Dave has four startups, three kids, two cats, and one car.
In This Conversation We Discuss:
- [1:14] How Chase met Dave
- [2:03] Dave’s story of being online since the ‘80s
- [3:16] Chase and Dave reminiscing about the early days of the internet and AOL
- [3:53] Dave is actively involved in the history of the Internet
- [4:57] What has been Dave up to these days?
- [5:53] Easiest ways for startups and SMBs to start producing content
- [8:08] “Just get started and just tell the story”
- [8:37] Part of telling your story is understanding your audience
- [9:12] You don’t have to have expensive equipment
- [9:32] Dave’s quick tip: Do multiple takes
- [10:41] Dave’s funny story about having to do a reshoot
- [11:24] Chase being honest how he felt starting this podcast
- [11:51] Jump in and learn the rest along the way: Dave’s funny story with Intel
- [12:58] To be successful online, you have to be “okay with it”
- [13:29] Sponsor: Simplr simplr.ai/honest
- [14:20] Don’t get too much in your head about your content
- [15:13] Dave’s approach to making videos for products/brands
- [16:38] How to make your videos generate sales?
- [18:37] One of the goals of content is to build trust
- [19:45] Chase’s and Dave’s thoughts on “explainer videos”
- [20:10] As the owner/creator of the product, you should present the video yourself
- [21:24] Sponsor: Gorgias gorgias.link/honest
- [22:13] How did Dave start writing his first book?
- [24:49] Where is Dave’s passion coming from?
- [25:37] What’s next for Dave?
- Dave’s website: AskDaveTaylor.com
- Dave’s YouTube channel: youtube/AskDaveTaylor
- Dave’s tutorial on how to leave a review on Apple Podcasts askdavetaylor.com/rate-review-itunes-podcast/
- Dave’s book on software internationalization https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00YDKAQD4/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tpbk_p2_i7
If you’re enjoying the show, we’d love it if you left Honest eCommerce a review on Apple Podcasts. It makes a huge impact on the success of the podcast, and we love reading every one of your reviews!
The more overtly you try to sell something, the more you might turn off your potential buyers.
Welcome to Honest eCommerce, where we're dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners.
I'm your host Chase Clymer, and I believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game.
If you're struggling with scaling your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more. Now let's get on with the show.
Hey, everybody, welcome back to another episode of Honest eCommerce. This was the quickest pre-show we've ever had. It's 11:01 and usually, it takes way longer than that.
So I want to welcome to the show today, Dave Taylor. Dave is an internet pioneer by his own accord. He's a tech expert and he's also Dave Taylor of AskDaveTaylor.com. Welcome to show Dave.
Thank you, Chase. I'm ready to go.
Yeah, we're gonna make this work. It's all about producing content, right?
That's right. So we'll talk slowly and loquaciously.
Absolutely. So I do want to say --before we kind of get into what we're going to talk about today-- whenever I go to conferences or events, I go with a purpose.
And so I met Dave a few months ago --perhaps at this point-- in Breckenridge at a small conference for agency owners and we chatted for a bit.
My whole goal going there was to try to find some new experts that knew things I didn't know and then bring them on the podcast. So you were targeted, per se. So how's that make you feel?
I'm going to check with my attorney about that, Chase. (laughs)
(laughs) No worries. So let's get into it. You've got a fantastic story. And I want to hear about this exact line you shared in your biography which was you've been online since the '80s.
Yeah. Actually, I can recall --I know this is going to make me sound like Methuselah or something (laughs)-- but I can recall back when people would dial in with acoustic modems.
And I had a friend --at the time-- who was running a BBS or a bulletin board system and he had 100 phone lines coming into his apartment and he had this huge trunk going into his apartment, from the phone company. And that that was that era.
So, if you can imagine if you wanted to email me, you'd have to know the names of all the computers between us and then each computer would hand that message to the next one by calling that computer up and having the other end answer.
And so I just... If you sent me a message, it might take five or 10 hops and 15 to 30 minutes to get here. So, things have evolved since then. (laughs)
Yeah, I had it easy. When I got onto the internet we had dial-up modems and all that other jazz was out of there. And I could just get on and start interacting with people. And it was wild. That was in the days of AOL. I went through so many of those AOL CDs.
Right. I was gonna say I think we could probably have covered the entire planet earth with the number of CDs, AOL produced. (laughs)
Yeah. But hey, it worked. That free trial.
Yeah. And how many people actually --every 30 days-- would just drop in (and) sign-up with another free trial and never actually paid? (laughs)
Well, not enough because I don't think they exist anymore.
Yeah. Well, the acquisitions and then dissolution and evolution. Yeah. So suffice to say, I was actually president (of) what was called the Commercial Internet Exchange where we had the meetings and debated whether we should allow commercial use of the Internet. I mean, it was really, I guess, more called the ARPANET back then.
And there were people saying, "Yeah, let's open this up beyond research institutions and government agencies." And there were other people saying, "This might not go well. We need to really think this through."
And obviously, the fateful decision was made to open it up. And we are where we are with organized government-funded agencies spamming us. (laughs)
(laughs) Pretty much yeah. Well, I'm glad that they allowed it opened up for commercial use because we wouldn't have jobs, if not.
Yeah. It's kind of hard to imagine whether something else would have just come up and offered the same capabilities instead.
But it was a pretty watershed moment in the history of, I don't know, the Information Age overall.
Absolutely. So let's fast forward. A lot has changed since the ‘80s. So what are you up to these days?
Yes, a lot has changed. (laughs) So, I spend a lot of my time doing YouTube.
So I have a YouTube channel, also ingeniously called AskDaveTaylor and I do product reviews. I always have this big queue of products and (I) have a lot of fun experimenting and trying out various consumer electronics.
I also produce tutorial/tech content on my site. And I do a lot of freelance work for different companies and organizations and volunteer my time with startups and other people that are doing cool stuff.
Absolutely. So if you haven't figured it out by now, listener of the show, we're going to talk a lot about YouTube today or well, mostly video and producing video content.
It sounds like a great topic.
Oh, absolutely. I had a lot of great ideas when we met and I'm glad to finally get to them.
Alright, let's jump in.
Absolutely. Alright, so you're doing a lot of product reviews on your YouTube channel. Now, let's take this back.
So, a lot of the listeners of this show are startup brands, small to medium-sized businesses and they can't wrap their heads around how to produce video content for their products, which is what you do all day long.
So, what would you say are some of the easiest ways to just get your feet wet and just start producing content for your brand and for your products?
I think that independent of whether it's a video or written content or you're going to make a pitch to a local nonprofit who invited you to have either lunchtime speaker or something, the key is always (to) tell the story of your product or service.
I think that a lot of people get hung up because they list specifications or specs, and they think that's enough. But I don't really care about the refresh rate of a TV. I care about the experience of watching shows on that TV.
So, you see a lot of tech companies get sidetracked and offer features that no one wants or things that they think are important for the industry, but then no one actually adopts or anything.
So when it comes to something like YouTube, my focus is really on "What's the problem this is solving and how well does it solve that?" And then I always look at the other question of, "Is this good value for the money?" Because sometimes I'll look at something...
I'm reviewing a dashcam right now and it's on sale for $40. Forty dollars! So, the dashcam definitely has some challenges and some problems technologically, but for $40, it's a no-brainer intro to this sort of category space. And then if it's something that you really like, then maybe you can go buy a $200 or $300 super fancy unit.
But again, circling back, tell the story and be engaging and interesting. And if you can't do that, hire someone who can or ask your team of employees. There might be someone who is super busy doing little, mini videos on Instagram every day. And they could do some really nice 20-second spots or something.
Absolutely. And you know, it's that simple, I think. It's just like, just get started and just tell the story. You don't need to think too far beyond that, especially with YouTube now.
And if anyone also pays attention to Gary Vee, it's not the quality per se, it's the consistency that matters.
Yeah, well and dropping a lot of obscenities. (laughs)
Yeah. Yeah. Well, he definitely gets a lot of... Nah, I don't know how I want to go with that statement. But...
I am a fan of it, to be honest.
Yeah. Actually, I'm not. And I think that that's another piece of telling your story: understanding your audience. If I was aiming for 22-year-old men, then I would be speaking and presenting information very differently to if I was aiming for 50-year-old women.
Know your market. Know your segment. Know what appeals to them, what kind of things they are watching and engaging in now and then if you can match that --even if it's not comfortable for you-- then you could actually do pretty surprisingly well.
And even with fairly crude equipment, I've seen really great videos with people just using their smartphones.
Oh, absolutely. And even taking it a step further than that. We do a lot of paid advertising for some of our clients and the highest performing videos --hilariously enough-- were shot on iPhones. Really quick, really last minute, because it's so much more authentic.
Yeah. And then the key with that (laughs) is --not to go in the face of authentic-- but take your video 10 - 20 - 30 times and then pick the best one.
I can get halfway through a five-minute video and just realize that I just, "I don't have the right energy. I'm not looking at it the right way. I want to change something up."
And then I'll just start the whole thing over and just do it again. And then do it again a third time. And eventually, you get more comfortable with the story and less worrying about "Did I hit all my bullet points?" And that's when you start to have a good engaging video.
Oh, I can agree with that so much. We did a lot more video at the beginning of the year. And it's got away from us now, but we're going to bring it back next year. But it's so funny. I would do the first take and it’ll always be terrible because what would happen was four or five minutes in, I miss, probably the key element.
And I was like, "Well, that should definitely be brought up, probably, in the first 30 seconds." So go back and do it again. You do it again. And then like the script doesn't matter like you're saying.
It's just like, alright, well, you got it down. Now you're just getting a more playful cadence to it. And you know how you want to introduce these topics and know what you're talking about.
Right. So I have a funny anecdote about that. I was hired by a local agency to do some video for one of their clients.
So we set up in the conference room, spent a whole day filming, edited it all down, sent the roughs to the client and they said, "This is really great stuff, but you pronounced our company name wrong."
And we just said, "Oh well... Okay." And we just shot the whole thing over. And it happens. Life marches on.
But have a sense of humor about it all and just do it a bunch of times until you start to really feel like it's comfortable and you're actually enjoying the process. I mean, most people --in my experience-- once they sort of get into the groove, it is pretty fun.
Yeah. I mean, I don't even know if I've said this on the air but when I first started doing this podcast, I was terrified. I had no idea what I was doing. Still don't but... (laughs)
(laughs) You're winging it well. (laughs)
It's a lot more fun now. Yeah. It's way more fun now. But yeah, I just... I didn't want to do it at all and Annette, who used to be the co-host with us, she forced me to do it. And I'm very thankful to this day that she made me do that make that jump.
Yeah. Well, I mean, it's like everything else. I think that I am --like most people-- where I want to go from having no clue to being an expert immediately. And I think that's the appeal of the movie The Matrix, where they just download how to fly a Sikorsky helicopter and boom, I'm a great helicopter pilot, right? Life doesn't really work that way. (laughs)
So whatever you do, just try and try. And I got started with video because I spoke at a conference in Chicago. And some people from Intel called me up afterward and said, "We're building a new site with tutorial video content. Can you do some for us?" And I... I kid you not, I said, "I have no idea how to do anything with video. But if you're willing to let me learn on the job, then let's do it." And we posted some horrible videos. (laughs)
And they have like a million subscribers. And I one of my videos, I remember, only had left channel audio. So people would leave comments, "What happened to the audio?" And we would respond, "We don't know!" (laughs)
Now I know how to do stereo audio so that's a big improvement.
Well, it's one step at a time.
Yeah. And it's also the case that, you, me, we all still flub up and make things not exactly how we want and that's okay, too. I think that part of success in the online world is being okay with it.
Being maybe B-plus level work and getting on to the next thing because that obsessive desire to have it be absolutely perfect can really grind you to a complete stop and you'll never get started again.
Support for today's podcast comes from our friends at Simplr: a new way to staff 24/7 sales and customer service on your eCommerce store.
It works with your existing email and chat platforms, so setup is quick and easy.
Simplr's network of on-demand, US-based, Simplr specialists are standing by to answer your customers' most common questions.
Set it up for free today and then turn it on or off depending on your customer volume. You only pay $2.25 for every resolution. There are no hidden fees, contracts or minimums.
Close more sales with Simplr by staffing your email and live chat around the clock with Simplr specialists. Start your free seven-day trial at simplr.ai/honest.
I listened to maybe half of the finished episodes because I hate the way I sound.
And if I got in my head and I kept listening to it, this show would probably end. So I just... I know what I need to do and get this stuff going. Because here's the thing, it's not for me, it's for everyone else out there.
I've got some knowledge that I can share. All of my guests are 10,000 times smarter than me. So I know what I'm trying to do here and then when I get caught up with my own personal opinion about the things, that's not how it's going to help produce this show or make great content for the listeners.
Right. So listeners, please leave a comment and tell Chase what a lovely voice he has and how he does such a great job with this podcast.
Oh, that would be fantastic. Also, leave a review. I've never actually said that on the air either. This is a lot of firsts today. Leave a review on Apple Podcasts. It actually helps a ton. So that'd be cool.
Yeah, go do it. And I think I have a tutorial on my site about how to do that. (laughs)
Awesome. So let's bring it back to making a video for products/brands. So do you have a process when you're approaching a video for doing a product review?
I'm sure that's an easy win for any company that has an actual finished goods that they could just talk about. That'd be an easy first video.
Right. So, the main thing that I want to make sure I get are what I call talking points. I want to make sure I understand what are the main things I want to get across.
So, if it's a dashcam, for example, I want to demonstrate --because part of video is “Show. Don't tell.”-- but I also want to talk about like, "What's the resolution of the camera? How long is the wire? How easy is it to get it onto your windshield and not have it fall off? What are the operating temperatures? Is it too cold for you to have it in your car right now?"
All of that is really important. And once you nail the key points that you want to make, then I feel like you can just sort of relax into your video and start thinking about how do you make that into a story or tell it in a way that's interesting and engaging.
And I think you do exactly the same with your podcast. Here are three key questions I want to ask this person. Let's make sure I weave them into the story.
Oh, yeah. It's so funny. You can get so much amazing content out of three questions.
Okay, so what are your three questions? (laughs)
We've already been through a few of them. So the next thing I do want to ask you, which is the question you supplied, is --pivoting from doing a product-based review-- but how do you take it one step further?
And how do you make videos that actually help sell your product and it's a compelling sales-esque goal from the video?
Well, I'm less focused on selling things. But I like to say that products can sell themselves, in the sense that, if you really have a great value proposition and you clearly explain it, then people are going to be super interested.
Because especially, if you start with that sort of classic sales strategy of "Here's the pain point. Here's the problem you have today. And here's this really cool solution. And here's five things about it that you probably didn't know. And by the way, here's the price. That's totally a great price for this product or in this space or something." Then people are ready to buy.
So, I think that the more overtly you try to sell something, the more you might turn off your potential buyers. And maybe that's just me and my segment, but I know if I were to say, "I'm going to review this product dispassionately and by the way, you really should buy it." Then that gets a little bit weird. (laughs)
Yeah. It does. I think that you are right there. It's a pretty simple script to explain the story behind your product value proposition.
And then as long as those two things line up within value to the price that you're going to talk about afterward, the people --that have that pain point that you're talking about solving-- they're going to move a little bit further down your funnel.
They might not be purchasing right there today, but that content that they're engaging with, hopefully, you're going to have other forms of retargeting set up to help bring them back and help nudge them along.
But yeah. If you hit on the pain point they have and the price makes sense for the value you're delivering, it's going to work.
Right. And since your goal really is to build trust, any sort of relationship you can build with them at any point in that funnel is super beneficial. So even as you're listening to this podcast, Chase has a mailing list.
So go ahead and sign up while you're listening. Things like that. Now you have a relationship, and you can establish "Here's other content I've done. Here's what's coming up next. And by the way, now that we have this trust, let me tell you about some stuff that I'm offering."
Oh, absolutely. And then, building trust through email is is pretty straightforward. But then you can take a step further with the human voice. That's what we're doing here with the podcast. And then even better than that is video.
Video builds trust so much quicker because you're actually seeing the person on the other end. Either the owner of an agency, like myself or the owner of a business talking about their product. That is so much more engaging.
And just as humans, we like interacting with actual other real humans. So the closer you can get to a real-life interaction, aka videos, --probably as close as you can get-- it just builds so much trust so much faster.
Right, but let's circle back and point out that that assumes that you're on-camera in your video. So when you go and hire some agency to do what's called an explainer video or some animation or something, --those are cute and they can be informative-- but I don't think they build trust in the way that seeing Chase on camera talking about his latest exploits or his new conference coming up or something does.
Oh, absolutely. I think that those explainer videos are just an easy sell for the people that make them. And it's not necessarily the best value at the end of the day. I think. If you're looking to get started in video, just take a step outside of your office, grab your latest product --the newest one in the package-- and have someone grab their phone and you talk about it...
Because no one's going to sell your product as much as you as the owner, as the creator. You have so much more passionate about that product than anybody else. I think, if at the end of the day video is not your best thing, then look into hiring someone else.
But I mean, I've seen... There's so much more passion when owners are talking about their product because the story just comes out naturally.
Right. I think of it is like, if you were at a trade show and you had a table set up and you had a big computer screen that was showing a demo or something and someone came up and said, "What's this all about? Tell me about your product and why I would be interested in it." That's exactly when you start the video.
Because that's when you're starting to be really interesting. Because you're excited, there's a potential sale in front of you, and again, if you do the video and you're like, "Wow, I really tripped over all my damn words." then go and record it a second time.
Let's be honest today. All of your customers are going to have questions.
What are you doing to manage all those questions? Do you have a helpdesk for your business?
One of our sponsors of today's episode is Gorgias. Gorgias is the number onerated helpdesk for eCommerce. It integrates seamlessly with Shopify. We have installed it on a bunch of stores. It's also used by brands like MVMT and Rothy's.
What it does is it takes all of your customer insights and information, brings it into one amazing dashboard so you can solve their problem as quickly as possible. If you want to give Gorgias a try, visit gorgias.link/honest to get your second month free.
So, also, I want to talk about your amazing history in publishing. 22 is a pretty amazing number. I know that's a hard shift here, but I do want to talk about this a bit. So when did you find the time to start on your first book? What was the process like doing that? And then I do have a follow up after that, I guess.
Right. So when I was an undergrad, I did some... --I have an undergraduate degree in Computer science-- and we had to design what was known as a compiler that translates a program into something that the computer can run.
I turned in my project and my professor said, "This is really good. You should get it published." And I basically gave a deer in the headlights look and said, "Uh, what?" (laughs) He helped me figure out how to get published through a computer industry publication.
And then I was post-college and in my first job, and I got a call from a computer magazine saying, "Hey, we saw what you have done in that other journal. Would you be interested in writing something like that for us?" And I said, "Well, I don't know. I'm pretty busy". And they said, "We'll pay you." And that light bulb went on over my head. And I said, "Tell me more." (laughs)
So I started doing a lot of magazine writing, which paid pretty well at the time. And then I ended up writing for an internal magazine for Sun Microsystems, which is a big computer maker back in the day, and the editor of that magazine left and joined a book publishing company.
He called me up one fateful day and said, "That last article you wrote for me was pretty cool. Do you want to turn it into a book?" and I said, "Sure" Having no idea how much work would be involved. And that was my first book on software internationalization.
And honestly, --probably like a lot of things in life-- planning and figuring it all out, that's the hard part and then the writing actually wasn't anywhere near as hard. Really, all of my books are business and technical books. So fiction's different.
But if you want to explain to someone how to use Zoom to record a podcast interview as a finite task, then you can break that down into logical pieces and then explain each one.
So, yeah. I ended up writing a lot of books. I wrote another book, while in my first year of grad school, which definitely blew away my advisor who was used to two or three-year publishing cycles for academic books. And I got the contract, wrote the book had it published and in hand in six months.
That is amazing. And so, I guess my follow up from the original question was, there are so many parallels to draw between just establishing that expertise of being on video and just establishing expertise with writing a book.
So, I find that you are a wealth of knowledge and you really like sharing and that's kind of where all your passions are coming out.
Yeah, I mean, (laughs) my central enthusiasm is storytelling and how to convey information to other people. So, I'm a film critic. I'm a car reviewer. I obviously do a lot of videos. I do a lot of technical tutorials and tech writing and stuff and it's all really the same thing. There's something in my head. I want you to understand "How do I do that efficiently and effectively?"
Absolutely. So what's next on the horizon for you?
Shoveling the snow off my car. Or are you saying a little further out on the horizon? (laughs)
Probably a little further. Luckily, we don't have any snow that's stuck yet over here in Columbus. But last time I was in Denver, it was a blizzard for half a day.
Yeah. We get super short blizzards, which is nice. But next on the horizon, I mean, it's just sort of an evolution. 5 or 10 years ago, I was really focused on the written word. So I was doing really a lot of energy on my website. And then I just started to dabble with YouTube.
But now as I'm looking at all the trends, both revenue traffic, and subscription trends, that YouTube is definitely much more important in my future.
So, 2020 is going to be about pushing that even further and learning more. I will say that video is super fun. I love editing my videos, but it's a complicated world.
And I'm always learning and I'm always going to classes and looking at tutorials to figure out "How do I do this?" Or "How do I get that to work?" So I enjoy that part of it, too.
Oh, yeah. Learning is fun. That's why I'm still in this industry. Every day I'm learning. I'm learning throughout this podcast right now.
That's probably the reason I do the podcast so often. It's because I'm learning so much fun stuff from all the guests.
Yeah. Well, it's a brilliant way to be able to talk to a lot of interesting people. Through here.
Absolutely. Cool. Is there anything that you want to share with the audience today before we let you go?
I would say, (laughs) my closing inspirational quote is to just do it. I mean, if you want to try doing video or you want to try working on a book or something, just get started.
I know so many people that are halfway through or they're really interested but that just seems so daunting. It's like standing at the top of the mountain with the skis in your hands. You're never going to learn how to ski if you don't actually strap them on your feet and get started.
I love it. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.
You bet, Chase and I will talk to you soon.
I cannot thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing their journey and knowledge with us today. We've got a lot to think about and potentially add to our businesses. Links and more information will be available in the show notes as well.
If anything in this podcast resonated with you and your business, feel free to reach out and learn more at electriceye.io/connect. Also, make sure you subscribe and leave an amazing review. Thank you!