Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #84

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan joined as always by my partner Ceo and founder of startups dot com, Wil Schroder, Will we did it buddy. We made it, it's 2021. This will be the first official recording of the new year. We did it.

Wil Schroter: We are living in the future now.

Ryan Rutan: Finally, emotionally. I've been there for like a year. I've been, I've been projecting myself into this period in time. I'm not sure it's all that different yet to be honest, but we'll make it a good one. We'll keep the hopes high. So, so today we thought we would, you know, kick off the new year by talking about a big issue and one that, you know, we we've both had our own individual struggles with and we certainly see it around us in the community all the time. And that's this issue around founders not feeling comfortable sharing their emotions in the same way that we see other people do right. You know, they don't share them at all. Um, but you know, we're we're very different in how we process that.

Wil Schroter: I get that. And you know, it's it's interesting because I think when we talked about this in the past personally, I shared some stories around where I had pretty much dug myself into a monumental hole, which as you recall resulted in you coming and get me and taking me to the hospital.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, I remember that well,

Wil Schroter: my heart had stopped. What was interesting to me about this whole topic of founders not sharing their emotions is after that episode after, you know, I had what essentially was a severe panic attack. I went back to all of my friends, many of whom were founders and I shared it with them because I was so afraid that they were going through the same thing that I was going through, right. What I figured is because it's never come up and we have a lot of conversations were very open with our friends because it's never come up. I just I want to warn them because I assumed it could be coming for them too. And the response that I got, it was exactly the opposite of what I expected I was expecting. Oh man, I can't believe that happened to you. I need to watch myself. I probably need to tone things down instead. It was oh, that's only happened to you once had it happen to me three times. I wait, wait, wait, what? And I remember, I remember being so shocked and maybe even appalled at how all of these folks in the startup community who talk about everything somehow missed a topic that was probably the most important thing we should be talking about, which is what are the what's the cause and consequence of not dealing with all these crazy emotions that we all deal with by default. There's no way around it. And

Ryan Rutan: it's funny because it's not just the I mean, obviously the the detrimental effects, that it can probably be more linked to the negative emotions and negative feelings, but we don't have an outlet for, for any of them really. And you know, we, we've circled around this in a number of different ways we talk about, you know, this lack of a true peer group and that's where this comes from, right? Like when you have a really low low, that's so specific to being a founder, right? Like, you know, I'm worried about making payroll, right? Like none of your friends are worried about making payroll, they might be worried that their company is gonna make payroll, but right now I'm worried about not putting food on other people's tables, right? That's a unique founder challenge, right? And and if you don't have anybody else in your network that that has the same challenges, You can share that with somebody. They're gonna go, oh yeah, and they have no context for it. They're not gonna feel the same way, you're gonna get no empathy. You might get some sympathy, which in my experience has always been always made me feel a little worse, right? Getting sympathy never makes me feel better. Um but we also have nobody to share the relations within the same way. You know, you're like, you know, hey, we broke even and all your friends are like, oh, that sounds anticlimatic, right? Like cool, Like you're, you're not losing money anymore, you wanna high five. Like I don't get it because they don't know what goes into that, right? And so we we end up like, in in my case I end up sharing like this just kind of pedestrian things, right? Like I'll share anecdotes about what's going on, but not really the emotions behind them. Right? I end up talking about the startup about the business and not at all about myself. Right? And I think, you know, we've talked about this as well, this is a big problem that we don't separate ourselves from the business. And I think that's a big part of where it becomes really easy to just stomp the emotions down. Focus on the company, focused on talking about the company and and leave ourselves as founders. Just, you know, by the side of the road crying, well not crying because we stuff that down

Wil Schroter: to. Well, I mean, here's where I think when I mapped back my journey and then I started to kind of compare that to to other founders. Here's what I started to to learn. I learned that for all of us, we have so much pride and ego tied into this business. I mean, it's it's it's very much an extension of who we are and by all means has a big consequence for our ego. And so the idea that were hurt or run down or we're not performing in some way can often be translated into we're not good enough or our startup isn't successful enough, which goes back to we're not good enough. And I think my lack of vulnerability leading up to this was directly related to my heart stopping, right? I just I didn't want to share with people that I was feeling shitty, right? Because to me, if I'm feeling shitty, then that means my business is failing. And if that's a reflection of my business, and it's not just about me, it's about all the people I work with, write, you know, the the team members, partners, investors, all these different people. If I let my guard down and I show them that I'm all funked up inside. Well then that must be a reflection on everybody else for believing in me. And what about them?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, Well, let's be honest, there is some truth to that too though, right? We we've talked about this too in terms of, you know, what can we say and what can't we say? And and there's some truth to that, right? And that, you know, as we're projecting this picture and, you know, in order to to lead. Um, if the people behind you looking for leadership, see somebody who's inherently flawed and completely broken, might make it a little harder to accept that leadership, right? Um, so I guess I think one of the keys would be trying to get to some of that stuff a bit sooner, right before you're completely shattered, disheveled mess maybe if we were to unpack some of these things a little sooner in our history, it would it would be a little easier to to be able to tell the story without it looking like a shambles. Um, and you know, I think just getting things off your chest as it happens is a far better approach. Um you know, in your case in mind we tend to wait for these massive cataclysmic events and then we're like, maybe we should talk about this. Yeah, yeah, you're almost dead. Yeah, we should probably talk about this. Well, it's a good time.

Wil Schroter: Well, here's here's the other thing that I found was really interesting. You and I are hopping on this podcast and we're talking about, you know, being vulnerable and how we're all messed up. But here's the funny thing about that our business is already successful, right? So we now have the luxury of saying how fucked up we are, because in the back of everybody's mind is like, well, you already have a successful business. So, it reminds me of when Mark Cuban says being broke isn't that big of a deal? Kind of easy to say for you now, Mark Cuban, right? You probably weren't talking about that when you were broke. What I want to be mindful of is how exponentially harder it becomes to share those vulnerabilities and those emotions when stuff is not going well for you,

Ryan Rutan: for sure. And I think that, you know, there's a, there's a really huge aspect, what you just said, you know, we have this major shield at some point that develops once we've once we have some success, and we can sort of say, you know, I'm flawed, but right, look over here, look at how well we're doing, look at all these things we've accomplished, um, yeah, that's huge. So, you know, for for earlier stage founders listening to this, I've got some thoughts. What would your what would your piece of advice be like, how do you how do you get around that? How do you understand that? It's it's not you have to hold it back, and in fact, a huge cost of holding it back, but like, how do we help people get their

Wil Schroter: great question as an earlier stage founder, let's just call it somebody who doesn't have the shield of success to back them up, you've got to find an outlet that actually allows you to get this stuff out of your head, right? It could be close friends, it could be a founder group, it could be, uh, you know, family, there has to be someone, and here's the trick about this, and I think, you know, something we circled back on, it has to be somebody that actually understands what you're going through, right? So if I go to my wife who's awesome, who's been through this, you know, for over a decade with me, and I say, here's what's happening at work, she knows what's happening, she's been through this a lot. She's worked a lot of startups herself, but she's never been a founder. She doesn't understand it the way I understand it. You know, she's not staring awake at three in the morning, staring at the ceiling, wondering how she's gonna make payroll. She's over in the other room with my son uh trying to figure out how to change his diaper. So you know, we just have different perspectives. So while she's a good confidant in life, I don't think she would be the most productive, confident early in my career for for the startup and for these emotions that are kind of circling. And so I think for for you and I we can get on a podcast and broadcast all of all of how messed up we are right? Because like I said, we've got the shield, but if you didn't have it, if I could rewind back earlier in my career when I didn't have it. I also didn't have an outlet. So I would just stuff all that stuff down. You know, more emotions just keep stuffing it down, pretend like it didn't happen and it was wildly destructive. And I wasn't fortunate enough to hear somebody early in my career try to communicate the message that you and I are trying to communicate right now, which is it's not okay, it's crushing, it's crippling and it will come back to bite you. There's no version where it goes away.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. And it's funny how little credence we give that, right? If we're if we're not focusing on some other aspect of our business, it becomes more obvious or or we give it far more credence, right? Like if you're marketing is not working, you're going to work on that, right? You're going to focus on that, you're going to figure out what this is costing us. How do we fix it? You know, we will seek out external advice. Well, read, well, ask questions, we'll hire people. Um and yet we could argue having been through this that the cost of getting your emotions wrong as a founder is just as problematic as getting your marketing wrong as a business, right? It will have a massive snowballing effect over time um and lead to things like the episode that we went through with you, right? That could easily have gone worse. Right? It wasn't a great day, right? But that could have gone worse. Right? I could be sitting here talking to myself right now and this would be a much less interesting

Wil Schroter: show. Well, look man, what's interesting to me first and foremost is that this just isn't a topic that gets enough attention and yet it's one of the most seminal topics that affects every founder.

Ryan Rutan: That's the thing, right? It's ever present. It's you don't get to avoid this.

Wil Schroter: Here's, here's the equivalent. Imagine If No one had ever talked about the pain of child labor. So women just felt like, hey, when you have a child, you're just not supposed to talk about it, right? You don't scream during childbirth. You just hold that all in and you tell everybody that it was amazing. When people ask you, you know, how's it going in the, in the labor and delivery room, You're going great, right, feels great, right? And

Ryan Rutan: you know, with that infant in the house, right? With the newborn? Like how, how are these? Fantastic? We just every second of it.

Wil Schroter: Like we were pretty accepting when physical pain exists that you should do something about it, right? If I fall off a ladder and break my leg, I don't say, man, I should have never fallen off that letter. I'm stupid. You know, I made the mistake, I'm not fixing this leg yet. Is that exactly what we're doing? We're saying? Hey, I mean all these mistakes in the business, I missed a funding around or you know, my, my product didn't go to market in time or this happened. That happened. So I'm going to punish myself by not processing any of that emotion and just stuff it way down and kind of try to move on to the next hurdle, which look, I'll be honest, there's a bit of a time and a place for, right. You can't process everything all the time. But the problem is when you just don't process any of it at all and pretend like it's just going to magically go away. Fun fact success doesn't make any of that go away. It just means you're going to deal with it much, much more exponential way.

Ryan Rutan: That's the thing, right? It actually scales right. You know, at the early stages you may have less certainty. Maybe you could you could kind of think of it as more problems because you have less answers. I don't know if you actually have more problems, but you just have less answers for the problems, but they're all a hell of a lot smaller, right? You don't appreciate that at the time. They all feel gargantuan when you're when you're staring in the face. But like in hindsight, you know the early stages of my first few businesses, I was I was fighting baby bunny rabbits, right? We've got some serious dragons at this stage, right? You get to a certain level and like the bosses get a lot harder to beat. Um But you've got better equipment to deal with it, right? And and you got the shield of success to which I think is uh it's an interesting concept I've never really thought too much about until we started talking about today, but I think it's a it's a hugely valid piece of it. Um But again, it doesn't d validate the need uh invalidate the need to to process these whether you have that or not right? I think that it makes it easier. Um But the cost is still there.

Wil Schroter: Well, and I think part of it too is people don't exactly know what to process, Right? So we keep talking about this amorphous term. You have to process these emotions. But let's just dig in a little bit and talk about kind of how to unpack those emotions that actually do something with them. For example, if I'm into year two of my startup and we're about to run out of cash. I am so stressed out right now. I don't want to go broadcasting that. I don't want to tell everybody how close to the brink of failure we are. Right. So the last thing on my mind is let me go write a medium post about how much I'm about to fund everything up. Right? So that's that's not exactly, yeah, not exactly what we're talking about,

Ryan Rutan: right? You do that after when all of your staff is left and you have no one else to talk to.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, exactly. Right. However, I do need to unpack that or it's going to tear me apart. So what do I do? First thing I do is I sit down and I and I maybe, you know, I'm journaling or I'm just at least getting some stuff out of my head and I'm maybe just typing on a blank uh you know, uh no pod a blinking cursor that's basically saying here's the stuff that's actually eating me up right now, just so I can see it personally. I do this all the time, right? I always do a check in and I just write down all the stuff that's kind of bothering me no matter how minor it is, just so I can see it, right? So I know what I'm dealing with. I just realized you probably write my name more

Ryan Rutan: often than I do.

Wil Schroter: Oh that's all it is. It's just, it's just a long, long. Um But but here's what, here's what I find that's so interesting. I can't keep a like a highly ordered stack ranked list of all my concerns in my head perfectly, which means they're always floating. There always amorphous. And because of that they never feel like they can be picked off and done right similar to a task list. So what I do is I just take all those things that are in my head again, no matter how minor they are because that part of it is just clearing your hard drive space in your head by just writing it all down and seeing it. And then I always rank it. This is some weird OCD thing that I probably do. But it allows me to figure out where my problems are most concentrated and here's where it gets interesting in my mind. I have hundreds of problems, right? Because they lack definition and and I can't see him in an ordered list. But when I write them down I get to like seven, let's say I'm just making up a number. But there's rarely ate and there's never 15.

Ryan Rutan: It's the old Russian Air Force trick right? You just fly the same planes over about 20 times and it looks like you've got an entire fleet, right? And it feels like you have that many problems 10 or 15 that actually maybe mattered.

Wil Schroter: There's there's it also gets really interesting once I kind of take these externalize them a bit and put them in front of me. I then start to think about who would understand these problems, right? Because not every problem is necessarily a one size fits all for who you share them with or how you would solve them. But I've got a weird thing that I found it's been incredibly productive that when I externalize my problems when I list them and I start to say okay, just like a task list. These are the things that I need to work on. And by the way this isn't just about fixing the problem. It's about how do I externalize this problem? Who do I need to share it with? Right. And so I mean look at that and say okay I've got five things that are really bothering me and here's three people that I want to talk to about them, right? It gives me mission, it gives me purpose. And by doing that it puts me on a path to actually getting it out of my head and it is wildly cathartic because in the end, if I have five specific problems and like I said, let's say I can consult it to three people that I can address them with and kind of get them out of my head. There's no version were at the end of that process, I'm going to feel worse. In fact, just by going through the exercise, I always feel 10 x better. Even if I never have all the conversations, the conversations to go exactly the way I wanted to. It just feels so amazingly cathartic to go through that whole process. I mean that's that's my approach.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, no, it's it's amazing. I mean when we capture anything and I used to have the same challenges around ideas or things that I wanted to accomplish were necessarily problems. There were things that I wanted to go and chase down, but without capturing those in some meaningful way, they get lost. You know, they, and then you start to feel like you have too many things to do. And again, it's that same, you know, the Russian aircraft analogy where those same things you want to do, keep flying past your mind, flying past your mind, you just feel like you're not accomplishing anything and there's so much to get done. It turns out there's just a few things you really need to do. I realized that I had a similar process in that I would, I would try to document challenges when I realized and it's funny because I still have some of the notebooks I can go back and look at them. I was a flow charter right? I still am, I love a process map. I love to see how things play together and I like to see how they, you know, with what the, what the inputs and outputs are. But I realized that in the way I was documenting the problems and the challenges. I was, I was concrete ng them as issues external to me when in fact some of the most destructive parts of it were internal to me and in essence I was able to put it on paper and completely stripped the emotional component out of it. Earlier we were talking about the fact that we, we often, you know, externally when we're talking about it, we remove ourselves from it, right? And, and you could sort of say, well that's something we do for for everybody else. But what I realized was that I had begun to buy into my own bullshit that I somehow didn't fit into this equation, right? I was completely missing from all of the flow charts and it wasn't, you know, a lot of times when I would look back and like actually what the problem there was how that was making me feel emotionally, right? It wasn't that I was having a hard time hiring people, it was that I was having a hard time dealing with the cultural changes and, and and the the fighting and stuff that would occur when I would bring somebody new into a dev team or design team going, you know, way back in history now to the design development company. Um, and I realized that, you know, even in trying to process these things, I had set it up in a way that allowed me to just shove all of the emotional aspect of it aside. So I I liked what you were saying. But as I was thinking about how I would have done that if I had been creating my own list of things that were bothering me, they would have all been like objective tasks within the business, right? It would have all been things that needed to happen that I felt like those were things that were bothering me and not that they weren't, but you know, it's like the the the problem sometimes isn't the rock and the shoe, right? That's what causes the pain. Sure. But the real issue is the callus that it leaves, right? And and not dealing with any of those calluses along the way adds up to a whole bunch of healing that needs to happen at some point for a founder and I was absolutely horrible with that for a long time. I'm better at it now. Um, and it's funny, but a big part of that is just having a much better sounding board, You know, you talked about your wife mind certainly plays the same role for me. Um and sometimes that's just, it's just to help me get it out right. It's not that she can process it in the same way that I do, she can process that, she can understand it logically. She doesn't get it in the fields in the same way I do, but it does definitely help to get it out. And what I found is that that tends to be the first turn on the crank to the floodgate, right? I start their home game friendly audience, right? I can I can begin the conversation and allow it to take some more structure and then much like you were saying, well then I think about, okay, now, who do I really need to take this to write? If I've got a toothache, I go see the dentist, not the podiatrist, right? But sometimes getting it off the chest and some, even in a way that isn't really going to solve it, like talking to my wife, But it does allow me to process it in a different way. Get out of my head verbalize it, understand it a bit better and then be able to structure a better solution for it. Um doesn't always work flawlessly, but it's a hell of a lot better than just shutting up, which is what I did for 20 years.

Wil Schroter: Well, think about this to our problems, in our emotions are two separate things. They have a connection, but they're not the same thing. And so in other words, if if my startup is running out of money and I'm like, that's the problem. Yes, but it's not the emotion, right? Emotion or a whole other category of things. Emotion is the feeling of failure, the bruising over your ego, the relationships that you have with other people and that kind of feeling in anticipation of how those relationships are going to go negatively. And so part of Externalizing the problems is having that sounding border, having somebody asked you the right questions so that you can pull out what those emotions actually are. Back in the day when I was failing miserably um with a startup called afford it, and we had run out of money and I was running around town very unsuccessfully trying to raise money. The problem wasn't that we're out of money and here's why I say that everyone else was on their way to get another job anyway, I had money in the bank, so none of us were um we're really going to be in a situation where it was game over for us, right? It wasn't great, right? You know, I'm not high fiving it, but but if you really distilled that problem, it wasn't about survivability or anything else like that. We hadn't raised that much money. So the folks that had put in money um had it to lose, you know, I hate to lose anybody's money, but that is what happened. And uh, so if you looked at the problems were out of money, that wasn't the emotion I was processing, right? I was processing an emotion of ego Far more than anything. And within that Ego was a feeling of being ashamed that I hadn't performed. Um, and there was all this kind of wellspring of emotion, which I processed exactly 0% of

Ryan Rutan: because

Wil Schroter: again, this was all by the way leading up to that, that pent ultimate moment of my heart not running anymore, but my, my failure on this was I didn't recognize that those emotions needed to be processed. I didn't recognize that I needed to externalize any of it. Like as much as I'm talking about it now, I gotta be clear 10 years ago, it would have been heretical for me to say, Hey Ryan, let's sit down and talk about, you know, how I'm feeling. We

Ryan Rutan: both, we both would have like laughed and walked back toward

Wil Schroter: it would have been like given, well,

Ryan Rutan: right, Yeah, Right, right. I see you at lunch buddy. It would have

Wil Schroter: never even occurred to me, right, Which is again, when I'm saying, here's the problem in the startup community, I was the problem in the startup University, which is why, you know, you and I are so hell bent on fixing it. Um, and, so what I've been learning and we see this a lot in our founder groups because we get to talk to people, you know, super honestly, we're having a conversation yesterday and uh, one of the founders was discussing with the group how they're thinking about selling their business, you know, which comes up for a lot of folks. And we had a really intense conversation about what the reasoning behind selling it was. And you know, you had like, well, my maximize evaluation, you know, will I be able to, you know, put some, take some money off the table? And it turned out that none of those things, we're really what was keeping that founder up at night, so to speak, right. There was a whole host of other emotions that actually kind of came up because the folks credit in the group, they asked really good questions. Um, and it turned out it was more of an ego thing. I want to be able to say I sold this, I'm actually not gonna make it, I'm not going to maximize my value out of it. This is what it really comes down to is I want to, I want to check this ego box, which is okay by the way, you know, I mean, yes, we have an ego, it's literally part of us. So, um, you know, it's, it's often painted as this bad thing, but Ryan my, my whole point here is, um, I think we're often chasing the wrong problem or by way of that, we're overlooking the emotion attached to it, which is the true root cause.

Ryan Rutan: True. Yeah, absolutely. And that's, you know, that's where we will never truly solve the problem. Um, when, when we're looking at it that way, right? If we're looking at is this is some objective thing that needs to happen, right? And that's just not where the actual issue lies, right. It's, it's in how we feel about what's happening. And if we're not honest about that, we can't even see the solution right. Or if we can see it, we don't want to admit it because, you know, saying something like, you know, actually the only reason I was trying to sell this was so I could thump my chest a little bit. It's not an easy thing to say, right because not only now are you not feeding your ego by selling the company, You're also kind of jabbing your ego in the face and saying, hey, I'm gonna call you out on this and I'm gonna make you step back for a minute. It's an extremely difficult situation to be in. Um, particularly when we don't get all that many chest pounding moments as founders, right? Like we think of that there are right, like, you know, we, we launched the product, we do these things, but like we move from one to the next so fast and again, like that's just as hazardous. We don't process the winds any better than we process the losses. We just let it all slide by and move on to the next objective milestone. The next hill to conquer.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. And I think what happens is because we don't have permission. That's really what this is to go out and then we have to give it to ourselves first to go out and share this stuff and unpack this stuff. Uh, we just keep it right right where it is. And then every now and again, you'll hear someone else be very honest about where they're at, the very vulnerable, about where they're at. Andrew Warner And I and one of the podcasts he hosted with us talked about this at length about, about founders being vulnerable or the lack thereof on the show mixer G he's interviewed thousands of founders and he's always shocked at how their lack of vulnerability now. But it's, it's kind of the way we do things in the startup community. It's kind of the way we do things in the world. So I don't want to isolate the startup community. But what's interesting to me about the startup community is that I genuinely believe the startup community is set for a change, right? I mean, we're seeing it, we're finally talking about mental health. We're finally talking about mental well being, uh, which, which definitely wasn't a topic, You know, the days of the chest pounding, 20 hour a day, uh, developer are, are starting to wane right there. There's still plenty of them out there and, and uh, and I was one of the, the, the long our warriors myself, but I think we're starting to realize the toll it takes.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, well we've done an entire podcast on that, right? The diminishing returns and just continue to put more time in without really thinking about, you know, what is the return on that time and what is the cost into your, your mental health, your physical health, your emotional well being? Um, so yeah, but yeah, we're definitely starting to see a shift. The conversation is starting to occur. It's still at that, that, that nascent stage there where we talk about it and then we revert back to, you know, are, are

Wil Schroter: bad behaviors, right? It's like

Ryan Rutan: when, when somebody decides they want to get fit right. The first thing to do is start talking about it. I'm going to eat better and I'm gonna talk about it. I'm gonna become a vegetarian. I'm gonna talk about being a vegetarian and I'm still going to have a pepperoni pizza that night

Wil Schroter: because it's delicious, So delicious. Right, let me ask you this, since, you know, we've been doing the startup therapy podcast, talking about exactly this stuff for the last few years in your opinion. How would you say That us doing this and kind of um kind of expressing has had maybe an impact on our relationships with our own team, you know, the 200 plus folks that, like it feels like they get a little more insight into us than they used to. For

Ryan Rutan: sure, for sure, they get more insight, I think they understand better, so it's had a lot of really interesting impacts, It's definitely opened the gates for more honest conversations, which I think is insanely welcome, and by the way, you don't have to have a podcast to do this, you just have to be vulnerable with your team, um let them see you as a human and they will treat you like one. Um so yeah, that's been that's been an amazing component of this. Um you know, it's it's allowed them to feel like they can talk about things that are bothering them emotionally, it's led to them asking me like, so there's just been direct benefits to me um which is that we are treated a little bit more like humans and um how did you put it in the post? Um the parental action figure, you wrote a post about this, right, and you were saying like, they don't see us as like this invincible, this invincible superhero character anymore, you know, that we get some humanity out of this um and I think that that's a that's been a really big and important change for me um just generally speaking, you know, regardless of the of the third party impact, Just being on the podcast and able to talk about this stuff has been hugely cathartic and and healing for me, and we've got to share stories that I, you know, and often times I forget about them until we're actually in the moment, like, oh yeah, Gosh, I hadn't even thought about that in 20 years down the rebellion, right? That was part of it. I didn't even know I had that dark place. Um, so yeah, I mean, there's been all sorts of interesting benefits, um, but you know, I think, and I hope that the biggest outcome from this is that it it creates that little bit of change, right? It opens up one or 23 more conversations a month with people that otherwise wouldn't have opened those doors. Um, and it's both, you know, internal to to our team and our personal relationships. Um, but we're also having people come to us through email, through social, um, you know, finding us on linkedin or wherever and and pouring out to us, right? The, you know, the community of listeners that we have, our startup therapy um are are treating us in the same way. And it speaks to how much of a need there was for this when people who are for all intents and purposes, complete strangers to us other than having listened to the podcast, signed up for the platform, are willing to literally pour their guts out and in an email, to appreciate a phone call, right? And it's it's incredible to to feel that, I mean, it's it's a huge lift for me every time we get one of those messages or talk to somebody and and provides a lot of energy to come back and keep doing this, Because that's the other side of this, right? Like, and I don't want to go too far off on this tangent, but sometimes this can be a little painful too, right? There are definitely things that we've talked about um that in the moment we're 100% not comfortable, and I'm even thinking like, as we're doing some things like, are we really going to publish that? Like, that, that got got pretty close to the pretty close to the artery. Um and and ultimately, then, you know, that feeling passes, and I'm always glad when we published this stuff, but yes, I think that, you know, for me it's been hugely cathartic, and the real external benefit has been seeing how it's helping people to open up even a little bit, is the entire conversation taking taking hold, and this is a problem that's now well on its way to being solved in the founder community hell no, but I think that we are making good small steady progress towards that,

Wil Schroter: the more we've shared, the more vulnerable we've been with our staff, and I think we've been appropriately vulnerable, meaning we're thoughtful about it. We don't just start crying for no reason. Um

Ryan Rutan: well that did happen once

Wil Schroter: that didn't happen, it was my fault, that really did happen. Um, and, but I think what's interesting about that, I think it's allowed the team, especially newer members who don't know us that well to maybe give us a little bit more slack. Here's what I think about when I was a teenager, I'll never forget this. I was like, maybe 16 or 17. I saw my dad cry for the first time, right? And, and I didn't know that he was capable of that, right? In other words, up until that point, he was that parental action figure, right? That just takes it takes it takes it in like that, that's what you do, right? Like you can't be broken. And he did, and I remember thinking about that, like, it just Iraq TMI because from that point on I saw him as a fellow human, not as just this patriarchal figure. And I think what's happened, how I've seen him is we've we've gotten to the point where our team, our customers, you know, the folks that have signed up for a platform, just everybody, even our friends, um, see us in a much different light in treat us more like a human and less like that kind of like stoic action figure and I gotta tell you that has proven so helpful in so many ways. For example, like if somebody has a really big problem with us and I'm thinking of a couple of cases where we had like customers, that just for whatever reason, things went off the rails and a couple of them had listened to the podcast before and it was the most amazing thing because they were like, look, I'm really upset with what happened. However, I also kind of know you're not an asshole and so I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you know, you're a thinking feeling person like I am and let's go talk it through. And then I've seen it internally as well where like somebody's like, well maybe I didn't get a raise or you know, I have this issue with, with management or whatever it is and then it happens, but it gets exponentially worse when everyone around you again, things like, like you're this asshole robot because they always put you in the wrong light when I think you open up a little bit and say, hey man, I'm, I'm wrestling with stuff just like you are right. Uh, I think it gives both sides some freedom to, to understand each other a little bit better and I think it, it pays huge dividends and I mean it in so many positive ways for the founder,

Ryan Rutan: 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 podcast.

Ryan Rutan: If you're looking for more amazing resources to launch or grow your startup, be sure to head to startups dot com and check out startups unlimited. It's everything we have to offer from our online university to our amazing community of experts and founders and even all the tools we've built like biz plan, fungible and launch rock. It's everything a founder needs visit startups dot com slash begin that startups dot com slash b e g I N. You'll thank me later.

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