Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #217

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the start up therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan joined as always by Will Schroder, my friend and the founder and CEO of start ups dot com. Will you and I are known to love respect and, and also take some jabs at investors from time to time. But you know, for as much of that as we do, let's let's explore the process of, of what engaging with investors is like in particular around one specific aspect of them giving a lot of fun feedback, right? Investors have checkbooks and for every digit in the routing number, there seems to be an opinion that comes along with it. Are they ever wrong? Do you have cases where investors have been wrong or in the feedback they give founders.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, like 99% of the time. I mean, think about it this way, think about like softball. Yeah, softball, right? Of all the investments that they didn't make that took off became like, you know, we'll talk about the airbnbs and the Ubers, et cetera wrong in all of those, right? In other words, if those were such good businesses and all your infinite wisdom and, and all your presence, you could instantly identify them as good businesses. Why aren't you in that cap table? Because you can't. Right. Secondly, of all the checks you did write, you actually took the time to write, did all your diligence. You knew that was the right bet and yet mistakenly, 90% of them will go the wrong way. Right? Were you pressured about those two supposed to be? Now you flip that to like investors have an incredibly, a bad record at being able to pick winners just because it's hard to do. I'm not picking on investors. It's just if you and I are investors, we'd have the same challenge. But that's the point as founders, we are so vulnerable when we go through this process, when we start talking to investors and we take what they say to us as gospel. Yeah, because we don't know better. It's just that because we don't know any

Ryan Rutan: better. It's so hard to know. Right. It's kind of like I've, I've heard you say this before, but it's like a child listening to an adult, the child just assumes that because that adult is that far out of them in life, in certain ways that they must know the answers to everything. Unfortunately, when we're getting advice from investors or anyone for that matter, as the founder, we know, there's a lot of things that we don't know, but what we don't know is we're getting that feedback, what is something they know versus something they're guessing. And like, let's put it really bluntly here, most of what investors are doing is guessing, right? It's by definition, besting by definition, this is what they're doing. So keep that in the back of your mind when you're listening to these

Wil Schroter: folks, I think that, you know, for folks listening today, we've got kind of two camps, folks that have never spent time with investors and are going to hear some of this for the first time. And by the way, this is about to be very valuable because if we're going to translate a lot of bullshit and the, and the other folks that are just gonna be nodding along or shaking their head, however, they're processing it going. Yeah, I kind of already dealt with that. I learned the hard way.

Ryan Rutan: So we are guaranteed to get some emails this week. Will that say, why didn't you record this two years ago before I started this process? It's

Wil Schroter: so look, the, the the headline here is that start up, investors are incredibly useful experts on investing in the start ups. If you, if you want to learn of investment theory, if you want to learn how many failures you're gonna have, et cetera, talk to investors about that. But if you want to talk to investors about how your business is going to work, will they have an opinion? Yes. 11 times out of 10 they will have an opinion. That's not the problem. The question is, will their opinion hold weight? That's what we're gonna basically dig through today and unpack a little bit. So let, let's start with the first one. Investors are not fortune tellers. Whoa, whoa, what do you mean? What, wait,

Ryan Rutan: what aren't they all sitting in Delhi right now? Just waiting to oracle us. It's

Wil Schroter: unbelievable. Like imagine this. We're pitching, right? Ryan, I'm pitching you. You're, you're uh Mr Tan, the investor. OK. Let me, let

Ryan Rutan: me tell you my fingers

Wil Schroter: and a good power pose, uh hands behind the head. And so I'm sitting there and I'm pitching you and I'm telling you about, let's say this idea for start up dot com and I'm pitching about what this business can be and everything. And I've spent years and years compiling all the information, the backstory, et cetera on this pitch. You've now spent well over 35 seconds on this concept and you have a very fully formed not only opinion of the business which you're entitled to, but a future for what, what's going to happen in our business clearly. Where does that come

Ryan Rutan: from? I think it's called uh hubris, right? I, I don't ego, right? And look, there's almost always some little bits of truth in these things, what they tend to do, right? And, and this to me, every time I've seen this and in looking back in hindsight, it was them trying to establish themselves as an expert or an authority so that you would look at them in that way. Here's the thing. And I think, I think honestly, and I've talked to investors about this, they forget that people listen into this shit, right? They forget that people are gonna take this and be like, all right, this is what they said, right? They forget they're like, they know they're speculating, right? They know that they're just brain bubbling but it comes out of their mouth and the start ups are absorbing this, like gospel. I think that's a huge part of the challenge, right? It's like they're because they can't possibly know

Wil Schroter: if and just in just a fundamental lesson of self-awareness they open with, you know, I've only been thinking about your business for like 60 seconds, but here's something I would investigate. I would love to hear an investor open with that level of humility. Instead, it's like that's never going to work. Oh, really? I guess you somehow already know I've been thinking about start ups for 30 years now. Right? You've been thinking about this business for, for two minutes. Um Which one of us is more qualified to have an opinion on this business, but especially I think you've got two typical archetypes of founders that get kind of misaligned here. The first is a really young founder. So, going back to your, your child parent analogy, every person with a little bit more experience than them, particularly in start ups, et cetera seems like they must have the right answer. So we're so filled with self doubt that we hear this counter proposal and like, oh shit, that must be a factor of how I'm wrong, right. And so, so we, we react accordingly. The second are folks who are coming into this, they, they've got experience in their field, but they don't have experience with investors. So in their mind, the person that's coming to them so, so confident, right? That they know exactly how this is gonna go. They're like, oh damn. I guess now that I'm talking to investors in an area that I've never spent a lot of time in, they must know the answer. It's like you go to your doctor, your doctor may be a doctor and give you a bad diagnosis happens all the time. It's why second, right. That's why we have second opinions. But so many of us will take that diagnosis and be like, oh, I guess that's it. This is a doctor like it's not something I know. So we don't realize we're qualified to even push back and that's dangerous. You know what I mean? It

Ryan Rutan: is. And if you, if you break these things down, I I would hazard if we could take, you know, a couple of investor meetings and just look at how this goes. There's a formulaic approach to how they do this, right? You can take a pot shot at something, you know, they can't possibly know the answer to yet, right? So you just pick anything that has to be speculative. We've talked about this a million times start up companies are all variables. We don't know shit yet. We have to go figure it out. So you pick one of those things and you pose the question around, of course, they can't answer it. So now you just asked the question that they can't answer. So then they think whatever you follow that with is probably correct information. So you set yourself up as the expert, this really formulaic approach to breaking down their idea. It's not hard to shoot holes in a start up idea. Most of them are already full of holes to begin with, right? The process here, the thought process I would love if this was, how do we look at and can they, are they actually patching a hole in your business? Right? Are they actually contributing anything to it? Are they just shooting holes if they're just shooting holes in it? That's the easiest thing to do. I can shoot holes in your start up with my eyes closed, right? I won't miss it's not heart. However, if they're not coming with something that actually adds real value, what is this? Right? And even then even then it's still speculation. Yeah, they may have seen something before, right? And if seeing something before meant that you would forever be right about it. In the future, investors would only make one bad bet in their entire lives. And yet as you, most of the bets they make are wrong. So this is not how this works enter into this eyes wide open.

Wil Schroter: Yet we get so swayed by this. We make a few faulty assumptions. The first faulty assumption we make is that whatever this investor has to say, right, whatever whatever their opinion is represents all investors, we hear about this all the time founder comes to us and says, hey, I met with an investor and they said that the CM isn't big enough or they said that the market I'm going after isn't going to be big enough. And I'm like, and, and like, what did 100 other investors say? Because like having one of them not believe in it. Think about the stock market. If there was always one stock to buy, everyone would buy it, there would be no marketplace, right? The truth is we're all going off of a little bit of information using our instincts, et cetera and some of the smartest people, let's go back to the stock market, make some of the most boneheaded decisions, right? Warren Buffett gets it wrong, he gets it wrong less, but he still gets it wrong. And so if Warren Buffett says, buy the stock, you can say hats, I've got in pretty good authority that he, that he knows what he talking about again, in this case, it's specifically about investing, but that doesn't mean he's going to be right. I think that the second fallacy there is that because an investor has worked in the space that they must be an expert at the

Ryan Rutan: space. Oh, yeah. You know what they

Wil Schroter: say, I've worked in lots of different industries. I'm not necessarily an expert in any of them which, which blows my mind. Like we spent almost 10 years when we built our web design and interactive agency with mostly pharmaceutical clients. I spent an enormous amount of time at pharmaceutical companies, sitting in boardrooms, sitting in all kinds of these brainstorm meetings, learning about drug discovery and, and, and taking things to market. Am I an expert in pharmaceuticals? No taking them but not in the market as a whole, right? And, and so from my standpoint, I have that self-awareness when founders come to me and I say, oh yeah, actually I've got a little bit of experience this and this always qualify with it and it doesn't mean jack shit because I, I haven't done it for a living. I haven't like see paid my way through my ability to execute in that business. Specifically, there's a massive difference between working in the business in, in the industry. Ain't the same

Ryan Rutan: thing in investing in the business, right? It's like saying, look, I've invested in lots of movie tickets. Ergo, I am probably qualified to be a director now. I mean, I might be, I actually don't know what the core qualification director. So there, there's some interesting things here. I wanna, I wanna circle back to a couple of them. One that, that kind of ties that first point around, you know, they can't see the future and one, not all of them. And in fact, most of them haven't done the thing that you're going to do. Right. So let's tie those two points together and say that as you're getting this and as we have to remember where it's coming from, what does it actually qualify them for? And, and there's something that investors do. This is another one of those and I don't know that it's intentional or if they're just doing this to keep that authority position, but they will get pretty hyperbole with some of this stuff. They'll say things like, look, nobody else is going to look at this deal any differently, right? Everybody else is going to tell you the same thing. They don't know that, right. But founders hear that and they're like shit. The first investor told us everybody is going to see the same thing the same way. Probably not, right? Highly unlikely. And then they'll say things like, well, I've invested in, you know, five of the deals just like yours, right? You know what that makes them qualified to do, invest in your deal, right? Doesn't make them qualified to run your company or predict the future about it. That's it. Right. So, keep in mind, like, line up the actions and the things they've actually done with the type of device or feedback that they're trying to give you and see if it actually nets.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, the goal is to build a start up, run by investors. That's never the goal wakes up. Exactly. Exactly. The opposite. And where I want to take this a little bit further is as we're sitting there and we're talking to these investors and we're saying to them like, hey, well, what about this? What about this? What about this? And they're starting to offer really hyperbolic feedback, right? Just like we're talking about, there has to be a point where we call bullshit on that. OK. So for example, if I, if I'm an investor and I've invested in a company in your CPG space or something like that, right? And I start telling you how the CPG business works. I might have some, some things I've learned, no doubt. But when I start talking about how your customer acquisition strategy isn't going to work. I'm like, hm, um, have you ever

Ryan Rutan: actually

Wil Schroter: done that? Right? Or are you just saying that you saw someone else do it because I've watched in person, lebron James play basketball. But that doesn't make me lebron James like it doesn't work at us

Ryan Rutan: together even if you threw the both of us on the court at the same time. As a single player, we wouldn't come to 5% of what he can accomplish on the court. Right? That's the two of us together, right? Not gonna happen.

Wil Schroter: I mean, so, you know, my whole thing is, and I say this all the time, learn from the players founders in this case, not from the fans, the people on the outside now, investors, this pisses them off, they hear that and they're like, how dare you, I'm in the mix with my start ups. You know, I I've been there et cetera. No, you haven't. No, you haven't. You, you can't say you, you wrote a check and so you've been there with the start ups, you know, who's been there, the person who actually did all the work, not the person that, that was at the board meeting or the person that got a heated call in the middle of the night, that's not doing the work, right? That's like like a general saying I was on the front lines. No, you're part of the action, but it's not the part where you actually had to make it the single outcome for uh for any war battle, whatever. So when I want to get advice as to how to grow my marketing or what my tam is going to be, I'm gonna go to the people who actually do it for a living, by the way, usually founders CMO S, you know, CTO S et cetera. Those are the opinions I care about because those people had to cover their pay with their ability to answer that question, not the investors. 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 start ups 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.

Ryan Rutan: Isn't it funny that we even have to explain this? If you want advice, go to the experts, if you want money, go to the investors, right? Why are we mal aligning these folks as something more than what they are? It's not to say that there hasn't ever been an investor who was an expert, but, but there's also something true and investors will tell you this as well. They don't necessarily want to be experts in your business. They wanna be expert enough to know whether they should make the investment, right? That's it. They definitely don't want to help you run the damn thing, right? That's why they're investing if they wanted to run the damn thing, they would start it and fund it themselves, they want to invest in you so you can go and add value, right? So, remind yourself of that as well. If they're considering your deal, they've at least given you some level of credibility, right? They believe that you have some level of capability, right? They're still gonna try to tell you things. They still want to assert that authority. But let's look at that for what it is. Let's not pretend that this is now somebody where and you know, like you hear this all the time, like I, you know, I turned down a couple of checks. They, it wasn't smart enough money. Last time I checked money answers all questions in exactly the same way. It's equally smart and equally dumb. Right? And, and the, the idea that those investors are going to do things beyond just give you the money is typically a fallacy too. You and I have talked about this, right? Like, oh, they're gonna open up their network for me. They're gonna, they're gonna make a bunch of intros, they're gonna do this, they're gonna do that. They're probably going to write the check in away. That's if you're lucky want. So let's not make them into things that they aren't.

Wil Schroter: Here's what I would say from the investor standpoint. I generally often think they're well meaning, right? And we spend a lot of time in this podcast where, you know, we, we kind of talk about the other side of the evil investor or what have you just to be clear. And I'm sure I speak for both of us here, Ryan and I don't sit around saying investors are bad people. What we're saying in this case, I

Ryan Rutan: mean, standing up when I say that but yeah, kind of, but

Wil Schroter: this like what we're saying is that even a well intentioned investor can totally derail you by providing feedback that you're going to take as gospel. It's just not

Ryan Rutan: just in the same way that a well intentioned customer can tell you to build a feature that nobody's ever gonna use or your well intended friend can tell you, you probably shouldn't, you probably shouldn't, you know, leave your job to start your start up. That's the dream thing, right? Like there's a lot of well intentioned advice that falls absolutely flat or worse blows a hole in the bottom of the boat. So just be careful of all

Wil Schroter: of it. Here's what I tend to see, especially in the, in the formative stages when we're still at pitch deck, et cetera, the founders go out there. And again, they don't have a lot of experience talking to a lot of investors. So this is the first time they're getting kind of raw feedback from what they consider to be industry professionals. So again, you don't have any other context, what you don't know as a founder going through this process you don't understand that 100 of the people are going to have this meeting this week to get 100 different versions of, of feedback. In other words, just because you happen to talk to some Rando on some day about your topic, doesn't mean you've gotten the oracle of wisdom that you think you've gotten. You got somebody's random ass feedback. Now that person, the investor, they might say, hey, whoa, whoa, that's bullshit. Like I've spent a lot of time in this space. I know what I'm talking about just being it or good feedback. Yeah. Ok, great. It probably, maybe, maybe not. Is right. What I'm trying to say is the, the founder just because someone has an opinion, even if it's a strong opinion, don't make it right? Does not make it right. It makes it, it could be a data point. Right. Let's use a couple of examples of businesses that had no business ever getting funded and yet somehow worked out. My two favorite are going to be Uber and Airbnb both for the same reason because they came up around the same time and they came up long before anybody believed even a smidgen that, that type of business would work. So, and, and they're very similar in that way. So they're also

Ryan Rutan: similar in another way which is that they weren't massive innovations, right? They were improvements on existing business models. Right. Uber better way of working in taxis. Right. Exactly. Right. So there was, there was enough innovation, enough change and it, it disrupted the status quo for the industry giants, right. Uber for taxis Airbnb in the hotel business. Right. And so it just, it shook things up in a really cool way. But kind of, to my point here, it's not that those were so non obvious as successes. It wasn't like they were like, you know, we're gonna, you know, a particle accelerate people and move them from one location to another and hopefully we'll put them back together again at the end. Right? It wasn't that radical and yet investors still got what looked like a pretty basic leap in logic wrong.

Wil Schroter: Here's what would have thrown them if you're Brian Chesky or if you're Trevor Travis Kalanick at Uber and you were pitching the idea and it was, you know, early in your career and you kind of didn't know better, which is how many founders go about it, not just early, like I'm just coming out of college, my career like age wise early in this kind of start up business and you take this idea and this idea is full of holes. Hold on a second. You're saying that people are gonna rent out their guest room. Total strangers are just gonna show up in their guest room and that's gonna work out well. Right. Honestly, somebody will be dead in a week like this business has so many holes in it. It's not even funny. Right. Same with Uber. You're telling me you're gonna unseat the taxi industry. Hey, genius. Have you looked at the taxi industry? It's high regulated, right? You can't just walk in there and just tell them that you're gonna run a taxi service that's unregulated. Right? So, on the face those businesses screamed problems. Ok? And that's why I'm using them now, if, if you were either of those founders and you were running the circuit and you were talking to investors, it's not like you got high fived everywhere. Probably 90% of the people you would have talked to. We did an interview with Brian Chesky, remember a few years ago when he talks about the forming of um of airbnb kind of what he went through and it was the polar opposite of smooth sailing. Like he has a great story. Do you ever get on start up dot com and search Brian Chesty or airbnb? And you look up the founder story. It's one of my favorite founder stories of all time, an incredible interview. He was

Ryan Rutan: living on a couch and not just to be meta for his own product. Right. Right. Right. Right. I'm taking my own kool aid here out of necessity. But

Wil Schroter: what's interesting is, had Brian listened to investors at the time, Air BNB would never exist. Airbnb would not exist because you know what? They weren't wrong, the investors weren't wrong. The liability was extraordinary. The demand or, or the incumbency of hotels, motels, et cetera was extraordinary. Everything about that business on paper should not work. And if you listen specifically to investors tell it, you'd never do it. Same with Uber on paper. Every single thing about Uber should have never worked the unit economic shouldn't have worked the customer acquisition model. Be able to, to fight the, the taxis city by city in the way that Travis did it. None of that, none of that should be able to work. Now, if either of those guys had listened to all the perfect opinions and all the forecasts of all these super smart investors and they went to the best of the best, neither of the two most valuable companies of that era would have existed. That's what we're talking

Ryan Rutan: about. Yeah, it's incredible, isn't it? And look, it's, it's hard to see at the time, right. And by the way, this doesn't mean if you're just getting a bunch of nose negative feedback that your business is guaranteed to

Wil Schroter: work either. Right. Yeah. No, it's not that it's not that

Ryan Rutan: right. So we gotta be careful here, but it's, you know, it's, it just goes back to show like nobody's going to be able to predict that future. Right. What they were talking about was, there's a possibility. Right. Yeah. There, there's potential for disaster. Right. There's potential for pushback from the lobbies. There's potential that the regulatory environment won't allow it. There's potential for, for a lot of things. And this is what I was saying at the beginning, it is not hard to shoot holes in a start up idea because there are always going to be major challenges. That's what makes them difficult. That's what also makes them valuable when they succeed, right? And so we have to balance with those things, right? If you were pitching a very obvious business with a very easy path, investors also won't be interested because it's just like it's, it's ok. You, you want to open an accounting consultancy, sorry. Now we're picking on investors and accountants in the same episode. What am I doing here

Wil Schroter: are two

Ryan Rutan: targets. I know our two targets. So, but if you're doing that, like what investors gonna get excited about that, right. There's no real opportunity there. There's no difficulty in it. It's done literally every day of the week in every city in the country and yet they still get started. They don't get started by investors, right? They're not invested in and this is part of what there, there has to be some level of friction there, right? If there's no friction, there's no start up,

Wil Schroter: right? And I think it's healthy to be able to take that feedback, even ask for more dig in. I mean, get as many data points as you can get it from investors, get it from advisors, get it from customers, et cetera. And this isn't the anti feedback at all. It's take that feedback and consider the source if we look at this and we say every person with a checkbook that we're gonna pitch is automatically an expert. That is just patently not true. Unfortunately. And, and you're saying this as well, they're gonna come off like an expert, you know, good for them. They're gonna come up like an expert position themselves as an expert, right? But they are not experts, they are people with opinions, right? Going back to my example earlier, Warren Buffett is an expert investor. He and I both have the ability to buy stocks just because I, I have a checkbook and I can buy stocks. I am not Warren Buffett like we are not the same person just because I say I'm an angel investor. Do you know what the qualifications are to be an angel investor have money? That's it. That said there's, there's no driver's test, right? If you have $10,000 saved or less at this point, you qualify to be an angel investor, which means you need zero qualifications, which means even if you've made good bets elsewhere in life, that doesn't mean shit doesn't mean good bets in the stock market. Still not Warren Buffett. It doesn't, doesn't I told this,

Ryan Rutan: I told this story once when we were talking about the end of the I think similar episode to different macro topic, but it was around this investor that I met who had made all of his money in coin laundry. Yeah. And yet was giving hyperbole advice to tech start ups because he was the check writer. Right. The checkbook does not make you anything other than capable of writing a check. And again, most of them are gonna write bad checks. Not, not bad checks that sent the money doesn't go through. They're, they're bad bets, good checks for bad bets. Right. That's all it means. Let's not give it more weight than that. You know, one

Wil Schroter: of my favorite investors and they've invested in me in the past long, long time ago is Beemer venture partners again. A really storied VC. But one of the things I always thought was interesting is, is an exercise in humility that they used. If you ever go to Bessemer's site, Besemer Venture partners, I think it's BVP dot com. If you ever go to Bessemer, they have something on the site called their Anti Portfolio. It's a massive list of all the companies that pitch them and they passed on. Ok. It's, it's so worthwhile. Who's on there? Apple airbnb, Ebay, Google. I mean, it's, it's like the who's who, which means that every single one of those founders would have been sit sitting in their, their office in a conference room at some point pitching the idea for whatever they were about to do in some genius at Bessemer. And I, and I put this in quotes because he was actually really smart guys there and some genius was like, no, I don't see it. Here's why that business is going to be a fail and I'm not getting anywhere near it. Cool. Move, bro. Right. Again, those people in investment be lots of good investments too. Again, I not me, they lost on me but, but in general they made a lot of good investments too but they have some self awareness, some humility to be able to say, you know what? This is a business of making a lot of bad assumptions. Right. Yeah, just

Ryan Rutan: because we pass on you doesn't mean the market's gonna pass on you doesn't mean somebody else is gonna pass on you. Right?

Wil Schroter: Think of how many different ways all of those major companies on that list could have been negative affected or said differently how many companies aren't on that list because they took that, that advice is gospel because they did a hard pivot if you took our business start ups dot com, you were 111 years ago in the early days, the first product we had launched was fundable dot com. And you had said you had in all your infinite wisdom that's not gonna work because equity crowdfunding is never going to scale. By the way you would have been right.

Ryan Rutan: You would have been right about that. Abs

Wil Schroter: here's what you, you would have missed. It's not like if what's ever in our pitch deck or whatever we're pitching or wherever. Right now, if it doesn't work, we just throw our hands up and we're like, oh guess equity, crowd funding didn't work right. Time to go home, we change, we evolve. We look for other opportunities when all of New York and all the taxi companies revolted on Travis Kalanick. He wasn't like a, I guess we're pushed out, I guess that's the end of it. And when people, you know, prognosticate on, on the future, what they tend to forget, you know, we're doing it all in A I right now, what they tend to forget is the world isn't static at that moment that you're making that determination. So when someone says, hey, here's where your business won't work one way to look at it would be like, then we'll change, then we'll adapt, then we'll do it better

Ryan Rutan: again, heavy assumption there that they were even right about that fact. Oh, my God. Yeah, it, it isn't a fact. That's an opinion. At that point, your business won't work. OK? Maybe, maybe not. But what that means is they're not going to invest in you. It doesn't mean anything more than that. And, and even just right now, right, they may come back around later. How many times have we heard that story? Right? Where somebody passed on the, the, the seed round or even the, the A and then they're dying to get in the B, the C, the D E round because they now see the value in the company because market conditions changed or just the visibility, the optics in the company changed.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. And, and the the company finds out, hey, I wasn't supposed to be doing this. So I'll go do this, right. You, you talk about all those early stories where the company was one thing and then it became another thing. You know, the one that, that comes to mind immediately is Slack where Slack started. I think it was, it was a chat tool for gaming company if I remember correctly. And they realized that, that the chat tool within the game was actually really effective within the company. And they focused on that and said, who the hell saw that coming right now? Now, that doesn't mean everybody pivots and becomes Slack. What it does mean though is that these are fluid businesses if what we're pitching today and investors come back to us and they're like, ah, this thing's shitty, right? I'm not gonna invest in it or I don't think it's gonna work. You also have to remember that it doesn't really matter what you're pitching right now, it's all gonna change anyway, by definition, the goal isn't to get it right in your first shot. But the goal also isn't as soon as you get any feedback that's contentious with what your plan was to tear up your plan and say I have to restart because some random dude who gave you 20 minutes decided he had an opinion. That's bullshit, you know.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. And it's not always negative feedback, either sometimes it's positive feedback or telling you to go do something that then will change your business fundamentally. And again, founders buy into this, they believe this, particularly that positive feedback that says, well, we'd be interested if, right? Biggest line of bullshit ever. Right? It's just a nice way of getting you out of their office. Nothing more, right? So we have to be really careful about this.

Wil Schroter: That one's a couple of things and, and the one off chance that there's a few people listening that have heard this line and didn't understand how to process it when the investor says to you, this is a very interesting business. We'd love to get more involved or take a look at it when you hit X milestone. They're saying no, it doesn't sound like no ever been in a bar and you meet some random person. You haven't seen it in a while and you say, oh dude, we should totally get together. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. You know, dude, we should totally get together. That's what that means. That means if somehow in the future we get reconnected. Cool. But that doesn't mean that whatever milestone I gave you like, hey, we need a million in a RR Let's talk. That just means I'm not interested in writing a check and if something good happens in the future where you might be a more interesting investment. Of course, I'm willing to talk. Who wouldn't be? It just means no. But if you haven't heard that before, if you haven't been through this gauntlet before, a little of the negative information, you know, that's a positive signal. Ryan, you and I walk out of the conference room and we're high fiber. Oh my God, dude. All we have to do is get to a million in a RR investment is gonna invest. No, they probably will not. They probably wouldn't even take our call. But

Ryan Rutan: hey, let's do, go do that, right? But only because it's a great thing to get to a million in a RR. Not because we need that. So the beamer will invest in us. The

Wil Schroter: job for investors isn't to become an expert on our business. It's for them to become experts at investors and try to seek opportunities, but that's not the same as them being able to actually control and direct our vision, our future. That's not how this works. I think as founders, what we need to focus on more than anything is stick to our vision. Let other people guide the vision with some ideas, et cetera, but nobody turns the wheel but us. So in addition to all the stuff related to founder groups, you've also got full access to everything on start ups dot com. That includes all of our education tracks, which will be funding customer acquisition, even how to manage your monthly finances. They're so, so 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, fundable for attracting investment capital. When you log into the start ups dot com site, you'll find all of these resources available.

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