Ep. 04 Sky Calibey
[00:00:19.920] - Nick
Well, there we go, here we are again, so I'll start off by saying that for every minute spent organizing an hour is earned. So Benjamin Franklin actually said that I was blown away when I found it this morning, searching all about Sky from Nifty. And I just want to say welcome to Zero to Infinity. And this show is all about focusing on helping you launch or scale your business and go to the next level. And we're going to uncover today how to create a successful business, inspire those looking to do it right now.
[00:00:44.830] - Nick
And so here on our live stream, we have Sky Calibey. Did I pronounce that right?
[00:00:49.200] - Sky
[00:00:49.920] - Nick
Awesome. And he is the co-founder. And what is the exact title of what you doA
[00:00:56.820] - Sky
[00:00:58.170] - Nick
Solutions architect? I love that. And yeah. So you guys, to set out to create a project management tool from the ground up and you guys created something pretty awesome. And you guys have looked at the best in the business and taken what you do and brought it all together into this project management tool called Nifty. And you guys are actually putting together what people are trying to do all together, which is the goals, the actions and communications all in one place on one platform, and it doesn't slow them down.
[00:01:25.350] - Nick
You guys are working with people like people from teams from Verizon, IBM, L'Oreal, NYU and more, just to name a few. How's everything going in your world?
[00:01:34.680] - Sky
First of all, thanks for having me. We had a lot of chance to talk. It's great to be on on the livestream here. It's going well. I mean, it actually started it started as kind of a spark from we were an agency way back when we were in New York City design development firm and mostly working on well funded startups or other funded companies, well established companies, some of which have NDA me so I can't drop their names, one of which is a rapper.
[00:01:59.850] - Sky
But it started with this kind of pain point of we had all these customers in these projects that we were working on kind of severed between five or so tools and then another one to communicate with the team. And it just felt like the process was so fractured and being able to get a coherent report at any given moment was so fractured, for us. And then if we felt that way, imagine how the clients felt. So the time it took to kind of connect the dots and synthesize the reports, you can either go search for it on your own or you can just send someone a message over slack, hey, where do we stand on this?
[00:02:32.430] - Sky
Do you have the latest design for that? And it just felt like scaling our company really just meant sending more messages and it did not feel scalable. And I think that's one of the keywords we had in mind when creating Nifty is scalability.
[00:02:46.440] - Nick
Hmm. Interesting. And so what? And so what were some of the first steps you took to really put this together?
[00:02:52.260] - Sky
So we actually started building it on our own. I mean, we figure like we're the team who has this problem. We kind of have the resources to build a solution. So we we started it as kind of an experiment. We used it with some of our clients, but it didn't seem to feel like this was like maybe this is an avenue until we actually went to Product Hunt to feature it. And at this time, it was pretty rudimentary. I mean, it was more or less a front end with some kind of crude back end.
[00:03:17.310] - Sky
But we had a ton of people asking if they could sign up. And like it wasn't the gates weren't really open yet. And that's when we got a lot of potential investors wanting a lot of meetings with us. And that's why we were like, maybe, maybe we're actually on to something here. And you kind of at the outset, you get two and this was four years ago now maybe I mean, at the outset, you really got two key.
[00:03:41.730] - Sky
Reactions being that's fantastic, this is exactly what I needed or there's no way you can ever do it, it's way too big. There's too many phases in a project life cycle. Too many types of teams want too many things. It's it's product suicide.
[00:03:57.270] - Nick
Wow. It's sort of you know, there's one side of the fence where there are entrepreneurs out there that wish they could kind of jump into the tech industry and, you know, build a great app. Where do they begin? What do they think of. But nothing comes back. I don't code. We don't that's not something I do. I better think of something else. What do you say to the people? Is it possible for people to actually do that?
[00:04:15.360] - Nick
How do you put together the team? And is it is it even possible for someone that has no real background in this in the tech field like the space you're working in and to pull together the right people? Have you heard of anything like that?
[00:04:26.880] - Sky
It it is. I mean, anything as cheesy it sounds anything's possible if you have the drive. But I think it is extremely helpful to be able to have a technical co-founder, at least at least one, someone who, you know, can do part of the role, the hand sleeves up and do the dirty work on the coding front.
[00:04:49.320] - Sky
You know, we some of our top leadership, you know, we have some who are actual developers, but then we have some people who are more like technical architects. They don't really code, but they know how to do the research as the tech stacks and find solutions even if they can't necessarily implement them. But if you want to, and especially if you can sell some technical people on your vision, it's definitely a possibility. Yeah.
[00:05:10.670] - Nick
Yeah. You know, I was just talking to a someone that's launching something significant in the Boston area and he got funding grants all based off an idea in the believing in him as well. He's going to be on the show coming up next couple of weeks. But yeah, it's amazing once people get behind you and things start happening and flowing that, yeah, it'd be an idea. It can be a vision. It can be something like that. And yeah, we were really lucky to be able to have gotten as far as we have even today with only a really cursory friends and family around, mostly just because we had our own resources that we can lean on to to build it.
[00:05:45.090] - Sky
So that might not be the case for everyone else. And whether or not you should take funding is enough content for a whole another call. But I mean, I think what it comes down to is whether it's getting people to help you start building it or help start engaging with it. It's all about being able to convince them of your belief and the problem orienting the problem you're out there solve.
[00:06:04.770] - Nick
That's amazing. And that kind of ties into the next set of questions here, all about organization and business, which is what you guys really specialize in. And, of course, full disclosure. I use your product and that's why I have you on the show, because it's just it's changed so much stuff for our team. It's allowed us to scale, it's allowed to just get projects finished more efficiently. Better like that. But we've gone through many different project management software tools and we've landed on this since January.
[00:06:29.820] - Nick
And yeah, I can't say enough about it. But specifically, what sort of problems do you see for small businesses when they're trying to get to the next level? They need organization or the touch points that you think could be alleviated.
[00:06:44.400] - Sky
So I encourage people to think of organization as kind of a journey, not a destination. You know, I don't I am not an inherently organized person. Like there are some people who are just like Mr. Rogers in life, or they come in and their shoes have the right place and their clothes go around in the hanger. And that's not me. I'm like a walking tornado. So I kind of think of organization as this, like ever pursuit of creating processes that you can continue to work on.
[00:07:11.010] - Sky
And even if you know where you want to go, it's kind of like getting in shape, right? Like, you know where you want to be, but you know that you're not going to be there overnight. So also kind of identifying how to get there. So one of the first things we think about when we talk about scalability in organization is the ability to allow people to proactively answer questions. And that's one thing that we feel like is that empowers people in Nifty and it empowers something that's really come to the forefront in this last year of Covid in working remote, because a lot of things you could just like lean over in the office like, hey, do you have that thing?
[00:07:45.860] - Sky
But now it's like if I don't have that, if I don't know where to find it, I'm either going to send an email, a message, or I use a system where I can go proactively answer that question. And by the way, that lends to your clients too if you're in the service industry because they want to know these projects stand. And if they don't know, they're just going to ask you, which is fair. Right. So I think one of the first things I try to encourage people to think about organization is.
[00:08:09.410] - Sky
Where do I point people to find answers proactively? And that process can change, you might say this is how we're doing it today. Eventually I want to be able to do it that way. So that's one thing I would think about. How can I give people the resources to answer questions on their own so that when we speak, they're either clarifying things on that or we're moving it forward rather than playing catch up because playing catchup over your email or your messenger is what wears wears you out throughout every day.
[00:08:38.670] - Sky
It's like the worst part of everyone's work day, I would wager is just kind of, again, going through this, sending the files, whatever.
[00:08:45.950] - Nick
Absolutely. Keep going.
[00:08:49.870] - Sky
So the the next thing I think about that's kind of organization ground level and then the next is scalability and repeatability, how can I teach what I'm doing to someone else? And by considering what you do through the lens of someone else, it makes you kind of more aware of what you do. So if this is my role, how can I create some sort of guide? Doesn't necessarily need to be written right away, but how do I create a process by which I can pass this to someone else who can then replicate it, maybe customize parts of it, but implement it in a way that now I can take a step back and they can continue to help me grow my business.
[00:09:29.920] - Sky
And I think especially like yourself with an agency that's huge and being able to open up your client roster is being able to have if you have multiple business developers who who know how your agency works and can help you close, you have multiple people who know how to build whatever your agency is working on or if you're a product team being able to have. This is how we build out a sprint. So just whenever you create these scalable, repeatable processes that allow people to proactively answer questions, I think now you're laying down the groundwork.
[00:10:00.880] - Sky
And I always encourage people in Nifty to start to chat over organize like it's OK to say I want to shake this up because I think what people do, and especially if you get like a new computer, you build a thousand folders and they're not that useful because ultimately you don't know which folder it's in. So I always encourage people to expand out rather than feel like they go so wide that they need to contract in.
[00:10:24.100] - Nick
Yeah, that makes that makes a lot of sense. And then when we first started using Nifty there's a lot of options, stuff like that. But one of the things that did for us especially is like a small business and, you know, the the advertising agency world and stuff like that was we always had this sort of set way of doing things but Nifty opened up the doors to other ways of doing things. This whole idea of milestones and like you said, like sort of the agile framework where it's like a set of sprints and timelines and things like that.
[00:10:50.710] - Nick
It really works a great way for us because it changed the way we think about projects and change the way we approach them. It's more we can anticipate things, for the better we can get things we can, in other words, organize. We can spread out a little bit and think about what we need to do more headspace because things are on paper. They're not in our head anymore
[00:11:08.280] - Sky
[00:11:08.920] - Nick
Those are some of the benefits, I imagine.
[00:11:10.840] - Sky
And I always. Tell people that milestones are not just a management tool, they're a communication tool because now that these things are auto updating based on completion is again, I can give you that source to point to you to find answers. Where do we stand in this project? Well, the milestone can help answer that. Who's working on what? I can open up that milestone and see the status of the tasks, the status of those tasks and who's assigned to them.
[00:11:33.310] - Sky
So now I've answered who's working on what and where do we stand in this process without having to ask anyone a question. Now, if I have any questions, it can be about one of those things rather than just kind of these broad overtures where it's like, all right, let me let me try to answer you on this one, especially if you don't know, then you need to go try to synthesize that. So.
[00:11:51.080] - Nick
Absolutely. And so what's on the horizon right now with Nifty or is there anything, I imagine when the pandemic hit and things sort of immediately went to remote, people leading on a project management tool like yours probably skyrocketed. It hasn't changed the way people work in general, has that's been something that Nifty had to adapt with?
[00:12:10.220] - Sky
I think it's a spectrum. There are some people who. Already, you know, there's a lot of companies who are ready for working remote from a workflow perspective, maybe some of the ways they held meetings or initiated H.R. things are a little differently. But but for the most part, they were ready. Then there are other people who had no idea what to do. And we were kind of explaining kind of project management software from the ground up. So I think there's kind of a wide array of of those kind of users who some first time people who just need something, and especially if they need to be able to communicate with others.
[00:12:45.480] - Sky
But but I also think one thing the pandemic really highlighted is what I've kind of been harping on is what was really previously this love affair with messaging tools really started to burn people out, especially when nine to five. Kind of went out the window and now it felt like when am I actually not working? Because now I'm like, you know, I'm going to get a message at eight o'clock at night and messaging tools give this implication, unlike email, that you should answer this as soon as you can, versus an email which is a little bit more kind of ping pong.
[00:13:22.450] - Sky
And so I think a lot of you hear a lot of this Covid burnout on work. And I think a lot of it stems from this need to feel like they're always in the office now versus, you know, I've done what I needed to do. You can find what I've done. So if you have questions about it, you can answer those on your own now. That's one thing that we we always kind of clung to from the outset, that people were kind of telling us we're crazy, you have your teams, you have slack, you have all these huge messaging tools like what makes you think a built in messenger Nifty can stand against them?
[00:13:52.540] - Sky
And it's it's not that we're trying to win as a messaging tool. We just see that as a piece of the puzzle.
[00:13:57.940] - Nick
That's right. And the ultimate goal is to not be so spread out and spread too thin with different tools like you guys emphasized that on your website and your your project roadmap is all about bringing together the right tools, the right place to make your team or even yourself just more efficient with what you're doing, because time is precious. And then I should, I'm actually going to jump in and show some of these. Have you kind of comment on this, but I thought this was amazing.
[00:14:24.280] - Nick
27% polled said they would save 31 to 60 Minutes each day, which I calculated 10 days per year.
[00:14:32.900] - Sky
Yeah, I mean, saved by using Nifty do you mean?
[00:14:37.490] - Nick
By just being organized.
[00:14:38.630] - Sky
Oh. Just by being organized? Yeah, totally. I mean, as someone who's not organized myself, like as a not inherently organized person. Absolutely. I mean, you know, I often, like, just lose my phone or my keys, but I can't do that in my software because there's no search bar in life. But the search bar, you know, if if you have everything in one place, you can at least have one search.
[00:14:58.970] - Sky
I'll find it is one way we kind of look at it. Right. So, yeah, I think that's absolutely a true statement. And and not only are you saving 10 days per year, but you're probably adding some more time on your lifespan.
[00:15:10.020] - Nick
Yeah, yeah. You're probably right. And so what do you see happen? I may have something like this earlier, but what do you see happens when a business gets organized? Do you have any angles or any kind of examples of some businesses or large or small that have seen a benefit from using your tool or just being organized in general that allows them to go to whatever next level they are trying to trying to get to
[00:15:30.740] - Sky
For sure, I think there's one example of a company who is..They run call support centers and in Nifty, they create a support center out of every portfolio. And from there they have different initiatives within that support center. So now they can really kind of sustainably grow all of those. Each support center doesn't really need to know what's going on, in the other support centers. So they're kind of limited to what they have access to on that portfolio and project level. But the kind of stakeholders in the company have access to everything, but they don't even need to jump into every project and every portfolio, which is like going, you know, center by center.
[00:16:11.240] - Sky
They can use these cross project tools like overview, like workloads and all tasks to be able to come to those insights without even having to visit below that kind of breakpoint at the top of our sidebar. So I think that's just one example that pops off the top of my head of kind of creating not only a organization on how we're going to organize data within software, but it's kind of like a company org chart in a way, a de facto org chart for an organization just kind of based on the natural order of of Nifty's hierarchy.
[00:16:39.450] - Nick
That's fascinating. All right, let's go to another one here, lack of progress. 37% of projects fail due to lack of clearly defined project milestones. You talk a little bit about clarity in your goals.
[00:16:51.120] - Sky
Yeah, yeah. I think. And to speak broadly about Agile is probably dangerous because there's a million ways to institute agile, but I think the reason that sprints exist in Agile and I'm using this as one example, because I think a lot of times with clients you have these clearly defined milestones with Sprints, are with deliverables. So that's how a milestone..
[00:17:13.780] - Nick
Can you kind of explain what Agile is and Sprints? We may have a lot of people that don't..
[00:17:17.780] - Sky
[00:17:20.800] - Sky
This may not be a dictionary definition, but but Agile is just a methodology of assigning and reviewing and completing tasks that lend to a larger picture. The name Agile comes because you can iterate quickly versus kind of a more conventional scrum method where we know exactly what we're going to build. It might take us three years, but we have everything blueprinted out versus Agile, which is like, for lack of a better term, we're willing to wing parts of it.
[00:17:46.930] - Sky
We're willing to get feedback and iterate on that feedback and roll it out quickly. But to sum up, these these sprints, they call them sprints because you just put kind of clusters of your workflow together. And I think that's important because, quite frankly, like the very human thing, to want to see a light at the end of any tunnel. Right. Like, you just want to know when can I take a moment to breathe and celebrate before we start another thing?
[00:18:11.530] - Sky
Because if we were to think of Agile is just like I assign you a task, you complete the task. It could feel endless, like this is a hamster wheel, whereas this gives us checkpoint's this gives us places where we can look to gauge ourselves against and celebrate once we get there. Or if we didn't, it gives us a moment and an opportunity to reflect on why we didn't get there so we can continue to hone our processes.
[00:18:34.120] - Nick
Right. And then this framework, Agile, whether used or sprints whatever, can be applied to a small business all the way up to the largest businesses.
[00:18:40.360] - Sky
It's I mean, big businesses are falling over themselves to try to go agile right now if they haven't already. I mean, it's it's a big thing. I can't tell you if Agile is going to be here for 20 years. I like I just don't know. But I think the idea of it, which is the ability to be to react and implement quickly, especially as technology seems to grow at this exponential rate, feels kind of vital for major organizations who need to be able to pivot quickly.
[00:19:10.090] - Sky
That's not to say more scope driven workflows aren't viable, like if IBM's working on their cloud and they're going to roll out a cloud in two years, my guess is they know 96% of how they want that cloud to work so they can follow a really fleshed out blueprint and have, you know, processes in place for change. But you still want to be able to have that ability to react quickly. And I also think Agile is not just a developer thing, like being able to market through an Agile way or design with Agile way.
[00:19:42.370] - Sky
It just kind of become this catch all for the ability to iterate quickly and complete things quickly.
[00:19:48.040] - Nick
That's a great point. Yeah, it's not just you know text beacon, it's it can be applied to everything. Pretty quickly. Yeah.
[00:19:55.420] - Sky
Yeah. I mean I think you see kind of moments of it in all areas of life. It's just kind of a way that we've been able to try to quantify it and name it and implement it knowingly without like if you if you walk into a sports game, especially something like football, where there are breaks between plays like you need to be able to react to your environment and change from what your master plan was at the outset. And so I think this is kind of it's a it's a natural concept that we're finding ways to define and implement.
[00:20:26.560] - Nick
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So going back to finding clarity and your goals and milestones, how important is that? Where does that stand with, you know, making things better for your team?
[00:20:36.580] - Sky
Yeah, it's one of the things that separates Nifty from other products is our emphasis on milestones that we have projects that don't use them. We have projects that they don't necessarily work with. So it's not that you need to have them. But I think when you have an opportunity to implement one, and especially the way we look at milestones, which is really just a way of gauging the completion of a set of tasks, it becomes really relevant. Like if, you know, you have an event coming up in two weeks and you need to do five things before that event, that event is getting launched,
[00:21:08.710] - Sky
To us, that's a milestone. It doesn't need to be. This huge, complex organism is just here. Here's something out in the future. And now I can get like one master progress bar to help me along the way to see how am I going, how am I gauging against that end date.
[00:21:21.790] - Nick
That keeps the pace keeps you on track.
[00:21:23.660] - Sky
[00:21:24.160] - Nick
Keep your mind off of wandering on to other things.
[00:21:26.720] - Sky
[00:21:27.320] - Nick
Great. Let's move on to this one.
[00:21:29.350] - Sky
One of my favorites, miscommunication amongst team members. Fifty seven percent of projects fail due to a breakdown in communication. Can you dive into that? It seems pretty obvious that beyond at the at a higher level, but communication, when you dove into it, it's it's nuanced, isn't it?
[00:21:44.980] - Sky
Yeah. Yeah. And I think that's where tools that enable communication were a huge boon to productivity until they weren't. And that's because communication is one facet of project management. To us, collaboration is where communication meets action, and the action, the result of action is what's going to be able to be kind of judged and reviewed versus just what we talked about. If I talk about something with you, I talk about someone or someone else, or even if we talk about altogether the ability to kind of roll that out and say, OK, from here we have these action steps that we want to implement and now we can track these action steps.
[00:22:26.500] - Sky
And so the ability to say, here's what we talked about and here are these action steps right next to each other in the same space makes it even easier. And I think one of the major complaints people have, or one of the kind of aha moments when people come to Nifty is like, I don't have a place where I feel like I just go and update things now. And then I go over here to talk about it. It just kind of feels like those communication in action are melded.
[00:22:49.990] - Nick
[00:22:50.560] - Nick
Yeah. And using the right tools and having a process or method really saves so much time. So let's go to the next one. This one is good. 27% of people polled feel they feel disorganized at work. And of those, 91% percent said they would be more effective and efficient if their workspace was better organized. And this goes back to the whole time savings and just getting the right head space and things like that.
[00:23:15.970] - Sky
Mm hmm. Yeah. I mean. Not everyone has equal latitude to shape how things are organized in their companies, so to be sensitive to that, I kind of understand that.
[00:23:29.310] - Nick
It's a good point.
[00:23:29.820] - Sky
That thought, I'm lucky enough to do that, and that's why I was kind of saying before my organizational methods evolve several times a year. That's not because I don't have any method, is because I'm continuously honing that method. And when we feel like it's time, we can evolve it.
[00:23:47.790] - Sky
If there's more of a team oriented method, I can build that out and have a communication, have have a chat about it and say this is what we want to change about this process. What's a way we can implement it that we all commit to? And I think that's another big thing, is getting team buy into any process, because as soon as these processes aren't followed and it just all backslides into just communication because there's no action to pair it with.
[00:24:13.290] - Sky
And I think that's where a lot of tool adoption fails. Is that the commitment to the action, the commitment to putting that out there kind of isn't either enforced or it doesn't feel natural. And then all of a sudden it's just back to whether it's chat or email.
[00:24:29.370] - Nick
Well, yeah, well put. That makes a lot of sense. So I want to put your entrepreneurial hat on for a moment and kind of dove into a little bit more about where you came from and how you came into this business to become an entrepreneur.
[00:24:43.170] - Sky
[00:24:43.530] - Nick
Tell us a little bit about your journey from where you were. You were into Nifty.
[00:24:48.600] - Sky
Sure. So personally, I you know, I moved to Brooklyn several years ago to just following interest in music and art. And with that, the understanding, too, that there's different career opportunities in New York than there are in central Connecticut. So one of the things I really look for in my personal pursuit of a career is a place where I felt like I can work with others because I worked in a an agency, just kind of a two man agency with my father working mostly with small mid-sized businesses who don't have a website but know they need one.
[00:25:24.720] - Sky
So it's kind of like that, that introductory block. But when I wanted to go to a place where I felt like my voice would be heard, the the skills that I built with networking and communicating would be valued. And even if it was a place that took on a little bit of risk. And so that that's where I joined this agency because it was like, you know, I was kind of given the opportunity to build out, like, how are we going to run the business development and product management part of growing?
[00:25:53.940] - Sky
Like, how are we going to do this in a way that we can then eventually build that team out to bring others in. And so it was a great opportunity. That's actually why I met Shiv. And so it's been very collaborative the whole time, a high level of communication and respecting each other's ideas. And I always felt personally that I, I would rather work for a place even if I didn't know what I was going to necessarily make every year, because it's not salary driven or I felt like I was heard because then I felt like I had more control over the organization's destiny.
[00:26:24.360] - Sky
And that was just personally valuable to me. And I guess that's what kind of being an entrepreneur is in its backbone. Even a lot of artists and musicians before even before they even know it, they're entrepreneurs. And that's actually what sets the successful ones apart from the ones who aren't the people who just like to play music because it's fun. There's nothing wrong with that. But that's not how you become a pro musician or anything. Right. So being able to kind of run your own agency, so to speak, I don't even mean like a digital agency, just like your own ability to operate is kind of core.
[00:26:57.900] - Sky
In being an entrepreneur doesn't mean you need to be perfect at it. In fact, most of them aren't. And every entrepreneurs eager to tell you all the times they failed and because it does require a certain amount of gut check and fearlessness.
[00:27:09.660] - Nick
That's a great way, put that. So what was the next step after that? So we have even talked about Shiv, but I'm sure you guys are both pillars of of this product and one doesn't exist without the other probably scale growth that you guys have seen.
[00:27:23.440] - Sky
Shiv, has an absolutely fascinating story that I can only I can't do justice to in telling. But he actually grew up, was born in Afghanistan, end up being a refugee in Germany for the first 10 years of his life, and then eventually immigrated to America.
[00:27:40.330] - Sky
So if you want kind of like the American success story, go no further. And he's really a worldly denizen, speaks three or four languages, and I'm not even talking about code at that rate. So his ability to kind of have seen so many parts of life and come from a place where family is important and listening is important is part of what's made nifty, this kind of great place to grow. And before that, the agency, because it was like I said, that input of my ideas was heard doesn't mean I always get my way, but that was never the criteria.
[00:28:13.030] - Sky
It was just more so that when I had a thought, I could air it and it can be discussed appropriately. And so I think having this kind of place where. And especially being an entrepreneur, you need to be able to do a lot of gut check and say these are the things we're good at and that these are the things we aren't. And you have to look at the founding team and say, all right, for example, Nifty didn't have like a person who had a huge background in marketing.
[00:28:34.340] - Sky
Well, we just got to figure it out. And that's been a major point of emphasis for us. Know we felt very, very strong as a product team and in a communication communication team. So I think being able to know who's at your table, not only assess what they're able to do today, but what they're capable of being able to do tomorrow, especially that, you know, change very quickly. When we had members of our team whose roles emphasis was really to go do in-person networking, well, that that wasn't a thing this last year.
[00:29:04.730] - Sky
Right. So to see those people evolve in their roles and kind of change and say, well, this is what I can learn, this is what I can implement and do to continue to grow, the company has been fantastic.
[00:29:13.110] - Nick
Wow, and so personally for you, what this has been a journey for you. Obviously just hearing that story. What sort of things have you discovered in yourself, working at Nifty, working with Shive and any anything you can impart about what you've experienced and kind of self development that you've.
[00:29:29.960] - Sky
Yeah. It's going to sound really campy, but it's a marathon, not a sprint. I think. You know, when you work in a place where I'm not working for a promotion because I'm you know, I'm ground level, so that's not what motivates me. It's not a matter of like, what are your KPIs? It's just like it's it's what can you do that we haven't asked you to do, stuff like that. And and so I think it's it's been very unique and it's been a huge blessing to feel like I have ownership of something.
[00:30:10.730] - Sky
And that's not to put down anyone who has a salary job and a steady career, because not everyone, quite frankly, can afford to take this kind of risk, and it hasn't always been pretty. But but it's it is kind of an alternate way of viewing life where it's not necessarily about where you are today. It's where you really strongly believe you can be in several years. And you hear a lot of these big money Hot Shots talk about thinking decades, think, you know, act in weeks or I don't know the exact quote, but it's you're not it's a different life than worrying about when the paycheck comes to every two weeks.
[00:30:48.920] - Sky
It's just fundamentally different. Why you do it is fundamentally different. Not that it's better or worse. It's just different. And it needs to be for you because there will be times where it's very tough to be an entrepreneur to to have to learn from your mistakes the hard way. When you people you know, we've had people who want to say negative things about Nifty and that's their right. And it's just different when it's not just your company. It's like something you've worked on for five years and it feels very personal and you want to make it right.
[00:31:18.530] - Sky
So it's it's an alternate way of approaching life. And I kind of feel like being an entrepreneur, like I was mentioning with art and music, it's not just about business. It's more so just this kind of orientation of the self and how you prioritize things in life.
[00:31:34.940] - Nick
[00:31:35.500] - Sky
It's starting to go deep.
[00:31:36.390] - Nick
I know. Absolutely. There's a great quote somewhere along the lines of people underestimate what they can do. What is it? People overestimate what they can do in one day versus what they can accomplish in ten years, something like that.
[00:31:48.080] - Nick
I got to look better. But that's yeah, that's really true. And it really resonates. The whole idea of it's a marathon, not a sprint.
[00:31:56.510] - Sky
The way you chart growth as a person, as a company, all of it changes because it's it's obviously there's metrics behind all of it. But there's also this degree of like, how can I shape that more personally? How can I leverage myself to influence this situation? And that's not to say not all careers. You know, a great career, I think, will still allow you to do that in another company. But this was just one surefire way that I found that worked for me.
[00:32:25.280] - Nick
Sure. Absolutely. We have a lot of people that engage with us with the show that are either at a job or they're thinking about a side hustle or a career change or just jumping in the water. What can you impart to them? To help them out, to inspire them, some sort of insight into what what you would say to yourself if you were in their shoes.
[00:32:48.820] - Sky
So one of the mantras that kind of ran around the small business rings in and it's probably all across the country, but I heard it in the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce is I work 50 hours a week, so I don't have to work 40 hours a week. And I know it sounds like this insane workaholic mindset, but again, it's more so taking the ownership of what you're doing. And and so I think being able to if you are taking ownership of it, you're taking over not only what you think you can do well, but the things that you know you need to grow on and being able to assess those and work on those are probably the things that are going to help you.
[00:33:26.110] - Sky
And by extension, whatever that side hustle is, improve quickly. And again, that doesn't even need to be business if it is. But if it's, you know, here are the things that if I'm learning an instrument, these are the things I'm really good at. So every time you sit down, work on the things you're not. And and I think that that kind of way of going about life will help you become really well-rounded. And that's where I think true insights come from, because you can start to connect dots rather than continuously going deeper down a single channel.
[00:33:55.510] - Nick
Absolutely speak to perseverance and staying with it if you believe in it a little bit.
[00:34:01.120] - Sky
It's great to have people around you who support you and believe in you. So I was really lucky to have that as well. People who, you know, just. Have been able to kind of see things from the outside. There are definitely times you're going to be there and be like, am I crazy? Am I the one? Am I missing something here? I'm very deep into this. So let me know. And I just think you need to continuously re-evaluate.
[00:34:26.380] - Sky
And that's not to say you should know when to jump ship, but it's more so just make sure you know why you're in it and make sure you're in it for the right reasons. To me, and this is actually one of the things Shiv says a lot is money is a by product of value. If you can bring enough value, you will earn it. But it's not about just like checking the bank account and stuff like that. It's more so about like how do I continue to do something and build something that others start to believe in?
[00:34:53.410] - Sky
And then when you get people like yourself, quite honestly, who just so freely talk about how much they believe in what you've been doing, it's hugely rewarding more than than I can really communicate, because it's it's something that you've spent so long building. And some people are just kind of like natural builders or even if you're not building today, if you feel that burn like just try it, start anywhere, start with something that you're interested in and you'll be surprised where it goes.
[00:35:22.690] - Nick
Yeah, that's that's really great insight. And so jumping back to Nifty for a moment, you guys, it looks like you guys have an interesting approach. You kind of break down all the best parts of other competitors out there and you really fine tune everything into Nifty. What is what is the mindset when you guys are approaching or to begin with the next iteration of Nifty and things like that, I think it's really helpful in terms of the mindset of you know, entrepreneurship and priorities.
[00:35:48.130] - Sky
Yeah. So especially at the outset, we knew the tools in the market, we knew the things we liked about them. I don't think the goal is necessarily to to put those into one thing. But more so, create an experience that was intuitive. So when people are coming over, they don't feel like they need to learn a whole new whole new tool. And that's one thing that's really stuck out to us, is learning a software, especially one that has the breadth of Nifty is learning a tool.
[00:36:12.370] - Sky
And so we didn't want it to feel like something that, like personally..I struggle big time with Adobe products. I, I can't find them heads from tails. I don't take any courses on them and maybe I should, but I kind of feel like if I can't sit down and figure this thing out after two hours, maybe it's not just me, maybe I'm not just crazy and Adobe is doing something right. So I'm not saying they need to take my advice, but that was not the experience we wanted with Nifty.
[00:36:38.410] - Sky
So we just we knew what we liked. We knew how some of the key ergonomics, from there, we actually start to see a lot of other companies implement our ideas, which was great. Little frustrating when they have a lot more juice to kind of promote it as their concept. But that's just the way of the world. I mean, you know, we kind of borrowed from them. So inevitably all these tools become somewhat incestuous over time.
[00:37:00.220] - Sky
But I think whenever whenever we're rolling a new feature, there's a couple key tenants we look to like the 80-20 rule, like, can this solve the problem for most people with an understanding that there's still some people who want more because there are people who always want more. And if you listen to every bit of feedback you get, you get this like super bloated product that no one knows how to use at first glance. And then you're solving no man's problem because a brand new product comes along that's really minimalist, starts to win.
[00:37:25.090] - Sky
Right. So it's really everything we do is through the lens of usability and accessibility. Is this something that if I put it in front of you tomorrow, can you successfully implement and do the thing that that it's intended to do and when you look at some of the awards, I don't know if awards the right word, but a lot of the ratings we get around other sites, high marks, a lot of around usability and customer satisfaction, stuff like that.
[00:37:53.430] - Sky
And to me, like that's that's how you win, because that's how you get people to buy in and stay with you and grow with you. And a lot of those people are like, they'll be honest on hey, I would love to I'm sure you've not... I would love to see this feature nifty, but I'm willing to wait for it because you're still solving my problem today.
[00:38:09.340] - Nick
I'm always typing in.
[00:38:10.310] - Sky
Hey, yeah. And we welcome that. We love being able to have that kind of engagement with our customers and hear what they want.
[00:38:17.850] - Nick
Yeah. Yeah. It's great just having you guys right there in the chat. Just it's just better than any other any other project management tool that I've had so far. Just having you guys right there and immediately, you know, chatting back, saying, yeah, let's put that on the board for something coming up. We'll discuss that or do this. It's you know, it's super helpful from a customer service perspective that just makes me you know, it's just awesome that you guys do that.
[00:38:41.100] - Sky
And also a major emphasis on how can we solve your problem today, even if it's a workaround, it's just something another way to approach the problem of the idea with the understanding that it's maybe not it's a band aid solution before we actually find a way to suture it. But it's just something that you can work with in the meantime.
[00:38:57.030] - Nick
Yeah, absolutely. So what's next for you? What's next for Nifty? What's what's happening?
[00:39:03.750] - Sky
It's it's it continues to grow and it's gotten a lot more eyeballs. We have some key strategic partnerships that we're looking really we're really excited to start to announce soon. And and just the ability to one point of emphasis for us right now is not only to continue to build out the product, but continue to build out the ways people can find us and use us and implement us, whether it's through integrations. You know, we have that really immersive Google integration that people love and..
[00:39:34.520] - Sky
Microsoft has really jumped up in the market as far as like teams and whatnot, so we're looking forward to rolling that similar suite out for our Microsoft friends as well so they can feel in the loop in that regard. So things like that, being able to plug into other types of video chatting. So we do continue to build out our need of features as well. But we do want to create a lot more integrations with other experiences because we know we can't do everything for everyone, period.
[00:39:59.930] - Sky
We want to if we if you can kind of run your hub from here and bring other experiences in or meaningfully bring Nifty out into other places, that's been a big point of emphasis for us even from the beginning. I mean, that's one question we always got was how are you going to do everything for everyone? Well, that was never necessarily the the goal. It was just how can we do that 80-20? Like, how can we do most things for most people?
[00:40:24.200] - Sky
So you can have an office in the cloud.
[00:40:27.710] - Nick
That's a great way to put that. How big is your team at the moment?
[00:40:30.410] - Sky
We are 30 people and growing, so it's we're really excited about that. We have and we were really international team and heavily remote team even before covid. So unfortunately, we've not seen the midtown office since and it's not clear we're ever really going to go back. So there are certainly days I miss walking around midtown Manhattan and other days, especially in the heat. I definitely don't. So I think that's another interesting kind of frontier we're going to see is the return to work movement and how that's going to evolve, because I think a lot of companies, you're already seeing it now where people are doing well.
[00:41:09.590] - Sky
We're never coming back. We're coming back on this date. Well, we're going to do some sort of hybrid thing. A big point of discussion is do we let our employees tell us what days they're going to work from home? You know, are we going to say you have to be here three days a week, you choose the days, or are we going to tell you those days? So that's where we kind of feel like something like Nifty has a lot of staying power, because whether half your teams are remote, have your teams there, you're fully in the office, it's still relevant and you're still able to proactively find that information, whether or not you're able to lean side to side or you're just in your personal home office.
[00:41:42.230] - Nick
Yeah, it's great. That's great. Foreshadow of what's to come. Potentially.
[00:41:47.330] - Sky
It's going to be really interesting. And I think we're going to see a lot of companies say they want to be full and remote and over time or track that, whether it's because they have fears that it's hurting productivity, whether or not it actually is it's kind of an easy thing for depending on the company might be an easy thing for executives to say, well, we don't have people in office anymore. And that's what's hurting us. Or I think for certain demographics, you know, I'm sure in my early twenties, being able to go into an office because I worked in New York like that, that would have been a plus for me. I wanted to go somewhere. That's why I'm here. So I think there's still going to be a major appetite for that. I don't think in office work is going anywhere. I think it's just going to be this kind of if not an ebb and flow, we're going to find kind of this middle ground of hybridity.
[00:42:35.420] - Sky
There are some developers, even US developers, who, for example, my brother is a database developer at a time scale. And he their headquarters is in New York. He used to fly in there like two or three times a year, but worked pretty much fully remote before then. So that that's not going to change. I mean, so I think the kind of roles that we allow to work more remote is going to change more. We're going to open up that scope.
[00:42:59.060] - Sky
Developers have been working remote years before the pandemic, whereas now I think we're going to allow more people as kind of a workforce to do that to some degree. But every place is going to be different.
[00:43:09.450] - Nick
Wow. I just have two other questions and more about Nifty. How many users do you have?
[00:43:15.320] - Sky
I don't have that exact number right now. I just kind of fall back on that. We have over 10,000 paying teams. I don't have the exact number on hand.
[00:43:22.490] - Nick
That's huge. That's really good. Yeah. And this is all within four years, this happened.
[00:43:28.520] - Sky
Completely bootstrapped, all within four years is built on kind of the back of the agency and the people within it. And it's grown quite a bit from there.
[00:43:36.440] - Nick
Wow, that's fantastic.
[00:43:38.660] - Sky
A lot of word of mouth, a lot of you know, more and more people say, I heard I heard of you from an agency I work with a client referral, which is great.
[00:43:47.530] - Sky
Well, it has that small business vibe that I'm used to, because referrals is how you get jobs in small business. You did a great job of someone. They send you someone else.
[00:43:57.360] - Nick
Just the hustler hitting the street as well. So how can people find you? What's in nifty? Maybe you can lay out what's the best way for people to get more information about your product.
[00:44:09.390] - Sky
Our homepage, https://niftypm.com and there's a chat bot there. If you have any questions, you're never talking to a robot. It might ask you what your name is, but it's always a human actually responding to you and myself included. If you're in the interface. I always tell people dropdown that that dropdown tool in the top right look for the Lego man and shoot us a message. I'm one of several people there who are willing to talk to you.
[00:44:36.930] - Sky
And and if you message us on Facebook will respond there so you can find us and if you have questions that you can't find on your own proactively, we're there to help answer them. Absolutely.
[00:44:49.140] - Nick
Fantastic, I can't say enough about Nifty and what's done for my business and my team has allowed us just to take on more work or not take on more work, but also get more work done, which has been a huge plus. And if you know anyone out there that could really use a boost in their understanding about organization and project management and stuff like that, reach out to Sky, check out Nifty Project Management. It's it's blowing up right now.
[00:45:10.290] - Nick
And Sky, I can't thank you enough for your time. I know you're busy, man with Shiv, your whole team, we can kind of pin this down for a while and I'm super happy we finally found something good.
[00:45:18.930] - Sky
Yeah. Nick, I'm really glad we got to do this to you. We've been kind of going back and forth and we've had to reschedule a couple of them. But I'm really glad we got to do this and I'm hoping we can do another one down the road. Or maybe you have another member of my team on here. It's great. And you know, the people who actually get to use Nifty. So thanks again for setting this up and having me on.
[00:45:34.260] - Nick
Absolutely. And well, let's talk soon.
[00:45:36.720] - Sky
Sounds good. Probably later today.