Nate Quigley is the co-founder of Chatbooks, an online service that takes the photos you post to social media, automatically creating your own photo book subscription. Photo books are mailed to your door every month, without any difficult editing, photoshop or layout work. His company is living proof that proper listening is the best creative tool you have.
Check Out The Data Behind Chatbooks
What’s most interesting about the Chatbooks model is its low tech appeal. Most people think print is dying, but the data supports the fact that people do want tangible beautiful print.
Nate Quigley, Chatbooks, and Print >
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Check out my article on Nate Quigley, Chatbooks, and the reign of Print >
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Full Transcript of Nate Quigley Interview
Justin Brady 0:04
My name is Justin Brady. Let’s talk about turning your business, your team and you into a creativity cultivator.
Justin Brady 0:14
Hello, cultivators, that is officially I think the name I’m going to stick with cultivators. I like it. And we have Nate Quigley today. Nate, thanks for joining us on the podcast.
Nate Quigley 0:26
Justin. Thanks for having me.
Justin Brady 0:28
You’re that you’re the CEO of chat books, which is a subscription-based photo book service. And you’re in Provo, Utah. The reason we were connected is because, Ryan over a previous podcast guest Ryan, his people said, Oh my gosh, you need to talk to Nate quickly over at Chatbooks.
Nate Quigley 0:44
That’s very nice of them. I listened to the ryan episode and it was great we live. We live two doors away from each other in the neighborhood. And then our offices are sort of building apart as well. So we bumped into each other all the time.
Justin Brady 1:00
So Chatbooks is this basically automatically create 60-page photo book volumes, like your own magazine subscription kind of have your own photos, from photos that people create with their smartphones. And you know, based on what you share on social media and Instagram, each of you know a book arrives at your door and each like eight bucks and shipping is free.
Nate Quigley 1:24
That’s it. Yeah, we tried to take all of the work out of photo books. I love that kind of the interesting little thing we discovered was that people still love having printed photos in their life. But we’re not doing it because it’s a pain, right used to stick a roll of film and the cameras I’m I’m ancient, so I used to actually have a film camera. And I would put film in it and you know, you take 24 pictures with 34 pictures and you wanted to see what was on them. So you dropped him off the one hour thing while you were shopping at Costco and then you you know, you got to see your photos for the first time when you open up the little envelope. And that’s you know, it’s it’s obviously we took a lot Photos, but we had to print them all to see what they looked like and had them in our lives and we put them up on our walls, we stuck them in little books. And then, you know, we made the big switch to digital, and we were taking tons more photos, but it was no longer quite so easy to sort of, you know, drop them off when you’re going to buy some groceries and pick them up on the way out. And so we’re printing, you know, way fewer photos, we thought, is there a way to get the, you know, get photos kind of back into our lives without adding work.
Justin Brady 2:32
Digital ease, but with print?
Nate Quigley 2:33
Yeah, that’s it. That’s it. And so what we came up with was, let’s just print people’s Instagram feeds, because we’re taking tons of photos. And we’re kind of curating and doing all the, you know, the only hard work is, is curating which of these 10 photos that I took to I want to post and how do I want to crop it and all that said, Well, I already did all that when I posted to Instagram and I kind of wrote the puffy you know seven-word caption Yeah. happened actually exactly the right thing to put underneath the photo if you’re going to print it. And so we just tapped into the Instagram API and and and came up with the Chatbooks ongoing photo book series, where we started at photo one that you ever shared Instagram and we took the next 60 photos and made that into Volume One of your ongoing book series, we printed Volume One and the date range of those photos on the spine of that book. And then every 60 photos, we sent you another Volume.
Justin Brady 3:28
Basically, you’re creating your own magazine subscription of your own family photos.
Nate Quigley 3:33
We call it the magazine subscription to your life. Yeah, I learned that you don’t even have to order I mean, because it’s a subscription service. It’s not a time-based subscription, but it’s a usage-based subscription. So every time you post 60 photos, Instagram, we send you a notification and we say hey, you know you got another volume 17 is ready to go. If you want to come, you know edit, edit it pick a different cover. exclude a few photos of cereal or you know Whatever you can, or don’t worry about it. And in three days, it’s going to go to press and we’ll just mail it to you and, and lots and lots and lots of our customers just put it on complete autopilot. Yeah. And they don’t even know a book is coming. They just go out to the mailbox one day, and it’s there. Yeah, their little green envelope there and they get excited.
Justin Brady 4:17
So cool. I love it. Apparently, it caught on because you guys sold over a million of these in your first 18 months.
Nate Quigley 4:25
It’s crazy. We sold 500,000 in the first year. We sold the next 500,000 in the next six months. And it’s just continued to accelerate, you know, amazingly. And it’s been really, really fun.
Justin Brady 4:37
You’re the CEO of live TV before this. And you were also previously co-founder of 11 technology. And, you know, there’s a bunch of stuff you’ve done in the past. You also were you got your Bs and accounting from Brigham Young University MBA from Harvard. What was that like? At what point do you say oh my gosh, I should create Chatbooks… I mean, this is a really original is a very unique idea. And here’s the thing that’s fascinating to me. I am a huge print geek. I love print. And I love it very, very much. And I rarely find people who agree with me. I find people who agree with me on a sub-psychological level. But on a top-level, everyone’s like, oh, Prince dying, Digital’s the way to go. Yeah. And you know, we have people like 99 you that writes articles I’ve written I wrote an article for 99 new ones and ended up getting published in their magazine is a printed magazine with beautiful paper. So we have certain print applications that are taking off like you what you’re doing what they’re doing. But then we have traditional magazine subscriptions that are like suffering. So I mean, obviously you hit on something that I would be willing to say very few people could have predicted how wildly successful this would be. Yeah. So where did the idea come from?
Nate Quigley 5:59
It came from Wife. I mean, very, very simply, the answer is my wife and my co founder, and she is the chat Booker and chief and, and continues to kind of be the heart and soul of the product direction at the company.
Nate Quigley 6:13
She spends tons of time talking to our customers and just understanding them. And and this won’t surprise you or I don’t know, it wasn’t it wasn’t obvious at all to me which was which was, you know why it’s such a it’s such an interesting opportunity because I think it was, again, it’s it’s one of these things it’s true, but not obvious. Right? It’s It’s It’s a thing that is true, but only you know, it’s true. Right? At the beginning it Peter teal talks about how that’s, you know, one of the requirements of a great business is what do you believe that no one else believes.
Nate Quigley 6:45
But that is actually true.
Justin Brady 6:46
Nate Quigley 6:48
And the thing is, is what’s funny about this is it isn’t that no one else believes it. It’s to know men believe it.
Justin Brady 6:55
Nate Quigley 6:56
women immediately understand why you want to print photos.
Justin Brady 7:00
Nate Quigley 7:00
Men have to kind of be talked into it for an hour and then you show them some data and then you explain like 10 more ideas about why it might be right and they’re like, Okay, well and then they actually get a book of their photos and like yeah, that’s kind of cool i like that. Women it’s almost the exact opposite they say well why are you explain this to me like this? does of course want to put my photos
Justin Brady 7:20
right well, so I have a radio show into Moines, Iowa and it reaches the state and surrounding states as well. It’s called Saturday morning live and I don’t know a lot of podcasters actually know I have that show. But it’s it’s a local lively, more fun thing. We get to talk about local events, local happenings, and my co host Adrianne. I we brought this up because this was right after the ryan interview with politics and so we were doing okay, yeah, weekend. I just brought it up in the show. And it took like two seconds. It won’t probably it took 10 seconds for me to describe what this was and she lost her freakin mind. And she’s like, this is the best thing I’ve ever heard. Because she she and you know, I will watch your videos which your videos are hysterical. Oh, my God, great. They’re going to try to make this funny video that’s really stupid. But you pull it off so well. And there’s a there’s a subconscious level to why these are working as well. And I’m going to talk about you. I’m going to talk to talk to you about that another time. But I basically told her about this and she’s like, Oh my gosh, this is the lifesaver I need. She’s like, because I am that person. In that video. That’s me, like I spend all this time. I don’t want to spend all the time it is annoying. It is frustrating. And this is exactly and I think she probably signed up. I don’t know.
Nate Quigley 8:34
That’s awesome. I hope she did.
Justin Brady 8:36
But it’s genius idea. I love it.
Nate Quigley 8:38
Well, it all credit goes to my wife, Vanessa and then that the credit continues to go to the amazing women, our team. So we’re one of the odd tech companies where 70% of our team members are women. Wow. Including 60% of our of our leadership team. And we wouldn’t I mean, we just would be nowhere without the incredible women on our team. We would be nowhere without my wife’s initial inspiration like this sort of gut instinct that was, I want photos back in our lives, but I don’t have any time for a project. So you know, let’s figure out, just put my Instagram. I mean, she that’s literally what she said. And the little light bulb went off for me and a couple guys I had on the team and we went and sort of bang something out over the next couple of weeks. And you know, it wasn’t quite right at the beginning, but rabbit one or two more times, and all sudden, that’s it. And we sold the first book in in June of 2014. And we’re kind of like immediately running into operational and capacity problems like kind of one of these classic sort of overnight successes that came at the end of like a couple year grind of building the wrong thing and you know, doing everything wrong.
Justin Brady 9:44
Here’s the thing you talked about earlier you talked about it was this idea that like only you knew to be true. Yeah, if we want to go I want to get back to that a little bit. Because it was it was this idea that Oh, you you both knew, or at least your wife knew in her gut was a genius idea. It truly And I can, you know, from previous experience is it is a hard sell to anybody else you know, at least at least from the beginning, like from a from a business viability standpoint. It’s a tough sell.
Nate Quigley 10:11
Oh yeah. No investors were you know, it didn’t make any sense to investors, but again most investors are men, right mostly it’s unfortunate but it’s it’s it’s true that most, you know, most venture capital you know if you look at the venture capital gender statistics it’s crazy um it’s just it’s an industry run by men still.
Justin Brady 10:29
Right and men they’re not a lot of men like me who appreciate print and understand the psychological value it has to people.
Nate Quigley 10:36
Yeah, you know, it goes backwards. It’s one of these that it feels like wait a min I thought that’s over.
Justin Brady 10:42
Right, of course.
Nate Quigley 10:44
But you know, it says it turns out it’s not and you know, I think when we first saw the Kindle were like, well, books are dead books aren’t dead. No, no, no, of course not books or books are here to stay. And then obviously vinyl was completely dead with vinyls coming back. there’s a there’s a book called The Revenge of analog. It just talks about a whole bunch of use cases like this where we just are coming around to realize that digital and analog go together. Like, there’s a reason and a use case for both. Yes. And there’s something just about being a human being wandering the planet. You know, we’ve been picking up rocks and sticks for like, millions of years. And we just like to hold on to stuff
Justin Brady 11:21
We like tangible.
Nate Quigley 11:22
Yeah, it’s one of the five senses and it’s not going away.
Justin Brady 11:25
No, it’s not, you know, I would even venture to say, one of the senses, everybody, when they pick up a chat book, or, or, or a book, for example, or a magazine, one of the senses they don’t even know they’re using is smell. They have no idea. But that smell of a fresh cut paper does trigger certain things. And you know, we associate that with opening packaging and getting presence and it starts to trigger our childhood. So yeah, getting and receiving packaged goods and paper is very emotional experience. And yeah, you know, one of the things that people forget as touch as well is I 99 you for example, they have very very cool paper selections that they use in their magazines like really cool paper where the magazine? Yeah, General magazine subscriptions are still you know, going cheap for color. Yeah, paper. Yeah, I don’t I mean, yeah, but you know this what this talk a little bit about the kind of the blank stares you got when you introduce this because there are probably people like your wife at companies right now that have this truth only known to them idea. And they’re hitting opposition all the time. And they’re sitting on like this genius idea, and no one will give them the time of day.
Nate Quigley 12:36
Yeah. Oh, man. You know, I think that what’s great about 2017 is you don’t actually have to win these arguments. You can just go do it and prove it. Like we’re, we’re someone is not seeing it because it’s 2017. And this is not true for all ideas, but for, I think lots of ideas. The it’s so easy to sort of build a prototype, you know, to sort of Build a little version 0.01 and just launch it, you know? Yeah. And so I think that’s that, that’s probably the best advice I would have is because I don’t think I even believe that, you know, it’s my wife, I really want to believe her, but I’m kind of like really precarious room like, who’s gonna pay for that? Who’s going to buy Do you want that? But, you know, I was a guy, I didn’t get it until I actually, you know, got the first bunch of Chatbooks in the mail and see them on our bookshelf and see our kids looking at them. And I’m like, okay, but because it’s because it you know, you don’t have to raise $10 million dollars in venture capital to launch a beta. Like you did you know, when I first started my career coming out of business school,
Nate Quigley 13:42
you just build a little thing and get it out there and see what happens.
Justin Brady 13:46
Yeah, I mean, well, you guys have obviously raised a lot of money now and people are starting to take notice TechCrunch Forbes ad week, or just a few of the people that have covered what you’re up to.
Nate Quigley 13:59
it’s every Really, we’ve been really, really fortunate. We’ve had great press, we have an amazing chief marketing officer who comes out of the publishing industry, and just sort of knows how to help reporters find industry story and, and she does a fantastic job of, of helping us get our story out there. We have a great PR agency as well, that’s, you know, done a great job for us. So, I think it is a fun enough story that people are kind of inclined to want to learn a little bit more. And as a result, we had, you know, hundreds and hundreds of press hits last year.
Justin Brady 14:30
Now, I mean, what’s what’s some advice, though, for like, because not everyone wants to start a company? I mean, as you know, very well, it can be not it can be it is a giant, and yeah. You know, it can be terror sometimes. Yeah. But you know, what’s, what’s the advice for someone who really does have a great idea in an organization like, how can they be heard is, is there a way for them to be heard or made? Or maybe, are they stuck with the only option of going out on their own?
Nate Quigley 14:57
You know, yeah, I guess you don’t, you don’t have to launch a product. per se, there’s there’s a million other ways to sort of get some data. But I think that’s people like to see facts, right. They like to see data and proof. And if they if they just kind of inherently don’t believe you, I think the onus is on you to just prove them wrong. And you can either, you know, build something and see if people actually want to use it, or you can do a search on go sign for call tricks like to do a little, get some market data, you know, that somehow proves your point, that, you know, you’re not the only person in the world that thinks this is right, this, this print photos thing was a huge blind spot for us. So me and the team of four guys that were working on, effectively the same mission, but in a different way. We heard people along the way saying, Hey, this is really cool. This software you built that I kind of want to be able to print it, and we would just sort of brush it off. Like we just weren’t hearing it. And it wasn’t until you know, my wife who we have, obviously a special relationship when she tells me I’m like, wait, what do you say and it It kind of clicked for me for the first time because she was able to kind of just grab me and box me outside the ears a little bit, right? Listen, where I’d heard I want to print this or I want this in a book from from other customers. On this other product we’ve been working on, it was sort of related or tangential. But there wasn’t wasn’t working. And I just had kind of missed it.
Nate Quigley 16:22
If you can’t get someone to listen, just, you know, show them a chart.
Justin Brady 16:28
I think the flip side of that for leaders is make sure you’re listening.
Nate Quigley 16:31
Justin Brady 16:32
And it’s like, think about, think about the person that you truly love the most in your life. I mean, for you, maybe that’s your wife, Nate. But, you know, for someone else, maybe it’s their Grandma, maybe it’s their mom, maybe it’s their dad, listen to everybody with the same care, love and respect. And we listened to that person. Because how easy was it Nate for you to come almost completely missed this groundbreaking idea that you’re
Nate Quigley 16:54
Justin Brady 16:54
And it was your own wife.
Nate Quigley 16:56
No, I know. Absolutely. Yeah, there’s this. There’s an IT. There’s a It’s a bit of a tough problem for I think entrepreneurs and leaders Anyway, there’s so much noise in the world that you do have to block out or you just lose your mind you may go crazy if you if you if you if you’re listening to absolutely everything you hear and taking it really seriously, I think you probably go crazy after a month or two of that. So there is a lot of like signal and noise blocking you have to do and for an entrepreneur, especially there’s so much negativity there’s like, you know, why’d you quit that job? How come you didn’t take this other job while you’re doing this thing is totally stupid Facebook’s gonna kill you. I mean, there’s just no end to the to the sort of negative inputs coming at you that you get pretty good at like ignoring things you know, you have to kind of be a little bit insane and just think that the world is wrong and you’re right. But at the end the process you can block out some really important signals that that you need to be somehow able to pick up on so there’s this weird combination of bull headedness and humility.
Justin Brady 17:56
Nate Quigley 17:56
…that you somehow have to get right. And I but I like your idea of you know, What if everyone is your wife? And you’re really trying to understand what she’s saying and why she’s saying it? Yeah, you, you probably would, you know, pick up on these things a lot earlier, we should certainly would have.
Justin Brady 18:11
Yeah. And I call it the LET principle. Listen, empathize and trust, I always argue that the one thing that separates the remarkably creative companies from the non creative, stagnant ones is it comes down to only that, you know, it’s a companies that listen, empathize and trust. So I call it the left principle, and it has three facets and you know, that’s what the facet,
Nate Quigley 18:31
I like it.
Justin Brady 18:32
One of the things that we always ask every single person who comes on here because, you know, I think every single person’s creative, I just think that some people self limits and they don’t believe it about themselves and that’s, you know, that’s, that’s tragic. But, you know, one of the goals of this podcast is to help them get over that hump and realize their creative, but you have something that I call like, demonstrated creative success like you know, it’s no one can argue that you guys have been successful. Filled with a really creative idea and that you could be considered like a creative leader. No one will no one’s going to argue that, you know, to me it’s tangible.
Nate Quigley 19:07
Every accounting major an MBA aspires to, to get that little merit badge you just gave me. So thank you very much.
Justin Brady 19:16
ha ha ha
Nate Quigley 19:16
We’re not typically we don’t typically earn those awards. So I’ll take it.
Justin Brady 19:21
Now you say your accounting.
Nate Quigley 19:23
I was an accounting major at BYU. I went to McKinsey for a couple of years and consulting I, you know, got an MBA.
Justin Brady 19:30
Well, I’ll be done. So accountants can be creative!
Nate Quigley 19:32
There you go. there but i’m gonna i’m going to take the award you just gave me Yeah, you better take it celebrate it. Yeah.
Justin Brady 19:38
I hear so many times where I was talking with Dan pink in the last episode, and we hear so many times about how there’s this these the there are these creative people. And then there’s the uncreated people. And you know, we even have names for them, like designers, and marketers and videographers, we call them we call them creatives, we actually call them that, which is the dumbest label. Because here, you know, the co founder of chatbooks would not be considered creative, it’s the dumbest thing ever anyway. So we ask the same thing to every single guest successful people like yourself. And that is, name one thing we can implement right now to cultivate more creativity from our staff, our team, or from ourselves, and I should clarify with all the listeners that you can’t be a jerk boss or mean and not love your employees and actually have this tip, any tip work. If you don’t treat your employees with respect, there’s nothing in the world you can do to make a creative culture so name one thing we can implement right now to cultivate more creativity from our staff, our team or from ourselves.
Nate Quigley 20:45
Yeah, okay. So we, we have we have a thing that it probably is going to sound silly kind of out of context for for us, it’s really important and it’s this we just say keep it weird. And what we mean by that, you know, in our little in our kinda little culture Deck is that we are not optimizing for productivity at Chatbooks and and we’re optimizing for creativity, we need these weird breakthroughs. And you can only get weird breakthroughs. I don’t know, maybe not. We’re right. But like the kind of the breakthrough idea that actually has a big impact does not come from, you know, really tightly holding the reins and making sure we don’t waste any time anywhere. We actually waste time, like on purpose. And we want to, we want our team to understand that. While there are there are moments where we just have to crank something out and we know what it is and we have to put our heads down and just been busted out. We’re about 100 and something people now and we want to we want everyone to feel like they’re still in that five person pre product market fit startup, at least parts of the day and week. Sure, so they can just explore and just sort of do something goofy that probably won’t work but you know, you never know might be the thing that it actually is the future of the company.
Nate Quigley 22:00
So we have this wall in the in the company, we had some local artists come in and paint this kind of crazy, you know, Beatles LSD mural kind of thing. On the on the wall we called the weird wall. And it’s just kind of a reminder that we’ve got a, we’ve got a, we’ve got to be optimizing for creativity and not process we actually want a little bit of chaos in the building and we’re, we’re okay with it like, so I think the thing you can implement is you can if you’re trying to get a lot of creativity, you just you can say, as a leader in the company, let’s waste a little time let’s like let’s do some things that may not work. Let’s just kind of not program every minute and let our incredibly creative people and talented people just sort of run a little bit. My wife used to ride a horse fair back all the time in high school in Florida where she grew up. And I like that idea of like that kind of writing where the horse is kind of doing a lot of going and she’s kind of going with it versus like the bitten bridle and you know pulling up sharp so we’ve talked about kind of keeping the link the the reins loose and just keeping it weird so we’ve got a million Portland keep it weird pictures and our favorite Portland is skits and and just all that kind of one example from this keep a weird principle. There’s a little prototype that one of our designers built that we ended up calling Chinder. Because it was like the Tinder of your photos you swipe left if you didn’t want the phone in and swipe right if you did, it was like this silly thing that everyone’s laughing like, you know, we were showing all the single people in the office and they were like helping us tweak the UI a little bit to make it more like Tinder.
Nate Quigley 23:41
And lo and behold, like we we kind of launched it to 10% of our, of our of our traffic and a bunch of people started using it. And then we we launched it to everybody and now it’s 50% of our subscriptions are using this Tinder interface. And we still call it Chinder internally. We don’t even Know what they call it in the app, we don’t really call it anything because it’s so ridiculous. But we all laugh about how half of our subscriptions now are Chinder subscriptions where they just subscribe to their camera roll, and then swipe left and right. To add a photo or, or, you know, kick it out.
Justin Brady 24:18
I talk a lot about fear based leadership as well. And so a leader, a fear based leader, or maybe one who’s, you know, somewhat scared, would probably ask, you know, well, what about metrics? You know, this whole keep it weird. Can you tie that down to real productivity and real results? And I think that would make them scared. But can you? I mean, is there any way to even tie that into any metrics at all?
Nate Quigley 24:47
I mean, we, we measure, we measure everything. We’re super geeky and data driven, have an awesome BI team and just in general, everyone in the company likes numbers and likes data. So we like to measure if these things work or not. And then you decide if you’re going to invest more or just sort of let that one go and try some other weird thing. But just the principle in general of not trying to program every minute, I really don’t want to hand out a bunch of task lists, and you can barely get to the end of your list and you go home and crash and come back the next day, right, you know, another set of marching orders. We really want to we hire for people who, who want some space and then can creatively use that space to come up with, we think, some breakthrough ideas.
Justin Brady 25:32
So you kind of let let some things happen, and then look back later and say, is this working or did that work? Yeah, exactly. Because you can’t really prove viability up front for some of this stuff.
Nate Quigley 25:43
That’s, I mean, that’s the thing — it comes back to the pre product market fit startup where you’re just experimenting all the time and measuring. And if you’re if you’re not experimenting, fast and experimenting, orthogonal II and just kind of doing crazy things, you’re not going to find that That thing that is true, but that no one else knows is true.
Justin Brady 26:03
And this is this is interesting because just I think it was last week I was having I was on a panel. And the one of the questions asked is how can innovation and creativity happen in a, you know, either a company culture or a or organizational culture without sacrifice or, you know, what, how can you really innovate and push forward without sacrificing productivity is it was the question said.
Nate Quigley 26:30
I am Yeah, you do sacrifice.
Justin Brady 26:32
And that’s exactly what I said.
Nate Quigley 26:34
Justin Brady 26:34
One of the other panelists very strongly took objection to that. But I was like, I think that in order to push innovation and creativity forward, you have no option but to sacrifice.
Nate Quigley 26:46
Yeah, I agree. I mean, I think it’s you do have to kind of keep checking yourself. Well, of course, make sure you’re making any progress but
Justin Brady 26:54
Right, right, I’m not I’m not suggesting people just throw money and and burn it. ha ha ha
Nate Quigley 27:00
You do have to kind of tell your team, hey, it’s okay to just, you know, go wander in the wilderness for half a second here, just, you know, just do your thing.
Justin Brady 27:09
Yeah, you might know, in some big cases, you might lose a bunch of money. And, you know, that’s that’s kind of necessary.
Nate Quigley 27:15
Yeah, we’ve we’ve launched a few products that were duds that we, you know, we thought they were going to work, we thought they were going to be interesting. And, you know, we just they weren’t people just didn’t didn’t care about it.
Justin Brady 27:25
Well, I appreciate you. Oh, sorry. Go ahead.
Nate Quigley 27:28
No, I was just gonna say, I think you have to, you have to stay kind of explicitly in the culture. And you almost have to as you as our company’s grown, we’ve had to fight the instinct to kind of solve all the chaos because we’re all we’re all problem solvers. You know, waste and inefficiency does kind of drive you crazy. So when someone processes a big huge mess, like there’s this really strong instinct to kind of get in there and fix it. And there is some of that that’s needed. But I just we have this keep it weird principle in the little weird wall in the office, just to remind ourselves, we’re not going to try to On a railroad here, like, it’s going to be weird, it’s going to be chaotic. And that’s we’re looking for that that’s part of that’s part of our plan.
Justin Brady 28:07
Well, I’m going to email this episode of the person who disagree with me on the panel and laugh at him. And I’m just kidding. I’m totally kidding. He was he was a great guy. We had a disagreement.
Justin Brady 28:15
One of the other big things I always like to ask, and I’m glad you clarified that, by the way, that’s, you know, that’s, I think that’s a really great answer. And I think everybody can implement that right now. Just, you know, trust, trust your people, let them experiment on some things and trust them. You hired smart people for crying out loud, let them be smart. Yeah. So another thing we always like to ask everybody, because we typically get the idea that, you know, people like yourself have just succeeded in everything and never had to experiment or fail. And so a lot of people right now that are maybe doing their own startup and they’re going through failure, and maybe they’re having a dark tough time just they sometimes can get the idea that you know, this just, this doesn’t happen to any of the successful people. I’m a failure in life and this is why I’m never going to make it so we like to talk to the innovators right now that are in the dark space as well. And we like to connect them with these leaders like yourself that are doing great things. So name one incredibly named name a big personal failure. And the incredible lesson you learned from that catastrophe and how it made you who you are today.
Nate Quigley 29:19
Yeah, oh, man. Well, so I’ve had, you know, plenty of dark hours in, in the wilderness as a startup entrepreneur, in the one that, you know, comes to mind, I think I alluded to it as sort of before my wife was able to sort of say, hey, dingdong like print my Instagram. We spent a good, you know, three years, me and a team of four other developers and the designer, you know, building software that nobody cared about that nobody wanted to use. And, you know, the huge It was a very tough time. Because I thought at that point, I actually knew how to be an entrepreneur. This is my third company, and I you know, Identity Business School I’d been in consulting, I’d been to other startups and growth tech companies and I cannot that Okay, cool. Now I’m going to do the one I wanted to do, right?
Nate Quigley 30:11
Those, I kind of learned a whole bunch of stuff. And in startup number one is started number two, and they both went pretty well. And now I’m ready to build the company, you know that I want to have chiseled into my tombstone. And it’s going to be about helping people hold on to their family memories and stories. We have mentioned this, we have a big family of seven kids. And it’s sort of our whole world and we have, you know, all these amazing experiences with these kids that we love so much within with our other extended family. And we wanted to capture that and be able to share that and organize it and enjoy it and safeguard it. So I marched off with these with a technical co founder that I really liked. He was very talented engineer and we’ve recruited a couple other great people. And we just started building this thing I had in my head, you know, that I wanted to build for for a long time. And we didn’t really listen to anybody, we just kind of put our heads down and went into a little cave and build built built. And I was coming off of both of the earlier companies were enterprise companies, to enterprise software enterprise systems. And I kind of built this giant ERP system almost for family memories. And you know, lo and behold, nobody wanted to use it was it was like, way too complicated. And you had to have 20 people like get really committed and do about actual work for it to start to be interesting. At the same time, and you know, duh, like, that didn’t work.
Nate Quigley 31:37
But I was so bullheaded about it so stubborn, like the world needs this thing, that I just wasn’t really listening to feedback. And as people would come in, use it for a little while and then quit. You know, I wasn’t going to say with a whole lot of humility, like how come you left? I was sort of like, man, well, there, there’s bad user. You know, it was it was amazing and I dug that hole for A good solid two and a half, three years. Wow, before we really start on the on this Chatbooks idea that my what you know, my wife came to, and I think her idea was, in some ways a reaction to what we were doing, you know, she should have been incredibly patient and supportive and like, Well, you know, you go do your thing. But we, you know, we’ve burned through a ton of our own money and would burn through some investor money, and he would just work nowhere. And it was getting a little grim. You know, yeah, not a little grandma a lot grim.
Nate Quigley 32:30
And I think that part of you know, her instinct was printed photos, you know, were a thing. And then her other really important instinct was and you better make this one simple, right? I don’t want to, I don’t want to learn anything. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to look at your stupid app. Like I’m already using Instagram and Facebook and I don’t want to use anything else. And and at that point, we were finally sort of I was personally ground down enough that I was I was able to kind of hear the, the clarity in that and be like, Whoa, that’s it.
Justin Brady 33:00
Yeah, sometimes it takes that, sometimes takes life just to beat the snot out of you before you listen.
Nate Quigley 33:05
Yeah, well, that’s what happened to me so, that my, you know, my big career mistake. My career has been going pretty well up to that point, you know, hadn’t really had a big setback. And so I think I was overconfident. And I spent a couple of years sort of like not listening and you know, thinking I was the, the, the genius you know, in the in the design room is going to emerge with the iPhone or whatever. And, you know, that happens to some people, but no, not in this case. I needed to be a lot more humble and a lot, you know, a lot more actively listening to the feedback we were getting. And when I finally got there, you know, we, we we turned the company around and started Chatbooks
Justin Brady 33:47
Nate Quigley, CEO and co founder of Chatbooks, thank you very much for coming on the show and talking to all of us today.
Nate Quigley 33:55
Hey, my pleasure. I really enjoyed it.
Justin Brady 33:57
How Now I do want before I let you go, how can people learn more about you? How can they connect and how can they go get a subscription and Chatbooks?
Nate Quigley 34:06
Yeah, Chatbook.com will have everything you need. You can also just go to the App Store and search Chatbooks either on Android or iPhone and that’ll you’ll get off and running. And then I’m just @NJquickly on Twitter.
Justin Brady 34:18
Awesome. Nate, thank you so much for spending time with us today.
Nate Quigley 34:21
My pleasure. Thanks for the opportunity.
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