Awesome Motive gets its Groove on

On 30th Jan 2024, Syed Balkhi announced on WPBeginner that he had invested in GrooveHQ.

This excited me for three reasons:

  1. I love Groove, we used it for ZBS CRM and I even wrote a connector for it.
  2. I’m actually a fan of Awesome Motive’s products, having used plenty and even written CRM extensions for OptinMonster and MemberMouse.
  3. My UK WordPress friends Chris & Richard (HeroThemes) joined the WPBeginner Growth Fund last year – I’ve heard great things about the mastermind program.

Syed Balkhi (Awesome Motive CEO) was so kind to spare some time answering some questions I had and shared some great advice about how he keeps on top of everything. He also shared what advice he has for creators who have aspirations to follow in his footsteps. Here’s what I asked him

Groove joins a WordPress fund – are plugins on the way?

We will certainly have integration plugins for WP eCommerce solutions to make it easy for customers. More WordPress plugins like this. The WPBeginner Growth Fund started off focusing on WordPress businesses but expanded as opportunities arose – I invest in more than just WordPress businesses now. 

Awesome Motive has over 40 brands (either owned or invested in) – how do you do it?

I am appreciative of everyone who gives me so much credit and think that I am a superhuman who can run all these businesses, stay on top of everything day to day, etc. But the reality is that I am not a superhuman.

I am a blogger (content creator) who turned into an investor over time because I pay attention to what users really need vs. what the noise in the market is. 

I think one thing people don’t easily see from outside is that all our companies are independently run (no shared teams). They are totally separate companies. 

The only thing common is that I have an investment stake in it. That’s all. When I partner / invest in a company, the biggest change is focus on fundamentals. Listening to users and giving them what they need (no shiny object : distractions).

I truly believe that you can’t build solutions to solve problems that you don’t fully understand and I want us to be focused on understanding the users pain point.

I truly believe that you can’t build solutions to solve problems that you don’t fully understand.


Groove is similar to Heroic Inbox – is there a conflict there? 

All investments are independant and operate independently with their respective founders / leadership. My job is to give strategic guidance and input.

Heroic Inbox is shaping up to be a great product. Recently HeroThemes also launched their AI features too. I expect great things there as well. Check out the new AI features to help you support your users.

Those that want a self hosted help desk would undoubtedly prefer Heroic Inbox. Others who want an affordable cloud solution will use Groove.

We had similar with ZBS CRM being acquired by Automattic and a few months later Salesforce (a cloud based CRM) invested in Automattic – it’s interesting to see that both cloud and self-hosted can co-exist and run synergies from one another

How do you stay sane when people throw shade?

An unfortunate part of being online is that you will always be subject to trolls / hate. At any time you can choose to focus on the positives … or let others hate / attacks / lies ruin your day. I choose to focus my energy on the positives / truths because that’s how I can make the maximum positive impact in the world. I know what we are doing is making a real difference in people’s lives. 

Matt Mullenweg has been getting a lot of unfair criticism especially considering the positive impact he has had in the open source world and in so many lives including mine. 

It’s not healthy for the community, or the WP project to have this level of toxicity. Anyone who deeply cares about WordPress needs to embrace positivity.

I tweeted about this unfairness recently too. It’s unfair and paints WordPress in a bad light.

Thanks again Syed for taking the time to answer my questions and it’s great to see someone who started out just with content creation go on to do great things and now be involved in so many products that help businesses succeed.

If you want to learn more about Syed – I’d highly recommend checking out his year in review posts. Reading his year in review post inspired me to publish my own year in review after a 5 year hiatus. You can also learn more about Awesome Motive here.

Did you write a year in review for 2023? Drop a comment below with a link to it and if you’ve liked this post please do share this interview with your friends.


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