GE 187: Jonathan Abrams Reveals Key Lessons Learned While Building Nuzzel (NYT Best App of 2016) and Friendster to 100M Users (podcast) With Jonathan Abrams

Jonathan Abrams

Hey everyone, in today’s episode I share the mic with Jonathan Abrams, founder and CEO of Nuzzel, which allows you to discover top news from friends and influencers. Jonathan was also previously the founder of Friendster, which was a forerunner to Facebook and had over 100 million members.

Listen as Jonathan explains why you don’t need a social media account to engage with thought influencers and famous people, how word-of-mouth advertising and getting investors is easy when you’ve got something of value, what lessons he learned from founding Friendster, and how easy Nuzzel makes it to curate an email newsletter on your phone while standing in line for coffee!

Download podcast transcript [PDF] here: Jonathan Abrams Reveals Key Lessons Learned While Building Nuzzel (NYT Best App of 2016) and Friendster to 100M Users TRANSCRIPT

Time-Stamped Show Notes:

  • 01:28 – Jonathan began as a software engineer, became an entrepreneur, and is currently working on Nuzzel
    • 01:47 – Nuzzel gives personalized recommendations of news to people using social signals
    • 02:08 – Nuzzel was launched two years ago—first on web and email, then later on iPhone and Android
    • 02:19 – They now have a new platform where people can curate email newsletters
  • 02:50 – Eric shares that Nuzzel is one of the first apps he opens when he wakes up to get updated on what is going on
    • 03:12 – Nuzzel makes life easier for Eric
  • 03:25 – Jonathan shares why he started Nuzzel: he noticed that the more he got excited with Twitter, the more he would follow people who interested him
    • 03:40 – He could not keep up with all the people he was following so he needed a tool to help him use Twitter more effectively
  • 03:46 – Not everybody uses Twitter and this was limiting the impact of Nuzzel, so they also got connected with Facebook
  • 04:04 – People do not use news apps or news aggregation tools
  • 04:31 – The mission of Nuzzel is to connect people with information that is not on Facebook
  • 04:50 – E-mail newsletters are old school, but are also really hot right now
    • 05:09 – E-mail newsletters are an easy way of getting content
  • 05:22 – Many people who use Nuzzel are famous people, influencers, are on social media, and have podcasts to promote content
  • 06:18 – Jonathan encourages Eric to have a newsletter
    • 06:34 – Eric can curate his own newsletter using Nuzzel and people can subscribe to that
  • 06:53 – People who do not have Twitter can still subscribe to Eric’s newsletter with their email address
    • 07:08 – People can also reply, encouraging engagement
  • 07:20 – There is no charge to use the platform
  • 07:28 – The vision is to build a network of newsletters and include relevant native advertising within it
  • 08:10 – Similar to Pocket in having email sponsored ads
  • 08:32 – Nuzzel’s investors
  • 08:40 – How is Nuzzel growing and acquiring its first thousand customers?
    • 08:48 – Jonathan says they started by making a great tool, put it out there, and saw a great response
    • 09:03 – Chris Sacca and Mark Benioff are some of Nuzzel’s users who eventually became investors
    • 09:38 – Nuzzel has been featured in The New York Times as among the best apps of the year and in other media outlets such as Google Play
    • 10:00 – Twitter users are also posting about Nuzzel
  • 10:10 – An app-centric approach was limiting to some people so the email was maximized to reach a bigger audience
  • 10:30 – What is working best for Nuzzel in terms of customer acquisition?
    • 10:55 – They are still working on reaching a bigger number of people, thus the newsletter platform was launched
    • 11:04 – Tools are being created to make Nuzzel easier to use for people
    • 11:58 – The newsletter platform would allow people to invite their friends to use Nuzzel
    • 12:07 – Media companies are also being approached to use the platform
  • 13:06 – Eric wanted to do newsletters but was discouraged because of the costs involved
    • 13:20 – Eric can now do newsletters and curate because of Nuzzel
    • 13:28 – Mailchimp or Tinyletter are great tools but requires a lot of effort
    • 13:45 – Nuzzel works by creating the tools, recommending content that can be used in any person’s newsletter, and refers to stories you can use from other sites
  • 14:10 – Jonathan says they want to make sending a newsletter as easy as posting on Twitter
  • 14:40 – Nuzzel’s struggle is in finding people who use news apps and dealing with the reality that news is not inherently viral
  • 16:20 – Nuzzel is not just an app company and it’s mobile
    • 16:45 – Nuzzel started as a web prototype
    • 17:05 – The people using it ask for daily emails
    • 17:15 – It was also launched as an IOS app, iPad and Android
    • 17:27 – Around 2/3 of its users use the IOS app
  • 17:34 – Curating email newsletters on the phone is a convenience people want
  • 18:58 – What was the biggest mistake for Friendster?
    • 19:30 – Friendster was different than MySpace or Facebook as they invented the concept of inviting friends to join the site
    • 20:09 – Problems with technology and scaling emerged and people had a hard time using it so they moved on
    • 20:50 – The vision of Friendster to get people to connect was good, but it was Facebook who succeeded in that
    • 21:13 – MySpace went too far with its features
    • 21:43 – Friendster was a great brand but had technology problems
  • 22:35 – Kent Lindstrom, the original CEO of Friendster is now Nuzzel’s COO
  • 22:46 – Friendster was hiring people based on their resume and not based on whether or not they were a fit for the company
  • 23:18 – What’s a new tool you’ve added to make your life easier?
    • 23:36 – A change from Amazon to a new vendor was a big improvement
  • 24:26 – What is one must-read book you’d recommend to everyone?
    • 24:56 – Jonathan is currently reading The Three-Body Problem, but is a bit confused with it
  • 25:39 – The best way to find Jonathan online is on Twitter

3 Key Points:

  1. Nuzzel has launched a new platform where people can create and curate their own newsletters.
  2. Most everyone has an email address; make your product accessible so that all you need to join is an email account.
  3. Curating newsletters while still being mobile is what sets Nuzzel apart. — test

Resources From This Interview:

Leave Some Feedback:

 Connect With Eric Siu:

Disclaimer: As with any digital marketing campaign, your individual results may vary.

Full Transcript of The Episode

Show transcript
Jonathan Abrams: Our investors were people who actually were Nuzzel users. When we saw that some amazing investors and CEOs were using Nuzzel, we hit them up for investing when we were fundraising and that worked very well for us.

Speaker 2: Do you want to impact the world and still turn a profit? Then you're in the right place. Welcome to Growth Everywhere. This is the show where you'll find real conversations with real entrepreneurs. They'll share everything from their biggest struggles to the exact strategies they use on a daily basis. If you're ready for a value packed interview, listen on. Here's your host, Eric Siu.

Eric Siu: Before we jump into today's interview, if you guys could leave a review and a rating and also subscribe as well. That would be a huge help to the podcast. If you actually enjoy the content and you'd like to hear more of it, please support us by leaving us a review and subscribe to the podcast as well. Thanks so much.

Okay everybody. Today we have Jonathan Abrams who is the CEO of Nuzzel, which allows you to discover top news from friends and influencers. Jonathan was also previously the founder of Friendster, which was a forerunner to Facebook and had over 100 million members. Jonathan, how's it going?

Jonathan Abrams: It's good. Good to talk to you.

Eric Siu: Yeah, good to have you here. Why don't you tell us ... I guess a question for you which is a loaded one, what is your story?

Jonathan Abrams: Well, if you mean the story of my career, I originally began as a software engineer. Then I became an entrepreneur, started my first company around 1999. Now I'm working on number four, which is Nuzzel.

Eric Siu: Got it. Tell me a little bit, how does Nuzzel work exactly. How does it help people?

Jonathan Abrams: There's sort of two phases to the evolution of Nuzzel. What we started off with originally was more focused on personal news discoveries, so giving people personalized recommendations of news that's really relevant to them. Using social signals and without requiring them to do any work. You don't have to go in and list a topic you're interested in or anything like that. We launched that around two years ago. First on web and email. Then we added iPhone and then we added Android. That's what a lot of people know Nuzzel for. Then, just a few months ago, we're very excited, we've launched a new platform. It's sort of a new direction for Nuzzel that now also allows people to curate email newsletters using Nuzzel. A lot of the email newsletters that people get are curated links, often links to different news stories that somebody has found or recommended, sometimes with some commentary. We've created a way that people can do those newsletters in minutes rather than hours.

Eric Siu: Interesting. You know what, I've been getting pushed to do the newsletter thing. I've actually never opened it yet. Just for a context for everyone, every day when I roll out of my bed, Nuzzel's one of the first apps I open to see what the heck's going

Growth Everywhere podcast - Jonathan Abrams Page 2 of 10

on in the world. Just because it pulls from people that I follow on Twitter, for example. Not a lot of people use Twitter nowadays, but for me Twitter is number one kind of news channel for me. I've set up these different lists, but still at the same time I use a tool like Nuzzel. There's only a certain number of people that I follow. It certainly helps make my life a lot easier. How does the newsletter work exactly? How does it help people, I guess?

Jonathan Abrams: Well, it's pretty interesting. I love Twitter, like you. The reason I started Nuzzel was because I discovered that the more I got excited by Twitter, the more I started following interesting people. People I didn't know. Maybe people like yourself or journalists or designers or interesting people that were sharing interesting content. The more I did that though, I realized that actually I just couldn't keep up. That's why I needed a tool to help me use Twitter effectively. The thing we realized, as you alluded to earlier, not everybody uses Twitter. In fact, probably around at least 75% of people in America don't use Twitter. That was a little bit limiting, the impact of Nuzzel.

We also connect with Facebook and are going to integrate with other services in the future as well. Then we also realized, a lot of people don't actually use news apps or news aggregation tools. People like journalists or entrepreneurs or VCs or people like yourself, probably we're news junkies and power users and early adopters. We know about, at the very least if not use, things like Twitter and RSS and Flipboard and Nuzzel and all that kind of stuff. The mainstream audience doesn't really use those things. We realized the vision and mission of Nuzzel was really to connect everybody on the internet with the stuff they really need to know about, which I don't think is the stuff they're seeing on Facebook. These news apps are just not something that everybody's going to use. Even more so if it's something that really works best for people who've really curated a great list of people to follow on Twitter.

We realized that email newsletters, it's kind of an old school thing but they're hotter than ever right now. Email newsletters are sort of a logical successor to getting a newspaper on your doorstep. It's something that doesn't require an account, doesn't require an app, just requires an email address. Everybody has email. It's very ubiquitous. It's a really easy way of getting content. Somebody who knows about Twitter and RSS and Nuzzel can be doing all the curation and figuring out the right stuff, but then they just send it to somebody and they get it right in their inbox. That's really a much more easy use case.

The flip side of it is we notice that the people who were using Nuzzel, many of these people are famous people. They're influencers, they're all sorts of interesting people. They're on social media. They're on podcasts like this one. They're writing stuff on Medium. They're posting stuff on Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn. They're building their own brands. They're trying to influence people. They're trying to promote certain content. The reality is a lot of it doesn't actually get through. Probably 90% of your fans and followers on Twitter and Facebook don't even see a lot of the stuff you post. If you're in somebody's email inbox, that's a way to get

Growth Everywhere podcast - Jonathan Abrams Page 3 of 10

much higher engagement and build a relationship with people that's not going to get filtered out by Facebook.

Eric Siu: The idea is, okay, let's say I have my account. I'm going to open up my app right now so people can follow my newsletter and get a weekly digest? Is that how it works?

Jonathan Abrams: They can subscribe to it. It's an email newsletter. You would subscribe to it just like any other email newsletter. You don't need a Twitter account. You don't need a Nuzzel account. You just subscribe to it with an email address. Somebody like you is an example of somebody maybe who should have a newsletter. You have a podcast, you're on social media. You have your own marketing firm. You're trying to promote yourself as a thought leader. You're probably reading stuff all the time. You're using Nuzzel every day.

You could be also curating a newsletter with just a few taps of your phone using Nuzzel. Then people could subscribe to that with nothing more than an email address. That means all sorts of people who are interested in you and the things that you are an expert on, and the things that you have to say, but don't follow you on Twitter because they don't even use Twitter, this is something they can subscribe to and they just get it right in their email inbox. Then they'd see the content and news, things that you think are interesting that you're recommending with your commentary. Then they can also respond back to you and say, "Oh, I thought this was really interesting." It can be a real platform for encouragement.

Eric Siu: Great. There's no charge for getting people to subscribe or to have a newsletter?

Jonathan Abrams: No, there's no charge. This is still a very new emerging platform for us. Our vision for it really is thinking that we're going to build a network of newsletters and then put relevant native advertising in the newsletters.

Eric Siu: That actually goes to my next question. How are you guys going to make money? I guess that's part of it. I guess what's the complete story? How are you guys going to make money? Native advertising ads, what else?

Jonathan Abrams: We think that when people get an email newsletter that they're opening because it's really good, that they're opening every morning to click on stuff. They're sort of in the mode to be clicking on things and some of those could be sponsored. Native advertisement, sponsored stories, hopefully relevant to the topic of those newsletters. We think that could work pretty well.

Eric Siu: Interesting. Okay, it's not exactly like Pocket but similar in that respect. They're selling ads right now, right?

Jonathan Abrams: Well Pocket does have an email and they do have ads in it, so that's similar. I mean, what Pocket and Nuzzel do are very complimentary and we integrate with Pocket. Certainly our features are different, but yes, it is true that they do have email ads.

Growth Everywhere podcast - Jonathan Abrams Page 4 of 10

Yeah, and their email ads are kind of like a sponsored story.

Eric Siu: Great. You've raised 3.4, whatever it is exactly, you've raised from guys like Chris Sacca from Lowercase and a bunch of other great investors. I don't even remember how I discovered you guys. How are you guys growing right now? How did you guys go about acquiring, let's just say, the first, I don't know, thousand customers?

Jonathan Abrams: Well, we haven't done any paid acquisition. We started off really just sort of creating a great tool and putting out up there. What we found was that certain types of people have found it. For example, you mentioned Chris Sacca. A lot of our investors, and we're talking about a pretty great group of people. People like Chris Sacca or Mark Benioff. Many of our investors were people who actually were Nuzzel users. When we saw that some amazing investors and COs were using Nuzzel, we hit them up for investing when we were fundraising, and that worked very well for us. The way they found it, a lot of it was just referrals through word of mouth.

There's also been a lot of press coverage. Nuzzel's pretty popular with journalists and media people. That probably has helped us get coverage in the press. Just last month, in December, we were in The New York Times. I guess it was something like The Best Apps of the Year. Also Time magazine's best apps of the year. Google Play, their best apps of the year. A bunch of those and we've been featured by Apple and Google. I think there's a variety of the ways that people are finding out about Nuzzel. You certainly see people on Twitter often tweeting, "Oh my God. I just found Nuzzel. It's really great. Everybody has to try it." Things like that but, ultimately, we still realize that as much as the people who use Nuzzel rave about it, sort of an app-centric approach was limiting to some people. We thought that we'd be able to reach a bigger audience by having a core group using an app, but being able to reach a larger, outer shell of people with a more lightweight way of consuming content from Nuzzel just via email.

Eric Siu: Great. What do you think is the most affective thing for you guys in terms of customer acquisition today? What's working the best?

Jonathan Abrams: I think it's honestly something we're still working on because we have a loyal group of people. There are people like yourself who use Nuzzel every day with amazing engagement and retention. The kind of people who use Nuzzel is an amazing list. Like I said, including the many famous investors or journalists. In terms of really taking what we're doing and reaching the big audience, that's something that we're still really working on. That's why we launched the newsletter platform a few months ago. Now, with the newsletter platform, we're working on a bunch of things.

We are trying to create tools to make it really easy for people to upload lists or invite their contacts to use the newsletters and give people the emotional rewards to do that. After they have done that, we're trying to do things to increase the interactivity with the subscribers you have. We're working on some SEO stuff.

Growth Everywhere podcast - Jonathan Abrams Page 5 of 10

We're also talking to companies that might want to use the platform, who might be able to bring existing audiences on to our platform. That's like a reality shift for us because, prior to the newsletter platform, people would use Nuzzel every day as a consumption experience. They would be using it with high engagement and retention and getting a lot out of it, but they weren't necessarily doing something that brought other people on to the platform.

They might tell their friends about it, but that's not really quite the same as now having a platform where you might bring a list of people that you already have to your newsletter, or you might integrate a newsletter subscription form on your existing website or things like that. We're also talking to media companies about using our platform because, I think many news and publishing and media companies right now are definitely interested in email newsletters. It's one of the few things that's working that is an alternative to getting a lot of your traffic from Facebook and then Facebook can change the rules of how their system works at any time.

Our platform is a way for people to do email newsletters with a lot less time and effort, so that they can have more newsletters or maybe take advantage of the engagement features, or maybe just save a lot of time. We think that's another way to potentially grow Nuzzel by having other companies using Nuzzel as a platform. A lot of what social media does is people using these platforms to promote themselves and, in doing so, they're also essentially promoting Medium or promoting Twitter or promoting a podcast. That's something that when Nuzzel was just a news reading tool, didn't really have compared to our newsletter platform.

Eric Siu: I've really been wanting to do the newsletter thing for a while. We've curated one for a while and I've had to spend a couple of minutes each week sending five links or whatever. Then I've looked at other people that I follow in the tech space. They have their newsletters but when I look at the tool that they're using it's like, oh, it's a couple of hundred bucks a month. Maybe I don't want to do that, so maybe Nuzzel makes sense. I'm glad we had this conversation because now my newsletter's going to come up. Thank you for that.

Jonathan Abrams: Absolutely. That'd be great. I think some people try doing a newsletter using MailChimp or TinyLetter, which are great tools, but then I think after a while they just stop doing it or they forget. It gets tiring or it's too much work or things like that or they send it very sporadically, things like that. What we're doing is we're creating a tool where we can recommend content to you that you can put in your newsletter, or you can use Nuzzel to just send in stories while you're reading them from any app or website. Then we're doing a lot of the work for you.

It's much less work, it's much more automated. It's a much more streamlined use case because, otherwise I think, for a lot of people it's just too much work. We want to make sending a newsletter as easy as just tweeting an interesting article on your Twitter account. That's super easy and a lot of people do that. The problem is you do that and it's great. I love Twitter, but the reality is 75% of people in America

Growth Everywhere podcast - Jonathan Abrams Page 6 of 10

don't even use Twitter. Even the people who are on Twitter and following you might have missed that tweet. I think, in addition to using things like Twitter and Facebook, you really do want to have some sort of email marketing channel and this is a way to do that a lot easier.

Eric Siu: Love it. Tell us about one big struggle you faced while growing Nuzzel.

Jonathan Abrams: Well, I think one of the struggles we really faced was just coming to grips with the realities of who uses news apps, as well as the fact that news apps are not really inherently viral. When we were doing Friendster, we created one of the unique, truly viral types of services because people were ... It's the Metcalfe Effect. Your use of Friendster increased the more friends that were using it. You had a strong motivation to invite your friends and nag your friends to be on Friendster with you. The reality is, something like a calendar app or a mail app or a news reading app, I think just doesn't necessarily have that. You could use Nuzzel every day and love it, even if your friends are not using it as well.

People do recommend it to their friends but it's not quite the same as saying, "This is really great," as really, really your life actually, your usage of it being improved by getting your friends on. These things are not inherently viral, but also we realize that again, mainstream audiences don't necessarily use these kinds of things. We've noticed that this was a bigger thing than Nuzzel. Circa was a news app startup that was doing cool things and they went out of business. There was a company called Prismatic. They went out of business. Zite shut down. The Breaking News app from, I think NBC, that just shut down. Facebook had a few experimental apps, Notify and Paper, that they shut down. We realize just in general, apps in general are really hard. Trying to get people to use new apps, app retention, the number of apps that people use is actually amazingly low.

Eric Siu: Why did you want to do an app? It's like death row right now.

Jonathan Abrams: Well, we've never been just an app company. Mobile, obviously, is incredibly important and, of course, a lot of our emails are opened on mobile devices. Email is mobile. What's the number one app people use on their phone? Email, and once upon a time, it was only CEOs or certain people had blackberries. Today, everybody essentially has 24/7 access to their emails. Nuzzel actually started off originally as a web prototype. Before we even launched we had thousands of people playing around with the prototype. That's something actually that's very hard to do, at least on IOS. We actually started off as a web prototype first.

Then, before we even launched to the public, the users of the web prototype immediately started asking for daily email digests that many of them wanted. We added that. Then we launched it to the public. We had already started working on our IOS app because that was just another thing a lot of people asked for. Then we launched the IOS app and then after that we launched iPad and we launched Android. Probably around two-thirds of our users do use the IOS or Android app. The reality is, it is a big part of how people use Nuzzel. I think it's a big part of how

Growth Everywhere podcast - Jonathan Abrams Page 7 of 10

people use anything these days. The fact that you actually can now use Nuzzel to curate an email newsletter on your phone. While you're on the bus or standing in line at Starbucks waiting for your coffee, I think that's pretty amazing. I think that's just the kind of convenience people want these days.

People are very busy these days, right? Things are just ... Living in a crazy world. If you can curate that newsletter with a few taps on your phone while you're waiting in line to get coffee, I think that's the kind of convenience that a lot of people want. It's going to make it more likely that people can find the time to do it. I think mobile is very important, but you don't want to be necessarily just an app. Certainly I think it's hard for apps to be viral. It's a lot of work to install an app. I think if people can discover Nuzzel via an email or something and then subscribe to something, and then maybe eventually they will, in that email, see that we have an app and then some of those people will upgrade and download the app.

Eric Siu: All right. I'm going to do that right after this in terms of the newsletter. Super excited for it. I might just end it right now just so I can do it. I'm just kidding. I do remember listening to the Internet History podcast where you talk about Friendster. I want to touch upon Friendster for a little bit, but it's not going to be all about that. You got it to over 100 million members and then you had a lot of great experiences there, or a lot of experiences, I should say. What are some lessons, big lessons that you learned and what are some mistakes to avoid, just so people know?

Jonathan Abrams: Well, I think the biggest mistakes at Friendster were really people mistakes. They weren't necessarily the mistakes related to growth or marketing, but then the people mistakes led to management mistakes which led to technology mistakes, which eventually really hurt our growth. It's all kind of connected. In the early days, when we started the company, we had absolutely no idea that this would be a real thing. It's kind of hard to remember because MySpace and Facebook didn't come along that long after Friendster, but the experience that we had was completely different. We were inventing this concept, the features and had absolutely no idea. Like, you get an email with somebody requesting to say you're their friend, yes or no. Would people really do that? Now, of course, it's the most ubiquitous thing and you get it on all sorts of things. It seems normal to people, especially people who have grown up with that, but when we were working on this we had no idea. That was part of it.

As we launched it, it immediately started growing virally and it grew really fast, pure organic. Then what really unfortunately happened was we had management problems and technology problems and scaling problems. A lot of people just couldn't use our site. It just was buggy, it was slow, it was unstable. Then a lot of people shifted and moved off to MySpace, which was not at all the first competitor or copycat. There were many others. There were many, many ... One of them ended up, I think, succeeding for a while, MySpace. Part of that was that a lot of people were just finding it too hard to use Friendster because of all the problems. Then ultimately MySpace, I think, they went through management problems as

Growth Everywhere podcast - Jonathan Abrams Page 8 of 10

they were acquired and went through different CEOs.

Ultimately I think, the vision of Friendster, of people connecting with their real friends, using their real names and that real concept of the social graph was correct. It was actually Facebook that ended up being the company that really ended up inheriting that vision as Friendster stumbled. Then I think it turned out that that was ultimately what won versus MySpace which ended up, I think, going a little too far into fake friends and a lot of crazy profile pages with animated glitter and all that kind of stuff. It was popular temporarily but ultimately didn't have the same utility. Ultimately I think that Friendster, we actually had a great brand. We had a great ... We had good timing and all the things from the marketing perspective probably were working but, ultimately, the growth of the company ended up being crippled by the management and technology problems.

Eric Siu: It sounds like, in some cases, you didn't have the right people in the right seat. What are some hiring lessons or maybe one hiring lesson you can share with everyone?

Jonathan Abrams: Well, actually did have some great people at Friendster. What happened was, after we raised money from some big venture capital firms, the company, we went through different CEOs and different VPs were brought into the company. New people were brought in and those were people who had really sort of fancy resumes and pedigrees, but really didn't have a real understanding of the product. They looked good on paper but they ended up not being the right people. One of the early team members at Friendster, who actually predated the company's venture capital funding, Kent Lindstrom, who was original COO, and he's actually the COO of Nuzzel and working together with me again.

We actually did have, I think, a lot of good people at Friendster. Then, we ended up I think making some big mistakes, hiring some people really based on their resumes and not really based on their fit with what we were doing. I think that was a problem. I think since then, I've learned more to work with people that were passionate about what we were doing and had a compatibility and alignment with the team and the vision and all that kind of stuff. Not necessarily to focus on the people that have certain types of resumes.

Eric Siu: What's one big change that you've made ... Actually, you know what, I'm going to switch the question. What's one big tool you added to your tool box in the last year that's added a lot of value to your life? It doesn't have to be business related. It could be anything random. Any tool, but it can't be Nuzzel.

Jonathan Abrams: Oh wow. Boy, that's a hard one. I mean, one big thing we did at Nuzzel was we switched to using Amazon Web Services from a different vendor. I'm not going to say who. That was actually a big improvement. We'd been having a lot of problems. That was a big change we made at Nuzzel. We switched to using Slack, which we use every day. That's been going well. Boy, let's see, what else? Sometimes I'm not actually the earliest adopter myself of some of those things. I use IOS and don't

Growth Everywhere podcast - Jonathan Abrams Page 9 of 10

have a Amazon Echo. I don't have an Apple watch. I don't have actually some of these tools and gadgets that a lot of the other Silicon Valley people have. I'm not really sure what new stuff we've been using lately.

Eric Siu: No, I mean that's a huge change. I think moving to AWF. Every time we've been able to do it or I've seen people do it, it's had a huge impact. Good tip there. Here's another one for you. What's one must-read book you'd recommend to everyone?

Jonathan Abrams: Well, you know, I a lot of times say Jerry Kaplan's book, Startup: A Silicon Valley Adventure. I think I've already said that so many times in other podcasts that I want to say something different. Let's see, you know honestly, running a company does not actually give you all the time you'd like for reading. I'm trying to think of something that I've read recently. I have a huge, huge stack of books beside my bed that I have not gotten to. Right now I'm actually in the middle of reading a book called the Three-Body Problem, which is a Chinese science fiction book that won a lot of awards that everybody in Silicon Valley seems to be talking about right now. I'm actually finding it to be a very confusing and complicated book.

Eric Siu: What is it about? I'm Chinese, tell me more.

Jonathan Abrams: I'm not sure if I can recommend it yet. I'm still in the middle of it. Huge, big award winner both in China and the translated version in America. This really bizarre science fiction book. I'm actually in the middle of reading that right now. I'm not sure yet if I can give it my recommendation, but everybody in Silicon Valley seems to be talking about it.

Eric Siu: Great. We'll be dropping those in the show notes. Jonathan, this has been really good. What's the best way for people to find you online?

Jonathan Abrams: It's on Twitter. That's where I'm really active. I'm @Abrams on Twitter. That's probably I think maybe how you and I met. You know I interact with a lot of people about Nuzzel on Twitter. Getting bug reports, speech requests, talking to people on Twitter that, sometimes journalists that end up writing about Twitter. I found that certainly for the kind of people who use Nuzzel, Twitter's been amazing. That's where I'm the most active. On Facebook my tweets just get re-posted onto Facebook.

Eric Siu: Love it. Well everyone, make sure you check out Nuzzel. I'm going to open up my app right after. I'm going to do my newsletter, so check that one out. Jonathan, thanks so much for doing this.

Jonathan Abrams: Absolutely. It's a pleasure.

Speaker 2: Thanks for listening to this episode of Growth Everywhere. If you loved what you've heard, be sure to head back to for today's show notes and a ton of additional resources. Before you go, hit the subscribe button to avoid missing out on next week's value packed interview. Enjoy the rest of your week and

Growth Everywhere podcast - Jonathan Abrams Page 10 of 10

remember to take action and continue growing.