Matt Bahr, Founder & CEO of Fairing, Discusses Ecommerce Attribution and Post-Purchase Surveys

Matt Bahr is the Co-founder and CEO of Fairing, which helps e-commerce brands build sustainable customer relationships and growth models. Matt has spent the last decade helping brands with attribution and analytics. He also advises and consults various businesses, from direct-to-consumer brands to public companies. Matt specializes in e-commerce, D2C startups, SEO, web development, and CR optimization.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • Matt Bahr shares why he founded Fairing — and how it solves attribution discrepancies
  • The thought process behind Fairing’s rebranding
  • How Matt builds his team and empowers them in various roles
  • Matt reflects on the challenges he faced when launching Fairing
  • Identifying when your marketing strategies perform well — and knowing when to restrategize
  • Customer data’s anticipated growth
  • How Matt recognizes decreased productivity — and how his routines shape his habits
  • Matt imparts wisdom to entrepreneurs

In this episode…

No matter your company’s industry or market, your product sustains your business. Understanding your customers and their shopping habits provides insight into online marketing strategies. What attribution tools are available to leverage the post-purchase customer relationship?

Traditional post-purchase surveys are designed to serve future customers, but to market your product effectively, you must also track your current customers. Fairing, co-founded by Matt Bahr, utilizes individually targeted questions to gather data from customers instantly — allowing you to understand their purchasing intent and how they found your product.

In this episode of The Up Arrow Podcast, William Harris welcomes Matt Bahr, Co-founder and CEO of Fairing, to discuss how his company solves attribution challenges in the marketplace. Matt also shares how he builds and empowers his team, the challenges he faced in his entrepreneurial journey, how to identify successful marketing strategies, and his perspective on the future of customer data.

Resources Mentioned in this episode

Sponsor for this episode

This episode is brought to you by Elumynt. Eluymnt is a performance driven e-commerce marketing agency focused on finding the best opportunities for you to grow and scale your business.

Our paid search, social, and programmatic services have proven to increase traffic and ROAS, allowing you to make more money efficiently.

To learn more, visit www.elumynt.com

Episode Transcript

Intro 0:03

Welcome to The Up Arrow Podcast with William Harris, featuring top business leaders sharing strategies and resources to get to the next level. Now, let's get started with the Show.

William Harris 0:16

Hey everybody, William Harris here founder and CEO of Elumynt, and the host of this podcast where I feature experts in the direct to consumer industry sharing strategies on how to scale your business and achieve your goals. And today, my guest is Matt Bahr. I have him here he is the Co-founder and CEO of Fairing, Shopify's leading post purchase survey tool, having spent a decade in e-comm, helping brands with attribution and analytics. His product questions dream uses direct from consumer data at speed and scale to enrich attribution and customer journeys. We also apparently both share love for chest and the ever so controversial decaf coffee. But before we dig in, I do want to thank our sponsor, this episode is brought to you by Elumynt. Elumynt is an award winning advertising agency optimizing e-commerce campaigns around profit. In fact, we've helped 13 of our customers get acquired with the largest one selling for nearly 800 million. And we were ranked as the 12 fastest growing agency in the world by Adweek. So now let's get past the boring stuff and into the fun stuff. I've got Matt here, Matt, thanks for being on the show today.

Matt Bahr 1:21

Thank you so

William Harris 1:22

Thank you so much for inviting me, this is great excited to dive into it. Yeah, so one of the biggest things that I've kind of wanted to start with, which is what I think you and I both share a love for comes down to attribution, which is obviously the whole reason why you guys exist is a lot of the attribution side of things. And I feel like attribution is a very messy thing. It's a topic that's gotten a lot of controversy over the last couple of years, ever since iOS 14, came out, 14.5, ITP, 2.3. There's all these things that kind of really got in the way of attribution. And we did a study I know personally at Elumynt, where we used Fairing. And your data, they're on a couple of clients of ours. In Greece, P Jackson, and our team is the one who did this. And I want to make sure that I pull up the actual numbers here that she had. But you know, if I remember correctly, is somewhere around. Like 600,000 orders that we ran through here. 78% of the conversions were credited, that were mis attributed based on what people actually what you ATMs were taking credit for, versus what people actually said. And when we looked at this for Facebook, and Instagram, specifically, this is what really stood out to us from the responses where people said, I came to this store and made this purchase because of a Facebook and Instagram ad 98.15% of those were actually tied to a UTM of direct. And I think that's one of those things where people really are misunderstanding where their data is coming from and where things are coming from from the purchase side of things. Without understanding and having this type of data at play. It makes it hard for them to make decisions. So why why did you start Fairing? Is this the problem that you're trying to solve? What are your thoughts about this?

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Matt Bahr 3:05

Yeah, that was that was the exact problem that we were trying to solve. So we we launched Fairing, in what may 2018. So coming up on five years, frankly, very much just a side project for the first three and a half or so. And the initial use case was exactly that. So I think when when brands really try to solve attribution, or when it when it starts to hit home is when they start to diversify, frankly, out of kind of Facebook and, and Instagram and into other channels. And then they look at GA or they look at kind of anything that might lean a little bit heavy on the last click side of things. And they just immediately know either their campaigns are not working like at all, or they're having trouble on the measurement side. So we got we built kind of V one of Fairing for a brand here in New York City called Kara. That was like doing all this influencer campaigns. And frankly, with seeing zero success in Google Analytics, it was all direct. So they were seeing some, some revenue come through, but they had no idea where it was coming from. And we suggested to them, we were actually building a total of a product at the time, in the same day delivery space. Something we could also talk about, but we don't bring up too often. And we suggested to them just go into Google Form. Like at the time there was a different app on Shopify that allowed you to easily drop HTML onto the order confirmation page. So they downloaded that created a Google Form spun up a simple attribution question like how did you hear about us and started capturing data? And the cool part about it is like, it took about an hour to set up. And they were like, instantly glued to the data. Super insightful. All those influencers names were coming through now. So they had all this exposure and to what they weren't seeing before. And then funny enough, somebody the thing that triggered it is somebody wrote in there like Hey, I met Aaron at a party last week. And the CEO Aaron was like, like who wrote this, I want to go thank them. And we're like, well, we have no idea like, it lives, it lives on an iframe, it's not connected to the order. So there's really the only thing we have is a timestamp. So we can like kind of guess. But that's about it. And that's really where the idea of like can a simple survey solution exists that simply ties order information together with sort of a response data. So that was a little bit about how we got started. And then was just a side project, we were like kind of moving to consulting and trying to find product market fit with our other products. And then things really started to pick up in early 2020. With COVID, e-commerce grew, as well as iOS 14, and kind of everything that happened from a tracking perspective. So that's kind of been our journey as far as solving very simple problem. And now, continuing to scale from a product perspective.

William Harris 5:51

I love the idea of solving a very simple problem. And just the the very simple fact of this. One of the things that I talked about when it comes to attribution all the times is if you are driving a car, and your speedometer is broken, let's say that's your attribution. You can be driving down the road if you push the gas, you go faster you can you can look out the window and tell that you're going faster. Like that's the simple solution to one of these problems. And but one of the most simple things you can do from an e-commerce perspective is just ask people, right? If you're not sure where they came from, how would you ask them? Where did you come from? Where what brought you to the site today to make this purchase? If you guys went through a rebrand recently, firmly inquire right and rebranded as Fairing Tell me a little bit about like, what was the thought process? Like has the product changed in a way that made you say, like, we need to do something different kind of, say who we are?

Matt Bahr 6:45

Yeah, there were there were a few reasons. The first kind of more important was like, we never really had a brand around inquire. It was literally I turned to my co founder, our CTO, and I was how does that acquire sounds, goods change the name like that was literally the first iteration of it. Again, inquire now Fairing was really always just meant to be we jokingly call it be cool. If this generated 5k a month and like paid for some beers and help fund under other ideas. It's really the initial thought. And then last year, like we raised a seed round in December 2021. So a little bit more capital, and the product and kind of division started to expand. So we introduced this kind of core feature called Questions stream, which is kind of allows you to to dynamically ask questions, we've almost removed the concept of a survey, we, we think surveys are somewhat antiquated. They're these monoliths, kind of jokingly call them interrogations. In with that, coupled with the fact that like, inquiry didn't really have a brand, like we had colors, but that was about it. Right? Okay, let's go through this process and kind of reinvent the company from a brand perspective. And where we landed with Fairing, we went through about 20 different names, we really did a lot of the exercise internally, so we didn't really outsource any of that. And frankly, Fairing was the one that stuck the most. There's some really cool kind of metaphors into kind of aerodynamics. A Fairing is essentially anything that's added to a surface to make it more aerodynamic. And we view we're doing similar on the digital surface, and having like, just like a car, nut and like into things that go fast myself, it was like this beautiful brand. And frankly, we could own a lot of the domains that we acquired, like Fairing.co is kind of our core domain, we were actually just able to buy it. So from a surface area, there's always you find this perfect name. And like, literally, there's a SASS company called that perfect name. So we were super excited that no one had kind of taken the Fairing name yet. So we have some really cool things coming later this year early next that will really lean into the brand, a little bit further, whether from a product perspective, but even just go to market.

William Harris 8:51

Yeah, naming and finding something that hasn't been taken by SAS company. Very true. That is a difficult thing. I know I've do some random name generators for some things that I've tried to do too. And it's like, you end up with just absolutely ridiculous ideas. And so you need a good one with Fairing. And I didn't realize that about the reason behind it in the aerodynamics of it. But that makes a lot of sense. Because like you said, there's a lot of friction sometimes. So that growth and it's like, well, how do you speed up that growth, you have to reduce that friction, and then one of those is reducing the friction to understanding where your data is coming from. So that that makes a lot of sense. I like that.

Matt Bahr 9:23

Yeah, we're super, super excited about it. You

William Harris 9:26

You had mentioned to me when we talked before about like this, this big milestone, like this turning point for you guys, about hiring and going from two people to 14 people and you know, should have hired this person. Tell me a little bit about that. Cuz I feel like that's a struggle that everybody can relate to, whether you're a SaaS company, an e-commerce company, or whatever, but we all are going from zero to two to 14 people.

Matt Bahr 9:52

Yeah, so we were we were just a two person company for for a long time and most of our product decisions were just a lot of It wasn't even documented, there were just in person conversations we've heard, I've always been kind of very in-person people. And I'm like, I'm at our office now in New York. So a lot of those decisions were kind of made in our little bubble, because that was the only bubble that existed. So posts, raising our seed round, we kind of had to think about changing those things. And it definitely took longer than we thought, are funny enough, our first pm started this morning, which we're super excited about to help us kind of get organized and ship faster, and to all kind of the exciting things on the product side of things. So definitely a little bit of a journey of like, okay, how do we go from two to five to 10. We're still very like heavy engineering oriented from a team perspective, not leaning too much in a go to market. Really, just to make sure that we nail the product right before we do that, but definitely been somewhat of a journey and like reflecting on what is slowing us down. And I think a lot of founders out there like ourselves, like, the thing that's slowing you down is typically like yourself, like you almost end up being the bottleneck, or you're not trusting someone to do something, which maybe not might not be the right hire kind of thing. So yeah, those are the things that we've had to learn that I think we're in a really good place now. But it definitely took us a little bit to get there.

William Harris 11:09

Are you familiar with EOS traction, Gino Wickman. That,

Matt Bahr 11:13

right heard of it, I'm not too familiar with it. One of the

William Harris 11:17

concepts that they talked about that I really appreciate is, you know, the idea of if you're in a boat, let's say that we're in a rowboat, and let's say you've got two people in that boat, it's fairly easy for those two people to row kind of like, in sync with each other and row in the same direction. But you get, you know, six 710 people, the more you get, it's like you might get out of sync. And there's a lot of inefficiency there. Maybe somebody's wrong in the wrong direction. And you're you're fighting each other a little bit. And yeah, I think the one of the things that I've appreciated in my own journey of going from, you know, solopreneur to I think we're at 13 employees now. Not I think I know we're at 13. And but one of the things that I found is just that communication piece of, like you said, being able to say how do I get myself out of being a bottleneck and being able to communicate? What is our what's our vision? What are values? And how can those things empower my team to build and make decisions? What have you found has been the biggest challenge in you being able to become not the bottleneck in varying?

Matt Bahr 12:20

Yeah, I think for us, it's just hiring the right people. Like that's definitely what we're focused on. Now. That's the easiest unlock for I think anyone is, is hiring people that you can delegate to. So that's definitely been a learning for us. And like, the communication side is interesting, because like everyone knows, I feel like you need to over communicate need to kind of reiterate these things. But putting that into practice, like takes time, like setting aside time, which like I definitely could get better on. Even from an all our all hands on Monday morning. It's like, okay, well, let's start preparing the deck for the all hands the week before and like, how do we get into more of a system where, like, I'm doing a much better job now just blocking off my calendar, like Thursday mornings until noon, are essentially whitespace, where nothing can be scheduled over. So just starting to do those things, and not over committing has been helpful, where it's, Hey, let's do a whitespace, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, it's like, well, that inevitably is gonna get taken over with meetings and whatnot. So that's been super helpful. We also just hired our first kind of VA has been super helpful, just from a female perspective, and doing some kind of BPO, like business ops type things, has been super helpful. So we're starting, we're still in the process of doing it. But definitely on our way, which is, which is more exciting. It's kind of the one thing people ask me all the time is, like, how do we feel post raising a four and a half million dollar seed like about that decision. And the thing that was most excited for current AI outside of like, understanding, like the TAM is much larger than we thought and the product was kind of had all these opportunities to it was like, We got to almost reinvent what our day to day look like, from Hey, just being two person, two people, using kind of consultants and kind of doing that to actually scaling a team. And we've both done that before in our previous previous roles. And that was kind of the the thing that we were most excited from a org perspective is transitioning from being rewarded for like fruitfulness, say, to being rewarded for ambition, which also meant we got to hire the best people. And it was no longer a function of, of what can we afford, but more or less like, who are the people that we want to bring onto the team?

William Harris 14:27

I think that's cute key because you have to have intentionality about who you're hiring right? I think sometimes it's very easy to just want to fill a spot with a body because you're busy and you're you're stressed out and frustrated. And you mentioned hiring the right people too. And it's like, you can't just put just anybody into that spot. One of the things that I like to do I have a question that I like to ask and I'm gonna give it away now, I guess that I won't be able to maybe use this one as much anymore going forward, but I like to ask questions that I know necessarily don't have immediately easily solvable answers. And one of the questions I asked is from, I believe it's called the Titan test. And it's an IQ test for trying to test specificity above 150 IQs. And it says, If consider the Taurus, and you're going to slice this Taurus along two Mobius strips, how many pieces would you have? What are the most number of pieces that you could have by doing this? I don't expect anybody to get this right. I don't even know that I would get it right. But the idea here is I just want to see what the thought process is. It's like you're gonna run into challenges in your job or whatever that is, do you have what are your what's your thought process like to be able to solve those types of problems? Is there a question that you find yourself enjoying asking people to figure out if you're asked if you're hiring the right people or not?

Matt Bahr 15:47

In our hiring process, I think what we've sussed out, which has been helpful is just finding people that have a more so like a startup mentality. But there it's like, we don't have to call it a founder mentality. But more or less like someone who understands the just general chaos that might go on from a startup perspective and how sure things can change and whatnot. As far as one question to ask, we certainly don't utilize, we don't have kind of we, I think you and I spoke about outcomes razor in the sense of like, how do we remove all the variables and just focus on one thing? We haven't find to that yet. Like, I think we're still learning from a hiring perspective, frankly, it's really the honest truth here. We're definitely getting better with each hire, as we do that. What we over index for is like really curiosity, frankly, like curious about solving a problem curious literally about anything. Like, if someone likes to go super deep into something they're typically innately curious. So during our interview process, we try to understand kind of, like, we hired an incredible designer about two months ago, and it's like very, very clear that she was just could talk about design all day, every day, like didn't want to talk about anything else. It was like this is something that I want on our team, because they're now she's now our lead product designer, and all of these design decisions are going to be hers. So if we're able to kind of over index for that, that that allows us to kind of solve these problems. So absolutely not the best answer. In the sense. There's no singular truth yet, from a hiring perspective. But that's how we know at least think about but I think

William Harris 17:16

we've all seen those charts where you look at like, you know, people's talent versus their desire and desire, almost always outperforms talent, are given a long enough runway. And so that idea of that curiosity and that desire, being the core of what you guys are doing, I think makes a lot of sense. I'm looking at the weather here in southern it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit, which is beautiful. Finally, a little bit melting here. humidities at 36% and we've got pressure of 29.62 visibilities, at 10 miles when 14 mph dew points at 50 degrees uavionix, five out of 10. And so I was thinking about that and wondering, you know, what kind of a pitfall or mistake Do you have that you would want to talk about one of the things that we talked about was, you know, maybe this blog post that you'd written or raising money from friends and family, there's there's many things that we as founders go through, and we say, oh, boy, that was a tough thing to deal with. Is there one that you feel comfortable chatting about?

Matt Bahr 18:20

Yeah, I think for us, somewhat related to faring, but like, not having product like i Everyone talks about product market fit. And our previous products, like I quit, I was a merchant, the first half of my career, I quit that side of the business. Because at the time, I was literally so enamored with same day delivery. So I don't know if you remember, but Uber Rush Postmates. They don't have these API's, you literally like hit an endpoint. And then someone shows up, like, it was the coolest thing to me. And I was working for this headphone company at the time kind of running Funny enough, like I was head of digital and logistics, which was funny to think about, but was also managing the site. So we built this awesome front end experience. And we integrated with Postmates Uber. And at the time, just like this is the future of commerce, just kind of young and naive, not a lot of experience kind of on or I was managing the p&l, but I wasn't thinking about the p&l as I was kind of wanting to build a new business. And kind of the hardest thing for us really was like we didn't understand that we didn't have product market fit. We thought that if we just kind of kept iterating a little we'd get there. And it was about like 15 or so a month of like continuing to push and sell and my fortunate enough my like entry was always like, hey, let's grab coffee. I was in New York and like, I get introduced to people like let's chat about kind of e-comm and if I could help maybe as like a side consultant, and then I'd kind of pitch the same day thing. That's kind of how we grew up. faring as well early on. And I think the hardest thing that we add to is like okay, we raised we did raise Some friends and family, not a ton about 7580 grand. And since we had done that there was no like a year in the earliest the social pressures, there was no like, Okay, we don't have product market fit, we have 10k left of the capital, we raised time to go get different jobs. And I think one of the things that founders don't often talk about is like, once you raise a little bit of money, like you can't just quit, like, there's too much social pressure, there's too many people depending on you, whether it's employees or bar investors, that you can actually kind of shut the door. And you hear all the time, like people are so resilient, like this person never gives up, but they don't talk about like, you're almost like forced to not give up for certain things, especially as you raise more and more capital, there is no like, I'm gonna give my resignation tomorrow and give two weeks and walk away. So I think for us, it was we, as we were pivoting out of the same day delivery, and it was like a, it was a marketplace that was a b2b SaaS and kind of never like, frankly, never found product market fit, we were just going to move into consulting, which in New York, now, not sure how the market is now at the time, there's just so many consulting opportunities within e-comm. And we were just going to build maybe a consulting business for a couple of years PR kind of friends and family back and then move on. And funny enough, that's how this was born in the sense of, oh, we were consulted, we were transitioning to consulting a customer had a problem, can we build a solution, like I had been sitting next to a very senior engineer all day kind of thing. So I think as far as like, challenge goes, it's kind of the path to product market fit. And one of the biggest things that I know now is like what product market fit feels like, which is some semblance of word of mouth and kind of growth, without kind of leaning into growth, versus it'd be like 15 customers on the same day thing. And like, we had to hustle to get all 15. And they were paying us like $200. So that's, that's kind of the path. That's like one thing that if I can iterate anyone that's starting a company, just like understanding product market fit and trying to get some semblance or validation of that before going kind of much, much deeper. And whether it's experiments like, like, a lot of like, would sound great on purpose on paper, which is like do micro experiments, but like, that's very hard to execute kind of thing, you almost have to, like lead in and then lean in, and then lean in kind of thing. So that was probably the hardest time for us of just like, what are we doing, we can't quit? What does the future look like? Kind of thing. So that's kind of what I like to harp on the most.

William Harris 22:28

I think you talked about a couple of things that I really liked there, one, you know, is the pressure that we inevitably feel as entrepreneurs and owners. And I know I felt it personally. And there's a video I saw of, of Elon Musk talking about how, at a certain point, the job of a CEO, your job is for all of the worst problems in the company to bubble their way up to you. You know, if it's solved by somebody else, that it doesn't make its way to you, but it's like you get all of the problems that you know, eventually make their way to you. And it's that is that is your job to point to solving all of the biggest problems in the company are sometimes these very challenging things. And it can feel sometimes very overwhelming, because you're oftentimes also solving things you haven't solved before. They these are new things to you, and having a team of people behind you to help with that, and mentors and stuff like that. But the other thing you talked about, though, that I really liked is product market fit. And I feel like that's something that maybe doesn't get evaluated often enough in businesses. And so let's say, you know, maybe you're 123, you've got great product market fit. And then things change. And all of a sudden, the market is shifting, and maybe companies don't keep up with what that is. You mentioned for you a lot of this came down to almost, you know, word of mouth growth where it didn't seem so hard. Any other tips or tricks that you could think of for how somebody can identify if they're maybe, maybe they're doing the ads stuff that they're doing, and they're doing all these other things to grow? They're not growing the way they want? Are there red flags that you've seen, at least in your own journey to where you're saying, maybe maybe my problem is product market fit, and I need to rethink this and I had product market fit. But I need to look at this differently, like other red flags or things that you look at for that.

Matt Bahr 24:11

Yeah, I think it depends on if we're talking software, if we're talking consumer kind of the vertical is important here too. But also, you were growing so fast, early on to because we were essentially the only player in the market like vocally talking about these things like the attribution surveys. I think I own attribution surveys beyond direct from consumer.com. We own a bunch of URLs because no one was talking about these things. So I think the combination of not a ton of competition coupled with an existing problem solved in a new way, like allowed us to kind of go very deep in those things. I think from from a product perspective to us. We're We're super excited to go wider from a product from a product kind of feature perspective in the sense of like, how do we solve other problems in combination with attribution by using Direct from consumer data. So that's kind of the path we're taking, we could have definitely chosen and a lot of people still tell us to just go deeper into attribution. But frankly, that space is already very crowded, we've partnered with the best in that space. So like, let us get really good at ingesting the data and allow them to solve kind of more the intricacies of those things, whether we're talking about MCA or media mix, modeling, whatever we want to talk about on that side of things, and us to go a little bit wider. So from a market perspective, like, we're, we're excited, because the market for asking consumers questions, frankly, is very validated. Qualtrics just got, again, repurchased for over $10 million. So like this market is there, and it's not like arguably going to go away. There's definitely some really cool things happening with technology as everyone is seeing. But at the end of the day, like those things even need inputs, and consumers are going to be a lot of those. So that's kind of what we're most excited about is like how do we rethink how data is collected, kind of push out the idea of surveys, and these interrogations and rethink kind of direct from consumer and how the consumer is part of the conversation where all the hype was around Voice of Customer maybe 510 years ago, which is funny, like you don't hear that very often in at least in the direct from consumer or direct to consumer space. Because it was almost wasn't important, like Facebook was most important and optimizing Facebook was most important. And getting feedback wasn't because Facebook was going to find those kind of little pockets of customers that kind of fit your value prop perfectly. And as that gets more difficult as we're seeing voice of customer, direct consumer, whatever we want to call it is going to, we think going to be a very important vertical in the stack for everyone.

William Harris 26:47

Sure. So okay, let's run with this a little bit. Because this is something that you seem pretty excited and passionate about and what you have a vision for. What do you see as the future of customer data? Or like you said, it's like not interrogations, but it's like, where are we going? What is the what is the plan in the future look like for this?

Matt Bahr 27:07

Yeah, our Northstar, from a product perspective is asking the right question at the right time. And the rules like that is obviously quite nebulous, like, what does that mean? The rules can be determined by a lot of factors, it could just be optimizing for more data capture, for example, which is something we'd probably not encouraged because you're start going to start to get them noisy data and that sense, or it could be Hey, I'm trying to solve attribution. So it's like, we already know XYZ about math from an attribution sense. Like, let's ask him a different question that's going to solve this other business problem. So it's starting to how do we kind of do more with less really how we think about it? And we don't necessarily have to ask every customer 1020 questions, we can ask this customer these three questions, these customer these four questions. In our, our questions stream product was, I don't want to say initially built for this. But it's very much built in a way that allows questions to almost live on multiple different surfaces that different times. So it's going to allow us to get really intelligent around when we ask questions, so that that's kind of what we're most excited about. And where we see the space going, instead of like hitting send a bulk send for everyone gets the same series of questions from this maybe NPS survey. It's like, Hey, you and I maybe get the first same question. And then every question thereafter, it's kind of optimized for a particular reason. Now, that

William Harris 28:27

makes a lot of sense, the right question at the right time to the right person, right. And it just reminds me of questions in general, I, my dad's an engineer, and I believe you, when we talk to you, you come from an engineering background family as well. And I know one of the things that my dad has always said is, you know, the five why's and I don't know if you've read the five why's? Is that a thing that you heard growing up at all? I have no. Okay, so the five why's that he would always tell me was you just have to ask five, why five times to get to the root of whatever the problem is, or something kinda those lines. And, you know, it's like, okay, ran out of gas in the car will why? Well, because I didn't. The gas gauge was broken. So I didn't know that it was empty. But why is the gas gauge broken? Why I didn't have the money to fix the gas gauge. Okay, well, why didn't you have the money to fix the gas gauge? Well, because I got laid off or whatever. So you get to this, like, Okay, so here's the actual root of the problem of what happened, right? And now we can actually start solving the problem that needs to be solved. And just that idea of asking questions in general, I think is key. And I think a lot of us aren't even asking those questions at all of our customers. And I think that's a big breakdown. But then if you can go beyond that to just like you said, moving past interrogations with asking the right question at the right time to the right person, begin to get even better answers. So I really like where you went with that.

Matt Bahr 29:42

Yeah, it's definitely we talked a lot about first principles, which just seems like it's very similar, five wise. But from a first principle standpoint, like what are we actually trying to solve? Like, if it's attribution like why you're an immune so we talked about a lot of that internally. The five why's it's probably a little bit easier. way to get to the first principle, essentially,

William Harris 30:02

if you've got people that understand what you're trying to accomplish, then I think that makes sense. It's probably a lot less efficient way of getting there. But it's a good way to start training people to practice how to think that way. Yeah. You also mentioned the idea of like this serendipity. Remember, you were talking about just a little bit ago here. And you hinted at this of like this almost like happy accident, you're solving this problem for a customer. There was a little bit more to that story that I remember you told me before, with elixir, and everything else like that, too. And the reason why I want to bring this up is I'll get into in a second year, but can you tell me that story again? Like how this actually ended up happening, like that serendipitous moment?

Matt Bahr 30:40

Yeah, I think when we were chatting before, it was really my first job in New York. Funny enough, it was cold call sales for Yext, which went public like three or four years ago. I lasted I think four weeks, five weeks, like in funny if I was like the first not to go too much into these. I was like the number one sales guy on day one. And then I don't think I got it, I think I got one sale on day two, and then I didn't get another sale for like four weeks. So just definitely not a cold, a cold call a guy innately. But one thing that I think Jessie who had just reconnected with he's got this really cool company called Rome now that we use a Fairing. He would often harp I think it was him would harp on like creating your own luck. It's almost like creating your own serendipity. And that that's definitely something that stuck with me. It's almost just like, as, as a founder, I obviously want to optimize my time. But it's like, well, what if I stay a little bit later and go to this meeting, because there's, is there almost like serendipity or luck that could occur maybe down the road. And the story we spoke about before is, I literally turned to Kurt, my co founder or CTO was like, March, I could probably look it up from the first git commit, like, middle of March 2018. And I was like, How about how easy would it which is probably how I started most conversations, be to build a simple post purchase survey that tied order data together. And it didn't require like any convincing, which like, I'm sure I had a dozen ideas before this, like Matt Shut up, like get back to work kind of thing. But the exciting thing is and what you were alluding to before is Kurt, who has been an engineer for 1520 years, just spent winter break like that time between Christmas and New Year learning elixir, which is a language that that of erlang Erlang is what's WhatsApp was built in elixir as well, like Discord is built in. It's typically for messaging. Funny enough, I think an earnings report like years ago, Goldman said that Goldman Sachs had like Erling is literally part of their competitive advantage, because their speed is so like, they're literally gaining millet, like a millisecond more than a competitor, which allows them to optimize certain things. So Kurt was just learning that language kind of really just looking into functional languages. After having spent years kind of working with node, and the idea of serving questions, like there's a ton of similarity with like WhatsApp or messages in general, like Erling was initially built, I think by AT and T in the 80s for telecommunications. And there was this like, perfect synergy. And I think he was like secretly looking for projects to kind of deepen his knowledge on elixir. So funny enough, fast forward, he's like, obviously, very senior writing elixir code now, but at the time, when the first prototype of bearing was built, it was like the first time that he was actually writing anything that someone would use. I think he wrote a small application, that control is like Sonos system, that is, as at his folks house, initially. And that was like, I think, possibly if he didn't have learned elixir a couple months before, and like saw this great synergy. He might not have like said yes, so quickly. And maybe I would have convinced him a week later or a couple days later, but we don't know. I think that that's always leading to like, it was like this perfect. Like, marriage of he learned a new language. We were moving a lot to consulting. Because we didn't have product market fit all that happened at the same time. And hey, this product was born that buy frankly, like, I think within the first month, we had like five or six Shopify Plus merchants, which in 2018 was like something you really had to hustle for. It was like, Oh, this is a very different go to market than our same day product. So yeah, serendipity is so important, like timing is literally, I think, a derivative of serendipity amongst

William Harris 34:32

the reason why I love this story is because, again, going back to you and I both love chess. And one of my favorite things about chess is that unlike with poker, there's no secret, right? Like, I know everything that's out there. I know every possible move that you have, in theory, like I can see it all right there like I already know. And so from a logic perspective, it becomes very, let's say potentially It's easier to really understand the different moves that are out there. Now I'm by no means, you know, Magnus Carlsen or anything like that. But it becomes easy to be able to compete in a sport like that, because you can you see all the options, the variables, whatever. But what you can't see in business that I think maybe equates it very similar to poker that way is like there's a lot of hidden things that you just don't know what around the corner or even what the possibilities are. And the idea of creating your own your own luck there, as you would say it where it's like, it was based on a couple of key things that you already called out before curiosity. Well, your partner was curious, curious enough that he's, you know, in his free time going to read this other language, you guys are considering continuing to pursue these things. And so there's this idea of like, perseverance, curiosity, and that melds together into exactly what you say it's like this, this perfect opportunity. You just have to be ready to strike it when it happens. But I think that's the thing that a lot of people don't realize is that it was it was years of being and emulating those qualities that led to that one idea of being right at the right time.

Matt Bahr 36:06

Yeah, yeah, no, exactly. Yeah, there's, there's a ton of business, like metaphors to chess to, which we could also get into but there must be I listened to the podcast with the seat or one of the co founders, Peter of segment. And his story is like, it's funny in the sense that they were building a very different products for the classroom, which is essentially the Pullman product for the classroom. They built analytics.js, which is kind of their JavaScript snippet to kind of track all these analytics. And he was essentially in this, like, no product market fit period. And one of his co founders was like, let's like, Do this analytics.js thing, it's totally different than what we're doing. And in this interview, he was just like, I spent 24 hours, like literally thinking of every possible way for me to shut this down. Like, I thought this was the worst idea. And I finally was like, okay, perfect, we'll post it on Hacker News. And like, if it doesn't get more than, like, five votes, like we're shutting it down, this is the perfect plan to kind of, I don't want to be a jerk and kind of just shut it down. Funny enough to like, had, I think, like 20,000 people on the waitlist within like a month kind of thing. So it's just funny in the sense of like, you'd have to be ready for anything kind of thing and like something that you Bill, hey, analytics.js can actually turn into your product and same story with Slack. You have to be willing and curious and almost listening to see what's going to work and what the market is wanting.

William Harris 37:33

Now that's, that's really good. It reminds me of well, okay, the slack story, because, yes. Can you take me through that a little bit more? Because I don't know if everybody who's listening knows that story. But I do think that's a good one to touch on as well.

Matt Bahr 37:52

Yeah, they were they were building. Essentially. What were they they were in the gaming vertical, I think building a game. And they built an internal tool to communicate, which essentially turned out to be slack, raised a bunch of money for kind of the video game product that they had never found product market fit, was running out of cash and kind of like at a whim or like, Well, we really liked this internal tool. What if we turn this into a product? Man, like, I'm sure no one maybe I'm sure. But that one probably was like this is going to be what we built in the future was more or less, like, we're just trying to solve a simple problem internally, and obviously, everyone has that problem. So that's what we're about to dog food, our product, I think it's gonna go live tomorrow, we're we're going to use an action stream in our onboarding flow, which we're super excited about, because it'll allow us to almost get a very different, like, I haven't a merchant background, but it'll give us a very different kind of cadence or feeling of actually using the tool, which I think is super important, if you can.

William Harris 38:56

Yeah, you, you were talking about this earlier, too. And I'm gonna switch up topics just a little bit. But the idea of, let's say that when you get into those moments, those funks, where you're just like, Okay, we don't have product market fit, and maybe feeling the pressure. And so you're trying to figure out what that is, and you're going through these processes, but you might be feeling frustrated, or or overwhelmed, or these other feelings of entrepreneurship. And I found that for me, there are certain things within my routine that helped me to get out of those funks there's even some songs that I like to listen to that it's like okay, just like reset my mind on on what I would say is truth. I believe that there's a Bible verse that says, you know, the truth will set you free and for me, the idea of just truth in general set you free from all of those other problems, not just you know, salvation but truth sets you free from from worry, anxiety, guilt, and all these other things. We could reframe your mind and say, Wait, but is that true? Or am I just thinking this incorrectly? What kind of a routine or are things that you do when you're in those moments and you're saying, I kind of feel like I'm a little bit in a funk and I need to get out of this funk? How do you approach that?

Matt Bahr 40:09

Yeah, I um, I can very easily tell when I'm in a funk, which is good, like my sleep. I don't want to get out of bed like funny enough, I'm someone that like gets up usually around six and just my brain starts running. And if I'm like in bed till like 645 or seven, a couple days in a row, like someone's a little stressed kind of thing. So I have these like really clear indicators of that, it's like led me to a place where I'm just like crazy. From asleep perspective, like I've been wearing an Eight Sleep mattress that hurt. Crucial. Now it's a kind of operating. From a routine perspective, I think we spoke about this, but like, try to work out every morning, which happens maybe 60 70% of the time. And then I'll go like two weeks without doing anything like, Okay, I need to like almost reset and force myself to just get into the gym for 10 minutes just to like, kind of get back in. So I think just listening is the easiest thing that maybe a lot of founders than just operators out there could do. Almost like listening to your body and listening to your habits. I think we joked before, like, if you see my like chess games, if there's like more than 10 a day, like, there's like 20 or 30 a day like I'm clearly stressed, because I'm avoiding what I don't want to do by just playing chess online. So it's funny to like, almost, listen and hear and then okay, take a step back. My wife also is very good at just being like, Oh, someone's stressed and like, how do you know that she's like, You just seem off kind of thing. So definitely having those feedback loops are super important, at least to me to like the chest things.

William Harris 41:40

Interesting loop, though, isn't it? Because I actually experienced that myself here. It was traveling, I just got back from Nashville. We're visiting some clients, I found out that I don't play chess very well, gently on an airplane. I don't know why. But it was, you know, one of those moments, you just like point every move I made. I was like, that was a dumb? That was gonna cost me pretty bad. And yeah, like you said, it's just those different indicators. What I want to I want to get into some fun questions. But before we get into like, just like some random fun questions here for everybody, what's the what's the one piece of advice that you would give, if you were gonna give this to anybody that's either, let's say, starting down their entrepreneurial journey or are partway into it, and they're, they're just looking for some advice, if you're running into you, or somebody could run into you and give you this advice? What's that piece of advice? You feel like is like at the top of your list?

Matt Bahr 42:30

Yeah, I think for us, like anecdotally, we've spoken a ton about it, the thing that I always harp on, on the software side of things, just understanding when things are going well, and understand when things aren't, you know, what I mean, and being able to almost reset certain things, is, I think, super important. As far as kind of business, whether it's continuity or product, market fit, whatever those things are. So that's often what I what I express through our kind of journey of scaling this company of knowing what product market fit doesn't feel like and knowing what it does feel like. And you could you think, funny enough, when we pivoted, like one of my other founder friends just laughed, he was like, of course, like, who doesn't essentially like how oftentimes it's your first idea, the actual idea. So just kind of listening to the listening to customers in the market, I think is the biggest piece of advice that I would, would I would give people and just like understanding the size of the market and the economics around it is something I think I wish I did a little bit more. Previous to faring in the same day world, it's just like understanding that a little bit more would have definitely helped us but they're enough from a serendipity standpoint, like we almost had to fail to get to a place where we are now. So

William Harris 43:44

when I think interestingly enough, that's literally what your company does then to like you are doing the ability to assess for people like what's working, what's not working. That's interesting that that's just even where your whole mindset mindset goes. Okay, couple of fun questions, completely random. These ones you have, you know, no prep for whatsoever. But sometimes that's the most fun, and maybe these will be death. Let's see. What do most people not know about you? Is there a quirk or a strange habit or hobby or something? You're like, you know what, most people don't know me. But if you were in the office with you in New York City, or like, you would probably see that I'm the guy who types really loudly or whatever this might be

Matt Bahr 44:25

our call if I shared anything with you, as far as in the office, I think I am the fastest typer in the office. But piano for about 15 years, which I think helps type. So I know me and a couple of engineers went through like a typing test about two months ago, and I was happily like, I think 107 or 115 was my nine words per minute, which was kind of fun. So that's probably the like, there's nothing I feel like I'm a pretty normal person to sit next to during the day in the office.

William Harris 44:55

Okay. What's the craziest thing you've ever done? There's something you've done You're like, you know, jumped onto a train off of a bridge?

Matt Bahr 45:06

Yeah, I think the I used to be a little bit crazier. I've had like, I think six now dislocated shoulders at least from a thing. So I definitely was crazy like, in some like bowls in Colorado when I was in my early 20s kind of thing, which is probably a little bit daunting now that I won't even go close to a couple of surgeries later. So that's probably the craziest thing. But I'm definitely I think those hurting yourself a couple times definitely reset certain things. As far as being crazy, unless you're one of these people that just continues to lean into that. But definitely on the skiing side, I snowboard it for like six years to definitely just doing some, but one might say is like irresponsible things, high rates of speed, which at the time was a ton of fun.

William Harris 45:53

That's awesome. Yes, it still is located children's that's got to be getting up there. As far as records go. I don't know if I know anybody else personally, that's dislocated their shoulder that many times so

Matt Bahr 46:02

take a sport like skiing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, skateboarding. Were the four I did it, each one. So yeah, I'm a little bit slower these days.

William Harris 46:16

So I played a lot of sports play basketball, baseball, taekwondo, and I, surprisingly, didn't get that injured. And most of the sports that I played, you know, twisted ankles, things like that, but nothing radical. One of the worst injuries, though, that I got was on a pogo stick of all things. Because I just like to take anything to the extreme. And so there was a loading dock there in Ohio, like semi loading dock, right for whatever. So I tried to do a backflip off of the loading dock on a pogo stick. It didn't quite go the way that I wanted it to. But it's not as good of a story to tell. It was like, it's pretty great thing that it did. That's pretty tough. Okay, um, what did you want to be when you grew up? When you were a kid? What were you like, this is what I want to be I want to be as an astronaut president.

Matt Bahr 47:07

Yeah, I also mentioned I played piano, I play guitar as well. And like, I think until the age of 22, I was convinced I was going to play guitar for a living. So that was definitely like, I went to a ton of solo concerts in high school. Like, just like, I remember. Funny enough, like John Mayer at the time, I feel like no one. No one knew how good of a guitar player he was. And I remember I grew up in like Central Ohio. It's incredible. I grew up in Central Connecticut, and bought a ticket like two hours, but a solo one person ticket when I was like, 17. To see him at the meadows, I think it's called something else now. And I was like, third row, because it was it was like $100 to. Because like, that's who I was looking up to, like, I still look up to great guitar players and try to go to a ton a ton of concerts. But that was definitely what I thought I was going to be. And I almost I toured Berkeley in Boston, because I was going to kind of switch schools that I've been trying to lean into that. And then frankly, I just never, never committed or maybe it was lack of confidence in myself or whatnot. But I really don't regret it. And I still play music. But that's definitely what I thought I was going to do when I grew up.

William Harris 48:16

What style of guitar did you play?

Matt Bahr 48:20

I mean, it was all it was all blues. Okay, for the most part, yeah, blues that I grew up. I'm like a trained classical pianist there. I say that. So good things in the bad. I could sound very good if we're talking about Beethoven or Bach or Mozart. But if you throw me into like a jam band on the keys, I won't be able to do much. But on a guitar, I definitely could.

William Harris 48:43

Just this morning, I was listening to Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, second movement, one of my absolute favorites. And I don't know why. But that's one of the songs we're talking about. Like, it moves me in ways where it's like, Okay, I'm ready to get it. For those who don't know what it's like, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum, bum. And it's just I don't know, like, for some reasons, like you gotta listen to this as like, the build up is just incredible on that, but one of my favorite songs, until you mentioned this, what was your favorite song to play on the piano? What is

Matt Bahr 49:13

now now it's Piano Man with a harmonica around my neck? Because yeah, thanks. Thanks. That's hilarious. So we'll go with that. Like, I feel like when I play now is like, frankly, a ton of Billy Joel and Elton John, just because people are typically around and it's a lot of fun. It's like the music I like. So we'll go with that. I love it.

William Harris 49:34

Okay, is there one product that you could not live without? This didn't exist and we'll say like, you know, not necessarily like let's get rid of the phone. Don't not being it cuz I feel like everybody feels that way about the phone. Is there another thing that you're like this I use this on a daily basis? I'll be pretty bummed if this didn't exist.

Matt Bahr 49:57

Yeah, I feel like this is kind of a layup. And I mentioned it before, but like we have a cooling mattress, frankly, and like, I sleep hot, and like I woke up this morning, I told my wife because it's trying to get hot beer in New York. And I was just like, it's, this is why we have the mattress I've just woke up. So refreshed. I know there's a ton of big, big advocates for the eat sleep measure. But that's probably the thing that I will like right now. And like, I hopefully will have one of these forever.

William Harris 50:24

We, we need good sleep.

Matt Bahr 50:28

It's important that I realized that my that's going to sleep thing, but I realized that I was getting all this brain fog, like two or three o'clock and it was solely related about sleep. Like, this is kind of when I started analyze those things a little bit more and realize what was happening.

William Harris 50:43

Yeah. Do you have the aura ring? Do we talk about that?

Matt Bahr 50:47

I do have an aura.

William Harris 50:48

I know that's i is somebody who likes data probably has an aura ring and is tracking that stuff. I love that. Or if you'd like to sponsor the next episodes. Okay. The last one that I have for you then is a segment that I'm going to call. What's that mean? Where I'm going to give you an absolutely ridiculous word. It is a real word in the English language. And I want you to just make up a definition for it. That you think we will find believable. So the word is our goal barbel AR g l e hyphen B AR G le What is our goal? Bargo me.

Matt Bahr 51:30

Our goal Bargo is when you're trying to talk, but you have water in your mouth or liquid in your mouth. And the actual name of the sound of talking with the water in your mouth is Argo Barco ooh, that's actually that's a common word. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

William Harris 51:45

Yeah, that's actually probably not that far off from the real definition. It was something with talking. I don't remember what it was. But this is like talking gibberish or whatever. Okay, Matt, I'm so thankful that you came on here to share your time with us. Share your expertise with us. If people wanted to reach out to you and let's say you know, follow you or ask questions or follow up with you. Where's the best place that we could send them?

Matt Bahr 52:10

Yeah, you can follow me on LinkedIn. You can just search by name or Twitter's Matt R Bahr. Domain email Matt@Fairing.co. There's a ton of ways to to reach out. But yeah, happy to chat, anything that we spoke about attribution, commerce, etc. Always happy to engage more people create more serendipity?

William Harris 52:30

And to clarify, if you're listening and not watching that B-A-H-R Bahr. So you're looking that up. Make sure you spell that correctly. Matt, thank you again for coming out and joining us.

Matt Bahr 52:42

Thanks so much. This was a ton of fun. Have a great day.

Outro 52:48

Thanks for listening to The Up Arrow Podcast with William Harris. We'll see you again next time and be sure to click Subscribe to get future episodes.

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