Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #76


Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of startup therapy. I'm Wil schroder, the founder and Ceo of startups dot com and today, my co host is my friend Sam par founder and Ceo of the hustle. Welcome to the show, Sam good to have you. So uh for those of you that aren't familiar with the hustle and I'm kind of guessing that's probably in the minority, it's pretty much become the de facto daily read for founders myself included, all about tech and startup news. Uh Sam's expanded way beyond the newsletter and now has a product that's called trends, which is a whole community around how to spot the up and coming trends that startups might want to follow different opportunities in the community and there's no way I was going to make it through that commercial alone. That's right, right, right. So Sam's had a front row seat in tracking the growth of startups and founders at a massive scale, so he's seen all of it, which makes him the perfect candidate for this discussion today. The reason you're on here, my friend, So Sam when we first met in the early days of the hustle, remember when we met in that little place in san Francisco at the base of twitter, which will probably now never get used again considering restaurants run around and neither is twitter I think. Andrew Warner introduced us, who you just said his podcast went live today, right, yeah, Oh yeah, he killed it. He's just absolutely amazing. Uh but you were in the early days, like when we first met, you were just getting started with the brand, I was already reading the, reading the news that are reading the product, um, but things were just starting to form, it was obviously before trends, it was before a lot of things. I mean, I don't think you have more than a couple employees at the time. No, so like I've been tinkering on this as a project for a bit, um but our company has turned like the, the thing that we're known for turned four years old in May, so however long ago we met, that's how early it was. We probably were probably 6 to 10 months in super early in and what's beautiful is you just had this voice for the product that just resonated so well, but you guys also had an insight as to how founders were developing, how their ideas were developing and you just were so real about it, it was just so uncut and I think that's why everybody kind of flocked to the product and how many people do you have now? How many readers? It's north of 1.5 million getting close to two million jeez, I mean, so you guys have this incredible purview, like I said, you've got a bit of a front row seat and you're seeing first hand, not to mention the fact that you're, you've got to start up yourself exactly what this startup growth and scale looks like you've seen kind of the biggest hits and and some of the missus? So what, while I've watched your company grow like crazy? You know, nearly two million readers. You've got eight figure revenue, seven figure profit, you got this killer brand, which is why when we caught up a month ago and I remember we were talking for a bit, you reached out to me, we're talking about some some personal stuff, um and we were talking about how well the company was doing, and I commented how good the financial performance was, and you said something that I can't get out of my mind, You said it's not ship? Yeah, it ain't ship. Look, I'm self loathing for hardcore self loathing, but did you believe, Okay, well let me back up, we'll get into this. What I think is fascinating. And we talked to lots of founders, both you and I is that we have this sense for what we think, success is what we think, making it, what we think is ship and somehow we create these goals. Amorphous li nobody creates them for us and we kill ourselves to get to those goals and yet, no matter how well we seem to do, it's not ship. If if you could have sam let's start here. If you could have taken yourself back four years when we first met and said you've got eight figure revenue, you've got seven figure profit. Would you still felt that way? No, I would have thought I'm the most successful guy in the world, right? But why, why was it then? And what's changed? So what's like the definition of happiness is the definition of happiness? Like that gap between expectations and reality? Like um like that's like, like that gap, the size of that gap is like the definition maybe and that was like directly correlated to the level of happiness maybe. So I think that as our company has grown, just my expectations have changed. What I, what I want to accomplish has changed. Um I also think that living, you know, I lived in san Francisco up until recently and I hang out with, I mean I'm friends with like billionaires and I had hustle con, which we would have billionaires come and talk and like the founders of huge companies and when I meet them, I'm like this dude is not smarter than me or this guy or this woman is not better than me or I can, I know way more about this than this person and I'm like, oh funk, I crushed them and like you get like, you know, not, you know, not like in a sense of like they're not smart or anything, but you like meet your heroes and you're like, oh they're normal. Um, and I think that that makes your expectations different where you're like, okay, therefore there's no reason why I'm not going to be like that and until you are like that, which I guess who, who the hell knows if you ever are, if you even notice that it's like I'm not achieving my potential. So so let's let's break that down a little bit because um would probably first agree maybe wouldn't you say that your potential obviously changes over time, you know, kind of like you're you're in grade school and every year, you know you're getting harder tests because your potential is harder. So four year years ago Sam had a different potential than current day Sam. Yeah. Like um when you accomplish stuff, you realize that like oh that accomplishment you had in your brain like that actually wasn't that hard. You just weren't confident enough to go out and grab it and you know what I mean? That implies that um our expectations are aligned with what we think, we can do not what we can actually do. So were you geometrically more capable four years ago or less capable than you are now? No, I mean I was I was talented then as well. I think that it's a confidence issue more than anything. And so what what started to drive confidence for you success when you get your first million dollars, you're like, oh my god, that's the hardest thing ever. And then you're like damn, that ain't ship. That ain't that ain't hard. That that wasn't that hard. I mean it was kind of hard but wasn't that hard and you're like if I knew what I knew that I could have done that in like six months and so we feel and so that the, the goal line keeps changing which creates this endless cycle of lack of validation and I'm gonna take happiness out of it because I think happiness is, is a combination of a lot of other things and I also think happiness isn't like happiness is stupid. Like there is no such thing as happiness. There's like you are always in a for a lot of people like you and me, we are never going to be satisfied. There's only like a contentment or joy in the seeking that you have to find are you at a point now we're when you hit a milestone and you're like okay I'm call it 50% fulfilled when you made your first million dollars of real money. Was there a part of you that said, hey my progress bar on satisfaction validation is hit like the halfway more. No, I thought that I was going to be fully happy and then I realized that it didn't change anything. Uh There was one thing that happened when I hit $100,000 in savings that was like the one mark that I'm like, oh that feels cool And then nothing, nothing really mattered after that. We talked about that actually don't know if you listen to an episode Ryan and I did a few months ago, it was about safety, it was talking about the difference between safety and happiness and actually I think I said $100,000 just arbitrarily but I used that as a reference point And I said if you have $100,000 in the bank There's not a lot in life that you can't solve with $100,000 now. You can't live forever off of it. But I'm talking about emergency money right there. They're just numerically aren't a lot of life emergencies that would exceed $100,000 of cost. They do exist. But at some point you kind of you go to buy something and you realize that it's not going to make a meaningful impact in your bank account meaning like it's not that one in zero like I buy a tv and I therefore don't have money to go do something else. Yeah 100 K. Was like an interesting number but then like you do this as well because I mean like after you and I do it now too after you start experiencing stuff like I don't really like I I don't live like I don't think I live that fancy I live well below my means. But every once in a while I do ball out and it's like man, if I wanted to ball out like like if I want to fly private all the time like I got to have at least five million and uh net net post tax income, you know what I mean? It's one of the few things that the rest of us can't do, right? I mean just about everything else you can buy once. That's the one thing that if you want to get addicted, although it's a little bit overrated. Yeah, but it could be anything else. Like if I wanna, like right now I'm balling out or I consider it balling out, I'm staying in a bunch of really cool homes in new york and I'm spending 10-K. A month, which is amazing. And I normally don't do that. I normally spend four K. Month Going back to four year ago. Sam freshman Sam. If you told freshman Sam in four years, you'll be spending $10,000 a month in Brooklyn, kind of doing whatever you want, what do you believe that I would be like, like, like what, like spending money, like it's like it goes against my religion, you know? Like I'm like the most frugal dude ever. So uh now I understand that I can ball out every once in a while, but uh I would have been like you're going to hell, but but here's where it's funked up four years ago, which isn't that long ago. Long ago you thought you could never have this life now you have this life in a month ago, you said that's not shit. And again, I'm not saying you disrespected your lifestyle, obviously you're very happy and you're thankful for it. But all of a sudden all the goalposts changed, even though they didn't have to and I think this is a problem as founders, we deal with all the time. We keep moving the goalposts on ourselves, which at some level is progress, but at another level it starts to make you feel like you've, you can constantly never get there because there is never reachable. You know, now that I'm thinking about it, here's kind of what it is, which is, you know how people say don't worry about stuff you can't control and like that's like a good, that's a pretty good way to live life I think, but I think that when you start working in business or anything that involves like gaining power in the world, what you realize is that if you do, if you behave a certain way and you think a certain way, most things that are like constraint bound like influence in society and power and objects that you want to achieve or also like how to convince other people to do and work at your company. Most things in life are incredibly malleable to if your personality is strong enough and therefore everything is changeable and you should almost worry about everything. You know what I mean? It's kind of like a horrible paradox, but what I've learned in business and this is why I'm so fascinated with business. It's not really the money part, but business is the number one way to like have impact on our capitalist society and if it weren't a capitalist society it would still be money or it would be power. Which you get by having the money. So like um like creating stuff that people want to pay for. It's definitely like the best way to shape the world around your knee, like to bend the world the way you want it to two. And I think that um what a lot of people forget is like the buildings they see around them, the streets, the objects like it was just done by a person who was bold enough to convince everyone else to buy into it. And so when you think about it that way you're like I should worry about this because I can change it. What you're talking about is I've recognized how much potential I have and that's actually become a liability for me because now I have to go service that potential and if I do more then I have to do more. It's like there's this there are these different kind of thresholds that we get into. Um I think the first one we talked about this a little bit is safety right? When you don't have anything, you just want to be safe Right? That $100,000 got you there. I think 100 k. For sure got to safety like yeah I would say that was definitely the safety number. Okay so so use that as just like one step. So all of a sudden you're at 100 K. And you're safe, think of how much time was spent, how many mental cycles were spent being fearful of not being safe. Yeah that's right. Right and then then all of a sudden you were fortunate enough you earned it to take that off your off your plate and for the first time in your life for and I'm using you as really all of us you could think about things that weren't just safety and all of a sudden you're like well sh it not only can I become safe, I've got the wherewithal but now I have all these extra cycles to do things that aren't just about safety and you're like okay that's a level up and then all of a sudden let's say you make a bunch of cash which you have And now you've got a ton of dough, you're one of those guys that can go to Brooklyn and spend $10,000 a month and now you're like well shit now I'm even more capable now what else can I do with that? You know how much bigger of an impact can I have? Right. Exactly. And why isn't it that each of those steps you couldn't have just Chilled out for a while why isn't it at right now where you're at Sam that you can't be good for 10 more years. Well I could I mean like if you just like do the math, it's like I can, I can sustain my lifestyle forever. Probably financially Yes, I mean emotionally, Yeah, I think why I think that that's the paradox of anyone who, most people who are high achieving are definitely broken some way emotionally, right? Like any, like anyone who nine out of 10 people I think who are, who are, who are on one side of the bell curve, they are emotionally not stable. And so I think that's just the, that should or not, I don't, I wouldn't say emotionally unstable, I would say emotionally different than they're, they're different than the norm. It's like comedians like you, you know how comedians are like always messed up. Like why did Robin Williams killed himself? Why did Jim Carrey Jim Carrey and by people, I mean like it's the same type of thing. What we're saying is we go into this thing, we get into this game with this notion that if I succeed, I get safety, all these things that things will start to get better. Oh, also, just as a reminder, you know, if you need help with any of this stuff, you can always email us at therapy at startups dot com and we'll help you figure any of this stuff out. You know, as you guys know, we've got full teams of people over at startups dot com that are dedicated towards figuring these kinds of problems out. So don't hesitate to reach out to us and let us help, but no one really says to you, hey sam, by the way, if things start going really well, you're actually gonna have a compounding level of anxiety that's going to get worse and worse as you go And you're going to have this level of guilt by the way, 100% created by you that you're gonna be carrying with you and adding to all the time and then here's what you're gonna do and actually we should talk about this, you're then gonna move to a city like san Francisco where everyone around you is carrying an accelerating the same amount of guilt and anxiety and it's going to make you even more insane and you and I both done a tour of duty in san Francisco, I think we're somewhat familiar with, with that lifestyle san Francisco man, it's crazy, it's crazy for two reasons. The first is Like my best friend sold his company for $800 million dollars And he is so not like he legitimately doesn't care, he looks like he's poor forever, he is so frugal. I told him to buy a car the other day because he needed a car and his wife's pregnant and he was like going to buy like the cheapest Toyota for $15,000, I was like dude, you got to like get a nice car, like you have the money and it's like for safety and and and he was like I'm just gonna give all the money all the way. He legitimately doesn't care. He's the only person I've ever met that's actually like that. But anyway, you see, he's my best friend. I see how we went from zero to not zero and you're like, oh, that's the goal post. You know what I mean? And, and that's crazy. And I have a bunch of other, I've got one of my, you know my boys, ali, you don't know if you know who moyes's, but he started this thing called native deodorant. Him and I shared a desk in like a little 10 person workspace and he remember he would order, he started, it was natives of deodorant company and he would order the, the prototype and I was like with him, he sold that business for 100 million in cash after two years. Yeah, It's a Procter and Gamble, no money. He didn't raise any money. And uh, you're like, oh, so like that's what's possible. Like, so once you see what's possible and like it changes your worldview. And by the way, the second thing about san Francisco, it sucks. I'm gonna name drop a little bit, sorry, I sound like a douche, but we interviewed Tai Lopez on our podcast and then I went and hung out with him afterwards and he was like, say what you will about the guy. But this one thing he said was interesting to me. He said, um, he's like the thing about san Francisco, what sucks is all these people, they're definitely like rich but none of them like have fun with the money or like ball out and like they all look like they're bums and like none of them spend it on like exciting stuff and they're all just nerds who live boring lives. Actually went through the same thing. Uh And I said the same thing to Sarah my wife, I said you know I've never met more wealthy people who have no idea what to do with their money that I did in san Francisco. I said call me a total loser which is fine. I said in the four years that I lived there, I never once got invited to a pool party when we lived in L. A. We got invited to three pool parties a day. That's funny right? They don't like um like no one has like cool cars. Like can you imagine buying you like nice cars? Can you imagine what your san Francisco friends? What my san Francisco friends would say if I bought a Ferrari like what do you douche? Like get the hell out of here? And and like and there's there's pros and cons to that but it's this really interesting thing where why are all these folks who are so incredibly successful, so smart, so capable, so unhappy and it's in and what I what I noticed more than anything was it's all a matter of comparison, right? You set your own goals and like in the building we lived in um At 10th and market, we're in this um big apartment building. It was basically a giant door. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. My girlfriend, my wife, now wife lived there. So I know exactly. Yeah. My sarah, I know exactly what you're gonna say. It was like a giant dorm room for like twitter, uber and square, right? I've never seen more unhappy, ridiculously overpaid people in my life, right? It was just bananas and all I could think to myself is. Um I respect what they've done, what they've accomplished, but if you can't put yourself in a position to enjoy the accomplishments and you keep doing it every year that goes by, you're like, no matter how much I get, do you guys blur blur out cuss words, Can I say customers here, oh, if you listen to enough or you have listened enough of this podcast, we use them very much. It's like, it's like saying what's the point of having to suck you money if you don't say fuck you. You know what I mean? Like that's the thing, but it goes back to kind of what our expectations are, right? Kind of, who's setting the goal posts. So think about this four year ago, SAm is talking to current SAM and current Sam says, hey I've got this thing called the hustle, I just made a million dollars in profit and four year ago sam was like that's the most amazing thing ever. And you're like, oh it's not ship think about that. You're in this case, in this uh metaphor, you're the same person. What throws us all off is we have to be able to step back and say what are the goals? Why are the goals? And if I hit them and I just right back to where I started because if if that's true then what the fuck? Yeah. No, I mean I agree with you. I think that um I think that like one side has to be like you're right, that ain't ship keep going. You can you can do anything you want. And then the other side has to be like yes correct, I can do anything I want and and none of this stuff matters. But it is still cool to get up, get after, you know what I mean? The the way that I described, the way that I describe it is like let's say like for me, let's say I wanted to bench £300. I'm gonna work really hard to do it and the day I hit it, I'm gonna be like nice. That was so great Man. I bet I could do 320 if I like you know if I did this thing or that thing and so I think that like to say that that is not a worthy pursuit I think is is nonsense because um I can't speak for the other side. But as a man it's like my goal in life is like to like conquer, like it's to contribute its to like work right? Like that is like I'm I'm built to work, I'm built to achieve, I'm a built to uh get after it and so like I'm not going to suppress my animalistic need to like improve or hunt but I do have to try to put it in perspective that like the happiness is in the hunt and not necessarily after getting the kill what it is. And I think there's a part of it too is it's almost like I'll speak for myself, I won't project. I know for me like once I became safe SAm like at that point uh it was a huge load off my shoulders because lack of safety kind of defined my, my childhood. Um but after that I was like then I kind of got into this next phase which was capability like what am I capable of? Like, you know, let's see how much I can ramp it up. And I got into that and then I made $1 million dollars and I was like, okay this is amazing now, if that's if that's possible, then I can do anything, here's what threw me off about that last piece. The last piece is what I call playing with house money right? At which point you've gotten far enough along in your career that you can play the, I can do anything game at that point, we should be saying is if it goes great, if it doesn't, I'm not going to kill myself over it, right? Like I'm not going to like, like, you know, cry myself to sleep over it because I'm playing with house money at that point. Does that make sense? Have you, have you read this book? Yeah. Have you read this book called How to Get Rich by Felix Dennis? No, I've heard the book but I haven't read it. Oh man, he's awesome. So this guy named Felix Dennis, he was like a mixture of like Richard Branson and Mick Jagger, where he was like this wild flamboyant guy, but he was like legit, like a drug addict. He owned the week, He owned a lot. Yeah, he was a publisher, he owned the week he owned Maxim magazine, he owned micro warehouse, which was huge. He owned a bunch of stuff, he was like addicted to crack, like, like had like, you know, prostitutes constantly. I mean, he was like an animal, but he's like insightful and he was like, if I had to do it again, I would have retired much earlier and just been a poet. So he's like this interesting guy and he's got this great book and one of my favorite things about this great book is that he gets very specific and he's he puts numbers, he's like, you want to achieve this by this, this by this and then like I love that. So in that regard, can we get specific? So when did you, what what was your number for security or two milestones? First, it was $20,000 in the bank when I set that milestone, I was making $5 an hour. That's so funny. My mind was 25,000. Yeah. Right? Again, because it's it's it's such a big number relative to how incredibly broke you are. And I couldn't have had more than $100 in my bank account. I'm not talking about savings. I mean like in my checking account right, I was living hand to mouth And to me $20,000. for an entire year of pay at that rate. To put that in perspective, it wasn't insignificant. I think my rent was $300 a month. So like, you know, all things being relative. That was all the money in the world. And then within like the first two years of my business, I hit that now I was also racking up lots of debt in the process. But you know we had were agencies, we had cash flow coming in and so I remember having $20,000 really in the business checking account. It wasn't even in my own checking account and I just thought I've I've won, like I'm done here, you know what I mean? I'll be good forever. And then all of a sudden you start to talk to people who are a little bit further along same thing and you're like, oh wait, that's not quite enough. Uh the next milestone I hit when I was like 21 maybe had $250,000 in the bank. And at that point, I thought I was a billionaire. I mean, and and and we did actually one of our first episodes about this, and I bought my house, my cars, my furniture, everything with that money. I didn't spend it all. That's the whole point. And I was like, well dude, I'm like 21 years old and I have like a Ferrari a BMW A house in the suburbs. Like all this cool stuff. And I was like, I actually don't have anything else to spend money on. What was your annual income boy? That was a long time ago. It was over $1 million. I remember exactly. I mean, I know you like that was will's money. Yeah, but I'm okay. So, so you had a million dollars in personal cash flow year more. But yeah, I mean, we end up going really fast. That's crazy. Right? Well, it it was also crazy because it happened so fast. Um And it happened in unprecedented times. We're talking 1997 we're talking about a very long time ago, right? That's 23 years ago. What what? Well, what would you guys revenue, was it like how fast we're talking like from your one year, tear your three or four or five. Like what was it like In 1,950,000? Yeah, 97. We won an account from a company called Eli Lilly, the pharmaceutical company and that was $250 million dollars a year. How the hell so your revenue went from 0 to 250 million a year in a very short time, like four years. How the hell did you convince them? You know, it's that's a long story for another podcast, but it was one of the most lopsided wins in agency history. We had maybe 45 people on staff at that time. Um and we, if I recall we took out gray advertising out of Chicago, the incumbent um for the business and that business now is is doing I think four or $5 billion, I have nothing to do with that. The agency and so of that 2, 50, how much did you see? Uh none of it. Um If you understand how agency grows and how non funded businesses grow, um every penny that you take in You owed three months ago. Right? So in other words, I'll never forget the first year when I got like a tax bill for like $4 million dollars and I didn't have a dollar to show for it because essentially like we're building a headbutt collecting later And we were on a cruise, don't want to get a huge engine here. But the the net of it was the business was growing super fast but we weren't able to take a lot of cash out at the time because we needed it because the business was growing super fast. And then how much would you sell the company for? About $300 million dollars in cash? So then you don't have to reveal this. But I imagine your take of that would have been like uh let's say a third. If you had three partners, I got a fraction of a fraction. So not that much. Not as much as the third, but enough enough. That's crazy, right? And so did that make you feel different? No. Uh it created a huge liability. Um So it goes back to expectations though, right? The expectations are, what did I expect you said this at the top of the episode? What did I expect to get out of everything? Ah Where what do I think my expectations are now? And then of course, what's reality? My expectations going into? It was, I can't believe if I could make $20,000 and then all of a sudden I'm driving a Ferrari to work a few years later right? And at that point I'm like, well dude, if I'm driving a Ferrari I should be able to drive this Ferrari to the tarmac to hop in my private jet and go somewhere, right. And then when you're doing that, you're like, well then I should own a football team. And then, you know, like it never ends in, in what messes with me and why was so interested in talking to you about this? Is we both kind of know it. We both kind of know like, like things are good. We both, we know mentally this shouldn't bother us as much as it does, but it does and there's no way to get off the hamster wheel and, and you know what's funny is uh four year old or four year ago, Sam and 19 year old will are listening to this podcast like he's fucking idiots, right? Like if you know these entitled arrogant jerks, if they only knew what they had, you know, they'd never saw. I imagine that there's someone who's earbuds are in their head right now and they're saying these guys are entitled douches. I mean, look, I have a podcast and I get called this all the time. So I were someone probably think that now and they're right there right there, right? I agree. Here's the problem. This cycle repeats over and over and over. Sam and I didn't make up this cycle, like we didn't invent this cycle. We don't have a book coming out about this cycle, right? We subscribe to it under the same path that everyone else did that, same kind of torrent that pulls everyone else in that sets these expectations regardless of where we came from. I grew up on welfare, Why? Why in any world if I could get to safety, would I care about anything else? Yeah. Today I was listening to um you know, I don't watch it anymore because it makes me go crazy. But do you know that tv show called Billions? I like it too. I love it. And I stopped watching it because I started emulating bobby axelrod and he has a lot of redeeming. Yeah, well he has like a lot of reading, but like he's also like a horrible person. Um but you want to like him because he's good looking and he's funny and he's bald and whatever. It's like when you watch like the Wolf of Wall Street, you're like, oh I want to be like that guy. But you're like, oh he's a he's a he's the worst. But then he realized later in both of those, those are anti heroes like, like right? Yeah, but you like because you know Leonardo Dicaprio is cool, you're like, you're like, want to be like him. Yeah, I quit watching that for that reason. Um But today there was a scene that I liked that I was re watching and it was this guy who's hedge fund shutdown and bobby was like, dude, you gotta come work for me. And then and bobby was trying to convince him that he was, that this other guy, Michael was poor and that like he's gotta come and bobby goes, uh listen like what do you got left? And Michael goes, 40 million? Remember that? Nobody goes? He goes, you're broke man. Like think about it. Like you're the debt service for your three homes, the jet like, like in order he's like in order to stay on the board, your wife to stay on the board at the museum, that's at least a middle year. Like you're gonna be broke in three years. And like part of me was like, he's right, you gotta go bigger. And then the other part of me was like these pussy's like, like you guys are so soft, you know what I mean? And like I hate this. And and so it's it's this car crash that we're all watching ourselves like get into the car during the car crash and watching ourselves go through and incapable of pulling ourselves out of it. And I know Sam you said this a moment ago. I know there's a part of us that genuinely appreciates the hustle, right? You know, we appreciate knowing that there's something that's getting us out of bed in the morning and making us want to do more and if someone took that away, we'd actually be truly miserable. We don't just appreciate it, but we need it. It's gonna be like air, you know like, like humans, we are born to grind, right? Like that is like in our DNA but we have to do it. And so is there a part of you though that feels like if I keep getting put on this hamster wheel that there's going to be an endgame, there's going to be uh this moment that I always remember Mark Cuban quoting when he was sitting in his underwear at his house watching his um his net worth go to a billion dollars. And he was like, it was incredibly unsatisfying, right? He was like, it was just like I watched the number tick or watch the transfer go through and I was like hmm okay right. And like uh I keep picturing this pent ultimate moment that we all seem to be getting up in the morning and charging toward and it hits and there's there's no ticker tape parade. There's no like big ending. There's no like you know amazing uh anthem. It's just like, oh okay, well it's Tuesday now I gotta go back to work. I don't know have you read this book called Man's Search for meaning by Viktor frankel. So it's considered by the like the Library of Congress named it like one of the most influential books of all time. It's pretty fascinating and it's about this jewish guy in the 19 forties who had this theory on life that he was a psychologists psychiatrists. I don't know what it was exactly. But a PhD like a researcher and he had this thing that he invented called logo therapy which was like, he was trying to find the meaning of life, but it wasn't like in this wu wei it was like legitimately it was like in a in a in a Pavlov's dog type of way. Like he was like studying this uh cause and effect. And anyway, he, his he came to the conclusion of a couple things. The first was if you're y is strong enough, you can endure any how and coincidentally In 1941 he was put in a concentration camp. So it's like the reason why it's an interesting book is like he went through like his own experiment and like he went through like the worst thing in the history of the world and it just so happened. He was had a whole theory on man on the meaning of life. And so what he found is is that the POWs or the uh holocaust victims, the ones who often died earliest were the ones who expected the end to come. And so he, they were like, you know, I heard that by christmas time we're gonna get out or like, you know, I bet you were going to get out by this time or you know, they say that like the americans are coming and the ones who had an end date set and then it missed the end date they like were so unhappy that they slowly died. Whereas the other ones that had a different perspective, they were less likely to die. And so I think that there's something interesting about um, projecting an ending time versus not. And so I don't even know where I'm going with this, but you, you know, like, um, I get what you're saying is like if we say, hey, when I hit this goal, like everything will be great and then you hit that goal, you're like, well, sh it it wasn't that great, It never is. And then you're kind of starting all over again, right? Like you're, you're infinitely disappointed. There was this this moment right before I started in kind of why I started startups dot com where I was 37 years old time. I had started eight companies and some of them did well, some of them did nothing and every time I got to that milestone, good or bad, I felt nothing right. Like I just, it just felt like I kept doing the same thing over and over and yet I burned so many cycles getting there, right. I mean literally took years off my life on my way to try to get to these places that didn't matter. So when I did start ups, I had this idea, I said, what if I do a company or work on something where there is no end date, like I'm just gonna help founders for the rest of my life, this is just gonna be my job. This is all I do for the rest of my life, it doesn't matter how big or small it is. But I'm not going to be doing anything else in same when I did that when I made that kind of shift, the whole weight of the world came off my shoulders all of a sudden for the first time in my life I didn't feel like I had to race to get somewhere. I mean I'm still competitive, I still want to you know do big things. But for the first time I was like well I've got the rest of my life to work on it. That's an interesting thing that I okay so I agree with that and that I think is a good mentality. But I don't think that that's entirely healthy because I do think having a sense of urgency, I don't mean it's not entirely healthy but you do have to add a sense of urgency to that. Sure we'll think about it this way. Think about you still have a sense of uh like the way we're built just our D. N. A. We want to get shipped done right? Were the kind of people as founders that wake up in the morning and we're just built to get stuff done. That's why I can't like be comfortable on a vacation because there's nothing to get done right. I just actually just don't enjoy it. So that was never gone. I just kind of took the liability of it all if this doesn't get done by this date, I'm a failure. If this doesn't get done, the world will implode, right? And I just took the consequence off the table And all of a sudden I realized, Wow, I'm actually enjoying getting it done, still getting done just as fast, but, but here's the thing, which is, do you own 100% of startups.com? I do, I own 100% of the equity, but we have people who will share in the upside right? So then you don't have a, like if you raise money, so I've raised a very small amount of money. If you raise a little bit of money, you have an obligation to like, it's your job to work hard towards an exit or a liquidity event in the form of dividends or, I mean there's really only dividends selling your company or going public. Um, so, but what's your practical advice on removing the timeframe while also, you know, being ethical and fulfilling your obligations to work hard towards an exit, you know, who I saw do this and I don't know if it's possible unless you're them, I don't know if you remember Kickstarter did this, uh, early early on And essentially what they did is they went back to Fred Wilson, I want to say Chris Soccer was in the deal. Uh, and some others, they had raised like a $10 million dollars series, they may be more, but some really notable people and they basically went back to them at their height when Kickstarter was absolutely crushing it. And they said by the way, we're never going to go public, we're never going to get sold. Um, This is what it is, best case you'll get distributions. Good luck with that. And now because of who they were in the market at the time. This this very kind of touchy feely company that everybody could kind of get excited about the investors that I don't know. The backstory seemed to have let them off the hook. They became a B. Corp and you know, quasi nonprofit etcetera. Um, that's the best case scenario. But that's bullshit. That's unethical of them. Even though I like them. I think that that like, dude, if you signed up for this ship fulfill your obligation. But, but what if the obligation and I think this is relative to our expectations. What if the obligation changes? It's it can only change if both parties agree to it. Well let's let's play that out. If you go back to your investors right now and you say you say, look, we're not going to get big enough to be to go I. P. O. Happens all the time, right? Um, and I'm not, let's say fictional, you know, alternate universe hustle. Not this version. That's clearly gonna go I. P. O. But like you go back to them and you say it's not going to go public, we're going to be a $10 million $1 million dollars in in that income. Um And it's just and by the way that's how most companies play out, right? If they're lucky, how can you not have that conversation? No, you should have that conversation. But what I just mean is you got to be a man and you got to like stick to the agreement that you guys had. And so the only way in which that should change is if you come to a different conclusion where everyone's happy. Oh yeah okay so we're saying the same thing and I'm saying so if you go back to your investors now and say look I plan on running this is a private company. Um Air go not going public ideally I don't want to sell it all. They don't I don't hate money. If someone like you know pushes a huge briefcase of cash, I'm not going to push it back. Um But this is gonna be the same show, It's gonna be the same lifestyle business. And I don't mean that in a negative way. I just mean like it's gonna it's gonna align to how I wanna live life. Not necessarily the greatest investor returns. Do you think that you can't have that conversation with your investors? No, I 100%. What if I wanted to. Yeah. There's nothing that would hold me back from that. I just think that I would say I would have to give them an easy, I'll be like everyone, you're either going to go along with this or I'm going to buy you out. I'm gonna make you whole or you're gonna go along with it, your choice. You know, I don't know why this is, it could just be kind of from, from where I've been sitting, but I've actually heard this conversation and actually some of these outcomes more and more in the last few years, because sam historically, what happened is you'd raise some money, you'd hit an inflection point, usually when you couldn't raise more money And then you have this tough conversation with your investors and you would say, Hey, we're not gonna be able to raise more money. Um, you know, maybe we're a $5 million dollar business doing $200,000 in profit. If we're lucky, we're not gonna be able to raise more. The story isn't big enough. And so you, you become this historically, this zombie company, um, not big enough to raise more money, which I don't really give a sh it about, But also, um, you own a fraction of the cap table. So it's not big enough for you personally to take money out of it. Recently, I'm starting to see founders go back to the board in recapping and saying, look, man, you know, we thought it was going to go one direction, it's gone another. We have to recap this business which means the founder usually needs to get more more stock and we have to find another way to pay you guys out long term which by the way makes no sense for VCS. There's no upside to them whatsoever in that scenario. Yeah look I'm on board with that. I just think that like if I made and if I did a handshake agreement like I better die trying to fulfill my, my end of the end of the bargain otherwise like or I should tell them and they hope they agree. That's why like I'm not like in favor of like forgiving student debt because I'm like man, you signed up for it, you got to like fulfill like you know what I mean? Like you gotta fulfill your end of the deal, It sucks, you made a bad deal but you've got to figure out how to, you know what I mean? And so it's like that's just what being a human is I think. What if I can the terms change. Yeah, totally 100%. So so in the case of student debt using this as a metaphor. Um if I, if I was on a 15 year note on repayment and I say I need this to be a 25 year note is that unreasonable. No, I don't think it's unreasonable so long as the other party agrees to it, you know what I mean? I'm just talking about just like sticking to your word and so and doing everything in your so like what I don't want is this like a victim mentality of someone's starting a business. I mean like well you know like it didn't work out. I'm like dog, I gave you money, okay. You promised me that you were gonna you didn't promise me that this was gonna work, you promised me that you were gonna like dedicate time and you're gonna try or work your butt off to make it happen. You better work your butt off to make this should happen otherwise like it's okay to fail but you know you got to like give it a go, right? But there there's an area in between failure and success that's kind of your your base hit, right? Yeah. And so Kickstarter is actually not that bad of an example because they looked like they were going to go on a meteoric rise and then they just kind of like like uh stopped and then had kind of slowed down since then to my understanding. Um So I think I'm making this up, but let's say in their peak there at $20 million and it looked like man if you get to 20 million that fast with margin you could easily get you know 100 million. You know in an I. P. O. Status is that how big Kickstarter is? It wasn't hard to factor in because you just they make 5% of how much they raise. And so if they're raising but I'm saying if if people on the site at the time were raising like $500 million 25 million of that max. That's how big do you think they are 25 million in revenue. And I've heard from multiple sources the same place only only they know. So you know maybe I'm totally wrong but it's not 50 or $100 million. You just actually there's no what do you think that's worth? Well actually play that out um in the year that they were first doing that and I'm trying to think my numbers because I ran a crowdfunding platform at the same time fungible. So I you know it's kind of in that space um in the year that they were kind of Going crazy to say 2012. That's kind of when they would hit that 500 million range. And anybody at the time would have said that well that 500 million that they've raised in the site, Sam could easily be a billion or 10 billion. Like it seemed like there was no cap to it. And in fact there was um and it wasn't like it was just Kickstarter, there's Indiegogo the winner in that one. If you remember was go funding, what do they sell they sold to Excel they actually raised no money. Um in my understanding I heard this from multiple sources that by the time they sold for $600 million. The founders were making 50 million a year. And it was a team of like 25 people. Right, right, zero press. And this is very much a hustle story. If you guys haven't covered this. Uh, yeah, you have to cover some guys out of SAn Diego. Um, and again, I had heard from multiple sources that were, that were close to them, um, that they were killing it. They were totally under the radar while Kickstarter was getting all the headlines and they were like the cover of Time magazine Time when that was the thing. Um, like these guys were totally unheard of and we're just printing money point being. Um, so Kickstarter had this opportunity to become this, this bigger thing and their brand was, it was incredible. But, but they didn't want to be anymore. Do you prefer making money by selling a company and getting massive capital gains or annual cashflow, annual cash flow. So, okay, let's say that you could make a million a year, post tax or a cell company and make, let's say 20 million. How many years would you need to make that million a year to make that worth it? You know what I mean? Like? Yeah, no, I, I get that, but there's a couple of things that, that misses out on. Um, one, once I sell something for $10 million, uh you know, investing aside and kind of, you know earning on that aside, I have a pretty capped amount that I can that I can earn off of that money, right? And I'll caveat this by saying, Dude, if you put $10 million dollars in the bank, you'll never have a problem in your life again. So like you know just that's it's a it's a it's the math is true that there are some caps but that the true net effect on your life is dramatic. The second thing is um the assuming the company has the capacity to grow, then a company is always going to grow faster than money, right? I mean all things being relative if you invested in google with the money. Yeah, sure that's going to grow faster, but that's not gonna happen. Um So I always want an enterprise that has the ability to grow at whatever pace I wanted to grow and not have my wealth. That was the only way I was making money. Be capped by investment. Also. Okay, so then in that regard Go Fund me, you said the person was paying themselves $50 million dollars a year. They were printing money. I've heard that um Like the guy, I don't, I just only heard rumors, the guy who owns only fans dot com, which is like the, you know what they are That he's making like 2030 million a year in profit. What are some of the craziest stories that you've heard of? Like a small operation, just, well, I mean you've got the ones that you've got plenty of fish which was like, you know the right um And well I don't know if they made profit, but I know they sold for a lot. Oh man. So you know it was just him, I heard it was him with like a handful of people, right? And so uh so Marcus friend the Canadian used to in the early days, I'll never forget this, like back when blogging was just becoming a thing. Used to take photos of his adsense checks and post them on his blog, right? Because they were so absurd. Oh yeah, I remember seeing these, it was amazing, I'm sure it's out there and the guy was such a weird showman and I mean this in a good way, I'm not, not knocking him. Um He he was just this this unlikely dude and he just started making all this money off this ridiculous sight. Although the person that did that before him was Craig Newmark from craigslist, I've heard on so many cases how much money that site is made for so many years, So craigslist. Um My office, my first office at my company was craig's office. Um And so I moved in, I had the craigslist office, that was my office and I I moved into their office, which was a three bedroom apartment I moved into their office in 2000 and 16, 15 maybe? And they had moved out and they had been around from 1994 to 2000 and 15 when I moved in and they at that time they were making $800 million a year in revenue and there and like literally I sat at craig's desk which was like an old kitchen table And he had moved out a few months prior, they were making that much money like $800 million $3,000 a year month office and I and I used to get his mail like still like they would start singing, I was like man, this is so interesting, it's not only that he's been making it but he's making it for that long, that's why when you said a moment ago you said would you rather have the company, I was making a lot of money or take the cash, you know, all at once. I would caveat that also by saying it depends on the business, like there's some businesses that I just wouldn't want to be a part of anymore. And so I was like I'd rather just not have to deal with maybe the craziness of the liability or or anything else of that business. Um But if it's a business that I actually enjoyed um or just wasn't a headache or a liability then? Yeah you know, let it ride. So what else is there? What's that, what other examples are there that you have heard of, of people that just printed money, like disproportionate to their size, Like craig's like craigslist. Well, the ultimate is gonna be WhatsApp, you know, 37 people and 37 billion or whatever it was. Um you know, like you, you can't top that, you know, that level. Um and if you look at basically the people that avoided funding, you know, you've got mail chimp is up there, right? It builds this massive business without funding and mail chimp is maybe one of the greatest businesses of all time because of, not only is it such a good product with almost universal acceptance, um, but it Rikers and it gets infinitely bigger every month, you know, And so what Ben chestnut did in Atlanta is just incredible. Yeah, that's one of the big ones. I like that one, but that's a huge company, like 1000 people, but they're probably very profitable, probably make hundreds of millions of dollars a year in profit. They've also been around forever, not forever. They've been around for 20 years and this business that's a long time. That's a long time. It's a dog years, right? Uh, but, and then of course you've got the base camp guys, you've got, um, Base camp guys have done well, but I don't think and I don't know this. I know, David a little bit, but not super well, um, but well enough that they're living in incredibly well, but what you're talking about is lifestyle of the rich and famous. Like, you know, I own five yachts well and nobody has even heard of me or has any idea, Do you think base camp makes more than 15 million a year in profit? It's split between David and Jason. And so I'm just thinking, you know, David, it's his business. But David was, was was on one of Calacanis podcasts a long time ago, like 10 years ago. And I'll never forget something. He said, it always stuck with me. Jason was trying to grill him on how much money they made right in, in David said something I thought was so smart. He said, uh, yeah, you know, we do okay. But it adds up. And one of the things people forget about Is if you have a business that makes like, say $5 million dollars in a year, that's incredible that in that first year you actually, you know, probably pay for everything you want. But when you make it in the second year, the third year, the fourth year, those guys might be in the year 15 or 16 of making that much money. You forget how much that stacks up, right? And when you have nowhere else to send it, that's also why we're with, with a lot of these companies. The reason there's such a big deal now is because they've been around for so long and, and they've had the ability to kind of stack like SAm what you and I have been talking about is the four years of the hustle and kind of Sam's Wolf of Wall Street rise to power. Think of what happens now if you're making this much money now and how old are you now? 31 at 31 years old Dude, you've got like 50 more years to collect. Think of how much money that stacks up over time, Right? But that's actually hard. You know, thinking about what do you, what can you make that can last for 50 years is also a huge challenge And that's something I think about a lot. Well, think about it this way. So I've done nine companies over almost 30 years right now. There's, there's no benefit to that. By the way. I'd recommend doing fewer. But my, my point is um, what you're building now, SAm the hustle is just one thing, but you're building social capital, your building reputation, you're building connections, you're building access to cash, your building a lot of things that are independent of the hustle. So if the hustle has a bad year and, and it kind of goes south, you're still levels ahead of where you were before. You'll never start on the same base you did four years ago. Yeah. And that's sick. I mean, that is awesome and that's easy to forget though. It is, but it's it's also harder for folks earlier in their career to understand how powerful that stacking feature is. When I was doing my first startup, I was 19 years old, I was a broke kid in college right at a time when no one did startups, the Internet didn't exist yet. Um and you had no support whatsoever. Right? So in my mind, if I could get anywhere near away from from that um from that starting point, I was light years ahead. What I didn't appreciate at the time was if I could get far away from that, that part, meaning I'd have some some cash in the bank etcetera. At such an early stage in life. The multiplier of that opportunity was so much greater When I started off at 19. Typace by the time you started to get your fire in your career, you're in your mid forties, Right? Which, incidentally I'm at now, I'm 46 years old now, which means At 46, right down my point, my part of my career, Sam I would just be starting to make those big connections and kind of, you know, make those baller plays, You did it by the time you were in your mid20s, Which gave you 20 more years to reap the benefit of that head start in life. That's a pretty big jump is this uh this is going to be like the compliment sam par episode. If so I should come on every week is what it is. Um that's awesome. Right, go on, go on. But it was, it was, it wasn't just the high five you and I'm glad I have five, you you deserve it. But um but it was also more to talk about um how much of an accelerant, Right that early success becomes. And you just asked me a minute ago, you said, well what about something that I could do for like 50 years that would have, you know, still be relevant and have the compounding effect. And what if Sam is the product and the things that SaM builds, like steve jobs changed over years to reflect his capability? Yeah, look, I think that's the way to go. I think that um if you're loud like me and you're kind of loud as well, if you're loud, you, it's it's freaking awesome. You know, like having an audience and reputation is, is the greatest thing ever and I think that if you're listening to this, you should immediately create a twitter following, create a blog, create a podcast, have something, it's like the greatest thing ever. Why is that? So I um I in the last 12 months I decided to focus on Twitter, I have maybe 50,000 followers now and it's great because for let's just talk about practicality, I tweet all the time I'm saying I'm hiring a videographer email me, I'm hiring a nutritionist, email me, I'm hiring this, hiring that I need this, what's your opinion on this? And I will get literally hundreds of replies. Um I even tweeted out, we're launching this new product, I tweeted out a pre sale And I got $50,000 in the bank, like so it's just like a money machine. Um and so I think that um for practical reasons, it's awesome. Like those types of practical reasons. Number two, it's just fun. Like I turned live twitter on and like the other day some dude from Sierra Leone was, I was talking to him and I was like, what's up man? What the hell is Sierra Leone about like how, why are you, who, how do you know who I am and what do you do? And like they told me all about like their stuff and it was awesome. I just connected with someone from, I've never been to Africa, I just hung out with a guy from Africa online for a few minutes and that was so cool and, and, and, and so that was cool. So it definitely expands your horizons um from time to time and you get trolled by Canadian models asking you for help out their instagram. I get trolled constantly. That was me when you, when you were in Sarah in their car driving across country and you went on your first live for some reason. It popped up on my feed and so Sarah was like answering the questions, I popped on there and I'm like I'm a Canadian. Yeah, I was like, what, who are you? And we're just driving, so peculiar and so, but I've also met so many friends, so um before I was married, I like met girls who had met on like facebook or twitter, um now now I met dozens of good friends, I stayed with my buddy who's now my buddy, I met him on twitter recently, I like stayed at his house and we hung out, I mean like it's so fun for just meeting people, so I think, but then as a practical reason like you just make money, so like no matter what I do, I will always be able to make 100 $50,000 a year just from my, I just tweet something and I'm going to make money and that's awesome. And you think about that too as a milestone in your career, right? Like you now have this power that you didn't have a few years ago and so let me ask you this, play it forward because we keep going back to four years ago, let's go four years forward, what would be an unbelievable goal, Not the biggest thing you could think of, but something you think that's within reach, but holy sh it, you couldn't believe you were there four years from now on twitter, you know in your life and maybe twitter is one dynamic of that, maybe it's cash, maybe it's four years from now. Four years because you know we're probably gonna play this four years from now. So Yeah I would say 50 million net worth What else? Um what does that look like years from now to two kids probably four years from now. Sarah's happy to hear that I'm sure. Yeah well Sarah's young. Sarah's only 28 so we have our plans so as not to get pregnant for another two or three years but it may be um wait what were you asking about the 50 million? No I was saying what else does that look like? How does that manifest? Are are are are are you on a jet are you are you playing playing golf with the president? Not this current president but another future president. No I would. My company. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna hire a Ceo to run my company because because I hate being c so I'm gonna have a seat. Uh It sucks like all I wanna do I start shit and I'm like one of the best in the world that's starting shit. I am horrible at running stuff and I think that I think that people don't understand that starting and running are are definitely there are occasionally like the Mark Zuckerberg's and the bazaars of the world who are good at doing it but even then it's like are they actually running it? I don't know maybe probably but um like starting and running are just different muscles and more often than not what makes someone brilliant at starting actually makes them bad at running. You know when you run stuff, you need process, you need rules, you need incremental change, you need predictive, predictive, recurring whatever. When you start something, you need to just not like, pay attention to too much and you gotta say funk it, let's just do it, let's roll. Like we ain't looking at any, we're not looking at data, we're not gonna do anything. We're gonna let's let's go, you know what I'm saying? And that is the opposite of what's needed when you run something, you know, with, with one thing I threw out there saying, cause I always think about this um as a guy who's done a lot of starting, I only get paid for my finishes, right? So starting sh it's easy because it doesn't have consequence, right? Um but actually seeing it through is how people get paid and so I always thought like I'll just spinning stuff up, I'll keep spinning stuff up and then I'll hand them off to operators and then, you know, and they'll send me back money and that kind of work, but not a lot. It turned out this is, this is for me, I'm just kind of reflecting my own experience. I rarely ever saw any return unless I saw it through, unless I kind of stayed on the ship long enough, do you fear that it will by the way? Well no I I do fear this, but when I was talking about hiring someone a ceo that doesn't mean I'm going anywhere. No I get it, I get it. But um but there's this implication that someone else is going to steer the ship and you'll you'll you'll write it from time to time uh but but they'll carry it through and every now and then you get a Sheryl Sandberg or somebody that has like that level of of of passion that can drive it through, but often it kind of needs to be you. Yes, but that doesn't mean you have to do it as the ceo. Fair enough, yeah, I agree with that, I agree with that. Um How far away from it can you get? It depends if you're good at setting it up, you can get really far away if you're good at setting up base camp, that guy can bounce for two years and not touch it and probably would just grow on its own. So I think that you definitely, the goal should be to build a business, build a business that any dumb idiot can run, that's the goal um like that, that's like you know like craigslist, like what the fund is craig do, who cares and he's unimportant, but for for me personally I will always be like President and Chairperson or something but like I think having a ceo to operate on a day to day and you still work there day to day is definitely the move for most people like Gary Vaynerchuk when I think of that guy, I've only met him one time very briefly. He seems quite brilliant, he seems like exhausted at running 1000 person company. I'm like dude like why don't you have someone, you work here and you have someone running the company and you like go and make more stuff and be the spokesperson. The business will crush it. Yeah. And it's just like it's some people like they're also hard coded into the DNA of the business, right? Like they have a hard time pulling away and there's another side of it and I think you know he may suffer from this. Some people don't want to be taken away from it. They feel the loss of self, the business becomes very much an expression of themselves and being disconnected from it. Look at steve jobs post apple like the first time around. But I'm not saying be be be disconnected from it. I'm saying still be connected with it but just replace someone to do the ship you don't want to do right. Right. Right. Yeah. You can fill in, we have a C. 00. And Elliot Scheiner who's, you just did the last couple episodes with me. Also my closest friend, he's um he's awesome, right? Like he does a lot of the stuff that I just can't do right and I'm very hands on. Um but it's also finding the right person, one of the best examples of this recently, Do you follow barstool? I know of them, but I don't fall in. Probably close to you do ok. So it started out as just like a bro blog of just hot girls in sports and this guy Dave Portnoy was the character and he's still the character and he's famous and funny and yada yada yada sold the company for $600 million and um right before that and now he hired this woman named Erica to be the Ceo and so Dave now just only focuses on content creation and she runs the business, you know, maybe like that's like the same analogy is like a, like a Kendall Jenner, what's the kylie Jenner? Like the girl that has the uh like she probably has like a straight man or a straight woman who's like running the business and she's just out like taking pics and building up an instagram, you know what I mean? It's like, that's what I think it should be like um I agree that that's the ideal case, it puts in a tremendous amount of, of weight and um uh in liability on the person that you bring in. I think one of the things is like in that first business I did sam the agency, I tried like hell to take myself out of the business because dude, it was the dawn of the internet. There are so many other cool things going on, right? I was like, hey somebody's doing pets dot com. I wish I could go do that. And so I kept looking for someone else to replace me. We went through four different ceo. S in a period of like five years and I couldn't find a single replacement and and they had way more experience than I did. I just couldn't find a mate. But you're the ceo. Yes. And how many people worked there? About 700 funk that. Oh my God, it's all, it's also uh professional services business. So it's not the same as um like, we're in the internet company where you're focusing on product Um 700 people in a professional service business is the most complicated business you could possibly have because every single person is the product. So every person's emotions changes the product daily and your product goes out the door at the end of every day. Oh my God, just shoot me. That sounds like actually there's a reason I don't do that anymore. Um But but it's kind of my thing, those um you know, extricating yourself from the business. Sounds awesome. It's hard to do. It's a worthy pursuit by the way, if you can pull it off, you know, amazing. Um But tough to do. Do you think, you know, just kinda wrapping up a little bit, Do you think though the fact that you even have this opportunity sam to make the kind of money you're making to have the success, you're having to be able to make the decisions like, hey, I want to go work on other stuff while somebody runs the business. Do you feel like if all those things fall together, you've made it, do you feel like you feel like you've like that's the, that's the success and you're playing with house money after that? Hmm. That's a good question. I think now that I will think that what, But yeah, I mean, that's like the dream. Look, if I, if someone can also run the marathon and I get rich, that's the greatest thing on earth. Um, so yeah, but no, I think that I would just, then I would be, if I didn't work at my company, then I would start something new again and just be in the same boat as I am now. Like I'm not, not gonna just start shipping, but it's interesting because you kind of get to a point where all of a sudden you realize that no matter how good things get, I'm just gonna want more right after that, it makes it a little bit harder. This is for me, I don't want to project, it makes a little bit harder to be so excited about the next thing when you just know that it's just a, a bridge into the thing after that, into the thing after that. Yeah, I I think that's true but I would say that like in terms of just if we could just stop being a little bit like entitled douches. Like there is a lot to be said about getting a hit early on everyone who's listening, this is like oh these rich white dudes are talking about how miserable it is to be rich or how sad they are. Like the fact is is that like having being having money is better than not having money. That is 100% true. It maybe isn't as good as some people think, but it is better. I have been poor and I have been rich and I choose to have money. Like I like being poor was really hard and it was like like like I got sick the other day, I saw this IV in my arm And we paid $25,000 a year for a doctor, a private doctor, okay and he's gonna heal me if I was broke, I totally would not have had the same healthcare and I would have been very sick and it is incredibly sad that other people don't have that and it sucks but to be practical, I'm so thankful that I could do that and I couldn't do that without money. So I do wanna I don't want to discount that um money and I don't wanna I do want to say that like making it at a relatively early age, it's way better than not. Yeah, it's life changing. So like I don't want someone to listen to this and be like, You know, Okay this is meaningless or okay, I should be okay with like not achieving its like no, I mean it's definitely better to like get a hit. Yeah. Um how do you know that if you know everything that you knew now and you're 20 years old, right? Or in this case to folks that are just kind of starting their career, what would you suggest they do? What's the fastest way they can get their hit Within say 1st 3-5 years. You know like what would you have them focus on or what would you have focused on? One of two things more most likely. The first thing is start a very small business that you could sell for one million to $5 million. So like don't raise funding, start something small, don't have a co founder, start something small that makes between 100,000 and a million dollars a year, which is very attainable. Um and then try and sell that or keep it forever For the cash flow. But if possible sell it for $500,000 to $5 million. Your life will change. And it's and it sounds challenging and it is challenging, but it's very straightforward and simple, hard but simple. Um That's what I would say. The second thing if you can't do that is go and work at a massive company that pays you the most amount of money. Don't don't even optimize for learning. I think only optimized for what it pays you the most. Only work 20 or 40 hours a week kind of sneak by and just stash that bread while you live like you're poor. And after the end of two years, three years you could probably have saved hundreds of thousands of dollars. 100%. Which part did you do? Well I made $300,000 in profit um when I was 24 from Hustle Con and that was my money. I remember that, I remember you talking about that and in saying that like that that that was like the impetus that changed everything. Yeah I made that money and that was sick. Um But I didn't do, I didn't, I was very envious of, my wife worked at facebook, I was so envious that she was able to do that. Um Because I also, the reason I started hustle con basically was because I had a job as like the 100th employee Airbnb and I got fired the day before I was supposed to start because I lied about my resume. And so I probably wouldn't, I mean who knows what the math would have been. Yeah I didn't know. Who knows. Yeah. I had a criminal record. I had a D. U. I. On my that's why I don't drink anymore. I had a D. U. I. And I lied about it and they found out and so I was gonna be like this was in 2000 and 11 so whatever number employed I would have potentially have been like 200. I forget the exact number. I probably would have made $10 million dollars off of that stock. You had the world's most expensive do you want? It was a very expensive wi I didn't know that. I don't that's why I don't drink anymore because I I realized was like this is going to ruin my life keep getting in trouble. And so I don't I didn't do it. So um that would have been my company to work at man what a what a hard right turn. Um Sam wanted to say thanks for being on the show. This was awesome. I did not know about your Airbnb stock. I'm actually dying to have a whole episode about do you want to know the second company was it was called Uber cab. The first was called Air Bed and Breakfast that I applied at in 2000 and nine and they're like no you're like you're nobody. I kept talking to him and in 2011 they offered me a job or 12 I think it was the second one was Uber cab. I found this company called Uber cab. What? That thing is awesome. You just they're trying to hire these people just to go to new cities and launch this thing. Yeah, I'll do that. And uh so I've had too expensive mrs if you guys ever want to find a good start to invest in, just have me apply to work somewhere and which everyone turns me down, that's where you should invest your money in. 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. 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