Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #191

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Tan from startups dot com. Joined as ever by Will Schroeder, my friend, partner and the founder and CEO of startups dot com. Well, we are very fortunate to really enjoy what we do and to, to have a lot of passion around it. And I think this is true for a lot of founders that we're chasing something that we're passionate about. And, you know, we think about the kind of the end game of that, right where, you know, we're pushing towards, you know, liquidity or exit or acquisition or whatever. But like then what? Right, then, then what do we do with ourselves? What if we actually like, love what we want to, the point where we don't really want to stop doing it? Like, well, let's take you personally when, how, how much longer do you wanna work?

Wil Schroter: I wanna work for 100 years. If I'm lucky, if I'm lucky, I, I wanna put in every day for 100 years. And you know what? I know that's heretical. I know it goes against every tired trope of retirement that we're supposed to want to end work. Right. And I gotta tell you, like, I get it, I understand why that's become a thing because for most people, their jobs suck, they hate their jobs, they don't want to do their jobs. Or I think about, like, my family, all contractors, my dad, you know, is a carpenter. By the time he was 40 his back was shot, his knees were shot and he had to lift heavy stuff all the time. And his whole life going forward was just more of that. And there is nothing cool about it

Ryan Rutan: right now. There's no, you don't, you don't look forward to continuing doing that. You may not even be happy about doing it right now.

Wil Schroter: I spend a long Saturday doing yard work and I don't want to do it by Sunday. So, so I get it. First

Ryan Rutan: hour is fun.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. But we're talking about founders here. We're talking about a very different workforce if you will. And what I don't hear very often are founders saying that I want to work forever. And so I think what we can do in this episode is talk about why they don't say that and maybe, maybe why they could. And I think it's an interesting topic because I don't wanna say retirement is bullshit. I just think retirement's been such an assumption that needs to be challenged. I think

Ryan Rutan: that we look back at a lot of work historically, it's not so much that we ended work is that work ended us right? There was a finite, like, kind of the point of like around your dad as a carpenter. There's a finite number of years in which you can subject yourself to that. I have an uncle who was a flooring contractor and like, poor guy's knees are, they, they're shot. I mean, and like, and they had been for years and yet he was still on the floor crawling around doing that thing, man. And so I, I think that there's a difference and we need to be thinking about this now as more and more of our workforce moves towards knowledge, jobs, white collar that we definitely need to rethink like, how long should we be working? Right? Is it even sensible? Right? As a workforce as a, as a person in the workforce as a founder to think along those lines, right? Like that's based on a trope like, yeah, you could only be a farmer until you were, you know, 60 because it was brutal work, right? So you had to have a whole passel of kids to pass it on to, right? So, but that's gone

Wil Schroter: now. But more specifically, we're talking about founders.

Ryan Rutan: Well, ok, I think a lot of farmers think of themselves as founders, but that's fine. Well, that's fine.

Wil Schroter: The reason we're saying that is because founders inherently have the ability to create their destiny to some extent. I mean, that's kind of what we do. And obviously, as our startup grows and, and gels and becomes what it's gonna become. It creates a whole bunch of consequences and needs et cetera that we have to service. And a lot of that comes with a whole bunch of stress.

Ryan Rutan: 100%. My point was really why are founders thinking like everybody else in the workforce like we be because of exactly what you just said, we don't have to do that, right. We do have a far greater control over our destiny for better, for worse. And that is largely overlooked. Like we think of ourselves in terms of a normal career path and it's anything but right, we talked about this, right? We don't followed that normal path. So we shouldn't think in terms of the outcomes and kind of the terminal points as being similar to somebody on a regular career path either. Absolutely.

Wil Schroter: And then that's why I think this is an interesting topic last night. I was at dinner with the founder, great guy. He actually just cashed out of his business, sold to big public company, unusual in this day and time as we're recording this because we're in the ass end of what was likely going to be a recession. So, you know, great outcome at a great time and we're talking through it and we're talking about, you know, what are you gonna do next? And he's in his mid fifties at this point. And he's like, you know, I don't know. And I said, listen, and we've done whole episodes on this. This isn't a great place to be. I'm happy you're here. I'm happy you're here. But I gotta tell you, this is a very difficult time because it, it's damn near impossible, particularly for founders to replace the purpose that our jobs gave us. So

Ryan Rutan: there's a very purgatorial element to an excess, right? Like you are now in this zone where you now have probably more resources than you've ever had. You've certainly got plenty of time and you have no idea what to do with it. Right. And that can be extremely painful. So I, I was disorienting is probably the word I would use to describe it first. That was how I felt. It was like I was so disoriented because I lost my North Star. I had no compass. I'm like, I don't know where to go. And it was awful

Wil Schroter: when I go on vacation, it always plays out the same way. Like, can we travel somewhere with the family by the time I get to vacation, Ryan? You and I talk about this all the time. I'm crawling to the finish line. It is so sad. Right. It shouldn't be this way. We can do another episode about that. But it, but it

Ryan Rutan: is the husk of Will arrives in the Caribbean.

Wil Schroter: I look like weekend at Bernie's. Right. They, they're literally just like carrying me,

Ryan Rutan: tie a drink into his hand. It's

Wil Schroter: amazing. And so first day on vacation we get to our room, we get to the resort wherever. And, you know, it's amazing. And I, and this whole like flood of washes over me of how tired and exhausted I am ok. By day two, I'm just starting to break in a little bit. I'm starting to realize that this is in time that I needed, You know, I start to unwind et cetera. And by day three, I'm kind of in vacation mode. Best case now. B 456, I start to get a thing where I go. Ok. I've been to the pool enough times. I've been to the beach enough times, right? Like, I've been to my hotel room enough times by day seven. I'm like, I need to get the f out of here. I'm like, I'm so tired of this. I wanna go back to doing something because I'm bored out of my mind. Well,

Ryan Rutan: wasn't it your last vacation where you asked for a desk and they threw passive aggressive shade at you? Because they were like, you're supposed to relax while you're here. Didn't that? Did that happen? I did not

Wil Schroter: make that. Oh my God. I totally forgot about that. It was last year. It was at my 10th anniversary. Oh, we were some, somewhere in Mycoba and, uh, we got into the room and there was no desk and I was like, that was my, you know, it's like that was my first response, which was, there's no desk in this room and the guy is like, yeah, people don't work here. Right. And I'm like, uh, you got the wrong guy, buddy. And so I was like, I absolutely need a desk. I was like, I don't care, you can give me nothing else. Right. He could not even feed me, but I need a desk to work from. And he was so confounded and I remember they brought in a desk, it was clearly someone's desk because it was dirty and you know, whatever had stains on it in a chair. And I'm like brother, that's all I need. I,

Ryan Rutan: it was, it you made my day.

Wil Schroter: I know, I know how sad that is. But my point is my point is, and this is, you know, kind of a metaphor for retirement, etcetera. Is that first, you need that break, my buddy who just sold his business. He needs the break. He's been working for a long, long, long time in a stressful way. He deserves every second into that break. And I welcome it. What happens is you get toward the end of that break and you keep trying to backfill what gave you purpose with, you know, random tasks. And at first you're like, everyone says the same thing, by the way, they, they're like, I wanna date my wife again or my husband or you know, whatever it may be. Right. Because, you know, that sounds awesome. And then you realize there is a reason you weren't dating them to begin with, uh, like on a regular basis, right? Like you, you can only spend so much time with each other. I want to spend more time with my kids, which is awesome. Yeah, that sounds wonderful. And then you realize your kids don't necessarily want to spend that much, you know, exponentially more time with you so on and so forth.

Ryan Rutan: Your dad, I can't play video games as many hours a day as you can. Like, that's just not my thing. Sorry. Right? The

Wil Schroter: reality is once you can do all of those things, you start to realize that like those things only occupy so much time. It's

Ryan Rutan: like anything man supply and demand exist everywhere, right? You know, when things are in short supply, we demand them more. Like if when I don't get to go fishing for a long time, I really demand and I really want to go fishing and I need it. If I could go fishing all day, every day for the rest of forever, it would become a lot less shiny of an object really quick. If the supply all of a sudden was just unlimited, my demand would drop. This is just how

Wil Schroter: it works. You bet. So that's the side of it where we're really talking about. Well, I wanna go do other things that aren't working and, and by all means, I, I get it, but let's talk about the work itself when we started startups dot com, like 10 years ago. One of the cool things was we aligned it with what we actually love to do. We just talk to founders. We didn't know how we're gonna make any money at it. Right. That's always a challenge. We kind of figured that out over time, but it allowed us to the thing we wanted to do forever. And we've always said if we sold startups dot com, we'd just go back to doing something else where we were helping founders. So like while we don't hate money, then if somebody gave us enough, you know, we'd probably sell it. There's another side of it going, but it doesn't really change our path anymore. We'd still want to keep helping founders all day and I'm not even sure the form factor would be dramatically different.

Ryan Rutan: No, I'd say it would just feel like changing trains honestly, like still going to the same place, still same mode of transportation and just a different one. Yeah.

Wil Schroter: So what I think would be interesting here to talk about is what if we love what we do, if we love what we do, why are we in such a rush to stop doing it or said differently? The flip side, which is if we hate what we do, shouldn't we be in more of a rush to go work towards something that we wanna do forever. That isn't necessarily a lack of work. I think we've conflated retirement with, I don't wanna work anymore. And I think it's a broken concept because if we love what we do, why wouldn't we want to do it forever?

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. And, and you do see this, I mean, let's jump out of the founder space for a minute and just look at, at, at people in other areas where they're so passionate about what they do, they literally do it until the moment they drop off the planet. Right? And that's not unusual at all. Right? If you are really love what you do, you're really passionate about it. What's the logical argument for wanting to stop it at some point?

Wil Schroter: Right. I can't

Ryan Rutan: figure it, it makes no sense. Right? Unless you become physically, mentally, emotionally incapable of performing the thing that you love to do, which is different, which is very different, right? Like we see it with like professional athletes, most of them don't stop because they're like, yeah, I just don't find, you know, winning Super Bowls fun anymore. Like Tom Brady's probably trying to play to 100 too at this point. Right. Like the guy just doesn't seem to want to stop and I get it right. He loves what he

Wil Schroter: does. Right. Absolutely. And so I look at it and I say, ok, given the fact that what we do typically just involves our mind and you know, we're using that creative element. Why wouldn't we want to do that forever? What I want to put on the table just for consideration is what if you looked at here's retirement and I, you know, I want to make everything go away. And here's another, the opposite, which is here is working for 100 years. But under the terms that you care about, right. And the things that you care about now for most people that looks something like this, I wanna make a ton of money so that when I get out of bed in the morning, I don't have to do shit. I don't like totally get it. I wouldn't want that. Right. Sounds fantastic.

Ryan Rutan: But a tonn of money isn't the only answer to not doing shit. You don't like,

Wil Schroter: that's where I was headed. Exactly. And so where I think it, it's missing initially is when we look at the, I wanna retire, what we should really be looking at is why aren't you doing the work that you want to be doing under the conditions that you want to be doing? You stop calling

Ryan Rutan: it work even, right? Just like, because it maybe it doesn't feel like work, right? I mean, you and I talk about this all the time. Most of our days don't feel like work, right? Somebody asked me like, what did you do today? And I'm like, I did this in the morning. You know, created some content, you know, rolled out some new ads at this, spent, you know, uh 4.5 hours doing back to back calls with founders in the afternoon. Like, oh my God, you must be exhausted. And I'm like, exactly the opposite. I came off the last call so pumped up because we found a solution to this founder problem. Like, I didn't know I was, I wasn't working, I was helping founders, right? Like that's what I love to do. So there's no level of exhaustion. There's not even a sense that you're working time passes without even knowing it. Right. That's when you know you're in that spot, right? That's when you know that you've got a good alignment between the thing that you love to do and how you're spending your time, right? Call it work, call it whatever you want. But it's really just an alignment between what I love to do and what am I actually

Wil Schroter: doing? You know, if I rewind back to again our inception 10 years ago, one of the things that I think worked really well for us because we stayed on this path and I'd love to see more founders do. This is year over year. We chipped away at shit we didn't want to do, right? And we just became more and more aligned with the things that we did want to do as a team, as a company, as a product, et cetera. And I think that should be the goal. The goal for every founder should be chipping away year after year at the things they don't want to do to align closer to the things that they do want to do. Now again, some people will be like, I hate this business. I actually don't enjoy it at all. The last eight companies that I ran, if you told me I had to do those companies for the rest of my life. I, that had a much different answer. So the point here is for a lot of people listening to this, they're like, hey, I like my startup. I'm glad it pays the bills, but I don't wanna do this for the rest of my life. Cool. Shouldn't the plan then be, what do I wanna do for the rest of my life? What if you started the plan? It looked like this step one. I wanna do something that I enjoy for 100 years. But it's a job. It's a real job that has purpose, that has outcome. Maybe it doesn't pay as much as something else. Could Ryan you and I could go do other things that pay more, but they would suck. Right.

Ryan Rutan: I'm not, I don't want to do those things. Yeah,

Wil Schroter: exactly. We don't want to do those things. But what if, what if the, the conversation changed from, how do I stop working to, how do I keep working in better and better terms? Year after year. I think that's interesting. It is,

Ryan Rutan: it is super interesting. It's funny. I just had a conversation with a founder friend yesterday and he came to me all excited the night before had an epiphany and wanted to talk about it. So we got on the phone yesterday and, and we're talking through it and what he said he was like, you know, this might sound crazy. He's like, but I figured out what I wanna do for the rest of my life and I said, brother, that doesn't sound crazy at all. That sounds fantastic. And here's the best part about it. Even if you're wrong, it's right for right now. It's right. Like if, even if you're, you end up changing your mind later when you have that feeling that you found that thing that you wanna do forever now, forever, it may change. But like, it's such a good place to be in and, you know, he's at that spot where he's like, I'm not even, you know, I don't have the specifics of it yet, you know, I, but I know who I want to impact and I have a rough idea how, and I want this to be the thing that I continue doing and evolving for the rest of my life. And like, that's, it's so insanely powerful when you hit that spot, right. And again, it doesn't matter if he's right or wrong and, and if this last the next five years, the next 10 years, the next 20 the next 80 doesn't really matter because what I do know is that he's gonna be really happy for the period in which he is chasing this until he finds something else. He'd rather chase. Right. Which is

Wil Schroter: awesome. A friend of mine owns a junior, like soccer development program and years ago, a few years back, he sat down with me and he said he's very frustrated with the program. It wasn't growing at the rate, wanted it to grow. But he loves soccer. He was the head coach for Harvard soccer for, I think, a decade. I know what

Ryan Rutan: he's doing right now. I can tell you what he's doing right at this moment. You know, he's watching a World Cup

Wil Schroter: game. Yeah, I'm sure, I'm sure. And so he and I hadn't talked in a few years last week we got lunch and caught up. I said, what are you up to? He said I have the most aggressive plan ever. He's 68 years old. He's, he's in decent shape. Right. But he's, you know, he, he can't run around the kids like he used to. Right. He said I bought a building to basically an indoor court. I bought some fields to start running those. I bought some club leagues to start doing those. And he's like, look, man, I can't run like I used to, but I'm smarter than I've ever been. And I have more means and I have more capabilities. So I just transformed what, you know what I was aging out of to something I can age into and run for the next 30 years. And he said, I've never been more excited because I always tied my career to this kind of end point. And he is like, it never occurred to me to step back out and say, well, what if it looked totally different? And I thought that was super interesting because he's never been more excited, you know, something that's really funny about everything we talk about here is that none of it is new. Everything you're dealing with right now has been done 1000 times before you, which means the answer already exists. You may just not know it, but that's ok. That's kind of what we're here to do. We talk about this stuff on the show, but we actually solve these problems all day long at groups dot startups dot dot com. So if any of this sounds familiar, stop guessing about what to do, let us just give you the answers to the test and be done

Ryan Rutan: with it. That's amazing. It's interesting. I had this conversation a few weeks ago with somebody else who is transitioning very much in the same way similar in age and was really having a hard time with the notion of stepping back from the business. And that was the language that she kept using. She kept saying, stepping back, I'm, you know, I'm stepping back, I'm stepping back and we got to a point in the conversation where I finally said, like, what if we look at this differently? Like I think you're not stepping back, you're stepping forward into a new phase and new role where you're not gonna be doing a lot of the stuff that you were doing because it's now physically exhausting. You don't want to be traveling the country all the time. You don't want to be doing some of the heavy lifting stuff that you were doing before. Now, you can move into more of like an angel role where you're just out spreading the mission, you know, talking to the really important people having the, the really, really, really high level conversations that you absolutely love. And this is what the next version that looks like because you're now more capable than ever of doing that thing. You now have that power which took you 30 40 years to develop and now you're there. So use that, utilize that. And once we turned the conversation that direction, all of a sudden, like the light was back in the eyes and she was super excited and we've, you know, exchanged a couple of emails since and, and she's was really, really, really happy and thinking about the fact that this doesn't have to end because she was at that same point, she's like, this is where the road ends for me in relation to this endeavor. And it turned out that was just absolutely patently untrue. There's another really interesting point here and this, this actually comes out of some reading I did with a guy named Dave Asbury who some people may be familiar with a bit of a bio hacker. His whole shtick is, he wants to live to 100 and 80 which I hope he makes it because I'm a little younger than he is. And if he does it, then maybe I can follow him, it'd be amazing. His point being that as we extend life, not just the, the, the duration but the quality of life. If we keep people healthy and happy and mentally acute further into life, the knowledge transfer that exists is so amazing. If you've been doing something for 50 60 70 years, the retention is insane when we have knowledge workers where workforce turnover occurs on the old retirement plan of 20 to 25 years, we're having to replace that knowledge every 20 to 25 years. And there's only so much transfer that occurs if you're around for 60 70 years doing the same thing or, or you know, some version of that thing, imagine how much higher the level of expertise that's shared with the world is, it's an incredible thought. And I think again, like if you're not doing something you enjoy, that sounds horrible. Right. You're like, oh my God, do you want me to do. You want me to keep doing this for 70 years bur into tears, just jump out the window. If you align that passion and that love and have this sense that I can transition what I'm doing over time, then you're in a really great space.

Wil Schroter: A couple of things you touched on. One is knowledge, but let's expand that a little bit. Let's call it wisdom where you've been around the block, right? And experience where you know, again, uh knowledge is a factor of that. But when I say that I'll give you two examples. One of somebody insignificant one, somebody incredibly significant. I

Ryan Rutan: hope you mentioned me in the first case.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. Oh Damn. Um The incredibly significant one would be Warren Buffett last few years as crypto is taken off, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, you know, both in their nineties as curmudgeon as they get were like, it doesn't have fundamentals, right? You know, it's, it's not pegged to this, it doesn't do this, it doesn't do this. And at the time everyone was like, go after self. You know what I mean? You old, you know, curmudgeon like uh this is the way of the world and lo and behold as things start to unravel what these guys are saying is look, man, I don't have like some special lens. I just have a lot of experience and I just know that every time someone tries to run one of these schemes it doesn't end well for the same reasons. Going to something insignificant. Me, 30 years in this business and we're going through the third kind of unraveling of everything and all these founders, like, oh my God, I can't believe it. Nobody's, you know, investors aren't investing right now, having to do down rounds and all this stuff. I'm like, third time I've been through it. Right. I was like, this

Ryan Rutan: is, yeah, exactly. First time for you. But this is not the first time the world's going through this. That's

Wil Schroter: the thing. And I look at it, it sucks every time, right? But I'm like, and you know what? And you'll be fine on the other end of it, it sucks. It's awful and you'll be fine on the other end of it. Now. Imagine had more and more founders that were out there that just weren't me that had been through this enough times. Maybe not do as much dumb shit every cycle every seven years. People like, oh my God, startups imploded. It's like, hm, kind of keeps happening the same way every single time. Has anybody picked up on this?

Ryan Rutan: No, but, but that's, this is so true of so many aspects of the founder journey, right? Which is that we feel like we're the only ones experiencing this. This must be the only time this has ever happened. I'm the only one that's ever screwed this up, literally had this conversation yesterday as well, which the founder described the situation he was in as, you know, this feels very weird to me and I said it feels very weird to you because you're going through it for the first time right now. I can tell you, it's not very weird. This looks like 95% of what every founder goes through. So there's nothing weird about it. I mean, it's not, it's not a comfortable situation, but this is what the path looks like, right? This is just par for the course. So try to feel a little less weird about it because this is, this is just how it goes.

Wil Schroter: But if people can keep growing, you know, see, not just we live longer, let's say, you know, I don't want to base this on life extension. That would be wonderful, but let's also just talk about it in terms of we have jobs that we can just do longer. The cool thing about that. And what I'm most excited about is I've got assuming I live this long, 50 more years to level up. I think of how much I accomplished from a cold start career wise in 30 years. And I'm like, holy cow, I get to do maybe one or two more of those. Can you imagine how much we'll know Ryan in 30 years from now? I mean, just so many things we've absorbed, not just experience like we talked about with Warren Buffett, but just baseline knowledge and then the other side of it is because we have a cool job where our knowledge we get to package and put back out into the world. Last year, we created something called the pitch deck perfection course. And it was just a play by play of exactly how to be the pitch deck. Now, prior to that, that was stuck in our heads for a long, long, long time. And every conversation we said the same thing over and over and over. And finally we're like, oh, let's just record

Ryan Rutan: this. Only there was a way to capture this information and share it with people at scale.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. And so we did, you know, a year ago and lo and behold now every single person that goes through that course, by the way, if anybody here is listening and, and you are creating a pitch deck, email us at therapy at startups dot com, we'll get you the course and we'll save you 1000 hours of time. But now I think about that as just one unit and I think how many other things can we put on the rails so that founders never need to do this again. And it's a million things. So when I say how cool it is that we level up, I don't just mean selfishly, I mean, we level up by taking what we know and giving it to everyone else. So they level up creating a, you know, a compounding effect. That's awesome to me.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah, it was, it's funny, somebody was telling me a story of, uh, Thanksgiving dinner from a few weeks ago and that just last week, oh, my God. That was last week, whatever time flies when you're having fun when you love what you do. And they were saying that they were really impressed by this 22 year old cousin that was there because of this individual's desire to kind of go around the room and was talking to a lot of the older people who were otherwise kind of relegated to corners and just gathering dust and was extracting stories and knowledge. And then she sort of noticed this and then asked him and he's like, you know, it's, it's really interesting that you're spending this much time with, you know, a lot of the older relatives. And he was like, like there's just, there's so much to learn from them and there's, there's so much knowledge there and there's so much history and there's so many things that they experience that I never will get to just simply because times have changed, but how much perspective they have, how much knowledge, experience all these things. And I think that that's a big part of this entire conversation is that we have to not write off the older generations as irrelevant. You know, you and I the the cool is, is washing off us day by day, right? Like we're no longer young and cool. But we are more and more knowledgeable and experienced. And so I think it's incumbent on all of us to remember those things and not to write somebody else say, you know, their success was 20 years ago. Yeah. And right, that doesn't mean it's not relevant. Right now. There may be things about it that are less relevant, right. They may start talking about, you know, building that site in front page with extensions, we're not gonna go do that part of it, right? But the the idea that there's nothing to learn from somebody who is successful at any point is ludicrous to me, right? And so I think a big part of this is respecting that knowledge and making sure that we, we look for these people who are still doing the thing, right? That should be indicator number one. If you see somebody who's still trying to do something at 70 or 80 it means that they love what they do the chance is that they're not really fucking smart about whatever that thing is pretty much

Wil Schroter: zero. Well, I think the other side of it too is, you know, how well you stay in the game, you and I have more data inputs on what founders are doing, outcomes issues, et cetera than we've ever had in our lives. A year from now, we'll have exponentially more and a year from now, we'll have exponentially more so our ability to synthesize that data. But even get, the data is greater than it's ever been. Now, if we were to say we sold something, let's say, 20 years ago and we haven't been in the founder world since coming out of retirement. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That one's a little bit different. In fact, we've talked about this in the past. I see dangerous patterns happen when people are so unaware. You know, they don't have self-awareness to say, well, this is how it worked in my business. Like dude, your business hasn't been relevant in 20 years and you have haven't leveled up in that time. I'm talking about something different. I'm talking every year. How do we get more engaged? How do we get more on the ground? How do we get, you know, more tied into the nexus of everything that's happening, the zeitgeist of everything that's happening in the founder world. Well, it's not

Ryan Rutan: complicated things like you described like taking that knowledge that you had been sharing serially for years and repackaging that into a better form. And I think that we're just, we use that as a metaphor for ourselves, right? As individuals, as founders, we just need to continuously repackage ourselves and how we deliver the value that we have. So that that exponential gain isn't lost because that's the other thing that ends up happening, right? Like yes, you and I have a ton of inputs from the founder world because of what we do. We're super lucky. We have really fun jobs where we get to talk to founders all day long. If we don't continuously repackage and learn from that and change how we transfer all that accumulated knowledge. It's lost. Right. And that's a, that's a huge pity. So, it's, it's not easy but it's simple. Right. I think that's, it's, it's a beautiful thing and that we can just constantly kind of reinvent how we're doing the thing that we're doing in order to stay relevant, right? And I think that that's the probably the hardest part, but not impossible, especially if you love what you do.

Wil Schroter: I think part of this path then for founders, as we're trying to think of, I wanna keep doing what I love part of the challenge if you will. And I think it's a good, healthy challenge is how do I level up forever again? How do I make sure that every year I'm compounding the value of what I do. Maybe I'm helping more people or I'm, you know, getting more distribution for my knowledge, et cetera. I'm connected to more people, whatever it is in your particular career that would make you exponentially more valuable year after year, I wanna be 100 x more valuable in 10 or 20 years than I am now because the knowledge I've gained because, because how I distribute the knowledge et cetera. And I think that becomes a much different goal. If that's my goal, then the idea of not doing it. Like, how do I turn all that off? Seems ludicrous.

Ryan Rutan: It does. I wanna circle back to this thing about staying relevant. Right. And, and leveling up, I think one of the things that it takes is some intentionality, right? And some, some real effort in doing that because what we tend to see instead is that people figure something out that they're good at and they continue to do just that same thing and it doesn't really evolve and it continues to be relevant for a period of time and then it's just not. And so I think that it takes zooming out probably annually at least every couple of years and saying, OK, how can I rethink the accumulated knowledge that I have and how can I retool that to be as relevant to today as possible as opposed to just kind of trying to run that same playbook year after year after year, which, which will work to some degree and then, and then it has a finite lifespan and then it's done and nobody picks up the book anymore. And instead we just need to constantly be adding a new chapter that accumulates all that we've done and takes that and repurpose it for, for that higher power. I think that's where the leveling up comes from, right. I think that if we just continue to do exactly the same thing, obviously, not much changes, but in addition to kind of making those changes over time. I think we have to constantly go back and reevaluate. OK. Now, what, what's the underlying architecture of who I am and what I know and what I've done and how do I make the most out of that now? And that to me is a really intentional effort that's not just stick around long enough and you'll become this sage that people will continue to come to and ask the hard questions, right? We're not trying to become the oracle of Delphi here. It's something more important than that, right? It's about maintaining relevance through this accumulation, right? How do we level up and then how do we use those level ups to exponentially level up to your point? Like you want to be 100 x more valuable in 10 years, right? Not 10 X more valuable,

Wil Schroter: right? Agreed. The way I think about it is I think the conversation around retirement and work and not just retirement is broken. I think if we start thinking about our futures as founders, not as a journey to the end, where we're trying to get to the end, where we sell it or something. And that's the end, some terminal point. Absolutely. But a perpetual journey. If we start thinking about our entire journey as founders as a perpetual journey, and each year within that journey is cumulative, each year, we're gonna be better and better at what we do, we're also gonna chip away at things we don't want to do. It's not just us being better. It's also a matter of us doing it in terms that feel better and better each day 100

Ryan Rutan: percent. And, you know, it's funny, I just had this conversation with somebody the other day as well, which was we're talking about kind of the intensity of what we do. Right. And, and it is, it's intense. Right. There's, you know, between, you know, working directly with the founders to figuring out what tools we're gonna build next, what of our knowledge we're gonna package and be able to offer people because I had said no to attending things on a couple of occasions with this individual. And they were like, man, you seem like you're overly busy and I would say here's the funny thing, I don't feel that way and then the conversation turned towards, well, like how much longer do you want to go at that pace? How much longer do you want to, to do that? And, and they're like, you know, at what point do you want to stop doing that or what point do you want to retire? Like does it when you exit? Is it when this happens when that happens? And I said to them, you know, it's funny if, if you were really to ask me like that question, like when do I want to retire? I would say I am as retired right now as I want to be. It's a great way to look at it. Yeah, I have enough time to do the things that I love and want to do, which include my work. Right. I've gotten rid of and I've chipped away and we talked about, I, I've taken some pretty specific measures towards doing this, including moving around the globe until I found the place where I could exist in a way that I'm happy and able to spend my time mostly doing things I wanna do and eliminate the shit that I don't to your point, chip away the things you don't want to do, right? I'm as retired as I need to be right now. And I work most of the time I work, you know, air quoting that for those of you that aren't watching this on youtube, air quoting the work piece because it just doesn't feel like work. It's just another one of the things in my day that I love to do that I get to do that. I'm happy to be doing,

Wil Schroter: right. And so that's an intentional journey. That is a very intentional journey where, you know, we've all sat down and said, how do we get to this place? And what I like to think is that year, over year, it will actually get better. And again, I don't want to paint what Ryan and I do as like we're in, we're stressed as fuck right on a whole bunch of things, right? So it's, it's not quite that simple, but more importantly, we know we've got a bit of a North Star as to where we're trying to get. So that each year gets better and more importantly, on a sense of longevity to say if we can stay on this path and it gets better year after year and not just financially but just, you know, we're having more impact, we're enjoying how we spend our day more, et cetera. Then why would we want to stop doing it? And I think for the folks listening, I think if you're on a path right now where you're looking at your business and you're saying, I do not want to be doing this anymore. Totally cool. We're not saying torture your business into something that it shouldn't be. What we are saying is think about your North Star, think about where you want to be long term. What you'd love to be doing for the rest of your life and start to put a plan together, which could include exiting your own business, et cetera. So that every day is another step toward working toward that goal, that's how you actually get there. So in addition to all the stuff related to founder groups, you've also got full access to everything on startups dot com. That includes all of our education tracks, which will be funding customer acquisition, even how to manage your monthly finances. They're so much stuff in there. All of our software including BIZ plan for putting together detailed business plans and financials launch rock for attracting early customers and of course fund for attracting investment capital. When you log into the startups dot com site, you'll find all of these resources available.

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