Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 0:16
Once upon a time, there were 10s of 1000s of makers struggling every day they built for hours and hours, but they didn't chip and didn't earn enough income. One day, the no Caldwells podcast came to help them find a way because of this, makers became founders and live the lives they deserve. Because of this, founders live lives of abundance, freedom, and creativity. That's what I'm really all about. Hello, my name is Aziz and from being a poor boy born to a single mother in North Africa, to fail in multiple startups, yet, learning a whole lot to barely escaping alive the war in Ukraine, even living as an illegal immigrant. I've lost everything twice. And now I'm rebuilding my life. One more time. 1%. Today, sharing the wisdom of luminaries have interviewed on this podcast from Google executives to Amazon, Microsoft, Forbes, Technology Council, Harvard, Financial Times, and even a priest from the Vatican church. Everyone is welcome, here. So let's begin. My guest today is Noah Bragg. Noah co founded and sold two startups, coffee pass and support man. And Currently he is the founder and creator at potion, which generates a custom SEO optimized website in minutes. All on notion, Noah, how are you today?
Noah Bragg 2:04
Hey, I'm doing good. Thanks for having me.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 2:07
It's my honor. It's my privilege. And I'm excited about our conversation. So to ask you something that will be hyper relevant to what's going on on your mind? Is there a topic inside a change or anything that is on your mind these days, that keeps on demanding your attention again? And again? And again?
Noah Bragg 2:33
Yeah, for sure. So, you know, I'm a builder, I'm a maker and it sounds you know, that's, that's the kind of people that are probably listening to this kind of podcast, and I'm sure that people have kind of maybe struggled with the, the, basically just where to put your attention. And kind of the idea that there's there's always these shiny objects, you know, when you're a builder, there's all these things that you you wish you could build, you want to build, and you want to jump into. Because you know, it's fun, it's fun to learn about new things, build new things, and really just create. And so that's, you know, that's me, that's what I love doing, I love creating, I love making things. And so I do have to be a little careful of that sometimes that, you know, I don't, I don't spread myself too thin, because I'm like, doing too many things. But one thing that's been taking up my time recently is, you know, potions, my main thing I was able, I was gladly able to start working full time on potion at the end of last year, which I was really thankful for. But like I've started another side project, basically.
And I'm kind of I kind of dove into the web three space with like an NFT project. And so we're kind of working on like, an NF T game kind of thing. And so that's a new space for me for sure of like, you know, one of the challenges is how do you how do you create a community around a project like that? So that's one of the things I've been thinking about and staying up at night about a little bit.
You know, doing that alongside my main business potion. Thank you. I love this topic, because me as well, I have trouble even with reading books, I'll be reading one and get excited about the next. So I begin it and then a very fast I will have seven unfinished books and jumping from one to the next or whatever. And then I would like to understand because you manage, you mentioned the challenge the challenge of creating a community for your NFT project as well as having so many ideas to build as a maker. Well, there is an argument that can be said that it's curiosity driving you that you want to learn more and more about new things. And other argument is more financial that well you don't know where the opportunity is and everyone who has been involved in entrepreneurship understands that can be done
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 5:00
whether you're working on something and thinking, Well, what if this fails? What if I'm wrong? What if there is a better thing out there? So you spread yourself thin looking for the feedback from the market to hit the unicorn or whatever, somehow some way? Or is it more that the next big scale or the next thing that you want to delve into? Is the natural progression? Or is it that you get bored? If you focus on one thing, what is in your soul, the drive for this expansion that even now when you're trying to control it, and focus on potion, you still open a little bit and use some of your resources and time and attention and focus on something else?
Noah Bragg 5:47
Yeah, that's, that's a really good question. And I think it's probably a combination of things. But I think there's, yeah, there's some things that could be good in this. And then there's some things I think, to watch out for, that I have to watch out for in myself. So I think some things that can be good is kind of like you're saying is, you know, it's it can be good to kind of explore a little bit. And I think especially like earlier on in your entrepreneurial journey, where you know, you may be not aren't sure what you really care about what kind of products you would really love building, what kind of customers you'd really love serving. So I think, you know, trying different products, trying different businesses, I think, is a great way to do that. And it's just a great way to learn to learn about different markets. And so, you know, I think that is actually probably a pretty good approach for earlier entrepreneurs, just kind of a little bit of the shotgun kind of strategy. And kind of, you know, can help you find a good opportunity, I think, but then, you know, at some point, once you've figured out a lot of things, you figured out, kind of where you want to put your time, then you know, it probably makes sense to focus in on one thing and take that as far as you can. I guess at the same time, like, you know, for me, like I do enjoy learning, I do like enjoy building different things. And so maybe I'm not optimizing for the most the best financial outcome in some ways, I'm, I'm trying to optimize for enjoyment, enjoying what I'm building and doing what I'm doing. So ideally, you know, I could at least have a business have something that's kind of working, which then kind of allows me to, in some ways, just build what I enjoy building and explore a little bit. And so that's, I think, like, long term that's like, kind of my goal is to have kind of a business that works. And that maybe doesn't take all my time, so that I can kind of have some time to like, build some things I'm interested in. And in some ways, that's kind of what I fell into doing right now, just because I'm so interested in this web three space and learning about it. Okay, so then the, the negative I think that can happen with this, and I think this happens with a lot of solo entrepreneurs, creators is, you know, going to a different project can kind of be an excuse to in some ways, like, almost give up, like, like, when things get tough, that's when it all these shiny objects start to look really good. Because your current business, whatever you're working on is like, Oh, this is getting tough, I'm not enjoying this as much. And I think, you know, as an entrepreneur, like, You got to be able to push through some of those things. And so I'm trying to be mindful of that, because so with potion just to be kind of be transparent. You know, the business I've done for about a year and a half now. And you know, things from the beginning started out pretty well. The business was growing, I was getting new customers is all great. And really, it was kind of funny, like almost the exact same time that I started working full time on potion, my growth started to level out a little bit and it started up plateaued a little bit. And basically just new challenges of okay, how do I get through this plateau? How do I push through? How do I keep growing? What things do I need to change to make the business better? And you know, I'm still working on those things, I'm, you know, I'm kind of spending a little more than half my time still on potion. So I'm still working on that. But I did kind of start to feel more of a tug a little bit of icon and I wonder what other things I could build? Or do you know, like, it's just easy to start drifting to other shiny objects when your current, you know, state gets harder. And I think that's something to definitely watch out for as a builder. Because if you, you know, if you did that forever, like, you'll just never get there. Because things are always going to be hard, right? Like every business is going to run into these problems. You're gonna run into walls, and you're gonna have to figure those things out.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 9:37
Thank you and to present another perspective, because that's my life what you're speaking about Dan Sullivan, who is a great entrepreneurship thinker, he actually argues that there aren't many idea people in this world although yes, it seems that everybody's calling themselves an entrepreneur and a maker but we are within our bubble, not in the general public. He says you should surround yourself with implementation team, where you have some people who take your idea and turn it into reality and make it recurrent. And everything that trying to change yourself will never be as good as what you're born with, which has been an idea person and spending your time evaluating the ideas so that you're only implementing the best is the right way. And having people who are in love with turning ideas into reality, rather than coming up with them in love with making projects and taking them to fruition. What is your thoughts on this?
Noah Bragg 10:41
Yeah, I mean, I can see that, like, I, it probably just comes down to people's individual skill set, like some people, you know, might actually be really good idea, people, and probably what they should be doing, like kind of like, what you're saying is like delegating, like letting other people do the building, and they're kind of do maybe doing maybe the managing of those businesses of those products. I'm actually not really an idea person. You know, I'm a builder, I like to make things like to create things that are valuable for other people. But coming to the idea, like, it's actually, I know, it's actually pretty hard for me to come up with ideas. I'm not one of those people that has like a big note book full of all my ideas of things I want to build, I only have like a few things. And so yeah, I think there's probably different skill sets for that where I bet those people that are the ideal people, they probably run into some of these issues we're talking about even more than me where it's like, they see an idea every day and they want they wish they could go build it. And it's like a new shiny object for them. So yeah, I mean, there's definitely, you know, in business, that probably can be one of the best spots to be in where, you know, you're the delegator, you're kind of making big, big decisions at the top. But you can doing that you can create just multiple different businesses, maybe even at once and if you have the resources, you can have other people implement those things. And you're kind of managing it. I mean, that's, that probably makes sense for some people, for sure.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 12:08
Thank you. And tell me about NF T's and exploring that. Because, yes, it seems to be all the rage, but in reality, it's a tiny minority of pioneers and people who go headfirst into anything shiny and new. There's a lot of talk about how the technology behind nsds will change the future, it will be a big, big thing. And Gary Vee speaks about that all the time, and how it will change contracts, and it's changed ownership, authorship, and all that. Do you see that? Do you see it as a real I don't mean as you exploring the building community? But do you believe that the world after blockchain and specifically the use cases of NFT is not just for pretty things, but to expanding more? It will change our future? And how?
Noah Bragg 13:02
Yeah, so I think it probably will, it could take a while, like you said, I think there's only like, around a million people that are like trading NF t's on open sea, which is the biggest marketplace up to this point, which, you know, that's not a ton of people. But yeah, like, it's just a very interesting space. And what got me so interested in it was, I've gotten really into like finance and understanding like my personal finances and like how to like invest and make wise decisions there. And then, you know, crypto and NF T's is kind of where, like finance and software collide. And, you know, obviously, I love software, I love building things. And so it's just a really interesting place. For that reason for me that I've I found a lot of interest in it. And just like there's some really cool new things that are being built. But one of the things I think is a pretty good example of why I think crypto and then NF T's being a part of that will be a huge thing in the future is basically the the amount of personnel it takes kind of out of the that aren't needed anymore to do some of the same thing is really doing so like an example is some of the biggest banks like in the US, they employ like 200,000 people. And then Coinbase which is like the biggest crypto exchange which is basically you know, a bank, they only have probably a little more now but around like 2000 employees so there's way less employees that were needed to kind of, you know, kind of have more of a techie like bank kind of business but it's it's more or less doing the same thing as like these huge banks are and then if you go to kind of a whole nother thing layer, which is like decentralized exchanges, where these are crypto exchanges where pretty much majority of everything that's running how you know, money is going in and out of hands and stuff is all really done through software. There's not like people in the middle that have to help these transactions go through and stuff like that. And one of the biggest decentralized exchanges called uniswap, they only have 20 employees. So and they're doing a ton of volume as well, I don't remember the numbers, but it was like a ton of volume that goes to that kind of exchange as well. So it kind of shows what's possible with this technology, when software can kind of do part of the job of doing transactions exchanging money at different Kryptos. And so there's a lot of efficiency, that's, you know, being able to be have when your money is basically programmable, and you can do things with it. So that's like, I think one of the huge things with that example, and then with NF T's specifically, you know, basically an anything, you know, the, the majority of our things and in the world are kind of like NF T's like they're unique things, there's only one of them. And that's really what NFT is, but on a digital level. So I just think there's a lot of things that we could see become kind of NF Ts, really just for us to kind of store them and know who owns them, kind of you know, maybe it's like your birth certificate, or something that shows that you own your house, like those kinds of things in the real world, I think could be NF T's. And there could be a lot of efficiencies, that become kind of a part of that, obviously, right now, like a lot of the NF T's are kind of silly in some way, like, you know, it's a picture of a monkey, you know, and that's kind of what it is, I think, I think there'll be a lot more that comes out of the technology that's more like useful and valuable. And, you know, it'll probably just take a decent amount of time before that happens. You know, because you have all these big organizations that kind of have to kind of accept these things and start using them. So I think it could take some time. But I do think that some of this stuff will be pretty big in the future, for sure.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 17:02
Thank you. And you're very interested in potion, as well as in your NFT project. To some people, it's might feel like your foray in into uncharted territory into something totally new. But deep down, what's common between these two projects that drove you to be interested in them? What's that fire behind? That makes you put in the time, the effort and everything in both?
Noah Bragg 17:33
Yeah, I mean, I think one of the things that's kind of similarities between both is that I really like to create things, really, for other entrepreneurs and other creators. I just really enjoy hanging out those kinds of people, I enjoy hanging out and talking to people that are building things. And, and so I was awesome to be able to build potion where I get to basically talk to those people a lot and serve those people. And I feel like I understand them pretty well, because I am one of those kind of builders and creators. And so there's definitely that kind of person in potion that I get to be with. And then kind of with crypto, there's, there's some some similarities with that kind of customer group where these people are kind of there early to a new technology there a lot of times like creators and builders online, where they're doing stuff in crypto as well. And so it's a lot of makers there as well, that I'm kind of getting to be a part of. And that's what I think allows me to really enjoy building these businesses is kind of building for those kinds of people that I enjoy being with.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 18:43
Thank you. And since you're speaking about people, how much networking do you do? Is this something that you recommend to other makers? Is it more about community and friendship? Is it about doors opening and new opportunities? Is it about not wasting time being stuck making mistakes that others have already sold and fixed? What is it to you? Is it networking? Is it just social friendship and connection need in times of social distancing? What is behind that?
Noah Bragg 19:20
Yeah, I think that it is pretty important. The networking, and it can be kind of a hard thing to put a number on, like how valuable it is like it's it can be kind of hard to know, like, oh, was this really useful to what I'm doing? But I kind of have, you know, it's hard to measure, but I do have that kind of gut feeling that it really is important. Because, you know, you read things about how like we become like the five people were closest to we become like our friends and so like just putting yourself in a community where you're seeing other people's people build other people create things. Other people that have experience and knowledge in those areas like that just helps you to kind of do the same and kind of allows you to have have some motivation to kind of be where they're at. And that can be helpful. Also, there's, there's some danger there to actually have, you know, never been content because you're just striving for something someone else has that that's kind of dangerous. But I mean, so you had to be careful. But for the most part, like, it can be a very beneficial thing. And so for me, I kind of fell into networking and doing that kind of thing on Twitter. And how I did that was really just like building in public, I just share what I was working on with potion what, what, what decisions I was making, maybe what mistakes I was making, and just trying to be transparent and open with it. And other entrepreneurs found that kind of valuable and then and helpful, and I kind of met some different entrepreneurs, different indie hackers and creators that way. And yeah, it was really just helpful to kind of have that be a part of that community and get to know some entrepreneurs better so that we could then have like, deeper conversations about, you know, how things are going with the business decisions, we're making that, you know, how would they handle this situation? Those Those things have definitely been very helpful. And then, you know, I've even been able to met some entrepreneurs that have already kind of done it, like they've already built a successful business sold it. And they were just for free, you know, willing to give me advice and stuff, just because they saw what I was doing kind of on Twitter. And so there's, there's definitely a lot of benefit to it. And so I would, you know, advise people to try to get involved in a community and get to know people, I think it's especially important for solo entrepreneurs like myself, where you don't have a partner that you're, you know, thinking through these ideas with. So having a group of friends that you can maybe chat with some of these ideas just kind of helps to get through this entrepreneurial journey, because it's, it's not easy all the time. That's for sure.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 21:57
I appreciate your answer. And just to ask, because you said, there are people who are ahead who have already built what you're looking to build. Some people argue that no, they were lucky, they happen to be at the right place at the right time. And even if they failed before, well, this time they were at the right place at the right time. What's your argument to that? Do you feel that when you meet a lot of the so called success stories that there is substance behind it? Or is it one of those where they say never meet your heroes? Because you'll be disappointed? Or what role do you believe luck compared to skill? And hard work? Is it 80% luck and 20% trials? Because we know all of us someone who has put in the effort and the time, but nothing to show for it? What are your thoughts on this?
Noah Bragg 22:52
Yeah, that's a good question. You know, I think that, especially for first time entrepreneurs, there can be kind of this daunting thing of like, Oh, I'm not good enough. I can't be an entrepreneur, like I don't have all the skills. And I think if you do, and I think that's another big benefit of doing this kind of networking and stuff, or just even seeing some forums online. Like I joined indie hackers.com, and saw these different entrepreneurs trying to build stuff. And you kind of realized pretty quickly is that like, we all kind of don't know what we're doing to some level, like, We're all just trying to figure this stuff out. And, you know, no, one's really like, there's experts, obviously, but no one's like, yeah, no one has it all figured out. Everyone kind of had to learn through trying and through experimentation. And I think that's true of the entrepreneurs I've gotten to know that are, you know, have kind of made it like they, they had to learn a ton along the way and figure things out. And so I think, you know, really, anyone can, can do that. The thing that I've seen that, I think is probably the biggest difference maker is, you know, not a level of just someone being super smart, or having a ton of skill, like, you know, obviously those things can help. But I think, you know, a lot more people can make it happen by just basically putting in the time of just trying and just really being dedicated to their entrepreneur journey of learning, making things happen, building creating things, and you'll just learn so much along the way. You know, I think if if, if an entrepreneur keeps trying to build a business for 10 years, you know, maybe that first business idea wasn't the one that worked, but if they keep at it, like, I think the majority of entrepreneurs that put in that time for 10 years are eventually going to make something pretty great. And they're going to find a business that works. And so, yeah, I think really, one of the keys is just being able to persist through that time to just keep going keep enjoying it. I think join is part of the thing of like, if you can enjoy just the process, like hopefully that will allow you to just keep going and you'll eventually make it. So I think I think that's part of it. With the luck part. I mean, there is obviously a lot Little bit of luck. Like there's, there's just things that we can't control. And, you know, we can't control everything. So there is a little bit of luck to it. But I think, you know, if you put, put the work in and spend time building like, you'll eventually kind of hit something. And maybe that will be kind of a timing thing that feels a little bit like luck. But you know, the people that find those are the people that definitely are spending the time and working towards that. So that's, that's kind of my thoughts about that.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 25:29
Thank you. But doesn't that contradict that idea of doing so many things being dispersed, being tempted by second projects, and third projects? If, like you said, you need focus, you need long term perseverance? And just stay in with it? Well, what if someone will say, I'm a maker, I like to make things and I like to make new things and stay in stock on one thing is boring or uninteresting, or limits my skill growth and development? What would you comment?
Noah Bragg 26:03
Yeah, I mean, I think it's a balance. Like there's there's not necessarily one right answer for for anybody. I guess, when I was thinking more of like, over a 10 year horizon, as long as you're working towards your some business being your entrepreneurial journey, you're learning how to build things you're learning how to create, you're trying different businesses, you know, that could for some people that that period could all be on one thing, and that would maybe work for them. For other people, it could have been, you know, 10 different things. I think it just kind of depends on you know, what, what fits that entrepreneur best. And then there is, you know, there is some balance, like, you don't want to leave, move away from a business too early before you've really been able to crack the nut at the same time. Like, you know, sometimes maybe there's just, it's just a terrible idea. And maybe you should like weave, weave that idea, start working on as fast as possible. And that's I think that's probably one of the hardest questions as an entrepreneur, when you're building things is like, okay, is this something I should keep working on? Or should I move on to the next thing? And there's not? You know, it's a hard answer. There's not like a correct answer all the time. And so that's why I'm thinking more like, as long as you're, you spend all that time building learning as an entrepreneur, I think you'll start to learn, you know, what, what is best for you like what seems to do best for your situation, and how you make decisions and stuff. And you'll, you'll just learn of like, okay, I need to kind of push through this wall, maybe this time, because I know I can get a little down when these certain situations happen, like I'm in right now. So this time, I'm going to push through it. Whereas other times, you might learn like, okay, the market doesn't seem to be responding to this product, like I expected, like, these things are off, my assumptions are wrong, maybe I should move on. And I think those kinds of decision making skills come with really just experience and, and hopefully you can learn a lot as well by just looking at other other entrepreneurs journeys, and seeing how they made these kinds of decisions. But yeah, that's, I guess, my answer is kind of depends. And it's a balance. So hopefully, hopefully, that's the answer you were hoping for.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 28:16
Yes, it is. Thank you so much. No, this was interesting, enriching, enlightening, I wish you a wonderful day. And if people want to learn more about your NFT project, can you share a bit more about it? How can they be involved or join the community? Or if you want to speak about potion, feel free to do so?
Noah Bragg 28:42
Yeah, so for potion, you can find potion at potion that so and you really set it well, like what potion is it's really a Website Builder that's built on top of notion. And so notion is where you put all your content. If you don't have notion, it's kind of like a note taking app, there's a lot of stuff you can do in there. And so then potion kind of re creates all that content and an actual website that you can have it your own custom domain, you can then customize it to look how you want add your own fonts and colors and things like that. And it hosts it for you. And so that's that's kind of potion and you can see that potion that. So the NFT project is called City clash. And we have a website at City clash.io. And we're kind of you know, we're just trying to do something unique, something we haven't seen in the NFT space, where we have three different teams, the red team, Green Team, and blue team. And our community is kind of built around these teams where these teams are competing in this game of city clash to kind of get the most points and have the most territory on the real world. So all of our NF T's are made of basically cities that are real world cities, and they're all based on population data GDP to realize have data and so we kind of have this like little game and between these teams that we're kind of creating through this NFT project, so it's gonna be interesting. It's gonna be fun. And yeah, people can check that out at City clash.io If you're interested.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan 30:15
Thank you, Noah. And I wish you success. And I will make sure to write some of those links in the description. I wish you a great day.
Noah Bragg 30:26
Thanks. This was fun, a lot of fun chatting with you. And yeah, thanks for having me on.