A Conversation With Hans Skillrud

Hallway Chats


To hallway chats. I'm Cara Clays and I'm Liam Dempsey today. We're joined by Hans School Road over the course of seven years Hans built a 12-person web design agency in downtown Chicago and then sold it in early 2019 to focus attention on his new start-up long-term again. Mm, Getting is an auto updating privacy policy generator Hans. Welcome. Thanks for having me. Hey glad to see you here today virtually hans-georg. Thanks so much for joining us. I love for you to share more of your story here. Tell us more about yourself. Absolutely. So, you know, I like starting I have to pick a divided somewhere. So I'm going to start it when I found WordPress because you know, I should date myself free WordPress and post WordPress cuz that's really been a big determiner of my career. We all have that that DeMark wage. Some point, I think you can start where ever you want though. If you want to go back further, that's fine too. Well, maybe a good example is how I got to Wordpress. You know, I was one of the first employees a Groupon Groupon was a hot young company. That was seemingly helping small businesses get more traffic through their doors and I drink the Kool-Aid as we would say a Groupon. I'm very much believed in the model of discounting a company 50% offer more for one day only and you know bringing people together to try out a place over the years though that company went public and I think their priorities changed and I shared my concerns with management they disagreed so I quit I was managing a sales team about a hundred fifty people and I decided I don't like their business model anymore and someone with a small business owner is passionate about what they do within their doors, but they aren't necessarily passionate about bringing that information online. And that was what group I was taking advantage of in my opinion. So what I'm Off to do was to help small-business owners share what they do best online and I think that message, you know, that was the that was the fuel to my midnight Midnight fire Midnight Oil. I'm always so bad with those things. It was the fuel to my fire to to you know, help the small business owner out and over the course of seven years. I found WordPress. I started building websites helping small business owners with their exposure online and the company was successful. I built it up to a 12-person team in downtown Chicago and I happen to be dating a privacy attorney at the time and I told her how I used to copy and paste privacy policies over dinner and her jaw dropped and she's like, what are you doing? I'm like, that's what everyone does. She's like, that's not what you do anymore. Not not what we're dating off and threw a few discussions we decided we we came up with the business model for Irma gettin which we I now have sold my agency and focus all of my time with Sonata on wage. Again is a privacy policy generator. What's cool about our Tech is that you copy and paste the embed code from turmeric added onto the website and that's what allows us to push updates to the policies when the laws change and we give web agencies a free set of our policies in the host that they like our product enough to want to offer term of got into their clients. They can resell it or use our affiliate programs whatever they wish off. But but what we're trying to teach the web industry is something I failed at multiple times, which is the era of copying and pasting privacy policies is over people like we have to accept the future. What is about to happen, especially in America with privacy laws. So that's where my focus is. Now. I am married to Donna and you guys are the first people get to say that publicly to Tom Thumb and yeah, we work from home now and we run from again together and and the rest is history great great story. There's a lot there to unpack and talk about Going to go back to the beginning part cuz I'm curious about Groupon as somebody who used it and hasn't really seen much of it is it sounds like and I don't remember when that was that Groupon and became a thing but it's just before small businesses had web sites. Is that what you're saying websites were definitely a thing. It was 2009 when Groupon which was typically previously called the point which I loved that website named the point., because what someone would just say, what's the point and you're like, oh, you know some kind of joke, but the point became Groupon and I shortly joined group on home sites were still around I was 2010 and you know, I was it was a wild ride watching a company go from a hundred employees to thirty thousand and three years and two years off, um in my career went along with it because of its growth. I naturally I was put in a position to manage people which was a wonderful opportunity. I love sales. I'd love song Is I love sales because I think a lot of people think of sales is bad and I always try to say no. No, no, no, no people are bad or people are good. It is sales is just a Communication channel. So am I only want to do good things with sales and and that's how I train my sales team. So that's something I really appreciated at Groupon. They they gave me the ability to do that for a while, but I felt like watch company went public priorities had changed and now all of a sudden we need to be focused on taking additional margins from small business owners and you know, that sounds good and all but when you're talking to a small business owner asking them to discomfort sells more than 50% and then you're taking more than well you're taking well, it's public knowledge. You're taking more than 50% of a revenue raised. I don't know some didn't feel right. So, you know, that's what I decided was no longer fit. And at least if you look at the stock market how Groupons performed over the last ten years. I think I was correct. But

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