Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #34


Ryan Rutan: yeah. Mm hmm. Yeah. As

Wil Schroter: founders, we value our freedom.

Ryan Rutan: But how much when was the last time you really considered the value and the cost of your freedom as a founder today on the startup therapy podcast will and I will discuss both sides of the founder freedom coin the costs like long hours, no pay, total uncertainty, the outcomes and the benefits like not having a boss doing what you love and influence over company culture. And we're back for another episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan from startups dot com, joined as always by my partner Wil Schroder startups dot com will we have spent a fair amount of time talking about about today's topic. We're talking around it. You know, we've, we've touched on aspects of, you know what it was like to build company culture, um, what it was like to not work with jerks anymore, what it was like to not answer to anybody, a lot of things that we've done were decided not to do that touch on freedom but we haven't specifically gone straight at freedom right. And what that costs us what it's worth to us And so today I think you and I both wanted to to really dig into this.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, well I think part of it too is and I know personally Ryan you've known me for a long time. This is something that is incredibly important to me and when I sit across from another founder and we're talking about how hard it is to build a startup and it's hard and you know, today we'll talk about all the things that that were willing to do to kind of achieve our freedom. I tend to find myself reminding the founder no matter how far along they are in their business, this is the price of freedom. And it's not that I don't think people know, I think the weird thing about it is we tend to forget how much freedom were afforded because it doesn't feel like freedom at the time, just like a lot of work

Ryan Rutan: looks like a bird cage from the inside.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, but I gotta tell you man, I hate being told what to do. And I would like the hate isn't even a strong enough word for it is the antithesis of my D. N. A. Now, that doesn't mean I'm not willing to listen, you know, I love talking through issues, I love you know, kind of a spirited debate, but there's two versions of that, there's a version where somebody sits across from you and they have a spirited debate and then they just tell you what to do and you realize that it doesn't matter because you never really had an opinion on it kind of like when you're a kid and you're having a spirited debate with your parents, but you know man at the end of the day who was going to make that decision that is not freedom.

Ryan Rutan: Uh no

Wil Schroter: not at all. The other side of it though for me is when I feel like my freedom is just being compromised, right? When I feel like someone else, maybe they can't have full control over what I'm doing, but they're compromising it enough. This is like if you have an investor, you can't stand to work with a client, you can't stand to work with and your freedom is being compromised enough that you've, you've kind of lost that independence. That's, that's another way that I think this manifests and kind of how I've seen it in my life. But again, I think it's incredibly important to start to, to really unpack and dig into all of the freedoms that were willing to earn and not overlook how valuable they are to us. Because my guess is Ryan, a lot of the folks listening are going through some serious ship right there there there for going so much of their lives and we'll talk about this in order to earn these freedoms that they've almost forgotten what those freedoms are or have forgotten how to leverage those freedoms. So I think it's, it's worth dealing with and and kind of digging into today.

Ryan Rutan: I would hope so it's either that or we've gotten our audience very wrong and we're not actually talking to a bunch of founders right now if it is a bunch of founders that are listening, I would say this, this should be, should be top of mind. And uh, yeah, so, so we want to dig into first, I mean there's, there's so many directions to go with this in terms of like, you know, what is freedom individually, You know, where does it manifest itself? How does it manifest? So I know for me there are there are truly like specific and kind of tangible aspects of freedom and then there are some that are, that are less tangible, a little harder to measure. Um, and maybe easier to miss. Um, and I think that's, that's one of those things. It's, it can be really funny, but until somebody, until somebody points it out to you, um, you may not understand that you do have this benefit, right? It's one of the things we're like, oh yeah, well until you put it that way, I didn't really realize I was benefiting from this or suffering from that. Right? So it's uh, it's an interesting paradox, but

Wil Schroter: well they say you want to dig in on first, they say freedom isn't something you truly appreciate until it's taken from you. And if you've ever had your freedoms taken from you in any way. And I don't necessarily just mean your country was overrun kind of way. Although that does happen to, I mean the moment that you went from being a startup founder running your own startup to then working for someone else, you immediately realize how much you probably didn't appreciate those freedoms no matter how expensive they were until they were taken away from you. Now

Ryan Rutan: I just I have just a memory, I'm thinking it took me back in time and I was thinking it's like those last days of summer vacation where you're like, I'm bored, this sucks. We're not having fun anymore. And then next week school starts, right? Give anything right. That's the point where you realize the value of that

Wil Schroter: freedom for us for founders, it's, it's not something that was just given to us, right? I mean, I agree with you on the summer vacation analogy, but let's face it, summer vacation was granted to you knew it was coming founders on the other hand, we have to earn that freedom. And I always say to folks, one you may not again, as you mentioned that you may not appreciate what it means to have it. But the second is the moment you start giving up that freedom, the moment you start letting people overrun your freedom, it kind of makes all of the crap that we took to get here, not worth it. And so today, you know, as we're talking about this, I want to talk about what are all the things that that all the freedoms that we've earned by being founders and why are those so important to us? And Ryan, I think you and I should talk about why they're important to us and I think folks will, will appreciate that, but then the other is what are all the places that we can eventually start to let our freedoms get, get taken away from us, you know, bit by bit, you know, I've got some scenarios where, you know, I was running a company and as the company was growing, I thought company grows, I get more freedom. And in fact the opposite happened. And I think some of the folks listening, we started probably nodding their heads right now going, yeah, you know, I feel a little less free. I feel like this company is running me and that does happen. And I think it's important to keep this stuff in perspective, as we try to call it, maintain our maximum freedom. You know what I mean?

Ryan Rutan: Okay, So there's a ton to dig in on this one. Why don't we just start with what are some of the costs? What are some of the things that we're going to have to give up in the short term, perhaps to pave the way for this eventual freedom?

Wil Schroter: Yeah. I think that when people look from the outside in and they say, I just see that you're working like a madman and you're running yourself into debt etcetera. I just see that part, you know, I understand that maybe there's a financial windfall that you're trying to work towards, but you know, if I really think about what it's like for all of us as founders? I don't think it's just the windfall we're working toward. I think it's so much more than that. And so because of that, I think we're willing to take on some insane costs. I know for me when I was first getting started, I was getting paid nothing and I don't, I don't mean that metaphorically, I mean literally I was getting paid nothing for a really long time,

Ryan Rutan: but this we both have stories about getting paid in food early on, that sort of tells you

Wil Schroter: where we're at, right. You know, when people look at that and they say, well, I guess you're willing to do it because there is going to be financial upside later. I didn't know that. I know there was going to be financially,

Ryan Rutan: certainly didn't look like it at that point. It wasn't like there was a date at which the lottery ticket became knew and we knew or we didn't write, it was just constant pouring in of effort. Um, because we wanted to right and I would say that like early on that freedom is actually part of the motivation and you may not be fully free, right, your unpaid, but you're doing what you want to be doing and the way you want to be doing it so that it really is, it's there the whole time, the freedom is there the whole time, you may not appreciate

Wil Schroter: when we're for going all of our camp. You know, we may have come up from a really well paying job to now this zero or in some cases negative paying job because it costs you money to go to work because you're putting your own money into it. Again, a lot of people look at that and say, well, it wasn't really your freedom. You're looking forward again, you're looking for the financial benefit and you're like, look, I don't care where you are in your life, when it's costing you money to go to work, there's no part of you that's like, oh, this is going to pay off really well at all. So, so that's not, that's not the only motivation, right? People are looking at it like, hey, you're working these insane hours. I got to tell you when I was working the most insane hours when I was first getting started. And again, I hadn't been through a full cycle of a startup yet. I hadn't been through the inception point all the way through where it kind of makes that turn and it gets to a growth point and then all of a sudden comes to a wonderful outcome. And, and to be honest, I've done nine startups over 25 years and I had had plenty of those stories where it didn't turn out well. So I was fortunate that my first one did. It took a long time, but I was fortunate that my first one did. But to say that I knew it was going to turn out well, no, not at any point, we're all running into the abyss, but we're willing to do that because there's a, there's such an inherent value to our freedom and our our agency to be able to work how we want to and when we want to and toward what we want to. That that we're willing to bear these, let's call them ridiculous costs. That don't make sense to anybody but us.

Ryan Rutan: Well, that's the beauty of the abyss. There's a lot of space in there.

Wil Schroter: There is. And for most rational people, none of this makes sense. Now, I think from the outside looking in, you know, let's talk about like our our friends who are our colleagues that are saying, I don't know if this is such a great idea what you're doing and you're going to get a lot of that. We all do. I think looking from the outside in all it looks like is cost, All it looks like is risk. It just looks like, hey, I haven't seen you at a barbecue in three years. It just sounds horrible. I don't think those folks appreciate the extent of how important these freedoms are to us and what we're willing to pay to get them

Ryan Rutan: most of them don't most of them can't. All right. And I think we touched on this in our, in the episode that we did on advisers, But if we didn't, this would have been a good point to include, which is that you really have to consider the perspective of the person giving you the opinion, right? If it's john in the next cubicle, of course he can't appreciate the freedom that you're trying to achieve with your startup company because he doesn't have it. He hasn't seen it. He doesn't know what it tastes like, right? So the perspective of the people providing you with their opinions is really, really important to consider, right? Because if you talk to another founder, they'll commiserate and they'll say, yes, it's really tough. But they'll get it. They'll understand why you're doing it right. They'll inherently understand the trades that you're making and why

Wil Schroter: agreed. And even, you know, if I talked to somebody very close to me who has been on this entire venture with me, this being my wife who has been so instrumental in so many different epics in my career, even she will look at kind of what I may be doing on a day to day basis and saying, why are you willing to do that? You know, like, like this is insane, Why are you putting up with this or doing this? And I keep coming back to her and I said, look, the price of my freedom. There is no price. I'm willing to pay whatever it takes in order to earn my freedom. I'm willing to pay any price. I'm willing to work as hard as I have to risk everything that I have to in order for my freedom because it's worth that much to me.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, Well, you know, it said differently when you do give up the freedoms, the value of what you get from the work that you do under conditions where you're not free completely lacks value for me at that point, right? Like, You know, is it easier to go make cash money from a job than a startup? Of course, right? Is it more secure to go and work for a company with benefits and, and a 401K and and a retirement plan and and a clear progression of how you move through your, your career. Yes. And yet those constraints for me take away the value of achieving any of those things because they weren't done on my terms, they weren't done in the way I wanted to do them. And not that it's, you know, and you said this at the top, it's not our way or the highway. It's not that we're not open to opinion as founders. It's not that we're not open to suggestion, but we still want to be in control of the top of that decision and there is an amazing amount of value that I can attach

Wil Schroter: to, that. I think when founders are early in their careers so much so that this may be the first job that they've ever had is the job that they created for themselves. They may not yet have the full appreciation for how much freedom they've been granted early on. And frankly, look, you've started your own company. So you know, you, you deserve those freedoms whether you recognize you have them or not. But let me say this in my own experience whenever those freedoms were taken away, whenever those, the dynamics changed, Nothing good came of it for me when I was early in my career, I started my first company when I was 19, but I actually had a few other jobs before that and I had bosses and I actually did okay at those companies actually did pretty well with those companies. I hated having a boss. My boss's weren't bad people. They actually taught me some good stuff. We had good relationships. I hated having a boss. When I sold my first company, I was working at the company that acquired us for a bit and I was working just in a big organization. It had nothing to do with having bosses or anything else like that. But I had a whole bunch of constraints where what the company culture was, what our product division was, wasn't my decision right? I had that freedom was taken away from me. It sucks later on, I raised capital for three different companies, had plenty of big name, wonderful venture investors. It sucked every time my freedoms were impinged upon in any way I was legitimately unhappy. And so After about 25 plus years of doing this, I'm pretty aware, of where my goals are freedom.

Ryan Rutan: not a lot of mystery as to where

Wil Schroter: your where your unhappiness, what I'm gonna do is just just give this a little bit more color Ryan. And each of those cases When I was working for someone else, I had said hours, I worked 37.5 hours a week, got paid whatever I got paid, had plenty of free time, wasn't happy.

Ryan Rutan: Wait,

Wil Schroter: So you were part two working half time right now. I just like wouldn't work was over. I could just go home. I didn't have to think about work anymore.

Ryan Rutan: Just go home. Which is interesting because there's a freedom in that too right and yet, right? There's there's there's there's a lot of freedom. We talked about this a couple episodes back in terms of having a boss again um after being a founder and and having that freedom that latitude just like to walk away and at the end of the day, not look back and not think about it again until you show up the next day, which is founders like never had a day like that where I walk away from my laptop, my phone on my desk, whatever it is considered the office at the time and just have like a clear night where it's like my thoughts never turned back to work again. Never turned back to the company again. Never turned back to some pressing desire to solve some problem or come up with some answer that I have for the company and yet the freedom that that affords you is not equal in my mind, like because I've had that right? We we've we've all had this, we've all had that, you know, the point where we could walk away and just and be be hands free of the job. To me that doesn't have the same the same level of freedom, right? There's something so powerful about being free throughout your work day. And I think a lot of ways to do it, this is where we really where most of us, right? If we're if we're founders or even just career people, a huge part of how we perceive our value as a person manifests through our work, right? Also manifest through our family and and and other engagements and social activities that we have, um community, but most of us associate a lot of the value with and we spend the bulk of our waking hours working. And so I think that when you have that freedom there, it carries so much more weight and so much more power, at least for me. And based on what you've said, I think

Wil Schroter: I will share and think of what prices you and I have been willing to pay. You know, a few episodes back. We talked about running our health into the ground, I mean at an epic level, right? And so any rational person and I don't mean that in a I'm just kind of kidding sort of way. But literally any rational person that would be watching that from the outside would be saying you're an idiot, you're taking your health and everything that comes with it because as family implications and everything else like that, running it into the ground because your pride says that you have to be free. You know, you you can't have a boss or any of these things. You've again, I'm putting this out made up in your head. It's like I don't think so, those things, those are our D. N. A. Yes, my health is terrible. Yes, my wife and I are having conversations about how I never may never work again. But you know what? We never had a conversation about how Michael work for somebody else at some point. Never never came up. Right. Right.

Ryan Rutan: Right. I'm glad you brought this up because this is a great place to be able to jump right from cost to benefit. So yes, we ran our health into the ground right? We gave up our health but at the same time we were buying ourselves a freedom to then be able to repair that because let's put it into context. Now, we both went through a very similar arc which we talked about a couple episodes back, go back and listen to it if you want to. But the summary was you know, both will and I had health issues. We both followed this arc where you know, as the business got to like the peak of needing us. Our health with the opposite directions and bad stuff happened right, really badly. And then what happened, what happened was because of the freedoms afforded to us as founders. We were able to make decisions to repair that health stay in the business continued to do good things, be supported by, you know, our our partners by by the staff, by the company. Um, and we were able to keep going right. And it wasn't easy, but we made it work, try to make that happen in a corporate environment where you can also do the same thing, You can work yourself right to the bone collapse and then talk about how that company supports you through that, right? How you can make real life changes, right? Because we made some big changes around the time I moved, I left our office, I physically separated myself from the people and the work that I was doing that is not an insignificant change,

Wil Schroter: right? And I think if we talk about the benefits, uh it's probably first best to start with what the benefits are to us because we can talk first hand. And I'm going to say that everybody's benefits are going to be a little bit different. And so let's just again, just jump right in, We'll start with what mattered to us. Uh and I think when we say at a high level that no one could control our company, this wasn't some Boardroom scuffle that we were worried about. That's that's really not it. People think about that like, well I own 51% of the company and therefore, you know, I control the company. No, you don't. Um you control the company when you have full agency and latitude to make critical decisions based on how the hell you want to make them. I don't have a better way to say it. And it has said buddy, it has so many different ways that it manifests and people look at it like, well again, I don't want investors to control the company or I don't want to boss controlling the company man. There's a lot more things that control the company than investors. And bosses try customers.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah,

Wil Schroter: Yeah. If you if you're if you're unaware of this, you maybe someday, hopefully not, but probably customers control your company.

Ryan Rutan: Oh yeah, you're damn right. They do man, customers control everything right? They are kind of the lifeblood of the company, right? Um And they can have a ton of control. I remember back when I was growing my digital agency. Um we had, we've gotten our first client that the project went into Five figures and and it was halfway through the five figure and we jumped from like high thousands into a $50,000 project. Um Which at the time seemed like all the money in the world, right? Like that was like an annual salary for the best of my graduating class, right? So we were like, this is all the money the world. So we'll do whatever that client was such a jerk And wanted so many things that were outside of scope and just pushed us around. Made us do things, made us change technology stacks. I had to hire new people. All of a sudden I realized that by virtue of paying and not even paying the entire thing, it would give us a 20% down payment. This guy effectively took over ownership in my company. Exactly. And it was awful and I never let that happen again. We end up completing that project and they want to do a bunch more work with us. And I was like, no peace out, that's enough for me. I do not, it wasn't, it wasn't worth the loss of freedom. And and it was an almost entire loss of freedom in that case because it absorbed all the teams, all the assets of the resources we had at the time I got pointed towards that awful situation.

Wil Schroter: It's also in that case a discussion you're having with a customer at which point you're saying, look, you know, my freedom at which point, you know, you're paying me for a job to do, but there's lots of conditions under which I will or won't do that job and for going your freedom saying, look, I'm going to, you know, work like a slave for you and take whatever abuse and everything that I'm taking home at the end of the night, you know, and complaining to my spouse about is directly tied to you at some point. It's called your freedom man. Um Now again, you and I are very much aligned on this point, which is sometimes you just gotta take it on the chin, right? There is a point at which time you just gotta suck it up. A bad day is a bad day. A bad quarter is a bad quarter and you know, not everything is gonna be roses, I get it. But I think we all know in the back of our minds when we're past that point in a relationship, in a business transaction, in, in anything that we do in life like you know what this isn't about, hey, this is just a tough quarter or whatever anymore, this is in or that this business is tough. Every business is tough, this is me saying I'm no longer free. Someone else's is, you know, controlling me and I'm just not okay with it. I think once we've gone over over the line, if you will then realizing what it means to not have to do that again, which is the very origin of freedom is so important.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, having that line drawn helps a lot, right? Because I didn't know that that was a thing. I wasn't aware that I was giving up freedoms and as you give them up incrementally you don't necessarily feel alright. It's the, it's the boiled frog paradox right? When the water changes temperature slowly, you don't realize it and I didn't write it was one little thing then another then another, then another and then all of a sudden I'm looking, I'm going like, wow, this, this guy is now the Ceo accidentally and he didn't want to be the CEO either necessarily. Um, I just didn't understand that. I should have been defending my freedom at that point. There were a lot of things I could have done to have made that a better situation, a better outcome. Um, and I did going forward. Right. And so it was another one of those things where the cost of giving up my freedom in the short term led me to a point of understanding as to how to maintain my freedom in the long term, right? So it was a short term cost for a long term massive benefit to say, I never want that to happen again. I now know what the warning signs are. I'll avoid that at all costs.

Wil Schroter: You know, Ryan, you just said something defending your freedom. A lot of us. Yeah, a lot of us think that freedom comes the moment we quit our job and start this new company. Now we have freedom. It's this finite thing where we step over that line and it's all freedom here. It's not freedom like anything else in life has to be defended vigorously at every possible turn. And I mean that by its the clients that you sign on, will they impinge on my freedom? It's the employees we bring on will this person, We talked toxic employees in another episode, will this person make me a slave to their whims? It's the size of the company we create. And I mentioned this a moment ago. At some point the company was running me. Yeah. The freedom that that we set out to achieve and ideally maintain was something that through a series of 1000 cuts can get us right back to the point where we were that there were points in my career where I had built my own company, but I worked for someone else and that wasn't freedom. And I think any wall freedom requires maintenance,

Ryan Rutan: right? Either roads over time you have to maintain it and there are ongoing costs associated with that, right? And I think that we've already established that you and I both believe that those costs are well worth spending all the way up to the point of of what other, you know, sane people would consider ridiculous, but for us it is what we do, right. It is one of the main reasons, if not the main reason that we became and remained. I think that's an important distinction became and remained founders over this period of time.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. And and by way of that remained as an independent company and I'm not knocking anybody that doesn't become an independent company. Your goals are yours. I'm just saying we took a much harder path than most have taken. And in none of them, none of them are easy. I'm just saying this one happened to be a little bit harder. We're willing to forgo our, our own cash in order to not have to take on, investors were willing to make much harder, less profit inducing decisions about how we wanted the product to look, and how we wanted to grow. Uh, you know, based on what was important to us. We were willing to put in less hours, which potentially, you know, could have a cost to it because we wanted to spend more time with our family. Now, most founders have those litany of decisions at their fingertips. Many of them are contemplating them right now. What I don't think a lot of folks really consider because a lot of people just haven't been through a full rotation yet. Is that again, every one of those little decisions we make is a chance to give up some freedoms. And if we're really serious about our freedom, we're willing to take a stand, even though it's gonna be the much harder road to say, I'm not going to take on this client. Yes, they would make us more money, but I hate them, hates a strong word, but you get it right. I seriously dislike them. Um, those are tough daily decisions to make, But the lack of making them, the lack of adhering to them and sticking to your guns is what happens when the company is 3-5 years in and you say doesn't feel that free, right? You know, it's usually a result of having taken a lot of shortcuts in order to to not preserve that freedom.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. And and like you said before, it's 1000 cuts. Right? And so you end up making these little compromises that in and of themselves feel inconsequential and insignificant. Um, and those to me are the most dangerous because then when you are three years down the line and you're going, hey, this doesn't feel so free. It can be really hard to back into what those individual decisions that were made because they were insignificant and small. Right? And now it's really hard to draw the line back to What did we do to get to this point? How do we unwind it? Right. And so that is why once you've established the freedom putting in the effort to defend it right? By taking fundamental stances against clients, you don't want to work with against people, you don't want to work with against pivots or projects that go outside of the boundaries of that freedom that you've created are so important, right? Because if you don't and you allow these little consequences, these little compromise is to add up, they can be a lot harder to unwind. And I talked about a situation that I was involved in a couple episodes back and this is many years ago now where we made the decision to fire a major client, 40% of the global revenue of a multinational, global company. And that was a fundamental decision right? With a lot of uncertainty. But we made it based on the fundamentals of the freedom that we wanted to enjoy within our company. But that's the kind that's pretty easy to understand the impacts of, right. In terms of like, oh, well a year later, we're not making any money, we're gonna go out of business. We know why, because that was a big decision, easy to point to. Not as dangerous in my opinion as all of the little compromise. You know? Well that new sales guy, he's kind of a jerk, but he's really effective. So let's keep him around right o that project, you know, that's taken the product in a direction I don't really love. But I think there's an opportunity that I think we can increase in net revenue by 15 or 20%. Let's do that, right. All these little things add up and it gets really hard to untangle them right, doing the calculus and trying to back into what led us to the place. We don't want to be, can be really, really frustrating and really difficult.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. And you know, I think in the past and the present, we tend to use this scenario where we say if we were run by a private equity shop, which for us, No, I'm not knocking private equity shops, it might be wonderful. But, but I'm just using them as this, uh, single minded investor that says all that matters is profit and growth. And anything that deviates from that is a bad thing. And again, I'm probably not that far off, but let's just pretend for a second that this is what we use. And if we were reporting to that private equity shop and we always talk about this and we had to tell them here's what's been on our list of goals and milestones for the past quarter, we'd get fired you and I would get fired in a heartbeat. There's, there's, there's no, yeah, no. And, and there's there's no version where all of our decisions would, would line up to the most prudent decisions toward maximizing growth for the business. And that's a freedom. This podcast is a freedom. We get to take the time in our day and just talk about founder stuff all day because we want to, it has, we don't get paid for it. I mean, not, not directly. Uh, people might listen to it. I hope so. But if if we were to sit across from the p guys and they said, why are you doing the podcast? Why is this where the ceo and the CMO spending their time on it, like because we want to Yeah, because we want to do this

Ryan Rutan: is what we want to do. We feel

Wil Schroter: like it's important

Ryan Rutan: and the world needs to hear this stuff and we need to create freedom within other entrepreneurs. And that's why we do it. Right and exactly. Right. I can picture the what's the description you always use the ham fisted

Wil Schroter: monocled uh guy right?

Ryan Rutan: Like pounding on the table shouting, efficiency optimization, right? And and you and I just looked at each other like, alright,

Wil Schroter: whatever. Yeah, we're out of here, bad ideas, good podcast. Yeah, let's go podcast. But it extends in so many things that extends in uh, you know how we look, we talked about work from home, but how we talk about a family first organization and I've said this before our office, it clears out at six p.m. There is no one here at 601 and that's a choice, right? We're not running our folks into the ground. We're not making sure everybody's unhealthy and never sees their family. That's freedom to us. That's that's something that we want no one else to be able to impinge upon. And frankly we can we can destroy that freedom ourselves by just choosing to run ourselves in the ground. We can take that, that away from ourselves. But if we choose to Yeah, absolutely. And we certainly both exercised plenty of that in the past. But I tend to think about all of the freedoms that we create for ourselves and for this company as something that if they were to be taken away in any capacity in the slightest capacity that I would just feel it in my gut. And I think about how hard I'm willing to work, forget my everybody leaves at 601. It's not a level of how hard we're willing to work to talk about as many hours, but how hard I'm willing to work, how much I'm willing to sacrifice to not change a single bit of that. Yeah,

Ryan Rutan: look, will. I couldn't agree more. You know, like let's let's zoom out a bit and let's summarize here. We start out with all the freedoms in the world, right? If you can kind of picture the timeline of a startup and how freedom is impacted, I would say that it's a sort of like inverse hyperbolic curve, right? We start with all the freedom in the world, the day we begin our startup, everything is possible. Anything is possible can do it however we want as we progress through as we start to hire people to start to build things, we start to take on clients, we moved down that inverse curve, right? We start to give up some of our freedoms and we'll start to feel that. And then I think there's a point at which we begin to react to that if freedom does in fact become something that's important to us as a founder and I would argue for most of us it does right. And we start to then create, recreate some of the freedoms that we've given up creating new freedoms, right? We hit the top of that curve at the bottom that curve, I guess. And then we start to work our way back towards some real freedom. And then it's our job as we get to the other side of that curve again. And we've recreated some of those freedoms. As you said, we have to defend those on an ongoing basis. There will be an investment in maintaining that freedom. That's a wrap for this episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan on behalf of my partner Wil Schroder and all the startups dot com. Family thanking you for joining us and we hope you'll continue to join us. Be sure to subscribe, rate and comment on itunes or wherever you love to listen to startup therapy. You can find all of our episodes at startups dot com slash podcast. If you're looking for more amazing resources to launch or grow your startup, be sure to head to startups dot com and check out startups unlimited. It's everything we have to offer from our online university to our amazing community of experts and founders and even all the tools we've built like biz plan fungible and launch rock, it's everything a founder needs visit startups dot com slash begin that startups dot com slash b e g i n. You'll thank me later.

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