Episode 194 – Melissa Moody
Welcome to another episode of The HERO Show. I am your host Richard Matthews, (@AKATheAlchemist) and you are listening to Episode 194 with Melissa Moody – Empowering People to Focus on What Matters Most.
Melissa Moody is a marketing leader who loves creating clarity from chaos. She is the Head of Marketing and Cofounder at Gated—a brand that gives you control over your own attention in an increasingly noisy world.
Melissa has always been a passionate advocate for fast, frictionless user experiences on the web. With over 13 years at Google, she worked with Fortune 500 Travel companies to build effective cross-channel marketing strategies and create amazing user experiences. She’s also an active advocate of remote work and entrepreneurial ecosystem building.
Here’s just a taste of what we talked about today:
Focused on Gated
Melissa’s business is primarily focused on Gated which is a simple and elegant email solution that essentially challenges any unknown senders to donate to a charity of their choice in order to reach you.
There are a lot of email tools out there. But Gated is unique in the sense that other tools make people deal with the mess once the email is already in their inbox. The platform is focused on telling people that they shouldn’t have to deal with those distractions unless they’re worth their time.
As a co-founder and head of marketing. Melissa’s job is to take Gated from an idea into a vision and to start telling people about what it means to really own our attention and to focus on what really matters in life instead of all the digital distractions these days.
Entrepreneurial at Heart
Melissa has always been fairly entrepreneurial at heart, she was raised in a family that loves talking about business and financing. Coming out of college, she started as an educator and taught students with language-based learning disabilities at the high school level. She spent a while doing that, but along the way she had the desire to move locations across the country and also looking for a little bit of challenge in the corporate.
So she pivoted from education into marketing and started working at Google in 2007. With over 14 years of experience at Google, Melissa has accumulated an incredible amount of marketing knowledge. From there she started mentoring startups and then found her place at Gated.
Other Topics We Covered on the Show:
- We also talked a little bit about Melissa’s family life outside of working with Gated.
- Then, we talked about Melissa’s superpower. Through an activity, Melissa discovered that her zone of genius is to look at a complex mess, and come out of it with clarity.
- Melissa’s fatal flaw in her business is being extremely pragmatic. She was able to overcome this type of flaw by thinking in a divergent way and also being surrounded by good people.
- People being digitally overwhelmed is the arch-nemesis at Gated. Studies show that there are 390 billion emails being sent per day and that 90% of all the emails sent are not from people. To cut through the digital noise, it is Gated’s mission for people to take back control of their attention and focus on what really matters.
- Gated’s driving force is to unleash the potential of all of the amazing people so they can do more for the world.
- We also talked about the importance of knowing your people and helping them get where they want to go.
- Lastly, Melissa’s guiding principle is a custom skull artwork on her wall that reminds her about memento mori which is a phrase that means,”remember you must die”. This phrase has helped her to cherish moments that matter.
Melissa mentioned the following item/s on the show.
- Everyone Hates Marketers by Louis Grenier
The HERO Challenge
Today on the show, Melissa Moody challenged Kelly to be a guest on The HERO Show. Melissa thinks that Kelly is a fantastic person to interview because she made a leap to an entrepreneurial journey from a large company. Kelly founded her own agency that does media and digital strategy. Her hero story was probably part of the kick in the pants that got Melissa to jump from a big company to a small one.
How To Stay Connected with Melissa Moody
Want to stay connected with Melissa? Please check out their social profiles below.
With that… let’s go and listen to the full episode…
Melissa Moody 0:00
I love it. I think one of the things always greeted me more than anything in managers that I didn’t get along with. But one thing that managers do that drives me nuts isn’t always pushing you to the next thing. What I really want is a manager who wants to listen to what you want. Because at certain times in my life, I just wanted to do my role really well. I didn’t want to get a promotion, I didn’t want to go here. I just wanted to do what I was doing and do it really well. And so they say, instead of how can I move you to X, Y or Z? They say, what can I get you? Or what can I remove that’s blocking you to help you do what you really want to do? And so I think it’s very important, what you just said, is to really listen to those people, as opposed to just saying, oh, yeah, I’m helping people move up the ladder. It’s not about that. It’s about meeting people with what they need and really empowering them. For me, that was a move to Alaska, among other things, but when you really give people what they need, that’s when you build some serious loyalty, serious dedication. And that ever vague culture term, that’s where it comes from.
Richard Matthews 1:04
Heroes are an inspiring group of people, every one of them from the larger than life comic book heroes you see on the big silver screen, the everyday heroes that let us live the privileged lives we do. Every hero has a story to tell, the doctor saving lives at your local hospital, the war veteran down the street, who risked his life for our freedom to the police officers, and the firefighters who risked their safety to ensure ours every hero is special and every story worth telling. But there was one class of heroes that I think is often ignored the entrepreneur, the creator, the producer, the ones who look at the problems in this world and think to themselves, you know what, I can fix that, I can help people, I can make a difference. And they go out and do exactly that by creating a new product or introducing a new service. Some go on to change the world, others make a world of difference to their customers. Welcome to the Hero Show. Join us as we pull back the masks on the world’s finest hero preneurs and learn the secrets to their powers, their success, and their influence. So you can use those secrets to attract more sales, make more money, and experience more freedom in your business. I’m your host, Richard Matthews, and we are on in 3…2…1…
Richard Matthews 1:59
Welcome back to the Hero Show. My name is Richard Matthews. And today I have the pleasure of having on the line Melissa Moody. Melissa, are you there?
Melissa Moody 2:04
Yes. Hi, Richard. Thanks for having me.
Richard Matthews 2:06
Awesome. So glad to have you here. I heard before we got on the recording, you’re coming in from Alaska. Is that right?
Melissa Moody 2:11
That is right. I live and work in Anchorage.
Richard Matthews 2:14
I think you are officially our first Alaskan guest out of 200 episodes, which is pretty cool.
Melissa Moody 2:19
That’s a claim to fame. I’ll take it.
Richard Matthews 2:21
Yeah, I mean, we’ve had people from all over Europe and Africa and the Philippines and whatnot. But no one from Alaska. I have been dying to get to Alaska. I want to see the big mountains up there and the grizzly bears. My dad and I were just talking this morning over breakfast about the salmon that jumped out of the water and the bears catches it. And I was like I don’t know if you can see that in the wild in Alaska. But I figure if you’re gonna see it anywhere, that’s the place to do it.
Melissa Moody 2:45
You should, there are some amazing places, one place is called Brooks Camp and the bears have never been exposed to humans as a food source. So you literally walk right past giant grizzly bears and watch them fishing. It’s pretty great.
Richard Matthews 2:59
That would be so cool. That’s on my bucket list, is to see the grizzly bears hunting salmon for real.
Melissa Moody 3:05
Fly in the Birds Camp. You’ll love it.
Richard Matthews 3:07
Yeah. I can’t wait to get to Alaska at some point in our travels. For those of my audience who are following us around, we’re not in Florida anymore, we’re in California, we’re visiting family over here on the West Coast because it’s opened up a little bit for travel. So we got stuck in Florida for 11 months for the last couple of years during our travels. So what I want to do before we get too far is a brief introduction for Melissa. So you are a market leader who loves creating clarity from chaos. He was the head of marketing and co-founder at Gated, which is an email service I’m sure we’ll talk a little bit more about and the launches you guys are doing with that this year. And before I get too far into all of this, what I want to start with is what is it that you are known for? So basically, what do you do? What’s your business? And how do you serve them?
Melissa Moody 3:57
Yeah, well, if we think about what I’m doing for today, it probably is focused on Gated. So Gated is a pretty simple and elegant email solution that essentially challenges any unknown senders to donate to a charity of their choice in order to reach you. Now, there are a lot of email tools out there. But what we’re doing is very unique in the sense that a lot of other tools make you deal with the mess once it’s already in your inbox. But what Gated does is we actually say you shouldn’t have to deal with those distractions unless they’re worth your time. And so we’ve created this incredible model, my co-founder Andy Mowat, actually built it to solve his own problems. He was a GTM leader who’d sent billions of emails under his teams, and had created the email pain and also felt the pain of being sold to non-stop. So I came on board as co-founder and head of marketing and my job is really been to take Gated from an idea into a vision and to start talking with people about what it means to really own our attention and to focus on what really matters in life instead of all the digital distractions that are so overwhelming these days. So I guess that’s what I’m known for. Cuz that’s what I spent all my time today talking about. I have a lot of other components, my personality, I’m a marketer, I’m a mom, and I’m certainly my own dynamic person. But Gated is such a special thing that I’m finding a lot of my days focused on helping people learn about it, and helping people really think about how we live in this world of digital distraction.
Richard Matthews 5:25
Yeah, and I’ve interacted with Gated a few times, because I’ve got some people that I’ve gotten those emails in response to things, and it does work. And I have donated to charity in order to talk to people. So it’s functional. And I’ve thought about it myself, but I have reservations about it, maybe we can talk about some of those things today. Because it struck me as, I get a lot of emails from people that are actually essential for business. But they wouldn’t be in my contact book. And I’m like, I don’t know what would happen with those. For instance, we run an e-commerce brand, where we get stuff from China and India, where we source products and stuff from everything from bottle caps to the little seals that go on the bottles. We actually have the people who manufacture our candles, a lot of times those people will email randomly, like, hey, here’s your invoice or whatever and I’m like, I’m not sure how you’d make sure which person like if you can get the whole company’s emails to make sure they’re gonna come through.
Melissa Moody 6:22
Yeah, well, that’s a great question. So to begin with, Gated is for people who are getting a lot of inbound emails. But they aren’t customer-facing or they have a huge sales component to their role. Because if you have a lot of cold emails that are trying to reach you, you’re right, it’s not gonna make sense. The people that really love Gated, the people that can’t stop raving about it are folks like CMO’s, demand gen, leaders, rev up managers, people where they’ve got a lot of inbound emails, a lot of folks are selling to them. And yet, there’s not a lot of business critical email that’s coming in cold. So that’s one point to it. The other component to it is that Gated gives a lot of hands-on transparency to what you’re doing. So you actually have the ability to train Gated to know who you allow, and who you don’t. And you can even do that by domain. So if you knew certain customer domains were going to be reaching out to you, you could set that to allow them, we have a lot of dials that you can play with.
Richard Matthews 7:25
It’s interesting, because looking at my own inbox, I get three or 400 emails a day. And maybe two or three of them are useful, like things that I actually need to interact with or respond to lots of notifications from systems that I don’t particularly need, but I get them anyways. And it’s a fascinating problem because you’re like, I can’t turn everything off because I get stuff that I need, but at the same time, I also need some other emails.
Melissa Moody 7:54
Well, think about it this way we used to use very commonly, the metaphor of, it’s a postage stamp for email, a truck can’t drive up with a whole bunch of letters and dump them on your porch and drive away. But that’s what we’re doing every day in an email every single day, a truckload of other people’s things for you has dropped into your inbox, and you’re left to deal with it. And so if you think about implementing this kind of marginal cost, and the donations really are marginal, it’s $1- $2. It had the minimum number, it just immediately cut down on that clutter. We live in a world where all the tools on the automation front are coming from the marketing side, they can send you more emails, more personalization, they have more data about you to reach you. And yet there doesn’t exist a tool right now, to help the buyer side, the person who’s getting overwhelmed with all of those marketing and sales and irrelevant emails to fight back. And so that’s a lot of what Gated is doing, we’re saying just a little marginal cost allows you to have the power back in your hands again.
Richard Matthews 8:56
That’s really cool. I see you mentioned being able to do domains and stuff. So the notifications I get for, say, this podcast when it says, hey, your interview with Melissa’s in an hour. Like I can make sure those show up.
Melissa Moody 9:06
Richard Matthews 9:08
That’s cool. I heard before we got to talk about that. You also mentioned you’re a mother, and I assume you do have other responsibilities and whatnot. So I wanted to find out a little bit. What’s your family life look like outside of working with Gated?
Melissa Moody 9:25
Yeah, well, I’ve been very fortunate. Over the last few years, I have an eight and a 10 year old, and before my time with Gated, I was working at Google and I had some incredible managers who really built a structure that allowed me to have a flexible life, which allows me to balance family with my goals for my professional career. So I would say the word is balanced, or perhaps the word is juggling. There’s always something to be taken care of, whether it’s on the kid front or on the work front, but I find that that’s an important part of my personality, the ability to be more than just a career focused person, but to also have a family as a critical part of what I spend my day on.
Richard Matthews 10:06
Yeah, I’m the same way. I’ve got four kids. I’ve got 2, 5, 8 year old girls and a 12 year old boy, with us in our tiny RV and a very large poodle that we take all over the place with us. And he’s actually sitting on the floor over here watching me do the interviews because that’s what he does. But yeah, my goal in life has always been like, how do I run a business that serves people and provides value while at the same time, taking up as little of my time as possible? So I can spend as much of it as possible with them because that’s what I really want to be doing.
Melissa Moody 10:39
Well, that’s right. It’s all about focus. It’s all about having the ability to think about your priorities, keep them in mind, and then divest all of those other things that are trying to steal your time or steal your attention away from what you already know matters.
Richard Matthews 10:53
Yeah. And it’s interesting that your business is talking specifically about that problem. It’s helping people focus their lives on the things that matter to them.
Melissa Moody 11:03
Richard Matthews 11:04
That’s very cool. So I want to talk about your origin story. In this show, we always say every good comic book hero has an origin story. It’s the thing that made them into the hero they are today. And we want to hear that story, essentially. Were you born a hero? Were you bit by a radioactive spider that made you get into email marketing? Or did you start in a job and eventually become more entrepreneurial? Basically, where did you come from?
Melissa Moody 11:26
That’s a great question. I think I’ve always been fairly entrepreneurial at heart, I was raised in a family that loves talking about business and financing. But coming out of college, I actually started as an educator, I have my master’s in education, I taught students with language-based learning disabilities at the high school level. So it was a really fascinating job. I spent a while doing that, at a certain point, partly because I moved locations across the country, but partly because I realized I wanted the challenge of a little bit of a faster pace, the corporate pace. I actually pivoted from education into marketing. And personally, I think that’s a really natural pivot. As an educator, you understand that there’s a message, and there’s a customer. And your main goal is to make sure the customer receives your message like that’s education and that’s marketing. So I made a pivot and I started working at Google in 2007 in Seattle, which actually was a very small crew, it felt like a small company, even though Google was quite large already, at that point. Over almost 14 years, at Google, I’ve accumulated an incredible amount of marketing knowledge, both kind of on the digital side, and really focused on performance marketing, but also on understanding industries and markets. So that was quite a lot of years. And then I hit a point where I realized, I am someone who does best when they are being challenged when they are learning. When I get really good at something, I get bored, and I find myself actually physically being more lethargic. And my friends and husband will tell you that when I am challenged, and I’m learning my energy just skyrockets, I don’t need caffeine, I can go all day based on the thrill of the chase. And so frankly, Google got really, really big, and I was ready for something new. I’ve been mentoring and judging a lot of Startup Weekends here in my local community. And I realized that what I was craving was some boots on the ground time, not helping entrepreneurs, but actually being an entrepreneur myself. So I was very fortunate. I worked with quite a few startups, initially, and then found my place at Gated and have been thrilled because it’s exactly what I love doing, bringing a product to market and thinking about all the complexity that comes with it. And having to focus and having to prioritize, because I’m very good at that.
Richard Matthews 13:48
So how did they get you from Seattle to Alaska?
Melissa Moody 13:51
Oh, great question. I was actually still at Google. When we moved up here. We moved out for family reasons. My husband was born and raised here. And I had an incredible manager. I walked into his office and said, I’m moving to Alaska, so I’ll have to quit. And he looked right back at me in the eye. And he said, No. I said, No, I’m quitting. This is my goodbye. And he said, Absolutely not. Don’t do that. You can do your job, you can do it well, and just do it from somewhere else. And now this was six years, seven years pre COVID. So I have been working remotely. And I’ve been a very, very passionate champion of remote work for quite a while before the rest of the world fell into the challenge of this remote work. So yeah, I will probably speak for hours just on the benefits of remote work and the future of our global workforce.
Richard Matthews 14:39
Yeah, it’s fascinating because I did the same thing I mentioned before, we’ve been traveling for almost five years now. And I took my business on the road before it was cool to be remote. And our kids have been homeschooled and remote learning that entire time and when the pandemic hit, the whole first year we kept getting hit up by friends and family and other people that are like how do you do this? So we spent a lot of time just educating our peers on what we’ve learned over a couple of years because it is a different way of working and living. But at the same time, if you get your focus right and your priorities right, you can end up with so much more time. Because the other way too, we have no time depending on how you actually do that. But you can be very productive in a very short amount of time and move on with your day. And I think it’s a great way to work. And I think it’s far more efficient for your business and for our economy and everything.
Melissa Moody 15:33
Absolutely. And I used to say when I was working remotely, but still, at a large company, when I was with Google, I used to say that when I traveled for work, this was back when we were traveling. Those travel trips, the work trips that I went on, even the trips themselves were so hyper-productive, because everything I kind of packed it into the trips, I met with everybody, I was going nonstop. So it just makes all of the ability to focus and get things done packed into the right areas of your life, like the segments of our life whether you’re off parenting in the morning, and then boom, you’re into work meetings, or we’re taking a trip and trying to pack things into that. Personally, for me, remote work has always been a real benefit in my life and my ability to balance and get things done.
Richard Matthews 16:20
Absolutely. And I definitely appreciate what you said about it. When you’re learning something, when you’re being challenged, you get bored once you figure things out. And I had a huge problem with that as I was a younger entrepreneur, where I would figure something out, and then I would be bored with it. So it would fall off of my priority list. And then things wouldn’t get done. Because I was like, that’s just not fun anymore.
Melissa Moody 16:47
I think it’s kind of like in marriage, you have to have your complement, you have to have the person on your team who then loves to kind of get things done and just hammer things out or the things that have to get done no matter what the consistency pieces you need to have someone who loves doing that. And then you need to have someone who’s always looking for the next thing. And I’m not always changing, but I like to be challenged, I like to have my hands on something that’s not unknown.
Richard Matthews 17:14
My solution to that personally was I really like building systems for things and that’s challenging and fun for me. So I’m like, okay, here’s the thing that we’re working on, and I’ll figure out the system for it. And I’ll just pass the production of that system off to the other people on my team. Then it’s like, instead of me just leaving a wake of things that are no longer interesting to me, I’m leaving a wake of systems that things are getting done behind me, which is far more efficient.
Melissa Moody 17:42
That’s great. I love it.
Richard Matthews 17:43
Yeah. So I want to talk a little bit about your superpowers that you’ve developed over your career. So every iconic hero has a superpower, whether that’s a fancy flying suit made by their genius intellect, or the ability to call down thunder from the sky. In the real world, heroes have what I call a zone of genius, which is either a skill or a set of skills that you were born with, or you developed over your career. And it’s really what sets you apart. It’s what allows you to help your people slay their villains and come out on top in their journeys. The way I like to frame this for my guests is if you look at all the skills that you’ve developed, there’s probably between all those skills, a common thread that sort of ties them all together. And a common thread is probably where your superpower is. So with that framing what do you think your superpower is?
Melissa Moody 18:27
You know, it’s funny, because it actually does reflect what you’re talking about with Gated, but I’ve had people share with me actually did a really interesting exercise on this. Louis Grenier, has a great company called Everybody Hates Marketers, but he has a really good activity around this, which says you basically email 10 to 20, close people. And you ask them what is my unique ability, and I did that a couple of months ago. So I think it comes into play here. But for me, what really ended up standing out very clearly is I’ve always been very good at being able to look at a complex mess, and come out of it with clarity. So to take a mess and to really put things into order and also decide what belongs and what doesn’t. So both the prioritization that we already talked about, but also creating structure out of complexity, and creating a focus out of something that originally looks messy. I think that’s probably the talent of mine that shows up in a lot of different areas. I think it can manifest in very different areas but it often comes up that that’s where my natural skill strength lies.
Richard Matthews 19:35
Yeah, I don’t exactly know how to say this properly, but it’s one of those really deep skills. It’s like close to the universe if that makes sense because everything in our whole world is duality, you got male and female and yin and yang and all those things, you got order and chaos. And the natural world and the human and all those things are all sorts of that duality. And everything in our world comes down to some sort of duality. And one of the things I think is fascinating about people, in general, is our ability to go into chaos and then create order. That’s what our civilization is. That’s why we like things like gardens and other things because we’re making the chaotic world into shaping it the way that we want it to be. So to have that as a skill, where you can basically go into something that’s chaotic, and then bring the order to it, I think it’s a very high-level skill if that makes sense.
Melissa Moody 20:39
Yeah, it does. It also is funny, because it ties into what I think is personally one of my failings, which is I’m a very loving, caring person. But I also can be very pragmatic. I think that when it comes down, I’m extremely pragmatic. So I have the ability to go into chaos and not be overwhelmed by it. I think a lot of people procrastinate because it’s just so emotional. And I go in there, I’m like, this is a mess, let’s see how we can do it right. And then when it gets to the details, people be like, oh, I can’t let go of that one thing, it’s really important. I’m like, nope, it’s not part of the plan, we’re out of here. So I have a very innate pragmatism, I think that helps me do that.
Richard Matthews 21:19
Yeah, it’s interesting. You mentioned the exercise you went through. One of my Business Mastermind partners had us go through that a couple of years ago. And I don’t remember who was from the same person or not. But she basically had us go through all the people that have known us in a professional setting and ask the same question like, essentially, what’s your superpower? What’s your unique ability? And I remember going through that, and I sat down with my best friends for like, four or five hours, and we just went over responses for each other stuff. And that’s where my sort of love of systems and everything came out for me. And I realized that I don’t see the world like a normal person, normal people see things and I don’t see things I see the stuff behind the things. It drives my wife nuts to watch a movie with me because I don’t see just the movie, I see the movie and the training the actors went through, and I count the lights and all the scenes. And she’s like, you can’t see the lights. It’s like, I can see the lights because I’ve been a professional photographer for a long time. So I see the lighting in the scene. And I’m like, oh, look, they used square catch lights, instead of round ones for that scene. I wonder why the cinematic director chose that. And that’s the way I see things, I see all the systems behind it. And it wasn’t until I really honed in on that, that I was able to start focusing my business in that direction. And I mentioned earlier figuring out things like, hey, the problem in my business wasn’t actually focusing on like, hey, how about I just take the problems that I’m solving and the things that make me happy is solving a problem and having a challenge. And then like, well, how about I build a system around that challenge, and that be part of my own system for dealing with my own crazy, right?
Melissa Moody 23:00
And it’s so important to recognize that about yourself because then you can find what works. And I think that’s why I’m finding now I’m addicted to the startup world. Because it’s all complexity, and it all needs someone to say, here’s where we’re gonna focus, this is what we’re gonna do.
Melissa Moody 23:12
Yeah, they need someone who can make order out of it.
Melissa Moody 23:17
Yeah, and I was for the last few years, I was sitting at a company where all the orders were in place, everything was where it needed to be. And for someone like me, that gets a little boring.
Richard Matthews 23:27
Yeah. And one of the reasons why I passionately love traveling is because I’m the same way, as the first three or four months or so of traveling, it was like, holy crap, what have I done to myself and my family? Because everything you know about your life, you’ve tossed out the window, and everything from where your toilet paper is stored to how you flush the toilet, all of it’s changed. But we get to a point now where we’re four and a half years into traveling full time, and like, I don’t know where I’m gonna be in three weeks, which drives people nuts, but my wife and I are totally cool with that. Our favorite part of the whole thing is that we could go anywhere, do whatever we want.
Melissa Moody 24:08
It’s full of joy right now.
Richard Matthews 24:08
Yeah, you get a lot of joy out of that chaos. And it’s funny because we have friends that are like, I don’t know how you do that. Because they like to have things in order all the time. And when you have a lifestyle like ours, it’s never all in order. You have your things that are in order. Like we’ve got our house, our car, and our finances all that stuff is in order but our plan is never in order. So similar kinds of things. So I want to dive a little bit into the flip side, you mentioned the other side of the superpower and we always talk about that as the fatal flaw. And just like every Superman has their kryptonite or wonder woman can’t remove her bracelets of victory without going mad. You probably have a flaw that’s held you back, something that you struggled with. For me, I struggled with a couple of things, I mentioned one of them already was my ability to just let chaos behind me. But also I struggled with perfectionism, that whole love of systems means that I’m always like, I could tweak it, make it better, and then never ship anything. Because you could always make another tweak before you bring it to customers if you want it to. Or I had a problem with lack of self-care, which generally brought itself out in not having good boundaries with my clients or not having good boundaries with my time. And I’d spend 18 hours working and then not sleeping, and do that three days in a row and then be sick. So like learning how to actually build a good self-care routine and things like that. So I think more important than what the flaw was, is how have you worked to overcome it so you can continue to grow and continue to make your business better? And hopefully, sharing your experience will help our audience learn a little from you.
Richard Matthews 24:10
Yeah, I think I kind of fell into that with the last answer, but I’ll build on it a little bit. As I mentioned, I tend to be extremely pragmatic. So I mean, again, I’m extremely loving, I’m a mother, I’m a good friend, I have all this, but I never really been an emotional person. And so I cry at movies to be fair. But I find that often, there’s an element of
Richard Matthews 26:20
You’re not sentimental.
Melissa Moody 26:22
Yeah. You know, when you jump in, like, oh, I love to hop on a call and say, hey, how’s everybody doing? And then a minute later, I’m ready to move, we’re gonna move into a project, we’re gonna start working on it, we’re gonna hack out some details. I have really worked over the last years to build up the things that more round out my emotional intelligence. I’m not saying I ignore those things about people. But for me, I’m always really moving on to business. I mean, I am someone who likes to get stuff done. And I move fast. And sometimes I steamroll. And that can be definitely felt in my personal life with my husband, and definitely work if I’m not careful, it can seep through as well. And so I think it’s just very important to, A- be aware of that and to consciously do things to push the other side of your personality. So I love doing really interesting icebreakers, I actually got some training when I was at Google, I’m a certified sprint master, so I like to facilitate sprints, there’s a lot more open thinking in sprint’s a lot less, we’re going to drive to the answer and a lot more open thinking. And I find that that really enhanced my ability at work to think in a different way, to think in a divergent way, as opposed to the convergent way I often converge, find the answer, drive to focus, as opposed to stepping back and saying, let’s just throw some stuff out, let’s talk. So one thing is that I actually built some skills into my work life. The other thing I will say is just surround yourself with good people. I build very deep, strong relationships so that when there are people that love me, even in the worst scenario, then they can say, hey, you need to slow down, we need to give some more time to X, Y, or Z, so that I can listen to that and focus. And having people who balance out your fatal flaw, I mean, has to always be one of the best answers. Like some people can point to it and say, you need to stop doing that, you’re doing it.
Richard Matthews 28:24
I have what I call my business running partner. He’s one of my best friends. We’ve been running businesses separately, but together at the same time for more than a decade now. And he’s similar, he could steamroll people which he’s aware of, but he can’t really steamroll me, which has always been really useful, because he’ll like, bring things to me. And like, I guess I’m just like a big rock and he was a steamroller runs into it. He’s like, oh, wait, I guess I should think about a little bit more. So it’s always nice to have someone who can handle that.
Melissa Moody 28:57
One of the things I really appreciate about my time at Google is I was able for a while after having my second child, I took part in a job share. So I worked with this amazing woman in a job share. And I call her my better half and she gives me her better half. But the way I saw it was, I had kind of a CEO of like, there’s an idea we’re gonna go do it, let’s do this. She was kind of my COO. She was always wondering, let’s think about this logically, whoa, back up, let’s not just run forward. And so I think finding people like that who complement your skillset, not just to stop you when you’re lost in the data systems, but to complement your natural abilities.
Richard Matthews 29:40
And you mentioned having kids and one of the things that I’ve noticed about both him and I because we started together before either of us had kids and now he’s got five kids and I got four of them. And one of the things I noticed is having children really forces you to deal with your weaknesses in that area because I don’t know how to put this other than your kids don’t take any shit.
Melissa Moody 30:03
Well, sometimes even better, sometimes they have the exact flaw and you look at them and then you realize, oh.
Richard Matthews 30:12
You’re like, oh, I see what I’ve done there. And then you call your parents up and you’re like, I’m sorry.
Melissa Moody 30:19
Yeah, your punishment is that you get to raise you. Go ahead.
Richard Matthews 30:22
You’re like, enjoy, thank you. I’ve got a toddler right now who is challenging me. She has two modes, one of them is 100%. Angel from heaven, she’s just the coolest kid you’ve ever met. And then with the flip of a switch, she is just a demon straight out of hell. And I’m like, I’m pretty sure like, I’m starting to get gray hair, it’s all from her.
Melissa Moody 30:54
I think they’re designed to do that some toddlers do it more than others.
Richard Matthews 30:59
Yeah, I have three that didn’t. But I had three kids that like my friends were like, you didn’t have toddlers. And then I had this one that I’m pretty sure packed all four of the toddler of the terrible twos into one child.
Melissa Moody 31:14
Yeah, is her middle name payback.
Richard Matthews 31:18
That’s where I think we’re at, she had a meltdown this morning, because her sock wouldn’t go on her foot right. And it was like, 20 minutes of screaming. And I tried to help her and she got mad at me for helping her and was like, don’t help me out to do it myself. And then she just continued to have a meltdown over her sock. And I was like, I went to mom. And I was like, I don’t know how to help her. She’s freaking the eff out over her socks.
Melissa Moody 31:41
You know I didn’t exercise one time and they talked about both adult humans and young humans. There’s a spectrum of sensitivity. And I’d never thought about that before. But some people are highly sensitive. And some people are very low sensitivity. And so actually, often those kids with trouble with socks or tags, physical sensitivity often relates directly to your emotional sensitivity. So sometimes the ability to be super high and super low that comes out. No, it’s not a bad thing. It’s definitely not a bad thing. I think, to my point about being pragmatic, I’m very low sensibility, which is also not a bad thing. But we all fall somewhere on the spectrum. And it’s kind of neat to think about that and to say, okay, this is just a sensitive person.
Richard Matthews 32:24
I always try to look at them and see, how does this behavior turn into genius later?
Melissa Moody 32:31
Absolutely. And being very aware of things, both physically and emotionally will be a wonderful skill set for her in the future.
Richard Matthews 32:38
Yeah, and it’s fun watching them grow up and see all the things that they are capable of, and what they’re doing. And to the point, it definitely has helped me see my own fatal flaws and forced me to work on them. Because you realize as a parent, they’re not going to make you better. You have to make yourself better for them. So it’s a very good mirror. I guess that makes sense.
Melissa Moody 33:05
It is. Absolutely.
Richard Matthews 33:07
Yeah. So what I’m gonna talk about next is your common enemy and this I want to bring directly back to the discussion about your clients in the Gated community. Which it’s actually a fun Gated community. Every superhero has their arch-nemesis, it’s the thing that they fight against in their world, in the world of business that takes a lot of forms, but we like to put it in the context of your clients, your customers, and your business, and it’s a mindset or it’s a flaw that you constantly have to fight against to overcome, so they can actually get the results that they came to you for. And so in your business with what you guys do with Gated, what is the thing that either when you’re marketing or with your sales that you guys are constantly fighting against to help grow that company?
Melissa Moody 33:51
Oh, yeah. I mean, we’ve got one and I think everybody knows it, everybody has felt this villain or the archenemy. It is digital overwhelm it is the fact that we live in a world where 390 billion emails a day are being sent
Richard Matthews 34:07
Melissa Moody 34:09
That is correct. And that’s not even accounting for Slack and iMessage, and Instagram and Tiktok and WhatsApp.
Richard Matthews 34:18
It’s like hundreds and hundreds of messages per person on the planet today.
Melissa Moody 34:25
That’s exactly right. And I think the keywords there are per person, what we’ve done is we’ve moved over the last seven to five years, I think there have been two major shifts that we’ve seen. The first is an increase in automation, it is no longer person to person back when we had an email when it first arrived, you’ve got mail, somebody was reaching out to you and you were having a conversation. We don’t live in that world anymore. I think there’s a state of fact, that upwards of 90% of all the emails sent are not from people. So, automation, especially on the marketing automation side, where there are so many tools for marketers and sellers to use to automate reaching out via email to people. It’s massively amplified this trend of digital noise, specifically in email, but you can extend that to anything to all the other platforms. And then the second thing is, another big trend we’ve seen is from a more business standpoint is the trend of product led growth, where people used to sell a tool to the executive suite, to the CEO or the CTO. Right now, we live in a world where there are not only more digital tools, but they can now sell to many more people. So anyone from mid to senior level is being sold tools like Loom, Calendly, Zoom. I mean, the list goes on and on.
Richard Matthews 35:42
Or Zencastr that we’re on now,
Melissa Moody 35:44
There you go, Zencastr, and they’re wonderful tools. But not only are we using the technology to send more email but there are more solutions that are being sold on a daily basis to more of us. So it’s just this snowball of digital noise. And I think that whether Gated existed or not that arch-nemesis is present for every single one of us. And it can apply to trying to get our work done or trying to live our lives in a way that matters. We spend so much of our time and energy, just trying to cut through that noise. And that’s fundamentally what Gated was built for. I mean, we have a manifesto on our website. And it all starts with taking back control of your attention. Right now you’re not in charge of all of the information that’s flowing in. And it’s time that we all realize that we can have tools and solutions that help us actually not be just victims in that situation.
Richard Matthews 36:43
Yeah, it’s interesting, because as you mentioned the marketing automation and all the tools to reach out and all those things, they’re all growing and they’re getting bigger and more notifications and more marketing automation. And that’s happening because it’s effective, they work.
Melissa Moody 36:59
It is and it isn’t. I mean, if you talk to some of our biggest advocates at Gated are the folks who are sellers and email senders. Because what’s happening now is email deliverability rates are dropping, they’re below 2% 1%, you could send out 100 emails and hear back from one. So is that really effective? No, it’s a spray and pray strategy. Like sending more emails, you’ll get more volume and hits. What Gated envisions is that instead of sending 100 and getting one reply, you should be able to send 10 and get six. When somebody makes a donation to reach a gated user the reply rates around 50-60%. So instead of sending a bulk of the volume, just to get a little bit back, why not send a better actual human to human communication, that also does benefit nonprofits and actually hear back. The senders and the sellers are some of the biggest advocates for what we’re doing. And that’s why.
Richard Matthews 37:57
So on the flip side, because you mentioned senders, now Gated is generally targeted toward the one who is receiving emails, do you guys work with senders at all?
Melissa Moody 38:11
We are built as a tool for the user of email. So we are really focused on solving that problem for the individual who uses email, wants to cut through the noise and is excited about benefiting nonprofits. But what we’ve seen is simply by implementing that marginal cost and the outcomes that it creates, it has created value for the senders as well. So technically, we are entirely focused on the users. I do think in the future there will be room to continue developing a product in a way that benefits everyone but we are committed to being a user-first product.
Richard Matthews 38:47
Yeah, that’s really fascinating. I think it’s a good drive into my other question, which is your driving force. So the flip side of your common enemy, so if your common enemy is what you fight against. Your driving force is what you fight for. So just like Spider Man fights to save New York or Batman fights to save Gotham, or if you worked for Google, they work to index and categorize all the world’s information.
Melissa Moody 39:06
Make it useful. Yep.
Richard Matthews 39:07
Yeah, make it useful, right. We want to know what it is that you fight for at Gated. And essentially, why you do that?
Melissa Moody 39:17
I have had such joy in this role in realizing what Gated exists to do is to basically unleash the potential of all of the amazing other people in the world. So by that, when we have a user who has never used Gated, and then they start using it, and they see what it can do, how it can free up their focus, how it can enable them to do the things they’re doing better, or on a bigger scale or for the right reasons, it’s super refreshing. I talked to an amazing female CMO the other day and she and I were going on about how her external image of herself has focused on being an organized achiever, a very highly successful CMO. She said when she looked at her inbox, it didn’t feel like her, it felt like it was chaotic and unstructured and didn’t reflect who she is. And what Gated does is it by getting rid of the clutter, and by letting people focus on the messages that matter and the things that matter, they can then better do their job. So as Head of Marketing, a lot of the content that I’m building and sharing with Gated is looking at these amazing people and what they can do because they have the tools to allow them to do that. And that’s what really fundamentally, I hope that Gated can serve a role that is not Gated for itself, but Gated because it lifts up other incredible people and enables them to do more in the world.
Richard Matthews 40:46
Yeah, absolutely. And I really like that thought too, that when you look at your email inbox, it doesn’t feel like you. I get that, I don’t like my email inbox. I only go there when I have to and I tell people regularly they’re like, how should I reach out to you I’m like, become friends with me on Facebook and reach out to me on Facebook Messenger or here’s my phone number text me that kind of thing. And I got two companies that we run, and we moved both of them off of email communication into using a competitor to Slack called Twist. But it’s a similar kind of real-time communication thing because email is just this difficult, it hurts. And it shouldn’t. It’s a great way to lose things in the clutter. And it’s interesting that you guys are working to solve that. Because you would think that in 2022, all these other ways of communicating, something would have taken over. But email is still foundational for the Internet almost everywhere you go. If you want to sign up for Slack, Twist or Facebook, or any of the instant messaging stuff, the first thing you asked me for is, what’s your email?
Melissa Moody 41:51
Well, that’s another interesting thing that I’ve seen come up, which is people still think their emails are secret and private. And they’re not if you talk to any kind of major email marketing executive. I mean, there are so many tools to scrape and find people’s emails. And so if your email is out there in public and searchable and scrapable, you’re just going to be a target for all of the email that comes in. We’re laughing Eli Manning’s email got leaked the other day, I don’t know if you saw the news about that. But I was like, this is why Eli needs Gated, like, our email is not really a hidden thing anymore. But that doesn’t mean that the inbox itself shouldn’t still be yours. And what gated does is kind of provide the cigar brand name Gated, you could see it as this closed door lock door. But that’s not what we’re about, we’re about is that feeling when someone opens their gate, and you get to come into their personal space, which you know, matters to them, that means something that’s a real connection, and so this idea that you should be allowed to kind of say, I’m going to let things in when they matter to me. But the rest of this digital noise doesn’t have a place in my life. It does nothing but distracts and take away from the great things I can achieve and hope for.
Richard Matthews 43:11
It reminds me of during the pandemic I mentioned, we got stuck for 11 months, we got stuck in a gated community. I mean, we got stuck in paradise, it was heaven. But we had all of the chaos that was sort of happening, and riots and other bad things that were going on. And one of the things that were really interesting to me about being in a gated community is it felt very safe. It felt like a safe place. And you could still have guests come over and other things. And you could order pizza, and you’d have to call it to the gate and be like, hey, pizza guys come and he’ll be here in 20 minutes. And the gate person would know to let them in and allow them into your space.
Melissa Moody 43:53
What we don’t want is any of the ideas like, you’re keeping people out. And I think that’s what a lot of past email solutions have done is they have locked down the inbox and said no, senders can come in, you can’t come in, this is only Richard spot, nobody else is allowed. And we’re definitely not taking that track. Because we believe fundamentally in the value of communication, there can be very useful cold email. So the way that Gated is built it’s a minimal donation. It’s not $50 to reach Richard. Although, if Elon Musk wants to put Gated on his email, he might want to have a slightly higher price and benefit his nonprofit. So I think it’s very important. And that is the challenge here is to remind people that the idea is that the gate can be open. It’s just that you need to be providing value to Richard if you want to reach Richard, you can’t just dump stuff.
Richard Matthews 44:43
Yeah, and it’s really fascinating too to think about like hey, what is the amount that gets my attention? That I’m like, hey, if you’re willing to donate this to my nonprofit, I’m willing to take time out of my day to speak to you.
Melissa Moody 44:57
Exactly, we’re seeing really interesting user differences between users because people are all such individuals. Some people want to keep the donation low. And don’t mind having a few things come in, and that other people really value the quiet that Gated creates. And so they actually put in a higher donation. It’ll be very interesting to see as we go forward.
Richard Matthews 45:19
Just out of curiosity, do you guys have any way of tracking or seeing for instance, there are the more divisive things that people can donate to, right? Just off the top of my head, you can say things like, hey, you can reach me if you want to donate to Planned Parenthood, or whatever the antithesis of Planned Parenthood is, those are the kind of things that someone might not want to reach out to you if their donation is going something they don’t agree with. Have you guys seen anything like that? Or have problems with things like that?
Melissa Moody 45:49
Yeah, we’re thinking very carefully about our nonprofit strategy. We’re partnering with a couple of really wonderful thought leaders in the nonprofit space to shape what the future is about the nonprofit side of the business. I will say that the solution we are creating, as I mentioned before, is very, very user-centric. So right now, we are allowing any individual to pick to donate to any 501 C 3 that is GuideStar certified. So if you can find it in GuideStar and it is a licensed 501 C 3, you can donate to that.
Richard Matthews 46:17
So does the end-user who’s making the dollar donation, do the user know who they are donating to?
Melissa Moody 46:24
Yes, that’s exactly right. So when they get a challenge email, it’ll say to reach Richard to donate to his chosen nonprofit, Big Brothers Big Sisters. So they will see that we have had some interest on the sender side of wanting to pick their own one to donate to. But fundamentally, if you think about it this way, if you think about that the sender is trying to reach you. Let’s say they’re trying to take you out to dinner to get your business. And you say I really like Chili’s. And they say, great, we’re going to Taco Bell, you’re like, okay, well, you’re trying to connect with me. Or even more important, let’s say you sit down, they’re trying to buy you a drink. And you say I like IPAs, and they say I bought you a martini, it’s not actually making a connection if they’re not thinking about you and what you’d like. So we have a long evolution to go on how we structure that. But right now we find it’s important to give that choice to the user. And what’s important to them. Because ideally, if the sender really wants to connect to them, at the very least it gives them a good talking point, right?
Richard Matthews 47:27
Yeah. Cuz I was thinking things like Planned Parenthood or the NRA can be divisive, where someone who might be like, I don’t know if I want to talk to Richard that bad. I don’t want to donate $1 to the NRA.
Melissa Moody 47:39
Well, and you, as Richard probably knows, that, if you put it on there, you might get that desired. So really, it’s your inbox, we’re going to give you that choice. I think it’ll be interesting to see how we evolved because there are so many nonprofits. So we’re gonna think about how we can formulate that.
Richard Matthews 47:55
My favorite nonprofit is Vitamin Angels. I have a supplement company that we ran for a number of years, and we ran a promotion called, buy a bottle, save a life. Which we ran the entire time we had the company, but essentially, they provide vitamin A to children all over the world. And vitamin A is the number one killer of children under a certain age because vitamin A deficiency is what basically activates your gut immune system. And if you have a deficiency in it, kids die from things like diarrhea and common colds. So the number one killer is vitamin A deficiency. And it costs approximately 25 cents a year to give a child enough vitamin A to survive. So every bottle of supplements we sold, we donated a quarter or two to vitamin angels.
Melissa Moody 48:44
That’s so critical. And here’s what’s really interesting, I learned about the nonprofit side of Gated at first, I said, well, the donation amounts aren’t that much. It’s kinda like when you round up at the grocery store, you round up at the bank, there’s these small dollar donations. And a lot of the nonprofits that I’ve worked with, one that comes to mind is called The Headstrong Project, they do mental health for veterans. It’s a really amazing growing charity. That’s the one I currently support with my Gated account. But the CMO there, she said to me, it’s not so much the donation amount because if somebody wants to donate to Vitamin Angels, they can go and write a check. But one thing that Gated does is it’s the awareness, everyone that then would email you would see, A-they learn about this incredible nonprofit, which I’ve never heard about. And now I’m going to go look up more of it so it’s brand awareness, really, you’re putting the brand out and then it’s telling them something about you. So they know that this has a connection to you and they may want to hear more about it. So it’s not more about the followers, it’s like a personal alignment and it’s also just brand awareness that the amount of emails counts.
Richard Matthews 49:50
Have you guys considered working with nonprofits on the messaging for how those two donations make an impact, like, for instance, with Vitamin Angels, they had on their website that 25 cents are enough to save a child’s life. And so like every 25 cents generated is a thing. So it was good messaging for us to say buy a bottle, save a life kind of thing. And it’d be really interesting if you guys were active as marketers, teaching these nonprofits how to say, hey, when you donate $1 to Richard to reach him, that’s going to get XYZ results from the nonprofit.
Melissa Moody 50:31
I love that you’re speaking my marketer’s language. Like, instead of saying donate $1, it’s donate $1 for children with vitamin A, it’s very tangible. It’s like when you buy a sheep instead of donating $25, that kind of thing. Absolutely. I think we have a long and very exciting road ahead of us with how we partner with nonprofits.
Richard Matthews 50:53
Yeah, that’s fascinating to me, one of these days, if I ever get extra time getting in, and helping nonprofits figure out how to speak that way, I think would drastically help change the world, because I think there is going to be more and more and more on the marketing side from big companies where they realize they have to have some sort of a mission-driven stuff for selling. And that’s one of the things that we noticed when we switched our marketing from like, hey, buy our supplements, because they’re the best to hey, buy a bottle, save a life, we tripled our sales.
Melissa Moody 51:31
But that’s not the driving factor, right? Like no one ever is using a nonprofit, to create more sales, but when you have a model as you just did, which is based on the business itself, it then goes to benefit and to have that social good component. That’s extremely part of it. And that’s why with Gated I found from the beginning I was so excited because we’re not using nonprofits to get more users at all, we’re just saying use the product. And then by using the product, wow, you have a benefit.
Richard Matthews 52:01
It’s the same thing like, hey, when you buy a pair of shoes from Zappos, we’re gonna send a pair of shoes to a kid who needs them. It’s that kind of mission-driven sort of capitalism that I think is going to get bigger and stronger. I think you guys are well situated to help that growth.
Melissa Moody 52:20
Yeah, I also hope to kind of help companies find that going forward. I think the work we’re doing right now in Gated is so important. But I do look forward to the day when I can kind of spread that wealth and help people understand how to do that, in a way that’s really focused on doing it right for the business and your customers, and then seeing what springs out of it that could benefit the world.
Richard Matthews 52:41
Yeah, absolutely. And I was just thinking about it, there are so many things you could drive into that messaging, like hey, donate to this cause that as a user, to be able to talk to the people who are trying to reach out to me about like, hey, if you wanna reach out to me, I want you to donate to this cause here’s why, like, here’s what it means to me. Like I have a supplement company that works with, here’s why we do it, here’s all those things like, it’s part of my story.
Melissa Moody 53:10
Yeah, there’s a long road to go. But you might see the day where you can even record a little video that’s in that challenge email, it says, hey, I’m Richard, I’m really excited to talk to you, and here’s why. You could really make it more appealing and help people understand why that barrier is there. That you really value your time and your attention, and you’re ready to talk with anybody as long as they value you back.
Richard Matthews 53:35
And it’s cool because it’s not like they’re putting money in my bank account. That’s not the point where we’re doing some good here.
Melissa Moody 53:41
Yeah, exactly. That should be my tag or tagline on a t-shirt, “We’re doing some good here”.
Richard Matthews 53:43
We’re doing some good here. Yeah, I mean, it’s true, that’s what you guys are doing. I’ve worked with a lot of real estate trainers in the course of my career. And one of the things that were really driven into my head with people who were doing real estate investing as a transaction thing is where the value is because it has to be a win win-win for everyone involved, it’s always a three-way win. It’s the person who’s selling their property, the person who’s buying the property, and the investor that’s in the middle. It’s a win for everyone, or it doesn’t work, the deals will never go through. And every investor that I’ve ever worked with has always had that mentality that it’s always got to be a win win win deal. And I think, thinking about what you’re talking about there is you have the sender and the user and the third party nonprofit, where it’s not just a win win, it’s a win win win. And there’s always that third party you have to think about.
Richard Matthews 54:14
That’s exactly it. I always talk about three points of value. And that’s exactly right. I like win, win win. I’m going to keep that going.
Richard Matthews 54:47
Yeah, win, win win. Cool. So I want to talk a little bit about some practical things. And this is interesting because you guys actually might fit into this category as a company. We talked about the hero’s toolbelt. Every superhero has their tool belt with awesome gadgets like batarangs or web slingers, laser eyes, or big magical hammers. We want to talk about the top one or two tools that you couldn’t live without in your business, it could be anything from a notepad to your calendar to your marketing tools, something you use for your own product delivery, something you think is essential to getting your job done over at Gated every day.
Melissa Moody 55:21
One through two out, and they’re very, very different. I will say, at Google, we used to have a phrase called eating our dog food, you’ve probably heard that before, like eat your own dog food. So over 14 years, I am deeply a user of Google tools. I will say the whole Suite of Gmail, Calendar, all those integrations, even into some of the Google Analytics, the way that it works together, I still find extremely valuable. So I’m still a very avid Google product user. I mean, Google Docs and Sheets and all that.
Richard Matthews 55:55
If you can convince someone over there to stop changing the name every six months.
Melissa Moody 55:58
I don’t think that’s happening. But yes, that’s like, part of the fun of Google is like, who knows what’s happening in 18 months, or 12 months or nine months. So in all candor, if I didn’t have Google, like, the train would come off the rails kind of thing, so I’ll say that. One of the other ones that I think has been new to me, as a startup marketer, as someone who’s on the ground, trying to get things done, let’s be honest, on the cheap and scrappy. And without a huge team. I’ve actually found a lot of joy in Canva, Canva has done really incredible things that allow a single marketer to create content and create assets at a scale that previously took so much work. I mean, taking the graphic design components and making them so standardized and usable. Canva really has done a lot for me at this kind of ground level, startup marketing. Now, one of my advisors is a creative director, and sometimes he gives me the like, oh, we’re beyond Canva. But at the same time, it’s so freaking useful. And their design and the product itself works beautifully.
Richard Matthews 57:09
It’s one of those products that may not be the most flexible or the best. But that gives you the end results so fast and so well, that it almost doesn’t matter. You can’t do what you could do with Photoshop.
Melissa Moody 57:21
Yeah. And they’re not falling down on the job, either. There are a couple of smaller tools that I use, where sometimes I’m like, Oh, can you hit that clunky moment where it’s just not working? I don’t have those moments, often or at all with Canva, I find that if I want to do something, it’s usually doable and there and fairly quite well designed. Canva is very social impact minded as a company, which is always nice.
Richard Matthews 57:45
Yeah, it’s one of the things that struck me about watching that company grow, because I’m probably one of the earliest Canva users when they came out. And I’m like certified in Photoshop from back in high school 20 years ago, on Photoshop version two, or three. I have an actual paper certificate from high school because I went to training on it way back in the day when websites looked like bubbles. And you can design websites in Photoshop, and watching Photoshop become the gigantic bloated mess that it is, it’s got more tools than you can name.
Melissa Moody 58:18
It’s very complex.
Richard Matthews 58:19
Yeah, it’s very complex. And it can literally do anything like people in Hollywood edit Hollywood movies on it, like this kind of thing frame by frame, you can do whatever you want with it. But what Canva has done brilliantly, is what’s the end result that marketers are looking for? And only showing those tools and context specific, just really done I think.
Melissa Moody 58:45
Brilliantly done. Yeah. And the price point and the flexibility of letting teams work in it is just marvelous.
Richard Matthews 58:51
Yeah. And they have a freemium model as well, which is an interesting model that to this day, don’t quite understand how people grow their companies that way, but at the same time, it works, because I’ve never used it until we started getting a team. We always use it for free until we had a team of people that are using it.
Melissa Moody 59:22
It’s interesting because we’ve definitely looked at Canva. So Gated is free for users, it’s free for all users. And I think that model of freemium means that you also have to think very concretely about how you build your marketing and sales teams going forward. Because so much of the heavy lifting is on converting those free users into paid users over time.
Richard Matthews 59:41
How do you guys work for my payment model on gated?
Melissa Moody 59:47
Yeah, so we believe that everyone should be able to have Gated, should have access to Gated so the way that we do it is we actually monetize the center payments. So just like if you made a donation to a wounded warrior, a percentage would go to the operation of wounded warriors as an organization, what we do with Gated is if someone pays $1 to reach you, a portion of that will go to support Gated, I believe stated right now is we take a maximum of 30%, what we’ve done is we’ve created a structured system where if you make a bigger donation, we take less. So we’ve scaled it to maximize the benefit to the nonprofits. But that little bit that comes to Gated then allows data to be free for everyone.
Richard Matthews 1:00:32
So do you guys have any sort of paid model? Or is it just that one monetization model?
Melissa Moody 1:00:38
We do not have a paid model right now, Gated is free for any user. We’re still on a waitlist right now. We’re hoping to be sharing it publicly with everyone soon, but it will be free for everyone. That’s the model.
Richard Matthews 1:00:51
So just out of curiosity, how are you guys anticipating the scale once you remove the waitlist? You think it’s gonna go well? Are you guys ready for it?
Melissa Moody 1:01:03
Well, we’ve got a brilliant head of engineering who’s building an incredible solution with an eye for scale. Well, if we started small, I’d love to see every overwhelmed marketer, and every busy executive using Gated because I know it brings value down the road. I mean, we do want to fix email for everyone. And I think that by tipping the scales in favor of a marginal cost on email, I think that we can actually fix email for everyone. And that’s definitely our vision.
Richard Matthews 1:01:33
So here is just another question for you that I know, pops up for people who think as I do is for a service like gated, how difficult is it for someone to see your success and then build competitors?
Melissa Moody 1:01:54
Absolutely, I mean, we believe that we’re doing something incredible. And so I don’t think the world will ever have a lack of competitors for any interesting idea. I look forward to seeing what that is in the future. There are a lot of email management solutions out there right now, there are a lot of solutions that you and I could have used before Gated, I will say fundamentally, all of those solutions still mean that you’re seeing all of the stuff and that you have to deal with it, you have to filter it, you have to folder it, you have to pay per month for service to do something better. And what Gated is doing is saying you shouldn’t have to deal with that, in the first place, you should only see the messages that are relevant. So really, it’s a completely new paradigm. No longer do we think everything belongs in the inbox.
Richard Matthews 1:02:40
One of the reasons I asked that is because I had a guest on this podcast a while back that ran a $500 million a year jewelry company. Just insanely large. And I remember asking her about our e-commerce brand. And one of the things she said to me that stood out, and I think might be useful for you guys, because you’re right on the edge of that tipping into the scale was that the journey from zero to a million dollars in revenue, and then from 1 million to 10 million in revenue is a certain set of problems. And mostly, it’s learning how to grow a business, and get the scrappy stuff and all this stuff and getting your marketing and messaging all that stuff right. And figuring out how to deliver for your customers. She’s like, Oh, that’s all the business stuff that you’re ready for. And she’s like, once you pass that $10 million revenue mark, everything changes. And she goes, it changes into now you’re gonna start attracting the eyes of your competitors, we’re in the candle business, she’s like, You guys are under $2 million dollars nobody cares. But she’s like, the candle business is a $10 billion a year industry. And she’s like, as soon as you cross $10 million a year, everyone in the candle business is gonna look at what you’re doing, and try to copy you. It doesn’t matter what business you’re in, you hit that $10 million mark, they’re all gonna try to copy it. She’s like, you don’t want to have people be able to copy you, you have to have something you stand for. She’s like, you have to have something that’s bigger than your product. And so anyway, I was just thinking about what for you guys is like, that’s like the next stage of your marketing is what does Gated stand for?
Melissa Moody 1:04:08
Well, I think, we’re already taking a stand for it, which is, again, even the massive companies, and I’m looking at email providers.
Richard Matthews 1:04:19
Like Google, they’re huge.
Melissa Moody 1:04:22
Yeah, they’re built on a paradigm of, it’s a Silicon Valley mindset, we should get all the data, and then we will take care of all the data. Whereas we’re standing for you, as a user, as a person, as a human, you should have some control over what reaches you in the first place. And I don’t think that’s going to be easy to replicate. Because it’s a very human-centric versus data-centric play. I think it will be very interesting to see how things will play. We are already expanding for something early.
Richard Matthews 1:04:55
Yeah, what your expanding hardcore for, and it reminds me of that whole like, is you have to know who the customer is. Like, with Google, for instance, the customer is your data, their advertisers are the customer and you’re the product.
Melissa Moody 1:05:14
If you don’t know what the product is, you’re the product.
Richard Matthews 1:05:17
Yeah, you’re the product. And so just like thinking through where you guys are at, it’s the product you’re making sure people know, it’s not your data and your stuff that’s the product. It’s these donations to the nonprofits and getting your time back those kinds of things.
Melissa Moody 1:05:37
You are the customer, you are a human, you’re not the product.
Richard Matthews 1:05:40
Richard Matthews 1:05:42
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Richard Matthews 1:07:13
Cool, so I got one more question, well actually two more. This is about your own personal heroes, every hero has their mentors, just like Frodo had Gandalf or Luke had Obi Wan or even Robert Kiyosaki had his Rich dad or Spider Man had his Uncle Ben or in the latest movie Aunt May. So who were some of your heroes? Were they real life mentors, speakers, or authors, maybe peers for a couple of years ahead of you? And how important were they to what you have accomplished so far?
Melissa Moody 1:07:38
Yeah, one quick easy answer that I definitely just want to share is I do think the women in my family are actually one of my main heroes, even in the generations before, they’re necessarily career women, my grandmother, I think of, in particular, she was not in a career, but she organized and she lit a fire in everything she did. And so I do think that one of my superheroes is the generations of women in my family that came before me and really set a path that I try to live up to every day. On a more tactical level, my mentor and my boss, and my managing director for many years at Google is a man named Rob Torres. And he is an absolutely incredible combination of business leadership and someone who cares more about the team beneath him than anything else. And so he was the one who encouraged me to find the balance between my work life and my family. He was the one who validated the importance of family, and yet also strengthened my belief that I was really needed in the workplace. I think leaders who really see their teams as individuals, and it’s their mission to empower those individuals and to help their team grow are some of the most priceless people in the business world. And that’s at large companies and startups. So Rob, for me, has always been a mentor. I think he just approaches work with both a capability and authenticity that I aspire to. There are a lot of loud voices. And that’s never really been the people that I look up to. It’s the people that really live the way that life should be lived. And he’s definitely one of them.
Richard Matthews 1:09:23
I have a small team with both companies. They’re not terribly huge. And one of the things I’ve always strived for as the entrepreneur who’s building those companies is making sure that everyone on my team understands that they’re here because of what they bring to the table. Their humanity and their creativity and their skill. And that they’re not cogs in our machine. They are people who are bringing their breath of life and creativity to this company into what we’re trying to do. And so I go out of my way to try and find out where they want to go, like where they see themselves in their life and their business and how their work for us helps them get there. I don’t know if that’s the right approach or not. But that’s the way I’ve always tried to grow my teams and my organizations.
Melissa Moody 1:10:17
I love it. I think one of the things that always greeted me more than anything in managers that I maybe didn’t get along with. But one thing that managers do that drives me nuts is when they’re always pushing you to the next thing. What I really want is a manager who wants to listen to what you want, because at certain times in my life, I just wanted to do my role really well. I didn’t want to get a promotion, I didn’t want to go here. I just wanted to do what I was doing and do it really well. And so they say, instead of how can I move you to X, Y or Z? They say, what can I get you? Or what can I remove that’s blocking you to help you do what you really want to do. And so I think it’s very important, what you just said, is to really listen to those people, as opposed to just saying, oh, yeah, I help people move up the ladder. It’s not about that. It’s about meeting people with what they need, and then really empowering them. And for me, that was a move to Alaska, among other things, but when you really give what they need, that’s when you build some serious loyalty, some serious dedication, and an ever vague culture term. Like that’s where it comes from.
Richard Matthews 1:11:20
And it comes from seeing the humanity and the people that are on your team. Which means their home life and their skills and the stuff that they’re looking for, what are the things that they’re excited about on the weekends? I had a guy who was recovering alcoholic who likes to do RC planes and so when he came in after work one day and worked overtime for us, we got him a gift card to his favorite RC’s plus shop kind of thing, that kind of stuff. You have to know your people and help them get where they want to go.
Melissa Moody 1:11:57
Richard Matthews 1:11:59
Cool. So one last question before we wrap this up. And it’s your guiding principles. One of the things that make heroes heroic is that they live by a code. For instance, Batman never kills his enemies, he only ever brings them to Arkham Asylum. So as we wrap up the interview. I want to talk about the top one, maybe two principles that you regularly use in your life, maybe something you wish you’d known when you started out in your own career.
Melissa Moody 1:12:21
Yeah, I’ve developed some thoughts on this very strongly, I would say in the last three to five years. And actually, what’s funny, as you pointed out earlier, I have some custom artwork on my wall, I have a skull on my wall, which most people would think is creepy. But it fundamentally is a very important reminder, some people might have heard of memento mori. It’s essentially a phrase that means remember, we’re all gonna die, remember to die. Now it sounds super morbid. But really, the opposite of that is when you think about the fact that things end and think that things come to an end, you so much more cherish what you’re doing, and you stop doing the stuff that doesn’t matter. So I hate to bring it all back to Gated, but that’s a lot of what drives me is really, this massive focus. For me a core principle is Memento Mori because it is saying, take a real thought about the moments in your day and what you’re choosing to do with that moment. Now, I may choose to take a nap on the couch, but I’ve thought about it. And it’s what I really need and what I’ve decided to do like it’s not just because I’m lazy or not doing something. So I would say it doesn’t mean I’m doing things all the time and life is running out, you got to go, no, no, it just means have a much more conscious thought for what you’re doing. Because then you know that those moments aren’t wasted. It’s funny, cuz some people do just think it’s a creepy skull on my wall. But it’s not. It’s definitely a way to approach every moment in life. And I mean, man, I tell you, we’ve talked a bunch about kids on this, it goes more than anything it goes when it comes to your kids and how fast the days go by.
Richard Matthews 1:13:55
It reminds me so much of one of the things that dramatically changed my life and career. If I go back six or seven years ago and now look at my business, I was not living the memento mori as you mentioned. And like I remember thinking on a regular basis, if I die today, I’m not ready to die today because I’ve got more things I want to do and I haven’t accomplished what I want to accomplish yet. And if you look at how that reflected in my day to day life, I was working anywhere from 12 to 16 hours a day, my business was not making a lot of revenue, I was missing time with my wife and kids and my business was barely paying the bills. And I read a book called The Anthony elephant by Vince Poscente and it was a whole idea about there’s an ant, that’s your conscious mind and it can control the elephant which is your subconscious mind. And one of the things they talked about there was this concept of how creativity thrives with boundaries. And there are some studies done on kids where they put them out into a playground where there were no fences around. And they’ve just got the concrete pad. And then there’s the big grass area. And with no fences, all the kids would stay on the concrete pad, they would never move the concrete pad. And then as soon as they put the fences up, the kids would explore everything, they would go all the way out to the edges of the fence. And it was just an illustration of the whole concept that creativity thrives with boundaries. When you look at everything from painting, to photography, to videography, to anything you do creative wise, you’re always looking at, okay, what’s the boundaries that you’re working within? And the thing that I got out of it, the thing I started doing was looking at, why am I not putting boundaries on my time? And what I think is important, and really figuring out where I want to put stuff in my life? And so I started doing things like, instead of working 12 hours a day, six days a week, what if I only work eight hours a day, six days a week? What if I work only eight hours a day, five days a week? What if I work four hours a day, four days a week, and I’ve gotten to the point now, again, seven years ago, one business was taking 90% of my time, and I was missing time with my wife and kids. Now I average four hours a day, four days a week, and run two companies, both of which are eight to 10 times more profitable than what I was doing back then. And it’s because of that concept, the memento mori. To realize that I have to choose consciously what gets put into my day.
Melissa Moody 1:16:35
It’s funny how this entire conversation is reflecting that, like, that’s what we’re building with Gated. When you talked about my skill power, the idea of complexity came into focus. And then that’s very much what we’re talking about is like the principles we live by, you can’t succeed if you’re trying to do everything, you can have focus and think deeply, which there’s a great quote from Charles Duhigg, on like, the only killer app in all of history was thinking deeply. It’s something like that, I might have missed the phrase. But you can’t think deeply if everything else is peppering in from the outside. And so if you put boundaries down and say this is going to end, then it allows you to really use that time that you have, the time or the focus in a much more effective way.
Richard Matthews 1:17:21
Yeah. And to your point with the whole memento mori thing. I remember it’s something I was just thinking about the other day talking with my wife about it. I was like, I have no desire to die today. I’ve got lots of things I still want to do. But if I compare where I’m at now to where I was six years ago, if I died today, I would die happy.
Melissa Moody 1:17:41
Yeah, I could go deep on this. There’s other thinking about it, too, which is, yeah, I won’t go too far into it. But there’s the other thing, which is literally every single day, we’re dying, you’re losing the time. Gone. So if you do that, there you go.
Richard Matthews 1:17:56
Man, yeah, there’s nothing that shows you that more, at least in my life, watching my kids grow up, my son just came in, he’s working on schoolwork in the other room. He’s 12 years old and I swear, yesterday he was two. But it’s crazy watching them grow up. And at the same time watching my parents grow up as well. And to be in that middle generation, you become very aware of how short life is very quickly.
Melissa Moody 1:18:27
I feel like we’ve created a spin-off, you’ve got a new philosophy podcast, and you’ve got a new parenting podcast.
Richard Matthews 1:18:34
Yeah, probably. And man, I don’t know what it is. But this last year, I’ve had like, I don’t know, a whole handful of friends that we’ve celebrated 40th Birthdays for, I’m like, I’m not ready for that. I’m not ready for my 40th birthday.
Melissa Moody 1:18:48
Oh, you are, it’s gonna be great.
Richard Matthews 1:18:52
Cool. Well, that is basically a wrap on an interview. I think that’s a good place for us to end up. But I do finish every interview with a simple challenge, I call it the hero’s challenge, but I think it might be how you ended up here. And this helps me get access to stories that I might not find on our own. So the question is simple. Do you have someone in your life in your network that you think has a cool entrepreneurial story? Who are they? First names are fine, and why do you think they’ve come to share their story with us here on the hero show? First person that comes to mind for you.
Melissa Moody 1:19:20
Well, that’s a really good question. The person that comes to mind is because I saw her make the leap from a large company. She was with Google with me. She actually went to college together. We are in Google together, and she made the leap to an entrepreneurial journey quite a few years before I did, and I was always looking at her and going wow, that looks so great. How are you doing that? Oh, tell me about everything you’re learning. Her name is Kelly and she founded her own agency that does media and digital strategy. But she’s found a way, kind of like we’ve been talking about, to grow an incredible business, simply with her hard work and her smartness and to balance her life with it. She works remotely out of Bozeman, Montana, and has built an incredible company. So Kelly is definitely a hero story that probably was part of the kick in the pants that got me to jump from a big company to small.
Richard Matthews 1:20:18
Cool, we’ll reach out after the interview and see if we get an introduction to her. They don’t always say yes, but when they do we get some cool stories here on the show. So in comic books, there’s always the crowd of people at the end who are cheering and clapping for their acts of heroism. So as we close our analogous to that is where can people find you if they want your help if they want to gate their email, where can they light up the bat signal, so to speak, and say, hey, Melissa, I would like to get your help and to focus my life. And more importantly, than where is who are the right types of people to reach out and actually do that?
Melissa Moody 1:20:50
Oh, cool. Well, this one’s fun because since my email is Gated, I’m more than happy to share it as broadly as we want. Anyone can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org That’s gated is spelled GATED. And then the website for gated is at Gated.com so you can learn more about what it is and how it works if you’re excited about that. I’m also on LinkedIn. But email is usually the best way to reach me. And who are the people that should reach out, you know, really, if you’re one of those people, where you’ve got things to do with your day, and you have something you’re driving toward, you have something you want to accomplish? But you’re just feeling that constant pain of oh my gosh, there’s so much digital noise coming in, especially to my inbox. Those are exactly the people that I want to talk with. More specifically, it’s overwhelmed marketers, it’s busy executives. This is a tool that is free, and it’s insanely easy to get started. And it’s going to help you actually do all those great things that you’re already working hard to do. So yeah, any of those folks can definitely bring me anytime.
Richard Matthews 1:21:54
Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show today and sharing your story and the story of Gated. It has been a fascinating conversation. I appreciate all the time we got to spend together. Do you have any final words of wisdom for my audience before I hit this stop record button?
Melissa Moody 1:22:08
Oh, no, thanks. It’s been a real pleasure. And I really appreciate how we were able to talk about the business that I’m building but also the person that I am and the things that both of us really hold dear. I think it’s wonderful to have such a good authentic conversation. So thank you for having me.
Richard Matthews 1:22:24
Thank you for being here.
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