Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #164

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rotan from startups dot com. Joined as always by Will Schroeder, my friend and the founder and CEO of startups dot com. Will, as of hitting record on this podcast, things in the market are a little funky. Right. There are a lot of companies taking big, big hits. Uh Things are not looking promising right now and yet doesn't this all feel just a little familiar?

Wil Schroter: Yeah, it does. And like if, if you've never witnessed the market corrections or a pullback or everything that we're seeing right now, you don't know what's coming next, you know. Right. It's like if you've never been through a tornado or a hurricane, you know, it's bad. You heard it's bad, but being through one is a very different experience. So having been in this business forever, it seems, you know, we've lived through the market correction post dot com bust post, you know, 9 11 again in 2007 and 2008 with the financial meltdown, uh Lehman Brothers and everything else that happened and you watch this amazing end of a cycle and it goes something like this at the beginning of the crash period. Let's let's go dot com. Everything changes because everyone's caught flat footed, everyone was in, everything is gonna grow forever. I'm good mode to total, total anarchy overnight. It always happens really fast, which is the hardest part about it. And so I actually thought this time around the beginning of COVID, you know, years ago was going to be this. It had every everything to do with, you know, all the makings of a world stopping event and it was in many ways, it just surprisingly the markets did well, but now they're not. So now here's what happens next. Markets start to implode, everyone pulls back for founders, you know, folks that are listening to this. Why does that matter to us? It matters to us because the people that we rely on to give us money, investors don't have any, they all just got cleared out in a way. Yeah, if, if I'm talking to an angel investor, high net worth angel investor and let's say a month or two ago, markets were ok. A little rocky but, but not horrible. They're willing to still be aggressive and make bets. They've seen a lot of bets that they could have made or did make over the last couple of years materialized markups on valuations. And they're thinking this is amazing. How can I get more of this no different than when you see the stock market go up when you see crypto go up. Everyone's a genius. Everyone is Gordon Gecko. Right until right now when everything implodes and everybody's running for cover, this is the time where you start hearing creepy startup words like revenue and profit layoffs, lots and lots of layoffs. So I think it's worth talking today about how to think about revenue, profit and growth. And whether or not, again, this is all about these times whether or not profit should have always been our motive. And I don't mean in a greedy way, I mean, a sustainable way and, and how to think about it, how to be able to say, hey, when do we grow and when do we profit and how do we balance the two? Because I don't think a lot of people actually know the difference

Ryan Rutan: for sure. I, I think it's, it's sort of a, a readily agreed trope in the startup land, which is that profit is something that you defer so that you can grow, right? And I think we can dismantle a bit of that today because I, I definitely would not fully agree with that. Yes, there are times where uh foregoing profit can lead to accelerated growth and we can talk about whether that's worth doing or not, but it's not something that you, you simply have to say there's a binary choice between growth and profit. So let's dig in. Well,

Wil Schroter: OK, so here's what I would say out of the gate. I think that our, our plan has always been with startups dot com. We're 10 years deep into the company that we wanted to be around long enough to be able to sit on a podcast and say we're 10 years deep in a company regardless what would have happened. Right. We just wanted to know that we had this level of sustainability. So while we've always had lean times like any other startups when you're getting started, we always focused on profit. And so what did that look like for us that looked like if we were making $10,000 a month in M R R? We said, how can we be profitable at $10,000 a month? Now, we didn't have to be insanely profitable. That's not even enough money to pay for anything, right? But what we didn't do is we didn't say, oh, we're, you know, we're making $10,000 a month, let's spend $30,000 a month and see how it goes. The reason for that is not because we didn't believe in growth or have a million places to spend it. It's because we knew that the moment we started to go into the red, that there was a very limited timeline on how long we'd be around. And I think the way we describe it, Ryan is, if we're profitable by $1 we can live forever. If we're in the red by $1 we have a very fixed timeline and it's night and day, it's, it's as binary as it gets.

Ryan Rutan: And we talked about this before as well. Once that starts to occur, once we're in this situation where we're in the red, we have a burn rate and there go a runway, your decision making changes, right? How you feel about all the choices you make, everything starts to come from a point of desperation, which just is not a good look. Uh Not a great way of making decisions and, and so yeah, and, and to your point, like, we don't have to be wildly profitable. We're not talking about like uh let's Scrooge mcduck swim around in our, in our, in our money bin. We just need enough to know that, hey, we can make ends meet this month and next month and the month after the month after the month after giving ourselves that most just resource and startup plan time to figure shit out, right? Like it's not

Wil Schroter: easy. We've all kind of been born in and, and told that, hey, again, startups have to grow really quickly. Do they? No. And it's just, it's so funny because we run a company called startups dot com. We live with startups our entire life. We talked about thousands of startups and yet in so many ways, it always feels like we're one of the few people that's just stopping and saying, you know, that's actually just not true. Like how is nobody picked up on that,

Ryan Rutan: right. Grow fast or die. Like that's not actually a thing, right? It's not real. You can say that, but it's not true. If

Wil Schroter: we bring uh super successful startup CEO S on the podcast, here's what they'll tell us. There's no other way to do what I did without going that path. And by the way, I would agree just to be clear, I would agree. I think there are a fixed number of startups. Like if you're Uber, for example, that is a very specific path. And I don't think that there was a another path that would have gotten in there. But that doesn't mean that's instantly the case for everyone. That's the part that throws me off. Very few companies have the DNA the requirements to tam everything in order to get to that level or require that level of, of investment. And for all of us to think, well, we must be that kind of juggernaut is a little bit arrogant at its

Ryan Rutan: least arrogant or, or just even really, really misguided, right? It, it implies that every business in order to be successful has to also achieve that same level of scale. And we just patently know that that's not true, right. It's just you and I've talked with this so many times, we know so many people that run what would look like relatively small companies and yet live in really big houses and drive nice cars and do what they want in life. Right? Not because they grew fast or four went profits because they built a successful business. Right? And what that looks like, you know, I, I guess at the early stages where we're just not sure of everything, the easiest thing to say is we're just gonna make it really fucking big, right? If we do that, then everything else will sort itself out. We won't have to worry about all of the details like, you know, efficiency and profitability, except that then you, you rarely get there, right? So to your point will, it's a fallacy that the only thing that we can do is simply mimic the path of some of these other startups without looking and saying, yeah. But other than just saying, I want to be big like them. What else is actually the same, right? Is your tam the same, right? Are your margins, the same is your ability to reach your market? The same are all of those things held constant. If so cool, then to your point, you're one of the very few companies who have that path laid out before them and that it's sort of the one they have to follow, right? But most people aren't an Uber, most people aren't an airbnb. Their solution is neither as ubiquitous and nor does it rely and require that type of scale and ubiquity to be successful. Some businesses do, right? If you're, if you're air B N B for one city. How does everybody who visits that city find out about you? Right. Ubiquity is part of the success model for some businesses, for the vast majority. It's just not so we don't need it and chasing it actually hurts us. All right, I surrender the floor.

Wil Schroter: Well, here's what I'd say though, when we think about how to grow the business, the first thing we got to keep in mind is that as the founders were saying, I need a million things, I need more developers, I need more marketing, I mean, more of this and of course you do, we all do. So the idea that I have to grow by vis a vis I need more resources. That's like a kind of like a no shit moment, right? Who doesn't? But that doesn't mean that uh plying those resources right now is the only way to move the business forward. That's where the two roads start to go in two different directions. So on the one hand, it's whatever resources I need, I need to have them right now at any cost, those costs are uh diluting equity, those costs are going to be uh creating uh our business in the red. There's a whole bunch of paths down there that create all kinds of dangerous for us. And again, I'm not saying it's, you can't do it. I'm just saying that that's a very dangerous path and I don't think people think about it as a dangerous path. They think about it as very noble. The other path is, yes, I want those things, but they're gonna take time. I kind of have to earn them. Right. I, I have to incrementally grow the business every month and with that incremental profit, you know, make some bets, et cetera. So, in my mind, the responsible way and again, I'm not knocking the other path. What I'm trying to say is your default should be, we can't spend more money unless we have more money, sort of the way that works. Right. Imagine that. And so I think from, from a startup standpoint, they're saying, well, ok, but I need those resources to make more money and some of that is true. Some of that is true, right? Like if you don't spend more, let's say, in marketing, you're not going to make more money. Right. So some of that is true, but that's where it gets very limited. You're making very strategic bets, right. Small bets, incremental bets. Not, let's go from 10,000 month of M R R and $10,000 a month of Opex of expenses and crank that to $90,000 of opex, we'll crank it to maybe 15,000 and then try to get to 15,000. I, I think people overshoot drastically.

Ryan Rutan: They do and we've, we've probably touched on this before, but a big part of this goes back to as sort of founders, we have to believe in ourselves or we have to believe in, in the future that we're trying to create. And therefore, you know, we have to believe in our bets. But I think that what starts to happen is that we oversize the bets and we continue to believe in them and we don't think about what happens if that particular bet doesn't pay off. Right. If the bet of, ok, look, we raised uh 500 K, right. And that gives us a six month runway based on our, our current burn rate, right? Based on the amount of cash that we're spending more than the amount of money that we're making. We've got six months to figure it out. If we can figure it out in six months, let's do that. And, and so they say like, because if we did it right, we get it right in six months, then we'll hit this new milestone. We'll be at this place. Maybe it's profitability, maybe it's just a user milestone, maybe it's the, the metrics required to go and raise the next round of funds or whatever it is. But what we don't factor in is what if it doesn't pan out right now, we've thrown all the, all the chips in and now we don't get to try again. And I think this is the part that we, we fail to realize that when we go all out uh for growth in this way that we cut off all of the other exits. I talked about this a little bit last week in, in terms of fundraising being a one way street to a large degree chasing growth in this way can be the same thing. Now, you, you can backpedal a bit, you can pause, you can slow down, unlike fundraising, which sort of sets you on that path on that path. But I don't see that happening very often. Once people start to chase growth, it takes some sort of cataclysmic event. And I mean, we see this come out in terms of things like down rounds or massive layoffs or having to sell out or, or do other things that would not necessarily have been part of the plan because they're major, major course corrections, right? Whereas we just chased profitability in the beginning and we said, hey, let's make bets based on the resources we're actually generating or at least limit the bets that go beyond our resources. We can actually do this a lot longer and we don't have to win on every bet. All right, we can play softer odds and play for a longer time.

Wil Schroter: Let's stick out with the longer time because I think that's the part that folks who haven't done this before, don't quite understand the idea is I just raised 500 K and therefore I want to grow quickly and I'm gonna make a whole bunch of bets, but here's the framing I'm gonna make a whole bunch of bets when I have the least amount of information. So I'm in year two, let's say I have geometrically less information than I'm gonna have in your three year, four year five. But I'm going to make my biggest bets. You can start to see why giving yourself a little bit more time, allow sustainability and pacing would not just give you time to be around longer as a business, but give you time to learn and we talked about this in some other episodes. But really that time to learn is learn what the market wants, product market fit, which guaranteed you always think, you know, until you actually get into this and then realize how far off you were second is get to know your team. You just hired these idiots five minutes ago, right? Find out if they actually can do what you think they can do, right? Whether it's marketing Deb anything,

Ryan Rutan: right? Because that's one of the big bets, right? I mean, this is one of the places where we see the biggest bets made and, and the biggest contribution to, to the burn rate and by the way, some the hardest to unwind, right? If we decide, hey, let's ramp up Facebook spend this month to, you know, to an egregious burn rate. Oh, shit. That didn't back out. Let's dial that back down. If it's let's hire somebody or let's hire a whole team of people depending on what state, what country, you know, what the, the labor laws in your area are. That's not as simple as, you know, sorry, that didn't work out. It was a sweet two weeks. Uh, but we're, we're gonna let you go. Right. You can't do that,

Wil Schroter: you know. Something that's really funny about everything we talk about here is that none of it is new. Everything you're dealing with right now has been done 1000 times before you, which means the answer already exists. You may just not know it, but that's ok. That's kind of what we're here to do. We talk about this stuff on the show, but we actually solve these problems all day long at groups dot startups dot com. So if any of this sounds familiar, stop guessing about what to do. Let us just give you the answers to the test and be done with it. Here's the thing though when we think about making these bets, right? When we're looking at, ok. Yeah, I wanna scale again. I raised 500 K out. I wanna scale over the next six months. Again, what we fail to realize is what are the chances that all of these variables that I'm trying to line up instantly all fall the right direction. So again, let's let's kind of check them down. Number one that I'm using the right marketing to number two, attract the right audience to number three at the right price point, right? You know, whatever my business model economics are. If I have other people involved in that process, like sales people with the right sales people who've never pitched this before with the right pitch with the right LTV, if I've got a recurring product with the right support cost with the right, like, so you've tested none of this and yet you want to make a full house bet on all of it. That's a shitty idea. It is. It is every idea and it never goes well and you could look at it this way and say, well, I want to learn fast. Nothing wrong with that. Unless it comes at the expense of you being around long enough to correct for all the mistakes you're invariably gonna

Ryan Rutan: make to actually apply the learnings. Right? Like, so, uh, so what happened? Hope we learned a lot. Yeah. Oh, cool. What are you gonna do with it? Oh, we had to shutter the doors. We, we spent way too much on learning, right. I, I, to, to this point around the, the compounding of bets and I think this is something that, that you hesi flies by just had this conversation, uh, Monday this week with the founder. And what we were talking about was with all of these potential bets and we weren't talking to them in terms of bets, but there were these various opportunities that they could go and chase down. It was new hires. It was some tooling. Um It was a potential aqua hire and it was a AJ V. There were all of these things and the way we ended up breaking it down, I said, look, if you, how many of these things are predicated on the success of another, right? If first we have to, right? So first we gotta believe our product market fit is there, then we got to believe that this is the right person to go and, and execute on this marketing spend. And now that that marketing spend is gonna back out um based on competitive forces, we have to multiply the odds of all three of those bets together to figure out whether that's actually a good bet, right? This compounding effect is, is massive. And so what we went through and did was let's separate out which one of these things is a bet that will work in its own, right? Right. When, when we're forced into this and we always are, right. This is always, always a tough equation to, to sort as a startup, but we always have to figure out which one are we gonna do, right? We can't do all of them in most cases. So it's which ones we're gonna chase down. So we looked at where which ones will actually lead to growth or profitability, irrespective of the success of the others, right? So which one of these bets can stand on its own two legs and and have a chance at success. And that actually made the decision a lot easier because it turned out that a lot of them were these compound bets that while at some point might make sense, there were better ways of figuring out how risky each one of them were before we smashed them together and said this is got 10% odds of, of success. This one's got 50 and this one's a real long shot. So our odds are now infinitesimal. We multiply those together. Don't do that to yourselves. You don't have to

Wil Schroter: actually stick with, you don't have to. So if we've got two ends of the spectrum, one end is grow at all costs and the other is be a total miser, you know, and be sustainable at all costs. Both of those have challenges just to be clear that they're both decisions that have challenges. The only difference is the sustainable one. You'll be around long enough to worry about it as the growth at all costs. You will

Ryan Rutan: not, it'll be a great blog post though. Right. That postmortem will be sweet. It'll be your, it'll be your crowning moment as a startup founder when you get to write that postmortem blog post on what we learned as we failed.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. Right. With everybody else's money. And so in my mind, we all want to grow. There's nothing wrong. Growth is great. But what we're saying is at the expense of what growth at the expense of time and learning is a dangerous decision, right? Growth at the expense of total sustainability. Like, if we don't raise another round, we'll be out of business in nine months. That's a dangerous decision. Because is it the case that every business, let's say, you know, as we're going through the funding rounds of venture fund, et cetera only has a 3 to 5 year shelf life. I don't know. But I'm pretty sure if you look at literally every company in the Fortune 500 the vast majority have been around a very long time, right? Like decades, I think some cases, hundreds of years, the reason I say that is because businesses take a long time to develop, it doesn't, it's not an excuse for going slow. That's not what I'm saying. I'm saying that just fundamentally just the physics of businesses take time, but they take time for actually fairly simple reasons. They take time because it takes time for us to figure out the right combination of all those variables, right? Of, of people of market fit all these things. And if we take time and evolution off the table for ourselves, that's a really dangerous bet. How many companies probably could have been? Ok. Had they just had more runway sure.

Ryan Rutan: Uh uh Lots of them, lots of them

Wil Schroter: virtual. The company we bought was a phenomenal company, right? But ran themselves out of runway in the, in the interest of growth. Frankly, we know this to be a fact. They actually didn't have to, we run the company we've run, actually, I think we've now run it as long as they have. So, you know, we're well aware of how it could be run and, and I'm not knocking the earlier team. I'm just saying they made a bet and that bet will grow at all costs and they did at the expense of the company, right? And

Ryan Rutan: while it was working, it looked like the smartest thing ever. Right. Kind of to your point when you know, when crypto is going up, when the market's going up, everybody's a genius. We put in money and we get back more money. It's amazing. Right? Except that at some point that growth curve can turn back on itself, right? And it's in those, those hyperbolic moments where all of a sudden what was going up into the right? It starts going down, down down, right? It's disaster, right? And that was what happened in that case, right? Everything looked fine until it didn't. And while they couldn't predict where the moment in that turn of the curve is, what you can always predict is there is inherent risk in having that burn rate, there is inherent risk in making those big bets. Had they done what we have done, which is to focus on profitability efficiency operations. Did it grow as fast? No. Is it still around? Yeah. Right. So that's the big difference, right? It continues to generate cash year after year for us. Whereas for them, you know, it, it was a, a meteoric rise and then a fall that went 10 times as fast. And

Wil Schroter: we've talked about this before growth is also can be very distracting. Right. In other words, I just raised a bunch of money. I just hired a ton of people. It's like who gives a shit. Literally, anybody can do that part. I'm not saying it's a lay up, right? That's

Ryan Rutan: like I went to a grocery store with a credit card and I bought a bunch of shit. Yeah.

Wil Schroter: OK, great. Anybody can spend money. You're not a hero for doing that. Well, no hiring is hard and we did a lot of it. Yeah. No making money is hard, making profits hard,

Ryan Rutan: right? Hiring the right people's hard and we'll find out in six months whether you did or not.

Wil Schroter: But I just want to be clear when we're thinking about this and be like, hey, I'm raising and I'm growing et cetera. And again, all those things are wonderful. We're, we're not knocking it. What we're trying to say is understand what that actually is. That is artificial growth. Investor money is artificial growth. You are hiring based on money that will not come back, that is artificial growth. And so to be able to say, well, I need to grow as fast as possible in an artificial way there can't be any part of a logical mind where you're looking back and go. Ok. Let's see. We're defying physics that's gonna be around forever. And every single time we come back to the same place where companies shut down where companies start doing all these layoffs and all of a sudden all of those tropes that we've gone through every single time dot com bust, financial bust. Now we're about to go through another one, right? It would be like, oh, you know what sustainability and profit actually probably isn't a bad idea. And then the biggest irony, I just saw some tweets this morning about this. Investors are now standing up and like, look, if I don't see sustainable plans, I'm not funding things. And I'm like, you literally six months ago, all you talked about was how much people are scaling and growing. You idiot. Like, come on, dude, that's, that's total bullshit. At least make

Ryan Rutan: your hindsight more than a couple hours old, right?

Wil Schroter: You guys are literally where this narrative is coming from. Yes,

Ryan Rutan: that's it. That's what drove all of this, right? We have to 10 X, we have to 100 X, right? We have to do these things. Yeah. Yeah, you do, we don't, right. That's how you win in the model, right? It has nothing to do with how the startup founder benefits from running the company.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, from a startup founder standpoint, we just wanna be profitable or at least be able to take home a decent salary and build a good business. We're not trying to worry about whether or not we get 10 X returns to LP S within 7 to 10 years. That's your problem, right? You go earn your carry, not trying to pick on V CS. I'm glad they're part of the ecosystem. I'm just saying they have a very specific narrative and then when they run counter to that narrative talking about how startups grew too fast or raised too much. I'm like, dude, this literally, that's what's my drug dealer telling me. I do too many drugs. It's like you're the one giving them to me. Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: exactly. It's like hang on a second. I'm having trouble reading your tweets by the light of this gas lamp that you're, you're now holding in front of me, right? You just told us something completely different and now you're pretending that you didn't, right? You're pretending that now you're wiser than we are and that we made mistakes. And now you're coming to us with a solution for how to correct this. Like we knew the solution, right? We wouldn't have gotten into this trouble without you in the first place. Again to your point. They're a valuable part of the ecosystem. They

Wil Schroter: are, they are. I just wanna, but, but we can easily get drunk with it, right? We can easily listen to what happens. We read these incredible stories of people building amazing companies and I love them. I, I love reading those stories but we start to look at that and say, oh, that must be how it's done. No, it's, it's how someone did it, but that's not the same as this is how it's done. There's some idiot that hopped in their car, drove across the country, went to Hollywood and became a famous actor or musician, et cetera. But when you hop in your car and drive all the way over there,

Ryan Rutan: I'm not the part that guarantees the outcome, right?

Wil Schroter: Yeah. So the way we look at it when it within our company startups dot com to, we kind of live, the stuff we talk about is we do make these bets, we make these bets just like, you know, funded companies do et cetera. But here's how we make the bets, we separate them in two categories, stuff that we can do and take back our retractable bets and stuff that uh that's gonna be a problem, right? So a retractable bet could be like expanding marketing on something, you know, we expand cost per click and we can kind of like dial that back if we need to. But if we make a hire, not that you can't let go of people, but let's face it. That's not easy. That's not as simple as like, yeah, but I think when we look at those bets, we look at those and say, ok, we can be fairly confident in making the retractable bets because we can unwind them. Right. So, if, if we increase burn and it doesn't work out so well, and we're kind of at a pinch, we can hit a button and decrease burn. But these other ones, huh? Ok. There's a whole bunch of fundamental problems if things like we just signed a seven year office lease, which people aren't doing as much now anymore. But, but that used to be the famous one, right? Or we hire an entire engineering team with the best intentions because we want to scale product. But we forget that we've now got 100 and $50,000 a month worth of opex and just engineering alone. And now all those projects, if we try to turn those back down or turn those off, become dead in the water, I mean, there's all kinds of issues there. So what we try to do is we separate those bets and we say we can get aggressive on the retractable ones, but let's kind of take a minute on the non retractable ones because before we make that call and Ryan, how many bets would we have made? Had we had what felt like unlimited money in the bank on how many different initiatives on how many different people and how like it would have been so easy to do and have been such

Ryan Rutan: a bad idea. Yeah. When, yeah, that's the thing they all look like great ideas. When they're still ideas, when you get into the execution and actually paying for them and trying to make them back out totally different story. And when you have a lot of resource in a relative sense, right? When you had $0 and now you have 500,000, those spending decisions become easy. And like you said before, right, anybody can spend money. That's not the hard part, right? Figuring out when and where and what to spend it on is is the challenging part and then making those bets back out and I you kind of touched on it before, but I wanna circle back to it when we accelerate growth, these things actually get more difficult, right? You know, hiring one person and integrating them with the team and making them a valuable partner and getting a return on investment in the in the time effort, money you're putting into that individual is hard enough. You hire 20 people, are you really managing or onboarding, guiding any of them? Right? We see this all the time, right? They just end up with these little cabals forming and the company culture falls apart, right? All of a sudden like uh we grew to the point where company culture fell apart. No, it's not a foregone conclusion that a company of a certain size has a shitty culture. But if you grow really fast and you're not deliberate about how you build that culture and who those people that come in are then. Yeah, that, that's a recipe for disaster, for sure. Same thing with any other kind of initiatives, right? I've received startups that are like, ok, well, we, you know, we just raise some funds, we feel like we've got product market fit. So we're gonna go chase down all the marketing that there is to be had. We're gonna spend across all the channels. Yeah, we're gonna do influencer, we're gonna do paper click. We're gonna invest heavily in S E we're gonna do all this stuff which in and of their, their own rights. Probably interesting bets, right. But when you start to do it all at once and all of a sudden you, you need them all to back out again. If one of the dominoes falls, the rest of them can come tumbling down along with it when you're at that burn rate. And now you have less time to understand whether it's working out. You have less resource, less attention, less focus. And I think that this is one of the things that just really, really gets lost when we put growth ahead of everything else is that ability to focus and truly understand what was happening. We end up stuck in this like spaghetti against the wall. See what sticks without really understanding? Like, was there something different we could have done to make every one of those noodles stick? Right. It's not a foregone conclusion that because they didn't stick that they didn't work, right. Did we apply the right amount of effort? Did we apply the right amount of learning and understanding to make the bets play

Wil Schroter: out? I'm gonna suggest and going out on a limb here that growth is a luxury. I'm gonna say growth is a luxury and we earn it from execution. Growth not being a luxury and not earning it looks like, hey, we just raised a bunch of money, which is again wonderful and useful to use it, right? And we just spent it all cool. Did you earn any of that? In other words, did you make good decisions? Did you execute on those decisions? And were you rewarded with profit that gave you the luxury of doing more growth? Well, no, we made a bunch of bets. They didn't work. So we needed more money to make a bunch more bets. Ok? I I get that right. Most of our bets are gonna be wrong. However, the true measure of a founding team is when they succeed on those bets, anybody can make the bets. You are not a hero for making bets, you're a hero for executing and getting on the other side of it where that turns into revenue and ideally profit. And so when we look at growth for startups dot com or startups in general, we look at it saying, ok, we're gonna make a few bets, we have to win at those bets in order to have earned growth in order to earned another round of bets. What happens when we just have a bunch of money in the bank is we don't ever have to be accountable to those bets. I mean, not really being accountable you say, oh no, I, you know, go to my board and they hold me accountable bullshit. Being accountable is we don't have any money left. Right? Being accountable is when there's actual consequences to what you just did being accountable is oh, shit. We hired way too fast and now we got to lay off 25% of our staff. Hm, that's pretty accountable but saying, oh well, my boss really busted my balls because I spent too much of our marketing budget, but literally nothing happened. Not really a consequence. And I, I think for most startups, we live with real consequences. Yes, there's some that have raised an incredible amount of money, but those consequences are just gonna come back later. There is a point where we all have to earn it. So in addition to all the stuff related to founder groups, you've also got full access to everything on startups dot com. That includes all of our education tracks which will be funding customer acquisition, even how to manage your monthly finances. There's so many much stuff in there. All of our software including Biz plan for putting together detailed business plans and financials launch rock for attracting early customers and of course fund for attracting investment capital. When you log into the startups dot com site, you'll find all of these resources available.

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