I love apps tools that are really powerful and come with a small learning curve. I also love it when it works on EVERYTHING and that is what Volley does. It works on PC, Mac. Andoid, or iPhone and it has revolutionized how I'm handling questions with my community.
Josh is an experienced CEO launching multiple successful startups in the past. Today we get insights into:
Time Shifted Screen Sharing and Dave's School Analogy
When Did Volley Become an Idea?
Moving Your Community From Facebook
Can You Lock Down Volley?
Issues Trusting a Free Platform
How Long Has Volley Been Around?
Find Josh at https://www.linkedin.com/in/littlejosh/
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When the creative juices get flowing, it's hard to I don't know, sleep, and think about anything else. And that's the kind of app and technology that we're talking about today. I'm Dave Jackson from the School of podcasting.com. Welcome to the grow your community show. And I've got the interview today. With Josh little from volley Wait till you hear about this app. Well, joining me via squad cast, I gotta tell you, I heard about this from Tim Schmoyer. And this is just a transference of brand to brand brand. And that is Tim said, this is cool. And I went over and checked it out. And it's free. It works on Android. It works on iOS, it works on Mac, it works on a PC, the app is called volley. And we have Josh little, the founder and CEO. So Josh, thanks for coming on the show.
Oh, it's my pleasure. Thanks so much for having me.
Tim said it was cool. And I'm here saying it's really cool. In fact, it's revolutionized the way I am now doing consulting. This is my analogy. And you can tell me if this is accurate or not. volley is like a it's like a private school. So you have to have an invite to get in. And then when you go in, you have the cafeteria, and the cafeteria has tables and over there are the jocks. And over here are the preps, and over here are the whatever's in the whatever's and those tables and volley are called channels. So the different groups if you want to go talk to the nerds there, the back channel to the right. And then if for some reason you have a question about your homework, you can go in and do one on one office hours with your coach with your your student. Is that somewhat accurate?
That's the first time I've ever heard the cafeteria jocks and nerds analogy. I'll take it if you're talking about just people being able to find their own interests and the you know, the passion economy, people being will talk to people that they care about, about topics that they care about. Yeah, volley enables you to do that face to face, and flexibly. And that's really the magic trick of volley is it's a video messaging app. And what does that mean? That just means we take turns and volley we're having a conversation just like this conversation, we're taking turns so far, we'll see if we talk over each other. But the differences in volley, it's a synchronous, which means not at the same time. So we instead of you listening to me while I talk and I listen to you while you talk, we record our turn with a video or an audio message or a text or screen record or a document or gif or whatever we want to take our turn, we can share that in volley. And when we build this conversation in a thread over time, and this allows us kind of the richness of talking the reason that we're on squad cast right now looking at each other in the face, but also the flexibility of texting. So it sounds kind of stupid. One of the ways I've explained it is it's like video texting. And that's not a thing. And that doesn't make sense. Or for some reason, in someone's mind. They're able to like picture that and like what could that be like? And then they're like, oh, okay, that might be kind of cool, because I like talking because it's fast. And I like texting because it's flexible, involves kind of pulling the get putting it together and to your point, allowing you to create spaces and channels where you can kind of organize conversations and topics and themes to let people have a playground for people to play on.
Well, and you mentioned that it's fast and then podcasters our strong suit is not always getting to the point. So I love the fact that I can speed you up. So if I have somebody it's like, Hey, Dave, and blood, like okay, hold on to x. I made my first screenshare today where somebody asked like, how do I do this in Hindenburg software. I was like, Oh, hold on. It used to be I would make a video on OBS. I would upload it to loom and then send them the link to loom and now I just was like, hold on, click a button. I'm doing a screen share did it clicked it was done. It did a little processing and it was there in volley and I went oh, this is just getting cooler by the minute. When did you know you wanted to make volley.
I've been thinking about the problem of how to like, how to communicate how to get the right information to the right people the right time. For years, I built a platform, a social learning platform in the enterprise called bleeding fire, kind of the pioneer of knowledge management. So I've been thinking about the communication problem for a very long time. And then Snapchat and Marco Polo, I think have figured out some interesting things and loom with asynchrony This video is using the power of video to communicate over loom even though they call themselves video messaging. It's really video message. It's like video 1.0 I, I share a video you comment on it. But that's the end of the loop. With volley, like you said, you click one button, you recorded your screen, the person that you sent that to in a conversation gets a push notification, they come into the app, they can view it and also send you a video message and audio message or screen recording back. And so you're this is bi directional two way or in channels in large spaces. This is multi way many too many sort of communication. So that's kind of how we see now. So it was really when the pandemic hit to get to your question that I was like, I know what the world needs, especially remote teams, especially people who are less connected, is a new way to communicate that is has the richness of talking, but also has the flexibility of texting. Imagine if something like Marco Polo had a baby with something like discord, put those together? What would that be like the organization in the structure to create experiences with the power of video messaging, that could be pretty cool. So that was the initial idea. And we started with teams, because we thought remote teams, that would be a great way to get to market. And it was but it was actually folks like Tim Schmoyer, who started using volley and showed us Oh, no, there's a much hotter use case of volley as creators and coaches using volley for like group coaching, masterminds, membership communities, and the reproducibility is so high in the experiences like TEDx, anything else you could do in the retention rates of communities is like through the roof compared to other communities. So that's what really focused our attention to with the product that lasts several months.
Yeah, cuz I can see both sides of that in like the corporate world. Just forget about zoom meetings, you can basically say, Hey, here's what we're doing, what do you guys think, and everybody can kind of chime in whenever they want. So I definitely see that on the corporate side. But when I saw this, I was like, oh, and my backgrounds in education. So I was like, Oh, I really like the ability to do the one on one. And then if they want to get feedback from a group, then they just go back to the cafeteria, hit up the channel that you want, and you can get somebody else's opinion beside mine. So a very popular platform, you may have heard of it. Facebook, has Facebook groups, I know a lot of people have Facebook groups. And so for those people that have a love hate relationship, and they want to get out of Facebook, and they're trying to move people to volley, what works in getting people to let go of Facebook and come into volley.
The first thing is, you've got to create an experience that's worth going to check out, right? If you're planning to just post at your community and volley like you're posting at them and Facebook, I don't think you've got anything more compelling. But if you've got an interesting conversation, and you're maybe bringing interesting guests into your space to have AMA's, you know, there's a party going on in Bali. I don't think there's a reason not to switch. Now, with that said, I think there's disappointment, because the Facebook group size or vanity metrics, because anybody can find a Facebook group. And yeah, oh, we've got 15,000 people in our group. Yeah. Okay. Post something, you got six likes into comments, you do not have 15,000 people in this group. That's vanity. And we have people say, Oh, I haven't got 15,000 people, and only 300 People are invalid. Because those are your true fans. That's your actual community. So yes, you might have some big numbers and think you have reach. And if you think when you posted that community without being Facebook, that post is going to tell them, you've got something wrong, you don't understand the Facebook algorithm, right? So I think you really start to find out who your actual group is and who is committed. Now you can get more and more of them, the more that you harvest and show that Facebook group, hey, there's a party happening. Look what happened this last week, oh, this happened in volley and you cross post that because you can also copy public links to volleys in it that makes an easy way to let the conversation that's happening in volley become little pieces of content that you can then post back to to bring people in into volley. So just some strategies, I think, to to help bring people over and also know, you know, it's a new communication platform. And it's a new way to communicate. So not everyone in the world is going to just like jump there, Facebook is built a platform where it's really, really easy to consume. And with volley, it's new and we kind of expect people not to just mindlessly scroll, but actually be part of a meaningful conversation. And if that's not interesting to you, you probably should stay on Facebook, because I don't I don't know the volleys for you. We're not for the mindlessly scrollers
one thing you just mentioned there on how you can share a volley. So this could be a video again, it can be audio to be text, it could be anything. If your hair's not done, you don't want to be on video. You don't have to you can do audio, but I share some sort of volley publicly? Let's turn that around. What about the person that has a private Facebook group? And they want to keep it locked up? How locked up? Can we keep falling? Because I know there's a public link to a space that I have to invite someone to, can Google find that anyway? Or
no, only to the extent that you share it in places that Google can search or crawl but not volley, because Google doesn't have access to your space? So yes, there's a private link to his space. And if you share that publicly, yes, Google can see that link. But it's as private as it is, you want to keep it. And you can also turn off forwarding and downloading of volleys and public links in a space. So you can just kind of cut that off for a space and no one can share. Now, of course, we can't prevent somebody picking their phone up and turning their camera on and recording a screen. As far as we can technically lock something down. We've locked it down in Bali.
Yeah, I always tell people if I can hear it or see it, I can steal it. So sure. And the people, the people that goes through the extra steps to get that information, we're never going to pay for whatever it is you're selling in the first place. You're right. There is one feature I really hate. And it makes me nervous about volley. And Josh has got a great answer for it coming right up. And all of our resources can be found at grow your community show.com/resources. And speaking of selling things, one of the things that I always say on my show, especially around free media hosting for podcasts, it's like free is not a good business model. And so the first thing I said, I said, Wow, I love this thing. There's one feature that I really, really, really hate about it. And people are what I go, it's free. I said, because I've seen blab.io and a couple other ones that came on and got super hot, and then just went. And I remember I interviewed the people from Blab, and they're like, oh, we have tons of VC money, money, money. So for those of us that are a little nervous about building a community on something that right now is free. How are you going to be around in 10
years? Well, I can also point to millions of companies who have paid models that also aren't around, it's really all about traction, whether it's free or paid. And we have investors who aren't pressuring us to do that. And I've built several tech companies previously. So volley is my fourth successful tech company. So I'm not like coming out of college green behind the ears, I build software, I build companies, you know, you know, blink fire quizzers has been used by 200 million people a month like it's been around the block, I don't see volley going away, I don't see a future where we want to be less connected, or we want our communication to be less flexible. So I just don't see this format going away. And the hard thing about building a tech company is resources and focus. And a lot of times when you're building a paid product, it takes a lot of effort to build the features to pay for it takes love effort to build those pay walls to put the Salesforce in place that all takes resources. And with volley, we've decided strategically to focus all of our resources on building a killer, free product and putting every dime we have into just making that unforgettable experience. And that's what we've done. And it's not because we don't intend to charge money for it, or that we're going to pull the rug on anyone which we're not going to do, I've written a little article on our page under the pricing button, what's free will remain free. This is SAS one on one, you don't pull free features behind the paywall. So we're not going to do that we have hundreds of awesome ideas of features we're going to build. And probably a model that will allow people to charge for access to their spaces in which will do a rev share similar to other platforms that you know, but instead of, again, posting at your members, you'll be able to actually talk with them face to face, which will be a lot more valuable. And you'll be able to charge a lot more and retain a lot more of those followers or fans or students or clients, whatever your model is. So we will definitely have a paid play. We'll definitely be around for a while. And don't worry, you'll definitely be able to put money in our pocket someday. But we're just really, really focused on creating a killer free product that turns into a runaway train of organic growth, which seems like has
you mentioned Blue Fire what other companies have you using like what's your background and
short stories on the line cook turn teacher turned entrepreneur. So figure that one out. But I started my career as a teacher went into sales in the corporate world was in the corporate world for about seven years till I started my first company first company was maestro, an E learning company that creates elearning content for companies like Netflix and Facebook and the who's who the medical and pharma industry and from my struggle to social learning platform called Bloom fire, which today is called a knowledge management platform. But we call it social learning back in the day, which was acquired I thought I was done. I thought I'd done my entrepreneur real thing and set my family up. But I got bored and came back and built a company called quiser, which was like the world's simplest quiz tool. We thought we built that for teachers and trainers. And then publishers started embedding quizzes in their website. And then 10s of 1000s of publishers start embedding quizzes on the website and millions of users. And so we realized this is a quiz tool for publishers and marketers. So left Quizzer in 2016, that I was done, took four years off, and then just got the itch to create my magnum opus and looked around for the right idea that, like I said, the pandemic hits, and it's like, ah, the world needs and I know, just the team to create it thing. We've got the parts to a Ferrari, we should just put it together, let's go. How long has it been around. So we launched February of last year. And our thesis at that time was kind of remote work. And we, that's where our marketing focus was. And by the end of the year, we, that's where it kind of realized, Oh, now there's, there's a more exciting use case for volley. And it was kind of at the beginning of the year, then we started thinking more and more about coaches and creators, and how they're the problems they're trying to solve and how they're getting people together to share knowledge and into add value and expertise. And larger and larger groups are emerging in volley. And so that's really where we're seeing that the platform Evolve is we're trying to make video, especially asynchronous video be much less dense, easier to parse, like every volley is transcribed. So you can view the transcription and scroll through. And like you said, if somebody sends you a five minute volley, that may or may not be relevant to you, but you can go to the transcript, you can just scroll down through and kind of scan it really quickly tap, you know, that line start playing from right there, or you can hover over the timeline and just see like a little pop overs of, of the transcript. That's a new feature. I'm not sure if you haven't seen that, Dave. But that's a recent feature. Threading is another one where, you know, a lot of times because this is a synchronous, you may be coming in today where there was a really interesting conversation happening yesterday. But the conversation has kind of moved on, but you want to comment or share some thoughts on what was happening yesterday. So we allowed the ability to thread within a volley space where you can, you can have sub threads of the conversation, and you can kind of keep the same idea and topic going in. And those are also findable and discoverable. So we're trying to make volley and video video communication to all be asynchronous, more and more extensible for larger and larger groups. And that's our goal, because I really think that's the magic trick that all he's doing for the world is, is helping large groups connect in a way that they're unable to connect in mass, even on Zoom, get 100 People in zoom? No, yeah, that's no, you're not talking like it's just a mess. And there's one person that's going to do 60% of the talking. And then you don't want that person to do that. Right? Yeah. But in volley doesn't feel that way.
It's a person you want to put on to x, but you can't, because it's live.
I know. I wish there was a skip function.
Exactly. Well, speaking of transcripts, are those searchable? And if not what's I know you have you said you have hundreds of features that you want to add anything in the future that we should be looking forward to?
That's one Yeah, of course, we got to save some things for the premium product man. Searchable transcripts. Yeah, that's that's one verbal app mentions, when that'd be cool magic notes, where you could just have to caption or bubbles up a node item. Like there's a lot of cool things coming. But there's no end of the creativity that steam has. So we're in to the list of things that our users are suggesting. So I know we'll be able to be able to build some awesome things that people want to pay for someday. So not worried.
Has your community used volley in a way that you go didn't see that common?
Yeah, actually using volley for podcasting. That was one, this is users bending the tool to do something we didn't expect them to do, which is create an asynchronous podcast. So what people are doing is inviting people into volley because it's easy to have an interview, you can just ask questions asynchronously. And it doesn't matter if it goes on for four hours, four days or four months, you as long as you know, you that conversation, you know, has some story arc and it completes, right. And then they just record their screen push play on the first volley and stop at the end. And they've got a piece of content that no one had to schedule a meeting or a call for. And they were able to send out a link to 30 people in interview 30 people. We're calling this volley cast. You know, we could productize something like this someday, but that's one that we just didn't expect. We've got others that we didn't expect we'd have to rip out like we built features that people just didn't like actually hated and we've had to take some things out which is cool. Do
you want to share one that he thought was gonna work?
One was the pseudo live thing. So we thought that because a synchronous there's a little gap meeting If I talk for a minute, and then I hit stop, volley is a magic trick. So very shortly within seconds after I hit stop, you get a push notification on your end. But there's a minute that I was talking that you might have been waiting for a volley, you'll notice that sometimes we go in and out of the synchronicity in volley, like sometimes we're like, like with texting, you know what it's like when you're kind of waiting on the other person's text, and they're waiting on your text. And you can see the.dot.so We thought, wouldn't it be cool? We're like processing on the fly. Wouldn't it be cool if shortly after someone started hitting record that the other person could start listening in? And even before they finish? They're listening? And so they're just like seconds behind each other? It's like pseudo synchronous, wouldn't that be cool? And our users hated it. Because you can't speed up real time. And so we were sending push notifications for a volley. That was 1x. And Beaver, like, I don't want to listen to anything when I'm not going to remember to come back to this. That's the whole point of volley Guys. And we're like, oh, okay, well, we'll kill that one. But we thought it was cool. So, you know, maybe that comes back in a premium feature that somebody could enable someday.
I always tell people, you don't know if the recipe is good or not until somebody eats it. Yeah, for sure. Awesome. Well, I want to thank you for your time, I am a huge fan that is doing wonders for just my coaching again, my my backgrounds in education. So you've made it really easy to when somebody asks a question and go, Oh, let me just show you, oh, here's what it sounds like, Oh, here's the link to it. Whatever I need to do, it's there. And it's super simple. It's just a matter of getting people off of Facebook. For me right now. It's primarily just using the one on one coaching the channels right now, not not sparking up because they're just used to Facebook. But the new people that join is that's the fun thing. The people that haven't made it to Facebook now might go here, start here, that's creating almost like a second community, because they're not stuck in Facebook yet. It's interesting, and I'm loving it a lot in thank you for the product. And thank you for your time.
You bet David, it was my pleasure. Thanks for Thanks for having me on the show.
Thanks again to Josh, if you want to check out the app, go to grow your community show.com/volley. That's V o l l EY. And that will put you into a volley I've set up that shows you I know this is so meta how to use volley, again, grow your community show.com/volley. And I'll have links in the description. But what I wanted to share with you is just like Josh was saying, the people I have that are using this are really loving it. So with their permission, I'm sharing some comments from actual clients of mine,
I'm really enjoying this, this app, it's actually very interesting. I love that they have they work with you. You know, I joined the when when you sent the email, I opened it and and I just thought oh, you know, I need to I need to send a message today. And then I got a message from from them. But it's been four hours since you've joined and you haven't done anything. So really smart marketing. But a very interesting app very, very interesting to use, in this use case is is really interesting to us. I think, you know, even for me, I'll probably think about using even if just to get some conversations with people that listen, you know, the the real fans of the show that we have. It's always good, right? It's a very interesting app. Cheers. Thank you again,
I did mention the app in the Ask the podcast coach show. And here's Terry, talking about how he heard me talk about it and his experience so far. And at the very end, baldy came up and Foley. Well, that sounds interesting. I clicked on immediately joined immediately. Now I'm here. And then Dave sends me a note. This is a fantastic tool. And I hope we all have a lot of fun with it. As I said in the interview, I'm getting more engagement with my new members of the school of podcasting, because they haven't got sucked into Facebook yet. And I'm actually using both. But I noticed that the people from my own community that are joining a few of them heard about it in Facebook, many of them heard about it in a newsletter that I sent out and others heard about me talking about it on a podcast, which again goes back to maybe your Facebook group isn't as engaged as you think it is. Now if you're interested in checking this out, again, it's free. I've made a space for people to learn volley you can go to again grow your community show.com/volley And check it out. It's absolutely free. And you know, let's stick with the board. I'll take why Facebook sucks for 400 Alex, and that is I didn't know this I was in a webinar with Thomas HomeStart from the novel marketing podcast, and that guy knows Everything about books holy cow, and he was saying how, if you're trying to get a good say you have a really active Facebook group and it's really active. And you say, Hey, everybody, my new book came out, and everybody goes and buys your book. And then you go, Hey, everybody, if you wouldn't mind, go over to Amazon and write a review. Amazon actually kind of just poopoo is everything coming from Facebook? So number one, as Josh mentioned, not everybody's going to see you saying, Hey, would you mind writing a review? Because well, Facebook, and then Amazon sees that all these reviews come from Facebook, and they kind of go I don't think so. So rule number 450 of why Facebook is really maybe not the place you want to have your community another place I will put a link to volley is out at grow your community show.com/resources So thanks so much for listening. You've made it this far. So obviously you enjoyed it. Could you do me a favor if you know somebody else? Because you know birds of a feather? You know somebody else that would enjoy this episode? Can you do me a favor and go to your phone and share it with them? It would just mean the world to me, or just tell them to go to grow your community show.com Thanks so much. We'll see you again real soon with another episode of the grow your community show
Transcribed by https://otter.ai