Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #88

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the startup therapy podcast. As always, Ryan Rutan joined by Wil Schroder, my friend and the Ceo and founder of Startups dot com. Well, we're gonna be talking about something that's pretty interesting today, which I think is pretty average for us. But it's that there's this notion that there are things that we may not be able to achieve or get and that's okay. And there was a story that you shared with me. I don't know, it's probably 23 years ago now from some years back and I think it would be an awesome way to kick this off.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, no, I remember it too specifically because you and I, we had just moved to different parts of the world.

Ryan Rutan: Yes, we have.

Wil Schroter: Right, right. You had moved to Guatemala. I'd moved to this magical place called Los Angeles and we've been there a little bit. My wife and I had settled into a house. We ended up moving into a place in Beverly Hills. It wasn't our first choice, but that's kind of just where we end up finding a house. And uh after a couple of years our family expanded and we're looking for a new house. So if you recall, I was telling you was were driving through Bel Air which is just adjacent to Beverly Hills, still adjacent to our our kids school district and we're looking for a house and all the houses there are wildly different because L. A. Is just a very unique place. But we're we're winding through the hills of Bel Air with our realtor and and we're looking at whatever house he's going to show us next, but we end up coming across this house that basically looked like a hotel. Like I don't know how else to describe it because it was clearly clearly too big to be an actual house and it was so big that as we're driving around it, we're trying to find the other end of the house, it was just massive. So my first impression and I think my wife said the same thing is, oh, that's really cool. They're building like a boutique hotel and it was still the construction phase, so it wasn't well identified yet. Our realtor laughs and he said, no, that's Elon musk's house. I mean it was it was so big that as we were driving around it, the house just kept going and we kept expecting there to be something else to this. Like this, this must be a community of houses. No, just one house.

Ryan Rutan: I remember you telling me at the time, it was like, we just spent 10 minutes driving around Elon musk's house and I was like, I thought you meant like you were like, you know like driving around and I was like, oh like you got to like they let you on the site and he's like, no, no, I mean just like literally just to get around it the perimeter. Like just to pass it. We spent 10 minutes getting around it, correct me up man, Yes, So nice

Wil Schroter: place. We're driving around this house and I'm looking at it and I just have this really kind of seminal moment and thought that goes through my head. I look at the house and I say I can't have that and that's okay. Now here's, here's why that's so unusual. You've known me for a long enough time. Those words don't come out of my mouth. Yeah, yeah, No, it's not because I can't believe I can have everything or that I'm that wealthy. I'm definitely not. It's because for the longest time I believed I could have anything and I believe that just because I was ambitious that there would be some series of events that would unfold that would allow those things to happen. But I think what we should talk about today is why those things can't happen in many cases. And not to be downer, right? Just want to talk about kind of the framework for why things do or don't happen and kind of, you know, how we fit within those levers in that framework and also why it's okay to be able to say I can't have that and that's okay because there is a very defined moment, we're not having, that

Ryan Rutan: just doesn't matter. Yeah, usually the second after you get it,

Wil Schroter: that's true. I mean, I would say the value of anything is the fact that you don't have it, remember early in in in my life and I think you can appreciate this. The big thing was to get a three series BMW right beautiful car by the way, beautiful. But I remember driving off the lot with my three series BMW was white with a tan leather interior and feeling like I had just conquered the world right? Because I thought like if you got into a BMW like you one right like you're you're done, you just drive it to your grave. I assume it could call it a day. And what shook me was that after I don't know, six months a year. It wasn't special anymore right? Like I was like oh that was cool, I've had that, I've done that but now that I have it it's just not special. I still like it it's still a great car but kind of the magic wears off and at some point there's not much magic

Ryan Rutan: left. My my first was I got talked into going like four years older and getting a seven series

Wil Schroter: right for a little more

Ryan Rutan: money but it was like it was four years older than the three series I was looking at, got the seven series, drove it off the lot same thing like just I mean I remember being so happy, I remember getting it out on route 70 and just the faster it went, the smoother it got it felt like it just kept getting closer and closer to the ground just like big beautiful powerful car And then I had it, right? And then so some of the magic just went away after after getting it right? But then the real, the real turning point for me was people kept asking me if it was if it was my parents car, right?

Wil Schroter: Because I

Ryan Rutan: was like, it was in my early to mid twenties driving a seven series. Like it's just, it's, it's kind of a weird car for, you know, I had the long wheelbase too, so like, I should have been sitting in the backseat and somebody had been driving me around,

Wil Schroter: you're

Ryan Rutan: basically right

Wil Schroter: After about the 5th comment

Ryan Rutan: I got like that. I'm like, alright, I'm getting rid of this thing. It's got to go,

Wil Schroter: I want to make sure people understand where we're headed with this. We're not saying ambition doesn't matter, we're saying ambition definitely matters, but you can only ambition yourself to so many milestones, right? There is a threshold at which you will not be building a house that takes 10 minutes to drive around, right? There are some upper thresholds where ambition alone kind of caps out. And so I'll give you an example, we've met Ryan countless ambitious founders. I mean, that's kind of the nature of even being a founder, it's kind of, you know, cost of entry, right? And what's interesting is when you see someone build something like take a Mark Zuckerberg, you take see Mark Zuckerberg build something and it becomes exponential quickly, and you look at that and say he's so ambitious, well, you often forget is that in order for his ambition to hit those thresholds, there had to be a unique series of conditions that allowed that ambition to kind of hit that exponential reality. And if you don't believe it, if you're like, nope, he was just more ambitious than everyone else and that alone got him there, then you have to zoom out a little bit and say, you know, not every ambitious person hits it out of the park on their first shot. Like Zuckerberg did. There's plenty of ambitious people who were ambitious to build something amazing the first or second time and then whiffed in ginormous fashion. In this case, I'm specifically talking about Quimby with meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg right, a massive failure. However, you cannot question how ambitious, how capable those two are. I mean, I say this with the utmost respect, I'm sorry to see that fail and I'm not knocking them. It's an example of how ambition alone doesn't guarantee anything

Ryan Rutan: anything at all. That's right lack of ambition does right lack of ambition guarantees that, right? Nothing's gonna happen right? Like the lack of ambition absolutely guarantees an outcome. Uh one of several, but but you're absolutely right, you know, you can you can only go so far in ambition and and even skill. And, you know, and we've talked about this, luck is not the right word right? There have definitely been lucky moments in my life where I ended up being in the right place at the right time talking to the right person and opened the door, but it's funny that, you know, people who get lucky tend to see those doors and no to open them and then know to walk through and know how to fill the room once they're there. So, but but to your point, it does take, you know, a set of conditions and most of those conditions are out of our control, right? And it is about kind of maximizing the outcomes of those conditions as they come along and again, powered by ambition. If you're not ambitious, you have no reason to chase those doors down and and to try to fill those rooms in the first place.

Wil Schroter: I think of luck as kind of a negative connotation. I think you do too inasmuch as luck is what Powerball winners have when you have or gamblers, when you have basically little or no control over what the outcome was going to be and it could have just as soon happened to you as it happened to someone else. Right now, we can say fortunate, you're fortunate that those outcomes came, but you didn't just buy a lottery ticket and it happened right? Mark Zuckerberg was fortunate, but he wasn't lucky, right? It's not like he did the same amount of work as everybody else, but his, his just turned into billions of dollars. Now, the other side to that though, and I think this is the part that that is actually missing. And I think this is one of the key levers or tenants, you cannot have those types of outcomes without often a totally unusual set of circumstances, in the form of market timing, in the form of size of market, in the form of access to capital or you know, things that you could do that other people couldn't do or access to, knowledge those things can't be replicated easily. Going back to the quick example, the constants, there were the leadership. You can make arguments about how they chose to use their market approach and everything, but those are all conditions, right? And there is a limit to which the conditions you're working under or within are going to have those exponential upsides. For example, Jeff Bezos became Jeff Bezos because he has basically an unlimited total addressable market and every time he has a new limit, he just buys another market, right? So you can become Jeff Bezos or have that level of success, not just from your ambition, but applying to your ambition to a series of conditions that allow it. If we compare that to Ryan what you and I are doing at startups dot com, we have a we have a big market in helping startups, but it's not amazon's market. So by definition, in our market, there's some conditions that would limit how good things get, no matter how hard we or how hard we work or how ambitious we are. And I guess my point is I don't think people really consider that, you know what I mean?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. You know, I think that it's it's easy enough to look at and and say that well, they, you know, they got lucky or they were fortunate or the conditions just all landed in their favor, but but some of those are decisions right? Like and and some of those conditions are under your control, the condition that we've set for ourselves, that we want to help people. But those people specifically being founders was the condition that we've placed upon ourselves, right? There is a there is a cost to that condition, um, but there's a benefit to that condition, right? And we've chosen that specifically because that's who we want to work with. That's what we get joy from helping people. But we get more joy from helping founders and we believe that that can be our best contribution,

Wil Schroter: correct. And I think what people believe is that it's simply the greatest athlete theory that if you're the greatest athlete views to be you're the most ambitious, then the outcomes come to you in a proportionate way. You know, we should probably kind of dissect that a bit there are levels to which ambition alone can can reasonably achieve. So, for example, if you are super ambitious, there's a high probability, you can get into a top college, right? That is a very achievable goal with ambition. You're willing to just work harder than the other people in the room and and that goal is pretty well defined and if you get all A's and you graduated top of your class, you will get to that level right, the conditions are guaranteed, and for the right people, they are very achievable. You get beyond that and you say, okay, have left college now, I want to go make 100 and $50,000. There are a million ways to go make 100 and $50,000 right? You can you can work at a countless number of jobs that could get you there, you could start countless number of companies that could get you there are so many ways to get there and you can ambition your way there, right? You can maybe not the smartest, best conditions, et cetera, you can bulldog your way. What we're really talking about is when you start to get north of there, what are the types of conditions that would allow you to become a millionaire, 100 millionaire, a billionaire, you know, 10 millionaire, right? That's where the conditions start to change, whether that's going to happen at all?

Ryan Rutan: Well, the conditions no longer truly exist in the same way because what we were talking about before and if you talk about an athlete and you talk about colleges, you're talking about frameworks that you operate within your stratified in a specific way where the conditions are known ahead of time, good point. You know what it takes, right? And you know, the effort that has to be put in and you know, sort of the vector that you have to take to get there right once we get beyond these certain points, those become unclear and, and even in hindsight, if we go back and we try to say like dissect businesses that have grown and scaled exponentially, it's often hard to put a finger on exactly what it was that did the thing. Right? Um, so even in retrospect through, you know, the postmortem on these things, whether you're talking about, you know, success or failure, it's often really hard to put a finger on it because there's no longer a framework, we are outside the framework, We're building something that's never been built before, you know, in a market that may only, you know, temporarily exist. And so the conditions just are no longer really conditions right? There's, there's no framework to operate within. There's no way to measure yourself against anything else to say that you're even on the right track or or heading that direction, all sense of directionality is gone, All sense of progress is gone and you're just sort of in the ether or as you like to say, you're you're in the abyss at that point,

Wil Schroter: right remember to a lot of these conditions are one time conditions, right?

Ryan Rutan: The black swan moments,

Wil Schroter: right? When Bill Gates started Microsoft and he basically owned desktop software other than Apple hopping in. There weren't 10 more shots at that, right? Like you're either one of those two guys or you were not. And if you weren't, it was over. And so for many folks, what they don't understand is, hey, I'm as ambitious as Mark Zuckerberg. Yes, but Mark Zuckerberg grabbed on the one lifeboat for that opportunity and there wasn't a second one. And so for a lot of us were thinking, how do I get to that level as if we're just magically going to get the same opportunities or timing or anything else that everyone else got. And again, the only thing that was separating us was was our ambition. You made a good point in the earlier stages of our success. You know, be it in academia or in the early parts of our career, we're in uncharted waters. It is very clear what you need to do and you're willing to do it or you're not, again ambitious can get you there. I think what we're saying is there's a threshold where you start to go into uncharted waters and there's no guarantee that the path you take is going to have any deliberate outcome at all,

Ryan Rutan: correct, take it a step further. There's, there's a cost at some point to this right? We turn the corner from ambition being the thing that drives benefit to ambition actually becoming a cost

Wil Schroter: and reliability,

Ryan Rutan: write a liability, you cross that threshold. That doesn't necessarily continue to linearly increase, right? There's a diminishing return or there's just a pure uncertainty. We enter a new market, we launch a new product and all of a sudden this ambition can start to come at a cost, right? Not just to the company, but, and, and actually more so to the founder.

Wil Schroter: Well, you know, that's what I didn't understand early in my career and I'm guessing you kind of felt the same way, which was, I just wanted the outcome the cost I wasn't really concerned about. Like I'll just work every hour of every day, seven days a week because I want the outcome.

Ryan Rutan: We had unlimited time at that point, right, correct? Going to live forever and

Wil Schroter: correct and in life had fewer consequences. We talked about this in a past episode about how over time we start to get bigger and bigger consequences. And so the cost of ambition starts to become something more than just our time, becomes our relationships, our families, you know, any kind of financial security we may or may not have, and so on. Uh, not to mention just the cost of not getting that time back and not being able to replicate those those years, but I think early on the cost didn't matter because I hadn't paid it yet. So, yeah, like, I didn't see my friends, you know, I was working while they were doing whatever kids in their 20 year olds were doing at the time. I wouldn't know because I was busy working the whole time, but it wasn't until I had this, like, look back moment, you know, I remember when I was like 26 or 27 at that point, I had been working nonstop for, let's say about six or seven years. Um And I really mean every waking moment for seven. So, tell

Ryan Rutan: me about this going on a date. What is

Wil Schroter: that? I had I had a couple of girlfriends early on in partial, like in my early 20s, I remember my girlfriend at some point saying like, you know, I only see you when you come home at midnight and I say goodbye to you at like, six in the morning, and like, I actually don't see you at any other times, and you know, it didn't even occur to me. I mean, that's that's horrible at

Ryan Rutan: that point in my life, I would have been thinking, you do seem to lack ambition and I would have walked out,

Wil Schroter: but but at the time, I was so hung up on what what ambition could buy me. I didn't assess the cost, but later on, you know, right? I look back and I was like, damn, all my friends have memories from college, I don't have any memories from college at all. Like all I remember is working.

Ryan Rutan: My stories are literally all about the business and that's the thing. It's, it's a cost that you do pay, um, that you just don't see and it accrues interest because it also continues to impact you later in life. Right? In, in, in some fairly serious ways, I look at some of my other friends who just did the more normal college thing. I wouldn't trade lives with any of them. I love, I love the life that I've built, but I look at some of these groups and I'm like, yeah, when I was building my business, they were all playing frisbee in the quad and now they do all get together more often. I'm often invited. I tend to live outside the nation. So it's often hard for me to attend. But like they get together, they do things, they have closer friendships and and more meaningful relationships with each other than I do, even though we were all in that same kind of cohort at that time. Um, and so that's, that's a debt that I incurred by spending that time by being ambitious, then that continues to have a cost, right? Like I don't have the same relationships and there isn't a way to recreate that, right? They've got that, you know, band of brothers sisters, you know, moments where, you know, they went through those things together that I just wasn't part of. And so that's a, that's a lingering debt, write something I can't erase.

Wil Schroter: I had a friend of mine that I was talking to a few weeks ago and she's basically like neck deep in, in her business and she said to me, she's like, she's relatively young and she said, Hey, I've been at this for the last nine months, night and day. I've been working 14 hours a day, uh nonstop in weekends and she's like, and I can't take it anymore. And like There's two different versions of how I want to respond, right? There's the old timer version, like, well when I was your age, I worked, you know, 25 hours a day and that whole thing, right? And then there's another part of me that's just empathetic, being like, I bet nobody understands what you just said better than I do with that said, the way he responded was this, I said you're realizing what the cost of your ambition actually is. It's easy to say, I want to be ambitious. It's a lot harder when you're actually paying that tab, yep, that tab goes up. As we're saying that tab goes up when all of a sudden you realize you're missing soccer games or you realize you're missing holidays or you realize that, you know, your relationships are genuinely suffering, its leading two divorces and all kinds of horrible things on top of that. You start to realize that that ambition comes at the cost of your health, there's nothing healthy about what we do right now. I mean, we have to do everything possible to like actively bring our health back just in order to kind of operate the way that we do, which kind of says a lot, right? And so at some point, you know, I've given you stories Ryan, where I've said, my heart stopped quite literally at some point, you're like, fuck this, right, It's just not worth it anymore. And I think we get to a point where once we start to see what those costs actually are, it's really hard to say, but that's okay.

Ryan Rutan: It is. And I think again, like we we we go back to this concept of the uncharted waters and when you begin to have the realization that the cost of the ambition is known, the return of the ambition becomes far far less clear, right? Because again, we move further into these uncharted waters, the outcomes become less and less clear. Go go back to your example with Jeff and Meg, right? Like you would have thought that, you know, they were still in charge waters, they knew what they were doing. Their ambition would carry that company to guaranteed success. Right? And yet it didn't write whether they knew that at the time or not right. They know now it's it's the kind of thing where that sacrifice becomes larger and larger and the certainty of some R O I on that becomes less and less clear and I think that's where it starts to get even more

Wil Schroter: painful, right? Imagine almost game show style at the beginning of your quest at the beginning of your ambitious quest someone could say to you here's what you get to choose from and they say Ryan you can have your dream home here but it will cost you two divorces. You can have the car of your dreams but you'll never have seen one of your kids soccer games. Can you imagine having that deliberate of the decision? Because that's really what we're talking about. That's what does end up happening. But if you front loaded it and say you can have that but you have to have that how many people are like oh God no like yeah that that car, that house sounds wonderful but I don't like have to not see my kid like what?

Ryan Rutan: Right? But but but hold on a second that's in the situation where you're guaranteeing them that thing. I'm saying that the outcome still isn't guaranteed right? We're beyond that point where we are sure that ambition pays us back there. There is not a certainty in that investment at some point when we get further and further into these uncharted waters, The sacrifice becomes more and more of a gamble and less and less of a certainty like we've said this before. You can hustle yourself to a certain point. You can hustle yourself $250,000 job. I don't care where you came from, who you are. You can hustle yourself to that level of income, Right? You can't hustle yourself 2-10 billion, right? You got it. The other things have to happen, right? You just the certainty goes away, right? And I think that's a big part of for me, at least the realization around not just the cost but that I wasn't even sure that spending it was going to bring anything back to me beyond what I already had and maybe it would cost me what I already had. That was where it got really sharp for me.

Wil Schroter: Okay, so so let's play that out. I think the tricky thing about assessing the R. O. I. Saying it is the sacrifice worth it is by definition it's always stuff you don't have. Yeah, right. You know? So like we're talking about the R. BMW experiences and we were saying like how wonderful it was to when we first got those things. Well it was wonderful when we first got them, but we also didn't have them up until that point. So we had this mythical idea of what it would be like to have those things. But if anybody were to say Ryan, will you guys have to go through the same amount of sacrifice and the same bullshit you went through the first time in order to get one again. Hell no.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. We talked about that last, gosh, maybe three episodes ago about, you know, I sold my company now. What do I do? And that so many people do restart one and and chase that other one. And and it's funny because that the hesitant because there's always that like, do I really want to start this again because at that point you do know what it costs, right? You do know what it will take. I think there's there's also the sense that like, well I'll probably be better at this time. Not always true. We can reference the case study that we've referenced three times already again here. Um Just because you've done it before, doesn't mean you can do it again. But I think that's exactly it, right? You now know the cost and the sacrifice and what goes into achieving those things and you may be unwilling to do it but outside of that like so let's just say we're we're still in this moment, right? We're not we're not we haven't exited. We haven't anything else. We're still like we're just pushing and pushing and pushing at what point do we get to a stage where the uncertainty of that roo I starts to outweigh that thing that we that we may have wanted, right? Like maybe we recognize the cost. Like I want to add another product to this. We know that's gonna that's gonna add, let's say X millions of dollars in cost and 2-3 years of development and then marketing and then adjusting that product, right? And and these are the types of decisions you and I make all the time, right? And it's at some point, you know, you get to like saying like well do we really want to add three years to the timeline to this for something that we're uncertain about what the payback and that's going to be?

Wil Schroter: I think that like I said if it's stuff that we can't assess, like we don't have it yet, we don't have the dream home, then we can always ascribe more ry more potential value to it, right? I mean it's just the nature of humans, like we always think that next thing is going to have way more value than it ever actually does when we get it. But here's where it gets interesting once you had that. BMW how much harder are you willing to work for that Bentley or that Bugatti at the next level? Right? Like in other words it's significantly more expensive, right? Like exponentially more expensive. But once you get it, are you going to feel anywhere near, you know that much better at that point, I've always kind of held that really once you get a few of the big kind of nice things and you know, your version of nice can be whatever it is, the next thing is just stopped mattering and what sucks is we're willing to work so hard or so much to try to recapture that first experience that by the way, just never happens because we keep thinking it's going to be as amazing as that. First time we got a nice car, the first time we bought a house etcetera. And it just kind of can't be because you're no longer replacing the lack of anything, You're just incrementally getting a little bit more and it never pays off.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, I mean going from 0-1 is the big step, right? It's that the binary move from there. It's, it's incremental. I mean, as you said, like the, the cost is typically exponential. The change in terms of the enjoyment or the satisfaction tends to be incremental. Right? So you're, you're, you're trading exponential costs for incremental gains. Um doesn't sound like a great investment,

Wil Schroter: doesn't Well we went through that Ryan when, when we were doing that, the whole house shopping expedition, right? Yeah, We ended up finding a house that day, ironically like four doors down from Elon musk, which sounds like, oh my God, you're in the same neighborhood as Elon musk.

Ryan Rutan: It's a mile and a half away, just based on his property line.

Wil Schroter: Yeah, I mean literally, I think this would have been like his smallest garage on the property by comparison. So like they just, I don't want this to sound like I'm at anywhere near that guy's level, but we're finding this place and it was, it was a really nice place and we needed to get out of our other house because again, we didn't have any more room and my wife and I was sat down and we talked about this and this was such a seminal moment around everything we're talking about. And we said, okay, if we get this place we'll have a little more room to be able to keep the same school district, it's only 10 minutes away. So it's a relatively small move, etcetera, significantly more expensive. Unfortunately, everything there is. But is it worth it? And so we started to go through that mental exercise of is it worth it? Is the R. O. I. Of what's essentially, you know, more debt, more sacrificed to get that worth it. And in the end we couldn't come up with a single reason why it was worth it. Now, here's the weird thing, man, we could afford to do it, it would have been meaningful money to us. I I don't want to pretend like, again, like, like I've got unlimited amounts of cash, it would have been a significant jump for us financially and we could afford to do it. We didn't want to because ultimately we realized it just wasn't worth it. Like the R. O. I. On creating, you know, more sacrifice to get that thing. No, it's like, what are we going to do there? That we're not doing already, we're gonna order Uber eats and we're gonna sit at home and watch netflix right, whether we're doing the smaller house or a bigger house, literally our lives are gonna change whatsoever. And that's why when I explained at the beginning of this episode, why I always like I can't have, it doesn't matter because already in the back of my head before my wife, even though I started having that conversation, I started to think, you know what, like, I'm not sure it matters anymore and I gotta tell you it's not because we made ungodly amounts of money, it's because at some point the incremental R. O. I of having that next thing actually doesn't pay off. Like there's just a numb feeling attached to it and you get to a point where like, you know what, okay, I can't have that next thing and that's okay.

Ryan Rutan: And I think that there's a there's a really interesting follow up feeling to that which is you do make those sacrifices, you do put in the extra work, you do stretch yourself thinner, you do all the things it takes to get that thing and then you have that numbness and there was a lot of regret then around that because then then you can really balance the accounts and say this absolutely wasn't worth it. You know, I consider myself really fortunate part of this is is you know, having achieved and gotten some of the things that I've wanted from life, there are still things that I want to achieve. But I've noticed that a lot of those have started to shift to. Things that I want to see happen. Not necessarily things that I want to have, right. And as as I look at our business for example, and in the time that I do sacrifice in those moments where I do have to decide between am I going to be at the desk for another hour and a half? Or am I going to spend an extra 45 minutes reading to the girls tonight? And I look at the sacrifices and I say, sometimes I say yes and I am going to make that sacrifice. It has nothing to do with my desire to have something. It has everything to do with the desire to continue to build what we're building. And I get what a fortunate position that is to be in, right? If you don't have anything and you you still lack like basics in life, um, right? If you're going from no car to to any car, that's so, it's a big step, right? If you're going from not having a house to having your house, it's a big step. You know, we've, we've checked most of those boxes. And so I do get that. I'm speaking from a very fortunate position, um, to be able to say that when I look at sacrifice. Now, I'm measuring it against a very different outcome, right? It's less about a thing. And, and it's it's more about something. I want to chase down something I want to see exist in the world. And that feels pretty good.

Wil Schroter: But here's the thing though. But now, you know, the cost, I think that's a big part of what we're talking about here. You start to realize that you've got three basic levers in all of this at its core. You have everything comes with conditions, right? And there's certain conditions you cannot replicate, right? Just because you want to be Mark Zuckerberg doesn't mean sh it if you want to be the head of your class in high school or college, Yes, if you wanna be a partner at your law firm, yes, you can ambition your way to that. There are certain thresholds where your ambition alone is is wonderful as it it sounds to talk about just isn't enough like that, only take you so far. The second part, the second lever. And I think this comes with time is what cost are we willing to endure to see that ambition through. And there are costs. They'll face it actually aren't worth it, right? If you're talking to your health, forget about if you're not around long enough to see the outcome, then who cares, right? But if we're talking about family, if we're talking about, you know, peace of mind all these things at some point, it's not worth Risking those costs. You know, as much as I want to promote people to being founders? I want them to do it in a way that doesn't ruin their lives in the process, right? And I know you feel the same way about that, but that last lever is, and I think a lot of people just don't get this until later on. At some point, it actually doesn't matter. At some point you already have a sweet house, you don't need a more sweet house, you can convince yourself that you do, and that's more ego than reason, but it doesn't mean that you do. And so I think people like, well, I'm not more ambitious if I don't want more maybe, but I look at it kind of a different way. I look at it is if my ambition is allowing me to accomplish these things and accomplish them, and I don't know what the buck to do with them, then what was the point of being ambitious to begin with?

Ryan Rutan: Absolutely, man. So, you know, if you're listening to this right now, we're not saying don't be ambitious and we're not saying that there are artificial limits on, on what you can accomplish. What we're saying is be aware that there are sort of these three levers that kind of control outcomes and just be aware of the cost and the benefit of how you align those levers and and think about what it is that really starts to matter to you and just build your business in a way that isn't all cost to you, right? Be a founder be a sustainable founder. Is that a thing? Well, is that a phrase yet?

Wil Schroter: Sustainable founder? Let's

Ryan Rutan: let's hope so. And if it's not like, let's let's make it one, let's be more sustainable founders, right. Let's let's be people who get what they want from life. But let's be realistic about what it is that we need one and let's not find ourselves simply just being ambitious and running for the sake of running. I know I found myself in that situation more than once where I was still just at maximum pace simply because I had been at maximum pace and inertia kept me there without any real thought on my part. That's a wrap for this episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rutan on behalf of my partner Wil Schroder and all the startups dot com. Family thanking you for joining us and we hope you'll continue to join us. Be sure to subscribe rate and comment on itunes or wherever you love to listen to startup therapy, you can find all of our episodes at startups dot com slash podcast. If you're looking for more amazing resources to launch or grow your startup, be sure to head to startups dot com and check out startups unlimited. It's everything we have to offer from our online university to our amazing community of experts and founders and even all the tools we've built like biz plan, fungible and launch rock. It's everything a founder needs visit startups dot com slash begin that startups dot com slash b e G i N. You'll thank me later.

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