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Pierre de Wulf chats with Benedikt and Benedicte about ScrapingBee, PricingBot, growing with a small team, and leveraging communities. Scrapingbee.com Microsoft Clarity Nathan Barry on compensation at ConvertKit TinySeed Follow Pierre on Twitter The ScrapingBee Blog It wasn't the best of times, but it wasn't the worst of times. Pierre, co-founder of ScrapingBee, was excited to come record and get some relief from debugging an infrastructure issue. Debugging can be challenging work but it comes with the territory of owning a SaaS — customers don't want to do this, so they will pay for it!ScrapingBee is growing quite nicely thanks in part to a solid product with a good fit and a tightknit team. After first working on PricingBot, a price-monitoring service for e-commerce, Pierre and his co-founder pivoted as their runway was dwindling. They created a web scraping API very quickly with ScrapingBee, secured a spot in TinySeed during the pandemic, and passed the $1M ARR threshold with a fully remote team last year.Pierre, Benedicte, and Benedikt discuss the impact of community involvement, support, acquisition, SEO, and more!
We're back! Benedicte waits to hear back on a Gatsby proposal. Benedikt returns from vacation.Norway's Constitution DayBenedicte sent out a proposal for more project-based Gatsby work and is anxious to hear back. She made progress on her article for Smashing Magazine as well and is looking forward to feedback on the draft. She is finding it difficult to narrow down exactly what level of expertise the audience will have and knows that meeting her audience at their technical level will be critical when writing her book. Reluctantly, Benedicte places POW! on the back burner, at least for a few months. Leaning into the Gatsby work feels more important. Norway just celebrated Constitution Day, so Oslo was a party! Endless ice cream included.Benedikt took a vacation last week. While the computer came with him, he didn't do anything more than a few notification checks — no fires to put out! Userlist finally, officially launched the new signup flow and they haven't seen any errors in the rollout. They are also getting closer to launching the new pricing plan as well, something that will likely be wrapped up by the end of the quarter. Benedikt might have some bandwidth to work on the Stripe integration, but it's unclear how much work remains there. Finally, Userlist grows again as the new community advocate just came aboard!
Benedicte is anxious about an inbound lead for new Gatsby work. Benedikt is almost done with the new signup flow implementation. Userlist — Now Hiring: Community Advocate Write Useful Books by Rob Fitzpatrick Web Scraping with Pierre of ScrapingBee ScrapingBee — a web scraping tool React Norway Benedicte has an inbound lead for some potential Gatsby work. It's exciting, but she's anxious to see what comes of it. She talks about Rob Fitzpatrick's book, Write Useful Books, and the difference in the effort needed to produce different types of content — short books, livestreams, produced video, etc. In other updates, Pierre, founder of Scraping Bee, will join Queen Raae on stream this week and Benedicte will speak at React Norway this summer!Benedikt is (almost!) done with the new signup flow and he reflects on the complexity and work estimation. He's satisfied with the implementation but still hopes to learn how to better recognize and estimate these larger efforts in the future. Benedikt's planned Friday administration work got pushed in favor of some recreational coding — creating a password strength indicator for Userlist. Although he feels a little guilty, it was a fun break. Speaking of fun... Benedikt is taking a week off!Finally, Userlist is hiring a part-time Community Advocate. Check out the job description in the show notes above.
Benedikt closes in on a major feature implementation. Benedicte gets some feedback on 1:1 calls and POW! Rails Autoscale DataCater Using DataCater to connect your app to Userlist Smashing Magazine Person of the Week POW! Reddit thread Gatsby Webinar on Plugins (2019) Unified.js Benedikt and the Userlist team are getting pretty close to finishing the new signup flow. Or they were... Benedicte points out a potential edge case. Either way, they've made progress and benefitted from treating the effort as a major feature instead of trying to cut corners. Benedikt celebrated a relaxing Easter recently as well — largely offline thanks to the maturing team and product. He cleared his inbox and recorded a video for Userlist with a friend who runs DataCater. If you have any suggestions for Heroku alternatives, send Benedikt a DM. He's finding it harder to stay a big fan amidst recent outages.Benedicte is feeling appreciated, and for a good reason! She was named Smashing Magazine's "Person of the Week" and has received lots of love. No coding on POW! to report back this week, but plans are coming together and she received some feedback around product preferences on a Reddit thread. In addition to POW! feedback, she also got some on her Gatsby calls. The "emergency" branding might not resonate with everyone, but she finds the calls rewarding. Benedicte plans to do more selling and outreach for Queen Raae services. Surprise! Things don't sell themselves. As a reward for completing other work, she has been working with markdown, trees, and other fun tools.
Anna Maste is the founder of Subscribe Sense, a business she started after exiting Boondockers Welcome. Subscribe Sense — Anna's new business  Boondockers Welcome Music video fun Follow Anna on Twitter Smart Subscriber — Shai Schechter's email tool RightMessage — Brennan Dunn's & Shai Schechter's email tool Deploy Empathy — a book by Michele Hansen Benedikt and Benedicte host Anna Maste, founder of Subscribe Sense. Subscribe Sense is an email tool created to ensure subscribers to your mailing lists are confirming their subscriptions with a double opt-in. Before exiting her previous business Boondockers Welcome, Anna realized that she had leads who had not confirmed their signup to her lists. Subscribe Sense aims to increase confirmation rates.Benedikt and Anna talk about some of the opportunities and dangers when working with email providers. Userlist has had to ask similar questions about handling emails and user behavior. The three discuss how Anna's previous exit played out, what her expectations are for Subscribe Sense post-exit, how she delineates development and marketing work, and how education and software stacks play a role in getting to an MVP.Not to mention, Anna can make a killer parody music video!
Benedikt is working on a new signup flow for Userlist. Benedicte has fun at MicroConf. Adam McCrea of Rails Autoscale Andrew Culver of Bullet Train Dr. Sherry Walling Michael Christofides of pgMustard Llama Life has raised a pre-seed funding round! Benedicte returns from MicroConf ending several weeks of travel. Physically, she's tired. Mentally, she's energized! She made the most of quick stops in New York City, met some listeners at the conferences, and embraces something very scary... improv. The Gatsby emails keep going out and she gets feedback on POW! from the women at MicroConf. Benedikt poses the question: "How important is the encryption in POW!'s value proposition?"Benedikt and Leo work together on a new signup flow for Userlist that Jane designed. This work touched some of the oldest code in the codebase so it felt good to give it an update. Changing the Stripe implementation to modernize it was a win as well. Not sponsored! Userlist hired a new Customer Success Engineer — Michael from pgMustard. He's off to the races and even answered an inquiry with the knowledge he had from listening to this podcast.To wrap up, recent Slow & Steady guests are getting funded. Coincidence? Come on the show and find out!
tldraw with Steve Ruiz

tldraw with Steve Ruiz

2022-04-0701:15:50

Benedikt and Benedicte chat with Steve Ruiz about tldraw, art, and slicing pizzas 11 ways. Steve's website Steve's artwork perfect-arrows perfect-freehand globs.design Cuttle Follow Steve on Twitter Steve Ruiz combines art, design, and tech. In his career, he transitioned from an artist to a designer that coded, and then to working with algorithms and tinkering with design-related tools. Many of these projects throughout the years shared an open source theme and tldraw, his current focus, is no different.Steve tells Benedicte and Benedikt the story of tldraw — taking it from a side project, to going full time, to recently acquiring funding. While the "tiny little drawing" app has taken off relatively quickly, it becomes clear as he recalls previous projects that Steve's success is enabled by all his past work and experimentation on similar ideas.The trio discusses a ton of other interesting topics: building a team, creating with constraints, open source software, and more.
Google Workspace Woes

Google Workspace Woes

2022-03-3130:41

Benedikt's productive week included migrating to Google Workspace. Benedicte heads to MicroConf in Minneapolis. Steve is coming soon! tldraw — Steve's app Gatsby ImageCDN stream MicroConf Growth Benedicte is feeling frustrated. While Steve will still be coming on in a future episode, she yearns for more time and energy to do all of the things! Knowing that progress will go slow and steady instead, planning out focus projects should help. On the less frustrating side, the Gatsby version of the POW! marketing site will be complete soon. For those headed to MicroConf that want to meet up, reach out to Benedicte on Twitter.The CSV import feature that Benedikt has been working on is getting very close and he feels optimistic. On the backend application, he updated to the latest versions of Ruby and Rails. And Userlist published their Heap integration and it is working smoothly. This was an integration they have worked on for a while and it will provide some promotional opportunities. Finally, though it wasn't the easiest, Userlist is making the switch to Google Workspace. While Benedikt is thankful that the Google apps will work more nicely together, the process isn't the most "fun".
On the Road Again

On the Road Again

2022-03-2440:18

Benedicte returns to the show from Athens. Benedikt tackles some complexity in a new feature. The War of Art — a book by Steven Pressfield Seth Godin on "the resistance" pgMustard — review Postgres query plans MicroConf Growth After checking in with Brian last episode, Benedicte is back on the show. Her travel isn't slowing down just yet — after she returns from Athens it will be off to America for MicroConf Growth. She's excited to talk to others in the space about growing the POW! team. So far, the decision still feels good. One of her goals is to define an "engine" for POW! similar to the one she has established for Queen Raae. It should help kickstart some increased productivity.Benedikt had a busy week working on a CSV upload feature. This feature should alleviate some of the customer support work where users have been sending in lots of sheets for import. The data structures differ, the instructions can be unclear — allowing customers to upload and manipulate their data before import should help out. Benedikt also spent some time refactoring which kicked off an interesting discussion about deciding when to refactor.If you know of ways to speed up Benedikt's testing, shoot us a message!
After taking a three month break from the podcast, Brian joins Benedikt for an update episode. After ending their year on the road adventure after seven months, Brian and his family are back in their hometown in Colorado. In a couple of weeks they'll finally be able to move back into their house. Brian's board game project is in the pipeline with the potential publisher. However, things move a lot slower than Brian and his friend were hoping for. Nonetheless, everyone in the industry confirms that this isn't unusual in the early stages. To keep their creative juices flowing, they both started working on a new, competitive, deck building game. While he's sad that his dream of building a software business as a solo founder didn't work out, Brian's very happy about his job at GitLab. The work is still fun and fulfilling, even though the number of meetings on his calendar increased. Overall, he's a lot more relaxed so the move back into full time employment was the right decision for him. Benedikt has been fixing a problem with Userlist's data processing pipeline in the past week. A very specific set of conditions caused problems for a customer and it took quite some head scratching to figure things out. Ultimately, he's happy that he's now got a team in place so development work doesn't fully stop when unexpected things like this disrupt the week's plan. 
POW! Turns Two

POW! Turns Two

2022-03-1042:30

Benedicte's app, POW!, turns two years old on International Women's Day. Benedikt enjoys the ability to pair program again. Benedicte's app, POW! Done for you Demo on queen.raae.codes Benedicte has worked on POW! for two years and she brings some exciting news this week — the team will be expanding! After being more of a back burner project last year, POW! is going to have a bigger focus in 2022 with another developer joining the team. There are some outstanding legal things to figure out, and Benedikt offers some advice when growing the "tiny muffin", but a bigger team will help tackle the complexity of the app. Additionally, Benedicte has finished the Done-for-you Integration Demo sales page.Though it is a bit tricky to test at this point, Benedikt is feeling good about the progress on Userlist's new authorization layer. The two discuss some of the complexity in working through that, but Benedikt thinks he's close to a rollout of an early version. Leo, the new developer at Userlist, continues to contribute and refactored lots of code last week. Benedikt has enjoyed the ability to pair again, particularly when the two of them arrive at a solution that is better than what they could have arrived at alone, individually.Finally, Brian will be returning to the show next week to chat with Benedikt. Unfortunately, Benedicte won't make it as she's headed to London. For those that will be in London on Wednesday, March 16, send her a DM on Twitter to attend her in-person meetup!
Benedicte enjoys a serene winter wonderland. Benedikt adds an unexpected integration. Userlist's Better Done Than Perfect podcast UI Breakfast Podcast. Episode 233: Demystifying Product Funnels with Rachel Obstler (of Heap) Benedicte and Benedikt are feeling calm. Benedicte has been staying in the woods outside of Oslo on vacation. Her cell phone and Twitter use are down, and she has been relaxing — skiing and spending family time. Before vacation, she was doing some refactoring on POW! to make it easier to add features in the future. Looking ahead, Benedicte will be traveling to London to visit her dad and to meet up with friends from the interwebs! After that, on to Athens.Benedikt details a win for Userlist — finalizing a new privacy policy and terms of service for GDPR compliance. It was expensive, not so fun, and they may need more updates again soon. Keeping with the recent integration theme, he worked on an unexpected one for Heap, a powerful analytics tool. After many years he also started building an authorization solution to allow for enabling access based on pricing tiers or user roles in the future.
Marie joins Benedicte and Benedikt to discuss building Llama Life, a productivity app centered around focus and fun, in public. Follow Marie on Twitter Llama Life — work through your to-do list with focus and fun First version of Llama Life www.fidgetpage.com — a small project that drives Llama Life traffic Llama Life is a web-based productivity tool that Marie built to help you work through a to-do list, not just build one. While she isn't new to startups, she is new to coding. Self-taught and working as a solo founder until recently, Marie reminds herself that indie hacking on Llama Life is a dream job that combines design, marketing, and her newfound capabilities in software development.Moving quickly as both the designer and developer, Marie continued to build Llama Life after finding early encouragement on Twitter. The product started simple and grew to include authentication, a database, and payments. While the productivity application space is crowded, she built Llama Life out of her own needs. When diagnosed with ADHD, Marie became obsessed with solving for focus and attention and needed a tool that allowed for setting quick timers and one that was also fun.Listen in to learn the story behind the fun branding, how Marie leverages her marketing strengths, and what's ahead for Llama Life!
Benedikt asks some tough comparison questions. Benedicte leans on the "engine" and has some fun. Hacker News, Date Comparison Zach Holman: The Kobayashi Maru of Comparing Dates with Times Benedikt's date and time comparison tweet Slow & Steady, on YouTube! Done-for-you Demo Draft You're basically a house plant... Have you weighed in on Benedikt's data comparison conundrum yet? He stirred up quite the team conversation at Userlist, and on Twitter, too. There were some hot takes and lengthy discussions, but he was thankful to have a team to run some difficult date-handling questions by. He was also thankful to get back some deep focus time this week to tackle the challenge. He uploaded the catalog of Slow & Steady episodes to YouTube — now one more place you can listen!Benedicte relied on the Gatsby engine while she had some fun last week. Covid restrictions were lifted in Norway over the weekend. She got drinks with several friends and visited briefly with her sister in person after years apart. On stream last week, viewers seemed to enjoy a more freeform troubleshooting session and she finished a draft of her done-for-you demo. While POW! didn't qualify for TinySeed this year, Benedicte has a friend interested in helping with the marketing and customers interviews.And Brian? He's settled in Boulder and is doing well!
Celebrate the Praise

Celebrate the Praise

2022-02-1050:23

Benedicte shares some positive feedback. Benedikt moves forward with a suite of integrations. Queen Raae, testimonial tweet  An embarrassed Queen Raae on stream Userlist Integrations page Benedicte is feeling flattered, is receiving praise online, and saving this kind of feedback for the future in a "brag folder". She recommends starting one of these for brightening up a gloomy day or for reminding you of your achievements when it comes time for performance reviews. In addition to working on some new sales pages, Benedicte has applied to TinySeed with POW!. She doesn't meet the recommended MRR threshold but discusses the motivations behind applying anyway.Benedikt hasn't had the strictest focus given recent customer support issues and new hire ramp-up time, but he has made lots of progress with the Userlist integrations despite this. Some companies make this work easier for developers than others — Stripe is one of the good ones (add this to the list of non-sponsored Stripe shoutout episodes). In another milestone, Userlist has moved all email marketing to... Userlist! This was made possible with the feature update from last year and they finally made the jump over.
Fully Vested!

Fully Vested!

2022-02-0349:53

Time flies for Benedikt at Userlist. Benedicte will save you from your Gatsby emergency. TinySeed: an accelerator for SaaS bootstrappers How to Start a Podcast in 2022 – Beginners Podcasting Guide with @mijustin Emergency Gatsby Call Sales Page Syntax - Tasty Web Development Treats with @wesbos and @stolinski Llama Life - calm, focused productivity Bannerbear — generate marketing visuals Benedikt has a frustrating day but shares a big milestone — after 50 months, his shares in Userlist have fully vested. He details how the business agreement between the Userlist co-founders worked and why it was smart to have it in place early on. Benedikt also shares a "royal screwup" story from the past week. After deleting an entire account he was able to restore everything after only several hours of work. In fact, despite the undesirable set of events, the success of the recovery effort is a "win".Benedicte launches her "Emergency Gatsby Call" sales page for those stuck on a reef — a one-on-one call to the rescue! She plans to make a page for giving talks as well. Some people think she works for Gatsby. These pages will help reinforce that she can help do Gatsby work for them. The upcoming streams include some plug-in making and code reviews.The two talk integrations, dunning emails, and they tease a future guest!
Benedikt and Benedicte chat with Lesley about her product Newsletter Glue. Lesley's website Follow Lesley on Twitter Newsletter Glue — Lesley's product WordPress Gutenberg Benedicte's Tree Top Hut getaway POW! Lesley Sim, co-founder of Newsletter Glue and fan of unique top-level domains, discusses product pivots, finding co-founders and freelancers, bootstrapping, WordPress, and more.Newsletter Glue is a plug-in that allows you to build and publish newsletters with the power of WordPress. The current offering is the result of a zoom-in pivot where Lesley solved one of her own problems. She works on the product remotely with her technical co-founder, Ahmed, and they've seen traction since the pivot.The three wrap up with weekly updates. Benedicte gets a new customer for POW!, Benedikt shares a meaningful win, and Lesley is riding a productive wave.
Dodging "Blue Monday"

Dodging "Blue Monday"

2022-01-2039:14

The third Monday of January may be a downer, but not for Benedikt and Benedicte! Blue Monday The Great Gatsby with Queen Raae - REACT 168 Benedikt: Tree data structure thread Smashing Magazine Benedikt is bathing in artificial light, exercising, and staying focused thanks to the new frontend developer, Leo, at Userlist. These factors, combined with a good year and small raise, have him beating the usual winter blues. Last week they helped a customer through a spam attack and he completed more integration work. Benedikt has enjoyed talking through the code with another developer. Benedicte, feeling confused about progress last week, is nonetheless keeping the engine alive. Schools are closing and childcare has been tricky but she had glimpses of "supermom". She completed her first non-hourly contract, started a draft for her Smashing Magazine article, kept up with yoga, and will even sneak in a short treehouse cabin trip this week. Like Benedikt, she has also enjoyed discussing code at a higher level with Ola as he comes up to speed.
Party in Oslo!

Party in Oslo!

2022-01-1328:16

Benedicte celebrates her birthday and Benedikt dives into backend work. Latest stream with Mirjam  The Great Gatsby with Queen Raae - REACT 168 While Benedicte enjoys a birthday tradition, the momentum from last week has slowed down. Not to fear — the Gatsby "engine" is proving a valuable way to keep things moving along. Routine, systems, and daily email writing were all "winners" for the week. A podcast appearance on React Round Up went well, too.Benedikt adjusts to working with Userlist's newest addition, Leo. Despite delegating tasks, Benedikt realized he is still spending time thinking about the delegated work. Otherwise, the onboarding is off to an excellent start and it has allowed Benedikt a chance to focus on the backend work. Exercise returns as a focus as well.Admire anyone that is working "slow and steady" on their business? Let us know and perhaps we'll have them on as a guest!
Setting Goals for 2022

Setting Goals for 2022

2022-01-0649:19

Welcome to the new year! Benedicte and Benedikt report on their year-end breaks and share a few goals for the coming year. YearCompass — reflect on the year and plan the next oneBenedicte enjoyed a great Christmas holiday and New Year's celebration. Between a trip to the mountains, sledding on toboggans, and watching the fireworks over Oslo, she felt invigorated to get started in 2022. Her encryption and privacy talk went well and she already has a podcast appearance and streams lined up to kick off the year.Benedikt's holidays were not quite as relaxing, but he still enjoyed some of the family time and took a trip to the Black Forest. One big win was onboarding Userlist's new frontend developer. Benedikt says he's a great fit, is learning the code, and it felt good that things were getting done while he was away. They also hired a new customer success manager from their previous short-list, who already jumped in and helped with a recent AWS outage.For 2021 review and 2022 goal setting Benedicte and Benedikt used the YearCompass framework. Benedicte's theme is "slow and steady". She has goals to avoid "shiny object" temptations and to keep progressing the things that are working for Queen Raae. She still has to decide on what that means for POW! — will it be the year that POW! becomes all that it can be? Benedikt isn't big on trackable or concrete goals either, though he wants Userlist to become profitable. Not profitable for just the sake of it, but to break even for longer-term financial stability.
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