We are excited to be back at it after a short break while Garrett and Scott were in Guatemala. Which is exactly what we talk about in this episode.

Not to get too ahead of ourselves however, because we do also give a quick Software Funnels update.

We are in the process of hiring a 4th programmer for Software Funnels and it’s crazy to think it’s taken so many different programmers to complete this project. What it really comes down to is the languages each tool is written in. They are all different and it’s requiring us to find developers that are experienced in each language. Not to mention having multiple programmers is definitely helping with the speed as well. Don’t forget though, more programmers means more money too.

After we wrap up the Software Funnels updates we talk about why Garrett and Scott have decided that giving back is important within their businesses. It’s truly something they believe in and highly encourage other businesses to do as well.

Listen to this episode to learn what different organizations they partner with as well as how it’s affecting their lives and the lives of their team members too.

Be sure to subscribe to our podcast and automatically receive updates on each episode release. Thanks for listening!

Click here to read the podcast transcript

Garrett Pierson: Hello everyone. Welcome back. This is episode 12. Garrett Pierson here.

Lindsay Halling: Lindsay Halling.

Scott Brandley: And Scott Brandley.

Garrett Pierson: It’s been a little while. We took a little break because Scott and I were in Guatemala. We just got back two nights ago. We made it back, and we’re going to talk about that here in a little bit, but let’s do a quick recap on Software Funnels and the status of where we’re at, and what Lindsay got done when we were gone to Guatemala. Lindsay, take it on.

Lindsay Halling: Well, we’ve been waiting to officially say this for a while now, but the Whiteboarding tool is completely done.

Scott Brandley: Yeah, that’s awesome.

Lindsay Halling: That was cool to have that happen, especially while they were gone. It was kind of a pressure that I put on myself to make sure that things kept rolling smoothly. We actually had the programmers work an extra day over the weekend, on Saturday, which I felt like they actually got quite a bit done. We have started the analytics tool, which is rolling, and we’ve started the projects tool, and we’re still trying to wrap up the wireframes tool here.

Scott Brandley: And I think he’s getting close.

Lindsay Halling: Yeah.

Scott Brandley: Funny enough, the wireframing tool, I feel like, our programmer who’s on that’s one of the best programmers I’ve ever worked with and it’s taking him longer because it’s built in a language that is extremely tough. It’s built in Java and just one little change, funny enough, one little text change or image change or whatever takes a lot of time to develop in Java. So, he’s actually doing really well, but it’s his goal, actually, to finish this week. That will be tough for him to do that, I think, but at least he’s got his own goals, which is really cool.

Garrett Pierson: So, one more quick update. We made a decision while we were in Guatemala. Scott and I had a lot of time to talk, and the big hang-up is: are we going to get to the help desk tool. It’s kind of the lowest priority of all the tools that we wanted. It’s something that we think people need, but do we really need to add it? So, we had a long conversation about this. We decided we did want it. We thought it would add that sexiness to the product, that additional feature or benefit of, “Hey. Not only do you get all these cool things to build software, but you also get this help desk tool, so when you do launch, you can have customer support all ready to go.”

Scott Brandley: Already integrated into that platform.

Garrett Pierson: Yeah. It’s already integrated. The biggest problem with that is there’s no way we can get to this without another developer, and that means more money. So, we had to make that decision and decided to go for it, and find that other developer, and figure out how to get this done. The interesting thing is even if we don’t get it done, it’ll be very close behind version one.

Then, this morning, I was up late with my little baby boy and talking with the programmers ’cause they start later in their day, earlier in our morning, and our Senior Programmer, that’s over all the teams, had a really good idea that we have one program that’s really good at Ruby on Rails, which is a language. That’s what the help desk software is built in, but he just finished the whiteboarding tool and is working on the project tool, which is the Trello-like tool. The project tool open-source that we found is built in Meteor.JavaScript, and have you guys ever heard of that?

Scott Brandley: Nope.

Lindsay Halling: Nope.

Garrett Pierson: We don’t even know what it was and none of the programmers really know how to develop in it. It’s JavaScript, essentially, and it’s enough that this programmer can figure it out, and he is figuring it out, and he’s still doing a good job, and he’s a great programmer, figuring it out, but …

Anyway, the Senior Developer that runs the teams suggested, and it was a great idea, that we move this programmer, that he’s a very good Ruby developer, to the help desk tool, and then we were going to hire another Ruby developer, but instead of that, hire a Meteor.JavaScript developer, which made total sense. So, listen to your team, listen to your programmers. It doesn’t mean that you have to implement and do everything they say, but a lot of times, they’re going to have really good ideas. This was a very, extremely good idea, in my opinion, that I think will help us get done faster, these tools.

It just made sense. Once I heard it, and once I told you guys, it’s just obvious. Well, duh. It wasn’t obvious to us, at the time.

Anyway, let’s get into our trip to Guatemala and tell you guys about why we do this. First of all, though, I want to get Lindsay’s perspective because she’s new to the team, four months now, that she’s even worked with us. She knew us before, but … Lindsay, tell us from your perspective of why you think we do this, seeing us go and donate the money and donate the things to the orphans in Guatemala. Tell us your perspective and then we’ll tell you why we do this.

Lindsay Halling: For me, it’s kind of been interesting to watch this evolve. Here you have two successful businessmen and they don’t have to give back to an orphanage or a school or whatever the organization is that they choose, but they do choose to and it’s cool ’cause they actually let us into it this year a little bit, too. You don’t have to do that if you’re in a financial position to do so, but, obviously, it’s important enough that you do, and I think it’s cool and it’s fun to be a part of, even though I wasn’t the one, necessarily, going over there and donating. But it was still fun to just be involved and learn what else is out there outside of our little circle that we call everyday life.

Garrett Pierson: Right. Perfect. Scott, why don’t you talk about why we decided to do this. Now this isn’t the first thing we’ve done. We’ve done Kenya a couple times, and we’ve donated time to charities and organizations. We’ve built schools in Kenya. We built a volunteer quarters for this Guatemalan orphanage. Why are we doing this?

Scott Brandley: Well, I think a lot of it stems from just having the desire to make a difference in the world. Garrett and I both served religious missions in third world countries, and we saw a lot of poverty, a lot of people living in horrible conditions. I’ve been to city dumps in a third world country where there was basically a little city in the dump.

Garrett Pierson: Yeah.

Scott Brandley: People lived in the dump, and they just went through garbage all day. It was heart-breaking. Seeing little kids, three-year-old kids, two-year-old kids, running up to your car at an intersection and begging for money and food. It’s just really, really hard to see those kind of things and not want to help and make a difference. As we’ve gotten more successful in our companies, have made a profit, it just seemed natural to give some of those profits back and try to help some people in this world have a better life.

Garrett Pierson: Right. The thing is, it was funny, we were sitting in the middle of Guatemala and getting ready to eat dinner at this little restaurant in the middle of nowhere, and there was this American lady that goes down there and she was asking us why we were there and what we do and I said, “Yeah. Well, our businesses donated to this orphanage just a little ways away here in Guatemala.” First thing she said, “Well, is it for a tax write-off?”

You (Scott) weren’t even there when she said that, and I said, “Well, no.” I mean, do we get a tax write-off? I think so. For a certain percent, we can write-off and stuff to the charity, but that never even crossed our mind whatsoever. She had to remind me that, “Do you get a tax write-off?” Sure, but that’s not at all why we do this.

But Scott said, we do this because we want to give back and I think the businesses that are going to make it these days have to have a social mission. First of all, they need to make a profit so they can be involved in a social mission, but you need to give back or else you’re just doing the day-to-day and grinding for just money. Life is way more than just money. Being a part of this has helped us realize that.

So, we wanted to build this as part of this podcast and talk about this so you guys can come up with a plan, so you, too, can give back. And it doesn’t meant that you have to go to Guatemala and give a bunch of money to an orphanage or build schools in Kenya or whatever. It can be in your own communities. It can be your own families, but giving back, there is always that law of reciprocation. The funny thing is, that we’ve given back in the early days where we barely had the profits and they money to do it, but we knew it was the right thing to do.

Now that we’re growing and growing, we’re going to be able to give more and more back. The funny thing is, we’re not trying to lessen it, we’re trying to increase it. This year, in 2017, we’re giving back more than we’ve ever given. That’s our goal, right?

Scott Brandley: Right.

Garrett Pierson: In 2018, we’re going to give even more. And, hopefully, in 2019, we’re going to double, triple, quadruple what we gave back in 2016, right? So, it’s not over. In fact, we’re trying to grow these businesses so we can give back even more.

And giving back might even just be in the hiring great people and giving them jobs and giving them opportunities to work. That might be the way you give back, but doing that, we believe, that giving back and serving others just makes us more successful. And the people that we’ve seen, and we’ve tried to model ourselves after successful people; the people that we’ve seen that are successful, they’re grateful for what they have, they serve others, and they give up their time, they give up their money, they give up anything that they can to help others.

Although that may sound weird in a business setting, it’s a huge piece of the puzzle that we call our businesses and, in fact, it’s so big that we talk about it every Monday. It’s one of the line-items that we talk about every Monday in our big meetings is philanthropy. We talk about where things are with the charities that we’re going to give to.

Next year, we’re going back Kenya again and building some more schools. This time, we invited our employees, anybody that wants to come, can come with us. They just have to pay half of the cost to go over. Lindsay, tell us what was that like, when we announced that?

Lindsay Halling: Well, that was exciting. Especially to hear that that was what you guys were willing to do, but I don’t know if you guys remember, even in our interview, when I heard that that was part of your guys’ outlook on running a business, I just thought, “Man. Someday that would be so cool to go with you guys.” I didn’t think it would be within the next year, by any means.

Garrett Pierson: So, involve your employees. I think that’s what we did wrong the first time, is that we’ve learned from it, right?

Scott Brandley: Yeah.

Garrett Pierson: I don’t think that we involved, and I hate to use even the word “employees,” your team members. Involve your team members. We didn’t do that the first couple times we’ve given back and this time we did and it was super fun. Everybody’s excited and today, literally today, we just got back two days ago, at noon, we’re ordering pizza and we’re all sitting in the conference room, and up on the TV, we’re going to show them all the videos and pictures that we took.

So, involve your teammates, so that they can be a part of what you’re doing. Because it’s not just for you, as a business owner, to do, and I don’t think we realized that before. So, we’ve gotten the team members way more involved and that has been really fun.

Scott Brandley: Well, one way we got them involved this time was we had them basically adopt a child at the orphanage. What that means is that we gave them –

Garrett Pierson: The name, and the gender, and the age of the kid –

Scott Brandley: And then they created a little care package that we, then, handed out when we were at the orphanage. That was really fun.

Garrett Pierson: Yeah. That was really cool. And we’re going to show that video to them today.

Giving back is super important, so try and build that right now. If you’re just starting out, try and build that right now into your future plans. You probably won’t be able to do it right now, especially if you’re just a startup and starting out, and that’s okay. We weren’t able at first, either. But make it a plan that you’re going to give a certain percentage or even if it’s a thousand bucks one year, or 25 hundred bucks to some charity or some community or something or somebody that you can help. There is so much out there, so much need out there.

Like I said before, it doesn’t have to be an orphanage in Guatemala. It could be a single mom that doesn’t have a car and can’t get to work that’s in your neighborhood or around you. It can be a couple that can’t get pregnant and you’re going to help them get money to adopt. It can be, it goes on and on with ways that you can help.

Scott Brandley: What if you don’t have money? It can be service.

Garrett Pierson: Yeah. Totally.

Scott Brandley: You can go serve in your community. You and your team can go help out a soup kitchen or go do some cleanup in a park. There can be other things if you don’t have a lot of money at the beginning.

Garrett Pierson: Totally.

Scott Brandley: That’s perfect.

Garrett Pierson: So, that was our trip. We spent six days in Guatemala. We spent about half of that time at the orphanage. The other half doing some things around Guatemala and just seeing the poverty and seeing how these people live helps us be more grateful. And gratitude is a huge piece of success as well. If you are grateful for the things that you have, you’re just going to be more successful and more happy. Really, that’s what we’re here for is to be happy and to learn and grow.

Business is just a piece of your life and even though it’s where probably you spend most of your time, you should be able to take what you learn and what you gather from business and give back in different ways like we’ve talked about today.

You have something else, Scott?

Scott Brandley: I was just going to say, at the end of your life, when you look back, you’re not going to wish you worked more. You’re going to reflect on what you’ve done and whose lives you’ve touched. When you can look back and you’ve had a life of service and a life of giving, that’s going to be very rewarding.

Garrett Pierson: Yeah. Exactly. They’d say, when they do ask people that are dying, “What are some of the biggest regrets?” Some of those are things like not spending time with the ones that you loved and not serving and spending too much time at work, and all those things. That’s interesting. Give back. Plan for it now and build your software company so that you can give back. That’s the message from this podcast.

So, we’ll back on schedule from here on out, more-than-likely. I don’t foresee us going out of this country anytime soon again, so we’ll be back on schedule and we appreciate you all for listening. Share this with your friends that you know that this could help and touch. You can do that by just sharing the podcast. Going to SoftwareSecretsPodcast.com, subscribing, and sharing that domain name with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, whatever you use. We’d really appreciate it and review. Leave us a review on iTunes. That helps us get the message out to more people.

Thanks for listening, everybody.

Lindsay Halling: See ya.

Scott Brandley: Take care.