a lot of founders who prefer to be alone or just with a co founder, and never ever need to deal with additional team members?
Grant Shaddick 18:31
Yeah, I mean, there's, I can understand that there's, there's an attraction to keeping things small and intimate, or close and intimate, so that you can stay in a comfort zone. But I think inevitably, you know, all big companies and leaders of big companies have to have to move out of that the sort of experience that I turned to, you know, doing that, when thinking about this is when I was younger, I played a lot of rugby, which is a big sport in New Zealand. And, you know, working in a rugby team, everyone has different roles, and there are leaders, there's the captain of the team, there are the sort of senior players and the backs and the forwards. I was the captain of my team for a while and sort of got a taste of what it means to lead a sports team there. And in that environment, you can't just lead or manage by not doing you, you are the leader and the manager, but you have to be doing as well. And to sort of motivate your team. I mean, certainly the captains that I played under there were there was nothing more motivating than seeing the captain as as one of the best players on the team or the ones setting the example. So I think that transfers into into work as well.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 19:43
Thank you. This is really, really fascinating. And then I will ask you another thing related, which is a lot of founders, especially in the no code community spend all their time coding or building their tools and all that and therefore they don't know Eat potential co founders or people who help them scale or team members? How? Like, did you develop your connection or friendship, at work with your co founder so that you're doing enough projects together? Where you trust each other? Was it a conscious decision or just chemistry of the moment and friendship? As well as? How important do you think networking should be for any co founder? Is it more important to focus on your product? Or on knowing people meeting people having people who could open doors for you? What's your perspective on this?
Grant Shaddick 20:39
Yeah, so I'll start with the co founder, one, and then get to the sort of network versus focus thing. I think the again, I'm only I'm only talking, I'm only answering from the example of one because I've only had one, one co founder. And I think our relationship works, because of three factors. Chemistry and friendship, like we are friends, and we get along outside of and got along, before we ever did any projects together. Time, you know, we have worked together, since we've worked together in some form, be it in companies or projects or whatever, since 2015. So we've we've known each other for a long time and you know, worked in various capacities together. So there's, there's a deep sort of understanding of each each other and what we can do and how we work. And I think within that there's some complement complementary skills there, we're here, my co founder has an incredible engineer, and engineering leader. He can, he can build some insane stuff that he knows how to lead teams, engineering teams really well, as well. And I know how to design stuff. And I know how to sort of talk to people and kind of be the outward facing side of the product or the organization. And then I think the third thing is personality, we have personalities that can kind of fit together and we understand one another and can deal with one another when things get tough. And they obviously get tough. And that's just something that you have to be prepared for. And I think, if you can, if you can be working with someone that you you know, as a personality, there's some cohesion, or, you know, it's complimentary, that that'll make things a lot easier. I think, if I had a co founder who was like a mirror image of my personality, it would be more difficult. And I think a lot of people would, would probably, I imagine a lot of people would would face a similar thing where you're kind of clashing with something that is kind of the exact same as you if there's some difference there, it means that there's a better fit in terms of being a team. When it comes to finding a co founder and focus, I would say that focus on your product is the more important thing and focus on your product stretches beyond just building the thing but focus on your product in terms of who's using it, the users, the customers and and how you reach them. That plus actually building the product that those two things I think should be the first priority because that's that's the core. But you can't ignore the effect or result of a network and, and staying connected and meeting people who may not be your your user or customer. But you know, that the relationship can can help. There's been lots of situations where we've made significant progress or opened up doors and opportunities through people we know and relationships that we've had. So whether you are purposeful about it, where you sort of go to networking events, or you are just someone who stays present in communities, to a sufficient degree, I think you do need to do a bit of that, but focusing on the product and your customers and users that that should still be the main focus.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 24:01
Thank you. And then also to know another thing, since you're the one facing the people getting to know the customers and all that a lot of founders struggle with adding too many features. And then some of them the users don't really care about and all that. How do you decide strategically since you don't have unlimited time and resources, which features maybe people don't even know they want that maybe you will let them see the value of it and which features should be in the someday or never or maybe categories that although they will look cool and be good. It's not time for them yet or they're not a priority.
Grant Shaddick 24:46
I think the the certainly the attitude that we take is just try and build it as quick as you can. There's no better prototype or like proof that something can work or could work. code does work, then it actually being a real part of the product and people using it. And that's, that's really how we how we do things. We, if we have an idea, and we're excited by it, and we can see some potential, we don't do too much planning, we just get it designed, get it shipped as quick as we can and see how people use it. And if it, if it doesn't work as well, then, you know, we might deprecated or get rid of it, or try and improve it. And that's, that's really how we, we try and do things. This obviously doesn't work for every team and every person. But it's, it's works enough for us. And we like doing that like that, to us, this is fun, we don't enjoy the idea of like, a lot of planning and validation, when it doesn't come to the actual real thing where truly the rubber hits the road, so to speak. That's it. Anything that gives you more speed to like learning, you know, how the the product or the feature is going to perform is a good thing. So if you can get to the same point, or you think you can get to the same point through prototypes, and or even just conversations with people, that gives you some signal about how your idea or feature is going to work then, then you should do that. So yeah, that's kind of the way we think about it. In terms of which do we have to make a gut call on? Which features do we have to make a gut call and what we think users will need, even though they're not asking for it? Yeah, I think that's that's sort of where you get to the mystery, mysterious dark arts sort of part of building products. If you Ernest, if you're lucky enough to be a founder or maker in a space of a product that you use, and like to use and understand you have a close connection to what it means to be to be an end user, I think you have an advantage, that's a bit easier. If you're building in a space where you're sort of a little bit removed from that you are not truly an end user, you know, dealing with the same things that your users do, it's a bit harder, and I think people who who do that, and could do that well, are really impressive because there's there's a different level of kind of decision making and prioritization that you have to end learning, you really have to, you truly have to be an observer and and listen to the right things from from your users and customers to then kind of make some kind of aggregate call about what what to build. And I think that's just a little bit easier if you are kind of building something where you're an end user of and we kind of fortunate with, with teller being something that we use every day and, and want to use every day. So yeah,
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 27:38
thank you. This was such an enriching conversation for people who might not even be aware of the full functionalities of tele, can you summarize, what is it? How can you make the videos fun? What features does it have? And where can people go to learn more or begin to use tele and I'll make sure in the episode description to write the website link.
Grant Shaddick 28:02
So I think you did a pretty good job of explaining it at the start. But tele edits basic is a screening camera recorder that works inside of your browser, then we also have a Chrome extension, you can record your screen only your camera only your screen and camera at the same time. You can also upload and present slides, you can record videos in separate clips, which is where the first sort of main difference between us and other other competitors arises. So if you have a 510 minute video to make, that's a long amount of recording. In most recorders, you kind of have to record five or 10 minutes in a go. And then you have to then go and maybe edit out all the stuff that you know and mistakes and things in tele we have this feature called clips, so you can record the first part of your video, maybe the intro, you can record the next part of your video could be the demo. And then you can record the final part of your video, which could be the outro In summary, and you can break those into these three separate clips, which means that you don't have to do so much recording in one go and worry about getting that right you can kind of use clips as building blocks. So that's sort of the first main difference in terms of and that also helps make it easier for you to kind of create a video that's, that's fun and interesting because you can focus on improving and nailing these smaller bits of content, small bits of videos rather than the whole thing. In terms of the editing side of things, we keep it really simple. You can customize layouts, pick some cool backgrounds, add some other styling things and and do some basic video editing. And we we hope that that kind of package of of recording flexibility and, and simple editing features means you can create interesting videos without much effort. There's a bunch of other stuff that you can do with the product, but you can try the product out too. To learn more about that and you can find [email protected]
That's t e l l l a.tv Or you can find us on Twitter for our regular updates and other other stuff, which is at teller HQ.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 30:09
Thank you. I was going to end the podcast. But I'm curious why focusing on Twitter rather than LinkedIn, for example, were more of the employees and the people who might be your ideal customers would be expected at least or in theory going to be? Yeah, that's
Grant Shaddick 30:27
a good question. We definitely don't ignore LinkedIn, we still have a presence there. I couldn't tell you what our handle for LinkedIn is, it's probably just teller or teller HQ. So we still post and try and keep things alive there. Certainly, Twitter works a bit better, I think, because there's a stronger maker and creative community. And that is still where we have a lot of interest. So even though in larger organizations, they're probably you know, those people might be spending more time on LinkedIn. There's certainly a more lively and engaging, engaged community of people building stuff, who want to be able to turn that and create videos for their products and how tos and tutorials and courses and that kind of thing. Those Those people tend to be on Twitter.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 31:11
Thank you so much, Grant. This was an enriching conversation. I really learned a lot from you, and I wish you to keep going and to build your dreams with your co founder. You're doing a great thing.
Grant Shaddick 31:24
Awesome. Thank you for having me. This has been a really fun chat. I've enjoyed the questions and and the thoughts from you as well. So thanks for having me, Aziz