Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #57


Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the startup therapy podcast, this is Ryan Rutan and I am joined by Wil Schroder, my partner and Ceo of startups dot com. Well we're going to talk about something interesting today, something you and I have talked about a ton personally um and we've touched on a couple of times I think throughout the course of the podcast, but we're going to go straight at it today and that's talking about quality of life, right, and why this is such an afterthought amongst startups and startup founders.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. You know, I got to tell you for the longest time, I think all of us have looked at compensation as the straight metric, you know, we go to a startup, we get stock options, we get cash in some cases etcetera and that needs to somehow someday translate into what will be this quality of life. But we kind of overlook along the way that we should have some quality of life along the way. Years ago when my wife and I had moved to san Francisco, we were living reading Market street and we were sandwiched, our building was sandwiched between Uber twitter and square and our building was essentially like the dorm room for all of these

Ryan Rutan: companies

Wil Schroter: and so which would simultaneously made us the poorest and the oldest people in but we ended up meeting this one woman within our first year living there and our daughter summer was really young at the time and she said, hey you know I would love to babysit for your kids if you ever needed somebody. She was wonderful. And it turns out she was an operations manager at Uber, you know, their headquarters was literally right next to us and you know, she was wonderful, super smart. Uber was at its prime at that time. It was just on such an upswing. And I asked her, I said, so what's quality of life for you like right now at Uber? And she looked at me like I had two heads like, what a stupid question. The quality of my work at Uber, essentially, she worked every waking hour and I always got the sense that when she said I wanted to babysit your daughter, it was an excuse to stop working. But it was really interesting that at this hyper successful company at its peak, that quality of life amongst the people that worked, there wasn't really a consideration. Now, this is to be fair, this is a survey of one, right? But to be fair, and we also know lots of other people that work at jobs at Uber. Amongst many companies not picking on Uber by the way, but here's a company that could afford infinite quality of life, right? And yet it extracts it instead, it blew my mind.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, it's interesting. I mean that was company philosophy at that time, right? They were just growth growth growth growth growth fundraising around after fundraising around and just trying to squeeze every bit they could for future value and it's often easier to see that illustrated when we talk about at the company level, right? Because they say, oh, well, you know, they, you know, they had investment money, you know, they're trying to, trying to 10 X the company, they need to show returns to the investors, they need to be able to, you know, justify the next round. They're trying to grow, it's an arms race between them and lift and all the other ride sharing and so on and so forth. And I think it's easier for us to look at that and go, yeah, okay, we kind of get it. I think it's a lot harder for people to see that justification at the personal level, right? But it very much exists there. But I would argue that where you can somewhat justify that at the company level by saying, hey, you know, we're increasing shareholder value very rarely does that actually pan out when we do this to ourselves personally. I think we've said this before, but it's my opinion that you don't earn interest on life and happiness deferred, right? This isn't like I'll put it into a savings account and it will be that much more happy later. That's just not the way it works. Happiness being such a fleeting thing anyways, and, you know, what makes us happy continues to shift that you might as well try to be happy and have some quality of life along the way. So, yeah, that's, that's a perfect illustration. Well, um, and yeah, I was thinking the same thing like this, here's somebody who's already talking about no quality of life and what do they want to do with their free time babysit? It calls into question, you know, how deep that mentality had sunk into the people that worked there even. And that's probably an entirely different podcast episode where we dig into the things that we do in leadership can dramatically affect the psyche of the people who work for us. But here's this young lady who already complained about having no quality of life and then she's still trying to fill her free time with what amounts to more work now Summer is a cool kid. So, you know, maybe she was just having a lot of fun with her and yet I still have to wonder,

Wil Schroter: I mean, what's interesting to me and I've grown to learn this over time is that money is a means to an end, but if you don't have that end well identified or it's costing you the very quality of life to get there, then sort of what's the point? But but let me take that out further, even if you don't believe that, or if you're not down with that, I get it, okay, you can say, hey, well money enables and money does this does these things that are worth sacrificing for and there's some truth to that, however, as founders of a business, as folks that employ lots of other people. If we don't take quality of life seriously, what does that mean for the future of all the people that worked with us or for us? Right. In other words, if I talked to another startup, ceo and I say, what's the quality of life like at your company? Here's what I'll probably get, I'll probably get some reference to cash compensation. People are really well paid and by the way, that does matter. Sure. Sure. And it does matter because the other side of when you're not paying people properly is a huge issue. But then they'll say things like, well we've got free meals, we've got unlimited vacation and they'll start kind of like going through the company's brochure of, of perks and I gotta tell you, we've tested a lot of those. We've also worked with a lot of other companies to see how their benefits have worked for them. And I've got to tell you most of it's useless right? Most of it's useless if you don't truly understand the full picture of the employee of what's actually important to them. And if you really had to distill it down to one category that's the most overlooked and abused and probably the easiest to fix it's time. All our folks really want is some time they want some time to spend with their kids, they want some time to spend with their loved ones, they want some time to go out on a hike, anything, do nothing, do

Ryan Rutan: nothing, nothing

Wil Schroter: said watch netflix and it's the one thing that is free, so to speak. You know, we don't have to literally write a check to give it and yet typically as within startups as employers, we tend to do a pretty crappy job with it and I gotta tell you, I think Ryan, I think it's worth us talking a little bit about our journey, kind of what we've gone through at startups, probably some of the personal discoveries we've made with ourselves, but really walk some folks through the night and day difference between what happens when you take time away from your employees and what happens when you give it back to him in ways you probably wouldn't even think right, Ryan, I'd be curious your thoughts here, where do you think we made the transition at startups, you know, over the past eight plus years where we started to kind of give time back or change our view of how compensation was more than just cash.

Ryan Rutan: Oh man. Yeah, I think that was, you know, I don't think that there was necessarily a turning point that I could point to and say like this was the moment it happened, it felt more like 100 little things. There were certainly some bigger ones where I think what we realized first was not the, not the benefit of giving time back, but the cost of taking time away for better in this case, I don't think we were ever over the top in terms of driving people to work long hours or anything like that. We did it to ourselves and we certainly weren't always as good as we are now about making sure that culturally the company understood that that wasn't an expectation on the rest of them, but certainly within leadership, we, there were there were times where we were pushing really hard and and we talked about this in past episodes, but you know, we went through mental challenges around that, we went through physical challenges around that and we saw some fairly severe costs and they were all these little warning signs, it was time to pump the brakes a little bit and to really start to think about what those additional investments in time, we're actually buying us right to your point about you know, compensation and saying, you know more money is better, but if you don't really have a plan for how you're going to invest that, then just saying the answer to money is more money is a fallacy if you don't have a clear picture of what you want to do with it. And so I think the time is under a similar constraint in that if you're not crystal clear on the outcomes, you're trying to drive and you're just saying, well if I just put more effort in, if I just put more time on the field better things are going to happen, not necessarily number one. And the one thing that I can say with some certainty is that there is a breaking point at which you've just spent too much time. And we talked about this before as well right now, you're quite militant about your your scheduling and you know, kind of your your golden periods throughout the day where, you know, your your most creative or you're most productive and you do a great job of defending those and with good reason because that's the time when you're really productive. You know, you're also not worried about trying to work at eight o'clock at night because, you know, you need to wind down and be ready for bed within an hour, hour and a half. And so, you know, but it takes time to learn those things. So I think that we individually learned some of the dangers and the hard limits around investing too much time. And then we started to make decisions that we felt like would ease that a bit and provide, you know, benefit to to people across the company. And we've always been good about understanding at least one aspect of this and that's family. We've said from the beginning that, you know, we're, we're very family friendly company. We understand that things come up that you will need to take time and and we've been generous and, and very fair about, you know, how we've treated that we've tried to be good about making sure that we socialize that as well and not just say it's okay to do it, but to actually reward people and applaud them for taking that time to be with family, whether that's, you know, you need to stay home because of a sick kid or you have to leave an hour early because of a soccer match or whatever, it's not just, oh, that's ok. But then everybody looks at you sideways, it's that's okay and please go do it and oh, hey, we're really glad you did that. That's great. And so I think we start to make little decisions like that. And then, you know, one of the bigger turning points that we can point to was when we instituted the work from Home policy, which is, are we at 4.5 years on that now? I think

Wil Schroter: it's been a long time. Apparently we were preparing for this entire coronavirus shutdown. Years ahead of

Ryan Rutan: time. We've been drilling for this moment

Wil Schroter: for years. But that started

Ryan Rutan: small, right? We started small with that, we started with just work from home Wednesdays. And the intention was that was just going to be like an end of summer experiment for a month. I think we said, well we'll try this for august, it did right. It did. And not just for us, right? And it was very quickly applauded and appreciated by the entire team and proved out a lot of wonderful things, which is that, you know, productivity didn't drop off and and okay, we weren't saying it don't work and just go home, right? So this wasn't like we completely handed them their time back, but we handed them their commute times back, we handed them, you know, all the office distraction time back, they got to focus on their work, get more done. Um You know, we had a lot of people come back to us and tell us I'm actually more productive. I feel like I'm I'm having you know, a better use of my time, but I want to get off on a tangent around how they're spending their time, this is we're talking about quality of life. And we certainly did start to hear that, you know, just that Wednesday alone, just not having to get up and come into an office one day a week um increase people's quality of life, increase their happiness.

Wil Schroter: Well this is still that more though, Ryan, like what people were really saying implicitly was I want more time to myself, I want more time to maybe get my laundry done right or be able to see my kid. Um Eliot would always talk about making you know, daddy eggs for his kids in the morning, right? What we're really talking about with all of this compensation is having those moments and enabling those experiences which when they're taken away from you for so long when for so much of your career, you've never been able to have that experience when you get it. It feels like a massive reward. What's ironic is that most of our staff, you know, a lot of them, this is their first job and they'll have only known this freedom and flexibility and hey, that's great. I mean, again, I think that's wonderful. But I think for a lot of the folks and they've certainly expressed this that didn't grow up with this level of flexibility or this type of compensation if you will, it was very life changing and you touched on something a moment ago that, that I think we should expand upon that I think was critical to all of this compensation if you will. And that was permission. Yeah. This concept that if we don't give ourselves permission first and that's within leadership, etcetera because it sets the tone for everyone else. If I say, hey, everyone take work from home Wednesday, but I say, but I'm going to be in the office kind of sends the wrong. That's right. And so I think the hardest part for us and I'd be curious your thoughts here was trying to give ourselves permission to unlock that kind of quality of life in by way that that time compensation out to others. What do you think?

Ryan Rutan: 100%? I mean, there definitely was a transition period there as we went to that work from home Wednesday and it was driven by a lot of things, you know, you still want to be, you know visible, you still want to be productive and I think in the beginning, I certainly was kind of over doing it and trying to make sure that you know, I was getting as much as I could out of that, that Wednesday part of it was that I also wanted the experiment to work right, and so I think I may have gone over the top in terms of trying to prove to myself that this was in fact a good idea that it would work well um that we would benefit from it, but yeah, there was a period in which, and I would say it was, it was every bit of two months before I really settled into feeling comfortable with it and the comfort came from a couple of places, one, it was just the permission around like saying like, you know, you can feel better about this, it's okay, take it easy, it is okay to walk away from your desk for a few minutes to go in the yard with the kids or to watch them jump in the pool or whatever the other piece of it certainly was watching everybody else go through the adjustment and seeing the increased happiness and seeing that productivity hadn't fallen through the floor and essentially seeing everything else stay as it should be or in some cases improve that gave me the confidence, I think to, to finally grant myself full permission to just say, yeah, this is good, this is working.

Wil Schroter: And I think if we were to again zoom out a little bit and looking at the full picture of quality of life and as employers and, and as employees, how to kind of assess that and then put it into practice within our businesses. I think there's, there's a lot to this puzzle. I think that there's one part of it is giving back time, right? And that's super important. I think the other part is everybody, like we're talking about getting permission to be able to say, hey, quality of life is actually important to me. Here's something that I want to do or in some cases something that I need to do in order to kind of enjoy that quality of life to have that flexibility. But the thing is, I don't think employee quality of life is a central part of our discussion amongst founders. You know, if we were to say again, I'm at a cocktail party and meet a founder and I said, how is quality of life of your company? She's gonna invariably start, you know, rattling off all of their benefits at the company.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, because the reality is that most of them don't actually know, right, because if you're not focusing on it at best, you can get some kind of anecdotal feedback around. Well, you know, somebody that day said this to me or somebody said that and it almost always ends at an anecdote, right? This is something that we've committed to in a very different way and that we've studied actually studied to see, you know, what are the improvements, How are people feeling about this? Is this something that we want to continue and expand and just for a little bit of history, because this may not be apparent. Every listening, we went from work from home Wednesdays to work from home monday Wednesday friday. So we're now only in the office two days a week. It was so successful that we expanded it where we're actually working from home more often than we are working from an office.

Wil Schroter: Well actually there's kind of a second order effect when we did that when we moved to that we ended up realizing that we could just soon hire remote workers as in office workers. And now 85% of our staff doesn't ever go to an office. So I think something else happens about two years ago that I thought was really interesting. I heard a couple of people that said, hey, I'm interested in looking at other jobs. And by the way, that's a conversation, I'm proud to say that we have fairly openly within our teams. We've had folks come to us and say, look, I'm not leaving yet, but I'm gonna go start looking for something else because I'm looking for a role, we don't have here, right? And I really appreciate the level of trust that's been created that people can even have that conversation because when I was coming up with my career, I would have never thought to have that conversation. But regardless when we had that conversation, I consistently heard not just directly but even indirectly the same complaint, which was, I don't know how I'm going to be able to recreate my situation here somewhere else. And to me that was maybe the highest compliment that we were doing our jobs right? If if our quality of life was so good here, that the concern was, you couldn't get it elsewhere. Then to me that was a massive win and I don't think that was incidental. I think we were really hard to get to that point.

Ryan Rutan: We did, we did, I still would have liked to have seen this test that notion a little bit harder. And by saying that, Okay, that's awesome. But we're also going to cut your salary by 20% now. Just gonna just gonna want to quantify this board. So you're saying that you would, you'd love to stay here so much that you'll take a picture. Yeah, we would never do that.

Wil Schroter: So play this out a little bit further again, we're talking about lots of points consideration around quality of life. I think the first thing we need to do is founders as administrators. If you will, he's just ask people what's important to you right now, Right? Like what would make your life two x better by the way that isn't cash compensation because I think that's just such a copout kind of answer. And of course more cash will help everyone. So, but that's not entirely what we're talking about. In some cases you may find that quality of life has to do with reporting structures. It could have to do with what hours people work, Not even the number of hours, but but when they work, you can often find that this concept of, I'd like permission to be able to go do something else like work on side projects, work on passion projects. Take a sentence of my time and work towards something charitable. If we really sit down with our teams at an individual level, I don't, I don't think you can do this kind of across the board and say, what would your dream job look like? Right. What would be like the quality of life that would be through the roof? Here's the interesting thing, I'll qualify a little bit to the right people, I don't think for the right people, they're asking to work less. I genuinely haven't seen that to be the case. So this isn't a matter of, well I just want to work half the hours and get paid twice as much like that's actually not it the right people and by the right people, I mean people that understand the balance between compensation and output. Look at it and just say I just need a little bit more control over the configuration of my time and my output.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, I think it's it's a function of how well, you know, your career fits with your other pursuits, right? And you know, that can be a lot of different things. It's your life, your social life, your hobbies, your family, everything else. I think that the quality of life really starts to improve when the pieces of those two very different puzzles actually start to fit together nicely to your point, right? It may not be the total number of hours worked. Maybe it's maybe it's when it happens all right. And it was one of the suggestions that we that we looked at um again we talked about this a ton but we're in the middle of the covid lockdown right now In 2020 as we're recording this. And as we first entered into this, we started talking about what are the, you know, some of the things we can do to help the staff out even a little bit more. Of course they're all working from home right from the beginning. But one of the things that was suggested was that we'd be flexible around even more flexible when people were working so that they could split shifts with a with a spouse for example, so that one of them could be watching the kids and one of them could be working and then vice versa. So yeah, I think that that's that's extremely valid, right? And I and I'll agree 100% that it's, most people don't necessarily want to work less. They tend to want to accomplish more and they want to try to earn more. Um but there has to be a point at which, you know, you can't keep trading just purely time for that in either direction, right? And you can say, well if I'm only gonna be compensated this much, then I only want to work 25% as much as you. You want me to. That also doesn't work, but I don't get the sense that that's what most people are after, right. They just want to be able to strike a balance to where the transition between one and the next is easier or the outright blend between one and the next is easier. You know, where you don't have to make this hard switch between life and work where the two work together in a way that's more conducive to equality of life.

Wil Schroter: I agree with you and I and I think there was another thing that got really interesting that happened very organically, but I think was life changing for probably me more than anybody else in the organization and that's when we stopped working nights and weekends And you know, and I want to caveat this one as well for some industries, some businesses and some stages, that's not an option, right? So this isn't like how dare people work nights and weekends? Look man, there was a time where, well for 20 years where all I did was work nights and weekends. So this isn't me like casting stones. But let me just explain kind of what happened early on my fears into the business, we're still working what I would consider to be, you know, pretty crazy hours and I still wasn't at the point yet where I realized you're allowed to go home when it's still daylight. But, but I remember and we talked about this before where my daughter had just been born and Sarah, my wife texted me and she's like, hey, you know, we're gonna be eating dinner at whatever time and it occurs to me for the first time in my life that I actually had to be home. And, And so for the first time in my life I had to actually leave work at 6:00. You know, our business hours were 9-6. And With that everyone else left at 6:00. And then it became a thing Whereby 601, the office was dead empty, right? And then it became a thing where working on the weekends was considered heretical and I'm not saying people don't pop in or you know, do some things or whatever, but I'm just saying that there was certainly no expectation around it.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, at this point it's discretionary effort,

Wil Schroter: correct if you want to, or you know, something is kind of top of mind, cool, but there's zero expectation around it. And I think what happened was it gave all of us and I'll use myself permission to turn it off right to say, hey man, at six o'clock, whether I'm remote or in the office or whatever, I can turn it off and everyone else is turning it off to. So I don't have to feel like the asshole who's, you know, not working while everyone else is working. And again, this goes back to quality of life. I think my quality of life jumped geometrically for the first time in my life, I went home, turned off my phone, so to speak, turned off my computer. My wife is going to tell you a very different story. She's like, I don't know what he's talking about, he never turns this stuff off, but whatever comparative, comparatively very turned off and wow, just had great conversations with my family, right? When did something that I cared about without having to be constantly like pulled back into, you know, whatever maelstrom we were in the middle of work And it was the first time in my life and probably, you know, if I kind of time box it 20 years where I felt okay to leave work for even a moment, my life had been so all encompassing for so long and it never even occurred to me it could be different. My quality of life went up geometrically.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. And I think that it's there's a strong correlation between time and quality of life and how you get to spend that time and even just interruptions. Right? And so, you know, I was thinking back to something I did a couple of months ago now and that was to turn off all but a few of the very, very most critical alerts on my phone and this has had an impact throughout my workday. This has had a huge impact throughout nights and weekends. Big time. That's actually made me think of it. I don't get pulled back into things and it's not just work related, right? It's some random conversation high school friends are having via group, what's that message that I absolutely don't need to be part of but it distracts me from doing something else I should have or would have been better off doing and those distractions and and kind of giving myself permission to say like I don't need to see all this stuff when I jump back into these applications, all that stuff will still be there. The messages will still be there. I can still read it later when I got some time for it. But what I realized was that I had lost control of how I chose to spend my time, I was constantly responding to these, you know, message alerts and pings and dings and rings and whatnot. And it had a massive impact on my quality of life. I didn't realize that it didn't feel like it was negatively impacting me, but when I turned it all off and I mean I I wholesale turned off alerts and I keep it and do not disturb mode most of the time. The same thing with my laptop now and it's a huge, huge difference because I'm back to getting to choose how to spend my time. I'm not constantly getting other offers, which is essentially what my phone and my computer become to me was a bunch of advertisements about how else I could spend my time and some of them from friends and coworkers or whatever. But like I didn't really need help with that. I had no shortage of ways to spend my time. I was just allowing myself to be so distracted from how I wanted to spend my time that I was fractional izing my my attention all over the place. And it was hugely, hugely impactful by just simply turning those things off. That's the other thing that's so funny about quality of life sometimes. It's just these simple, tiny little changes can have such a huge impact. And that was a big one for me

Wil Schroter: and why do you think it took you so long to get to that point? Because again, I don't think we all, you know, kind of figure that out if you will as quickly as we should.

Ryan Rutan: We don't and so it goes back to part of its permission, a big part of it was permission. And that was just to say that I don't have to respond at a moments notice to every single slack message. For example, slack was actually one of the biggest contributors to this. If I were to jokingly rewrite slacks elevator pitch, it's it's an all day endless meeting with no agenda with everyone in your company that you can never leave, right? Of course it has its place, right? But I think that, you know, viewed in the most negative possible light, that's what it became for me. And because we spend so much time out of the office and we're not visible and in my case even more so because I haven't been in the office for almost four years now have been fully remote. So for me that visibility, that that appearance of being responsive to make sure that everybody knows I'm working, I know I'm working all the time, I know what I'm doing, I know that I'm doing what I need to be doing, but it became important for me for everyone else to know that too, I don't know that anybody else is actually worried about that, I would assume not, but I was worried that they were worried about it. Um instead of just asking them, which would probably have been a much easier thing to do, but so instead of, you know getting higher quality of life and getting more done at work, I was worried about appearing responsive. And so a big part of that was just to say like look I don't need to be that responsive. There are very few things that come through that our pants on fire. You know, we've got to we've got to address this right now. And so simply just turn some of that off and said specify a couple of periods throughout the day. And and that'll that'll make for a big change. But it was really just coming down to me making a decision that like I should have control over that time. I should be able to decide when and where I'm going to respond to these things and not be at the beck and call. Of course when there's emergencies, when there's things that are critical, you know, we have to respond. But there's just so few of those types of emergencies.

Wil Schroter: And think about it though. Think about how just the very specter of the organization, you know, creating this shackle on you, so to speak, reduce your quality of life. Again, this goes to the folks at the top creating the permission and kind of the baseline for everyone else to say look man, here's the stuff that's really important to us that we really need to make sure that everybody's focused on and we care about as an organization and here's the stuff man you do, you write, you figure out, you know, the best way to get there. And I think again, in the category of things that don't cost money per se, but have a tremendous impact on the quality of life, which is such a critical part of this compensation discussion. It's giving people that permission and independence to operate in a way that they want to operate. You know, for example, some of our developers in the past have preferred to work at night, that's just kind of when they do their thing. Yeah, well,

Ryan Rutan: distraction, free time, right? The distraction on on some types of work, it's even more critical. You lose your train of thought In in the middle of a, you know, 10 or 15,000 line code deployment. It could take you some serious time to get back on that horse and get back to work, Right? And that's that's a huge de motivational factor when you're like, well I was man, where was I? Where was I? So yeah, we have seen that right. With developers, obviously there's some roles that that's, you know, less conducive to our customer service team, can't tell us they only want to work at night. Um but you know, being flexible is a big part of that.

Wil Schroter: I haven't really seen anybody and I'm sure you haven't either being entirely unreasonable about it. If anything, I think part of the conversation is to say, look, I don't know that we can make every possible accommodation for you. But let's talk about it. You know, what would be your ideal wish list for what your perfect company, your perfect day looks like in what's out of bounds now. I think for a lot of employers, that's a terrifying proposition because it breaks a lot of conventions that we've grown accustomed to. One of those is uniformity. If I let this person work at night, then I have to let everyone work at night. And that could be an issue. Right? If I say that this person is only going to be available during these hours, well then everybody else is only gonna want to be available during those hours, right? Like so again, I'm not suggesting for a moment that there's a one size fits all policy because there's just not, what I think has worked for us is we've created a flexible enough overall structure so that each person can figure out how to make the structure work for them. But largely I think the things that, that have have changed for us at its core, I think as an organization, we've recognized how powerful quality of life as a form of compensation is. And I would say we pay pretty well and I think our folks, you know, have, have said as much when they leave, it's typically not just for more money, although people do tend to get more money when they go to another job. Well, we focused more is on quality of life, I think our retention has been astronomical, You know, compared to where it was in the past,

Ryan Rutan: Let's talk about that. Let's talk about that because we have a really interesting stat there. Hey, well, um, out of 200 plus people, How many people do we have resigned in 2019?

Wil Schroter: About zero. Now we have some roles that actually are like contractor roles and stuff like that. So he says some contractors turnover, but that's kind of to be expected. We'll always have that because we don't really control quality of life there. But yeah, it was amazing. And so I gave this really heartfelt speech about it. If you remember at the end of last year and I was like, I can't believe we went an entire year and nobody's left and you know, that means so much to me and blah, blah blah. And then like a week later, three people quit.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. Yeah.

Wil Schroter: So we're

Ryan Rutan: reviewing all of your future team meeting speeches. It's

Wil Schroter: Like the worst time. But, but, but again, you know, we've talked about this before too. They were all good moves. I mean they're all three people that moved for great reasons. So, so we're 100% behind all of it. But regardless, our goal isn't to try to make attrition B0 people should go on to do other jobs. Our goal is to make it so that when people are at our company, it sends a high water mark for what quality of life should be. So that when they go to another company, if the quality of life sucks regardless of what that pay raise was, they look back and go damn. You know I kind of miss what I had there. If they look back and they say that place sucked. And again there could be a lot of reasons for that. Then I feel like you know, we haven't done our job.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. 100% right? Yeah. So so basically we want people to go on and then resent the decision.

Wil Schroter: I'm just kidding. But look man, what I don't want to be is in an arms race with other startups for compensation and perks, right? Because I think you always lose, especially if you're in highly competitive markets. Like if you're in the bay area or anything else like that, you can't win that game. There will always be another company that's going to rock paper scissors you out of the compensation perks game. And at the end of the day compensation and perks are worth nothing if everybody's miserable the entire time because what ends up happening and again this is you know, Uber is a good example. This everyone gets super excited about the comp but they're miserable day after day after day and it starts to destroy morale. It starts to destroy like the fabric of the company's destroys culture and that you can't buy your way out of that. You can't bonus your way out of that at some point. Either two things have to happen. Either the company has to go public or you know, whatever the wealth event is going to be for everybody to be able to justify it or you're going to have some mass exodus where people are like, you know what, like ain't worth it. And the truth is, it's not worth it. It's

Ryan Rutan: not 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

Wil Schroter: slash

Ryan Rutan: 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

Wil Schroter: and even all the tools we've built like biz plan fungible

Ryan Rutan: and launch rock. It's everything a founder needs

Wil Schroter: visit

Ryan Rutan: startups dot com slash begin that startups dot com slash B E G I N. You'll thank me later

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