Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots

Giant Robots Smashing Into Other Giant Robots

GRSIOGR is a weekly podcast from thoughtbot discussing the business of great software products. Hosted by Ben Orenstein, we delve deep behind the scenes of thoughtbot's SaaS products. Ben is often joined by fellow developers and entrepreneurs.

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    209: Playlist Driven Development

    On Drip, Derrick deals with a high-bandwidth customer and hires a new devops team member. Meanwhile, Ben brainstorms new pricing structures for Hound.

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    208: Efficiency Starts With a Haircut

    Derrick switches domains from to, begins to update the design of the Drip widget, and tries to find balance in his varying roles as CTO. Ben hands off the reins of Upcase, switches to a low-tech project management solution, and mixes work and personal todos.

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    207: Database & Queue are Dirty Words (Derrick Reimer)

    Ben welcomes guest co-host Derrick Reimer, co-founder of Drip, getting to know his background and products for our first outside-thoughtbot view on SaaS strategy (as well as Ben's arm-twisty methods for getting him on the podcast in the first place)!

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    206: I'm Glad We Talked About This (Chad Pytel)

    thoughtbot CEO Chad Pytel joins Ben to discuss our recent office closings and reasons necessitating this decision, what this means for the product team, and the future of thoughtbot. Also, a teaser of what to expect next from Giant Robots Podcast.

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    205: Bottling Calm

    Fresh back from vacation, Ben shifts his attention to a Hound project, adding in tiered plans and pricing. Chris begins to build out a drip sequence for content recommendations, prepares to roll off to return to client work, and leaves us with some final reflections, takeaways, and lessons learned while on Upcase.

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    204: Disinclined, For Simplicity's Sake

    Chris delves into marketing mode for the TDD course, removes more client-side analytics code, and starts redesigning the information architecture on Upcase. On FormKeep, Ben alerts users to site down-time, removes all pay-per-form logic from the codebase, and begins to set up trials sans credit-card.

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    203: Worry Beads on Business Chains

    Ben receives some insight on customer referrals for FormKeep, applies his pricing philosophy to Hound, and realizes a personal blind-spot when it comes to customer satisfaction. On Upcase, Chris patches an automated follow-up messaging bug leading to enhanced focus on server-side analytics, welcomes Tyson to the team to begin work on trail mapping course content, and soft launches the Fundamentals of TDD trail.

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    202: A Full 360

    Ben rants about bad jokes on twitter, doesn't ship any improved activation features on FormKeep this week, irons out some bugs on FormLinter, and begins an ad campaign. Chris contemplates shifting Upcase's business model, and walks through the impetus driving this decision.

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    201: The Difficulty is in Focusing

    Ben encounters a downed FormKeep and enables a monitoring service, completes the un-grandfathering process for accounts on old tiers, and begins work on improving activation flow. Chris sends out a survey to users and discovers a shift in the Upcase demographics.

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    200: Summertime Sadness

    Chris digs into the causes for a MRR drop, discovering usage trends with seasonality; and in the process gets a clearer picture of Upcase's user base. Also, he welcome Geoff to the project, and begins a new marketing initiative driven by user testimonials. Ben welcomes Tyson onto team Formkeep to begin redesigning on boarding, and continues FormLinter improvements / marketing.

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