Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #136

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to the episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan joined as always by Wil Schroder, my friend and the founder and ceo of startups dot com today, we're also joined by a bunch of people in a live studio audience, which is a new one for us. So we're gonna see how this goes. Hopefully they'll all be very polite and quiet and only ask questions when called upon. We'll see, we'll see. So look today, uh you know, as part of our 100 hour work week, this week will and I are sneaking in this podcast, uh that's all about exactly what a bunch of bullshit having 100 hour work week is. Um you know, it's a good thing Gary V is still with us because if he wasn't, he'd be spinning in his grave right now because we're about to trod all over his entire stick with without further ado will, why don't we talk about, you know, hustle porn and how it's invaded startup founder culture and why we don't necessarily think it's the best thing for everybody,

Wil Schroter: It's literally my entire twitter feed at this point, my entire twitter feed everybody telling me how much they're crushing it and how many hours they're working and how their company is working so hard, which is great, like I dig it, I dig people working hard uh and I appreciate I've done 100 hour weeks Ryan, you have to, but I think we've gotten to the point where now we're just glorifying the work, right? And it's like, again, there's, we've developed this whole hustle porn mentality where like we're all like high fiving each other, like getting the ultimate participation awards for how much we're working. And I gotta tell you like Having done both sides, having done 100 hour weeks in the 900 hour weeks, I got the same stuff done. Yeah, it's

Ryan Rutan: A thing, it turns out the meaningful outcomes from that tend to be about the same whether you did 40 hours or 100 hours. Um, and that just maps back to how much time we can actually spend productively in a week.

Wil Schroter: All right. 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. Well, 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 startups dot com and we'll pick it up from there. It's a lot of things. I think one it sets the wrong tone because a lot of this comes from the founders, right? And I think that's part of the problem. The founders set this tone that we've got to, you know, kill ourselves and work so hard. And this isn't about hard work. It's about this excessive nuance of hard work, right? That it's, it's Elon must telling all his people that we have to work, you know, nights and weekends forever in order to make this company successful and it's like, look, there's a time and a place to buckle up, right? Like there is, right? Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: we've definitely pulled our share of overnighters even post enlightenment around this, right? But those are few and far between.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. The thing that bothers me though, Ryan is like, I hear these entrepreneurs talking about how they're, they're, they're killing and all these things and I'm like, dude, what did you actually get done? I mean like I understand the work part, but like your startup is no further ahead. And um, and I think, I think we've just gotten into this, this goofy celebration of um, the effort and like I said, it feels like this weird like reminiscent participation award, like, you know, I showed up and therefore I should be rewarded. And it's like, that's not what this is about if you're spending 100 hours a week and you still can't get shipped done. There's something wrong with your week. Exactly. Okay. You know what I mean? For

Ryan Rutan: sure. Yeah. And, and again, like I think in the absence of having other amazing things to talk about, you know, as we we've talked about on numerous their podcasts, this is a marathon, right? You know what's not really fun to watch all of the marathon, right? I enjoy watching people run across the finish line. That's cool. But like watching all of the marathon isn't necessarily that exciting for third party viewers, right? So there is this desire to be able to share what we're going through and have people have some understanding. And I think that one of the challenges, one of the places that's come from for a lot of founders is that in absence of this, they don't have much else to talk about that other people can relate to, Right? We, we've, we've stumbled across this in a number of ways. Well, where we just don't see founders sharing meaningful stuff in their social media, for example, because most of it's irrelevant to their social circle right outside of the other people who are in fact founders, there just isn't a lot for people to glom onto there and say, oh, I get this right. These tiny little, you know, seemingly meaningless milestones to anybody outside the business are really impactful to us as founders, but they don't make for good social snippets. Right? So the one thing that other people can relate to is this total Input of time, right? Oh, wow, you're working 100 hours a week. Um, the one that I usually get feedback on this is like when I say stuff like that, people are like, um, am I supposed to feel sorry for you, this is a self inflicted wound, right? You chose this path, right? The same thing we get all the time as founders, Whenever we talk about how difficult our lives are there like, but you picked this right? You chose this life. Yeah, yes and no. Um this life chose me nothing I can do about it

Wil Schroter: right From my standpoint, here's, here's where I start and I think this is where a lot of folks kind of um where this argument breaks down or a lot of folks go the wrong direction. The idea is if I'm working nights and weekends, I must be super dedicated, right, and therefore I should should be applied. My investors should be excited because I mean we're working all these hours, right, My employees should be inspired because you know, we're working all these hours

Ryan Rutan: and

Wil Schroter: at a high level that makes sense, who doesn't love dedication? Here's where it breaks. It breaks because the moment someone steps in and says, okay, show me the word, Show me what 100 hours looks like for you. Show me every hour, let's let's let's throw it on a spreadsheet and let's look at every hour you spend, here's a couple of things that never hold up. I know this because I did it to myself for years and I can tell you firsthand it didn't hold up, It is impossible to have 100 hours or whatever your hours are, could be 80 hours, whatever of nonstop output, right? You can have input, you spent time doing shit. But the output where stuff comes out the other side and you actually have productivity to show for it is so rare, I'll give you an example I have on a good day, 2-3 hours of actual true output time where I sit down and I get something meaningful done on a good day, right? And you know, Ryan, you've worked with me for a long time, like like I'm pretty high output person, but then you gotta ask yourself, I spend 12 hours a day, right? I wake up at five a.m. Today we woke up at 3 45 but that's a different story.

Ryan Rutan: Yes, you did. Which by the way, in my time zone is 1:35 so the messages are not all that welcome, I'm not bragging

Wil Schroter: About it, I just couldn't sleep. Um but I put it in 12 hours a day, right? But I don't have to, which is to say if I were to break down and I have, I don't want to go into this. If I were to break down the actual hours that I will have spent today on what was productive, You know, it's funny, this is it all the folks listening right now, this is probably gonna be my one hour useful time. The rest of the time was fairly shitty if I'm being honest. Um So what we're really talking about is, how many useful hours do you have in a day? We're talking about peak performance, peak creativity, peak, whatever it is that you do And it's typically 2 - three. What happens to the rest of the hours? Right? Like they were spent. It's just like

Ryan Rutan: your facebook budget, right? It'll always all get spent most of its not all that useful.

Wil Schroter: No, I agree. From my standpoint when I think about, hey, I'm a pretty high output person. I kind of know what I'm doing. I've been at this for a long time and that's as many hours as I have want to hear somebody else telling me, Hey, I put in 16 hours today, scratch my head. Like what the hell did you do? And so I started asking myself the same question, right? I was putting in insane hours And Ryan, if you recall this was right around the time you and I both had our daughter's right? And we couldn't spend more hours, right? All of a sudden at 6:00, we had to go somewhere right. Like

Ryan Rutan: it was like the streetlights came on, we had to go

Wil Schroter: back, right. Exactly. So for the first time, all the hours weren't free. Like we couldn't just spend as many hours as we wanted to, right? And so for the first time I actually had to go in and say, Damn, like I have to be somewhere at 6:00. I just can't work six more hours. So what am I actually getting done. So I took the time and I put everything into a spreadsheet. I started basically time tracking all of my time.

Ryan Rutan: We actually did this. So for everybody listening will and I did this and and quite militantly we had spreadsheets where we tracked what the hours of input were, what types of tasks we're working on different times a day and where we got the best productivity from those and we both found some really, really interesting things. And what do we do that for 2, 3 weeks? The journaling

Wil Schroter: long

Ryan Rutan: enough that it was depressing for helpful. Yeah,

Wil Schroter: so here's what we found. It turns out uh kind of like that that concept of the fish will go to the size of its fish bowl.

Ryan Rutan: If you give

Wil Schroter: yourself more hours you'll just spend more hours, right? But like anything else, if you can strain your hours you'll just lop off the stuff that's least productive. Right? And so what happened was, we started to look at our days and we said how much time is spent on slack on email this before, slack on chat in that case. Um and meetings and all this stuff and it turned out that the bulk of our time Ryan, if you recall, it was just bullshit. I said definitely we didn't need it, we actually didn't need it, which I thought was interesting.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, it was that was the thing. So it was like as you move down, that hierarchy of tasks, there were certainly things that were really high value than there were things where there was kind of marginal value added and then it turned out that some of that stuff if I just didn't do it, nothing changed. Right? A lot of that were things like responding to meeting requests, right? I just started ignoring some of the meeting requests and if people didn't invite me again and again, I assumed they figured out whatever the hell it was without me even better. Right? Email response, right? I used to think that it was my personal job in life to respond to every email that came into me turns out it's not right. I didn't ask for those emails. I didn't need to respond to those folks. So just cutting out some of the stuff that just it was just absolute time wasting, right? And what originally the thought was, look will identify things that we can cut out right, We can compress time down and not all of it will fit, but some of it will still need to get done and therefore we can we can source it to somebody else, right? A v A can do it. You know, somebody else on the team can do it. I was amazed at how many things just got cut completely and just never came back right? I thought there would be a larger number of tasks that still had value, still need to get done. But somebody else could do them. And yes, there were tasks like that. But the vast majority of things that got cut off my plate got cut off the menu entirely. That was really, really interesting to see.

Wil Schroter: It also forced you to prioritize which is the key to this, right? Um if you give yourself 16 hours, you'll spend 16 hours doing ship. If you give yourself six hours, you'll spend six hours doing ship, right? It's amazing how the constraint is helpful. You know the cool use of that extra 6-8 hours is sleep sleeping,

Ryan Rutan: but it's time with your sleeping

Wil Schroter: clear. Like whatever else man, like, like, but the whole point is you can't keep pace at that rate. It just, it doesn't work. You know what I

Ryan Rutan: mean? It doesn't, you're, you're constantly depleting the tank at that point and you're gonna get diminishing returns. Like maybe every once in a while I can pull 100 hour week if really necessary. Like the virtual acquisition, right? It's the one I always go back to and that was the last time that was really that level of gargantuan effort and time was required and that's because it was actually required,

Wil Schroter: the universe

Ryan Rutan: demanded, there's no, we were doing diligence. We were trying to de facto run the company um figure out if we even wanted to buy it, let alone, can we? Um and we've talked about it before, So I need to go into details, but that was really the last time. I can remember that that level of output was required, right? It's not the last time I did it, but it was the last time when I look back and go, there wasn't a way around that. There wasn't a way around that to get the same outcome that we got right. We could have just

Wil Schroter: slept that week

Ryan Rutan: and we wouldn't have virtual and virtual wouldn't exist. A lot of people have lost their jobs, a lot of people have lost their assistance. Yeah. So there were consequences to that. I think that's the other thing that's really important to look at here is what are the consequences to not spending that time. And in most cases like we found through the journaling and through the, through the charting of that time, there weren't severe consequences for not doing that stuff. There are times where there will be, but by and large it's really a matter of being smart about your time management, being honest with yourself about what you're actually getting done.

Wil Schroter: You bet. And so now when folks are saying, hey, I'm overloaded or I'm working all these hours etcetera. This is a management thing. Our response is why

Ryan Rutan: like, like what specific,

Wil Schroter: it's not us trying to like, you know, put them in a negative light. It's quite literally like, let's sit down, let's chart out the time and let's double check that where you're spending your time either can't be done more efficiently or by the way, doesn't necessarily need to be done the way you're doing it or lo and behold shouldn't be done at all. You're spending six hours a day on a task that's keeping you up at night and we can find a better way to do that. Like holy cow, let's let's get it out of there. I think as managers, we should be reducing as much of people's time as possible, right? Not just like loading them up with tasks and I think that mentality starts to build.

Ryan Rutan: It does. I think it's it's a matter of prioritization and then re prioritization that one of the things I'll find is that when we dig into, I have people do work journaling fairly frequently, right, just to be able to understand where they're spending their time. Are they having trouble with prioritization or do they need me to re prioritize things for them? And it will often come to light that the reason that they're out of time is that they haven't shifted their priorities with the shifting priorities in the organization and this is way more of an issue in a startup company than in a corporate environment, for example, or a small business because our priorities shift so often and even, you know, as the teams start to grow, There's things changing all the time. People are being assigned new tasks. We're trying something new, they're wearing a different hat, they're getting that, you know, lateral exposure to something they haven't done before. And as such, they stuck with whatever prioritization was laid out for them to begin with or whatever they determined was most important. And when you dig back into, it's like, well this isn't really that important anymore or you don't need to be spending as much time on this as you did originally when the strategic initiative. Now it's just tactical getting shipped done. Alright? So now that we're at the execution level, could somebody else execute it? Can we build something to make execution easier? Can we buy something off the shelf that will get this done? Um, and often times and this isn't insignificant and were not like talking about like fine tuning optimization. We've gone in, you know, I recently will and gone in and found like 20 hours in people's work weeks where it's like we can do away with that. So you now have 20 hours to re prioritize on things that we find more important and those are not insignificant gains. That's half of somebody's week back on the table for new work to get done.

Wil Schroter: So all of a sudden we change the mentality within our organs from look how many hours I'm working to look how much I'm getting done in fewer hours. I think one of the things we did, whether we intended to or not Was we made, everybody go home at 6:00, actually, I take that back. I don't think we made, I think everyone just went home at 6:00. I just think we dealt with it. But the point is we got into this habit uh, where everyone left at six o'clock, so you had to get your work done by six o'clock. Well, guess what? It forced everybody to be more efficient. And again, we look at the 100 hour weeks as some massive inefficiency, like something's way broken if we're seeing that and we need to put a stop to it right away. And I think that's important.

Ryan Rutan: We're not handing out honor badges for, for putting in time right now, if if you are in one of those periods where it's necessary and we can see they're actually hammering out output at the same time and good things are happening awesome. It's still not sustainable, Right? So even if you are able to do that for a short period of time, it's got a limited run, right? You're just gonna wear yourselves out. Um, everybody listening to this. If you've been a founder for more than a couple of weeks, you've probably tasted some burnout, right? And this is where it comes from, It's just running ourselves ragged without purpose. And you know, the, the other flip side of this is not only is it deleterious and short lived, it can often lead to lower quality output. Right? So you may be putting in 100 hours and actually still getting less done than you would if you were putting in 34 hours, 30 to 40 hours of quality quality output, right? So when you abuse yourself, your work product will suffer, right? And particularly its founders, where a lot of this is really, really high value targets that were chasing down really cerebral work when you're not rested or when you're constantly shifting gears from one thing to another, without any real prioritization behind it, you're going to suffer, your business is going to suffer, the team's going to suffer. Um, and you touched on this before well, but I think it really is important. Um, this spreads throughout the organization in the same way that, you know, when we started leaving at six, uh, for you to get home to the kids, Everybody started leaving at six as well. Conversely, if we were there until 9:30 PM, people were dragging their feet around trying to find things to do to fill their time to be there with us, not because they had anything meaningful to do, but because it looked like they needed to be optically, it was important to show that they were as dedicated as we were. Um, and on one hand, you like to see that as a founder, but on the other hand, you know, you're doing damage to the team at that point. And so we have to be really, really aware that we are the pace car for all of this stuff and that people will suffer needlessly if we're not careful about the tone that we set for the organization.

Wil Schroter: 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. Well, actually, let's stick with that though. We're sitting there killing ourselves. And then on top of it, we're telling everybody how much we're crushing it. This this this kills me because I've met a million founders that also said they're crushing it and they're very rarely crushing it, right? Like, and I'm not I'm not knocking the founder. What I'm saying is they're not they're not crushing it in the way they're supposed to, what they should be saying is that we're making profit. You know, we're increasing the value of the enterprise. Um, but if I were to find replace, I'm crushing it with what they're actually crushing their crushing the amount of productive hours they would have otherwise had there crushing their health, their savings, their crushing everything. But what they think they're crushing. I can't stand this phrase anymore. I used to love it because it sounded like kind of, you know, tough. But anymore it's just, it's just kind of gotten perverted into this thing. That just to me means you're so far off the mark. I think when we hear that, I want to be able to step back first call bullshit on it. What are you crushing?

Ryan Rutan: Specifically

Wil Schroter: write your soul Nothing more That's significant given, right? But, but seriously, like, uh, tell me exactly what you're crushing. Well, the companies, you know, growing, um, 50% month, over month, Holy ship that is crushing it, right? That's amazing, right?

Ryan Rutan: But if you, if you peel back

Wil Schroter: the onion, we keep getting this, this conflation of, I'm crushing it with, I'm just putting in so much work, right? Putting in work and crushing it, right? I can put in all the work. But if I keep losing every game, it doesn't really matter. Doesn't matter, right?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. And even even if even if everything is going well, So let's say, you know, they are hitting the profit targets, they are onboarding the right Team members. Everything's going the right direction. Even then if you ask to dig in and show me, okay, out of those 100 hours, let's just throw a parade. Oh, right. At this, out of those 100 hours. Where were the 20 that produced 80% of those results because we know it's going to exist in there somehow statistically that's what's going to be the case. And so it's it's a correlation that were missing their right? Yes. They're they're they're correlated, but they're not necessarily causal. Yes. You're putting 100 hours and your company is doing well. But is it because you're putting in 100 hours? I would posit most times. No, it doesn't have a direct impact on that. Um Said differently if you, you know, and of course it makes way better post alright, crush. It looks great on a startup vitamins poster, go home, get some rest, Be mindful and focus on your wellness and your your your family's well being doesn't make as good a poster, right? But I think it makes for a better founder. And I would argue that when you do spend that time on self care and you do prioritize and you do focus on what really matters the most. You're gonna get far more out of yourself. You're gonna get far more out of the startup company. But it's just it's not glorified in the same way at all. We are starting to see the conversation uh take place, which I'm happy about. People are starting to focus more on themselves. Um You know, I think you and I were joking about this yesterday, uh, day before maybe. But this, you know, we've got these younger generations, they're far more mindful. They're far more focused on their well being. Um And they too are railing back against this the crushing movement a little bit. We were kind of hypothesizing they may have taken a little bit too far where there's there's so little crush to what they're doing. They're just pure mindfulness all the time that nothing's gonna happen, right? That also can occur, like, look, I've boiled my work week down to two hours of hyper productive work. How's the company doing? We're failing. Okay, cool. That doesn't work either, right? It's gotta be a balance here somewhere, folks,

Wil Schroter: we'll look, if you were to say I'm crushing it, then you will depend at what cost, Right? Uh, Elon musk has, you know, all the Tesla folks crushing it. You know, who doesn't give a sh it about you crushing it? Your kids? They'd

Ryan Rutan: like to see you from time to time,

Wil Schroter: right? You know, they're not looking back on, man, I'm so glad dad never came home. He's crushing it, right? Yeah. About

Ryan Rutan: your childhood.

Wil Schroter: So glad I don't see you anymore. Right? Your friends who haven't seen you in 2.5 years and you haven't been able to make a barbecue, right? No one loves the fact that you're crushing it. Like, you're crushing actually all the most important ship in your life, right? At the expense of everything, right? So, in my mind, um when when we hear somebody saying I'm crushing it? I wanna get to validate right? What are you crushing? Exactly? Right? If you're crushing hours you're that's probably a massive waste of time. You shouldn't be bragging about it right 2nd at what cost, Right? Because whenever I see people get into this mentality of bragging about the work, they also want validation, right? You know, hey, I worked really hard, you know, and I want to be high fired for it. I'm not pushing it on twitter for any other reason,

Ryan Rutan: but that's an important point that will stick there for a second because I think there's two things there right there looking for validation and you've kind of touched on this before, but I'm going to call it out more specifically, I think in a lot of ways it's a call for help, right? It's it's them saying I don't have anything more specific to talk about. There isn't something there, there isn't a piece of this output that matters more to me. So the only thing that I can tell you about is how much time I'm spending doing this stuff. And and so to some degree, it's at least they may not even know it's a call for help or it may not be an implicit call for help, but when I hear this from a founder and you said this before? Our first question is why why are you spending 100 hours on this? Are you that bad at what you do that it takes this long, Are you that uncertain about what's going to have the most impact that you're just machine gunning time across the calendar and saying, well I hope some of the sticks and I hope this makes my business better. Um and I think that's largely true. So anyways, I didn't mean to cut you off, but it's an important point.

Wil Schroter: I agreement, it's all the relationships, but it's also the other aspects of your life. I'm crushing it brother. You are living off of credit cards right now, right? That is not crushing it, crushing it when you make a profit, right? Bezos's crushing right? Like that's crushing it right? Um Running running yourself into debt. Um and then bragging about the work is not crushing it, right? You crush it when you get out of debt. Not when you rack up debt, right? Um It's again, this whole thing has gotten so perverted into the wrong connotation and I love giving founders high five and we do this for a living. I don't want to be giving high fives over the wrong stuff. I don't want to be giving people high fives over things that are destroying their families. Don't want to give people high fives over things that are that are running themselves into personal ruin. We all take on debt. We all, you know um you know, risk time with our families and I'm not saying it's not part of the process? Well let's not get a high five for it. Alright, let's, let's say, hey, I'm working really hard, here's what I'm getting done and it really sucks that, you know, I'm running up my bank accounts or, or that I'm not seeing my kids. That's a very honest, you know, assessment of what's happening. And I think Ryan, like founder to founder, we're the only people that can keep each other in check, right? We can say, hey man, that's cool. But like what, what's the other costs that you're dealing with right now and start to unpack that a bit because the worst thing we can do to a junkie is keeping them more drugs, right? And

Ryan Rutan: that's essential with No, it's, it's, it's absolutely true and I think that that's, it's a great point. And so, you know, a little shameless plug here for founders group, but like that's a big part of what we're providing their, when you don't have a cohort of founders around you, you end up delivering to the audience what they can absorb, right? And this is why we revert back to things like, here's how many hours I spent or you know, here's, here's how, you know, I worked all weekend at the, at the office or, you know, we pulled an all nighter or whatever because people can relate to that, even if they're not founders, they at least understand the concept of wow, you're putting in a lot of time, you're spending an important personal resource to do

Wil Schroter: this, right?

Ryan Rutan: When we have founders around us who have that same contextual background and there on that same playing field, they understand the nuance. And so we don't have to revert to this hyperbolic statement around. Well, I just put all my time goes to this thing. It's it's consuming me completely. Um, and it's super important, right? But if you don't have founders in your life, you don't have much else to go on, right? They don't understand the challenges. They're not going to get What would motivate us to do that in the first place. And that's really the important part here. Again, if I'm treating 100 hour workweek as a proxy for a call to help, that's the important part of this, right? Somebody's signaling that things are not going the way they should and they're masking it by saying they're crushing it and spending 100 hours a week. This is an important piece to unpack with that individual. But again, if you don't have that shared context. Really, really hard to do, right. Try to do this with any of your non startup friends. Um, doesn't go well, they're just like they don't have the context. They don't have the ability to be empathetic. They can maybe be sympathetic. But again, like I get it batted back at me all the time, which is like you decided to do this. So you've earned you know what you asked for. And and so I think it is important to make sure that you do have those founders in your life, that you can go to with this stuff because they're going to give you a very different response, very different level of understanding empathy than somebody who's not doing this, can

Wil Schroter: I've been doing this daily now, and so I think in my personal opinion, um you know, social media is the massive culmination of all of this. Like prior to social media, you can crush it kind of in like five people knew about it, but now it feels like social media is designed specifically to let everyone know how much you're crushing it in life. Like when I go through facebook and this is the specific to founders, all I get is everybody's best of mix of mixtape, right? Of all the greatest things that they're doing and how they're crushing things that like and it's I mean it's total bullshit, we won't even get into that, but I think what happens is particularly the founder community is that we keep hearing how everyone's crushing it and how everyone is doing so well, which is so funny because this business that we're in is a total shit show right? There's no version of this where any of us wake up every day and they're like, oh my God, I, you know, I can't believe how every bet that I made works or how everything that I'm doing works properly, right? And you, you and I have been doing this forever. And we wake up every single day going like, what the hell did we get ourselves into? Right,

Ryan Rutan: Right. Yeah, that's the reality. You know that that's it's funny. But when you look at those, those instagram mobile moments, when you look at somebody's, you know, 32nd story, That's an accurate reflection of exactly how much of their life was like that, right? It was that 30 seconds. It's not like you can extrapolate that out to the rest of your life. Um, and it's super unhealthy. We, we definitely hammered on this in other episodes, but you know, looking at those things and then copying that behavior and, and pretending that, you know, you two are also crushing it while knowing that other person is not actually crushing it. Right? Remind yourself of that. You don't need to, to mimic that behavior. You don't need to add sound to this echo chamber. Uh, it's super unhealthy across the board.

Wil Schroter: Right? You know, it's funny, uh, imagine if we had like honesty day where people could only post on social media, how things were actually going, right? I don't just mean your personal life, but let's, let's say within startups, No one would ever want to start a startup again, right?

Ryan Rutan: You know, it's like, hey,

Wil Schroter: Here's my divorce papers. You know from, from my spouse who said that you haven't seen me in two years, right? Like that would be the honest version of how things are going or your kids like yet another soccer game that you're not right? You name it right? Or showing your bank balance or your 12

Ryan Rutan: past due bills,

Wil Schroter: right? I'm crushing it. Yeah, Okay. That's that's what's actually happening, right? And I'm not saying that like every single person starting something, um, everything's going terrible. What I am saying is I think we've used this hustle porn to start to mask like, you know what's actually happening and trade it for this self aggrandizing behavior around how well things are going. And you know, it's interesting, you mentioned the founder groups and I'm saying this because we have a whole live studio audience of founder group folks. We sit in on these, right? And I've had conversations, I'm looking at you folks now and I've had conversations with you conversations with you where we talked about what's actually happening. I've never been in a founder group where everyone sat down and it was just a crush fest where everyone was like, I just can't believe how well things are going, right

Ryan Rutan: 24 7 crushing it, right? And we'll see you guys next month

Wil Schroter: if things are going well by all means posted, Right? All four, We Need Good Moments. But what I want to get out of the habit of and I want the culturally, you know, among founders get out of the habit of is kind of just a bullshit version of crushing it. Look how hard I'm working and I'm just going to totally ignore everything. It just cost me, Right, Right. Right. It, it just, it doesn't add up.

Ryan Rutan: It doesn't, it doesn't, and you know, it's super dangerous because it allows you to not only externally mask what's going on, but to convince yourself of the same thing, you're like, you know, well, I must be crushing it, right? I'm doing, I'm doing what everybody else says they're doing. Um, and, and everybody high fives me for this ship. And so therefore I must be doing the right things right? It's super, super dangerous because it will obscure the truth. And, and the, the actual output that's required, uh, from you yourself. Right? And this is really dangerous, right? It's not great to lie to other people. It's way more dangerous when we start to lie to ourselves, right? As founders, um, convincing ourselves of the non truth is a surefire way to start down that slippery slope towards the death of all that you've, you've worked to build

Wil Schroter: it also masks this, the simple question, which is, are you okay? Well, we're not okay? No, we

Ryan Rutan: just send out shirts that say that to everybody. Just like not, okay, right? I feel like that would just be, it should be part of every founders, uh, weekly, weekly wardrobe.

Wil Schroter: Well, I mean, but again, and so we're talking a lot of, you know, externality when we talk internal to the company, right? I think there's also a challenge there. I think when we're talking about, oh my God, you know how we pushed so hard as a team and we work so much, we're here on the weekends, thanks for your dedication and no one stops. And this is, you know, the founders that, you know, founding team executives, etcetera and says, are you guys okay? Right? Like, hey, you know, like I understand how much we took away from you, How can we give some back? That needs to be a conversation that we're having right where we're actually looking out and saying, hey, that's fine when we push extra hard, we push into the red, but we gotta put it back right for ourselves, for our team, for the people around us, you know, in our lives. And I'd love to see that part of the conversation, like that would be amazing because I think that would give people more balance and more perspective

Ryan Rutan: for sure. Alright, so let's, let's, let's get closer to putting a bow on this, let's talk about who's not crushing it or not talking about crushing it, right, tends to be the people who are actually getting shipped done, right? Like the people who aren't shouting, I'm crushing it. Uh, you know, to the masses are the ones who are actually getting things done right? If you're busy and you're, you're satisfied with your output and things are going the right direction. Uh, you tend to spend spend less time trumpeting it right, Right. And I think there's a lot, a lot to be taken away from that.

Wil Schroter: I got called out on that. So 2000 and seven, we had raised money for this company called afford it. And one of my investors, one of like the seed investors was a guy named Cameron pores. And johnny Cameron had sold pricegrabber for like $350 million back in the day. It was one of Ella's like early hits and I'm at some conference and I'm doing some talk about something startup. Yeah, I don't remember what it was. And uh, and Cameron walks up to me and he's such a direct guy and he said, what the f are you doing here? Right? And I'm like, huh? In a conference, like I'm giving a keynote here, right? He's like, why are you here? He's instead of telling everybody how great you're doing, you should be back your office right now actually doing it.

Ryan Rutan: And

Wil Schroter: I didn't know how to respond. You

Ryan Rutan: weren't still on stage when that happened, were you?

Wil Schroter: That's incredibly honest and true. And normally nobody ever says that right. They think it, but he had invested money with me. Um, and he said as much, he's like, stop telling everybody how great you're doing and get back to the office and go do it. And I'll never forget that company went out of business. So it didn't work very well. But

Ryan Rutan: it was a really good only you hadn't gone and done that keynote will like that was probably the deciding moment. That was the beginning.

Wil Schroter: But but to your point, what he was saying was right, keep your head down, keep your mouth shut, go focus on the work. And the work will speak for itself, right? The people who spend all their time on social media telling you about the work or in the office telling you how much they're working are usually the people that aren't getting the work done right? People getting the work done are too busy to be talking about it right there, heads down there. They're focused etcetera. And if we are that person, if we are the self aggrandizing person, me at the keynote, whatever, we need to shut the f up. Like Cameron's advice was 100% on right

Ryan Rutan: now. I think you I think you nailed it before when you said that what we're really ending up doing then is focusing on on the distractions rather than the inputs that are actually driving the outcomes and we're doing ourselves absolutely no favors in that regard.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. Look, here's the way I look at it. I think we need to put an end to hustle porn, right? We literally need to put a bullet in this thing, right? We need honesty porn, transparency porn where people start talking about what's actually happening, right? The work they're actually getting done, the outcomes. They're having the failures, they're having, right, the cost, the sacrifices, etcetera of how this thing was really going. Because what'll happen is when we start to do that, we'll start to build a circle where people start supporting each other and have an honest dialogue of what's actually happened. 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 had 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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