How Can AI Help Your Go-To-Market Strategy

Hosted by Jason Atkins
President & Co-founder, Cake Equity
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In this episode of Startup Equity Matters, Jason Atkins and Kate O'Keeffe, co-founder of Heatseeker AI talk about the importance of testing and learning in real-time with real-life people to launch their go-to-markets faster and to retain more equity in your startup.

Here are some takeaways:

Kate was reiterative about testing and learning the market before making major decisions. By conducting experiments early on, founders can identify the most effective strategies to reach their target audience and use this data to raise the right amount of capital.

Listen to the full episode to dive deeper into these insights and learn more about how Heatseeker AI is helping founders launch their go-to-markets faster through data-driven experimentation.


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Transcription to follow!

Jason Atkins: Hi, everyone, and welcome to today's Startup Equity Matters, your podcast that unpacks equity-related startup stories. There's a bunch of startup podcasts out there, but not many that really dig into startup equity, and it is such a critical component of your founder journey. If you muck it up, you could end up having a very small amount of your own company, which is obviously pretty depressing. My guest today, I'm excited to say, is here to help us to retain more of our equity. Welcome, Kate O'Keefe.

Kate O'Keeffe: Hi, Jason. Nice to be here.

Jason Atkins: Great to have you, mate. Kate is a co-founder of Heatseeker AI and Heatseeker AI is here to help you go-to-market faster. We're going to dig intoexactly what it's all about in a minute and hear straight from Kate, but why I love this topic is because a hidden equity killer is just raising too many rounds and learning too slowly. Speed is so important for beating your competition and getting to market. But it's so important to not burn all that capital we've raised. We all know how hard it is to raise capital, and many of you would know that it takes twice as long and costs twice as much to do everything you thought. But we need to learn how to make that not happen. Kate's on a mission to help all of us to learn our customers better, I think, and learn how to communicate with them better and convert them faster. And this is something that I'm very passionate about–zero to one go to market. So, Kate, welcome again. I'm excited to hear more. Maybe hit us with the mission of Heatseeker. What's it all about? What are you up to?

Kate O'Keeffe: Yeah, so look, Heatseeker came out of my time in Silicon Valley. I spent about 10 years there. Leading innovation, Cisco, big tech, the most acquisitive company in the world. They used to buy a company when I was there about every five weeks, so I got really, really familiar with that motion of how do you spot one that we're going to buy. We used to invest a lot. We had a $2.2 billion venture capital fund, and we would only acquire about one in five of those. So I was able to spot which ones and go through that journey. Then I would also be part of the hostage situation of the poor founders that we brought into the behemoth. How to help keep them happy within the behemoth and then spin them out. Actually, it was about how I support them then spinning them out again so they can do that motion and build something else that Cisco might like to buy. So it was a really great time and I learned a lot while I was there. And one of the biggest things I learned was about how consistently great founders were testing and learning in the market. Testing and learning long before they had cut any code. There are also great stories of origin stories of folks like Tim Ferriss, who's really honest about the fact that he–we have the four-hour work week because he did his hundred dollar Google ad campaign where he put out like three or four other titles and the four-hour work week is what won. He put four ads out at the same time. And then, he looked at who clicked on what and who won that beauty contest, and it was the four-hour work week and the rest is history. So Heatseeker is really built on that idea about how we support founders testing and learning more quickly in the market. How do we help them apply great data science to the outcomes of those experiments? We're not all quant geniuses as founders, unlike New Jays. We all know we should be doing more experiments before we put things into the marketplace to learn, but it can be hard to get into that habit. It's hard to be well-supported. It's hard for that process to be super easy, for all of the variables to be controlled, and Heatseeker is looking to take all that pain away, make it quick and easy for you to test different value propositions, different segments, and different features that you should be building. We can help you order your roadmap as you're looking to build your product, testing different competitive advantages. You could be waffling on about a benefit that your customers don't even care about, and it's number two or three on your list that is making them buy. And if we double down on that, you might be much, much more successful. So that's what Heatseekwe is about.

Jason Atkins: Yeah, fantastic. Just reiterating, getting access to capital is super hard. First of all, convincing an investor that you're worth investing in, I have lots of founders coming through from different mentor programs that I'm part of, and they might be after some pre-seed funding. I don't know how early you go, perhaps we can touch on that. But, very early on, what do you build for your MVP? And how do you get feedback? Should you be testing before you even build an MVP? I think the answer is yes. You know, back of the envelope research. We had 10 customers and we asked a bunch of questions just to check a few things, but I imagine we could have done that a lot better. But yeah, so like when you're going to raise even a pre-seed round, I think this type of thinking can help you just put that MVP better, spend less on the MVP, have more confidence that when you do build that first product that it's going to be more successful. Having more confidence probably helps you raise that first round better, but when you get that first little bit of funding, you're much more likely to be able to be successful with it and then get to that next milestone so much more quickly.

Kate O'Keeffe: Yeah, spot on. I mean, if I have any blanket guidance to founders who are just starting, like really, really just starting their journey, it is raise late and raise when you're really sure, and raise when you've got a lot of great quant data about what you're building. Qual data is great as well. I'm a designer. I was the head of design for BCG Digital Ventures for a while. Design junkie, but investors love nothing more than the quant data, so let's talk a little bit about what that means. So there's plenty, and you don't even need a platform like Heatseeker to do it. There's plenty of opportunity for you to be taking your idea and building an ad on LinkedIn or Facebook, if you're B2C and just seeing how many people click on it. You know, build a quick and dirty website on Squarespace or whatever you like, build a quick and dirty LinkedIn or Facebook page for that business, which is pretty much all that you need to start. After you've stopped just sharing beers with your mates at the pub to talk about your idea and it's time to just take it a little bit further, it's so easy for you to pop an ad together, especially if you're ranking it against different versions of what you might do. Then, my guidance would be to take three or five ideas or lenses of what you might do and craft different ads for what they are. It'll take you a couple of hours to pick up an image on iStock and you don't need anything else. Then you can place those ads pretty cheaply for a couple of hundred bucks budget-wise. Then, you place those ads on social media and you'll get an enormous amount of data back. The first thing you'll get back is you'll find out who won this beauty contest, and you'll also know if the winner of that beauty contest is above the benchmark for ads on that social media platform in that sector on that topic. So immediately, you'll get some signal back from the market. There's an appetite for this. The appetite is above and beyond. That's good news for you. You've also just found out that there's four paths you should not take. If you've done a five-variant ad, you've just found out there's four paths you shouldn't take that aren't as popular as the one that you've put forward, and people grossly underestimate the value of the path not taken. like the “Whoo thank goodness I didn't do that one” because if I'd done that one, that would have been a drag on my venture startup experience that could have lasted me for years. So you've got that experience, you have some personal experience for that, I think, you were telling me last time we caught up. Well, the story I told you last time that we caught up was I was building an insurance company. I was going to call the product micro-insurance because it was a cheap and dirty, you know, $11 a week life insurance product. Then someone had the good sense to say, “You know what, Kate, you should test that against bite-sized insurance, against light insurance, against all these other ways we can say light insurance.” And it turned out that bite-sized insurance 5X'd the choice that I had, which was micro-insurance, and if we just think about that, that means my cost of customer act was just my CAC would have been 5x for a long time. People just wouldn't have got it. People wouldn't have responded to our message. It just wouldn't have settled with people in the same way that bite-sized insurance did. Now, of course, it seems intuitively obvious, but at the time I was in the decision pattern, which is as founders, we spend all day, this is the CRM we should use. We should use Microsoft for this and we should use AWS for that. We make all the decisions, and sometimes, we make product decisions that we should really make that are co-creating with our segment and our market. So just getting back to some of the things you'll get back when you run an experiment like that, you'll get leads, you'll get people. The way you do it is you put in there like fill in a lead gen form, right? And now, you've got eight, ten people to chat to about your products. You can even Wizard-of-Oz the service that you're looking to offer. Do it by hand for a bit to get them on the phone for a complimentary consult, find out more about…

Jason Atkins: We Wizard-of-Oz'd Cake for like two years.

Kate O’Keeffe: Exactly. And it's a great example of protecting equity through experimentation. Amazing way to design products. So you'll get that back. You'll also get back a lot of data about your segment. You'll find out who clicked on your ads. What kind of people? Is it men? Is it women? How old are they? Where are they? And all of this. Now that you've got all this, you've got all this confidence that will help you be a better founder and show you that you're heading in the right direction, and you might not be. But you'll also get an amazing package of material that you'll build and build and build so that when it's time to have a conversation with investors, not only are you sharing all this amazing quant data to support the appetite narrative that you have, you're also showing that investor how smart you are with testing and learning in market. You know how to be frugal with their capital by doing experiments before you're cutting code or offering services. So all of this will really help early stage founders on their journey.

Jason Atkins: Oh, absolutely. I just love that whole piece. I very rarely see founders with this done well. It's such a game-changer. It can be the difference between success and failure. It's that significant. And the difference between just months or years of pain or not, so super critical insights there. Let's go forward a little bit in the journey. Done that and we've got our MVP, Cake’s five plus years old now, and we're still split testing our homepage again, so this is a never-ending journey, right? You have new products, you have new markets, you have new segments. I mean, there's just so many variables as you go. So let's talk a little bit about, I guess, the next stage. We're in the market and we can maybe use Heatseeker whenever you want to bring in products and in a way you're looking to tackle it. Of course, let's dig into that. So we're in the market, we've got our product and we've got our sales. How are we looking to then continue to test and iterate and learn, and how can AI help?

Kate O'Keeffe: Yeah, so there is a raft of products. I mean, Heatseeker doesn't stand alone. We're part of a generation of AI products that help founders do this sort of iterative testingl, and I like to say that it's artificial intelligence to generate real intelligence because AI is what gets your ads really quick and helps you choose.This is the growth question that you should be answering live in the marketplace, and it's AI that helps you interpret everything coming back. But the data that you're getting is real data from the real world, and what's great about these products. LaunchDarkly is another one from Silicon Valley where it actually lets you test different versions of features live in the market to see which one works better with your market. The thing that I like best about this is that it just helps people move more quickly, and it's also real buying behavior and real buying data. Often we think we're doing good market research because we're talking to users or interviewing them or, you know, I told everybody at my barbecue at the weekend about it, or worse, I asked my investors, none of whom represent my ICP, and they all thought it was great. So, I've done research, but what we're finding is with things like the Heatseeker, where people are either clicking on ads that they want to buy, or not, or a tool like LaunchDarkly or even Unbounce where people are either converting or they're not. This is real buyer behavior, super high quality data when it comes to you making great decisions as a founder. So in terms of when you're further along the journey, how can you continue to benefit from testing and learning? Well, one way is anything on your product roadmap, anything that goes on your product roadmap, you should be undertaking some sort of test before you cut code. Cutting code is expensive. I don't care what kind of fancy AI tools you think you have. Cutting code, shipping code, testing code, all of it. Advertising for the new products, all of it costs a fortune, right? And so undertaking experiments on everything that goes onto your product roadmap, any idea that you have, feature idea. The way that you do that is you take the feature that you're thinking of having and you make it sound like It's the whole product. And I have to say, “Hey, just serve me this the other day.” So I was noodling around on Google, I think, Jason and I saw an ad for Cake that was all about understanding the value of their equity. There was nothing about helping founders work things out. There was nothing about all the great calculators on your website. There was nothing about all the free templates that you have in your product. Nothing of that. You were just focusing on the employee's understanding of the value proposition of their equity, and you served that up to me, and it was a great example. I mean, I'm sure it's just you looking for speaking to different segments. I'm a founder at a certain stage. I'm hiring like crazy, so I am making sure I'm using Cake, which I am. Making sure I'm using Cake to help them understand that is a great nuance of the value proposition. But it's a great example of how one feature or competitive benefit of your broader product has been served up to me like it's the whole product, and that's how we do both feature tests and competitive and benefits tests, where we take a new feature that you might be offering. So, you know, in the case of Heatseeker, we're about to launch this artificial users functionality, where once you've done enough experiments or you've submitted enough information to us about your users, we can create personas, artificial personas that you can interview, you can test things with, you can even say, how would you say this? Would you buy this? and they will give you their answers. So these artificial users are really going to help our founders with a quick and dirty first analysis on their ideas. And that's an example of something I could build this a lot of different ways, Jason. I mean, I could have your artificial users write your copy for you. Your artificial users could test your value propositions. Your artificial users could replace your market research department. These are all ideas for features that I have, and before any of them become in the product roadmap, I'm gonna have to test them. I'm gonna create different ads just like you did with this employee value prop ad. Craft different ads for those features like they're the whole product. Book them out. In my case, I sell to founders, so my platform of choice is LinkedIn. Pop them out on LinkedIn. See who wins that beauty contest, and see if who's clicking on that winner of the beauty contest is the segment I'm looking for. So this is how we can continue to benefit from founders as time goes on.

Jason Atkins: Super valuable insights there. Reminds me quickly, just I'll add the mum test. You've mentioned a couple of times that just asking the right people and asking the right question. I think experienced founders have probably worked this out over time and we could all get better at it. Looking at your history, I think you're probably pretty elite by now, but I know I could be better. You've got to ask the right questions in the right way and you've got to ask the right people. If you go ask your mom, “Hey mom, what do you think of my app?” She's going to be like, “Oh, beautiful darling.” That's not helpful to you at all if you really want to know what to build. I think you've touched on that a few times and just wanted to reiterate that point. Make sure you're asking your actual ICP the questions and don't lead them along.

Kate O'Keeffe: Don't lead the witness. Do you like my new feature? Why do you emphatically not? People can't help themselves. I also find that if you wanted to spend a second just spitballing in this, the lower five, the A, presenting differences in your ICP with sketches and quick and dirty lines on a page, Figma is almost too resolved. Because the minute they think there's something resolved there, they're likely to nod along politely, especially if it looks nice. So literally sharing like a hand-drawn sketch, what would you click on for the next thing? Would this fully address the problem for you? It's incredibly important. How do you get people to give you real world data and real answers because that's the next thing when you ask questions it's really hard to take out the bias of the question and the fact that you're making clear you want a certain answer it's really so try and make what you're the way you're answering the question as near to real world as possible e.g. a prototype versus a sentence because how you say employee value proposition and how I say what I mean when I'm thinking about employee value proposition as an example can be super different. Then the last is there's nothing beats real buyer behavior. Like do they click on the ad or do they not? Do they use the thing or they don't? And so how do we get to that real buyer behavior, that real quality quant data without having the thing built? And that would be my guide to get much better quality answers.

Jason Atkins: Yeah, I love that. Just to finish off this point, I think one thing to think is if you keep asking your customer, if you're doing your testing and everybody's saying things that you agree with or that you already knew, you're failing. You should be getting shocked. You should be getting new information that you never thought of before because if you don't get that information, you probably can't win because that's all the stuff you need to know to be able to solve that problem. Anyway, just reiterating for everyone, zero to one is something I'm very passionate about. We're going to continuously try and help you do zero to one better and faster and cheaper and bootstrap more and raise less. The reason we want you doing that is because every time you raise a round, it's like 20 percent of your equity is going out the door. We want you bootstrapping, raising a seed and then raising series A, ideally. Now, no criticism if you haven't done that, it's very hard. I haven't been able to do that and we're supposedly doing a great job. We are. But it's very hard. If you haven't done that, it's fine. But raising less rounds is great. Hitting your milestones fast and getting straight to scalability is great. As soon as you've got a scalable and repeatable system, you can maybe raise $5 million and you just go nuts. So that's kind of what we're trying to help you with here. So we're going to come back and talk a little bit about Heatseeker and what's going on for 2024, the launch and that sort of thing a little bit later, but I'm going to switch a bit and hit Kate up. Like we touched a little bit on your career, but having a look at it, it's pretty cool. I'm just going to call out when I first, I think, I first sort of bumped into you a little while ago, we didn't manage to get together. And then I saw we'd raised this great round. I'm like, “Oh, cool. We've got some pretty nice investors there.” We're in the same portfolio, um, with Euphemia. So shout out to the legends, Dom and Judy there. Yeah, and I was looking at your profile and you've done so much cool stuff. Can we just talk a little bit about what you’ve touched on Cisco and how long were you in the US and you're back in Australia now?

Kate O'Keeffe: Yeah, so I was a couple of time founder and I had my second startup in my 20s in fashion, Jason. I actually designed shoes and I had stores in Melbourne and Sydney.

Jason Atkins: Thank you, thank you.

Kate O'Keeffe: Then I had this incredible opportunity, got headhunted in this role to lead innovation for Cisco based out of Singapore. So I moved to Singapore, totally crazy, and I went high tech very, very fast. But I grew to love it really, really quickly, and I thought that not being an engineer, I wouldn't have a lot to offer in that environment. But what I found really quickly is that these sorts of tools that we're talking about, they play well in any environment that you are, and I had a particular technique that I kind of made famous within Cisco, where I would bring the builders, even the executives, even like big partners like Walgreens and Apple and others, I would bring them into a room and I would make whoever the decision maker was, I would make them the hacker and I would make them build a prototype of whatever it is. Even if it's like, you're the firewall, you're the packet of data. I was working for Cisco. We would even role play. Some of what we were doing, right? Because prototyping is so important, getting it into the real world. Everyone can agree when we can see it. When we stop talking, when we shut up and stop talking and start building, everything changes. All the opportunities change. Everyone understands all of a sudden because you can see it. And the other thing that I would do is I would bring in 20, 30, 40 end users into the room. So we were able to do amazing things like innovation in spaces like IOT and supply chain and all sorts of things because everybody who could be part of a user decision or a buying decision had to physically be in the room, and so we would iterate. Every 45 minutes, we'd tear the prototype apart and rebuild it. I've heard this three times, just stop, no more users. I'm going to tear this thing apart and rebuild it. And in that way, we're able to move more and more quickly, so that now has come into this idea of Heatseeker. So rather than having to recruit end users that match your ICP, you can find them really easy on social media. And you can ship prototypes, which are these ads that explain what you're doing. You can ship them so quickly, so easily, so cheaply. And we've got users that are getting answers back to the market in like four days. Oh my god, stop it. Stop the experiment. It's so clear that this is the winner. I must never say, I must never explain my product in these four other ways that I've been doing a lot of ever again, and I've just got to double down on this thing here. And so this has been this really natural flow. So yes, 10 years at Cisco, love that environment, love San Francisco. What happened? I was on such a roll.

Jason Atkins: I'll mention the guys to just fix that up.

Kate O'Keeffe: Yeah. And then you're right, I got brought back to Australia by Boston Consulting Group. They had a digital ventures arm which just built startups for large companies, and had a ball there. I founded a neo-insurance company for AIA while I was there that I was super proud of. I left them in March of 2023 and started at Heatseeker later in 2023. After I met Sam Altman, actually, when he was on tour, I was super inspired by what was possible and how we might use artificial intelligence and artificial data to get real data back from the marketplace, which is the premise behind HeatSeeker.

Jason Atkins: Very cool, incredibly inspiring career and I'm very excited to see what's going on with Heatseeker. So Sam Alton was here, I got to go to that. That was an inspiring event. You know, AI is just kind of everywhere at the moment. Lots of people are trying to work out how to get it going tangibly and what's real and what's not. Yeah, excited that you're building this out of Sydney or Melbourne, or where are you based? Like Australia, I guess, all around?

Kate O'Keeffe: Yeah, so we're actually Queensland based. We're actually neighbours,
Jason, technically speaking. Yeah, we work virtually. We have members of our team in California. We have another member in Toronto. But yeah, most of the building happens across the east coast of Australia.

Jason Atkins: I keep seeing you and you're not here, but you are okay. So we're neighbours. Brilliant. All right. Another Queensland startup. That's absolutely brilliant. And so was it pre-seed or seed that you raised? Anything you can share about the capital raising journey? The listeners love to hear about capital raising and especially successes. So what can you share about the raise and the journey and investors and whatnot? How's the experience?

Kate O'Keeffe: Yeah, so actually, my first time raising capital in Australia, which was an interesting experience for me. Although I have to say, I don't know whether the differences between this raise and like my last raises in the US were the times. It's obviously a very different time. It's a tough time to be out there for founders. And for all of the founders out there on the call, I'm giving you that salute from the Hunger Games because it's tough out there. And some of that is the local environment and some of it is just, you know, it's not 2021 anymore. So we bootstrapped for a long time. We're doing a lot of these experiments in the background, which helps us build quickly. We are halfway through our pre-seed round. We've raised about 600 grand so far of the about 1.3 that I was hoping to raise but we're also kind of in luck because we have had three releases to the market. We're live in market. We're post-rev now. We've got a second really big release coming next week, another really big feature drop, so some of the pressure of where the round is at is being relieved by the momentum that the product has. And a lot of that is, and I keep going on about the same topic, but a lot of that is because we have a lot of clarity about what we're building. A lot of these things have been tested. Our marketing is resonating in the marketplace, our wait lists are full because of the fact that we've done a lot of experiments. We're very clear on how to express what it is that Heatseeker is doing. We could have said Heatseeker is about helping startups grow by testing and learning in market. Turns out that being a growth co-pilot through testing and learning, tests a lot better. I thought we should say Heatseeker is about live market experiments. Turns out people like live market tests a lot more, and it's an example of how now all of our cost of acquisition and these sorts of pieces are lower because we have a lot of clarity. and we're able to see clearly what are the steps that we need to take, so we're definitely benefiting. The fact that we're only halfway through our seed round, we believe we're able to be enormously capital efficient, and it's because of that clarity.

Jason Atkins: Great. Well, I must qualify. This is not a capital raising endorsement, but thanks for sharing. I'll take my Cake hat off and say definitely send me that info because a lot of other businesss, we do some investing, so be keen to check that out. And I know a bunch of investors as well, so hopefully I can help. But yeah, exciting times. 

Kate O'Keeffe: Thanks, Jason. I'd love to see that we're doing a deal right here on your podcast.

Jason Atkins: I'm inspired by one of our lead investors, Jake. He's always trying to get in the good deals of his guests. So I'm like, if he can do it, I can do it. I just have to make sure I don't upset my Cake. True, because Cake does not raise capital. I have to be really clear about that just because of what we do there. But look, it's all, I think what you're doing is awesome, so I'd love to sort of hear more. But yeah, capital raising is hard. So again, shout out to everyone that's doing it. Most startups are almost always raising and it is a tougher time, but it can be done, so thanks for sharing that. What about team equity? Have you got something happening already or have you got that on the agenda? I haven't primed you for this at all, so let's see how aligned we are on that. I did, I've seen you, we've chatted about, I think a couple of times on employee equity a little bit, but yeah, what's your thoughts on it?

Kate O'Keeffe: What's a good shout, Jason? So, I mean, first and foremost, one of my core principles as a founder is the importance of buying over building, and when I chose Cake to help me manage our equity, it was because I'm a junkie for buying over building. And usually when people are like, all right, it's time to start sharing the pie here or the Cake, they go through the process of, on their own, getting the right agreements in place and trying to work all of those pieces out. And so, yeah, we did use Cake and we did use equity. Recently, we made a really key hire of an incredible technical talent, and the equity was a really important part, not just in terms of helping us extend our runway, because he was comfortable taking equity because he's a founder-type, but also because he's a founder-type, he felt that that inclusion to stand shoulder to shoulder with Fiona and I as co-founders, he thought that that really aligned with his values and where he wanted to go with the company and really felt like we were serious about standing shoulder to shoulder with him on this journey, which was really important when it came to attracting him to joining our company. I would say that the ESOP and the equity were really essential, so thanks for putting me on the spot.

Jason Atkins: Thanks for sharing. I didn't get a chance to warn you about that one, but good to hear that you're, I guess, one, understanding the value of buying off the shelf. It took us years to build that product. We're still building it every day and improving it every day. When you're very, very early, you only need a fraction of the product that we've built. You know, if you go to a lawyer, and I know we love lawyers, we work with heaps of good lawyers, but if you go to one cold and you say, hi, I want an ESOP, I want this and this and this and this and this and this, they'll give it to you. And then it can be a total disaster because you've never done one before, and making all those changes can really cause you a lot of problems down the track.

Kate O'Keeffe: And often the expertise of being a lawyer is not the same as the tax implications that are implicit with a lot of these equity structures, so it's not just a lawyer.

Jason Atkins: Their job is to give you what you want, not tell you what you should have. That's kind of the lawyer's code, and with something like Cake, we can say, “Hey, this is best practice.” We've talked to hundreds of lawyers and hundreds of founders, and we've seen thousands of ESOPs, and we've created a best practice way to do this. It's very difficult for lawyers to do that because they kind of have to give you what you want, which is if you're new to this, it's very challenging to ask the right thing. So anyway, that's kind of what I think some of the value of buying off the shelf. And then, yeah, look, great to hear you're using equity to help build a high quality team. Obviously, we're being advocates of being able to attract, engage, retain, and motivate. It's interesting that you mentioned those new ads. Motivating your team with equity is something that we're really passionate about and we're testing as a core part of our brand. So anyway, hopefully that's resonating.

Kate O'Keeffe: It's getting out there.

Jason Atkins: Cool. Yeah, so like Heatseeker 2024, so we're launching and you're doing zero to one yourself and you're helping people do the same. Can we dig into that a little bit? Like, what's the sweet spot for the launch? Which sort of stage of which type of customer? Who should be checking you out in the short term? And yeah, tell us a bit more about that.

Kate O'Keeffe: Yeah, it's a great question. So we launched our beta version into market about three weeks ago. We did have a few months ago, we had an alpha version of the product, and I mentioned to Jason that we were Wizard of Oz-ing a lot in the background, so we were walking people through the process. Some of it was in Figma, some of it was on our platform. We would see if they would cross the paywall, so they had to pay for their experiment. It wasn't a subscription, but pay before your experiment goes live. And then once they'd signed up for that, we would build the experiment. We would actually use our AI tools, which was a great way of proving them, but the front end wasn't hooked in and all of the rest of it. So that was a great way for us to learn. And we did that for about 14, 15 users in January. Learned a ton. And now all of that has been codified in the product that we launched about three weeks ago. So yeah, you're right. We launched about three weeks ago. We've got a 30-day free trial. We've got lots of really fascinating experiments going on. There was one that I was walking a user through the other day, Tina from Arc of Life. She's in the Blackbirds Giants program, and she is helping people with their end of life and you know it's a tricky thing to talk about how do you get people excited and and sassed about you know talking to you about their their debt, so that experiment was a really interesting one because some of the things that I thought would work get your affairs in order totally bombed but things that more tugged on hearts strings, protect your legacy, we're far more successful. So it was an example of something where she's an early stage founder. She's really working out how to craft her value proposition and think about the segments. Is she selling to the recipient, the old person? Is she selling to the kids? Who are the people that are buying from her? And she's getting all of that data back from her experiment that ran for a couple of hundred bucks on Facebook. It's an example of some really early traction that we've got. So look, it's early days for us. We're helping early stage founders and we're helping more mature founders. So for more mature founders, for folks that are further along, we are still helping them with value propositions. It's often why we partner better with founders than with marketing teams, because sometimes, these experiments can make marketing teams look bad, and we believe these are foundational decisions that founders need to be part of and across. Like what is the value prop? What is the segment? What are the features? But yeah, often it is the features tests that folks that are further along are doing. They're using it to order their roadmap. So, your roadmap should be ordered by what will hit best and testing early and testing often, that feature is, and then how to talk about that feature. Often what we find is that people will find a new segment, find a new niche segment. There was a user called Your Cooper in LA, a parenting website that was marketing broadly to rich parents. And we help them uncover a new segment using our artificial users technology, which is the parents of queer kids. Turns out that the parents of queer kids need a lot of support, really need these services. They're looking for an aspirin over a vitamin. As a designer, you should always try and build an aspirin over a vitamin. I'm a rich parent and I wanna know which toys to buy. It's really different from, I'm a parent of a queer kid. They're in the process of transitioning. What on earth am I gonna do? What do I need to say? What's the script? What is some therapy that I need? It's an example of a segment that we've helped them uncover. And then what happens is when you find a new segment that's lower CAC and where there's that real burning need, often you need to recast your features and services to serve them better. So what we're finding is that there's a real cascade of different experiments that are needed to support founders that are more mature. So right now, we're helping founders with value prop tests, benefit tests, and idea and feature tests. And then our artificial users, features will be offered to founders in about a month's time. So look, we're agile. We're constantly releasing. We're not in the process of holding back features that we think should be in people's hands for a big drop. you know, we think just supporting our subscribers with more and more as time goes on and helping them build the capability and the culture within their team of thinking this way and asking each other, you know, there's no point arguing, let's just ship it to the market and see which dog hunts, like helping founders build that capability when their teams really lights us up.

Jason Atkins: Amazing, love that. Hopefully we've helped the listeners to, you know, test better, learn better, learn faster. Build their company quicker, raise less capital, retain their equity. Let's finish on our creative, healthy lifestyle question. I don't know if you know this about us yet, but we're massive believers in our health and our mental health as like the pillar for creativity and success. It's so hard to be super connected to all that awesome energy if you're just really down and whatnot with your health. How do you see that in your life and business and yeah, like what resonates with you on that front?

Kate O'Keeffe: Yeah, it's a great point. I mean, as founders, we take so many risks when we don't take good care of our health. Our health is a major risk factor within our business, and so I like to think I prioritize it, but I worked out this week, Jason, that I haven't been prioritizing it enough. I'm going on a retreat this weekend, a meditation retreat. And in preparation, I gave up alcohol and coffee and oh my god, the giving up of coffee. I was born in Melbourne. It’s like, coffee flows through my veins, Jason.

Jason Atkins: I can only go back to one a day, like anything less than one a day and I'm really bad.

Kate O'Keeffe: Yes, yes. So I am six days into a coffee fast and I still have a headache. So if there's any signal from the universe that I am drinking too much coffee, it's that six days without coffee, I've still got a sore head, so do try to prioritize. What a great lesson. The bad news is that I do feel better. I was hoping that I did not feel better and that I got to keep all of these bad habits that I have because I feel fine. The bad news is, I always used to joke, Jason, if you give up coffee and alcohol, do you live longer or does it just feel longer? But the bad news is I do actually feel better. So that's a sobering lesson I'll have to contemplate what I do with in the coming weeks.

Jason Atkins: I'm happy to hear it. Well, good luck on the weekend with the meditation and. Hope you survive the new coffee regimen. Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom. I'm super stoked to have someone of your calibre on and look forward to catching up soon. I think we should have a walk or a swim or something when you're next back in town to motivate each other to keep the health up. If we catch up, I'm having coffee. If you have to have tea.

Kate O’Keeffe: Thanks, Jason.

Jason Atkins: Thanks, Kate.

Kate O’Keeffe: Cool. Ciao.

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