Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #113

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan joined as ever by Wil Schroder, my friend partner and the Ceo and founder of startups dot com. Well, one of the reasons that, that we, we build companies is so that we can carve out our space in the universe and create some power for ourselves and for the people around us and the change that we want to enforce in the world. But like when did that start for you? When if you go back in time, when did this realization that at some level of power and agency and control mattered in your life? Like how far back in time do you have to go before you have memories of that becoming something that was valuable to you?

Wil Schroter: I think it's easy. I just look back as far as I can possibly remember, It just started there. I gotta tell you if there's one defining characteristic of me or my life my career is I fucking hate being told what to do and you can ask anyone that's ever interacted with me parents, teachers, you know, bosses, et cetera, and they'll give you exactly exactly the same response. It is very clear that I was not meant to um, to be subjected by someone else, but but that's not really my, it wasn't really my biggest concern. It wasn't me just wanting to rage against the machine's so to speak. It was, I hate it and it hates a strong word, I'm gonna use it because it's applicable here. I hated knowing that someone else could define my path, right? And I'm sure almost every founder, I don't see how it couldn't be a founder can relate to this. I think the world can relate to this. You know, we're in a tricky position in the world right now and it has been for a very long time and people are looking to say

Ryan Rutan: I want power,

Wil Schroter: right? And I think over and over because we talked to so many founders and this is a big part of who we are. What we say is if you want power, you can't take it. You have to create it. True power is created. True power is the power that that we make for ourselves and we define our own rules and we define our own outcomes. And I think today would be a great day to really dig into that and talk about how it's affected us, how power can actually be had in a much smaller way than most people remember or can conceive. Um and how it builds and compounds over time

Ryan Rutan: totally agree, man. But let's let's break it down, Let's talk about some of these these actual early experiences were they like

Wil Schroter: where was it

Ryan Rutan: parental rules. Was it was it early jobs? Like go back in time and like what started to give you this sense that like having somebody else determine your destiny even if it was just for a couple of hours, wasn't going to work for you.

Wil Schroter: You know, for me, a broken, almost every place I can conceive. You know, I had just epically shitty childhood. So you sure

Ryan Rutan: you weren't just raging against the machine because it's starting to sound

Wil Schroter: Like, I mean, it's pretty much in my entire life. Um, so if I look back and I'm, you know, pretty transparent about this stuff, I had a very difficult childhood. Um, I had never met my father until I was 11. I went through five divorces with my mother. I was mostly left alone, kind of, you know, to fend for myself as a kid. Uh, none of that leads to, um, hey, someone please tell me how my path is supposed to go because anybody that was kind of in control of it wasn't doing a great job and it frustrated me. It frustrated me so much because I wanted to be able to have things on my own terms and consistently everyone around me was either changing the terms. Like, you go through a divorce and everything changes and you feel powerless, right? Um, or someone else who's defining the terms, say like my teachers or, you know, folks in my life that just didn't work for me. You know, my teachers would say, well, you know, here's the classes that you need to pay more attention to or, or here's the areas that, that you need to be more focused on. And I'm like, I get it. I understand why you're saying it, I just don't feel that way and I was routinely penalized for not playing by other people's rules. And at some point it occurred to me and again, I'm sure everyone else around me, that's just not how I'm built and right, If I gotta be honest, all the people that we talked to, all of these other founders, they're in the same boat, right? This is, there's a pretty consistent path about how we all got here. And if we're, if we love being told what to do by other people, this kind of isn't the job for you. Alright. So before we get into this next topic, I just want to let you know what we talk about here is like 1% of the conversation, you know, really, this conversation is going on all day long online at groups dot startups dot com. Where Ryan and I pretty much talk endlessly with founders about every one of these topics. So if by the end of this discussion, you like the topic and you want to dig into it a little bit more with Ryan and I just had two groups dot startups dot com and we'll pick it up from there.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. And you know, it's, it's interesting because a lot of the lot of the same outcomes, but, you know, different upbringings and we've, we've talked about this before too, but you know, I, I grew up in a, in a stable home, parents, still married. Uh, my father was a foot and ankle surgeon. Um, and so there were very different worries in my life. I I instead had somebody in front of me who was, um, he was controlling, right? I I don't think he did it out of out of malice. I think that he grew up without a father. And so he wanted to be very present in my life. Um, and he wanted to have me on a particular path and and make sure that I grew up to be a fine upstanding young man. But my father and I are very similar in a lot of ways, but we're very different in a lot of ways to, and, and that was where the separation in the two systems in which we would have thrived. We're very, very different. You know, my dad was the guy who went out in the backyard and and through the baseball against the garage Wall four or 500 times a day because he wanted to perfect the technique and I wanted to understand how the baseball was made right? Like I was curious about different things. He was a practice makes permanent type guy and I was like, I want to try all these different shit and those personalities were were often at conflict and we love each other very much. And yet um, I was always asking why when my dad was like, because this is how the system went. Like he I think because lacking a father figure always wanted somebody to give him rules. My dad loves rules. My dad loves procedure. He became a surgeon for christ's sake. Like it's the one thing where like, you don't break the rules, it's not like, you know what, I'm gonna try twisting the scalpel today, I'm gonna see what happens. Like let's just let's just let's just play with it a bit, right? So like it's the one place where you don't get to mess around and so that was very much suited to him. And then I popped out and I was like, well what if we did it this way or what if we did it that way? I distinctly remember a situation where we were building a barn door and it was this, it was a cool moment in time because there was a ton of resistance from my dad because I had this idea about a different way that we could do one aspect of it And he wasn't listening to me and I wasn't willing to give in because I had thought about it enough to know that what I thought was a better idea and I at least wanted him to acknowledge that it was possible. We ended up doing it my way and that was the first time where in my life and this is like 14 or 15 where I had advocated strongly enough and stuck with my guns and said, you know what, I'm just not gonna agree to just do it because this was the way it was done before. Um, and it ended up saving us a bunch of time. Just some funny little carpentry thing that we did that ended up working better. Um that's not really the point. The point is we can end up in these systems that just simply don't work for us because of our personalities, because of the types of things that we want to accomplish. And even at a very young age for you and I both we realized that that system was not only not going to uh kind of suit our personalities and and and get us to where we wanted that it could in fact, even hinder our ability to move forward. And I'm sure you have experiences like that to where not only were you not being propelled in the way that you should people weren't realizing your potential and your capability, but that they were actually stonewalling you.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, I mean, the part of the challenge that I had was that, you know, we were super, super poor, like beyond poor, like no food in the refrigerator pour. And what what pissed me off about that is I didn't make those decisions, right? Those decisions were made for me, those from, you know, my parents made those decisions, they were, you know, kind of left upon me and but but I was at at their behest right for my entire childhood. There's so many things that I wanted to do, that I couldn't do because someone else had determined that this is your station in life and this is what you have to deal with. And it pissed me off. I would love to say that like I was really creative and and happy go lucky and brilliant about it. I wasn't, I was really angry about it. And I think over time, every time that that it came up were like silly stuff. My friends like, hey, can we call, you know, we don't have a home phone, hey, can we come over for a sleepover? No, we don't have any food. Like dude, that stuff adds up, right? And at no point are you just like, that's pretty cool. You're really piste off about it and you keep looking to who's holding you back, right? Like who is telling you that? You can't, you can't have that or you can't do that or who's embarrassing you, right? You know, what is the source of that? And it builds up. And so at some point I started to realize that the only way I was ever going to get out from under this wasn't to rage at my parents or rage at my teachers. It was just at best going to be ineffective and at worst going to actually make my situation more horrible. I just wanted to separate myself. I wanted to emancipate myself from the whole situation and I just want to do things on my own terms. So I found little ways to do it. And this is such a characteristic of, of founders. I was a kid selling candy, right? You know, I'm at the bus stop selling candy, you know, in like fifth grade or whatever. Now, the only difference is we've talked about this before. Everyone else was selling candy because it was fun to do. I was selling candy because I needed to make money so I could eat. So I was very determined. But

Ryan Rutan: the moment

Wil Schroter: I was able to buy lunch with the money that I made on my own dollar through my own efforts, I was the happiest kid ever, right like that. That opened the door for me the moment that happened, I realized because I mean I was like eight or 9 that I could, I could set a path where I don't have to wait for other people to tell me what to do or allow me to do things. And I think once we have that kind of emancipated moments in our minds, it's impossible to come back for him. You know what I mean?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, for sure, once you've achieved that level of freedom and you realize not that it was easy in your situation by any stretch of the imagination. It was difficult. But you realize that the gap between this hugely hugely unsatisfactory situation and feeling trapped and being able to buy your own lunch Was a relatively small gap to cover, what are we talking about? 3-5 bucks, right?

Wil Schroter: It was easy to achieve. Ryan were sold, it wasn't $3-5, it was like a dollar. Come on. Who are you kidding?

Ryan Rutan: True. So yeah. Um you know my my, I think the one of the the interesting places where this happened for me um early on was was was in school. Um and I was look at what everyone, I was fortunate enough or I was unfortunate enough to be homeschooled for a period of time, a fairly significant period of time from first to eighth grade. Um the unfortunate part of that was that everybody looked at us like you know, we were, you know, we were some sort of alien creatures. Um this was in the early 80s, I mean, yeah, that still happens, but I've earned it at this point. I hadn't, there was, there was no reason for that. Um you know, back then it was tend to be people that kind of extreme poles of society who were doing this. Um which my my family just wasn't, we were very kind of middle of the road, middle american family and the uh so you know on the one hand, we we faced a lot of criticism and from that and that was tough. You know, some separation from uh some of the societal norms and all that. Okay,

Wil Schroter: But

Ryan Rutan: I was given agency and freedom in how I approach my education, right? I wasn't told what I had to read, I wasn't told, I mean, certainly there are subjects that you, you kind of follow through road pattern. Mathematics isn't one that you get terribly creative with other than the applications, Right? And we had a lot of fun with that kind of stuff. Um, and I was given a little bit of that power, right? And then I decided I wanted to go to the local high school so that I could play soccer. There was no option at the time, you had to go to school to be able to play on the team. Um, and so in order to get this thing that I wanted this power of being able to play soccer, I had to give up a bunch of other freedoms and I had to go back into their system. And man was that hard for me because all of a sudden I was being forced into subjects that I had already taken. Um, all these weird rules and and zero agency or control over my own education at this point. Um, and I was old enough at that point, right, 14, 15 to be able to look around and go, I'm being told what to do by people that I absolutely don't want to emulate. Right, contrast that with my father who like, I didn't want to be exactly him, but I looked at him and went, that's the kind of person that somebody might want to be and nothing against teachers. Um, but the teachers that were surrounding me, uh were mostly embattled, emblazoned old battleships who were like, so jaded having to put up with with people like me and the rest of my class. Um, they weren't people that you looked at and we're like, I want to be like them, and therefore, these rules that they're imposing on me, all of this, this systematic control that they have placed on me has a great outcome. I'm looking at the outcome and I'm going, I don't want to be a chain smoking person who wears the same shirt three days in a row, like that's not what I want to do with my life. And so it reinforced for me and really reinvigorated that idea that, like, if things are going to turn out the way I want, I'm going to have to be the one who drives that, it's going to be incumbent on me to carve out these little areas of power. These little moments where I do have some agency again, until I can fully create it for myself.

Wil Schroter: You know, I think, you know, Ryan, if I look back as to, you know, where I kind of had that epiphany moment, um where I, I really said, okay, I actually have genuine power to build from, it wasn't when I was selling candy at the bus stop and that was wonderful. But like that was just a preview of kind of what my world could look like someday and just kind of and by the way, no, at no point in my career ever in my life ever has anyone ever said go create some power, right? Stop listening to other people? I've had an entire life that's been nothing. But you're supposed to listen to other people at no point. Did anybody give me the ticket that I actually needed? Which was to say, no, that's actually wrong. The moment you're listening to other people is where you're broken, You were meant to do this, go do this. Just unbelievable how that literally never came up a single time in my life. You're not there.

Ryan Rutan: I got it once just to just to provide one small contrast and kind of the exception that proves the rule because to your point like this typically doesn't happen. And it should, it absolutely should right. We should be told by people that we have this ability that we have this capability, go seek some power, take control of yourself, be self reliant. I had it happened exactly once uh dr neely Ben deputy who I believe, you know as well. Um you know now the dean of a university um at the time I was in the marketing department. Ohio state post graduation for me um had just sold the company and was getting a lot of advice from the academic system that I needed to then go pursue my M. B. A. And I remember she she sat me down and said I'll write you a wonderful recommendation letter um um and help you get into whichever masters program you want. She's like, but I want you to tell me why that's the right path for you. She's like you've just successfully built a company, you successfully sold the company, you've really enjoyed the experience. Um You tell me you want to go in and do more of these things if you go and get your NBA now is that going to propel what you're doing or is that going to delay what you're doing by several years? And are you going to give yourself a raise once you have the N. B. A. And I went, mm hmm. Probably not. She said so stop listening to what everybody else is telling you to do because that's their path. That's what they understand, that's the success. They know how to create. She's like you know how to create success for yourself Go do more of that. And I'm so glad she said that because had she not, she was the one dissenting voice and luckily I listened to her as opposed to the I don't know, probably 3040 other voices at the same time who were giving me exactly the contrary approach.

Wil Schroter: But I think you know the bigger issue was that it took me kind of taking my own steps on my own path in order to come up, you know, to realize that there was actually an opportunity to have my own power. Now, here's the interesting part, not only did no one tell me that I should even consider this, no one ever told me and we're telling people now how little it took to get it. Here's my example. When I first left college, when I dropped out of college, I started a digital marketing agency. This is like end of 93, going into 94 When no one knew what the hell the Internet was didn't matter, but here's what happened for the first few years. It went horribly. I mean, not horribly like the agency was bad, just the way startups go, I didn't know any better. I'm like, okay, we're losing money. Like all of our money is going towards like staff of course and our dial up internet connection and our 28 K modem, right? Like, like the, the costs were kind of just eating away at everything and I was just going more broke. Well that didn't feel very emancipating. So like out of the Gates, if you were to send. So like this is really bad advice, but after a couple of years of just kind of just going headlong into this thing, we made a little bit of money, not a lot of bit of money and I'm not even just being humble about it. I mean like I think I made hundreds of dollars in profit, right? Yeah. But I look back And I'd realized it was the most important hundreds of dollars and I think we're talking $500 that I ever made in my life, right? Because a couple all of a sudden locked into place for the, for the first time in my life, I knew that I could survive long enough this thing, this this business that was enabling me to go on my own path and kind of create my own power. The second thing I realized was it wasn't a ton of dough, Like $500 to me at the time, right? I'm still in college, mind you, or I guess I dropped out. So, but I'm, I'm of college age, $500 to me at that time was enough to pay my rent, My utilities didn't own a car and uh and put enough beef, a roni that I could, you know, eat for the entire month, which to be fair, I freaking love beef, a roni. Uh and so I still eat like a 10 year old to this day. Um and so, but but that was enough. I remember sitting in my apartment eating my beef, a roni with a huge smile on my face being like, you know, at this rate, I could do this for the rest of my life And no one can tell me ship and I gotta tell you Having spent the previous 20 plus years being shipped on. It was the greatest feeling I've ever felt. It was $500. Now. A lot of people will say, well you can get a job and get $500. True, but that's not the point

Ryan Rutan: more.

Wil Schroter: Exactly, yeah, you can get fired from that job, not that your company can't go out of business, etcetera. But all I cared about. And I'm sure it's folks listening to this, all they care about isn't how much money it was. It was what terms it came with because all of a sudden I could wake up and say, hey, my life's going to be hell insane hours, I'm going to have so much stress, etcetera. But the only thing I really care about As you said is that I have 100% agency over how my day goes. I don't care if I, if I fail, but it's on my terms, I I'm happy with that failure. As happy as you can be in failure. But if, if I have to succeed on someone else's terms, I'm not down with that at all. And I realized at that point I never will be And it was $500 that separated me from having all the agency and all the power that I would need going forward. And I think that's, that's an important critical milestone for folks. You know, by the way I just want to mention if what we're talking about today sounds like the kind of discussion, you wish you were having more often, you actually can, you know, we're online all day every day, working through exactly these types of topics with founders, just like you, so any question you would have, or maybe some problem you just want to work through, we're here and we love this stuff and we're easy to find, you know, head over to groups dot startups dot com and let's just start talking.

Ryan Rutan: It is, yeah, I, I always refer to it as the escape velocity, right? And it changes over time, right? If you've got a family and, and, and three kids, your escape velocity is going to be More than $500 in all likelihood, right? But it's relative because your ability to earn at that point, your experience is probably quite different. Um, you and I both have stories about working for food quite literally, we traded digital services for tabs at restaurants back in the day, right? And man, that was empowering because like that was what it was like one of the biggest expenses, right? Like you had your, your, your rent, um, you could always find free beer somewhere. Um, but food was harder to come by, right? So like having that tab went a long way. Um, and so hitting that point where you reach escape velocity and you realize that it's not just a one time thing. And I think that's another important caveat here is that you understand I did it and I can repeat it and I want to keep repeating it now because it feels so good to know that now you're in your system, You get to define the rules, you get to define success and failure. And like to your point, if you fail, it feels way better, right? Like we've both failed at startup companies, right? It feels very different than being fired from a job, right? It's not the same thing that type of failure where you had control, right? If you drive the ship onto the rocks and the whole thing goes down at least you got to drive a boat. That's fun, right? Going to work for somebody else. Being told what to do under what conditions, what capture pay has, how, how important you can become in life is not something I'm willing to tolerate. I know it's not something you're willing to tolerate. I'd argue that most founders are unwilling to tolerate that. But the moment at which they become empowered to actually act on. That comes from these tiny, tiny little steps, right? It's that $500 moment where it's like I'm beef a roni for the next three months, which means I've got at least three months of beef. A roni runway to get this ship off the ground. I can make something happen in that amount of time and that is incredibly powerful.

Wil Schroter: You know, I remember walking out of my first venture capital pitch. Uh, this is again around the same time, circa 94 95. Um, really early on. I had no idea what I was doing whatsoever. I remember walking out of the pitch and it went horribly. I had no idea. They, I think I told you this before. They asked me uh, expenses were like a pro form of income statement. And I handed him a half sheet uh, from Microsoft word of how much I owed my roommate, How much my rent was my, my beef, a roni tab, you know, whatever.

Ryan Rutan: Was there some beef a roni smeared on the sheet of paper that you handed them?

Wil Schroter: I'm sure there was and I mean right, there might have been eight Line items on the entire thing just like bulleted out. It wasn't even projected over a month this year. These are my expenses. That's what you want to know, right? And they just laughed. They thought it was hilarious, right? But I remember walking out of that, that meeting and thinking to myself, the problem isn't that they won't give me money. The problem is that I need them at all in what I was trying to solve for, wasn't what they could or couldn't give me or do for me or enable me to do. It was I didn't want them in my path at all. Like my whole

Ryan Rutan: keeper, nobody wants to get

Wil Schroter: Yeah. So again, I didn't I didn't look at the problem is back, I looked at as I don't I don't want gatekeepers at all, right? And and banks wouldn't lend to me, Okay. I don't want you as a gatekeeper, right? The only keeper, I want our customers who they're going to buy from me. They're not gonna buy for me, right? And that's up to me, right? You know, that's that's up to my my power to sell my power to create a compelling product. And so long as customers are saying, yes, and those, let's face it, those are the gatekeepers of the world. Um, then I've got this, this whole new world that opens up where I'm self reliant? Like I didn't, I didn't want to have anybody that told me what I could or couldn't do. All my focus at that moment was how do I become a self reliant? And once I got down that path and had that mentality, it changed everything because from that point, no one could stop me. And I think when I hear founders and they're saying, oh, you know, investors won't invest in me, I'm like, I get it and that it's a huge problem been there. But what if the investor is investing in you isn't really what you should be focused on, right? You know what if that person being the gatekeeper to your world is the wrong focal point. And and and I think that starts to open up some doors. Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: and we've we've talked about that right being able to lean back and have that perspective and understand why am I doing this right? Go back to my analogy around why am I seeking the M. B. A. So that I can make more money? Except that I wanted to make the money myself. I wasn't gonna be able to give myself a raise because I had an M. B. A. Wasn't going to change things for me. Taking on investment dollars may accelerate, things may not, but it certainly changes the outcome, right? It certainly changes the available outcomes. We've done an entire podcast on this around how taking on capitol changes how you get to define success because you no longer get to fully define what that success looks like, right? You have to have certain multiples to make this a viable outcome for the investors. The self reliance piece is so important for me. And if you've never read the book, it's, it's fantastic. Um, and for me it was more a reflection of qualities that I realized I had already started to embody and, and, and things in life that I had already really started to appreciate um, at that moment when I became self reliant and I'm going back to a moment, like the one that you described where I think it was at the point where I had sold like my, my third website, um, that one was more of a development project than than than than a site. But I realized that I had hit that escape velocity and that it was repeatable, that I could actually just like pick up the fuck but date myself, pick up the phone book, right? And find more people that would give me money for doing work. So I knew I could continue this right? A couple of really, really interesting things happened to that in that moment, right? Yes. I felt the power right? But the self reliance piece, the fact that that power wasn't handed to me. I didn't use syrup or take it from somebody else gave me this incredible sense of inner peace and for a 20 year old, that was a lot to deal with, right? Like all of a sudden I didn't fully comprehend exactly how powerful that was. But the amount of satisfaction that I took away from knowing that I had achieved that velocity and that I now could define my path and the path of the people that worked for me, the people, the people that were surrounding me, who I was paying for right now, I had the power right? I gave them their own agency within the things that they were doing, but like I was at least creating a better situation for them. It was insanely, insanely satisfying and to know that I could now enjoy my work that much more right? I don't know if you remember that moment in time yourself, but I distinctly remember that 3rd and 4th project and no longer having any fear that there would be 1/5 or sixth or 1/7 right? That like, this might be the last money we ever make, Oh my God, we gotta, we gotta make sure this works all of a sudden this confidence came that this was repeatable, that I had escaped that this was now my system and I began to enjoy the work so much more. And in a way that I was releasing what I felt was like my own gift, my genius, my talents into the world, and that was creating power for me and holy sh it was that like a huge moment in time for me and the moment at which I realized there was no going back, I was never going to turn around and say, actually, what were those other alternatives? I could go, uh let's let's do the N B A. And I'll go to work for Deloitte never even crossed my mind, Right? That was that point at which it crystallized that this was how I was going to carve whatever space I created in the world. And it was so incredible,

Wil Schroter: you know, it's interesting though, because once you, you start to get self reliant, the next thing that naturally happens with what we do is founders is you start to bring other people into your orbit, right? You know, you start to say, hey, uh, if I can do this, what if other people could do it with me. And so what started to get really interesting for me is the first time I made a true full time hire. This didn't happen with contractors, but when I made a true full time hire, this person's only job was to focus on what we were doing. This magical thing happened all of a sudden, I could take rules away all of a sudden. I could say this person would say, well, here's what I did at my last job and here is where my constraints and I could just say, but they're gone, right? I could say these are no longer part of your world. And I realized that for the first time in my life, I could create a world that other people would live in, right, without all of the constraints, without all the assumptions and everything else that had held me back. In the moment. I realized that the moment it started, the wheels started to turn off to the races, right? I was like, oh my God, there's no stopping me. Because now, not only can I control, you know, to the extent that I, anybody can my own life, but now I can create an environment that takes all this stuff off the table for everyone else. And so what did I do? I went out and hired all the misfits, just like me that would normally never be employable in a, in a typical situation and just said, let's go run. I wanted anarchy, I mean kind about its core. Uh and I wanted to reflect all of the bullshit that I had to deal with and then something really interesting happened, all those folks did the same and this thing started to roll, this train started to leave the station and nothing could stop it. And I learned, it's not just about, it's about compounding power, setting your own terms that other people can set their terms. And I think that's the core of what I started to see happening. You know what I mean? Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: there's there's there's nothing really more powerful than having and I think it comes from having escaped a situation where you felt powerless, right? Where you didn't have the agency that you wanted um that you realize you you you want to create that for, for the people who end up working with for or around you, right? It's the treehouse you didn't have as a kid, right? You want to build that you want to build that for them. Um and and I think that's really, it's really empowering as the founder. Um I think in most cases it's it's really appreciated as the people who are coming into that system now, of course, like um much like you, I was hiring misfits, um most of whom had had only ever been fired after like before, even like earning their first entire paycheck um by establishments that had pretty low barriers to entry. Um And so I don't know that they had the full appreciation early on for how how good things were and how different it was. Um but you could definitely tell that there was a level of freedom there that they felt alright. I don't know that they fully understood what a gift that was and we've, we've talked about this before um where you know, if it's your first job ever, you have nothing to compare it to, right? Um but in this, in this case, you know, a lot of these folks have worked elsewhere um and certainly as things progressed and and I started to to hire more more mature individuals, people with more experience that actually aligned with the things that I needed, um you really got to see that like it was the way I never have to put on a stupid Hawaiian shirt on on friday ever again in my life and like never, never again, well at least not here. Um and so yeah, that the compounding power is, is really something that's important to a startup in particular. Um whereas I think you can get away without it and and certainly corporations do because they don't empower people in most cases, if you've ever walked through and I'll pick on somebody now if you've ever walked through the, the hallowed halls of nationwide insurance and any of their towers and I have um not a lot of people sitting around looking empowered and happy and, and and having full agency over their days, right? Um that's just the reality of how that's built. But the power that you get from this compounding power in the startup is really the fuel that drives it, right? You use the word anarchy. Um and to some degree that that that's true. It like there's there's some control to it, but it's, it's that sense that now we're free to go and fight the way we want to fight, whatever the fight that we want to fight is. Um and the ability to use that to rally the troops, particularly those early stages was insanely powerful, right? It's like, hey, who wants to stay up until midnight and like let's knock this project out so we can start on that other one that we really want to get to next week. And everybody's like, yeah, let's do that. Let's order some pizza. Imagine trying that in most corporate environments. Let's try that at 6 30. Who wants to stay here until midnight? You're like, oh shit, you're already gone, right? It doesn't work the same way, right? So yeah, it's, it's, it's incredibly powerful. Um and the fact that this starts with these tiny little moments Like that 1st $5 empowerment where where you, you earned your lunch money and that $500 empowerment where you realized that you had escaped and build your own system that you could now define and survive in is fucking incredible.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, I agree. And listen for me, uh it has always been and will continue to be, I'm not interested in changing the powers that be right at all. I'm interested in creating my own power so that I don't need them at all. It's why we don't have investors, right? It's why we don't have single clients that can tell us what to do. It's why we don't have so many structures that inherently are reflection of my 40 plus years of always being told, you know, you can't do this. And I think for folks that are listening, many of whom are founders already, some of the folks that are listening are actually um you know, considering being founders, what we have, what we create is the greatest emancipation that we could possibly have, that we have full agency and control over right? We get to define every aspect of our world and more importantly, we get them, then go on and create this emancipation or power for millions of other people, potentially. I mean, Ryan, that's what we do daily. We literally help other people, We empower them to go build their own worlds under the terms that they care about in a world that they care about and how they care about it. And if I were to say there's anything more important right now, then then then finding and building this power, it's figuring out how to create it for yourself and extend it to the world. Alright, so that was fun. But let's actually keep this conversation going. You've heard what we think about this, but you know, Ryan and I would really like to hear what you think and we're online like all day long, pretty much talking about every startup topic you could think of from fundraising, the customer acquisition to just really how to get all of this crazy startup stuff out of your head. And there's tons of other founders just like you, they're weighing in on these topics so you'll get a chance to just hang out and meet some really smart founders were also super, super easy to find. You head over to groups dot startups dot com and let Ryan and I hear what's on your mind, let's get to know each other a little bit and let's just start having more of these conversations

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