Startup Therapy Podcast

Episode #193

Ryan Rutan: Welcome back to another episode of the Startup therapy podcast. This is Ryan Rotan joined as always by my friend and the founder and CEO of startups dot com. Will Schroeder will is, is our official first episode of 2023. And man, what a year, 2022 was, I believe you've said according to tech crunch, uh with worst year in startup history in, in a long time, right? Tough year, tough year for everybody, tough year for everybody. So give it that the market conditions are what they are given all of the shit that we're seeing right now and the things that we're having to deal with, it seems like there's probably a lot of fairly tough conversations going on. So I thought maybe today we could dig into like, where are we seeing these happen and how do we deal with them?

Wil Schroter: Yeah, I mean, we're seeing it literally everywhere right now. There isn't a single founder, management team member, et cetera. That's saying, well, this is gonna go well, going forward but, but, and that's not even just a matter of a moment in time. I think that every business hits an inflection point where it looks at itself and says this might be, it, this might be all the business is going to be. Or maybe we raised too much money if you've raised money and we're at a point where my deal isn't that good. You know, I took a low salary in order to get this thing started and I sacrificed a lot. But now I'm just a guy that's really underpaid. Like, like there's, there's nothing iag about what I'm doing. I'm just not getting paid. And so how do you have that conversation in this case today, we'll talk about with your board to say my deal sucks. Yeah, I've been at this for a long time. I've just been not getting paid, not to mention how much I sacrificed before we got to this point.

Ryan Rutan: And the sacrifices tend to be exponential if not just a creative at best and exponential at worst in terms of that trade-off, in terms of time and money, right? If you're consistently being underpaid also, and, and we don't always account for this. The job doesn't tend to get easier as the startup gets older and grows. Um, you know, even if it's not, you know, starting to, to generate massive net profit or something like that, the complexity of running the business often get more and more and more as time passes, right? Just that tends to be the nature of the beast, particularly post funding as you take on new staff, more overheads, you know, broaden scope. All of these things tend to make your life more complicated. And if you're still making precede salary in a company that's been well funded or

Wil Schroter: not, or it's not well funded anymore. Like, it was well funded at one point

Ryan Rutan: once upon a time. Yeah. Yeah. It's that episode where Scrooge mcduck dives into the vault and he hits the bottom because, like, somebody's taking it all out, right. It's not a good feeling. The

Wil Schroter: reason this has been so top of mind is because in the last quarter, particularly the last quarter of 2022 but this isn't that new. But boy, it happened a lot in the last quarter of 2022 having a lot of conversations with founders that are saying, look, either I've been here for a long time. I'm in year eight, let's say of my startup and we raise some money, et cetera, but it's gone or we built a startup. It's not a bad startup, but we've been doing it for long enough that it kind of just is what it is and my incentive going forward just isn't that good in the early days in the early days when we were first fundraising, we can make a case for kind of any package. You know, we can say, oh, I'm only gonna make $90,000 which, you know, for a CEO et cetera obviously is extremely low, but we can make that case because we're like, oh, well, I've got less equity now, but it's a smaller piece of a bigger pie. So that pie is actually baked. Right. And then we actually know what this thing is or it's not. And we can say, hm, actually, my deal just sucks. And so the question becomes, how do we actually go back to our board and have that discussion and actually make it work and there's an actual process to it stuff Ryan. You know, I take people through on a regular basis and it works a

Ryan Rutan: much more regular basis as of late. Unfortunately. Yeah. Yeah, a lot of shots on this goal, unfortunately,

Wil Schroter: unfortunately. But what happens is, let's say we've raised a bunch of money, Ryan you and I are raising right? And we've done round after round some of those rounds have preferences which for those of you that aren't familiar means that if we were to sell the company, the amount that investor has a preference goes to them first or anything gets divided and then we divide up the rest. So there could be enough preferences if we had a $10 million preference on the cap table. That means someone's gonna get $10 million before we start dividing any of the remainder. We may look at the business and say this is only worth $10 million. So

Ryan Rutan: that means I'm gonna get zero divided by how many people it doesn't work.

Wil Schroter: So there's typically a few different situations that we're dealing with and, and for those that are listening that are starting to lean in a little bit, I'm sure one of these applies to you. Number one, you raised a bunch of money and either you're buried in the cap table on preferences or how much you own in the company. Number two, the company is actually making some profit, but you're not allowed to get any because technically, it all goes back to the company, Ryan. You and I have built this mythical company, let's say it's a $5 million business, not what we expected it to be, but it's making a million dollars in profit. And as it stands right now, you and I can't touch any of that profit because it's supposed to stay within the company,

Ryan Rutan: stay in the company. Drive growth, drive higher valuation, drive the next round of funding, drive an exit, whatever to create liquidity for everyone

Wil Schroter: else, everyone else. Right. And then the third situation is we just took a really low salary and in many cases, we're probably working for a fraction of what we could otherwise get in the market. And maybe it's a combination of all

Ryan Rutan: of those I was gonna say. Yeah, quite often. It's, it's all three. Yeah,

Wil Schroter: you bet. And so for a few of the situations we consulted in, it actually had a lot to do with the founders making good money, but they couldn't pull money out. I had a founder, this was a couple of years ago before things really went sideways. I had a founder who was, who had a business doing $10 million in revenue. Which is great. Right. But about two million in profit. Right. Really good. But he raised a bunch of money. Not so much money, not like, you know, tens of millions, you know, single digit millions. But because of that, he kept looking at it like, well, I guess the business makes money but I don't make any money. I'm like, time to change that deal. Right. Like, let's

Ryan Rutan: reshuffle the deck on that one real quick. A

Wil Schroter: 100%. The other is I start off with a crap salary and I do that because I want to show that I'm so invested in this company, a salary is not important until it just becomes a job and at which point you're looking at it going, I just get shit pay. Yeah. Yeah.

Ryan Rutan: If this is a short term run and it's like, this is my give, right? This is my skin in the game, right. This is, and we, we talk about this a lot. I mean, there are plenty of V CS who actually come out and said, like, here are the Maxes that will pay on a salary for a CEO at a given stage of funding. They're never generous. Some are, some are more egregious than others, but they've actually come out and said, like here are the caps and so that's fine when you're on an upward trajectory. Right. And because then the expectation is we'll hit another round of funding, we'll change that salary a bit, we'll hit another round of funding. We'll change that salary bit. Maybe we'll get to a, you know, a series CD E and even create a little bit of liquidity to take some money off the table and that'll make up for all of this. But to your point and sort of just statistics, most companies don't make it to those stages. It's just the, it's just the law of the way it works. And so you end up at that plateau that you're talking about, which again, it may not be bad, right? You know, we talk about startups failing, this isn't failing, this is succeeding, it's just not succeeding to a degree that allows you to extract the value that you'd hoped for financially personally. And this can be a real pain in the ass. You know, if you're eight years into making half your market salary, it's a big deal, right? And there's no end to that in sight. It's an even bigger deal because how long do you keep sacrificing that without any, any visibility on what we can do to change the trajectory of this thing? And sometimes it happens, right? You and I have seen businesses that have operated for 57, 10 years at a relatively stable rate and then something happens, something comes along. I mean, I don't remember how long zoom was in business before the pandemic, but their business sure shit changed when the pandemic hit. Right. And so they had probably been fairly stable with some growth and then all of a sudden the growth went exponential. So we don't know when these things will happen. We can't count on it. Right. They're black Swans, right? They're Black Swans. So this is an extremely painful situation to be in where you're just now at plateau and you're giving up all that future value uh that you could have been accumulating up until now with a higher salary market rate salary by simply foregoing it because we were supposed to grow. So what do we do now that we're not growing?

Wil Schroter: Right? And what, what statistically happens when we raise money is we raise money hoping that we're gonna be that Black Swan. And statistically like 90% of the time or more, we're not going to be that company. It's part nobody talks about, but that's, that's part of it. We end

Ryan Rutan: up at Tyson Chicken.

Wil Schroter: Yeah. And so within that, we're charged as the, the founders of CEO S management team we're charged with now running this different vision. In many cases, the investors will probably never get out, you know, whatever they thought they were getting in for and the valuations they set are never going to happen now. It always gets in a little bit of a challenging situation to try to convince the investor that what they thought was going to happen didn't happen. It's a bit of an ego hit for us because we are trying to, you know, get excited about that optimism. And now we got to kind of eat crow to say, I know I said it could be this, but now it actually is this a real investor, people who do this for a living and aren't total a hoes will know this, right. This

Ryan Rutan: is the way most of them go.

Wil Schroter: Yes. Yes. But statistically you're going to run in a situation if you raise money where you raise money for a big outcome, the big outcome didn't happen. And now you're, you raised for X and now you're dealing with Y. So a big part of what we need to do is we need to reset expectations to what Y actually is. This is what we thought the world was gonna be. This is what the world actually is, is now and within that world, I'm pretty poorly. Um

Ryan Rutan: Why in this case is why I need to get paid more if I'm gonna keep doing this shit. Right.

Wil Schroter: Exactly. Exactly. So here's what we do. The first thing we do, step one is we have to make sure that whomever we're gonna present to as you go through this process, this doesn't feel like a nice to have this is where people blow this thing up before they even get started. They, they show up and they say it'd be really nice if I could get paid more. Hey,

Ryan Rutan: guys, what do you think about, you know? You know, I had this funny idea the other day. It's gonna, it's gonna go exactly nowhere. It'd

Wil Schroter: be really cool. If we could reset the cap table, no one is going to be ok with that. It would be really cool.

Ryan Rutan: If you could just scale it and sell it, will

Wil Schroter: your answer? Oh man, if, if we're upside down the cap table, if we're upside down in the uh in our salaries, if we're upside down in our incentive comp structures, you name it, whatever we're upside down in, no one is going to come to us and say, you know, guys, I don't know what you're thinking, but we really need to compensate you better. I'm afraid I'm afraid you're not gonna ask. So I'm just gonna give it to you, right? Like that will never happen. You got

Ryan Rutan: that house, you got those kids. You know, we were just thinking what you could probably use is a little extra scratch. Yeah, they, they're not coming to you with that.

Wil Schroter: What doesn't happen is if we go when we make this a nice to have, it's as good as not asking at all. So the first thing we have to get into mentally and step one is to make this an absolutely binary decision. It has to be, I get this or I walk now with the caveat, chances are, if we don't get it, we probably won't walk. So it's a bit of a bluff. You know, every negotiation is however, we need to know for our own sanity if we are buried in the cap table and we're never going to see a penny if we have no way to extract any of that profit we're making. If we have no way to get paid a market salary, wouldn't it be nice to know that? Because otherwise we're kind of sitting around hoping that maybe the angel will come and fix all this for us that, that angel never comes. We need to know now where we stand.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. And I think that I, so I had this conversation, it's been probably 2.5, 3 months ago now with the founder, similar similar situation, they had, they had reached a good level of revenue, but it was, you know, far less than the expectations and far less than what they needed to be able to kind of create any further liquidity in the company. So we, we suggested exactly this path, right. Which is that you go, you make it binary say, look, I this isn't worth me doing anymore. I could go get a 9 to 5 job and start making more money immediately with things like benefits and weekends. And so, you know, we, we suggested that and his concern at the time was, you know, what, you know, what, what happens, right? If, if they do, if they call the bluff and, and I said, well, would you actually walk away? And he said, well, I don't know. And I said, you don't know now because there's still a chance that they're gonna say yes. And so I said, what you're gonna have after the fact is some clarity, you may not get the answer you want. But what you'll have is now you have clarity and you'll know I have to continue at this suboptimal level or I have to bounce. It's a much easier decision to make at that point. So I think that there's, that's a really, really critical thing for founders listening to this is that until you get to that moment where you sort of intentionally force your own hand by forcing theirs and saying, hey, it's this way or the highway, it becomes easier to know whether you'd actually take the highway or not when there's still this glimmer of hope. You still like, well, I don't know what I would do when you're faced with the certainty all of a sudden that that question becomes a lot easier to answer.

Wil Schroter: And the reality is if this conversation isn't gonna work, if, if you've gotten to this point where your comp is low, et cetera, you probably should go to something else. And again, easier said than done because job change and everything is very difficult, ton of friction, ton of emotion, totally

Ryan Rutan: get that the emotion, the ego, all of it, right? The team, if there's any left, right, depending on where you are in this. But again, the the scenario we're talking about today isn't the wind down of the startup. This is a startup that you a company at this point that is operationally sound, it is making money. It's just not making enough, it's not growing fast enough to do what it needs to do based on the choices you made historically,

Wil Schroter: 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 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 with it. Typically, what happens is the company becomes what it was going to become. So we all start up with the same business plan that says we're gonna be four years and $100 million right?

Ryan Rutan: Have you, have you softened that? Yeah,

Wil Schroter: Yeah, most businesses are 3 to 5 million.

Ryan Rutan: I thought it was 100 billion. After 500

Wil Schroter: million a year, 100 million revenue, but most businesses become 3 to $5 million businesses. The thing is when you're, uh, starting them, they can become anything. But after about seven years you've usually become what you're going to become. And I think that's the hard part, particularly for investors to swallow because they've still got, you signed up basically for the big plan as well. And after a while, you just look around and say it wasn't a big plan. Now, this is particularly like notable when you've raised a god awful amount of money. You've raised 50 100 billion, et cetera. And you're saying there's actually no way we're ever going to grow into the valuations that it took to raise that money.

Ryan Rutan: We'll never eclipse that. Yeah, it happens

Wil Schroter: all the time. OK? And so it is particularly happens as you raise more money just because from a problem ability, standpoint, the probability that you'll get to that that outcome is, is very low. But regardless, you get to a point where the business just is what it is and probably what it's going to be. And yeah, it might grow a little bit in the future. But your comp situation, you know where you stand, whether it's the cap table, whether it's a share of profits, whether it's your salary is all messed up now, in a lot of cases, if you've raised a bunch of money and it looks like you're gonna get nowhere near what you wanted to, then your percentage stake actually means nothing. Because again, you're, they're sitting behind preferences or you're so behind in the cap table, you're never gonna see a penny. Right?

Ryan Rutan: Or it's just unlikely to go liquid. Right. It just, it just may never get there anyways.

Wil Schroter: And maybe that's ok. Maybe like, you know what? I actually love the business if I could get paid. Well, I'm good. Right. But for a lot of folks, you know, it's far from that. So again, sometimes the comp structure, another one that I'm seeing more often, which is kind of a good thing is the companies actually do make money, but they don't get any of it. So I, I've got a, I got a buddy who's, uh, running a company, he started, raised a few million dollars. He's got about 3.5 $4 million in revenue, but it makes about a million in profit. But you can't touch any of that. And, and why is that for folks that aren't familiar? It's because once you have a board and once you have investors, that money kind of sits in the company as the company's money used to grow the company itself. And theoretically that's what it would do. But more often than not your business, your 3 $3.5 million business. That's just what it is. It's just a $3.5 million business that throws off a million dollars. Ryan. If you and I own that business, we're happier than now. Right. But if we just work at the business and we watch it, sit at this, this kind of like third party account that doesn't benefit, fit us at all. We got no incentive.

Ryan Rutan: Yeah. No incentive. And, you know, we, we see companies in this, in this state all the time, right? Where they, they begin to accumulate cash. So cash obviously isn't the growth rate limiting factor here, right. That's not the case. If it was, they'd use the cash and they'd grow more and then we wouldn't be having this conversation. They can't figure out or the market size just wasn't big enough or the product market fit wasn't there with as big of a market as they thought. And so more cash isn't really going to fix the problem. They begin to accumulate it. You know, buddy of mine, they were sitting on like $15 million in accumulated earnings in the company, right? They had raised a fair amount of money quite a very significant amount of money and, but this 15 million was locked up. They didn't have anywhere to spend. It was like we can't, there's no, we can, we can, we can go spend it, right. We can go waste it, we can go spend it on, on staff that we're not really what we're sure to deal with. You know, maybe we'll rent some offices or something, maybe we'll, you know, we'll, we'll spend it on a bunch of paid search that we know is not gonna back out. We'll run some media campaigns. Right. There were things they could have spent it on, but they had already played those out. They knew those weren't going to meaningfully contribute to, to bottom line or growth or top line. And so what's the point? Right? You just end up in this super weird situation where there's plenty of money for an individual or a small founding team, but it's not enough to satisfy or even pay back the investors, right? It wasn't enough to pay back what they'd raised. And so people weren't gonna be like, well, yeah, you know, it's cool. You just go ahead and, you know, you take a mini retirement off this and we'll just write off the loss. That sounds fun. Right? Nobody was saying that either at some point, a conversation like that has to happen, right? Because there's no point in just accumulating money in account that nobody can benefit from

Wil Schroter: agreed. And so the second step then is we've got to figure out who we're gonna take this binary decision to. So here's the process and this is the part that people tend to, to be unaware of what we do is we pick off our friendlies as we call them within the board. Typically the board distribution is always an odd number of people and we're one of them. So let's say it's a five person board and we're one of the seats and in this case, the four other seats are not one of your co-founders. There's always a spectrum of who's on your board from someone that you like to someone that it's a complete a hole always in every board. And my first question is who's the A hole? And they're like, oh, oh, well, I, I, I it's, it's actually Rick and it's like, well, ok, we're gonna go to Rick last. OK? Because I gotta tell you, Rick ain't gonna be on board with this process, but there's always somebody that's more friendly. It's usually a person that you brought on the board or somebody you, you just maintain a good relationship with and we start with them. We start with them because we're trying to kind of build consensus. But we also want to bring this idea to a person who's most malleable with their response if we take it to Rick the A hole and he's just like, go f yourself, that doesn't really get us very far.

Ryan Rutan: It doesn't end. In fact, I mean, it can be the end of it, right? Because then yes, you could go to the other. But guess what, Rick's likely to have a conversation with the other board members in short order and begin swaying them in his direction. So to me, this is all about getting the pendulum moving in the direction we want it to move from the beginning. So to your point, start with somebody friendly, start with somebody that, you know, you can sway and not manipulate, right? We're not saying like, you know, pick, pick the rub. We're saying, you know, start with some but who will understand the situation for what it is and be interested in a beneficial outcome, right? And begin there. Not with Rick. And the

Wil Schroter: conversation looks like this. Let's say it's Shelley, right. Shelley's are, are cool, friendly, Shelley. Here's the deal. I'm 37 years old. I've just started a family. I haven't yet got a house. I'm thinking about like kids through school and everything. I can't keep working like this. I can't put in the hours like this for the compensation. I have to make big boy money or I can't work here anymore. Now, I understand we thought this was gonna be X the situation is now, y I totally get it. I am totally sober as to what happened and I take full responsibility. But the situation is what it is here is what I need to be incentivized to keep working here. Here's what I need for salary, here's what I need for incentive comp, here's what I need for equity and those are three levers that we're gonna play with, you know, throughout this discussion Shelley, what I'm asking you is how would you structure this? How would you help me uh do it in a way that's fair. But also help me communicate this to the rest of the board members. So the goal here for the first friendly is to get Shelley on our side. But to also ask her if she can help us figure out what the package would be. But we have to lead with. I can't do this anymore. I want to, I can't, I

Ryan Rutan: wanna be here, but this is no longer a tenable situation, right? I am taking on water or I'm at least not progressing the way that I need to be. Right? And, and everybody will understand that, right? Everyone had financial goals related to this difference between an investor board member. Founder is that the founder only has this opportunity, right? They're not doing something else, right? They're not right? That one card to play and they're completely consumed by it. Whereas the investors may have 10 of the bets, five of the businesses, whatever it is and good for them, right? But we have to, they have to bear in mind that the situation is extremely, extremely different for the founder. Let's talk for just a second will about some of the levers that, that we have to whole year you touched on him earlier. But I think that, you know, to your point around getting Shelley to help us figure out what the package looks like let's talk about specifically what we mean by that, the leverage that we have to pull, depending on the condition of the business to re incentivize the founders is really what we're talking about now. It's like, ok, I'm no longer incentivized at the level that we're at, you know, we planned out, we're here, I'm operating, I'm doing everything I can, nothing's changing. And so in order for me to stay, this course, something does have to change if the business isn't gonna change my financial relationship with the business has to change. So there's three levers in my mind. But what are, what do we plan with

Wil Schroter: here? Put them in an order because I think this will help as well. 12 and three, I would say the number one thing, believe it or not is salary. And I only say that because it's a guarantee

Ryan Rutan: and it's the one that's the most immediately

Wil Schroter: useful. Correct. That's, that's, that's really what I mean. I would say I want my salary to change. Now, in a lot of cases, there's no money for a salary to change. Ok. Next up, I want my incentive how much I could share in the profit if there isn't any yet. If I make some, I need to know that if we make a million dollars that I get X percent of that, obviously, I'm not getting paid what I should my salary. So I wanna get it paid there. Cool. The third is if I can't make those first two happen and we're going in order of what I'll actually get, actually get paid, I'll need more equity because I'm down to X percentage in the cap table and there's a bunch of preferences in front of me. I am guaranteed almost to never see any upside. So if you're saying you can't change my salary and you can't change my cash comp and you can't change my equity that you're basically saying you don't want me here anymore. Exactly.

Ryan Rutan: You want me to keep doing this and create an outcome for you that I won't benefit from. Right. Eddie lesson mark sounds reasonable.

Wil Schroter: Right? And so I tend to look at it in those three states of progression. Now, I might look at it differently if I felt differently, but it doesn't say maybe I want more equity. Maybe that's what this is really about. Maybe my cash comp I can live with. But I, what I really want is more equity and I've gotten trounced in the, in the cap table over multiple successive rounds. And so I want to be made whole again, that could certainly be something we're interested in. But that said, I want to make it clear, they got three levers and you could ask for more of all of them, you know, can't hurt to ask necessarily. But your conversation with the friendly is to, to do a few things first, we want to make sure they understand that you have to make a change. In other words, here's why I need to make a change right now. Going back to your points binary. This is not working for me anymore, right? You bet. The second is I need to be able to say here's what my target and here's what my goal is. And some people may be saying, well, I'm not sure what it is, work backward. Think of a, of a theoretical package that they came back to you with. If you said, holy shit, that's actually really good. That's your package. What you don't want to do is say what's the minimum that I would stick around for? Because that, that'll never turn out, it'll always be less than whatever you're about to ask for and then you

Ryan Rutan: just land it below your minimum where you already were. So you're incrementally better and still not where you wanna be in the

Wil Schroter: third is you wanna ask Shelley or whoever this friendly is? Am I insane? What I'm asking for is the message that I'm delivering is there's something about this where I'm just way off the mark because, you know, most people don't have a very good sense of self-awareness. They're like, you know, I think I should be getting paid a ton more and Shelley comes back to you. He's like, dude, you know, the board is about to fire you, right? I think

Ryan Rutan: you have, yeah, this might be the wrong time to ask for a raise. Uh,

Wil Schroter: yeah, like, uh, you haven't been doing real well. Why

Ryan Rutan: don't we shift this conversation to updating your resume?

Wil Schroter: Yeah, that's what I'm saying though. Like, if I already know that the powers that be, that control me from ever making more money, not only don't want me to make more money, they kind of don't want me or a combo

Ryan Rutan: worth a conversation. Yeah, that's one I think you can also sense check with a third party. I think before you even go to the board, I think you can talk to some other investors. Maybe people that aren't in your cap table, some other founders and get a little bit of a sense check before you come into that because you don't want a surprised look on your face when they come back with that.

Wil Schroter: The whole goal here is that you never go to everybody wants. So the first thing we do is we go to our friendly and we hash things out. We get a general gut check as to what we want is either feasible, the right timing, the right message, et cetera. So we massage the message, then we go to our second most friendly and this one's different because now we go as a team, it's not just us going, it's Shelley and I have both had this discussion and we agree that X Y Z John, what do you think? And then John chimes in. But the difference is John knows that Shelley is already on board with this. There's some outside validation. It's not just my opinion. Right.

Ryan Rutan: Right. Ok. So you and Shelley, I'm ok with it. I Rick's gonna be a tough sell though, guys.

Wil Schroter: Rick's always an A hole. Right. But here's where it gets interesting, let's say it's a five person board. By the time John comes around, maybe he has a couple of edits that he wants to make, et cetera. Guess what? We have a majority. We got

Ryan Rutan: three. Yep, we're good. We're good.

Wil Schroter: Depending on your board. Docs. It, it may not be enough. You mean consensus. But then we go to the fourth person who maybe isn't quite the a hole but is no friendly either. Right? But now we've got three people with basically, we've got a majority saying we want to get this done and it's a little bit more assumed that it's done, right? All along. And you've basically been having the conversation while you've been playing it as, hey, here's what we could talk about. You're really saying these are my demands. She said yes, he said yes. Now all you can do is basically go against all of us and you can do it, but you might not win. We have to show that the momentum is working against our less friendly members. Now there's always gonna be one or two people on the board that are typically like, go fuck yourself, right? Like you've been doing such a bad job, we're never getting our money back. You ruin this whole thing. You know, we are not on board, which is why we're building up to this so we can kind of force that conversation. Here's a best case scenario when we show up in the boardroom, so to speak. There's three, maybe 3.5, 4 of us convincing one person. That's the situation we're looking for. Ideally, by the time we get to the board meeting, we've gotten everybody on board. And one thing we always say is by the time you have the board meeting or whatever meeting, you might have to make this official, you'd never want to guess how it's gonna go. That decision should have already been spelled out, figured out, agreed upon and the board meeting is nothing more than a formality, whatever, you know, vote you need to take or decision you need to make was already made. The last thing you want to do is flash a, a slide up during one of your board meetings. But, you know, by the way, I think we should really renegotiate my comp I can tell you how that's gonna go. Not gonna end well, not, not

Ryan Rutan: gonna end well, not, not a happy finish to the board meeting. Yeah,

Wil Schroter: again, just recapping step. One is making this a very binary decision saying it has to happen Step two is progressively walking through our friendlies and making sure that each person is on board helping us shape the conversation. And ideally the outcome and also if we're gonna get dead stopped, I'd rather get dead stopped at person one or two. Then trying to present this to the whole board. Step three is once we've gotten anything close to consensus or ideally majority, depending again how your docs work, then we take it to the board decision and we have the conversation and decision. Then at which point we should not be surprised at what the outcome is, we should have already known, going into it where we're gonna land. 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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