Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #143

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan joined as always by Wil Schroder, my friend partner and the Ceo and founder of startups dot com, but I'm also joined once again by a whole bunch of really awesome founders were doing are are kind of live show here. We won't be hearing from any of them immediately, but we, we will, we will get everybody's feedback as we move further into the show and we'll try to incorporate some of that in the show. But this is kind of a live experiment. So we'll just see how it goes. So today we are going to dive into what does it take to be happy as a founder and we're going to approach this from sort of the clear the fence not aim for the moon perspective. What are the least characteristics and factors that you need to be true in your life as a founder to be happy enough to keep doing this long enough to achieve those larger dreams. Will what's this take for us buddy. Well, okay, so he here, here's why I think this is important. I think we've all got this super distant goal of where happiness is right and what the problem is either it's largely undefined, which I think sucks. Um, or we've got this, this concept that boy, if I just had enough money, everything would be good, right? Yeah, having less of it makes things more clear having this is a bad thing. But I started thinking a lot about it and I started thinking about all the founders that I know and all that have, you know, some level of happiness with their business, this isn't about everything in life we're talking about just around my startup, what have I got to have? And so I started listing all the things that I've seen people saw or heard people say over the years and kind of how I felt personally and said, kind of, what are the top three? And here's why I think it's kind of interesting. It's like if we start to define exactly what those things are and we can get the shortest path to achieving just the minimum, go to what's cool about that is you can kind of look around and say, okay, like yeah, sure, I want more, but like I'm good and Ryan, how often are we ever able to say I'm good. 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 start startups dot com and we'll pick it up from there, but it depends on how deliberate you are about creating that. I think if we go back to what you said at the top, when it's amorphous and you're, you're pinning all of your happiness on these outcomes that are low probability and well into the future, you're, you're going to suffer, right? And so it's about, it's about having a clear definition of course, yes, have those, have those long range goals that you want to hit. Um, but for one, don't let them be amorphous and, and to set much shorter term milestones that you can hit in the same way that you would, you know, break out any type of a project and break that into smaller milestones. Okay, what's the, what's the thing we're gonna get done this day, like we're gonna get done today, forget about the fact that this project will take a year, What am I doing today to move closer to that and what conditions need to be true. Same thing goes, goes for happiness here, right? And in terms of just feeling good about being in our business and running it because the reality is the minute you stop feeling good about it for an extended period of time. Uh, it tends to go one direction and that's straight out of business. So it's important to make sure that we, that we clear these clear these hurdles, I've hit financial milestones in the business and felt like ship the entire time, but which really at the time kind of like baffled me because I was like, wait a minute. Wasn't the whole point here to be able to kind of get ahead and hit these milestones and in whatever, why do I still feel like crap? And it's because at the time I distracted myself, I thought that the, that the revenue or the company's success itself would solve my startup problems, so to speak of my happiness and it turns out I was just optimizing for the wrong stuff. Fast forward years and years and years later when we were starting startups dot com remember we had these discussions, I remember being in our creepy basement of our office having this discussion. I don't know why we chose there, but it was, it was a weird spot because we were re finishing the upstairs and it was, it was all that solvent all over the floor that was making everybody hi. Yeah. Uh, but I remember being down there, this is like in the, in the early, early days And then we're saying, Okay, we're at $0 right now, right? And everything is a disaster. The whole thing is a mess and we said, okay, We have three phases that we want to get to and I don't have like all, like my memory sucks. I don't know the exact, you know what all the details of all the spaces were, but it was like Phase one make just enough money to know that we might not go out of business, right? And that was that was like our first level of, of happiness, we we just wanted sustainability right? To plug all the holes in the boat. Exactly, right? Just like, it's a shitty boat, it's not going anywhere, but like, we're not sinking anymore, right? And so, but the second phase was okay, then let's start working on some stuff, you know, we want to do or we enjoy. And then the third phase was we get up to we get up every day and we get to do only stuff we enjoy, right? Like literally this podcast was on that road map. We said we could sit around a day like today and bullshit with all of our friends all day about startup stuff. And if we can get to Phase three, we'd be golden. It's a good day, but we're super deliberate about it, right? We like, we are so specific and so deliberate about where we needed to get. And at the time we didn't have the framework that we'll talk about today, this is a hell of a long preamble. We don't have the framework, but I think indirectly, we're heading this direction. So, uh what I'm happy to say that, you know, it was like a decade, but we're here. Uh and the second is we were more on point than we realized it. Like we didn't go through all this thought process, but we were pretty close. Yeah, yeah, yeah, we sort of stumbled our way through it, but yeah, I'd say that uh if we were to to wind back in time and I think that you know, inadvertently or indirectly we were aiming at the right things. I don't think we we laid it out as nicely in the framework like we will today, but if we go back to those earliest of milestones they do line up with with what we're going to talk about today, which is you know, safety validation and pride. Um and I think that, you know, again without calling them, not necessarily the outcomes that we were trying to create in that short term absolutely. Line up with those three characteristics we got lucky we guessed, but what we guessed right, which is all you need is right, alright, kick us off. Uh Let's start with safety. Why is that? So? Yeah. Yeah, well look um when you don't feel safe it's hard to behave rationally um it's hard to look much into the future and be able to define those goals. Um and I think that's one of the reasons those things stay so amorphous and we don't feel safe, we don't really believe that we can achieve this stuff, It's sort of like you're not trying to accomplish as much when you don't feel safe, you're trying not to fail right and it's a horrible position to be in right with the minute you start optimizing for not failing, uh you increase your likelihood of failing exponentially and so I think that this, you know, these feelings of safety, whether that's, you know, you know, financially, um you know, existentially depending on what your business is, but I think financial is probably the one that's the easiest to relate to. All right? So when we get to that point where, you know, the basic needs of the business can be met, the basic needs of the founder can be met. Um we, we developed this this very different sense of safety and our ability to extend this into the future, which I think is super critical at the early stage, you know, you know, who actually introduced me this concept um was Elliot one of the partners in the business. Um he never talking years ago and he told me about like these conversations, conversations that he was having earlier in his life and the conversation came back to yes, this is true. And it sucks. Yes, this is true. And it sucks. Yes, this is true. And it sucks. But will you be safe? And I think whenever I thought about that context, will I be safe ever since Elliot explained that to me, It always changed my thought process, right? Because I was like, oh my God, this horrible thing is gonna happen, but like everyone's gonna get paid, I am going to eat, It's gonna suck right? Like there's nothing about it where I'm like super amped up about what's about to happen. Um, but I think when I, when I in deliberately look at that and say, oh, but you know, but I'm not safe for them, safe etcetera. It changes significantly. And I think our phase one of startups dot com was, we talked about having a limited runway, but really which one man was safety? Just like I want to wake up and know we're gonna be in business tomorrow. That's it. Yeah, yeah, that's it. Right? Which, which gives you a very different ability to act on the problems. Right? I think it goes back to like that, You know, when, when you don't feel safe, you're, you're going to have trouble taking taking correct action. Um, so what are the types of safety are there? So like financial is the easy one. but you know, what about competitive threats? All these other things that we do get worried about. Um, one of the things that we've always said is if you actually document these things. So we're talking about like, you know, what is winding down look like or you know, what is, what is having to let somebody look like? You worry about all these things, what is losing that client look like. Um, and when we again, we allow it to be amorphous and the impact to the business and to ourselves as founders to be amorphous, we have zero perspective on what we should actually do about it when you document these things and you actually say well like here's the worst case scenario and okay, it's not awesome, but it's not as bad as I thought, that just tends to be the way it goes, right. We talked about this a couple episodes ago where as founders with, you know, you know, we're visionaries were great, imaginary, imaginative people. We can, you know, we can imagine the downside being far worse than it is. Just like we often convince ourselves that the upside is much better than it actually is, so that that sword cuts both ways. Um, and so I think that again here, as we start to look at the reasons that we feel unsafe if we're currently in that position where we feel unsafe, uh let's really clearly document like what does that actually mean? Like, you know, I am, I am I actually unsafe and I just feel that way. And you know conversely, you can also take that and say, well now I can project that in the future and say, what do I have to do to make myself feel safe? And the reality is just like we've talked about, you know, in terms of what's a meaningful exit, it's usually not as much as you think, right, right? You know, how much money do you need the bank to feel safe, right? And we talked about this before, we joke about something like $10 million People tell us $2 million right? I could just live off the interest if I had $50 million like okay, sure. What would it actually take to just keep you safe right now? Like what are your actual needs for let's say six months, right? It's not $10 million. That depends where you live. But yeah, it's true. True. But you're entirely right. I think it's a few things. I think uh safety is is just the comfort of knowing to the extent that any of us can that will be around to fight tomorrow, right? It's not always knowing that, you know, we're impervious to any problem, right? A big part of it is knowing that that we've got the tools we need. So for example, startups dot com, it should hit the fan. If something bad happens, we've got enough safety in the business to know that we can weather that storm and be around for the next storm. Now, we might get taken out at the next storm after that, right? But our safety begins by knowing that will be around. Covid happened, right? I mean, that literally is exactly what we're talking about, right? And and it got gnarly, that's scary for us, just like everyone else and we made it through. We had enough resources, right? Um Not that we're, you know, we're scrooge, Mcduck, Mcduck cash over here? But like we had enough resources to kind of give us enough time to kind of figure this thing out now if that kept happening or kept getting worse and the market crashed and everything else, like who knows? But our safety right now just says, hey, we just need to be safe enough so we can be around, you know, to fight again. So that's one level of safety, right. Another level of safety isn't just financial, It's just, is there a, the right vibe between me and my, my partners, etcetera? That I feel like like we're in a good positive space, right? Like, so you, me and Elliot and the real management team around together for 10 years, right? Like we know each other so well, there's a lot of safety that comes with that for a lot of startups. That's rare. I've been in a lot of startups so it didn't feel that way. Right? Well, let me build on that. I think of all the players that are part of what we do, right? So in our case we're not a funded company, but if we were, when I was a funded company and things weren't going so well, I didn't feel very safe, right? All kind of shitty because I felt like there was this like, like evil overlord, somewhere that we're going to like press the doctor, evil people die. But now my chair was gonna flip back into flames. Like I was terrified of of what that outcome might, might have been. And um, it's hard to feel safe that way and I think that's a key component it is, but I mean we've talked about this, um, in terms of like hard conversations with, you know, partners with, with staff, with investors, with, you know, clients, the reality is that we blow these things so far out of proportion that that feeling of insecurity is often unfounded now again, is it awesome? No, like if, you know the thing isn't gonna work out, you're gonna have to, you know, look at alternatives to, to keep the thing afloat, you know, that next investment round isn't, isn't coming through. Um, you're gonna have to have the hard conversation with investors, maybe with staff, not awesome, but again, like, are you actually unsafe in this moment? This is something that's going to, to impact you personally, um, is going to impact the business. And you know, we talked about this 1000 times on the show, but there needs to be a separation between those two things to write in terms of what impacts you versus what impacts the business. They aren't the same thing. I know we feel like that and it's hard to separate ourselves from it, but they aren't the same thing, right? A lot can happen to the business that doesn't impact the founder. Um, it doesn't have to impact the founder. Well there's another side of it too, which is, um, if we don't define it, right? So you and I were talking about, you know, kind of categories of safety and where you feel safe. What, what made this whole concept work for us like a startups dot com or us personally Is we are hyper specific down to the dollar in the minute that we are going to feel safe. Like this specifically needs to happen. And if I can get there, um, we're good. So like, you know, if I can, if I can make $5,000 a month to pay my rent, that's the number the moment I get there, I'm not saying I'm done like, you know, everything is perfect, But, but if I'm at $4900 and I can't pay my rent. You know, that's not the number. So I believe in a lot of things we did. Well in retrospect, I don't even think we realized it at the time is we're hyper specific about what these milestones were for us. And I rarely rarely see founders that are hyper specific about these things. And that scares me because I feel like that's a lot of wasted effort, energy, emotion, etcetera, um, chasing a goal that's not defined, which means you can never cross the finish line, which is a huge problem. Yeah, for sure. So let's let's move on then. So we've, we've talked about safety now let's let's move over into into validation and why this is so important to the overall founder mental state. Um, and you know, it's not hard to see in our space, right? Like if you, if you met a couple of founders, you've probably seen some people who were desperately seeking validation. So, right. So let's talk about why, why that's the case first and then we can talk about what we do to achieve it. Yeah, uh huh. What took me a long time to realize was I was working in a lot of businesses over 30 years that I would never felt good about. So I was never validated. Give an example. Uh, first business I worked at was essentially an ad agency, right? And it's any kind of professional services is by definition and often the most thankless profession ever. Here's how it goes, right. Uh, I go pitch a new client with this great idea that they should use a thing called the Internet, this is the 90s. And they're like, oh my God, this sounds amazing. Now there's only two outcomes here, right? Things go horribly. My idea was terrible and they come after me, right? And try to like lynch me right? Or things go great. And they totally forget it came from me, right? They take all the credit, right? I'll never forget my client at the time at best buy, we rolled out like this is so lame, but we rolled out like 10,000 kiosk system across the entire world to sell what digital cameras, which were new to give you an idea how old I am and uh, and I'll never forget that the thing went great and everyone at best buy, like all the corporate folks all took a hand in having come up with the entire idea and I'm like, what the hell? I'm like came up the entire idea, I built the entire thing like nothing was never mentioned once and and all all nodded that was your contribution. You nodded kind of hard to feel some validation in that, right? And I think, you know when we think about the jobs that we do in the work that we do, if it feels thankless, if it feels like no matter how hard we work, um we just can't pull reward out of it. I think that's hard to feel happy around, right? People do it, but it leaves a hole, it does right? And, and again, like these are all of those, those little things and, and that was, it was a great case study, but it was also a massive and obvious place where like you would earn validation didn't get it. Um and so go back to that moment for a minute and think about like how did that feel coming out of that and like coming into the next client engagement. Alright, we're you super motivated to like get validation the next time or did it have a deleterious effect. It started kind of chip away at your armor in terms of how much energy you wanted to put into the next thing because I think this is where we start to see that the founder armor erode. It was the first time I realized that valid validation mattered. I didn't see it coming. I don't give a ship how many digital cameras best buy sells, sorry, best buy was 20 years ago. Um but like that's not important to me. Um what was important to me is like, I put my heart and soul into that idea and all the work behind it and took us of a very long time to build this thing. Um and it was like, I had no way to like to, to take any pride or validation from having built it right? Like it was, it was almost like I created this amazing thing and it was like, I couldn't even tell anybody I built it. Um and so I think what I realized was holy sh it, I'm in a very thankless job, right? It pays well, right? And that's cool. But so I'm safe, right? And that's cool, it's important to me. Um but boy, I don't feel validated in my job. I feel like at this point, no matter how hard I work, I'm still going to feel like this and I hated it. And so it, it totally turned me off. So I think your question there is spot on. Yeah, I remember, I remember going through something similar that we had digital agencies around the same time and going through these long, I used to refer to them as satisfaction cycles, right? Which was to to get the client to a point of satisfaction. I don't know that we ever got the clients happy because they didn't really understand like going back to, I remember walking into somebody's office once and kind of explaining that we wanted to build a website for them. Um We've been brought in by another executive and we're now talking to the Ceo. Ah and I said you know it's the internet, he's like yeah I think I have that here in my desk and and he pulled out like an A. O. L. Floppy and it was like yep, that's the internet right there buddy. Um But so it was a weird time in general but you know going through these cycles where it would take six months to a year to complete some of these projects and you know over over time and the clients, you know being satisfied paying and you know getting what they needed. But to your point like they were never coming back and like high fiving the ship out of us no matter how well things worked and we turned on commerce for people that they had no access to otherwise and we got no thanks in return and and I did this, I was smart enough to do this twice, right? So after selling the first one um I repeated this process overseas and and built another agency with remarkable similarity, just a different market um sold that one. And then I decided I was like, you know what, this at your point, it was thankless, right? It was a loveless job. And and so I said I'm going to do something completely different and I ended up starting a cafe which you know, arguably not a very cerebral business. I didn't didn't was, you know, it was following a pattern, wasn't a startup at all. It's just like how do other people start these things? Okay, I'll do that too. Um I'd fall in love with cafe culture when I was overseas, but there was something really damn rewarding about it because it was a very thankful job, right? I got a lot of validation, Somebody walked in in the morning piste off and tired and angry that they had to go to the state tower on on broad Street. I gave him a blueberry muffin and a cup of dark roads and all of a sudden they were like super happy and thankful and you're chatting about their day and it was crazy that like that had such an impact to how I felt about that business, right? And and the the energy and motivation that it gave me right? I only kept it a couple of years and sold it. But um you know, it wasn't, it wasn't anything, you know amazing or major that I point to my career is like well I did that and yet it was incredible how I felt while running that versus how I felt while running the agencies which made far more money and exited, you know, you know nice multiples, the cafe did not exited but not nice multiples, right? But I felt amazing while it was running, it always felt happy to be there, I always felt motivated. Um and so yeah the that little bit of validation, like even in micro doses of validation right? It wasn't like you know people were you know writing letters to the editor of the press about how I help them with that blueberry muffin. Um but getting in that moment felt amazing, right? And it was such a it was an eye opening moment for me that said let's make sure anything I build in the future allows that type of interaction allows that type of joy to occur within the interactions. And so here we are at startups where like the validation is pretty amazing and getting to work with the people that we do is even more amazing. I agree. I mean before I start crying you talk well you know it's funny like I was actually like tearing up a little bit like I was trying to like man and pretend like I wasn't but actually the thing that we do right, right, right? When I wasn't getting validation, I gotta be honest, I didn't quite understand what was going on. Like I didn't appreciate um why why something was missing, but what you just said right? And actually kind of what what you know, kind of made me a little misty eyed was a couple of days ago. Um I've been helping out a founder through some really, really tough stuff. Uh and then uh not last night, the night before she texted me just this like long incredibly sweet text about how much I helped her and how she was in a dark place and and how she just needed someone to listen and all these things and it felt amazing, right? I mean we've done a lot of cool things where we have like, you know, launched products in maine money, it just didn't feel like that, right? That just that had a feeling where it's like that, this is exactly why I'm doing what I'm doing right? Which just goes back to the happiness component. Like I think when our validation is aligned with what makes us happy and we get to do it in our job and that's the whole thing we're talking about, it's our job, not the rest of our lives in our job, Nothing compares. And what I would say is I can't take that experience and uh put that genie back in the bottle, right? Because at this point now if I were to go like, you know, run an agency again and see how thankless it felt in all the lack of validation, right? I'd be like, fuck this, right? Like, you know, I make very little money helping founders, right? It's sort of not the point. And the fact that I don't care is the point, right? Because the validation is so strong, it makes me feel so on point and maybe at some level that's that's selfish that I'm helping people for the validation and I'm sure it is right? But it works right? It's kind of, yeah, kind of work. You know, and I don't think it's quite that binary. I don't feel like it's a it's a Pavlovian thing where it's like, because I'm going to get this reward of validation, I'm doing this thing because if we look back across what it took to get to the point where we can provide the help that we provide. There were plenty of thankless days and thankless hours and thankless months and years where, you know, things were significantly harder. I think that for me, one of the most amazing things was that as this first pieces of validation started to come through that it's somehow changed that entire history, right? It sort of rewrote the history of, that was all struggle. That was all strife that sucked. Um, you know, I was exhausted and it just turned it into that was just all the work that led up to these amazing moments and that was a necessary part of this, right? So it's sort of threaded the entire thing together for me. Um, and the validation became, you know, it worked retroactively, right? It applied itself all the way back to the beginnings of the company when things weren't as easy. Um, and things weren't as fun and, and the winds weren't as obvious. And so for me, it, it had an amazing motivational factor in that and saying like, okay, cool, now the next time something hard comes up, I know that's just the preamble for that future validation and and being able to provide that value and have those amazing outcomes with people. Well, I think that kind of ties into what I'd say is the last point we're gonna talk about a little, which is Pride, um, feeling proud of what you do. Um, I see this most often in, um, in nonprofits where they almost by definition can't make money or don't make money, but they're so proud of what they do that it drives them so much. It delivers so much happiness to them um, to the folks that work there. And, and, and, and, and I think there's so much to be said for that and I'm gonna tie this very closely to what we just talked about with validation. I think Pride is something you don't appreciate how much happiness it brings you until you have it, right? And you can see it in front of you, I'll give you a counter example back to similar my agency days. Um, uh, years ago Ellie and I started this company called afford it dot com where you're going, Yeah, you could have called this one. Yeah, yeah. And uh, and, and we were so proud because we came up with essentially what is a firm today, right, needless to say it's not a firm, firm is a firm were affirmed before a firm. And uh, and so what we're doing is I had this idea that we can sell products for weekly payments and Ellie and I went on this, this entire mission to go make that happen. And uh, so we do this and we have a huge first month, you know, first month we launched, we sell like a half million dollars worth of xboxes and stuff for like $20 a week. Um, guess what? When you give people xboxes for $20 they buy them. What a shock right now. Here's the rest of the model that didn't work out so well, they actually also don't pay you back, right, It's really give them away. It's kind of hard to get paid back on consumer goods at the time. I know we had thought this was this genius idea, it was going to redefine commerce and etcetera and it sort of did just not with us. Um, but here's what happened, we're still proud of what we're building. And then as you know, Ryan, whenever we do a start up, we were always in the front lines, we always run customer service, we always get involved in the product etcetera. So I'm on calls as Elliott is calling customers who are behind in payments because I want to have a conversation with them and I wanted to find out kind of where their heads were at etcetera. And next thing I know I'm on the phone with a single mom who needed to use this, this mechanism to buy her kids an Xbox for christmas. And I'm like, I grew up with a single mom. Like I grew up on welfare. I know exactly what this feels like right now. I'm not trying to collect from this lady. My pride just went from 100 to negative 100 immediately. I'm like funk this business, right? And, and, and uh, what I'm saying is even though the opportunity was there, the money was there and I was validated by this business model working and everything else like that the moment I couldn't feel proud of what I was doing. I didn't want to do it. Yes. Again, you contrast that Ryan to, to what we get to do here every day and, and, and we're luckier than hell. It's our dream jobs, right. We get to sit around bullshit with founders all day. It's awesome. Um, and I'm proud of it. I'm proud of what we do in and I can't take that away anymore. I'll never be happy again if I don't have that as as part of my craft, you know what I mean? Sure. Yeah. No, I think it's it's it's super, super important, right? When, when we feel like, because look as as founders, we have to be the evangelists of these things. And if you're not proud of what you're doing, how the hell can you evangelize for something? It's impossible, right? And and that permeates down, We talk about this all the time, but you know, the founder sentiment is going to permeate down through the team, so if you're not proud of what you're doing, how are you going to motivate the teams to do what they need to do to make these things work. Um I I remember it's almost 20 years ago now when, when I had my one job where, you know, I was I was running technology for a market research firm and I had sold the second agency, it was basically an aqua hire. Um they they had us doing some consulting for them to help them figure out technology and it just turned out to be better just to go full time higher. So there's a little aqua hire happened and through the course of that, you know, I I joined the business and I didn't really know that much about in the relatively large market research from, based in europe and you know, I knew what they did at a high level, I didn't really know who they did it for. Um and it turned out about 60% of our revenue came from massive tobacco companies, and I was like, well sh it, and I stepped in at this time, um but then, and this was this was starting to become more of a problem, like, there was plenty of old guard in that company who didn't care, they were just like, people are gonna smoke, we should help them find them, um we'll do the market research to figure out what color the packs need to be to get people to pay more for them. Cool. Not exactly what I wanted to be spending my life doing. Um and then the company went through kind of an existential crisis around this, and it was driven not entirely altruistically, there were a lot of other clients that we had in certain markets that refused to work with us and others because of the tobacco affiliation. So, big companies like Loreal, um and nestle refused to do business with us in certain markets because of that. And so the company decided to make a switch and and to get off of that, And it was amazing what happened after that. So we said yes to cutting 60% of annual revenue. Um Yeah, I mean, like, massive because we didn't know that we'd be able to replace all of it. Um and we didn't, immediately, there were nine, 9, 12, almost a year worth of hard times. And then those contracts started picking up, we did start getting business from some of those other big businesses that refused to work with us in the past. But the other really amazing thing was to watch how much more open and evangelical about the business everybody became. And I started to tell people who we were and what we did and who we did it for. And I had a very different level of pride in that company at that point than I did previously. Once, you know, I figured out what we actually did to make a living. And so it it changed the face of the company that that was, you know, kind of top to bottom and make sure that people, you know, like fieldwork folks that didn't really care evangelized. But we started to see more and more of the management team more and more of the account managers sell more into accounts and do more because they were proud of what we were doing. And they had that story, they were all very proud of that particular story that we had cut that client and risk the company um entirely because at that point it it represented well more than our operating margins, right? So it wasn't like, okay, we can weather this storm, we weren't even sure like we blew the bottom out of the boat and said, alright, everybody run around now and start looking for ship that we can plug this hole with. We didn't have a clear plan for how long it would take us to recover from that. You know, we did it with as much control as we could, but it was, it was a risky move um, ultimately paid off. But the real point there was that the level of pride in the company completely changed and it completely changed the, the revenue and the performance of the company and to this day, right, the company still exists and is doing quite well, significantly better than it was doing back in the old smoky days. You know, it's funny in the past when people used to ask me about my startup, you know, you're sitting on a plane and the person next to you, you strike up a conversation and invariably, you know, you do the, what do you do, kind of thing? And in the past, the conversation always kind of went to, this is the success the company has had. So it was headcount or it was revenue or it was some milestone that people could understand what's been interesting about startups. Dot com is I almost never bring those things up because in my mind like that's fine. I actually don't care what those numbers are and that's not entirely true. I'm just that's not the thing I'm most proud of. So that's not what I'm kind of, you know, bringing to the forefront, right? I instantly get into how many people can help internally within our chats and slacks. You hear us bragging about, you know, whose come on board and then, you know how great these founders are or who's contributed, etcetera. Like the dialogue is very different. We talk, we have certain conversations about building our business and it's appropriate. We're supposed to write, we're managing one. But we have a lot of conversations about how we're just fundamentally proud of the people that we get to work with or what they're accomplishing. And that's very different. Like it's just so different than anything I've ever done before. And, and that's kind of when you know that something is clicking, You know what I mean? It's interesting. It sparked a memory. I was thinking back to hearing my father talk about, you know, other other folks would ask him about his business. He was a foot and ankle surgeon. So they were asking about the practice, you know, how are, how are things going? And I never really thought about this before. But his answers were never around like, well, you know, it was never just something generic like, oh yeah, business is good or whatever. And it was never about like patient volume. Never talked money, which would have been awkward anyways. But the, the responses were always about some interesting case. He had solved some person that he had helped. He always pulled an anecdote and used that as the proxy for how the business was doing. Um, and it never occurred to me, but that, that definitely came from a place of pride, right? It was, you know, a complicated ankle reconstruction or a kid who didn't think he was gonna be able to go back to playing football who now can um, something along those lines, right? Diabetic patient that you know, they saved just in time and you know, removed a limb but kept them alive, right? Was always something like that. And it never occurred to me. But that that was absolutely him speaking from a point of pride and being happy about what he was doing for the people he was doing it for. I think you can get by on not having any one of these or some in some ways, all of them, right? But if we're talking about happiness that moment where as a founder as a team, you start to look and go, you know what we've got this right? We've got a long way to go. But right now we've isolated exactly exactly where we need to be to feel safe. We're going to feel validated to be able to brag about what we do and be prideful about what we do. If we can get to those points, if we can define those points and we can get to those points and we can, we can kind of celebrate those moments, then we've got a minimal spot where we can be happy and kind of start building a business from there. 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 everyday 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 and that's how we do our trust ladies and gentlemen therapists. We never exactly know where it's going to come. No one of us is going to make a definitive statement. And then it's like, okay, that's, that's, that's good. That's the end. I'm gonna move to the top, but I'm just, I'm just gonna kind of ask some questions and ping some of you folks. Uh, Jonah, you're at the top of the stack saying startups are a marathon? Uh, will I actually be safe? What are your thoughts there? I'm sorry. Bad pun for the marathon man movie. You were asking if it's safe? And I just, my sense of humor. I mean it's also true. Yeah, but sorry. It was mostly just a bad joke and nobody got it. Sorry. Okay, well, I'm glad I brought it up again for you, then Jonah. Uh, mike, safety is an evolutionary function, bite flight or freeze when you feel uh safe, You can thrive. Um What what made, what made you say that mike? Yeah, sure. So I have 20 years prior to recently, starting up my organization in the classroom and as an administrator and I always knew that in order for students to learn and to contribute, I had to make sure that everything about the culture of that classroom they were stepping into was safe. Right That um was it a safe place to share ideas without being shut down? Was it a safe place to make mistakes? Um you know, because or else they're worrying and then that evolutionary thing in our brains kicks in where they're more worried about their safety than they are about their contributions. So I was just kind of referring back to that. Yeah, spot on. I mean you could replace, you could replace classroom there with conference room in any, in any startup and it absolutely applies well and that's, that's kind of, I'm bringing the philosophy of the classroom now to the conference room which is great. Um Okay. Uh Andy uh let's see, is there not an argument that not feeling safe, could be used as a positive to bring out your inner badger and come out fighting harder than before. And I kind of respond to this to the checks. I thought it was such a cool question, but do you want to add any color to that, you know, I just, I just think a lot of it for

Wil Schroter: me, what I've found,

Ryan Rutan: I've, I've had multiple

Wil Schroter: startups, some of

Ryan Rutan: them have failed, Some

Wil Schroter: of them have been successful. We'll talk a little bit later about the kind

Ryan Rutan: of, you

Wil Schroter: know, the validation

Ryan Rutan: point and what

Wil Schroter: you're proud of. But for me,

Ryan Rutan: it's all about positioning

Wil Schroter: yourself when

Ryan Rutan: times are really,

Wil Schroter: really hard rather than let it overwhelm you and saying, okay, my

Ryan Rutan: back's to the wall

Wil Schroter: and I'm not enjoying life

Ryan Rutan: is to use that

Wil Schroter: in a badger kind

Ryan Rutan: of example. But you

Wil Schroter: know, when a badger's corner that comes out, fighting so much harder and sometimes

Ryan Rutan: then

Wil Schroter: having taken that as your attitude

Ryan Rutan: and fighting

Wil Schroter: your way out of that corner and then getting to

Ryan Rutan: your safe place can be a little bit

Wil Schroter: more rewarding sometimes than

Ryan Rutan: building

Wil Schroter: it slowly and not having

Ryan Rutan: gone through that sort of

Wil Schroter: trauma,

Ryan Rutan: I guess, totally. And so my response Ryan back was, was just simply uh uh that definitely, you know, motivates you. I just don't know if it makes you feel happy. Like if we're saying, um you know how we're trying to get to this like, slightly zen place where a little bit, you know, we're like good at these baseline levels, um that's always where my anxiety gets kicked in, which for me it's always the opposite of happy. Yeah, Yeah, I would say that like I totally, totally take the point Andy and I agree that there are times where it has to happen. I think what, what I would, I would ask back is yes at that at that stage is where like your back is truly against the wall, right? The badger has to come out maybe right as long as you see that there's some daylight there and that there, there is even a chance to fight your way out of it. Um, but once we, we kind of get past that point, you know, we're trying to achieve situations where our backs not against the wall. And so I think that what we're saying is that what I'm seeing and I want to get your perspective in response. But what we're saying is this is the backstop that, that keeps you from having to have your, your back against the wall. Um, do you see that as something that is, does that come back around for you or was this sort of at the early stages where until you achieve some level of momentum, of course, things can, can happen right, Major disasters can happen, Covid happened. Um, and that can take us out of a position of safety and put us right back in there. But is the badge or something that you rely on on an ongoing basis for every new challenge or is that really when it's just like the bottom of the barrel critical, I think

Wil Schroter: where I was coming

Ryan Rutan: from

Wil Schroter: was, you know, I

Ryan Rutan: was very fortunate I

Wil Schroter: joined the oil and gas company at a very young age and I was in the right place at the right time.

Ryan Rutan: I was sent overseas. I

Wil Schroter: managed to be the youngest board member grow and that was a sense of pride growing the business and learning on the job and everything else.

Ryan Rutan: But then

Wil Schroter: going out on my own and one of the businesses failed and being in that

Ryan Rutan: position of

Wil Schroter: worrying about your rent for the first time

Ryan Rutan: in more than a decade, even

Wil Schroter: though the business

Ryan Rutan: success was a fraction

Wil Schroter: of what I achieved in the oil and gas space,

Ryan Rutan: I felt a much

Wil Schroter: greater sense of pride because

Ryan Rutan: I

Wil Schroter: went through that difficult times and I had a bit of an easy ride at the early part of my career. So

Ryan Rutan: I found more

Wil Schroter: pride in, I think you learned so much more in the downtimes about yourself

Ryan Rutan: and about your management

Wil Schroter: style and about your approach

Ryan Rutan: to business, then you do just riding the crest of a wave. So

Wil Schroter: whilst the

Ryan Rutan: size of success wasn't

Wil Schroter: anywhere near in terms

Ryan Rutan: of monetary terms or

Wil Schroter: revenue terms or anything

Ryan Rutan: else, the sense of

Wil Schroter: accomplishment from starting at a lower point was much greater than the earlier part

Ryan Rutan: totally get that part. Yeah, I mean that was my blueberry muffins story right? Like financially not, not a big deal wasn't a complicated sales cycle, but boy, it felt good, I agree. Alright, hey mike, um you said, is it possible to achieve a feeling of happiness as a founder by, by making sure you're providing safety validation and pride to those around. You were pitching in your success. My only thought before you respond was um so long as I'm not the one getting buried in the process, everyone else is fine. But me, what are your thoughts there mike? That was a great question. Yeah, I actually was typing that up as you began to tell your story of the conversation you were having with the founder who was having a difficult time and, but then you received that email um kind of validating what you were doing. Um You know, my, my thought behind this is the fact that I think the achilles heel right of human beings is our ego. So we're always trying to deal with that. Um but therefore in providing these um these validations and some safety measures and um you know, giving gratitude to others, it's mutually beneficial in many ways because it's, you know, if if you're dealing with those issues of ego um I feel like people appreciate it and then give it back to you so that it just keeps kind of ping ponging back and forth. I agree. Ryan what do you think? Yeah, no, I look, it's a again like the, I was saying that for for me those validation points often trail way back into history right? Where it sort of repairs some of the pains of the past. Um, but in almost all these cases right? When those validations come, it wasn't the important ones, right? So let's say there's financial validation. There's all these other things that happened that they're not important, but the ones that I think are the most impactful to us as leaders. Um, and that sort of have the most residual benefit are those ones that come from things like that. Like the story that we're told where, you know, he's working deeply with somebody through a really tough issue. Are there any other kind of founders? Um, but you know, in working through that they got a lot of value and that was the validation right? It wasn't that like it's not personal validation. Inasmuch as it's validation that this thing that I've been trying so hard to make true is not true and it actually helps somebody else. Right? And so those are the ones that are so deep seated for me. Um, and again, like, yeah, so, you know, she walked away from that with exactly what she needed, right? She got the help she needed and and will walked away from that knowing that that he had helped in exactly the way that he wanted to. Um, and so now she gets to go on and continue running her business in a better state of mind and will gets to return to doing this thing that we love doing with with that much more steam behind him, which is, it's so important, right? That's the thing, like the, the validation brings so much fuel to the equation. Not getting it also has this shipping away effect where like if you're just continuously not getting that validation like this thing that I keep trying to do, I'm providing the value want to provide and I'm just not getting that feedback loop that helps me close this and say I should do more of this, right? It's really frustrating and it just begins to eat away. He was a founder and make you question, should I keep doing this ship? Like this isn't easy, right? I'm giving up a little bit of me every time I do this and nothing's coming back, it doesn't seem to be having the impact I want. It's just super, super tough. Hey, Jonah, you had your hand up. I have been blessed to be involved in some situations where we're growing really fast and everything seems like it's going great and there's a kind of a high you get from that as you know, as your numbers keep peeking and you, you put in a lot, but you know, it just seems like we're in a cultural industry that puts so much emphasis on that and if you don't set some goals that are more holistic than that, uh, you're, you're just kind of crash as soon as those numbers don't look the same. And, and again, because a lot of my background is in search optimization with those numbers could look great in traffic wise. And then you know, you spend about a week digging into analytics, you might come away depressed when you was like, none of these people are actually the right people, but I get that. Uh Andreas you had your hand up. Yeah. I just wanted to say this resonates so well with me. I've been in the tech space for about 20 years. Um, I've done a couple of startups, took in funding and I was miserable the whole time. I didn't, yeah, no, I hated it. And I kind of, I want to do something fun and I started the disgusting food museum three years ago just as a fun thing. It was supposed to be a temporary kind of pop up. Just something fun to do with my best friend And it just, it turned into something so much bigger and it's, it was the best decision I ever made to just follow my heart and do something I thought was fun and I get that kind of validation every single day from our visitors coming up talking to me saying it's the best museum that I ever visited and just having fun and it was me following the happiness. Imagine that. I'm glad to hear it. Glad to hear it. Thanks for saying that too by the way. Uh, and by the way, I love the business. Uh, Catherine cady, are you still here? I'm still here. Hey, hey, all right, we're on to you how to navigate when critical components of happiness are in direct conflict with each other. Oh, that's a good one. Doesn't mean I need to find a third option. What made you think of that? Yeah. So, um, you know, I think everybody on this call can probably relate, which is that we're often times juggling a ton of different balls in the air. We're trying to find personal financial stability, also trying to find purpose and validation in our startups while also potentially trying to find emotional support and stability. Um, as we pursue relationships, friendships, hobbies and sometimes it feels like what I need to do is the founder is work 80 hours a week in my business so that, that stays afloat and I feel purpose and validation and then I need to work 40 hours a week to make sure I have financial stability and then I need to have 40 hours a week to like maybe occasionally sleep and then like 40 hours to, you know, see my friends and very quickly exceeded the number of hours and I think we've run out the number of hours in a week. Exactly. And so what I've been sort of grappling with is a, is there a way to do all of these things or be, am I just putting myself in a situation where I'm doing multiple things poorly. And really I just need to kind of like pause, take a step back and be like, there's gotta be some other options because what I'm finding right now in my current situation is I'm juggling too many things and I'm really afraid all the balls are going to drop it once. Good way to look at it. Ryan, I'm particularly bad at this. So what are your thoughts? So I think this is one of those cases where we gotta lean back a little bit and say which one of these should I prioritize right now, right, Which one of these is going to enable the others more? So if we just, let's just stick to the three that we laid out today, right? And so it's not gonna be the same for everybody, right? It's not, you can't say they're sequential, we can't say, well just look focus on the safety piece first. Um, and, and then from there you can build the rest of it. It may not be the case, right? It may be the case that you've already got a lot of pride in what you're trying to do and that's sort of the superpower platform that you can build from. So in, you know, it's never gonna be simple, but I would say try to figure out, lean back and say of these things, which one is gonna put, you know, more of a smile on my face when it's true, right? So if none of these things are true right now, what's the very next one that, that I can get to like if I, if I really don't feel safe. And so in your case, sounds like safety is actually the core issue and I might be miss misreading that, but it's, you're worried that all the balls are gonna drop. So one of the easiest ways to avoid dropping all the balls is stop throwing some of them up in the air, right? Literally just focus on a couple of things and figure out which one of those is likely then to be a, you know, a self sustaining effort. Right? So for example, you get the business to financial solvency, so you don't have to worry about that piece of it, right? Or it can take on the, you know, the place of the side hustle that you're currently working now to, to make ends meet. Right? So think through that. And look, this is not simple math, this is calculus, right? So it's, it's, it's going to be a complicated equation, but I think there's a ton of value in leaning back and saying of these things, which one would help me most if it was true tomorrow, knowing that it won't be true tomorrow, you're gonna have to work to make it happen. Um, but rather than trying to push, you know, 567 initiatives forward at once. Try to focus on getting one of them all the way across the lines that you can actually achieve the benefit of it? Hey, I've got a little sticky up on my desktop uh right now it's there for a reason uh and it's relatively recent, but Catherine, I can't help but feel like it sort of relates And I'm just reading it now, it says if I run too hard, I'll feel 10% better And if I relax and enjoy my life, I'll feel 90% better, right? In other words, like if I just keep pushing harder and harder on this business and and everything else like that, my life might get 10% better. Um but if I continue on this path where I'm not sleeping where I'm just treating my health horribly etcetera, it will certainly get 90% worse. Um and I don't think we really draw that equation, which is why it's on my desktop. Um and that's what I said, when you ask, like I suck at this, right? I have two modes, I mean they're working too hard or I'm feeling guilty that I'm not working enough and so either way I lose, right? Um and, and so I'm, I'm terrible, but I feel you um molly I'm going to call on you next, but only when you put the car in park Um Okay, I'm just kidding. Um well you said it seems like achieving the goals of balanced safety and happiness while honoring self family and community and avoiding burnout can be the antithesis to what it takes to achieve rapid growth, feel you um can you talk a bit more about the exacting goal setting like $5,000 a month salary that can help motivate and balance both growth and personal help. Yes, the goal is what matters. Um Catherine, that's that's part of what you know, what I would have responded with as well is um you already know what the problems are right now, you gotta say what's the minimum goal I need to get to? I think I used this example on on some other podcast we did but years ago I was at this like founder summit and I met this founder who used to be in the british S. A. S. And he used to be in close combat training, uh close combat, not just combat training. And um uh he had developed a munition, a practice munition where you could shoot each other in real time and it wouldn't go through the skin but it would hurt like hell. So you could get used to getting shot and keep running through it, which made him the coolest toughest guy I've ever met in my entire life. He'd been shot five times. Not at the same time. I asked him that dumb question, He said, no idiot Uh five different occasions. He had been shot and he said getting shot isn't what kills you said blue bleeding out is what kills you. The reason I bring this up is because what he taught me, he said that the reason we keep people alive. And I use this metaphor in the startup is he said we don't focus on how we're gonna get out of the room. I focus how I'm gonna get two ft to that cover. And the next thing I focus on is how I get two ft to the next part of cover. And the next thing I'll focus on how to get to the next two ft. That's what, that's what planning is like for startups. We can't planet, how do we get to the end? All I can plan on because all I can control is what do I get done today or how do I get to $5000 you know worth of happiness as far as safety goes, I have, it's my job to define hyper specific, very near term goals that are the most achievable goals. And people like, well they're not good goals if they're not achievable, you know, gold suck goals you never achieve because those are totally useless. Um it's okay if they're hard but they have to be achievable and they have to happen in a very short period of time. So with all of this happiness I apply this to happiness and I say, okay I'm an erotic idiot that's always worried about working all the time. What goal can I set? So that today by the end of today by six PM, I can feel a little bit more happier than I did this morning. And so motley. You know, my, my my response, I'm interested in Ryan's thoughts on this as well. My response would be and the goal setting around this is knowing exactly what makes you happy. Um and then saying what's the tiny bit I can chunk off today and it, it adds up Brian's leaving. He doesn't care about this anymore. Fun fact. His camera turns off every 30 minutes and so that just happened molly. What are your, what are your thoughts? I have goals to achieve. I was off to get them done. What are your thoughts? Um yeah, I, I was listening. So I have two kids and started my startup before the pandemic and then, you know, they're, they're young, they're school age. I had to sit 20 inches from them for, you know, the last couple of years before they went back to school. So that's just blown like five shots blown into your startup body, right? Yeah. So anyway, and then my and then sadly my husband just got laid off this summer. So luckily great severance for not freaking out. But it's like I pay myself a startup salary. So it's like um but I, I would totally agree with what you just said, will I live in the mountains. So I equate it to expeditions. And I and we listened as a family to a lot of expedition podcasts and people that have something go wrong on an expedition usually survive because they're not trying to get back to base camp, they're just trying to get to that crevasse or that tree or that whatever. And so I have to stay for instance, like swimming laps today, my swinging partner said, can you come? And I said, God, I have so much to do. Yes, I'm going to come for 45 minutes, I can't do the whole thing, that's fine. I'm busy too. So it's like, um, we only swam a mile. Guess what? That's a freaking mile more than I would have swam if I hadn't showed up and I feel great, I'm gonna be really efficient for the rest of the day. Probably more efficient than I would have been if I hadn't come. So I guess I, I wanted to ask like about goals not making lofty goals that are unachievable because that's, that's just a downward spiral. But um Mick, it seems like in your dashboard like your whatever people use your weekly thought process or daily thought process, you need to have personal health and wellness goals and business goals, right? That are both capable and that's kind of what I guess what I'm trying to figure out right now in a way that doesn't make me the bad mom, the bad wife, the bad boss, you know? Yeah. What do you think it's working, finding, finding the balance is, is tough, right? And I've talked about this before, but I've always tried to find work life blend as opposed to work life balance because balance implies impose opposing forces. I don't want to do that right? I don't want things to be in opposition to each other. And so I think some of this may just be as simple as a mindset shift in terms of, you know, does going and swimming make you a bad mom? No, of course it doesn't just makes, you know, a swimmer, right? That's great. Like you're, you'll, you'll be better off, like you said, you're gonna be more productive, you're gonna feel better, all of these things matter. And I know it can be hard in the moment because we feel like it's a zero sum game. We're taking time away from one thing to apply it to the other. And so this is where it goes back to a bit of prioritization. Um, but also making sure that you are looking at yourself in this equation because this is where it gets really easy to get lost. You know, we're looking at the kids were looking at that the marital relationship, we're looking at the business at that, you know, the employees, all of these other things. Um, we're part of all of that, right, particularly we get into the business in the early stages of the founder, we are the damn business. So we have to take care of ourselves to. Um, and I'm not gonna get up on a soapbox about this, but I think that it is important to make sure that you recognize how important you are to all of this and if you run yourself into the ground who benefits from it. Uh the other thing I want to, I want to key in on was something you said in the in the chat itself, which was is this incongruent to paraphrase, incongruent with rapid growth, Do you need rapid growth? That's one of those really amorphous goals that we set for us if we want to grow fast, cool. To what end, how big at what cost? Right? So there's all of these other things that go into that and so you know self talk is really important. The language that we use to describe what we're trying to achieve has a massive impact on ourselves. So you're constantly thinking like how do I grow faster? How do I grow faster? How do I grow faster? Be really careful about that and be really careful what you're asking yourself to do and make sure that you understand? What are the conditions that would actually make that true? How will you know when you're growing fast? Right, Right. Like set a goal for that, That's actually part of the reason I put that in there, because I feel like the startup world is like what's your hockey stick, who invested in you? How fast is your growth, what's your, what's your return over last year? And I feel like we have a self imposed um rat race and its its bullshit. And so I wanted to address that I guess. Yeah, I don't buy into it. Imagine imagine if the same battery of questions were, when's the last time you slept? How's your health? When's the last time you spend time with your kid? How how good is your relationship at home? Imagine having to answer that battery of questions right? Like very different and yet that's kind of what's supposed to matter. And you know, Ryan and I get a little bit of shit about this stuff that we talked about on this podcast because we're finally just kind of raising our hands sweet camera stop will. Um we're kind of just raising our hands saying like, like a lot of this is bullshit, right? Like we've done this forever, We've done that whole like gamut of of, you know, kill yourself through this whole process and it's not awesome. It doesn't end in great places, right? I've talked about it. Like that ends in horrible places and, and you know, we care about startups is as much as anybody. I mean it's literally what we do all day, but not at the expensive founders funk that. Exactly. Yeah. So I want to add one more thing to that, which is that those questions that you're hearing The answers to those are out of the self interest of the person asking that question, right? They want to know that, so they understand how those answers will benefit them, not you. Um and somehow we've been fooled into allowing that narrative to apply to us and starting to think that those things are actually important to us, right? But we let somebody else define that. Like, don't let that happen to you. You know, 22 is I've got a ton of founder friends that are on the other side of it, where you're supposed to have all the right answers about how much capital raised or what your exit was etcetera, the most miserable people I've ever met, because they basically let themselves be run through this and they're great people, great people in close friends and they'll tell you the same thing that they're like, don't believe the hype. Um there's nobody on the other end of it that's like, oh, that went well. Um it's just it's another level of therapy on that note. We have to wrap because we're taking up everybody's time. Um, if you have any other thoughts, drop them in slack, you know, we're gonna be there the whole time. Um, and, you know, hit us up either in DM or in the public channels. Um, if you get a chance, if you are on the founder group slack and you just had a parting thought on this, drop it in the general channel or something. I just like to have the conversation with you guys that I know Ryan does to um, and it feels awesome when you guys chime in because it means a lot to us. Alright, everybody. Thanks. This is awesome. We'll see you, we'll see you on Spotify or Apple wherever we show up soon. Take care. 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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