Guy Pearson of Practice Ignition on building an accounting firm from scratch that could scale up without him
Manage episode 215887934 series 1918353
Guy Pearson, founder of Practice Ignition, turned down an offer of partnership in an accounting firm at age 24 to travel around the world for a year. After running out of money, Guy returned to Australia and started an accounting firm out of his house.
He set out to automate the firm right out of the gate and built a business that could scale up on its own. That meant Guy could very quickly go off and start a software company called Practice Ignition while running his firm on the side.
Mentioned in this episode:
Read The Global Talent Crunch report by Korn Ferry to learn how global talent shortages will constrict growth for organizations and economies in the future of work.
Buy The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz on Amazon.
Cloud Accounting Podcast E31: Guy Pearson of Practice Ignition on building an accounting firm from scratch that could scale up without him
: Welcome to the Cloud Accounting Podcast, a show for accountants using technology to make their jobs more strategic, and impactful. I'm Blake Oliver-
: And I'm David Leary.
: Our special guest for this bonus episode is Guy Pearson, CEO at Practice Ignition, where his team developed software that turns your proposal, terms of service, and payment collection into a single smart contract. Guy, it's great to have you on the podcast, today.
: It's great to be here with you both, and, Blake, it was great to meet you in person, a couple of weeks ago.
: Yeah. it was fantastic. I've followed you for years-
: -and I think that was the first time, right? You were in LA, and we met up for breakfast at some divey cafe.
: It was perfect, though. They had the [inaudible 00:00:44} coffee, and we watched the World Cup. It was great.
: It was great. Well, you watched the World Cup. I don't know anything about soccer, so I just like ... I didn't-
: This isn't football!
: But it was great. It was good, because you were entertained; you had something to distract you, when I was being really boring, so it was very appropriate.
: Ok. Wow. What's that?
: Guy, I have a question for you. I know that you studied accounting, which is great, because it's always nice when somebody is developing software for accountants, who actually was an accountant. I was reading up on you, and I found out, you started really young. You were interning, basically, while you were in school, which is apparently a very common thing in Australia-
: Yeah, that's right.
: -and you were offered a partnership at the ripe age of 24, but you turned it down. What the hell were you thinking?
: It does sound a little bit crazy, when you read it all back like that, but there's a couple of things. The firm that I was offered partnership with was going to a listed group, which meant that you would not be in control of your own destiny.
: The second thing is that it was what they call a full-service firm, here in Australia. That means that there's loans, financial planning, leasing, all under the one roof, or a one-stop shop, which is a perfectly fine business model, but I was interested in businesses, and business growth.
: The third reason, I was seeing all the cloud technology coming along, and thinking of the next generation of entrepreneurs. Xero kinda just crept out of the ground, being in our next-door neighbor, New Zealand. Seeing that come along, as well as things like revolutionary tools, like Skype, allowing digital meetings to take place, face to face.
: All this was sort of coming about, and so I basically decided to take the leap, and not take up the partnership. Instead, I went when traveling for a year, and spent all my money - the anti-accountant thing to do.
: Exactly, and which is a very common thing in your part of the world is to take a year off between, well-
: Usually, it's career break, or post-study, or before you start college, or whatever it is, but, at some point, certainly go, and see the world.
: I think that's great. I wish more Americans did that. I had the privilege of traveling for about six weeks, after I finished my studies, and that was world-changing. Can't imagine what it would be like spending a whole year.
: I'm gonna send all my kids to live with Guy for a year, in Australia. I have a plan for this.
: Sadly, I don't own a McMansion, like you do, down in Tucson, mate, so they may be sleeping on couches, and chairs, so...
: You can put 'em to work, put 'em to work, for sure.
: [inaudible] wow.
: I think I saw a picture. You ran out of money. You spent all your money, and then, you decide you're gonna open an accounting firm. Is that the jump, or did you do something before?
: I was working in an accounting firm, when traveling. Just before I went traveling, I had finished my CPA with my childhood accountancy, here in Australia. I'd started working at a brewery, at night, called Full Pints, which has done very well; one of the first craft breweries, here in Oz.
: Basically, when I came back home, I started working there again, to keep the lights on at home, whilst I endeavored on my jeans-and-T-shirt-wearing cloud-accountant journey in the end of 2009.
: Then, you decide you're gonna start Practice, and just ran it outta your house?
: Yeah, ran it outta my house that I lived in. It's on a suburb called Freshwater, in Sydney. Like I said, we were trying to do everything cloud-based. Still had to buy a server for the tax software, here in Australia. That had to run on its own little server.
: Pretty much everything else was laptop, second string, and cloud-based. Google Apps, WorkFlowMax, back in the day. Back then, it was also Xero, and then, basically all the tax, and compliance was still done submission via, let's call it ... I don't wanna call it dial-up, but it still made some interesting sounds during the launchment - the segment on there, when you'd hit the launch button for a tax return.
: Was that Interactive Accounting?
: Yes, that's Interactive Accounting.
: Started the company, and sort of had the brand before I left to go overseas. Then, that was waiting, when I came back to get all the formal qualifications to do public practice; all things I needed to do to be able to be a CPA-in-training, in your language, or a chartered-accountant-in-training, in mine.
: I think when I saw you give a talk in Sydney, I was impressed, at one hand, obviously, you kinda were cloud-focused, early on. You made that decision ... Cloud. I'll take clients on anywhere. I can be remote. I'm gonna do Skype, like you said, etc..
: The other thing I thought was interesting, from day one, you set up this mission to build your firm as a scalable business.
: Which a lot of people like- They work at the firm for years ... Okay, everything's broken, nothing's working, gotta figure out how to scale this. They have to retrain themselves. You, from day one, set out to build a scalable firm.
: Yeah. I think the slide that you saw me talking about was ... It's Chess, not Checkers, which was a quote from Training Day. I'm not gonna say the full quote, because it has some profanities in it, and I don't wanna have too many bleeps on the podcast ...
: Basically, I planned as if we were gonna win. If we were going to win, I would spend money upfront, and think about how the business model would work. I wanted everything to be connected, and I didn't like manual- manually doing anything. I'd much prefer to try, and fix the problem, or plug the problem with some layer of tech.
: This is, once again, going back to 2010, so, very long time ago. We had connected apps out the wazoo, using OneSaas APU, all those data-connecting tools to try, and make sure that the system would flow, as much as possible.
: If we were gonna be an accounting firm for, let's say, 500 clients, and wanted to do that in a reasonable timeframe, or, perhaps, a quick timeframe, depending on how you look at it ...
: If you're only operating for three years, that means onboarding three clients a week, which, in accounting terms, is insane level of growth. Not for software, but trying to get them all on board, successfully, get them deployed, get them up to speed, deal with their past compliance. How are we gonna do all this?
: We built on-boarding forms, welcome emails, "Here's what it's like working at Interactive. This is what we're gonna help you ..." We tried to automate, back then, proposals. We used [inaudible], which is based up in Canada. Payments, we tried to automate that. We had it on our website. We had an online direct-debit engine that we hooked up using Concatenate, out of Google Sheets. You know what that means to generate a URL, so it'd be a branded, predetermined pre-filed payment page.
: All these things, we built with, let's call it ... What do you call it? It's almost like ... In Australia, we say there's one way to fix everything, and it's apply more duct tape, basically. Everything can be fixed with more duct tape, so, basically, we duct-taped all these solutions together to make sure we had a scalable onboarding.
: I think that's a universal principle.
: Okay, perfect. If you can't fix it with duct tape, you use more duct tape.
: Was it all just technology, did you use lots of rigor around documenting processes-
: Just a-
: -so, that way, you could take yourself out of the decision-making?
: Yeah, getting the processes in place is one thing, but trying to make yourself obsolete is the second. You wanna be a, let's call it successful business owner, rather than an operator, who has all the key knowledge. You wanna make sure that the team, itself, is scalable.
: We had Confluence, back in the day, which is an Atlassian product. The firm has now since move to Google Sites, to be connected in with the Google Apps suite. Basically, it's the old-school intranet, but an online version, where you have visuals, you have documents, videos, all those sorts of things. We were working on that, so that, if I was to depart, which was the aim, from the day-to-day, that everyone else knew how to do everything.
: You set out, from the beginning, to build a firm that could scale, and could live without you. How long did it take you to get to the point where you could leave, and then start Practice Ignition?
: I was outta the company, three-and-a-half years after starting. I would say I stopped following anything to do with compliance, about 18 months in. I hired a CFO, and head of tax, so they took care of all the clients between them. Then, we hired in underneath them.
: That's basically how the scaling up happened, and then, probably ... I went to work on the business for a year after that. It takes up to two-and-a-half years, and then I scaled back to part-time, as Practice Ignition kicked off, which was in concept, in 2012. Then, by July 2013, I resigned as an employee.
: Then, Dave, if you remember the talk in Sydney, there was an inflection point in the growth of the firm. Couple of things happened. One, we started getting referrals, as we were now trusted. The second thing that happened is that I was no longer there was a bottleneck in the process. The rest of my team, my partners, could sell, and sell our services, up-sell clients. It wasn't just all resting on my shoulders, being one person.
: Are you still involved in the firm?
: Yeah. I still own a fairly big chunk of the firm, today. I'm still the chairman, and director. Still hold a tax-agent's license, and all these other acronyms that are way too boring to run through, but yeah, still ...
: Day to day, my job now is team culture, forward-looking strategy, and we're just about to refocus, and rekindle where we're heading, the next couple months, which is pretty exciting.
: Your firm, Interactive Accounting, are they doing timesheets, and billing out hours, or is it fixed-fee, value-based-type pricing? How do you guys package your services?
: We've had our prices listed on our website, which I know was a bit of a taboo subject, from day one. The reason being is it acted as a really good filter. We did rather a good job with marketing, and we positioned ourselves where we would get lots of, let's call it, inbound leads.
: Part of the video ... Part of the reason for something like Practice Ignition coming out of it being what I did at the firm being a genesis for it, was trying to streamline that whole process. The pricing acted as another shelter.
: You can have somebody tell you you're gonna build the next Apple, and you're like, "That's fantastic. This is amazing. I'm so excited to work with you." You send a proposal for $2,000 for the year, and they balk at it. Clearly, they don't really actually have that mindset of building the next Apple.
: Nor are they anywhere on their path to doing so. So, we were using it as a filter.
: I don't mean to cut you off, but I just wanna thank you; stop, and thank you for putting your pricing on your website, because I was able to, many years ago, look at your website, and copy it, in building my own small firm. It did have that perk, or that benefit.
: Yep, you're welcome, mate. It's very funny, we've found a few websites, over the years, that almost copied- not only cut-and-pasted the pricing page, we found a few that stole the design; borrowed the wording on the About Us page, and just put their firm's name in, all kinds of fun things. Think of it as a great form of flattery.
: You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink, right? We were a bit cagey about things in the early days, when it came to all that sort of thing. Then, as it went on, it's like if they can do what we can do ... We can't have 10,000 clients, tomorrow. Our firm would break. There's plenty for everybody.
: Fixed-fee, and value-based pricing has always kind of been our mandate. We tend to find that whenever we get into time costs, we end up in a mess. Typically, if there's a time-cost scenario, we agree on the minimum monthly spend for the period of the engagement, and then, there's your set deliverables, and then, there's things that are outside of it. They might be charged on time cost, but we're always trying to provide an estimate.
: The one thing the firm didn't want to do is end up in a mess. We had one particular partner, over the years, perhaps did time-cost stuff, and it got us into a real doozy of a mess, and ironically, did not use Practice Ignition. There's plenty of case studies on people who don't use it, and get into that sort of mess, and then, when they start using it, it cleans up. Lock-up is no longer a problem; they don't have debtor balances, and don't have write-offs. There's just a whole bunch of plus sides, but enough of a product like-
: I probably should've asked this before we got into talking about all this, but so that our listeners understand something about your firm, what is the size of it? How many customers do you have, or clients? How many staffs, how many partners?
: There's two partners, currently. We have, including myself, so there's basically one managing partner, and me, as another owner. We have a leadership team, underneath, so a head of each division, and then, a general manager, as well. There's about 20 staff, based in Sydney, and Melbourne, in Australia.
: We look after about a thousand core business clients, mostly in the B2E-SaaS, so, companies like a Practice Ignition. We look after global-marketplace businesses, and venture-capital firms. Private-equity funds are typically our niche, these days.
: Historically, we look after businesses that wanna grow really fast, and need their accountant to be able to run with them, and be flexible, and go from everything from bookkeeping management, accounting, tax advisory, grants, scale-up, until they do their first internal hire, being a CFO, or whatnot, and then pare back, and just be their growth partner, as they go along.
: Got it.
: It works pretty well for us. The team is amazing. We can talk about my success, but, I haven't been there, in the day-today, for five years. They've done an amazing job to grow our firm, and even with challenges that people, and people management bring. It's just a good, solid group of people there, and amazing clients.
: Obviously, now, you have Practice Ignition ... Has that actually spun off, like, "Hey, we wrote some code in the accounting firm," and then you took that out, and spun it off, or is this just kinda like, "Ah, it's an idea. I'm gonna go chase it separately, now that I'm kinda stepped back from the accounting firm ..."? How did you go from "Hey, I have an accounting firm. Now, I've got a software company ..."?
: There's a couple of things that played into it. Number one, I became an accountant, because I wanted to help small businesses get better access to info, faster, and make better decisions. That basically resulted in me becoming an accountant.
: Worked at firms, learned the ropes, dealt with all entities - big, small, profit, not-for-profit, charities, large family groups, all that stuff. I built my cred, and then, on how to run a firm, as well before I left the last firm I was at.
: Then, coming into Interactive Accounting was very much like my firm is never going to be ... It's not gonna be Deloitte, or PWC, or any of those. It's gonna look after a set group of clients that will grow to a certain size. There's this whole other part of the market out there being the second part, given my original goal of helping as many businesses as possible.
: From my mind, what you see in Practice Ignition, right now, is still kind of generation one. It's designed to be the source of truth for how you run your firm, so you understand who your clients are, what they pay you for, and dig into the data. That's one side. The second side is to help you run a more efficient firm with hope that you spend more time with your clients, and help them out more.
: The second part of it was me looking for the most efficient way to run an accounting firm, because running my accounting firm, doing monthly direct debits, and the assistants we had here, even though they were quite good, that's still a huge manual process. Doing 500 monthly direct debits, or credit cards, or ACHs, depending on your country, is an absolute disaster, when all you'd get was a PDF at the end of the month, saying who failed, here's invalid routing numbers, whatever it was, and then having to go back through, and manually chase them, manually reconcile your accounts ... It was just a disaster.
: We were moving from one bill for a year, to 12. Imagine dealing with failed payments times 12. Just absolute disaster, and nothing was tied to the contract.
: That was kind of the problem I wanted to fix for the firm. My ultimate goal of turning PI into this engine that allows you to run a better firm, and spend more time with clients is sort of built phase one - source of truth.
: What comes next is kind of interesting, and probably shouldn't make any product promises, but, effectively, if you look at any other system that has-
: We don't get anything? We don't get anything?
: Well, if you look at any other system that has a source of truth ... Let's say Intercom is a very good example. This is a source of truth for software companies. What do they do with that information? They use it to communicate better with their customers, or clients. That's just a little teaser.
: That's ultimately where we wanna go is I really wanna work, and have the tool to be able to help provide a better relationship, so that accountants have more trust for their clients, clients ask their accountants more things, which leads to more work, in the forward-looking aspect; advisory, and data tearing apart, and building it back up into a model, and making decisions. That's what I'm interested in trying to help achieve.
: To do that, your client needs to love their CPA, which is ... If you went out on the street, right now, either in Tucson, or LA, and you asked them whether or not they love their CPA, the first person you saw, they probably either a) don't remember who did their taxes last year, or b) they hate seeing them, unless they're getting a tax refund. I wanna change that.
: A noble, and worthy pursuit.
: The PI came about off the back of a continuation of the original goal, and then, selfishly, I was trying to help with the accounting firm run as efficiently as possible.
: Efficiency is really important. One of the issues facing CPAs in America, or facing accounting-firm owners in America is it's getting harder, and harder to find talent, to keep CPAs on staff, to recruit them, to retain them.
: As the economy has improved, and we just hit four-percent growth here, in the second quarter, it's debatable whether or not that'll keep going, but it's been picking up. All the evidence, all the projections show that there's gonna be a shortage of highly skilled labor in the future, which will definitely affect accounting.
: My question to you, Guy, is how do accountants in the U.S., and in Australia, everywhere around the world, how do we deal with this talent crisis? There's one stat, in particular, that just really stuck out to me, which is why I'm asking you this question, which is a report from Korn Ferry predicting that, by 2030, in Australia, firms are gonna be paying an extra $28,600 per head for highly skilled labor. In 12 years, that's the wage premium over inflation. How are you guys gonna survive?
: I think it's already starting to happen. I'm not sure that ... There's two ways to fix that problem. Number one is to put it offshore, into a cheaper cost base, which I'm kind of against for a permanent solution. To that mind, if you can do it part ... They can't find anyone here, they need two people, like yesterday, to deal with clients, and they need both of them, but when it's a permanent one, it's a bad idea, because you're not actually fixing the problem of delivery.
: You've really seen the advances in software, let's just say that, yeah. Think about all the things you've seen in the last five years, and then compare that to the last 18 months. It's accelerating like crazy. Although the wage premium on, let's call it, really valuable skilled labor may go up, I don't think you will see as many people working in accounting firms, to put it bluntly.
: I think what'll happen is anything around processing, doesn't matter what it is, will cease to exist, or be very, very small, and everything else, we're doing by systems. Premium may go up; fees will probably stay around about the same, but you shouldn't have as many costs, in terms of labor, or resources, in terms of labor, on your team.
: That'd be my bold guess, with all the AI advancements in data collection. You're analyzing data, your projections, all those things. Everything we've got, right now, makes a firm incredibly efficient, and you can run an insanely profitable firm, using technology today. I don't see that changing as technology gets better.
: How much more profitable would you say?
: I remember the last ... Anecdotally, firms that I know quite well used to be excited about a 20-percent profit margin. I know for a fact that most of the ... Not for a fact, anecdotally, a lot of the really good cloud firms run at 40 percent. If we were to continue that stat, I would say it'd go up to 50 percent.
: Now, the hard part is changing to all the systems, obviously, costs money, and time. The one thing accountants are bad at is thinking about long term, that whole chess line I gave before, and copping it upfront, if you like. Like wearing it on the chin would be a strange expression ...
: You would think that accountants, of all people, would be able to run the numbers, and figure out, "Oh, this is a worthwhile investment of my time."
: I'm not sure what the saying is in the U.S.; in Australia, it's, "A builder's house is never finished. There's always a renovation in progress." To quote a few banks here, recently, and I think it's the same overseas, [inaudible] Citibank is that, "The hardest person to get a forecast on their business from is an accountant, because there's always client work that comes in before their own business, and they don't spend as much time on their own business."
: Yeah, and I think that's lessened. You've talked about, and over, and over, again, that's a theme here is you have to figure out how to stop being in your business, and start running your business. Because the only way you're gonna make your business have 40-percent profitability is you have to stop doing the work, so you can figure out how to make it profitable.
: Yeah. To quote a very sort of crass godfather of mine, basically, you make money off the backs of others. Now, that sounds brutal, but, ultimately, if you have a team, and you're achieving things together, two is better than one, 10 is better than two. If everyone's running in the same direction together, and it's not all relying on you, you can make a lot more money. That's how business always works. You need to have the right people, and do it efficiently, but, yeah, that's the way it goes.
: I'm gonna circle back to one of your questions before, David. You asked about me, and building a tech company, having been an accountant. When my CFO, and the head of tax came on board, Gareth, and Lisa, it was known to them, on day one, that I was going to go, and try to build a software company.
: The whole notion of me taking myself out of business to help it run better for a year, and then, slowly stepping out of it, the following year, was all kind of planned; not written down in concrete, but that was known.
: I actually kicked off three projects before Practice Ignition. One was instead of doing an MBA, one was a systems for a recall analysis, a systems-integrated business that ended up going to my accounting firm, and then, was shut down, once we pivoted towards B2B-Saas companies who didn't need our help with systems.
: Then, the last one was ... It's kind of almost what Hubdoc did/does- the irony. It basically is designed to go get an uploaded bank statement, and take out all the data, and spew it down into a CSV, or fax, or whatever format you needed to upload into your accounting ledger.
: Once you turn bank feeds on, you have the data from today onwards, but, going back to your banks, a lot of them would only give you maybe an Excel download for three months. If you were typically doing this nine months after the financial year end, or a year later, you had a missing gap that you don't wanna manually code into your ledger system.
: We used to basically focus on that, but we had a disagreement with one of the other founders, and we shut the company down, after sort of getting to market. Then, there was Practice Ignition.
: I had a very busy, let's call it, 25 to 29, roughly, in age, doing all those things. When we made the jump, Practice Ignition felt like the right one to back; definitely the biggest one, in terms of opportunity, but also, the biggest problem to solve, and the biggest benefit, I think, for accounting in the ecosystem, and small businesses.
: You turned me onto a book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things. When did you discover that? Before you started any of these businesses? Three years in?
: No, it's two to three years ago. I have a really close mate who runs a software startup, here in Australia, but he was head of Agile, for Atlassian, and head of Agile, too, so, based in San Fran for a while. His name is Ben Horowitz, who wrote the book. He's one of the partners of ... Marc Andreessen, and him have a venture capital firm together, called ... Their web URL is ... No, no, no, sorry [crosstalk].
: He's just your friend?
: -pointed me on to the book.
: Oh, somebody else [crosstalk] Okay, okay.
: -may paint the whole startup thing as being a very rosy experience, I can tell you, there have been times I've been sitting on the ground, crying to my mom, and I'm not a big crier, about how the hell am I gonna make all this work, and keep everything together, whilst we figure out the growth angles, and everything else.
: It was during one of those times, I was chatting with my best mate/one of my mentors, Nick. He pinged me over the link to the book, just like, "I think you should read this."
: I read it shortly thereafter, and just found an amazing amount of solace in almost the reality that no matter what you read on Medium, or any other posts, or LinkedIn, about the success of the company, how great it is, that there are ups, and downs for everyone's journey.
: He ended up with a listed company that was acquired off the Nasdaq, but that was after 13 years of toil, and turmoil - ups, and downs, firing half the team in an afternoon, of a multi-hundred-person company. All this stuff that kind of resonated, and that was at a much larger scale than what I was dealing with, but it just kinda really hit home.
: I think, with the session that I saw you at, Dave, in Sydney, was all about [inaudible] life-cycle stages of building, and growing an accounting firm, but with reference to The Hard Thing About Hard Things, because we ... You were there. We talked about war stories, all the things that you can stuff up, along the way; to own failure, and celebrate the wins, basically.
: To me, it was just kind of like the anti-business book. Given I like to swing from the fences a little bit, and typically run in a different direction to everyone else, it really hit home for me.
: Yeah, I think it's also ... It almost feels like ... It is a book- it's like a manual to ... "Oh, how do I make this decision about firing this person, or how do I make a decision about this ... I have to lay off some people ..." All those tough decisions. It's almost like a manual on the thought process on how you should attack that. It listens like a great story book. It's actually amazing, but it's really like a manual. I found it really amazing.
: The other thing I thought was interesting was ... It's geared, obviously, towards an entrepreneur, or founder, but after I listened to it, I was like, "God, if I woulda listened to this early in my career, I would've been a different kind of employee." I'm probably too stuck in my ways, now, but I would've actually ...
: It's just really interesting to take it in that way. Anybody listening, you should definitely- it's worth getting. It's great. If you get the audio book, you hear him rapping, which is even better.
: Well, we're coming up toward the end of our show. Guy, I wanted to give you the opportunity to describe- give us the elevator pitch for Practice Ignition, if you've got the energy, after sitting in a bunch of meetings, today, and probably doing that for five years, now, right? For our listeners who have no idea what it is ... I've been using Practice Ignition for years, now. I love it. Couldn't live without it. What is it, and how can people find you online?
: Perfect. You can go to PracticeIgnition.com, or @Ignitionapp, if you're on Twitter. Follow us, and stay up to date with what's happening.
: The basic bio of the company is it's designed to help you run the smartest professional-services firm. We target CPAs, and bookkeeping in our firm, so we're pro advisors. The idea is that it lets you run your services company much like it's a software company.
: You can drag and drop your list of services, customize them, and send out, online, smart proposals to your clients. They can put in their ACH, or credit card details, digitally sign, without having to pay for any additional signing tool.
: That's gonna then integrate into whatever workflow tool that you're using, whatever invoicing tool that you're using - QBO, or Xero. We uncloak the funds from your clients, reconcile your accounts receivable, and give you some amazing data that you typically don't get anywhere else: what is your projected revenue for the year, conversion rates, what services drive your revenue; and really help you dive into running a better firm, and actually understanding the services that you provide for your clients, so that you can offer them a better experience, and hopefully, reduce your admin time, so that you can actually focus on helping them solve their business problems, and giving them a better life, as well.
: David, if folks want to talk to us, tell us what we should talk about on the podcast, send us a story, where can they reach you?
: The best way to reach me is on Twitter. I'm @DavidLeary. How should they reach you, Blake?
: I'm @BlakeTOliver. Guy, thanks so much for your time, today. It was great chatting with you. David, I will see you- tomorrow, we're gonna do another episode, so we'll catch up on the latest news.
: All right, thanks, guys.
: Awesome. Thanks, Guy.
: Cheers. A little story I wanted to share was about some interesting startup ideas that get thrown across my desk, from time to time. On the side, I'm an angel investor. I was one of Hubdoc's shareholders, so I'm very happy with the sale, as a side note.
: The best startup idea I've seen is all about the sharing economy, and making greater utilization of something that we need, and use every day. The company was called BinShare. The idea being that you share, and rent/sell the spare space in your bin, before the garbage collection comes.
: Oh, you mean like your trash can.
: Yeah. This company was gonna revamp, and revitalize waste collection. I'm wondering what neighbor would rent space on a regular basis off their other neighbor, right?
: Wait, because, I mean ... I don't know what it's like, where you are, but here, if I'd need more trash cans, I can order them from waste management.
: Yeah, it's pretty much the same here. I guess it's for that flex capacity. I don't know. You're only gonna go over for one week ... Heaven forbid that that bin was over a kilometer, or mile away, and you had to drive it over. It was just-
: You invested right away, right?
: A hundred percent. It literally made its way ... It was just before we had our internal Practice Ignition conference in Sydney, a couple years ago. The whole team pitched these new product ideas. Every instance of the demo screenshots for what the company, or the client was inside Practice Ignition was BinShare-something, or a name of a client had some reference to waste in it. It went through the whole company like wildfire. It was absolutely hilarious.
: Needless to say, I dumped every single cent I had in there, and haven't seen it since. I think it's sitting in someone else's trash can. It just kinda made my day. I was trying to figure out, even, the commercial applications. Maybe it was a business problem that they were solving for businesses.
: Seriously, there's some weird, and wonderful, wacky things. The thing that I love the most is that someone had the balls to put together a pitch that can go all in to present this as one of the biggest companies of the future.
: That's amazing. Thank you for that.
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