THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST

1702 – The Shifting Industry: Software with Jafton’s Sardor Akhmedov

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) and Co-Owner of Jafton, Sardor Akhmedov.

Akhmedov wide

Jafton has been in the business for ten years, working with various clients, from startups to enterprise clients like Alaska Airlines. Their main focus is on app development, and they have worked on projects for well-known companies such as Kroger and Allbirds.

Sardor shared some examples of the clients they have worked with and the impact they have had. He highlighted their work on mobile apps for companies like Kroger, Allbirds, and Alaska Airlines. But their expertise doesn't stop there. They also excel in staff augmentation, providing designers and developers to existing tech teams.

Sardor expressed his excitement about working with startup clients, creating something new and disruptive in the industry. They are building social media and dating apps that promise to bring innovation to the market. He even mentioned a unique app they developed for dogs, where users can match their dogs with other dogs.

Sardor also shared his advice on choosing a development partner for app development. He warned about the saturated market and advised checking the number of employees listed on a company's LinkedIn profile to ensure they have their talent. He cautioned against over-negotiating, as it can affect the agency's motivation to complete the project.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Overview of Jafton's app development services and clients
  • Discussion of Jafton's work with startups and disruptive apps
  • Trends and advancements in the app development industry, including no code and low code platforms
  • Potential impact of AI on businesses in the next five years
  • Growth strategies and attracting clients for Jafton
  • Advice on choosing a development partner for app development
  • Fastest ways to get in touch with Jafton for project discussions
  • Transparency and documentation practices at Jafton, including call recordings

About Sardor Akhmedov:

Sardor Akhmedov is a prominent serial tech entrepreneur and public speaker known for his multifaceted roles in the tech industry. As the COO and managing partner at Jafton.com and Missed.com, Akhmedov plays a crucial role in these innovative tech companies. Additionally, he is a co-founder of UzbekDiaspora.com, a global nonprofit organization that unites Uzbekistanians living abroad.

Akhmedov's career showcases his commitment to leveraging technology for meaningful impact. His leadership at Jafton.com and Missed.com demonstrates his expertise in managing and scaling tech ventures. Furthermore, his involvement in UzbekDiaspora.com highlights his dedication to fostering connections within the Uzbekistani diaspora community worldwide.

With a reputation for excellence in the tech sector and a commitment to community-building, Sardor Akhmedov continues to be a driving force in the intersection of technology and social impact.

About Jafton:

Jafton is a pioneering tech company known for its core values and innovative approach. Their commitment to transparency fosters trust among clients and team members, enabling clear communication of goals and visions. Speed and quality are paramount at Jafton, especially when collaborating with funded startups, allowing clients to outpace their competitors through rapid and high-quality project development.

Embracing innovation, Jafton consistently incorporates cutting-edge technologies into its projects, ensuring a dynamic and forward-thinking approach. Their curiosity drives them to explore unique solutions for each project, constantly seeking novel ways to develop and innovate. Unlike many companies, Jafton thrives on challenges, viewing them as opportunities for growth and learning, which has been fundamental to their existence.

Collaborating closely with clients, Jafton transforms ideas into reality by guiding them through product development. Their holistic approach encompasses creativity, speed, and a dedication to overcoming challenges, making Jafton a trailblazer in the tech industry.

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Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Jafton website at

https://www.jafton.com/

Check out Jafton on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/company/jafton/

Check out Jafton on Instagram at

https://www.instagram.com/jaftoncom/

Check out Jafton on Twitter at

https://twitter.com/jaftoncom

Check out Jafton on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/jaftoncom/

Check out Sardor Akhmedov on LinkedIn at

https://www.linkedin.com/in/sardor-akhmedov/

Check out Sardor Akhmedov on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/sardor333?mibextid=ZbWKwL

Check out Sardor Akhmedov on Instagram at

https://instagram.com/akhmedov.co?igshid=NTc4MTIwNjQ2YQ==

Check out Sardor Akhmedov on Twitter at

https://twitter.com/akhmedovco?t=ZbqDZGs319Ir-BLijTrJ1A&s=09

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Transcript

Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach, or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now. Sardor Akhmedov, you are the crow and co-owner of Grafton. You're found on the web at com. That's JF t o n Sardor. Thank you so much for joining us.

Sardor (00:01:14) - Of course. Yeah. Thanks for having me Josh.

Josh (00:01:16) - And give do please do give us an overview of the work that you do and the impact you have with Grafton.

Sardor (00:01:21) - Sure. Yes. So I'm the chief revenue officer at JF and I drive everything revenue. And that includes like the sales team marketing team under me. So currently about four people there in my team, but total of we have in the company 120 people that you know, is mainly developers and designers that we have. We've been in business for ten years. I've been a part of the company for four years as a managing partner, and we work with ton of clients, like anywhere from a smaller startup to all the way to enterprise clients like Alaska Airlines. And app development is our main focus. So anything mobile app is us, and you might actually have one of 1 or 2 of the apps that we built on your phone. So yeah.

Josh (00:02:13) - Let's let's do some bragging because you do have some pretty significant clients. And you made the statement. All right. What are some of the or case studies or examples of clients that you've had the opportunity to work with? And then I'd love to maybe pick 1 or 2 of them and talk about, you know, what you were able to create with them.

Sardor (00:02:29) - Sure. Yeah. I mean, if we were to really Namedrop mean, those would be some national names, like Kroger, the grocery chain. We did some work for them. There's Allbirds, the sneakers company, there's Alaska Airlines. Airlines company. Right. These are all like mobile apps that we worked on on either fully or partially. They do some staff augmentation with us as well, by the way, is one of our top categories of service as staff augmentation, where we add in on demand designers and developers to the existing tech teams. Right. Um, so yeah, I'm happy to talk about any of them. What excites me most is actually the startup clients that we have because, you know, corporations is one thing. Yes, they pay very well, but the startup clients are very exciting because they create something new, create something that is, you know, hasn't existed before, you know. Like, right now we're building a couple of very interesting social media or dating apps, you know, that are going to be very much disruptive to the industry.

Josh (00:03:34) - Good. Yeah. From my on behalf of my single friends who are in the day who use a lot of dating apps, please disrupt that industry for sure.

Sardor (00:03:46) - For sure. Yeah, it's definitely been very outdated, although, you know, very competitive space. But I feel like there's a lot of opportunity there. You know, we like released earlier this year an app for a dating app for dogs even, you know, like no kidding. You know, it's not for dog owners. It's actually for dogs like themselves. Right? So you post a picture of your dog and match them with other dogs. It's a very fun app. Yeah.

Josh (00:04:12) - Well, that certainly one that would get some positive buzz. It would get some get some good. It would be easy from a PR standpoint. You know that that's kind of an easy story there. So obviously you know this is what you do and you've been in this world. You know one thing that I really value, you know, in these kinds of conversations is, you know, other business leaders, owners, you know, you've got your ear to the track.

Josh (00:04:39) - This is this is your world what has been going on over the past few years. And, you know, what are some of the most important things that you've observed in your industry of app development that that you think are kind of notable that everyone should be aware of?

Sardor (00:04:54) - Yeah. I mean, one of the things, if we were to go a little more technical is the overall industry is actually shifting right now from like completely custom and from scratch, built coding toward more like constructive and modular building of software and apps, mainly apps. What I mean by that is there's a lot of different platforms for like no code and low code, and those are becoming very, very good at what they can build because like a couple of years ago, you couldn't really build anything advanced on a low code platform. Now you can build a lot of things on those platforms. That's one plus, obviously, the AI has advanced our development speed and the quality because with AI, you know, there's there's this program called copilot, which basically it's it's like autocomplete on your iPhone.

Sardor (00:05:53) - But for your coding and a lot more advanced, like you'll literally start coding and will complete your coding like that. That part of the coding for you. Right. It's like you're.

Josh (00:06:02) - Amazing.

Sardor (00:06:03) - Yeah. And our team is using it. And they say they'll never go back to traditional coding. Right. So a lot of changes in that happened in the last year or two. Right? AI is mainly this year. Low code is mainly, you know, past two years. So a lot of different advancements. So in a nutshell we have accelerated the speed to market and barrier to entry to build an app or any kind of software because it's faster and cheaper now to build those. So if you know five, six, even ten years ago, you could only like afford to build a software if you had like hundreds of thousands of dollars, right now it's a lot more affordable. The barrier to entry is a lot lower.

Josh (00:06:46) - Yeah. You know what's so exciting about this is I think that now when we look at what we can get done with budgets, I think that there's, you know, because of the the cost savings and the streamline things that we could do with no code platforms.

Josh (00:07:01) - And also, again, you're right, um, you know, being able to get an assist from, from I now, you know, whereas I think of me before, you know, owning a SaaS company, um, you know, there was stuff that made the budget and then there's stuff that's like, you know, that's just going to have to be a Q4 thing because we don't have the budget to do this, this and the other thing, whereas now we might.

Sardor (00:07:27) - Exactly. Yeah, it's a lot more affordable. A lot of things are now, you know, when you consider buy versus build, you can actually choose the build route because, you know, it's come down, you know, the speed and the cost.

Josh (00:07:44) - Yeah. What are. You know, when you, you know, talk. You're talking with clients. What are those conversations initially like, let's say maybe they just have some ideas on a board, but they don't have anything fleshed out. They're just like, listen, here's the concept that we want to do.

Josh (00:08:02) - What is that? What does that conversation usually like?

Sardor (00:08:06) - Yeah. So when people come to us at the idea stage, that's totally fine. Depending on the complexity of the idea, we can take one of the two routes, right? If the idea is very simple and we've done it many times, we pull up one of our standard scopes of work that we've created for a similar application that had a similar logic. We go over with them on the discovery call, kind of like, you know, check checking boxes and saying, all right, do you want this? Do you want that right type of thing? And then we can modify certain things. So we do a quick discovery call. We give them a proposal based on the outcome of that discovery call for the next call. So like call number one is an intro. Call number two is a discovery. Scope of work. Call. Call number three is a proposal basically where we give them a timeline and a cost. That's if the app is simple, if the app is very complex and it requires a lot of research and they're not sure what they want to add, what they don't want to add, we offer this new service that we start offering about two years ago called Discovery Phase, where we it's actually not just one discovery call.

Sardor (00:09:10) - It's actually a multiple like up to four week process that is paid. People pay us a deposit and we allocate a whole team that is going to work with them if necessary, do a market research or even, you know, at the very least they'll do like a technical research, feasibility research, and they will be actually scoping out things and a lot of details, creating a mini prototype and all that. And then only after that will we give them a proposal. Right. So all depends on the complexity can range anywhere from one discovery call all the way to like ten discovery calls.

Josh (00:09:48) - Yeah. And where do you see? I mean, given I mean, it's like we're in that, you know, kind of Moore's Law cycle right now where I feel like, you know, so much is accelerated in this world. I wonder what what's going to happen over the next couple of years. I mean, you know, I think it's almost like there's this Excel, there's an acceleration of what we could do.

Josh (00:10:12) - And this is really exciting because I think, again, it's just going to give ultimately it's going to give consumers better experiences. It's going to give consumers and brands the opportunity or, you know, whoever those consumers may be, business owners or whatever. But again, just the you know, where and how we can connect and empower our clients is very, very exciting for sure.

Sardor (00:10:35) - Yeah, I mean, the industry is changing at the fastest pace ever. I think with generative AI, this is going to be the biggest disruptor yet to the industry. I mean, and we're not sleeping on it. We're building our own generative AI product that we're about to launch soon. It's going to be able to build like simple websites in like less than a minute with a couple clicks of a button. And I think that's where the industry is going. I mean, we'll all start with like some generative AI products that are kind of like fast build type of thing. We're still not there where a consumer can fully build software themselves without any agency or an expert interference.

Sardor (00:11:16) - But I feel like in the next five years we're getting there where if hey is going to be able to sustain a conversation with a human and comprehend and understand and document and then produce from that conversation, then it's game over for a lot of businesses. So it's interesting to see where we're going to get go with the next five years. With that, I think it's not you know, it's not a it's definitely a possibility that.

Josh (00:11:45) - Yeah, we'll think about this. Is this does this sound like science fiction to you? It is. Okay. So here's what I want you to do. I want you to build a website. And these are color schemes. This is what we want to do. Here's who our audience is. Here's some of the basic functionalities. Here's kind of the, you know, the psychographic profile. And you just start giving all this information to an AI and it starts building that for you, albeit a website or an app. You know, again, probably a little ways off from that, but I don't think this is inconceivable in our lifetime.

Sardor (00:12:18) - 100%. Yeah. Think it's even like in the next five years, we might definitely see that, which is going to be very disruptive, not only for an agency space, but for any business, because the moment that AI is able to sustain a human like conversation and then process that information and give certain commands to the computer from that, that's it. You know, it definitely is going to the world is not going to be the same anymore.

Josh (00:12:42) - Now. So obviously Jefferson's been able to work with some really great brands as an agency. How have you been able to grow and be able to work with as many clients? Like what? How did you kind of attract that growth or, you know, kind of design that growth?

Josh (00:13:03) - Yeah.

Sardor (00:13:04) - So a little backstory, right? We've been in business for ten years. Four years ago I joined in, you know, to grow the sales of the company and become a partner in here. And my goal was, you know, to scale the company.

Sardor (00:13:17) - Right. Because at a time, my business partner, you had this agency was, you know, about 15 people, you know. It was. It was pretty like a small type of agency, right? It was writing, but it wasn't like, you know, it was not scaling as much because he was trying to do other businesses and different things. Right. So it wasn't a focus. So in 2019, he said, hey, why don't we focus on this business, right? And why don't we actually grow this? Because this is actually a really good business. If we if we focus on it. Right. If we tackle certain challenges because like, you know, consultancy is not an easy business because of the human factor. You have humans on each side. You have clients that are humans and you have the developers. The delivery people are also humans. And, you know, it's a difficult thing. But once we started focusing on this, I took on the sales side of the business and I had knew nothing about sales, you know, was like super green.

Sardor (00:14:13) - And, you know, I'm still young, 25 at the time, I was 21, you know, hasn't even finished the college. I dropped out and it was just tasked with the challenge of like, hey, I need to grow this company. So for about three months I was just sitting trying to make some cold calls, trying to do certain, you know, market research. Nothing helped. Haven't gotten any clients. And then I started slowly figuring out, like the inbound game. So I got us to certain, you know, positioning on the web where we can be found, where you're looking for the service. Right. So instead of like generating demand with outbound, I started actually, you know, positioning ourselves for inbound. And I'll say in certain geographic areas in the US, if you're looking for app development, there's no way you can not come across Jasmine, right? I'll just be able to very much like penetrate the internet, the certain positioning on the internet, on the web, you know, through SEO, through some other ways.

Sardor (00:15:15) - So I positioned ourselves really well for that. And then, you know, it was just a matter of patience sitting there and certain clients just come, you know, even a major company, they'll go and search on the internet, you know, they're not, you know. It's as simple as that, you know? And if you're there when they're searching, if you're on these certain listings, then your position for success. So that's how they found us. And then the rest was just like, you know. Being able to really sell and show your relevant portfolio, get some really good results and gaining people's trust. You know, even at these big corporations, you know, you're dealing with humans and humans buy from humans, right? It's not about the logo or the fancy other things. It's all about like building that trust and connection. And I've been very aggressive with sales. You know, still to this day, if I see a big client, you know, I'll fly out to their town and I'll meet with them in person.

Sardor (00:16:12) - You know, I'll do things that that nine out of ten companies that are talking to will not do. You know. And that's how I stand up. Right. And that's how I was able to land some big clients. You know, I can literally fly in. People were so impressed. You know, like I talked to today in the evening, tomorrow morning, I'm in your town and I'm grabbing lunch with you, you know.

Josh (00:16:33) - Now? Sort of. I was wondering if I could get your advice on, you know, say that someone's listening and they're like, listen, we're thinking about doing it now, next year. And, you know, so, you know, we'd love to maybe kind of begin those early processes. But I think one thing that to me is overwhelming is, you know, kind of picking that development partner, you know, because I think there's a lot of talent out there and it can be overwhelming and certainly it can be rife with peril. Um, as someone who spent a lot of money on developers in my lifetime.

Josh (00:17:08) - You know, it's not a perfect world. It's sometimes it's not a very pretty world. Um, any kind of maybe high level recommendations and, like, yeah, when you're having conversations with app developers, ask them this, do this, don't do that. If they say this, run. If they say this, that's a green flag and any, any kind of things that come immediately to mind.

Sardor (00:17:30) - Yeah. Really good question. So wanting to be kind of aware of even before going on this procurement journey is keep in mind that this is a super penetrated space, super saturated space. And a lot of companies, I call them sales organizations. They're not really agencies that have their own talent. They'll just sales organizations that put a ghost brand, and they put some salespeople or the owners themselves do the sales. And the moment they close the deal, they'll just outsource to another company that they have partnerships with. Right? But they don't really control the the process. They don't have their own developers.

Sardor (00:18:05) - So one of the ways to call that out is if you're talking to a company, definitely go on their LinkedIn and check the list of employees. That's the trick I do all the time. If you see three employees, ask them how many employees they have and if they say, hey, I have like 20 developers or 50 or 100 developers, and then you go on LinkedIn and they have three, you know, there's this owner and two sales guys, you know, because that's how a lot of a lot of brands operate. So that would be a red flag for me right away. Because if you deal with that kind of company, the odds are they're going to fail because they don't control the the process. If you pay them $50,000, they're going to pay somebody in Pakistan or India $25,000. Keep that half to them or more. And then the actual company that's developing it is going to get a lot less. And another rule of thumb is going to the second point is. Do not over negotiate because the less the agency is getting paid.

Sardor (00:19:06) - You know, we're all like in business here. You know, the less motivation they have to complete your project, you know, because they have not just your project, they have other projects as well, right? So that's the second thing because some people are like, oh, I'm just going to like, you know, really go hard on negotiation and bring the price down. And they use different methods for that. And yeah.

Josh (00:19:27) - You can, but you know, it's not like it's kind of going to operate at a loss. They need to maintain their profits. Exactly. Otherwise and even if I yes yes you want to pay a fair price you know.

Sardor (00:19:38) - Yes, exactly. Some owners are not experienced and they'll agree to a price just to close the, the, you know, expenses that they have, you know that month. But then they're just going to regret it and they're going to resent the client and they're not going to deliver good service. You know, I've seen those situations. And then the other one would be.

Sardor (00:19:58) - Look at the tech stack they're using. Mean if you're a technical, you know, if they're using some outdated tech stack, that's a red flag as well. You know, some companies will still use like, I don't know, like some very unknown coding languages. And then what happens is if you end up transferring the code to somebody else. There's going to be problems like, you know, you have to pick the stack that's most common. That's why we use very common stacks like Python on the on the back end. On the front end we use like flutter for mobile. You know, these are like the green flags, you know. So those would be my top three. There's many more. I should probably release a separate video on this. But really look out for that thing. And oh, if you're in the US, try to make sure that at least the owners of the company are in the US and the companies has an entity in the United States, because if you're going to have legal issues and it's not unheard of, you're not going to be able to really go after them if they're completely offshore, if the entities offshore, if you're making a contract, if they don't have a US based LLC, I would never go in business with that kind of company.

Sardor (00:21:05) - It's too risky for me. I would not do that. Um, and there's many other things on on the technical side, depending on how technical you are, you can do an audit of their code. You can really ask them some technical questions on, you know, but for an average consumer that's trying to help, trying to hire a company, those would be the three tips. Check if the company is, you know, actually employing their own staff.

Josh (00:21:34) - Yeah. Solid solid tips. Here is your website to a friend that's been listening to our conversations like, okay, well, I, I want to talk with Sada. I like Sada like I really loved what you have to share. You know, kind of what would be that next step in the process for someone who's been listening and then open to having that conversation?

Sardor (00:21:55) - Sure. Yeah. I mean, the fastest way is to give us a call at (212) 499-0000, and one of our team members will respond and set up an appointment to discuss your project.

Sardor (00:22:08) - Or you can submit a request on the form that we have on the website. If you click on the right top corner to get a free quote, you can submit your information. We can sign an NDA. By the way, you know, we're very big on the privacy and confidentiality. So we will sign a non-disclosure with everybody so that we don't give up your ideas to anybody, because that's concerning to a lot of people. And we also record all of our calls and a copy of recordings are sent to our clients. But yeah, the fastest way would be to call us. Or if you can't call, then just submit a form and you can schedule a meeting right there on the website with one of our specialists.

Josh (00:22:48) - Yeah. Fantastic. All right. Sardor Akhmedov again, co-owner and crew of jazz found on the web at. T o n Sardor. Thank you so much for joining us.

Sardor (00:23:00) - Thanks a lot for having me, Josh.

Josh (00:23:09) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up my influence slash guest.

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