Podcast#26 w/Jesse Blockton and Scott Potash of Postable

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Today I got to Interview Jesse Blockton and Scott Potash from Postable. I hope you enjoy it!

This podcastwas edited and remastered professionally using Fiverr as well as fully transcribed using Fiverr.

This is the Less Doing podcast with your host Ari Meisel. Learn how to optimize, automate and outsource, and be more effective at everything.

Ari: This is Ari of Less Doing and my name is Ari Meisel. This week I attended the first New York personal development meet up group, which I got invited to speak at by my good buddy, Scott Brittan, who teaches life hacks and is a very talented guy. I spoke about productivity. There were speakers on building habits and forming relationships. Scott spoke about making money. It was a really, really cool group of people; a lot of like-minded individuals who are all trying to improve in some way or another. It was definitely a very fun time. I got some ideas for some new courses that I wanted to do which led me on the path of thinking how I wanted to do that and present them. I still love u2me and my Art of Less Doing course that’s one u2me that some of you probably taken already. It’s still there and I love it and u2me is a great platform. I have all sorts of ideas for other small online quests’. There's still, I think, a lot of value there but they're small, they're short, they're things that people could probably get through in an hour. It’s still nice to have sort of the video layout and all the internal lessons but the requirements of u2me require that you have like an hour of original video; it’s a lot of stuff. So, some of my courses don’t really meet u2me’s requirements which has caused me to sort of put it off. Then I was thinking maybe I should host it myself. What I eventually came up with was something that I'm very excited about which is as of June 1st I'm going to be offering a premium membership section to lessdoing.com. So, for a nominal fee, a few bucks a month, you're going to be able to access exclusive content that only premium members can get access to. A lot of those are going to be videos, really high quality videos of me describing processes that I go through or deviling systems and setups the way that I use them, and things that will be very actual for you to be more effective. In addition, I'm also planning on working with several of the companies that offer a lot of the products and services I'm constantly recommending and getting them to offer free access, at least trials, for my premium members. You can probably think of some of the ones I have in mind because I mention them all the time but I just don’t want to get the cart in front of the horse. But I promise that you are going to be getting a lot of value if you sign up. Anybody who signs up before June 1st is going to get in at $5 a month and then anybody after that is going to be paying a little bit more. Go to the link in the podcast. You can also visit the blog and there's a post about the launch of it and you can sign up now for that discounted access. If you do, thank you so much; I really appreciate your support. I promise to deliver one or two really great things every month so that you get a lot of value out of it. Today’s interview is coming up with the guys from Postable, a really cool service. I hope you enjoy the interview.

Ari: Hi and welcome to the podcast. Today we’re talking with Jesse and Scott from Postable. Hi, guys.

Both: Hey, how are you?

Ari: Good. Thanks for taking the time talk to me. I was actually kind of excited, this is the first time that I'm interviewing multiple people on one interview; this will be fun. Why don’t you guys start by telling everyone what Postable is?

Scott: Sure. Postable is a very easy way to write lots of thank you cards. If you just got married or had a baby and you had to write 70 thank you cards, you can type them all on the website and press a button. We print them, we stuff them, stamp them, and mail them out for you and it pretty much looks like you did them by hand.

Ari: How have you accomplished that? Do you have multiple different handwritten fonts? How does that work?

Scott: Yeah, exactly. We have, I think, 12 different handwriting fonts; we’re working with this company called V-letter. They just take real peoples handwriting and kind of painstakingly turn them into kind of ultra-realistic handwriting fonts. Then we have some other fonts like typewriter and stuff like that.

Ari: Are they printed with [5:18] or they look more like they're done with the hands or…?

Scott: Well, sort of. The way the business works is we work with about 25 really, really independent talented card designers around the country. You're just picking one of their cards; you're not worried about the design of the card. You’re only responsibility is to write a great message. You choose a font, write a message. You can write as much or as little as you want on the card. It’s a two-sided thank you card. How it’s rendered on the website is the actual size on your screen. So, as you type your card, the font automatically shrinks the more you type. You don’t have to worry about sizing your font or anything like that. Your focus is just on the message. Once you're done with either your 1 card or 100 cards for your project and you submit pay, our printer is basically what's known as a mac fuser to render the cards in a way that both the outside and the inside look as good as they can possibly look and we think we've done as good a job on the aesthetics of the card that you could possibly do. We’re not necessarily trying to fool people that you wrote this card but most people will sort of be fooled because it looks so good.

Ari: Obviously, that’s a really, really great service and it’s totally going to please people. My wife had twins three weeks ago and we've had a lot of

[Voices overlap 7:11]

Ari: Thank you very much. It seems to be sort of this like unspoken competition among people, in general, about how quickly people get our thank you cards. This is a good weapon and arsenal. One of the things that I thought was so cool, too, is that you have this feature where you sort of put the owners of the recipient to provide the information.

Scott: We thought of this maybe a year and a half ago or something like that. When we were kind of designing the thank you card site we realized nobody knows anybody’s addresses anymore. It kind of stopped us in our tracks and we were like this will fail because nobody knows these addresses. We kind of thought up what would be the easiest way to get somebody’s address if we needed to get through to a lot of people, so we thought of this sort of this crowd source approach. We give you a link, Postable/your name. You email it to everybody, they click it. Fill out a form that takes them 10 seconds and suddenly you have 100 peoples addresses. It works well because you're getting it straight from the horse’s mouth. They're usually accurate and up to date and you don’t have to do any work which is good. We decided to release that before we did the cards. That’s been out for about a year actually. It’s been really popular with the wedding crowd and the baby crowd.

Ari: Now, is this a mail merge thing? Is it one message that goes to the 100 people that you want to send the card and it just changes the name or how is that aspect? Can you individualize it or do people? How does it work?

Jesse: Yes. We literally give you a link. You register at the site; the address book is empty at that point. We just give you a link, Postable/your name, or you can change it to whatever you want. You can kind of do with that link whatever you want. We’re not sending it from within our system so you can email it. You can Facebook it; it’s literally just a link. You can tweet it, you can do whatever. You can personalize each message or not.

Scott: You could send it; you could put together a group email to 200 people and say, ‘Hey, I'm getting married. Can you click the link when you get a chance to give me your mailing address?’ Or you could write to each of those 200 people individually and say, ‘Dear John, I'm getting married and I need your mailing address, click the link. It’s really up to you.

Ari: I mean more like on the card sending side, actually. You are sending the cards though, right?

Jesse: Oh, sorry.

Ari: Is it the same message for everybody or…?

Jesse: Oh, no, not at all. It’s not at all. You're actually going through and typing every card; that’s kind of the nice part about this. You can personalize every card to everybody. It’s literally you write a message to somebody, you press a button, save and next. It goes to the next person, you write them a message. So, yeah, it’s not kind of a mass mailing.

Scott: The innovation here how we thought we could improve this process was kind of a flip. The whole way you normally write cards on the web, flip that whole thing on its head and do exactly the opposite way. What we figured is if you have your contact list first, say that’s 100 people or 5 people, all that information goes in the database first. You then go to your writing desk and you just click on anyone of those people. Write them a message. It prepopulates the card with their name and it prepopulates the envelope with their address and your return address. All you're worried about is writing a message. Then when you're done with that card, save and next and go to the next person until you’ve written all the cards that you wanted to write. By filling in the address first, it makes the process of writing to a lot of people, a different message to a lot of people both sort of possible and easy and enjoyable.

Ari: Yeah, enjoyable. I would counter that but that’s because of my obsession with automating things.

Jesse: Yeah.

Ari: You make sort of that writing desk online, which is great, which means for people listening you could very easily then have a virtual assistant do this for you. If you just want to give like lists of gifts that certain people gave you and they can sort of individualize the cards based on that. Some people may think it has less genuine but depending on the size of your list, it may be a real necessity and that way people don’t get left out. Actually, that’s really great that you sort of sensualize that process. I’ll tell you, three years ago, I had a friend who actually owns a virtual assistant company have this issue. He had 600 people at his wedding and actually had to have someone come to his office and fill out 200 cards by hand but he needed her to actually come to the office because she had to ask him what the person gave them and what their relationship was. This would have really been able to streamline that process.

Jesse: That’s intense; for the people. Technically, you can also copy and paste with the website. We don’t prevent that. If you perfected some message and you wanted to copy and paste it and change things around, that’s also possible. We've been using it so much testing it that it gets really enjoyable to write these messages. It’s up to however people want to do it.

Ari: Obviously if you're removing the barrier, the annoyance factor, then people get to focus on the 5% part that they want to do which is present that message [13:26]. That’s really wonderful in itself. Are you seeing any corporate use of this right now? And on that same note, can you include any images and photos?

Scott: There are businesses using it; it’s pretty great for business, actually. We've had some other requests’ for it like API’s which we’ll be working on in the future. Same with images; there aren’t photo cards right now but there will be very soon.

Ari: I guess for like baby announcements, the photo is sort of the key aspect. That’ll be really great if you can do that. I can think of, immediately, so many uses for this. Whether it’s a real estate broker who has an open house; it’s just really wonderful. What is the pricing?

Jesse: its $2 a card plus stamp.

Ari: Perfect. [Inaudible 14:27]?

Jesse: We actually priced it at volume so it’s pretty cheap. We’re kind of hoping that the people that write a lot of cards subsidize the people that write one or two cards. We’ll see how it goes from there. We kind of had the pricing set low assuming, hoping for volume.

Scott: It’s the model that recently failed for JC Penny, which is…

Jesse: no discount.

Scott: …start at a reasonable price and leave it there. These same cards, if you were to buy them in a store, would be double to triple the price. That’s not even sort of paying for the service that we’re providing. We think it’s a pretty reasonable pricing; two bucks. If you're really interested in sort of saving money on your thank you cards, you can definitely get them for cheaper at Wal-Mart or wherever and buy them in bulk. If you value your time, which I know you do, you might find that this is a really reasonable value.

Jesse: Yeah, they're on the low end in general for thank you cards.

Ari: You also mentioned that there were independent card makers. You're also kind of creating a platform for somebody to spread their work around, right?

Jesse: Yeah, definitely. We’re really proud of the artists that we’re working with. There's some really amazing people; we feel really lucky that they took a chance with us being kind of new to the card industry. We have to really proves ourselves that the printing techniques and just to get these people on board. A lot of visually printed cards have that kind of shiny, glossy feel. We've gone to almost psychotic lengths to make sure these cards, they almost feel hand, they're really beautiful cards. We’re printing on Crane’s lecture cotton paper; 100% recycled paper. Like Scott said, we’re using this mac process to make sure nothing’s shiny and glossy. It looks like you're buying a Kraft card. These people said yes, which we feel really lucky about. We have bios for them on the site. We like to play them up on the website. We’re not trying to pretend that we somehow designed these cards. It’s a platform for artists and it’s funny that we forgot to put in the fact, artists please reach out to us to such and such. After we launched yesterday or two days ago, a bunch of artists approached us. They were like how could you not write anything on the fact. We were a little embarrassed. It’s definitely a platform for an independent artist.

Ari: Other than adding the photos or doing API, are there any other perfect plans in the future that you can share?

Scott: Yeah, eventually we hope Postable will be a place where you come to write all your cards. We launched with thank you cards specifically because we wanted to get people comfortable with the idea and the process of writing multiple unique cards at once. This is the first place, really, on the web that you can do that. It’s clear to us that for Postable to be a place where people will come to more often than we have to offer cards for all occasions. Also, probably some interesting unique products that will be coming down the pipeline.

Ari: Great. The last question that I always like to ask people on this podcast is what are the top three productivity tips that really make you as effective as you can be? Since there's two of you, I’d love to hear six different things but if you share some of them that’s fine too.

Jesse: One thing I guess I do, I keep a big notepad, like a regular notepad, and I just make lists upon lists upon lists. I get a little fancy with them, bigger fonts and different colors and stuff like that but I guess it keeps me on track. Also, whenever I think of something I write it down no matter what it is. I'm a musician. I had to learn that inspiration is a phenmoral mistress. You're never going to remember something; if you have any idea at any point of your life, you should immediately write that down. Otherwise, it’s gone and if you kind of remember it, it’s even more painful. It’s never quite right. Number three, maybe just like obsession. If you're completely obsessed by something in an unhealthy way then it probably makes you pretty productive, I think. Those are my three, my top three.

Scott: For me, I’d probably say number one is the byproduct of having three young kids but getting up early in the morning and going to sleep early at night makes Scott a more productive boy. Number two, delegating or finding people that do stuff you need to be done. Finding specialists that do that really well is better than trying to do it yourself. Jesse and I kind of built Postable on that motto; working with a team that might be able to figure out. But it’s certainly more productive to let them do it since they do it so well. Lastly, I would say, I try not to worry about the things I can’t control because I think that’s a huge waste of time. Having something to be productive about is a good place to start.

Ari: You probably don’t even realize how much in line with my thinking and the less doing way of doing things better. In fact, Jesse, my second main fundamental about doing Postable is creating external names. It basically is the idea that you don’t have the luxury to using your brain to thinking about things. Good to get that idea [21:29]

Jesse: Right. It’s not a great story to accept the call…

Ari: Those are just awesome and thank you. Please tell everyone what the URL is so that they can go start sending thank you cards that they’ve probably been neglecting for a long time.

Jesse: Right. www.postable.com. Yeah, right some thank you cards, it’s really fun.

Ari: Sorry, you guys just cut out on that last one. Just say it one more time, the URL.

Jesse: Ok. www.postable.com

Ari: Great.

Jesse: Did that work?

[Voices overlap 22:06]

Ari: Yes. Thanks again guys and I appreciate your time.

Both: Yeah. Thanks a lot.

Ari: Guys, can you hear me?

Jesse: Can you hear us? Yeah I can hear you.

Ari: Yeah. That was really great, I really appreciated it. This should go up either next week or the week after and I’ll send you guys the link as soon as it goes up. I'm defiantly going to try it out; I'm really excited about it.

Scott: Awesome.

Jesse: Great. Tell us what you think about it.

Scott: Let us know what you think.

Ari: I absolutely will. Ok, well take care. I’ll talk to you guys soon.

Both: Yeah, bye

Ari: Bye.