Take breaks and separate yourself from the business when appropriate — especially “after hours.”
Danny Wajcman is the co-founder and Vice President of Sales and Operations at Lucky Orange, the premier service for website optimization and improvement. Based out of Overland Park, Kan., Lucky Orange is a complete suite of tools for website optimization and usability analysis. Using Lucky Orange, you can understand visitor behaviors, diagnose trouble areas in your conversion funnel, determine causes of abandonment, and evaluate your website optimizations to measure successes.
Before joining Lucky Orange, Danny worked as the Director of Client Services at Adknowledge.
Where did the idea for Lucky Orange come from?
The initial idea came from my co-founder, Brian Gruber, who was an independent web developer and designer. As he was developing websites for clients, he wanted a way to better see what people were doing on the websites he was creating and how they interacted with those websites.
It started with basic things like sending mouse locations and movements but evolved to include other tools to help us see the true story of how visitors interact with and use a website.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day involves chatting with customers on our website to answer any questions they may have about the best ways to use Lucky Orange. I also follow up with clients who recently went through the onboarding process to make sure they’re getting the most out of using the tool. I’m also always identifying additional opportunities to scale the business through strategic partnerships and distribution channels.
Most importantly, I try to find some time to work in a game of Pop-A-Shot with Brian to keep our competitive and creative juices going.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The majority of our best features have come directly from our customers telling us how they can use the tool better with specific feature enhancements. They said things like, “We love the recordings feature but want to identify certain behaviors.” We agreed with them, so we built a feature called “behavior tagging” to see the exact recordings of behaviors they were interested in.
When we hear a good idea enough times, we make it a top priority and get it done.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Automation excites me — if I can drop a tool on my website and have it answer questions for me without me having to do anything, that gets me interested.
It’s one of the reasons why we built Lucky Orange and priced it so low. We believe great tools that help people optimize their websites should be easy to use and understand. They shouldn’t be reserved for enterprise companies with enterprise budgets!
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am a self-starter — I think most entrepreneurs are. The hard part is deciding which of your 100 “high-priority” items to do first. The flip side of it, of course, is how do you feel productive on the days you feel unmotivated? I like to ask myself at the end of every day, “What did I do today to make the company better?” This usually helps give retrospective insight on how the day went and how to make tomorrow productive.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
In college, I worked a handful of work-study jobs. One of them was in the school cafeteria, feeding the students who ate meals there on weekends. We often served this dish called “cholent,” which is basically stew meat, potatoes, beans, barley, and some other filler thrown in a big pan and baked in an oven.
It wasn’t the bad smell of this food or the heat burning through the cheap latex gloves that was the problem. It was being sent out to deliver the cart of cholent to the students. In scenes reminiscent of a zombie movie or an injured animal in the fields of Africa, I did not stand a chance against the onslaught of students trying to get their hands on this “hot brown gold” before it was picked clean.
I eventually worked my way up to be head of the kitchen, so I no longer had to be the sacrificial lamb.
Long story short, I learned that there’s a time when we all feel like we have the worst job or role. It is your perseverance to work through it that builds your character and, ultimately, is noticed.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
As any early entrepreneur knows, this is a marathon, not a race. However, what we didn’t know was that we’d also bought a ticket for the biggest emotional rollercoaster. The highs are amazing, and the lows can be crushing.
The only thing I would do differently is remind myself that it isn’t the end when I’m in the “lows.” It’s just an opportunity to make the next opportunity a win by learning from missed opportunities.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Take breaks and separate yourself from the business when appropriate — especially “after hours.” It’s okay to have evening hours that are for you or your family. It’s very easy to keep scanning your phone every five minutes, waiting for an email to come in so you can respond immediately because you think it will impress the recipient. If it’s not immediately actionable or critical, allow yourself not to reply. It’s one of the hardest things to do.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One thing my co-founder, Brian, and I both believe is that any opportunity is worth pursuing and any feature request is worth considering. I think that’s one of the things that has led us to grow as quickly as we have. Our ability to be agile and quickly develop allows our product to be competitive when compared to other tools, but ultimately, more beneficial to the end user as well. We’re not looking for just another user, but a partner who is willing to share feedback and success!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When we first started, we had the opportunity to participate in a large RFP for a government- owned news outlet online that literally had hundreds of millions of visitors.
We worked for days and nights putting together the RFP’s specs and capabilities. We spent a lot of money to get the presentation printed on high-quality paper and bound — the works.
With our RFP, we also sent the company a basket of oranges (since we are Lucky Orange) to express our appreciation for the opportunity to work on the quote.
We felt very excited about the prospect, as if landing the client would validate every decision we’d ever made.
Well, a few days after everything was sent, we were sent an email letting us know the fruit basket had to be destroyed since the company “could not accept any gifts.” A few days after that, we learned we did not win the bid. It was most likely for other reasons, but we like to think the only reason we did not get the business is because they did not like oranges. Perhaps another fruit would have been better.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Someone needs to develop mood ring paint. Imagine a black wall. As you get closer to the wall, the paint senses your body heat and heart rhythms. Then, the black paint instantly changes colors dynamically around you. You could clearly see which people in the room were in a good mood, angry, stressed, or even feeling romantic. Mood ring paint!
Tell us something about you that very few people know?
I’m still not exactly sure how a bitcoin works, how to get one, and why we gave them value — but I’ll take one if anyone is offering!
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
Aside from living inside the Lucky Orange platform, I am kind of boring in terms of software. I have grown to love Excel — words that, at one point, were blasphemy. But pivot tables have turned my world upside down!
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
For business, I’d recommend “Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life” by Spencer Johnson. It’s a great short tale about staying hungry and never settling.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
I like people who help point out the absurdities that we have come to accept in our daily lives. Shows like “The Soup” do it on a surface level. But other shows, like “Penn & Teller: BullSh*t!” or even “South Park,” are very good at taking a somewhat controversial topic, showing both sides of the argument, and debunking common misconceptions.