Peter Ramsey dropped out of university to pursue Movem in 2013 and has built his company up to a £3m valuation. He was also named by StartUps as one of the top 20 young entrepreneurs to watch in 2017.
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GrowthHackers – Peter’s small business resource
Hooked – Peter’s Top Business Book
Movem – Peter’s website
Connect with Peter on Twitter
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3 Value Bombs
1) There are opportunities to be had in inefficiencies.
2) Be honest about what you do know and what you don’t.
3) Do things that are NOT scalable at first, because these things allow you to learn.
(click the time stamp to jump directly to that point in the episode.)
[00:58] – Peter is 24 and he dropped out of college in 2013
[01:05] – As a teenager, he taught himself web design and created a bunch of different things
[01:35] – Brighton, where Peter lives, is a lot like London
[02:20] – His area of expertise is in prop tech (property technology)
[03:30] – Share something we don’t know about your area of expertise that as Entrepreneurs, we probably should: Property technology can be very inefficient
[04:22] – People are now thinking about the difference between owning a home and being tied to a commitment for years vs. just renting and having flexibility
[05:12] – Owning a home vs renting one depends on what you want to do
[06:34] – Know that there are opportunities in inefficiencies
[07:15] – People got rich from the early days of stock trading because of inefficiencies in the time of buying and selling
[08:42] – Worst Entrepreneurial Moment: Peter’s worst moment was when he was first pitching for investments. He ended up speaking to a company that specialized in technology. Peter walked in with a full sense of confidence until he realized that he didn’t understand the difference between users, hits, and page views
[10:15] – You’ll meet 2 kinds of people: ones that will just say “yes” and ones who will call you out when you’re wrong
[10:35] – Be aware that you have to get your stuff together – preparation is key
[14:33] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: For the first year of Movem, it was just a platform where people could read reviews – like a Trip Advisor for houses. They would receive messages asking if they could talk to the landlord and agents. For a long time they were averse to that idea, but since they’ve spoken to actual users they now realize they can connect tenants and agencies without going through all the stock problems
[16:07] – Entrepreneurial AH-HA Moment: Their ah-ha moment for Movem built up over time. They had tenants on site for their first year. After a few years, they started receiving user requests to speak to the landlords and agents. The ah-ha moment progressed through time by speaking to people, and actually connecting with them
[17:45] – Speaking to your users is not scalable, but you NEED to do it – do things that are NOT scalable in the beginning
[18:45] – What is the one thing you are most FIRED up about today? “We realized that tenants want to learn more about agencies and landlords and the area that they’re moving to… and agencies have the same problem – they want to know about tenants. We’re only a few months away from launching the first ever instant tenant reference”
[19:57] – The Lightning Round
- What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur? – “I think the biggest thing was that we’re told you should work for a company first to know what it’s like”
- What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received? – “Be honest”
- What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success? – “I work every weekend”
- Share an internet resource, like Evernote, with Fire Nation – GrowthHackers
- If you could recommend one book to our listeners, what would it be and why? – Hooked
[24:15] – Practice writing down your ideas
Peter Ramsey: Yeah.
John Lee Dumas: Yes! Peter dropped out of college to pursue Movem in 2013 and has built his company to a $3 million dollar valuation. Startups identified Peter as one of the top 20 young entrepreneurs to watch in 2017. Peter, take a minute, fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us a little glimpse of your personal life.
Peter Ramsey: Dropped out of uni in 2013, and before that, I had kind of taught myself web design. So, I’ve made a bunch of things when was young, like a teenager, so got involved in the sharing of music and videos that got shut down, when that was a craze. Other than that, yeah, Movem’s pretty much my first proper company. So…
John Lee Dumas: Now, you’re in Brighton. We get to hear some seagulls from time to time in the background. How’s the entrepreneurial scene in your neck of the woods?
Peter Ramsey: It’s good, yeah. Brighton, it’s a lot like London, just not quite as busy. But that’s not such a bad thing. It’s only kind of an hour outside London anyway.
John Lee Dumas: Well, I hope you consider coming to Youpreneur Summit in November. I think it’s actually November 11 and 12. I’m keynoting in London. It will be my first time ever there. Myself and Pat Flynn gonna be rocking the stage.
Peter Ramsey: Nice. Have you ever been before?
John Lee Dumas: Never been to London.
Peter Ramsey: Never been to London. Well, it will be a treat for you.
John Lee Dumas: I can’t wait. It will be a blast. But, Peter, this is about you, my friend. So, what I want to talk about is what you consider, here in 2017, your current area of expertise.
Peter Ramsey: Prop tech, which is property kind of technology. So, it’s mostly, you know, the way people kind of engage with renting and like the technology behind that really.
John Lee Dumas: So, maybe let’s get a little more detail. Like, what’s a specific example of what that technology might look like?
Peter Ramsey: Well, how would you go about renting?
John Lee Dumas: I would go to Airbnb and look for a place that goes month-to-month.
Peter Ramsey: Yeah. So, it’s how do they get stuck on that site? How do they know what’s available now, and how do you go through the process of booking? What’s required in terms of like ID and how does that bit work? So, a lot of the stuff we do is about refining and kind of making the whole process more efficient of renting. So, there’s a lot there that I would say I’m most clued up on.
John Lee Dumas: Now, what’s something that we don’t know about prop tech that as entrepreneurs we probably should?
Peter Ramsey: It’s incredibly inefficient. If there are flaws with people phoning tenants to get information they could get over email, but people are too slow to reply, and it’s incredibly inefficient.
John Lee Dumas: Have you heard of the company SmartMove?
Peter Ramsey: I haven’t, no. Is that US-based?
John Lee Dumas: I think they are US-based, that could probably be why. But they’re actually a current sponsor of EOFire. So, they’re investing heavily into the space as well, and it’s basically more about the tenant – not the tenant, actually, but the owner screening the tenants and really having that ability to get a good check back of the tenants financials and past experiences, etc., etc.
So, it was definitely a lot of stuff going on in this world, Fire Nation, when it comes to digital entrepreneurs, and people realizing that, do I really want to buy a home and have a kind of an anchor attached to my leg for potentially the next 15 to 30 years, or, you know, do I want to maybe just rent at a great place, but then gives me this flexibility to move, move, move? And, it’s like, personally, I love the latter. I love the idea of the latter, and if I was in my 20s or 30s, and I wasn’t here in Puerto Rico, that would be something that I would really be looking heavily into. So, I kind of want to put that idea out there, Fire Nation, that owning is not the end-all-be-all. What are your thoughts on that, Peter?
Peter Ramsey: The UK is very similar to the US and everyone wants to own their bit of land, right? That’s like the – what is it? – American dream, I guess.
John Lee Dumas: I think it’s been what we’ve been sold by the NAR, the National Association of Realtors.
Peter Ramsey: I think it depends on what you want to do. If you want to get up and move, and you want to move around like geographically, renting is a lot easier. But if you’re three kids, two dogs, and a really heavy job in maybe purchasing is the better move. But I think that everyone can see that the industry at the moment is super inefficient, and there are so many companies trying to improve small bits of this and that’s because it’s so inefficient. And everyone’s kind of tackling it from a different way. And so, one of the things we’re doing is we’re tackling it from a unique perspective, but there’s plenty, and – Have you heard of Opendoor?
John Lee Dumas: No.
Peter Ramsey: They’re US-based. So, Opendoor, awesome there. They buy houses and then they sell them, but in between buying it and selling it, they do it up and they put keypads on so people can go for viewings 24/7, and they’re smashing it at the moment. So, that’s just an example of people who are improving the efficiency. They’re making viewings easier.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you’ve heard Peter talk about inefficiencies already a number of times during this interview and we’re only about six minutes in, and I think that’s something key to kind of hone in on because it’s so true.
There are so many inefficiencies in this world, I mean, definitely in the niche that Peter’s talking about, but in this world. And that’s really what I want you to pull out of this, is there's opportunities where there’s inefficiencies. That’s arbitrage. That’s where you can come in to like a Toys “R” Us and buy this toy that’s 90 percent discounted because it’s the day after whatever holiday, and then you can go on eBay and actually sell it for its whole price.
That’s called arbitrage because there’s inefficiencies there because Toys “R” Us has way too many of these toys, and somebody on eBay doesn’t have access to Toys “R” Us is willing to pay full price or more, you know, etc., etc. So, think about the inefficiencies in your world, Fire Nation. Look for those arbitrages. There’s where the opportunities lie. So, Peter, what do you want to add to that?
Peter Ramsey: I was gonna say, you know – and just to add a slightly bigger example – people got incredibly rich in the early days of stock trading, and it especially, kind of, high-frequency trading, which is effective like alternated stock trading, just because there is the inefficiency between the moment you buy and sell. And there are people that have made billions out of that. And you can still do it today if you go on – you know, there are automated like Amazon bots that go and buy items when they’re lower than average. And I wouldn’t recommend that, but –
John Lee Dumas: Oh, yeah, we’re not gonna go down that road for sure, Peter. But you are right. And I think what’s interesting too is that these opportunities have time limits; they do expire Fire Nation because when you have Peter and people like Peter in specific industries that are coming in and making these inefficiencies efficient, then guess what? The opportunity becomes less, and less, and less. Just like now, you have these computers that are buying and selling every millisecond. We can’t compete with that. That’s just, I think, that door’s been closed, but there’s other doors that are opening up all the flipping time.
Now, Peter, I want to shift where this interview’s heading and talk about your journey as an entrepreneur. I mean, you don’t get to the place where you’re identified by StartUps as one of the top 20 young entrepreneurs to watch in 2017, you don’t build a business that’s approaching a $3 million valuation – Let’s talk about your worst entrepreneurial moment because you don’t get to where you’re at now without having some struggles, some obstacles, some challenges. Take us to the worst of the worst moment business-wise. Tell us that story.
Peter Ramsey: I mean, I’ve had some pretty shocking moments. I think everyone has. But I’d say the worst for me was we were pitching for investments. So, the first kind of time we went through it, and I’d ended up – I don’t even remember how, but I’d ended up speaking to a company that specializes in ad technology. So, they were delivering adwords to kind of like Google and all these sorts of places. And I ended up walking in there with a kind of false sense of confidence in numbers – and this is one of the earliest pitches I did – And so, I walk in, and as I’m going through the pitch, I realize that I don’t understand the difference between users, and hits, and page views, right?
So, I’ve walked into this ad technology company and said we have something crazy like half a million active users, which they obviously called me out on, and I just have to sit there as I get kind of pulled apart and become more and more aware that I don’t actually know the difference between all these metrics. That was pretty bad.
John Lee Dumas: So, let’s maybe talk about your lesson learned there. I mean, obviously, there is the obvious of know your numbers, know the vocabulary, know the lingo, but let’s dig deeper than that, Pete. What’s something that you truly learned from that that you think would be a valuable lesson for Fire Nation to walk away with?
Peter Ramsey: You’ll meet people that often sit there and just – they know you’re wrong, but they’ll sit there and just kind of nod their heads, and then you’ll also meet people who will 100 percent call you out on everything. And the people who call you out are often the more valuable to be around. But, yeah, know your metrics, but also just kind of be aware that when you’re going in to, especially, pitching, you really have to have your stuff together, and it’s not good enough to have unanswered questions. So, the preparation is so key.
And I just should have made sure I understood what I was reading because Google Analytics puts stuff together in a way that looks one way, but actually people use other tools because it’s quite poor at kind of translating that. So, it’s just, yeah, making sure you’re clued up on what it is you’re reading and you actually understand what you’re saying. Which, I didn’t understand. If I understood, the difference between hits and page views, I wouldn’t have said the things I did.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, surround yourself with people who will call you out from time to time. I mean, you don’t need yes men and yes women just around just all nodding telling you everything’s great, when the house is burning down behind you. You need people who are going to call you on your stuff and make sure that you’re going to become a better person and better entrepreneur, better businessman or woman. So, make that happen.
Now, Peter you’ve had a lot of aha moments. Obviously, you’re arbitrage with Prop Tech, and stuff like that, has been a great idea that you’ve had. But take us to one of those ideas, a specific idea. Tell us the moment that idea actually hatched in your brain. And then, walk us through the steps you took to turn that actual idea into success.
Peter Ramsey: We had tenants on the site the first years, who were kind of reading reviews on accommodation, and their landlords, and agencies, and then, it was only after a few years we started receiving daily requests to speak to the landlord and agent. And so, what we did is we went out and we spoke to the users because every month also we do have these days where we just speak on the phone to them. And there were a couple of these sessions we started realizing that people really wanted the stock side of things, they really wanted to speak to the agent, they weren’t happy just looking. They wanted to go through and actually progress the booking.
So, our aha moment actually progressed over a period of time. It was through speaking to the people that used the site, we kind of had this idea, but it took a long time to manifest itself, I think. I don’t think all these aha moments are always instant. I do think sometimes they take – you know, you have like – a good example, did you ever hear of Million Dollar Pixel?
John Lee Dumas: Never.
Peter Ramsey: Never? It was this guy that had a just normal – it’s worth looking up, it was like early 2000’s, I think. This guy had just a website, and he had a million pixels that he sold, and he sold those to just advertising companies for a dollar. And that was all it was, was just this board of advertisement. And at the time, it worked really well, but that idea might have come through in a moment, but I think the execution of that idea might have taken a lot longer.
John Lee Dumas: So, Fire Nation, speaking to your users, like what? That’s not scalable, that’s not leverageable? Don’t we as entrepreneurs only want to do things that are scalable and leverageable? Now, that’s the whole point, especially when you’re at the beginning stages of building something, you need to do things that don’t scale. You need to have those conversations, those one-on-ones. This is actually pretty relevant to the industry that Peter’s in because it was Airbnb founders that went to their first few users’ homes in New York City and said, hey, can we take pictures?
But that was really a ploy to get into their homes and talk to them about what they liked about Airbnb and what they didn’t like, and they used that to build the future of what Airbnb has become. So, have those one-on-one conversations that aren’t scalable because you will build scale from what you learn from those conversations.
Now, Peter, let’s talk about today. You have a lot of things going on right now, but what’s the one thing that gets you most excited when you wake up in the morning? What are you fired up about business-wise?
Peter Ramsey: So, one of the big things that we’re doing at the moment is we’ve realized that the tenant side of things is kind of more obvious. So, tenants want to learn more about agencies, and landlords, and the area that they’re moving to. Like, you know, if I said to you, what’s the area you live in? You’ll be able to tell me kind of like the place down the road is a good place to drink. But agencies have the same problem; they want to know about tenants. And this we kind of stumbled on, again, like an aha moment, we stumbled on this whole inefficiency of the referencing.
So, long story short, we’re only kind of a few months away from launching the world’s first – well, the first ever that we can find – instant tenant reference, which is gonna save – it’s gonna save like two weeks per tenancy. So, it’s realistic that when this is out, you could apply for a property and be ready to move in kind of two weeks quicker. So, yeah, we’re really fired up about that.
John Lee Dumas: Exciting stuff, Fire Nation, again, that happens when you have these conversations with your users, with those first fired up fans. Now, we’ve been dropping value bombs, more coming in the lightning round when we get back from thanking our sponsors.
Peter, are you ready to rock the lightning rounds?
Peter Ramsey: Yeah, let’s do it.
John Lee Dumas: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
Peter Ramsey: We are kind of told that you should work for a company first and learn what it’s like, and especially that you should work and kind of earn your stripes, in terms of before you break off on your own. And I see it all the time, people breaking off from companies they’ve worked in for kind of five years to do their own thing, but I think that held me back because I hadn’t worked in these companies before.
John Lee Dumas: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Peter Ramsey: Probably just, you know, when you’re approaching these things, just be honest, people will call you out. Don’t try to wing your way to any kind of success. I know people have kind of got famous of saying things like, jump and then work out if you can do it after, and I think that’s really good advice for individual cases of, can you do this, but I don’t think you should be lying to people to try and get there. So, I think just be honest, people are gonna call you out either way.
John Lee Dumas: What’s a personal habit that contributes to your success?
Peter Ramsey: I work pretty much every weekend. So, I don’t really take like a two-day off weekend. So, I work every weekend, but then on the weekends, I’ll structure my day differently so it doesn’t feel like a weekday. So, I’ll do like a bit of work in the morning, and then I’ll do something else outside, exercise, something. And then, in the afternoon, I’ll get back on it. But definitely just like more hours, just like, you know, they’re the hours that most people are just doing nothing. And so, I feel like that’s where I make a lot of progression.
John Lee Dumas: Recommend one internet resource.
Peter Ramsey: Growthhackers.com. This community of people that discuss ways to kind of get more users, and it’s really good. They get people to do AMA’s, like famous kind of companies to do some Ask Me Anything’s.
John Lee Dumas: Oh cool. Recommend one book and share why.
Peter Ramsey: So, something I read like really recently was a book called Hooked by Nir Eyal, I guess that’s how you pronounce his name, but it’s basically – it really goes into why do you want to go and scroll your Facebook again, and sometimes I’ll just be sat or I’ll be in a Lyft and I’ll get Instagram up, but it’s like why do you have that kind of motivation to do that? And often, I find myself scrolling, and I don’t really know why. And this book Hooked is all about how these companies are like manipulating you and it is crazy, like absolutely crazy. But it’s just like odd the way they manage to do it so professionally.
John Lee Dumas: I’m gonna have to read that. I’m hooked on a few things, where I’m just like, if I open this tab one more time, I swear to God.
Peter Ramsey: Yeah, yeah.
John Lee Dumas: Pete, let’s end today on fire with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we’ll say goodbye.
Peter Ramsey: Probably over Twitter, @PeteRamsey.
John Lee Dumas: And a parting piece of guidance.
Peter Ramsey: I used to – well, I still do – carry like a notebook and every day I try and write an idea down, and it’s not an idea in terms of, to do with Movem or what I’m currently doing, but just like an idea for a potential new business. And I think I’ve definitely got a lot better at identifying and progressing these ideas. And it’s just like any other skill, like riding a bike, or learning to play an instrument, I think you just have to practice. So, my advice would be, even if you’re inside a business, even if you’re not ready to start your business yet, or kind of progress with your own thing, just be writing down ideas and then write down under it why it’s a bad idea or why it won’t work because even just thinking about those kind of steps can really help you when you actually do it.
John Lee Dumas: Fire Nation, you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with. You’ve been hanging out PR and JLD today, so keep up the heat. And by the way, that’s JLD in PR, Puerto Rico. So, head over to eofire.com, just type Peter in the search bar and his show notes page will pop up with everything that we’ve been talking about today. These are the best show notes in the biz, time stamps, links galore. And Peter, thank you for sharing your journey with Fire Nation today. For that, we salute you, and we’ll catch you on the flipside.
Peter Ramsey: Cheers.
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