Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #151

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan joined as always by Wil Schroder, the founder and Ceo of startups dot com. Well there's a lot of talk about cool things that happen in the startup space and probably the coolest of them all at least by lore is the exit, right? The, you know, the multiples that will get and the yachts that will buy and all of this fun stuff that'll happen someday when we go super liquid. What's cooler than that

Wil Schroter: doing it every single year?

Ryan Rutan: Yes, I like that plan. No, seriously, like look like

Wil Schroter: we forget there are so many founders that didn't have an exit, but essentially have the functional exit every single year and they don't make headlines, which which is really interesting to me, I'll give you an example of somebody who did have an exit Ben chestnut at mill Shem Male chimps cells to intuit for $12 billion. What people may forget, Ben exited every single year for like 20 years, it wasn't like, that was the first time he made cash, The reports. I remember reading on the business were that they were doing about 800 million per year On insane margins before they sold to two into it. But for 20 years. So yeah, the only thing cooler than having a big exit is having 20 of them every single year and he could have been having those for the next 50 years if you wanted

Ryan Rutan: to rinse and repeat. Yeah, that's, that's quite the annuity I

Wil Schroter: think when people think about, you know, how do we build this business Ryan, how do we build a business together and you know, how do we get to an exit, etcetera? All those things are cool, but I'd really like to talk a little bit about what's it like to have just a different mindset, which by the way, like 99% of business owners already have just the startup world, uh, we're like, you know, what, how about we not dig ourselves in a massive hole and instead actually put a little bit of money back every year and the year after year, let's see that thing grow a bit until this thing becomes massive, right? Or at least massive enough so that it makes a difference to us.

Ryan Rutan: Sure, yeah, that compounding effect is real. The other part here I'd like to touch on is it's not just about like once you've decided to do your startup and like you're now in it, having that different mindset, I'm sure you've come across this as well. I'll talk to founders who are deciding not to start their startup because they don't see that massive, like facebook style, uh, you know, male chimp outcome and they're like, well, I'm not even gonna begin down this path because it can't do that, or I'm not sure that it can do that. And by the way, you can't be sure that it can do that, there's no such thing,

Wil Schroter: you have so little control over that to begin

Ryan Rutan: with, But it's so painful for me to see somebody who wants to pursue things for all the right reasons and then decides not to for the one wrong one. Which is that like, I don't see the moon shot here, like, okay, but will you be financially better off than you are now? Probably, will you enjoy what you're doing more than what you're doing now, definitely right? Will will you find this fulfilling and something you want to spend the, like a long period of time on the rest of your life, maybe the next 10, 15 years at a minimum? Absolutely, okay, but you don't want to do this because you're not sure that you can exit for a billion dollars and you've planned every one of those billion dollars to do what? Exactly, right, It's

Wil Schroter: just such a broken theory, you know,

Ryan Rutan: just

Wil Schroter: let's let's take a different tact and say if we're building a business, if we're building our pitch deck, let's say to go pitch to Vcs Yes, we've got to have a massive exit that's actually how their business works. Let me stop there. Alright, so before we get into this next topic, I just want to let you know what we talk about here is like 1% of the conversation, you know, really, this conversation is going on all day long online at groups dot startups dot com where Ryan and I pretty much talk endlessly with founders about every one of these topics. So if, by the end of this discussion, you like the topic and you want to dig into it a little bit more with Ryan and I just had two groups dot startups dot com and we'll pick it up from there. That's how their business works. Vcs have to have big exits. We don't, we don't sure, nothing wrong with it. You know, we don't hate money, but at the same time, we tend to forget that what a business is supposed to do and you touched on it is help us in a big part of that help is giving us wins after wins, after wins. And again, outside of the startup ecosystem, you talked to your regular business owner, all my neighbors and they happen to be business owners like, and we kind of share this big piece of property together and they're all just traditional business owners that built their big freaking houses Because they weren't thinking about market sizes and tams and exit opportunities. They were like, I'm going to build a business next year, it's ideally gonna make more than it did last year and it's going to keep doing that for like 30 years and I'm gonna make a ton of money, when that if that ever, happens. that's actually how you're supposed to think about building a business, but I think we've been detracted right, I think we've been pulled away from that concept, which is incredibly obvious to be, it's gotta be all or nothing. And I think today, as we're talking through this, we gotta take some of that off the table, I think it's goofy

Ryan Rutan: for sure, for sure. So let's, let's go back to your, your notion around not starting by digging a hole. So what should we do instead if we're not going to go dig the giant hole, you know, massive burn rate, you know, burn down the world to try to figure out how we can launch the rocket out of this thing and hit the moon shot. What are we doing instead?

Wil Schroter: Well, I think instead, I think like this digging a hole or building a ladder concept,

Ryan Rutan: yep, I like them

Wil Schroter: digging a hole is where we're all used to and it's kind of how a lot of startups start, It's kind of hard to avoid this part where we're gonna go backward, we're gonna create debt, we're going to create a company that makes no money. Now, I take a salary or have any sort of active income in order to hopefully be further ahead in the future now, that's fine, that's kind of how we all start. But here's the difference, there's one end of the spectrum where it says, I'm going to have to dig some hole in order to hopefully get out of it. There's another end of the spectrum, which is, all I'm gonna do is dig holes,

Ryan Rutan: I'm gonna keep

Wil Schroter: digging holes, I'm gonna keep loading up with more debt, more venture, whatever in hopes that somehow magically I'll get out of it. And when you do, when it does happen, it makes for an awesome story, Right? It looks cool. You get on the cover of magazines that will make magazines anymore. But back when they did, you'd be on the cover of one and it was awesome. What you didn't hear about. We're the 98% of other founders where that didn't happen to

Ryan Rutan: they just dug the grave for their business. It's just the giant

Wil Schroter: grave that they dug for themselves, you know, as much as the business. Yeah, for sure. And so while it's the strategy is endemic to what we do, it doesn't have to be the only path. And I love what you said, where you said, here's a founder who should have been perfectly on the right path but has deluded themselves that they can't dig a big enough hole with this path, right? You mean it could actually make money and you could actually build a business that provides for you and your family. You could probably make a ton of money and become a millionaire. That sounds like a shitty plan. Let's get out of that.

Ryan Rutan: But there was a happy ending to that story. So he did decide to pursue the idea. Haven't talked to him about a year, maybe two now I'm losing time due to Covid probably two years since I've spoken with him. But I talked to him the first time like five years ago. I remember it distinctly, it was the first time I did a clarity call with my feet in the pool. It was not the last time, it was not the last time I did that, but it was the first time and, and he's gone on to, to grow this to a fairly significant business and, and significant in the sense that he's now putting away, you know, decent money on the margin and doing something really, really enjoys, like polar opposite what he's doing before and was absolutely super happy the last time we talked and, and he was glad that he decided to pursue it despite the fact that it probably never will be a mega exit business. But again, like he can continue to stack 102 104 107 $100,000 a year away. That becomes super, super meaningful. Right? So that's his letter

Wil Schroter: at so many levels and by the way you can still sell the business right? Like, you know, if there's an opportunity down the road, you can still sell it. And I think that's, that's a bit of what we're trying to really get out here is again, we've developed this mentality that I guess I have to go and lots of debt or take on a lot of venture etcetera. And that's the only way to kind of get to where I want to go and that's just not true. And what happens is we have a lot of founders that we spend time with, that we coach and advise for different things and they've just sort of comment got into this industry thinking, I guess that's what everybody has to do, I guess I have to do that, that's the cost of doing business. And we see like it's an option, you could do it,

Ryan Rutan: but there's probably

Wil Schroter: actually some better options that there's some better ways to go. I've been on both sides where I've dug the hole and I built the ladder and if I really look back at it when I was digging the hole, I just went into it blindly, I was like business needs capital, I need to scale this thing, etcetera and it needs a big exit and I never took the time and no one ever pulled me aside and said, does it right. Is that actually the best outcome?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. This, this thing that you are, this fundamental point that you are using to drive most of your business decisions is one that you never really considered whether this was important or not right? It was like, did we ever stop to say, do I need to or better yet, should I do this? And it's amazing. But yeah, I think to your point, people just sort of fall into the start of bloodstream and they're like, well everybody seems to be swimming this way, we're just all going that direction, I guess I'll do the same thing too,

Wil Schroter: which is

Ryan Rutan: ironic given that most of us jump into entrepreneurship because we want to do things differently, right? Like the reason we want to start a company, like I don't want to do this the same way that other people are doing this, How do I do this? Like everybody else, right? Like really come on guys,

Wil Schroter: I think the blind devotion part is what bothers me. It's not that that those paths don't have outcomes that work in many cases you do need to raise capital in order to scale a business etcetera. This is, this is by no means in an anti capital rent. What this is, is at what point are we accomplishing our goals? If what we're saying is I'm going to go all or nothing and I'm going to do whatever I have to do in order to get the big exit and I'll kind of put off everything until then and there's a lot of deferred living issues and things like that, but save that for another podcast, but I'm gonna go, I'm gonna choose to go down that path. We had to, at some point, ideally have had a conversation to say, well, what about the other paths are the other paths viable? And what cracks me up is I talked to founders and every now and again they'll pull me aside and they'll say, you know, I feel bad saying this, but I think I could just run this as a profitable business, It'll take me longer. But I think I could do it and what's funny, it's a confession Ryan, it comes in

Ryan Rutan: the form of an apology right? Like it's like, oh man, really, you don't need to feel bad about this quite the opposite. You should feel great that you discovered that years

Wil Schroter: ago I was with a bunch of founders and and at the time I was, I was a young founder there was a time and they're all much older than me and I was trying to explain to them because I just thought they didn't get it That what I was going to do is I was going to invest a bunch of cash and I was going to basically work for nothing and I was gonna take the business to a point where in 3-5 years we could potentially sell it in one of the old geezers who is probably as old as I am now just me. This like what I thought was kind of a sarcastic response and said or you could just make money. I was like what are you even talking about? And he's like, look, I started my business X years ago, every year. It makes money every year I get rich every year I have whatever you're calling an exit do I make $100 million when I do it. No, but guess what I actually make it unlike you. If you do make it great, but why make that the only path? And Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: exactly. Why, Why defer that if that if that's really what we're chasing, If the money is what you're chasing at that point, the big pile of cash is what you're chasing. Why defer creating it until some future and very uncertain date. If you can start creating it now. Also, I think that we need to dispel the notion that these two things are somehow completely opposite directions, right? You can do both and you said it before, but I want to point out again, like you can take money off the table, you can make money and still grow and sell the business or have some kind of meaningful exit, but it's not a binary approach where it's like, well, I'm gonna choose this path that path, or it's not Red bill, red pill, blue pill situation. You can do both. All right. And I would certainly suggest that you at least do the one, the one that's far more practical and probable.

Wil Schroter: Here's what we're really talking about for investors more specifically Vcs because I'm going to take angel investors off the off the table here because they have a lot more pliability on what an exit looks like to them. Hell they can take distributions which vcs can't do. But from a VC playbook standpoint, you have to go back to their motivations and I'm not saying their motivations are wrong. That's just how A. V. C. Is built. Obesity starts by taking money from limited partners with the promise that we will have a huge return Within 7 to 10 years. Which means they have to have huge exits to make up for all the horrible bets that there are invariably gonna make which they expect to make, make highly risky bets. They put a ton of money in it and it has to return one or two out of the portfolio that make up for all the others. So when we say we're going to build a business with this, you know, go big or go home mentality if it has to be massive et cetera. What we're really talking about is there needs the VCS needs not necessarily our needs because what you get into is for a founder you could say Ryan, there's a bunch of different outcomes that could happen here, outcome one is you make a million dollars a year, forever year after year you make a million dollars outcome two is you have a $10 million exit outcome three is you have a $500 million exit, forget the probabilities for a second. What you would say is I like all of them. I'm cool wherever that goes. That sounds sweet.

Ryan Rutan: Yes please. D all of the any of the above. Yeah.

Wil Schroter: Right. Except from an investor standpoint, particularly venture, they don't have that optionality. The making $1 million $10 million, et cetera is a base hit. It actually doesn't return anything. It's as good as a failure to them. The big one is the only one that matters and that's just the way they're fun. Mechanics work again, no one's fault. But once we say I only want to go that track, we're then basically signing up for their plan and their smaller list of options not ours. And I think that gets lost.

Ryan Rutan: It does. And I think that to back up on something I was saying before, which is that this isn't binary. It's not binary until you make it

Wil Schroter: binary, right? But if you

Ryan Rutan: do choose something like the venture capital path, then it does become kind of binary. You have now chosen to say that like look, I have to aim for the big exit. This is the deal that I made. This is what I entered into. I have to aim for the big exit because that's what serves the partner that I chose to take on. Right? And so yes, you can force it into a binary outcome. I'm saying from the very beginning it's not but there are certainly situations that you end up in where it becomes more binary or there's a whole lot of unwind. If it if it's not going to write, it's going to be seen as a failure by, by the partners have taken on and so forth.

Wil Schroter: We also make those commitments in many different ways. Long before we ever get into the partner meeting at a VC pitch, right? We do it when we take on staff and they say I'm gonna work for equity and say your equity is gonna be worth X amount someday, right? And kind of put that in their head, We do and we take an angel investors and we say, hey, we're gonna do a safe note and we're going to for the evaluation until we do a professional round later. We've kind of just told everybody like, like where this thing is going and incidentally by way of taking some of our options off the table and sometimes that's the right thing to do. But mentally what we don't do very often we keep coming back to this is we don't say is that really my only option?

Ryan Rutan: So is that my best option?

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 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, let's shift gears a little bit and let's talk about, you know what we like to call the get rich, not quickly schemes get rich over time skiing. Here's what that looked like for me early in my career, you know, I'm running an agency and there's nothing sexy about an agency, like there's no big kind of like bonafide moment. It's, you build humans for time and next year you build more humans for more time and you hopefully get paid as you do it. But here's what got interesting in the first few years. I mean first we usually mean nothing that, you know, that that's your investment period. But after that, once we started to turn the corner a little bit, we got like $100,000 check and that's tantamount to a salary, right? So it felt great to even have it, you know, when we were like early twenties, I felt like a billion dollars, but that wasn't just it, it wasn't that first check that really made me go, oh this is interesting, it was the next year in the next year in the next year. It wasn't until like the 4th year where I looked around and I'm like we're gonna make that again.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, I'm starting to see a pattern here. This keeps happening every year. It's like christmas, this is amazing. Yeah,

Wil Schroter: yeah. And you got to that point where like that first bit of cash maybe you bought a house or you bought your furniture went on vacation, you paid off your college debt, whatever it is that you might have done. Oh my God damn. That's that's like that's really interesting because I thought that's what I was gonna need a big exit

Ryan Rutan: for.

Wil Schroter: But what got most interesting was that the next year when you got way more money and you actually needed it less and then you did this crazy thing, you put it in investments and those started to make money right? Not a ton at a time but you were getting decent returns but they kept on coming. We talk about this as it's some like fairy tale thing again I keep saying 99% of the rest of the world. This is exactly how this works. I think in startup land we don't talk about this very much which is why we're talking about it. And I think we get into this thing where it's like a big exit and it's like dude do you know what happened if you had one of these sizable checks every quarter every year etcetera, It reminds me of an interview, I saw Jason Calacanis do a really long time ago I think like maybe in 2007 with a D. H. H. From base camp you know base camp had just blown up by that point. They were doing pretty well But it was early. I mean God was almost 15 years ago.

Ryan Rutan: We can't.

Wil Schroter: And so Jason is trying to grill David about how the company couldn't be bigger. Like you could take on you know venture capital, do all these things have big exits and David was just sat there resolute. And finally when Jason actually gave him a chance to speak, he said look man, we make money every single year. And he's like, yeah but it could be this and he goes, stop right there he goes. It adds up. And what are you saying? It's like, yeah maybe I make a couple of million dollars a year, which is nothing to sneeze at. But if I make it for 20 years and it keeps going up every year, that's all

Ryan Rutan: you got to enjoy the entire way, right? You had the benefit of that entire time. Right? So I think that there's it's not only the get rich quick thing right? Because that's part of it, but it's the get rich all at once. Right? And I think that there's something that sort of feels good about that until you really break down what that means getting rich all at once means being poor until then. Exactly. So don't do that. You don't need to do that. I'm going to circle back to a point. You made really early on. That was that was fantastic. Which is that we don't have to keep digging. Right? We we can we we all have to dig a little the beginning, right? Very rarely is it just like, oh, I have all this extra money and time laying around, Let me start a startup, right? Most of us have to to make some sacrifices to make that work. You said something that was so spot on, which is that at some point. And and sort of the sooner the better we can say, let's at least decelerate the digging and let's start building that ladder. Let's do, let's choose to not only dig right? We can keep digging and we can keep building, we can keep doing all this stuff, but let's not trade off

Wil Schroter: every bit

Ryan Rutan: of personal gain forever in the hopes that we get this big get rich all at once event simply because we assume that that will compound into something larger if we do that. That just patently mathematically isn't true. I mean, certainly what we see in startup land gives us plenty of evidence to the contrary as well. And so, you know, point. Well taken. Well, I think that the this this idea again, that we're going to wait and wait and wait and wait and wait and somehow that's that's what we need to be aiming for as opposed to building the entire time and and benefiting the entire time, you know, to DHHS point Yeah, it's only it's only it's only a couple of million dollars a year. Sorry for everybody who's still pre revenue, that's listening to this and going for you Ryan, Yes, it's only a couple million dollars a year. But it adds up right to his point. It adds up and it will continue to do that and it changes so many other things in life. I know I'm ranting on here, but give me one more in me one more second because there's something else you said that was important. You make more money each year, hopefully, right? Like generally this is sort of the way it goes. You find ways to, to continue to grow the business, make a little more each year, a little or a lot more each year. And so you go from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to five, whatever a year, hundreds of thousands of dollars, we'll call it, You said something else was really important, all of that, which is that you needed a little less. Right? So there's this, there's these two factors, right? There's your income is going up and some of those debts that you incurred early on while you were growing this maybe well before starting this could have been a mortgage, you took on this could be student debt could be whatever, right, that stuff starts to get chewed up pretty quickly as those cash amounts stack up these larger and larger checks start to come in and without the big accident, just these normal distributions on an annual basis, All of a sudden you need that money even less. And so the value of that, right? You may have needed almost all of that. Like the first time you get to the $150,000 mark, let's say, yeah, that's great. But that just got me back to break even that stopped the bleeding, right? And then to 50 right? So now I'm like, okay now I'm getting ahead now I'm chewing at some of that back debt right now. It's not all spoken for now. Some of that rolls off and in year three I don't have anything that I really owe anymore. Maybe it's year four or five and now all of that is coming straight to personal bottom line. This is where it gets really interesting, right?

Wil Schroter: It does get interesting because what happens is instead of stacking debt, you're now compounding wealth and it doesn't take much for that to have a massive effect. I'll give you another example. It just comes to mind of that that route in between when you're supposed to be making money later. In other words, you think the big exits on the horizon. But it's been a long time since that's happened. I can I can name dozens of examples, but I'll give one and I gotta leave names out of it just to just to protect the innocent on this. But a friend of mine that I watch build what's now I think a $40 billion dollar company from scratch. I'll never forget this years ago I'm at their headquarters and I was just catching up with them seeing how things were going and he said, hey I'm actually about to get married etcetera. He's really excited about it. He's a relatively young guy and a whole life ahead of him. And we're sitting in there cafeteria at the company,

Ryan Rutan: wow. It's what sort of weird dystopian past are you describing? Well there was a cafeteria where people sat and ate together. What is this? Oh yeah,

Wil Schroter: yeah. Yeah. Back in the days of yore when when people went to the office buildings but there was a massive number of people there in the cafeteria and it was like the best of everything, you know, very Silicon Valley. And he looks at me and he said I don't actually know what it costs to feed everybody today, but I can tell you this, I can't afford my wedding and I'll never forget like that moment where he's like it's going great for everyone else. I haven't gotten paid now. They haven't gone public yet. They will, it will be massive. He'll be a billionaire, What have you? But the point is at the time in this it was a long run for him. I mean it's at least a decade which a lot of people like decades, nothing you know to to compare to what you'll get paid. Yeah. If you get paid. Alright,

Ryan Rutan: let's let's let's hit on, let's hit on, let's hit on that point because yes, you could forego having it pay for your wedding and still not get the billion dollars. That is not a trade off that you can say with any certainty pays you back. It's not like if I do this, then I get that. It is not if then logic folks, its if maybe and that's a big ask, maybe

Wil Schroter: he would have killed at that moment to have had actual income that was representing what his business was actually doing. And I'm just using that to point out that we tend to think that once I'm on billion dollar track or anything else like that, that everything must be figured out. And it's like, it's actually still not figured out in most cases. Many, many, many venture funded founders are broke personally, even though the company on paper is supposed to be worth a ton of money and that's, that's part of it. Now, look, to be fair, they don't have a monopoly in that position. I know just as many bootstrapped founders that are awfully broke as their company is paying a lot of payroll, right? So again, it's not one or the other. The point is this whole, if I dig the hole, I'm getting paid back and I'm getting paid back soon, kind of bullshit at some point, we have to look at the business and say, I kind of like the plan where I sort of get paid now if I can write, if that's even an option,

Ryan Rutan: stick with that for a second and go back in time to that, that conversation at this visit, you're, you're sitting in the cafeteria eating really nice food that should have been served at that wedding instead. Did he indicate at that point was he was he clear on the fact? Obviously he knew he wasn't getting paid because he called it out? But was he clear or did he provide reason as to why he felt that was necessary in that moment? Like was it

Wil Schroter: to not get paid?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. To not get paid. Like, I mean because he could have chosen to get paid, could have, you know, there were things he could have obviously could have could have taken this bill. The latter approach that we're talking about. What in the moment was his justification for not doing that

Wil Schroter: in their case, given the nature of the business they had, it was so wildly capital intensive that there was just no way you're gonna be able to do what they were trying to do without a filthy amount of capital and with that filthy amount of capital came the whole where you just had to dig and hope and pray and it's gonna work out for him. Again, he's going to be a very wealthy man, But he's also been at it for like 12 years and this isn't the first case. I'm sure some of the folks listening because I know some of the folks that listen, I know some of their situations can appreciate this because we have had some very hard conversations Where they're like, dude, I'm 10 years into this and I've yet to get paid. I know VCS who are 10 years into their job and say, I've, I've never seen a single check beyond my paycheck, right? I've never seen a distribution check from any of the profits or, you know, any of the exits, etcetera, but it's stuff that people generally don't talk about. So in my mind, I think part of what's missing in kind of the dialogue here is not just how do I, you know, make these big grand slam home runs, but what does my base hit approach look like? How do I get to some base hits so that I can make sure that I'm around long enough that if the home run doesn't hit, then I still have a great business, I still have a great outcome. I don't think we have to be consigned to a lifestyle that says either do all of it or I get nothing at all because Ryan you and I live this firsthand, most of the people get nothing at all and I just don't feel comfortable, you know, kind of supporting this narrative that says, that's the only way to go, it sounds cool, it sounds noble. I think it sounds fun, but it's just not very realistic and that's what concerns me a little bit.

Ryan Rutan: I had the pleasure of forcing a founder sometime last week to celebrate a moment just like this, which was that they had gotten to a point where he made a decision, we were, we were on a call and going over some initiatives that he wanted to look at doing and marketing and, and the sales front and how they could increase revenue and that was going to mean that he was going to continue to draw, he draws a salary but it's been extremely, extremely low and it's, it forces them into drawing from their, their family savings in order for them to do this to make ends meet their drawing down and they have been for two years on the family savings and so we went through and did some math and said, well, you know what if we, what if you took a different approach to this and long and short, he made a decision to to actually get the salary to a point at the expense of a little bit of potential growth because these were going to be some new channels, new initiatives without a proven roo I and so he took the proven, I'm going to stop taking money out of my savings account instead of the speculative marketing growth and it wasn't a one for one trade. He didn't have to forego all of the increased marketing spend, but he was having a really hard time with this. After making the decision. He was having a really hard time that he had just sacrificed the growth of his company for for his own benefit. I said, isn't that a big part of what we're doing here? Is your benefit? Like why are you building this again? Because you know, your product isn't out to save the world. It's not, it's not one of those kind of products like this is like clean water for everyone, right? It's not that. So it took a little bit of pushing and finally got to the point where it's like, okay, this is really great and and it took looking at in a couple different ways. One of one of them was this now gives them infinite personal runway to keep running the business and you and I have talked about this before, how important this notion is that you know, businesses don't go out of money. They don't go broke, founders go broke when you can't make ends meet or when that when that savings account dries up game over, right? You you don't get to the street lights came on timmy, you gotta go home. It's over. So this was to me this was a huge milestone for him and the family and the business because now he is safe and he can just aim for those base hits and not worry about it, right? Each base hit is going to have a beautiful cumulative effect to what that business does, knowing that he is already able to stay in the game as long as he needs to.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, and I think from founder standpoint, we shouldn't be ashamed of base hits, like what the hell happened here? Like how is building a profitable business, like not considered good enough? And again, I love the big hits, I love the big outcomes. I love telling those stories right? And you know, and, and I'm so proud of the, of the folks that have done it right. However, I'm equally proud of the folks that didn't like all my neighbors around me who just built a business like you're supposed to by making profit every year and they've got a ton of Jack right there doing really well because they just focus on how a business is actually supposed to operate. I just, I would like us to be at a point with startups within the startup narrative that it's not about uh big, like, you know, dig my hole and you know, potentially get a big exit. I like it to look something like this. I want an outcome. I want to have this lifestyle for myself, my family, you know, whatever our goals are, these are my goals. I don't care how I get there. I don't care if it's a small business, a big business, I don't care how I get there, I just have to get there and I'm going to look at every possible option. I'm not going to shoehorn myself into what a couple of people have as their only options, like the VCS and whether it's bass hits or home runs, I just want to score runs, that's all I care about, and that's what I'm focused on. Alright, so that was fun. But let's actually keep this conversation going. You've heard what we think about this, but you know, Ryan and I would really like to hear what you think and we're online, like all day long, pretty much talking about every startup topic you could think of from fundraising, the customer acquisition to just really how to get all of this crazy startup stuff out of your head. And there's tons of other founders, just like you, they're weighing in on these topics so you'll get a chance to just hang out and meet some really smart founders were also super, super easy to find. You head over to groups dot startups dot com and let Ryan and I hear what's on your mind, let's get to know each other a little bit and let's just start having more of these conversations

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