Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #241

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the start up therapy podcast. This is Ryan Tan joined as always by Will Schroder, my friend, the founder and CEO of Start Well, we both have a lot of experience in the start up space. It's a nice way of saying that we're old, but we do have a lot of start up experience. And I think generally that's viewed as an asset, but are the times where being less experienced might be an advantage?

Wil Schroter: I think. So, actually, I don't think I've realized how much of an advantage that is until I've started to get older with more experience. And I'm realizing how many things that I won't do now because I have the bias of experience. And I start to think about how much danger that is. And I'll give you an example a couple days ago. My daughter, summer turning 11, it's her birthday. She comes to me and say dad, I'd really like to go skiing today and it was like a nice enough day outside, right? You know, it's middle of January right now. And I'm like, yeah, sure, let's go. So we hop in the car. And we head to the mountain now. Couple things. Number one, I haven't been on a snowboard in 10 years. Right. So, when she says, like, hey, let's just go skiing. It's not like, it's something we do all the time. Right.

Ryan Rutan: Like, and it's not like riding a bike right at

Wil Schroter: all. Right. She's been skiing a bunch. She actually goes skiing at her school. So, you know, she's, she's better at it. Yeah, she's close

Ryan Rutan: to the ground. Yeah,

Wil Schroter: exactly. So, we get to the mountain and, and I'm, I'm starting to think. I'm like, you know, I've only been snowboarding a handful of times. Like, I, I don't even remember if I know how to snowboard. I don't remember how it's been so long. I don't remember how it went last time. I can't imagine. It went well. So we get to the top of the mountain. I'm staring down the mountain and she's ready to go. And I think to myself at that very moment, the difference between me going down the mountain and you going down the mountain is, you don't know, like, what will happen if things don't go well. Right. You have a vague idea that you could get injured, but all I can think about is what's gonna go wrong. Right. Which is gonna prevent me from being good at it and again, and, and so I, I started, you know, I really started to kind of build on that notion of in how many ways as a founder is my experience, you know, my battle scars preventing me from making leaps, which is kind of what we do for a living because I'm afraid of the consequence because I already know how this thing ends. And I think it's an interesting thing to explore. It is for

Ryan Rutan: sure. It's funny, man, I didn't realize we were living parallel lives in different temperature bands this week. So I was, I was surfing, we were both sliding around on water on a board. Yours was just in a solid state. Similar thing. Like I am not a surfer. I've surfed, you know, a handful of times recently learned a little bit more, but recently it has been like over a year ago. And so we just rented a board this time and went out a uh my nine year old wanted to go surfing. So was like, cool. We'll do it. We, we've been boogie board and bodyboarding up to that point. It was like she wanted to surf surf, like, ok, let's do it. And then she's like, daddy. Can you show me the part? Like exactly like how you stand up again? I laid down on the board and I'm like, I remember this. I remember and I went through the movement and she looks at me and goes, yeah, that, that wasn't it. She was like, well, that's how I remember it. And I think this is part of the danger in, in utilizing our experiences too is that sometimes like we don't recount the experiences all that accurately. And so, like I was clearly sharing her a technique and she's like, yeah, I'm gonna try something else. I'm sure enough, like we go out and out of 10 attempts. I can tell you who got up eight out of 10 times and who got up zero out of 10 times. Yeah. Yeah. Exactly.

Wil Schroter: Right. Yeah, I think, you know, where we can start kind of unpacking this a bit is talking about the bias of experience, how our experiences, the things that, that we think we've learned or that we've, you know, been educated around actually provide a dangerous bias that prevent us from doing lots of things. And, and here's the analogy I would use, imagine that for years you found the best path to go to work. Right. You just got, you know, the, the most efficient way to drive to, to avoid as much traffic as possible. And for years and years and years that probably works out great. In that time the city has worked on all different roads, all different paths, subdivisions have gone up, you know, bypasses whatever and there's now a way more efficient way to get to work. But you don't know it because you've picked your way that you do things, you stop exploring new ways because you don't even realize that you should. And all of a sudden there's a better, more efficient way to get home. Right. You know, you, you could get home faster and again, the analogy is just rough but it represents a lot of things Ryan when you and I think back on our, you know, 30 years of experience and building start ups and just life in general, our bias says, yeah, generally don't do those things. And I would bet, I would bet eight out of 10 times is actually helping us. It's the other two that I'm concerned about.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, it's tough. It gave us a lot of thought. Middle of last year, I read this book by Adam Grant called Think Again. And it was all about the concept of sort of challenging what you think, you know, so that you can better know what you don't know. And there's, there's a lot of power in that, right? Like I think, you know, as we look at this, the bias of our experience because again, things do change, right? Like if I just sat down and was like, somebody asked me a question in our session yesterday on getting customers and they said, hey, would you mind telling us some stories about early customer acquisition at start And we could think that would help us. And I was like, ok, sure, I can tell you the stories caveat, be real careful with the details here because what worked, then I can tell you in a couple of these scenarios will not work. Now, specifically thinking about things like Google ad words and how we'd optimize that account. You would do something entirely different. Now, you did what I did back in, in 2010, 2011, 2012, you'd get slaughtered now. And so I think it's so, so important to, to remind ourselves, I don't really know that. Do you have an interval that you think of? That's like I need to rethink what I know before I put this out again, some of these things we've been doing and saying for over a decade now, I

Wil Schroter: think it's the danger of being a parent, right? Dispatching the same dumb advice that you learned without any context for the fact that your kids live in a completely different world, completely different world. Yeah. It's like, you know, here's how I stood up to a bully when I was in school. Yeah. Cool. But guess what, that bully is on mine right now. Exactly.

Ryan Rutan: That's not gonna work. I can't kick him in the shin and run away, dad.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Like, like that advice doesn't even make sense anymore. You put a quarter in

Ryan Rutan: your pocket before you leave the house so you can call me if you need something. Wait, what?

Wil Schroter: It's a quarter dead. And so you and I always joke about the fact that as advisors, we're start up advisors that, you know, a big part of our life we try to have the self awareness to be able to say here's my advice. However, I think you said it's just my perspective. Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: I always try to caveat it with what I'm gonna say next. Please don't hear his advice. Please hear this is perspective and contextualize it and combine it with everything else you've heard and the things that you know, and do something with it. But be be real careful about just taking this as wholesale like this isn't a step by step assembly plan. You're not building a piece of IKEA furniture, you're building a start up

Wil Schroter: company. And so imagine us giving that same perspective if you will to ourselves. And so me staring down the mountain saying, man, last I recall, I think I was gonna break my leg doing this and being like maybe, right, but maybe I'll be just fine and guess what? I actually did that. I actually went through that math and I said, you know, I don't remember how well I did the last time I was in the mountain, I must have known something. So I kind of went with, with a fresh assumption that said at some point, I was capable enough to make it down this mountain. Ergo, I pro probably be capable enough to make it down this mountain. But I'd also like to not break my leg and lo and behold, I made it down just fine within like an hour summer and I were crisscrossing down the mountain like it was nothing. Right. It was awesome. And so I guess my point there is, had I held on to my bias, which would have been my experience tells me, I don't know how to snowboard. I would have been a guy who just didn't even go but unlocking that and kind of getting rid of that, I think is really important to us as founders. But more importantly, new founders who are getting into the game for the first time. That's a huge advantage. They don't know what they don't

Ryan Rutan: know, they don't know what they don't know. And it's not gonna, it's not gonna prevent them from doing things. Now, we do have to caveat that way. Sometimes there are things you don't know that you don't know, they can jump up and bite you too. Oh,

Wil Schroter: sure. Absolutely. Absolutely.

Ryan Rutan: Don't pet the snake. That makes the cool rattly sound. Right. It seems so friendly. He was waving at me the whole time right before he bought.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. Don't touch the hot stove kind of thing. A absolute look. I'm saying, I'm not saying this is a 10 out of 10 time difference. I'm saying maybe it's an eight out of 10 times. But to me as a founder, the danger of stopping and assuming everything is set in stone, this is the way we did it before. And so the outcomes will always be the same that scares the hell out of me, that bias of my experience is actually one of the most concerning dangers as I wanna stay fit if you will, as a founder, I wanna have kind of that dumb consideration that says, yeah, screw it. Let's see what happens. I don't wanna lose

Ryan Rutan: that. You're not really gonna know. And I think that's the, there's also this bias of inexperience, right? And I think that one of the things that happens there is when we have this inexperience, sometimes we seek other people's experience and then we have a bias of their experience, meaning we haven't even lived this ourselves. We didn't try it at all, but we're going to allow that to stop us from doing something or start doing something that we shouldn't do. I think this is the other big danger is that we're more susceptible to that at that point where we don't have the experience. So I guess it's a saying like, be comfortable knowing that you don't know everything and be comfortable trying and finding out yourself. I think there's a big danger in simply going to advisor, asking advice, watching a youtube video and then forming opinions without having actually tried. Like, if you just watch, like you just jump on youtube and type in snowboarding, I bet every other video is somebody wiping out and you'd go exactly 50% chance that I crash and die, right? Probably not. But that's what that non learned experience would tell you,

Wil Schroter: I'll give you another perfect example. This is like two weeks, you know, as you know, I'm working on building my dream home right now. And for the folks listening, when I say build it, I'm not literally building like the walls itself, but everything inside it, from the kitchen cabinets, the furniture, everything I my dream is to build it all myself. It reminds

Ryan Rutan: me of my contract on my condo which said from the studs in, that's what I actually owned, right. So that's basically what you're working on. You're working on the condo contract version of this thing from the studs in, it's all you.

Wil Schroter: And so my general contractor comes over and we're just going over the, the project, you know, we haven't broken ground or anything yet. I bring him into my workshop and he just sees stacks and stacks of wood and they're all, they're all like shrink wrapped and labeled and everything. This is like closets in the house, cabinets and everything. And he's like, what have you been doing? I'm like, well, I've got a 3d model of the whole house. So I'm just building all the cabinetry in the house to spec been flat packing it and getting it ready. So when we build the house, we'll unpack it and install it. He's like what he's like, how are you doing this? And I was like, well, I engineered a system because I figure like every closet kind of has roughly the same dimensions. So I engineered something in C ad to be able to mass produce him et cetera. And then I went to a, a mill and had them mill everything the way I needed it so that it would save me tons of time and all this stuff. Right. And then I take him over to my CNC machine and I'm like, I had molds cut so that every like face frame I had to make would like, fit in a mold. So you couldn't possibly screw it up. Can't screw it up. Yeah. And he's like, no one does this, right? And I'm like, well, what do you mean? No one does it. He's like, look, I've been doing this for 40 years. Literally, no one does this, right? But like, he's like, where did you come up with? Like, where did you find out how to do all this stuff? Now, here's what I'm saying. I didn't have the bias of experience. I didn't know you were supposed to go to a cabinet shop.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. Had you gone and asked somebody, had you gone and asked him, how do I do this? Kevin have given you totally different advice and you'd have totally different results at this

Wil Schroter: point, remotely clothes, right? Not to mention the fact that I've saved hundreds of thousands of dollars right in this process because it turns out like if, if you just take the time to do a little of engineering and whatever, which again, most people wouldn't do. I also enjoy it. But you could find out that this stuff is geometrically cheaper. Now, again, this is how I like to approach things. Why not? Right in everything that I've ever done. The answer is always you shouldn't do this right? And my answer is why not, right. That kind of blissful ignorance I think is powerful. Right? Conversely when I say, oh, you shouldn't do that because I've done it before and I got a negative answer. How dangerous is, could that guidance be right? Because anybody who's done anything interesting probably shouldn't have done it to begin with going on the advice of the past.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, for sure. I was listening to something a couple days ago and I'm, I'm struggling to remember the source on this. They were talking about like this trap of getting caught in averages and there's, there's a lot of discussion right now around how chat GP T or generative A I gives you the average of things. And so if you're using that, then you're, you're basically becoming the average and you know, the average. So this brought up this entire discussion, this was going well beyond that and just talking about how danger it is dangerous it is in, in marketing or business to kind of play in the averages because we don't differentiate all these other things start to happen. But it occurs to me that there's, there's a parallel here, which is that, you know, when we, when we just take the average, like, OK, what's everybody else doing? Right. So Chat gps here otherwise, like, even if we were just out there reading blog articles before, you were also getting the average guys, by the way, like chat GP D didn't do this to you, you were doing this to yourself before. And so it's a really interesting concept to think through. Like if we simply do what we sort of know works or has worked based on the experience of others, even the experience of ourselves, we're not gonna innovate, we're not gonna push beyond and there's no risk there. And ergo, there's, there's probably very little reward and you're gonna miss out on the, the ways that you should have done something, the way that you should bring your product to market your service to the market, your unique perspective on things. There's an increasing danger of that as we have more and more visibility to what other people are doing and what's working. And we start to use that third party experience bias. And I think it's just crazy

Wil Schroter: dangerous. So we're taking what works for granted, right? A few days ago, I'm sitting and I'm watching this interview that Tim Ferris was doing with Tom Morello and Tom Morello. For those that don't know, is this legendary guitarist, he's the lead guitarist of Rage Against The Machine became audio slave. Both big bands of favorites of mine and I've been a huge Tom Morello fan forever. And it's just totally random that he winds up on this Tim Ferriss interview. Fun facts. Tom Morello. Like most heavy metal guitarist of all time went to Harvard and was a political science major. Of course, he was, and he is a, a self admitted. This isn't me casting names, Giant Nerd. He's like a huge trek. Like, just absolutely. As soon as he starts talking, not at all you'd think would come out of rage against the machine, right? He's anyway. So, but Tim Ferris is asking him like, OK, it doesn't make any sense. Like, like you went to Harvard as a political science major, how the hell did he become a heavy metal guitarist? Right? To make

Ryan Rutan: money?

Wil Schroter: And he said, look everyone else, look at the guitar in the role of guitarist through the lens of who's the best, you know. So, you know, if you were to go through like rock legends of like a Jimmy Page and led Zeppelin or, or in his era, the contemporary would have been Eddie Van Halen, right? He said, if I just play more of what Eddie Van Halen does, I'm just gonna get more of the same, right? He said, so I started looking at the guitar as just this box of, of strings and music, right? That I could make do whatever I wanted. So he does this really cool thing there's this incredible video bridge against the machine. Did a live concert at Finsbury Park, I think in 2007 first song they play, Testify. It's a great song. I'm not gonna get into it but

Ryan Rutan: sing a couple of bars. Just, just a couple.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Solo that I'd never seen performed live by Tom Morello. He takes the jack to his, uh, guitar out of the guitar. The jack in his hand connects his monster stack of, of amps and he plays the solo with him just pressing the amp cable into his pole in his hand, which creates a feedback loop. But he had, he actually plays it right? Like, like it's a whole thing. He

Ryan Rutan: controls the Yeah, he controls the distortion. It's insane. It looked super

Wil Schroter: nerdy, right? Like it didn't look nearly as cool as it sounds on the track. But that was

Ryan Rutan: his thing. He's writing on his hand with a patch cable.

Wil Schroter: Exactly. He, he's like, look, Eddie Van Halen's not doing that. Jimmy Page isn't doing that. I'm doing that right. And guess what he comes up with? Testify, right? You know, it's amazing, amazing songs. And I think about that and I think damn dude, there's no way he would have become who he is by saying, let me do more of what everybody else is doing.

Ryan Rutan: No, you become the average of everyone else, right? That's exactly the point we have to avoid this because unless you just want to become an average competitor in a very busy field, which I don't think most of us set out to do. You have to do something differentiate. Right. And I think this is where this comes from. And again, using everyone else's experiences, look lean on his experiences to find the gaps, find the holes, find the things that are different, figure out what hasn't been done yet and then do some of that stuff. And again, to your point, why not? Right? Even if you try to copy what exactly what somebody else has done. The likelihood that you're gonna succeed is extremely low. So you might as well try to do something that someone else hasn't done where the odds are roughly the same for your success. But if you succeed in doing it, there's a benefit to

Wil Schroter: you. 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 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, I'll go back to that kind of challenge among advisor, where we say I want to talk to this advisor who's done something so well in my field. And obviously there's some, some value to be gained from that, right? To an extent you've touched on this a moment ago. That advice is as good as that moment in time. Like you're talking about Google ad words on that market opportunity at that time, at my experience, at the time as the world's experience of things at the time, right? There's, there's so much circumstantial bias to why that worked at that time. You take it with a grain of salt like, hey, that's cool. Right? It also goes the other way when someone's telling you not to do something, there has to be a version of you if you're any quality of founder that says, yeah, well, maybe that won't be my result and maybe we were just brash idiots and we are, right. Just that sort of maybe we are and maybe we're just brash idiots. But I think that mentality of what worked for you, your path isn't my path. It can help inform my path, but it's not

Ryan Rutan: my path, not my path. That's it. Yeah, somebody said it once the, the difference between bravery and stupidity only comes out in hindsight, but we have to try, we have to try to find out, I mean, and, and look what we're talking about is aren't lives at risk in most cases we're talking about, you know, making interesting decisions and then learning from them and moving on. So I don't think that there's a, a huge downside to trying this again. We're not saying like, you know, go off the rails here and just be complete nut jobs. But if you are just trying to duplicate what other people are doing, you're just gonna end up as a duplicate, right? So you have to find a way to kind of scratch your own mark onto the surface. Here

Wil Schroter: you do. Uh When will was born? My son, I wrote a letter to him

Ryan Rutan: that you referring to yourself in third party again?

Wil Schroter: Well, well, I guess he was will shoot too. So I wrote a letter to him and I told him a whole bunch of things like who I want him to be as a person, as a man, all these great things. And one of the things I wrote in the letter is I said, question everything, especially me. Now, I'm sure I'm gonna, I'm gonna look to regret that the rest of my life, right? With that same concept, right? Like just because it was done just because it was right one, it doesn't make it right for you. Right? And I think that's important in the second. It doesn't mean it's still right. It goes back to what I said at the top of the episode. You keep taking the same path to work every day and at some point you never stop to think. Maybe there's a better one. Right. And I think as founders trying new things, like breaking our own mold is kind of like part of our DNA. It's like, it's like what we're supposed to be good at, if we're in the gym, working out muscles, that is the gym or that, that is a muscle that we are supposed to be working out, right? This idea of novelty in relearning and retraining and retrying because I think it

Ryan Rutan: matters. It does. And I think again, this is where this is where innovation comes from. This is where your unique value comes from. Uh We're also not saying to entirely recreate the wheel, right? And I think that we've talked about this other episodes, the best innovations are micro innovations because it lowers the adoption curve. All these things. If you're too innovative, too early, then adoption is tough. But what's the reason why someone would adopt a new solution? It's the same as the old solution, but with less track record proof and all of that stuff, if it's just the same as the old solution, right? So there has to be something there to differentiate us. And I think to your point like it is part of the DNA, I mean, there's, there should be a reason that we set out to do these things very rarely. Is it, do I, do I talk to somebody who is intending to go out and build exactly the same thing somebody else is, they're like, I'm gonna build a sales force. But with, you know, some differentiating factor that's gonna make it, you know, there's the thing I don't like about sales force doesn't do this, it doesn't do that and we're going to address that particular problem, which is great. And I think most founders have some version of that in them where it's like I wanna put my own unique spin on this thing. The challenge then becomes as they start and as they face all of the decisions that have to be made at some point, we do have to have some sort of rubric for, for deciding what the right thing to do is. And we have to have some sort of a framework for decision making. And too frequently we try to then look to see what everybody else has already done. And this is where we start to take some of the cool contours and forms off of what we're building and start to normalize it down to an average. That's where it starts to get dangerous for me. Right again, like you don't need to recreate the wheel, but you've got keep that individuality in there or you're not really building anything of value.

Wil Schroter: I agree. I also think there's a point where it doesn't occur to you that you're even being individual. And this is taken from the other point of this discussion, which is, you know, is there an advantage of just being new to it? Right. And kind of just not knowing any better. I love that. You know, I call it being too dumb to fail and I don't mean dumb in the negative sense. Right. I mean, dumb as you just don't know any

Ryan Rutan: better, you don't know any better. You're not gonna overthink it. You're just gonna try and then you'll learn from that experience and maybe it worked, maybe it didn't, but you'll, you'll try something else. It's

Wil Schroter: every kid learning to ride a bike, right on paper. It's actually a really bad idea. It's unstable as hell. It's moving in a direction you probably don't want to go and you're likely almost 100% sure gonna get

Ryan Rutan: hurt. I had an amazing professor in university that, that used several physics equations that were just a description of how to ride a bike. And it was hysterically complicated, right? Like if you look at that, you'd be like, I will never try that. I can't picture it in my mind what's actually happening there. But he was just describing, you know, the rotational dynamics and all this stuff about how you, what actually happens to make a bike work. And it was hysterical, it's the kind of thing where like, if you were to analyze it that it would be like, I don't think that's even gonna work and I definitely don't trust myself to do that. I watched

Wil Schroter: this years ago when we bought a boat, a lake boat and, uh, a bunch of my friends went out and we wanted to learn how to Wakeboard, but none of us actually knew the physics of how you're supposed to Wakeboard. And it was hilarious watching six morons jump in water and try to invent how you're supposed to get out of the water in a Wakeboard. The way you're supposed to do it for people who've never done it is almost like a leg press. You put the board essentially parallel to the back of the boat, which seems like the most counterintuitive thing to do. And then when the boat starts to take off, you leg press against the water, which essentially is what gets you up. It's the last thing most people would think to do. They're trying

Ryan Rutan: to get it parallel with the water. And then invariably they just, the nose goes down and they get pulled to the bottom of the lake in record time. It's, I love watching

Wil Schroter: it and it's so poorly and I think we only figured it out by accident. I think somebody like, accidentally, like, wasn't up yet when the boat took off and they wound up out of the water. So we kind of invented wakeboarding in our own microcosm. But with that said, I think that's fascinating to me, like, like when people aren't willing to say, hey, let me start from just like a blank slate. Like I know nothing. I'll give you one more example because we were talking about the whole thing where I was, you know, building the house or whatever, you know, as you recall, when I was going through this process, I had like an idea of what I wanted the house to be like a caveman drawing at best. I remember the early sketches. Yeah. Yeah, I go to the architect and I'm like, hey, here's what I want and the architect comes back with something not even remotely close. Like if I said like, hey, I want this car, they're like awesome. Here's a fish tank, not even only what I said, but at some point, I'm sitting down with what essentially was like the third architecture firm burning all kinds of money and time years like to go through this process. And I asked the architect, I was like, is there any reason I can't just do this myself? He's like, oh cool, you have an architecture degree you don't know about? I was like, no, no, no, I was like initially, right? I gotta get structural engineering. But initially aren't you just like drawing boxes and like putting together? He's like, I think you're greatly oversimplifying it. I was like, yes I am.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, I think you're greatly over complicating.

Wil Schroter: Exac exactly. I was like, but at the end of the day, I'm pretty sure I just want a bunch of box that are put together, right? A room is typically square which implies it's a box, right? You know, it's a rectangle and it's always gonna be 9 ft tall and it, so I start breaking it down. And here's why I say this, I know enough to know that my experience that really complicated stuff can be made really simple. And if I just stay too dumb to fail, I can often just motor right through it, right? And as you know, I stuck on that thread and lo and behold, I designed the entire house myself, right? Like an infinite detail. I've walked

Ryan Rutan: through it in virtual reality. It was

Wil Schroter: impressive. Yes, you have. That's my idea of being too dumb to fail. Like I use it as a superpower. I use it in saying here's something I'm not supposed to be able to do. But if I put total blinders on, if I don't listen to people that tell me that I can't do it, let me see how far I can get before that advice becomes true. It is freakish how rare it is that that advice is actually what prevented me from doing anything.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, it's wild, isn't it? Like you get that piece of advice early on from somebody who's been there and done that but not done what you're about. And again, I think this is what's so challenging about advice and advisors and just the this experience bias is that the experiences are so contextual, they are so tied up in that moment that time, those skills who you are, how you were feeling, what you were thinking, what they were feeling, what they were thinking. If you're getting advice from a third party and the relevance score on that is probably in the best cases if it's very recent and it's, you know, somebody is doing something really close to what you were doing, maybe 10 or 15 20% relevance and overlap. But if you go back to like my example of, you know, me running our early Google ads 15 years ago, the relevance on that is 1% 2%.

Wil Schroter: You know, there's another side of it, there's an assumption that you're any good at it is also that I can say here's something I've done in the past, right? And it didn't work for me. A natural question should be, yeah, maybe you weren't good at it, right? Maybe it didn't work for you because you have, you even thought about that or? Here's a classic one, I've been divorced twice. You know, relationships don't work. Maybe you suck at relationships. Did you think about that? Right? Is that even consider like relationships don't work. You have nothing to do with that. You

Ryan Rutan: said it early in the episode, but it's self awareness and I think that so often it's mostly not mal intended, but I think that you have experiences and someone asks you, you feel this obligation to hand them something, right. This is one of the disclaimers that I give at the beginning of my session for myself and for everybody else. I was like, there's only a couple rules in this thing. Talk about the things, you know, please don't talk about the things you don't and try to be as clear about those things as you can. I don't need somebody thinking out loud and trying to decide what might work in front of a room full of people who are gonna take that as gospel and run and do something with it, right? This is super dangerous. So I think it's having that self awareness and, and being clear on what we know and what we don't know. And then I just being super cool with what we don't know, like to your point don't think of that as even a knowledge deficit that we need to go fill with somebody else who does know because again what they know, probably highly unrest tangentially relevant to what you're doing. So figure more stuff out yourself, right? Like there's also a lot of fun in it, right? Imagine how much enjoyment and there's been some frustration along that along this path as well. But imagine how much enjoyment you would have missed out on in this entire home design process, for example, had you not done all of this stuff to design the boxes and stick them together you wouldn't be doing all of the, the, the furniture, the cabinetry, all this other stuff that you're working on right now because there'd be no context for it. Right. Not only does figuring some of this stuff out yourself and, and trusting yourself and just being ok with not knowing, help you in that moment, it leads to the ability to do things you otherwise wouldn't have been able to do in the future, which I think is where a lot of starts then get hung up. They get to a certain point and then they just start to try to rely on someone else's advice, someone else's experience. And this is where we see these plateaus and people just end up in that trough of average, right where it's working, it's not failing, it's not failing enough that it's painful, do anything about it, but it's not succeeding well enough to make it worth doing either. And so then you just end up in this position where you just don't do anything, I think, then you just end up being apathetic. And that's like you wanna ask me about like what the worst characteristic of a founder, like at any founder, anytime, any moment, if they find themselves being apathetic to what they're doing. This is the death knell for me, this is like the worst state a founder can be in depressed, sad, scared, worried, cool, like we've all dealt with that, but apathy is super dangerous. I think it comes from like being willing to accept kind of where we're at and not being willing to push beyond on our own steam as opposed to somebody

Wil Schroter: else's, I'll tell you one piece of experience that has really served me. And I think this is kind of my experience of understanding inexperience is I started like at an early age because I had to, when I was f you know, start my first company, I had to learn finance. I had to learn design. I had to learn code because I couldn't pay anybody else to do it. So I had to learn all these things in any one of those categories are whole industries to themselves in a domain knowledge that goes, you know, at infinitum. However, there's some things I started to learn in this right now. I'm speaking to, you know, those that feel they're, they're not experienced enough. OK? The delta between having no experience and having just enough to get by is way lower than you think it is, right? So you're like, most people will say, I don't know finance. OK? Just put a baseline here. I never made it past freshman high school algebra and I've been a CFO for 25 years. OK. Why is that? I'm no math whiz by any means, right? But Ryan, you've worked with being a CFO capacity. I don't think we've ever missed payroll. I think our numbers seem to hold up. Like I think I'm competent enough for the job. I help a lot of other people with the same. Why am I good at doing it? Well, because here's how I looked at it. Number one, it was my money that I was dealing with. So all of a sudden the consequences went up. But that wasn't it? Yeah. Who's gonna

Ryan Rutan: be a better shepherd for my funds than me? I

Wil Schroter: looked at it and I said, who's the most incompetent person? I know that seems to do this. Is there any special skill that they have that I can't replicate right now? This doesn't mean knocking anybody. I would say the same people about putting to me. Right? And here's what I learned and this is, you know, the virtue of an experience if you look at it and go OK, accounting as a whole industry, super complicated with the, just the part that I need to do which is like, just do a basic income statement. Now, you don't know that it's not hard until you've tried it. But here's what started to happen. I just picked up what an income statement is, right? And I was like, oh, OK, well, that makes sense. I never tried to become like the world's greatest CFO, right? I just did enough to figure it out. But once I un unpack that I was like, OK, code, this is back when code was, wasn't nearly as complicated as it now.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. Yeah, I remember those days. When I could still keep it in my head. Well, there's

Wil Schroter: another argument to say that code has never been easier to learn than it is now given the tools and everything. But that's sort of there. I looked at code and I said, well, I just need to know the basics. So let me just break the seal and I did and I was able to pick up same with design, same with everything you hear me talk about. In every case, I looked at it as the delta between my experience, you know, the part that I'm concerned about in someone else's kind of like baseline line, like one on one experience could be a long weekend with a book.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, it's literally where web design came from. For me, it was a long weekend

Wil Schroter: book. That's how I learned taxes. I was walking through Barnes and Noble one day I saw this stupid book about small business taxes and it was the highest ro I I've ever had on a weekend of learning that served me infinitely. Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: look as founders, I think we need to remind ourselves that experience is great, but it can come with some challenges, comes with some bias. And it's also really important to note that as we look at the current environment that we live in, how fast things change, there's always going to be more coming that we need to learn. It's of value than the things that we've already learned. And so I think putting an emphasis on what I know versus what I'm going to know is a really dangerous move. And so instead of thinking about here's everything I need to know, let's take what we do know and let's apply it as well as we can take some learnings from it and just be willing to move on.

Wil Schroter: So, in addition to all the stuff related to founder groups, you've also got full access to everything on start 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 site, you'll find all of these resources available.

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