#10 — Ryan Hoover — Products of our Environment
Below the Line with James Beshara

Full episode transcript -


Ryan Hoover is the founder and CEO of Product Hunt. The most popular way to discover new products and service is on the Web. In 2016 product Hunt was acquired by Angelis, the world's most popular way to invest in start ups. So it was a match made in heaven in many ways. But it's hard to say the path to that point wasn't fraught with its share of challenges. Ryan is one of the most popular voices. When it comes to new service is, and we cover the new trends. He's tracking his love of podcasting. The grass is on Lee greener version of this story for a venture backed founder, and the difference is he has noticed in his career, from being an employee to a founder, to a founder within a larger organization. But phys Irst. I want to go get something out of the way, and that is that if you want the easiest way to set up a professional premium podcast from your home,

go to play cast media dot com. Thank you, ah, to our sponsor. Play cast and get their premium podcast Senate box delivered right to you. Everything you need for premium podcast. All the equipment in for the guides. You on setting it up? Everything you need. I'm recording this on play cast equipment, and I have never sounded better. I cannot stand the sound of my voice on so many things, but for some reason this equipment, it makes it at least bearable. And, uh,

yeah, you can check them out of play cast media dot com and tell them James sent you. All right. Friends and listeners. Let's get to it with Ryan Hoover. This'll is below the line. Ryan, how are we doing? Doing well. How you doing, James? Doing well, It is. We're It's hard not to be doing well in. We're in Los Angeles right now. Post Coachella.

Post Coachella overlooking the city. Ah, beautiful, beautiful city. Know you've been here for for, uh, a little bit. And, uh, yeah, every time I come down like this is what great weather is. Yeah, it's always the same. Two,


two. Rarely. A bad day in L. A is like high sixties. Yeah, in overcast.


It's San Francisco is just has just enough good weather that it teases you completely. You get used to it for three days and around and you don't see it


for a month. And then you go back to San Francisco, which, you know, I love Sam's. Just go Don't get me wrong, but does not have


l A weather. No, no. Where in the world does? Well, thank you so much for taking the time to chat today. I'm ah, I'm excited to talk about a whole host of things, but one of things we're just chatting about that might be, ah, a poetic way to kick it. Office you were actually talking about, um, a podcasting company that launched a luminary. I'm and and it brought up that you are also ah, big fan, an investor of a company called Breaker,

which is a podcast kind of distribution at work, which is really, really cool. I've loved that at more and more that I've used it. What initially turned you And I think it was your first investment. He said, Yeah, it was the very first almost about two years ago now. And so what is, um what? What kicked off your fascination with podcasting, So I've always loved podcast. Have


listen to podcasts. I don't know. Since I was a kid, you know, mowing a lawn. In fact, one pro tip. If you ever moat, mow the lawn and listen to podcasts, get some some gun. Uh um What he called those noise canceling gun. Kind of familiar things. Put your headphones in there. Put the gun noise canceling headphones around them. And you can, you know, Listen,

your podcasts free of the long more noise. So I used to my parents mom and listen, podcast, go to the gym. Listen, podcasts drive to school. Listen, podcast. And so I've always loved the medium. And when problems started early on, we actually sort of the podcast partly for fun. It was actually more of a side thing, and and now we're doing proximate radio today. But, um, you know,

for me, podcasting and the reason why the reason what why breaker stood out to me was there really wasn't community built around. Podcast is a very fragmented kind of medium. And and while we talk about podcast in person, there's no place in the Internet to talk about podcasts or easily discovered what your friends are talking about listening to or whatnot. And so their their entire kind of direction is let's take podcasting and build community in social features around it so you can see what other people are listening to, what they're subscribed to you, what they're commenting about. And that's kind of their focus. And, you know, that was two years ago when they first launched and their y c Company 2017 summer batch. I want to say, um, but yeah, it's it's a really cool app.

She checked it out, and, um, they're also doing some really cool things around. Like, how do you enable hosts to to better communicate with their audience? To some extent, like with comment feeds? And there's show notes so you can even see all the pockets that James has been on. For example, even


the inside of his own podcast was so cool to it was the first platform to feature our podcast and and, um, which is also just so cool toe to see the reception for it there. And and it is really cool it to interact with people on it and take their suggestions. Um, I'm still getting the equipment down. Eso apologies for any equipment issues, um, or, you know, little volume issues but it's so cool. Just interact with people. Um, right there as each episode launch. It's kind of like product hunt for podcasts launching in that you can talk to the maker. A creator. Andi obviously can't do that on Apple's app. Or, um, I haven't seen that level of engagement and discovery on any other podcasting out.


Yeah, and fun fact. We at product and we actually expanded experiment in podcast discovery. So it again, a lot of what product is based on is my own personal interest, for better or worse and being someone who loves podcasts, I felt like there's a huge need to improve the discovery experience and build community round podcast. So we shall launch podcast discovery on product on. Yeah, yeah, and it's Ah, and we ended up killing it eventually, and we can talk about some of that the reasons behind that. But the short version was, you know you need to create it entirely. Separate experience and brand around podcast discover you can't just kind of shove it into product on, even though the problem committee loves podcast and has a lot of overlap with that kind of medium.


Interesting. Um, the Yeah, it's well and actually makes me want to ask, What are some of the big bets that you've you've made with products that have paid off where some of the big bets that haven't paid off? Um, let with with that story bringing this kind of question


of mine? Yeah, So maybe I'll start with the things that didn't pay off. Kind of segregating off of that. So podcasts was wasn't the first category that we expanded into the 1st 1 was actually video games and my my experience. Actually, my entry into start ups and tech was through video games. In fact, video games is sort of my like my gateway drug into a lot of things. Technology. And we expanded into video game discovery because we saw similar need that we see within technology, which is you have game creators who are struggling to get distribution, struggling to get feedback. They don't have kind of many. Many game creators don't just have a community they can tap into. And so we saw similar dynamics that we see within technology that we wanted to apply and build on product. And so we expended into video games and books and podcasts. So we had sort of four different categories.


I remember. Yeah, I remember this. Yeah, they do. They not. I feel like I saw something on the books in the last year or something, but does it not exist? So


people do post games podcasts and book some product, but we don't create. We don't have separate communities per se anymore, separate categories for people to kind of invest in and the the idea in theory. And I believe longer term, this is something that we could expand into, but the execution wasnt there. And this is kind of the prototypical example of of I think many people discover this for your startup experience, where the idea is sound, the need is sound, but the execution isn't there and snows, it's it's a few degrees off. It's only the easterners have to execute perfectly for something that worked out. And the reason why this expansion didn't work out for us was a couple of reasons. One we the product experience wasn't great. We tried to shove all of these categories the different mediums of consumption into a single website in a single brand. And when you build a brand product.

It's kind of no more for technology. You don't expect to go there and listen to podcasts like entirely different context and in mind set. And yet, by putting it within the same website, we had some constraints we had. It's not like we could dramatically of all the experience to be all about podcast discovery or changed the medium in the way that would work for that type of community. And I believe I underestimated the importance of creating a native kind of U X for that type of medium or that type of community itself. The same is true for video games, so video games didn't work because we want to keep it simple like product, like a single daily leader board of cool new games that came out. But the problem is, with gaming, you usually don't have every single consul in the world. You probably have maybe one consul or maybe play PC games, maybe of a Mac or PC, and you really don't care about 95% of games on there because you can't play them.

So you need a place where you can actually discover the coolest Xbox games. The coast PC games that day, and we didn't want to over complicate the overall product experience by creating multiple the different kind of tears within that. And the whole thing was just kind of a mess. So it would have been better if we just actually created the entirely different Brandon Domain. But the other problem was, we also were just trying to do too much at once. Like to build a tech community games, community books, community and pockets committee all at once is really, really hard to do it. Well, right? And so long. Story short, we ended up killing those off. And yet we do still see those those types of products. I'm proud of him, but it's not a core focus of building. This committee is out right now.


Well, uh, you know this since says, Ah, podcast medium. I'd love to make at least a long story medium instead of a long story short. Um, what? You It's a common theme for companies, and it's been in my own, my own experience in the path of doing too much and not thinking you're doing too much thinking you're doing like this is what we should be doing? Um, what is if you could try to, like, diagnose What? What are the conditions that can create? Ah,

founder or a team to do too much? As, ah, founder, as as an investor, I'm sure you've you come in, contact us with this and start a problem often. What are some of the things that that lead a team to do too much?


I think part of it is when things aren't working. People tend to do too much because you don't have a clear direction or there's no clear signal on the one thing that you need to do to make it work. That's not to say that you shouldn't try a lot of things. In fact, today, at product, we're trying a lot of things, knowing that a lot of them won't work. And the way I I think about building products are expanding into new areas. A lot of its having self awareness that not everything will be 100% hit. But it's really how do you get to the truth faster and how do you test different ideas quicker so that you can eventually figure out what actually does work? And so we just went through key to planning at product on. And we have 44 to 5 projects currently in the works, which is a lot considering our teams on the 18 people. But we've structured the team in a way that usually has just one engineer leading on the engineering side. The product. And then one designer will spend 1/3 toe half their time on the project.

So we can really paralyze a lot of things at once, and we know that not all of them will work. But hopefully we'll learn quickly which ones there are the ones worth doubling down on. And then maybe we move one engineer to two on the product that is working. So I think a lot about that. And, like, how do you kind of start ups? In many ways, it's like having me break it down to ah, a math equation. Success is sort of a combination of a good idea, which kind of implies also the right timing and how quickly you contest out, if that's truly good at your idea or not, Um, so with infinite time, I think you can pretty much guarantee success. But the reality is you don't have the time,


right? Interesting. It's, um what if you're, ah, how of your views on success changed over overtime? From how long have you been in? In start ups and in, you know, the start up world. So


I joined first start up, right? Actually, in my senior in college. And so that was 2009. So it's been about a decade or so


And how have your views on success or how to to get there? And obviously it's ah, such a broad term. That means multiple things, multiple people. But, um, you mentioned that no success and a mathematical equation. Um, it sounds very well thought out. What? How have your views on success changed over those 10 years And what, you know you in 2009 thought of success and you in 2019.


I think I think success is kind of what you what, You decide in the end, because success for someone who's building a side product could mean getting 10 people to use it, and that's it. And maybe that's the first milestone. Maybe success actually isn't isn't there is no end date or in an outcome because It's sort of like a series of milestones, I would say, and so for the side Project person and I'd be getting 10 people try it out. And that's their first milestone, that success. But then quickly there, goalposts, move if they want to continue pursuing it. And for me, at when Protestant started, there were no defined success criteria. It was just hears this cool idea.

I want to share this thing email list with friends and once 100 or 200 people, you know, subscribe. That was success at that moment, of course. Then goalposts moved in a realize. OK, well, now we want 2000 people subscribe, and then we want to build a website. And then we wanted a bunch of people to visit the website and then we raise money. And then now we have success criteria that, you know, is much more ambitious. Um, not only for myself,

but for investors and team and everyone else. So I don't know. I think it's it's kind of on how you define it. And you know, if if you're a VC back, start up your success criteria wildly different than if you were, you know self funded entrepreneur who, you know, has a different, um has a different need, uh, of success, I guess.


Well, in one of the it brings up something we've chatted about before. Um, and that was about, you know, for you, you feel like for the foreseeable future, product on is what you're gonna be doing. Um, but that you had mentioned. Ah, that something about you, man, if I were to start something else, be different, and I can't remember what you said, but but I remember feeling Oh,

yeah, that's very different than then. The path of of product hunt and would love to know what prompted those thoughts. And I can't remember the details and obviously, you know, feel free not to share any details you don't want to share publicly. Um, but it certainly seemed like a contrast in viewpoint of what you would start next versus, um, and I think product on launch in 2013.


Yes, ma'am. Five and half years and still love it. Still, the reason why I still love it is because still feels not very different from when we were independent. Pre acquisition, and also not too different from the early days two. And we're still exploring ideas and building new products. So So I really enjoyed that. But there's always this grass is always greener kind of effect and scenes of other entrepreneurs to who you know, there there is this sort of attractiveness of building. Ah, self on a business company that you know, puts $20,000 a month in your pocket. You own all of it. You might have one or two teammates, so very little human kind of management, which is sometimes the hardest part of startups and and having zero ambitions to build a multi $1,000,000 company like there's something


really attractive about that. What are the attractive elements of that to you that descend on the other side? That's built, um, a company you acquired for tens of millions of dollars and has has done the VC side of of, you know, swing for the absolute fences. What are the attract developments off the grass? You know, the other pasture?


Well, the irony is, let's say I did pursue that. I probably Then they shoot. I wish we had more money,


and I wish we could just raise


some VC and you know, accelerate things faster. So I do recognize that. But what is attractive is when when you are self funded and when you can control 100% of you have zero stakeholder except yourself in your team, you have a lot of flexibility and how you spend your time personally, but also where you invest that capital where you take the company. And that's I'm not implying that injury, Senhor. It's the firm amazing from that that led around, and I think they lead, so you know them as well. I'm not implying that they were stiff handed in any way. They're amazing partners, and I'd love to work with him again. But there is. There is this burden that you take on when you take VC money and not having that burden and, you know,

being able to pocket. I'm making up a number $20,000. I don't know. Maybe it's $10,000. Maybe that's enough. Maybe it's $5000 but just having having control over the cash flow and where it goes and just making money that way is really attractive and control over the ambition. Yeah, expectation. Yeah, and it was, Well, what's great about that, too, is, doesn't mean you can't raise money later. There's a bunch of entrepreneurs who bootstrap a company for 234 years,

and then they realize, you know, actually, I want accelerate things in my raise, you know, a few $1,000,000 to do that. And so there's something just really attractive about that. Um, now that said, I don't know what that idea would be exactly. Um, I have I love do something in music. You have experience working the music industry. We both were just at Coachella. I know music is also probably the worst of the worst industries to work in, um or hardest.

Thio, you know, achieve success. And sometimes, But I just love music, so I don't know, there's there's some itches that I'd love this scratch kind of down the road.


Yeah, well, it's, um, right. It's and that is far more important to think. There, then the financing model. Um, far more important. In fact, it's and conversely, if you're thinking through ideas based on what I was on the phone with A with a founder this morning and and he it literally just said, What do I need to dio for veces to be interested in this. Um, you know, X Y Z concept,

like that's just that is dangerous thinking to think through what makes this fungible vs build a great business focus on building a maybe a profitable business with 34 people, especially in the space that he was going in. Where you It's in the direct to consumer space. Which means you'd sell online. Casper for mattresses. Director Consumer Not going through? Yeah, um, department stores to sell the mattresses or, um, you know, a native deodorant. And he was going directly to consumers not selling through Kroger grocery chains, things like that. And, um,

he was thinking through his idea. And what is so great about those businesses that you can generate significant cash flow on to full time employees? Sometimes, you know, one full time founder, but was already, I think, patterned Ah Thio to think. Okay, um, or condition to think. All right, what to build to get to that providence that I want to be in a successful business. It goes through VC capital. And how do I make this? Don't get through that gate.

And it is the the best. One of the best companies in the last decade has been hilltop ice cream that I was so, so lucky. Thio be a part of so lucky, like, literally. It's just so all to do with luck on that. But they took almost no outside capital and are the number one selling ice cream in the country. Now, six years later, it's It's outrageous, Um, and yet you could see that as I can anomaly and and see, well, the pattern order. The condition thinking is go through the venture capital,

um, gamut and and that is a gate you have to go through. But once you've gone through it, sometimes you see okay, it's not all it's cracked up to be. It's hugely valuable, but it also comes at a at a price at a cost. And, um, and yet it's interesting that that you were probably the third or fourth entrepreneur in the last few months that it said something like that. Um, and it wasn't because it was necessarily dial down ambition. I think it was actually more of, you know, that's it's not necessarily the king making type of relationship that you think as a first time founder.


Yeah, in you also need. Of course, it's this, I think, all pieces of ice. I always put a giant ass tricks with any kind of advice or statement that it's contextual. It depends on the business, but for most businesses, you don't need a lot of money and capital, and you actually don't need a lot of people usually get started and take any kind of D D C company. Most of them, most of them just get started. Don't require a lot of capital in many cases. I mean, get dependent your building. But you can set up a shop by sight.

You know, in 30 minutes you could do drop shipping. You can start testing a lot of ideas. A lot of the risk, and those companies is usually around the branding and use your acquisition. You can, in some cases, test some of that before you can build the product itself. And so you could do it probably by yourself as not an engineer. Invalidate a lot of ideas early on today, but you could do that before there was a time when shop, if I didn't exist, there's a time again to build everything. Scratch consumers, of course. Also,

weren't, you know, is accepting or comfortable with online purchases. All that's changed. And so it's easier than ever to build a bootstrapped self funded company today than


it ever has been. Yeah, it it isn't it. It can still be tempting if you're thinking in the condition thinking of like you but investors, the right investors can be kingmakers then, um, Queen makers, The thought is, is tempting from one it's safe, safer to have a lot more money in the bank to It's also really tempting to seek out that validation. I know for me early on, I absolutely, I would. I remember going to sleep one night being like, I'm gonna get that investor to invest in us. And I was living in Austin, Texas,

at the time. So far away from as Ron Conway like that, you're the best. Remember reading like he's the best angel investor in in the world. And I was like, I'm gonna get him to invest,


and that's funny. But by the way, we said we share increasing hearts. But SG angels, the 1st 1st check in


really and too awesome. Yeah, yeah, they were one of our first as well. And and it's, um But it was I, I think, in my 24 year old self. I was actually saying, I need validation from the If this person is the ultimate backer and validator That's what I was craving. And it could be so tempting to in your own, at least for me and with my own insecurities needing, wanting validation from people that have been there and seen everything. And it's really a shortcut versus getting validation on the idea, which is a very different path. Getting validation is a founder versus validation and ideas. So I I know I was tempted by it can be very tempting,

but for help for more healthy to think about. Okay, I need to validate this idea, which you actually touched on. Like you couldn't do ads for a product that doesn't even exist yet on Facebook.


Yeah, it's been done. You've probably been the recipient of the receiving end of


that, too. But I have


clicked and add and and you know you may have even they call him like Wizard of Oz tests where it's it's sort of like this, this ah you know, looks like it's fully functional and it looks like you can purchase the thing. And you know that. I think it's, um there's an ethical consideration there. To some extent. You always need to. Of course, you know, let them know eventually, you know, this product doesn't exist, but


there's no actor like the checkouts has sold out. Or just you just you just have a landing page off coming soon. Um, but I've seen Founders did. I'm like, Whoa, that's next level to test out an idea, invalidate the idea before, um, for even building it.


Yeah, Some people also the kind of almost natural, too test out the things that they think you're gonna work first, like the things that they're most confident in working. But actually, in many cases, you should probably test the most difficult, most risky parts of the business first. And so, if it's if, let's say you're building a new D d. C brand. If Thea you know, one of the rest is can you build a product? In many cases, that's not the biggest risk. So maybe you shouldn't focus on validating that maybe should focus on the hardest thing which is Can you get users?

And can you get them cheap enough for Can you return a positive? Are y in this purchase or the sale? Um, I think that's something that people maybe don't think about nearly. Oh, everything's going great. We've just validated the four obvious things that are gonna work. And the 5th 1? Oh, yeah, it's gonna be hard, but we'll figure it out later. And then you realize a two years passes and you're like, we haven't figured out the 5th 1 And if the 51 doesn't get validated or doesn't work, then the whole business is broken,


right? Right. It's, um now 1000%. Um okay. So I wanted the things everyone and ask you was he had recently talked about how, um, working at a startup isn't for everyone. And you've been ah, employee. You've been founder. You now found her within a choir. Um what did What did you mean by that? And what you had? You mind describing what he meant on on why founders aren't for everyone? I mean, sorry. Start ups aren't


for everyone. Yeah, I think. Well, there's we're sort of talking a lot about you know, getting that investor and that sort of along with that, there's the press headlines and the congratulations of fundraise and all these things that go with founding a company. There's a lot of, you know, I think, this social network. The movie even inspired a lot of this sort of, ah, worshipping of founder asses. You know, the the king and queen of the world in the technology space. And you know,

a lot of people and kids, especially they want to be founders. They don't want to be rock stars. They want the founders and actually think it's generally a good thing. It's actually encouraging its I think we should motivate that we should. We should encourage entrepreneurship. But we should also try to be riel and acknowledge the fact that it's really hard and, you know, just like any kind of role engineer design customers support marketing like not everyone is built for the same thing. And I think the same is true for founders. Not everyone should be an engineer. Not everyone should be a founder. And, um, I think the thing that people underestimated to get wrapped up in oh founder is is the holy Grail of working in technology. And maybe they feel even less than if they're not a founder.

They're not as important. And and I think we just need, as an industry should acknowledge, the fact that that's not true, like one you're not less then, like you can have just beginning. Impact is some person who calls himself a founder because they create the website. It doesn't actually mean anything. Uh, and and two, I think the real important thing is that they're being a founder, especially take sacrifice. And I think people tend to want to think that there isn't sacrificing being a founder, and kind of what I mean by that is we all. We all have different abilities to forego salaries or forgo family responsibilities and things like that. But after today,

I think when you decide to start a company and you especially if you raise money especially if you hire people, you are now, they're basically your boss, like you owe it to your team and your your investors to make this successful, and you kind of have to acknowledge that, and so you need to sacrifice your weekend. Sometimes you need to sacrifice maybe some vacation that their friends or, you know, this might be controversial. Saber like you need to sacrifice something you need to sacrifice your mental health, But you should acknowledge the fact that your mental health is gonna be challenged. Um,


how so, How every founder journey, every individual person's journey. Every I mean, it could be just a stressful being employed. 19 on. And I know that for for many friends. Um, But what was your mental health journey, or why do you say, Ah, sacrifice mental health head? And in what ways did you sacrifice mental health?


Yeah, I think it's That's absolutely true. Everyone, even if your employee number 2000 I'm not discounting anyone's mental health challenges when it comes to work by any means. The difference with being a founder, the big difference There There are a few of them, but the biggest one is you can't quit. And what I mean by that is yes. Technically, you could quit. It's not like you're legally obligated to continue working at this company, but you sort of can't, and it's because you optionally you made the choice of raising money or building this team. Those people rely on you. They trust you with capital, their time, their everything.

And that's a huge, huge weight to put on your shoulders. And and so as a result, founders can't really quit. Uh, or if they do, it's It's not overnight oats that hit something that usually is months, maybe even years of deliberation. And and then, if they do transition out, it's not a 22 week, you know, notice. It's a very different situation. So I think that that is the biggest difference between founders and I think even early employees, is that you have this commitment that you have to stick to, and you have to weather through all the challenges kind of regardless and and hold


on. Yeah, it's, um it's certainly before for my experience and many, many friends, it's You could pursue it because you think it's gonna be liberating to start something, and I think that you tweeted out something that that actually led to this. This conversation without um Eric Reese on his episode said something to the effect of Wee wee woefully under Prepare founders for the psychological journey, and, um, and I think that I'm interested in it obviously seems very, very, uh, conjectural to this this conversation. Um but I think what is so strange is this huge delta between the expectation, the reality expectation being like, I want to do this because of I know,

For me, it was like, This is freedom. This is a liberation. But you know, when you know the difference between a castle on a prison is whoever has the key. And if you can't in your words, if you can't quit if you If you're signing up for 345678 years cannot leave no matter what is happening. Um, it is. And you know that each night you're going to bet no month, seven month, 14 you have you have five employees and it's month 21. I've never heard it said that way, but that is that is a really, really psychologically daunting aspect of it. You like fully responsible for everything that goes on, and you are in it. And it was a one way door.


It's the other aspect to Is that your your identity is wrapped up in it for a lot of people. And part of that, it's, uh, you know literally my my emotional state, often times less so now than it used to be, but often start huffing Times Mirror's Whatever Google and Alexa says, whatever the metrics say, Um, either in a good state of mind or not so good state of mind based on that. And it's partly because a lot of my identity and you know people know me is you know, probably Guy. I've been called that in public. It could be the product of guy, Yeah, um, and someone,

Sometimes that's that's cool. Um, it's great if you know, people say, Oh, I'll approximate Alba and everything. But then you know what? Things aren't going well or if disaster strikes and all of a sudden we're caught up in controversy or all of a sudden, we're not cool any more, like all of that now directly affects my personal identity in this world and something I acknowledge and don't really know howto handle or even if I need to handle it. Me, which it is one of this. But it's the thing I think about two, especially, you know, is I think about what is product 10 years after


its launch, like a what is it


gonna be? It's gonna be Oh, what is that product that is so stupid s so lame. Like, people used to use that. Um, I worry about that a little bit because I don't want to be the product guy of this, you


know, the product and stupid. Well, it is. That's definitely, um I think if you're for for people out there, I think for any type of creator yet is a Ah, it's usually a really destructive, um thought pattern to identify with your with your creation. I identify with your company. Paul Graham has this great amazing essay of keep your identity small. Have you? Did you have that nose and programs the founder of Of Why Common Error? The the program that, um, that Ryan and I went to re mentioned a few minutes ago one of the most insightful investors thinkers in the last 20 years. And he has an essay about keeping your identity small because when your identity grows,

um, and you are attached to these things than things completely out of your control that happened to those things, then emotionally affect you and make you pretty irrational rather than you know objective and and if you become and this is my own extrapolation. But if you become irrational, you can't be helpful. If you are almost by definition, you can't rationally think then you cannot be helpful in its it is such a, um such a trap. Um, that that really is is so healthy to two. And my experience has been so healthy to adopt a detachment from what you create and a detachment from people's views on it, because one is not you, but to Yeah, I could be really tempting, especially if you're competent to get sucked into that honey pockets. It's like,

Well, it's working, But then immediately when when things aren't and that's, you know, it's inevitable for every every company. Um,


how do you detach yourself? Is it Is there a practice or is it just something you consciously


focused on? Well, I let I'll tell you what my morning routine is. Um, so my morning routine includes, and I'm all, you know, total work in progress on this, but have found so much benefit in I really, really love doing just 10. If I can't do 20 minutes, 10 minutes of reflection and oftentimes I'm sitting in a perfect place to toe actually meditating that seo might I mentioned in the intro episode. I feel really fortunate that our dad taught us to meditate were, like, eight years old really early. And that's about the age that you can teach Ah, my child to meditate.

So he was just some of the this weirdo in Dallas that did this thing ever was like your dad naps in the middle of the day. Uh, looks like he's doing this thing called Meditation, and it's kind of embarrassing as a kid, um, winning friends be like, what is your dad doing? But, um, but I'm so thankful that he did, because he really instilled this detachment. Um, this detachment from the results take care of the process, and the results take care of themselves. And, uh,

and this this viewpoint of of meditating and getting away from all of these tempting thoughts that could be sweet in the beginning, you know, better in the end, and and it's still so hard. And I was not nearly good enough about this, and it just I didn't have mentors that talked about this When we're building till when I was, um when I was with two companies before that. Um but this one philosophy of of Vedanta, which predates so Buddhism, comes from Hinduism. It's ah, the adage is like, Buddhism is Hinduism made for export. Hinduism comes from this source of Hinduism. Is Vedanta this, um very actually short series of texts and it's like 5000 years old.

But it's all about detachment, and it's all very rational. It's not, um, it's not kind of blew. It was spiritually. It's actually just quite rational. And one of the things in there that has just gripped my mind is that attachment is like a virus that you can catch it again and again and again. And therefore, for me, at least I need to practice each morning detaching just kind of clearing the system. Writing down, I use Ah, um Gratitude Journal, where it's just three things. At least three things I'm grateful for in the morning and ends up being you 456 things.

And those are the things that I'm start to orient my mind on for the next 10 minutes for the next 20 minutes. Um, and then if I can, I can get a meditation session in as well. And no, it sounds like the cheese radar can go off like this sounds so cheesy. But that concept of attachments, like a virus, you can re catch it. I just know it for myself that I can think I'm in a good, healthy mental space and then have a lunch with with a friend that just triggers this. This attachment to something's desire and all stresses is unfilled desire, like any time you've ever been stressed. Also, from this philosophy, like these little sound bites,

they're 5000 years old and, like holy shit, that is stress. It's like unfulfilled desire on the way to get rid of it is either fulfill the desire or, you know, get rid of it, get rid of the desire. So those these little things that I think about, um, are are really hopeful and really changed the way. Look at the septal s probably 56 years. Yeah, it's


unfulfilled desire. It's kind of interesting because it's it's to me that's also so much related to kind of the goal post mentioned before. When you start a company, you maybe you explicitly or implicitly set specific goals. And in some ways, those those motivations are wait push entrepreneurs and teams to do really great work. But then it also the exhausted that is the stress. Or maybe the anxiety here, or negative feelings that can come from trying to achieve that. We're not keeping that. Um,


yeah. How do you How do you incorporate that? You know, one of the things that I always felt was like mystified was how people set goals for their teams. Yeah, and do you incorporate that? I feel like one of my big mistakes was I would said these massive, crazy goals that we always felt like we're behind and our psychology doesn't do very well to be 19 months and feel like you're behind every day. And it could be a great meal catalyst. Um, but but actually could be far more sustainable to feel like All right, we're ahead. Wow. Because that's mo mentum is, you know, feeling like you're ahead of expectation. How do you set goals? And do you incorporate kind of this thinking of crazy ambition versus feeling like you have momentum and exceeding expectations?


Yeah. We feels like every year we kind of re evaluate some of our process and how we set goals. And so I mentioned we just did Q to planning and prior to, well, late last year. In December, we did a team off site first off, and the purpose of that, in part, was to get together and, you know, were distributed team. And so we don't actually hadn't met some of my teammates and face to face until then. And we went through a process of establishing what are primary KP eyes. We actually three of them that we're prioritizing. And I think three is the perfect number for us. Anything more than that to many and and then we as a team set,

which put our targets by the end of the year. And, of course, he backed out into Okay, what what's the month ago growth rate for each of these things? And we we set those knowing that they're going to be difficult and ambitious. Some of the three are more ambitious and harder to achieve than others, but for me, my my philosophy on that is it shouldn't be easy. Otherwise, you know why I even set the goals. Uh, however, it also shouldn't be overly ambitious. That's unrealistic because then everyone's gonna be demoralized, and I've certainly made a mistake.

I think of setting goals that were on the ladder that were too ambitious and and then we got halfway through. The year or halfway through the project were like, This is what we're way off now The goals are not even helpful. So we set those goals in December and we're also going to re evaluate those goals and possibly reset them in the middle of the year. And the reason for that is if we have, we're killing it. But we should probably reset. The goal is to be a little bit more aggressive because we don't also want to just, like, sit and, you know, be relaxed. You know, if we basically ready hit them. But on the other side, if we're way off, if we're certainly not gonna achieve them, then we should probably set them and make the more realistic.


It's interesting. Do you think that that's and that's that's what we would adopt over time as well. Um, but I think that I think that the goal setting side of things is a really interesting on uncharted territory for kind of group psychology for for start up psychology. And that it's, um, I remember just asking the head of growth of Facebook, a close friend, how they said goals and then we started adopt. You know how we're gonna set our goals when they're maybe 15 people. And it probably was wildly wrong for us to just adopt what a company that at that time was maybe 10 years old was doing. But it's it's so interesting how we do sickles and and there's I remember in a psychology is one of the few things I remember from psychology class as an undergrad. That there's an experiment where you'd have eight, um, cyclers in these little closet rooms and you go into your one room and your cycling in this like digital scoreboard next to what you think, or seven other cyclists, and you would actually get on. They they figured out what would get you to your best. Time is for you to feel like you're slightly behind the leader. You're nodding. Do Do you remember this test or do you Have you heard of this test?


It's kind of similar to I mean It's one of the reasons why they have, you know, racetracks, you know, we'll have have ah, bunny a fake money from the dogs, right? Yeah. Someone who said the pace someone is, like, set some sort of like gold to hit,


right? And so that you would have your best performance if you, um and I'm I'm totally gonna mess up the second part of this. But I remember the first part was you have your best performance if you were second and you felt like your right behind the leader. Yeah, you would have your second best performance if you were the leader, but you felt like the second place person was right behind you. You could actually have a really the ad performance if you felt like you were out way ahead as well. As if you felt like you're really far from the top three places and what I took away from that was when I would set goals at as a founder, I took away from that thinking, OK, we should set goals that are, you know, uncomfortable really big and an uncomfortable, and that will pull us along and then over time will realize OK, Is it too far? We know a week six in the pack of eight cyclists,

and we're not going to do well because we feel like we're so far behind. But one of the things that that I actually, um I just don't know. The answer to is Does that is that really great for an athletic exertion in the short term and may be bad for a five year journey where you feel like you're always behind? Because I know that that would be motivating for me as a competitive person and, um, somewhat athletically inclined, I would be motivated by that in the short term. But if I felt like I was on a race for five years like that, would I actually wonder if that actually is really, really, um terrible for for the psychology versus, you know, just heard for the first time, Jason, freed from ah from base camp,

talking on on in an interview, saying that they don't do goals. Yeah, for that there any hate schools and they really restrict creativity Anyhow, that's just below the line. Peek into what is literally going through my mind these days. Um, it's like a wonder I never even heard goals can be destructive until he mentioned Kind of blew my mind.


Rosie Martyr card, too. A lot of lot of video games have rubber band effects if you're in the lead. If you're number one, you're probably gonna hit with, like, a red turtle shell any minute, and then you get set back, and then if you're in the behind, you'll get some special power up that, like, gives you a boost. So I know there's probably some psychology there from video games to that can be learned. Um, I think that also goes back to the different personalities to everyone on your team has different, uh, different personalities,

different skills. Also different levels of, uh, throughput and, um, ability, manage stress or anxiety or other things like that, I think, and some people may thirst after those this aggressive goal, especially a lot of sales people, sometimes like they love. I used to work at a call center in college, and I had very specific goals, and everything was tracked in. Everything was quantified, and part of that I loved because I could see how well I was doing.

And without those numbers I would have been a lot less motivated. Even if I was doing the same exact work, it would have been less fun, and I would have had those feedback loops. Thio push me to achieve aggressive goals or targets. And I think some people in teams they gravitate towards at some don't and some get really stressed and shut down if they feel like they're constantly behind or


can't hit there girls at all right, And please, for anyone that that has great resource is on on how to set goals and for different teams. Please send it my way. I've never seen it all, you know, like we're chatting about before. Um, the podcast. You know, there's a literature for there's no block post for everything you could you could ever want to look at on the kind of logistics off of startups raising capital or recruiting your first, um, you know, employees Thio, Thio. You know how to do a reference you can do all you can. Look,

all of those kind of logistical things up, Um, I ever It's so many business books. I haven't read great literature on on how to set goals. Um, so Yeah. Please send Ah use. You know, add go below the line on Twitter to send any suggestions my way. It's part of his podcast is learning about this kind of the psychological side of, of, of creating and being a yeah,


one tip that all admit maybe we haven't done every single time. 100% is to make sure the team has buying, and this might seem seem obvious, but it shouldn't be entirely top down saying Here's the goal. Gay Now team, execute Because if they don't feel achievable or if they're not butt in, then right, you know that's not going to be orbiting. But if they from more of kind of a bottoms up approach, come to the realization or commitment that Oh, I think we can achieve these and I feel like this is ah, this is the number we can hit, then they're gonna be a lot more motivated, you know, even if it's same exact number, they're going to feel a lot more, um, body and really part of the decision making process, which is important.


Yeah, and I have definitely mess that up before, and Air Greece talks about the same thing for deadlines. Yeah, yeah, just top down deadlines. It can activate people for, you know, one or two or three times in a row. But then it's it's quite de motivating. Did not have a say in what is what is possible. Um, okay, so I would love to know outside of the well, this can absolutely include, um, you're you're the founder side of things. But what are three stories that come to mind that have helped shaped shape who you are as as a person? Three stories. Um, what one I'll


mention is not really entrepreneur or founder specific. Um, it's timely, cause again, we just got back from Coachella. Ah, Coachella. And this I don't know. It's not assembly. Come. It's my sound like cheesier stereotypical. But 2015 cartel was my first coach l experience. Ah, first, like real festival I went to and I've always loved like music. But there's something about that experience in going with friends and seeing a lot of artists. And, you know, Porter Robinson, Still, his set to the 15 was still probably favorite live performance of all


time. What about it was so, so great. It was well, one I just


love, love his music. And he took the audience through a story and kind of narrative, and the visuals and everything about it was just so well produced and and clearly he put a lot of care and love and two into his performance. And, ah, still to this day, If you go to YouTube and search for Porter Robinson Live fan made film, it'll be probably the top result. There's ah, fan made film of people taking various cell phone camera footages from that both Coachella and other performances that stitching it together and then they dubbed over at the actual music. So it sounds great and you get a sense of what I'm talking about. But it was amazing performance. The whole weekend was super fun. That's where I met Susie, my girlfriend four years ago, and after that experience,

I've liked music more like change the way I think about music and my appreciation for music, and I don't know what it was, but it's kind of interesting that that single experience, a single weekend can have such a transformative effect on my appreciation for that type of art form and that type of expression. Now, today I goto festivals and love seeing live music and and find it a good release and kind of get away. Um, maybe it's kind of like a stress reliever, too, because it's a place where I don't think about work for a minute, and ah, and it's just fun. It's active, you know, Social, all of it. I just really love


you. Get inspired by it all. Um, I don't know, Uh, I


don't know if inspired the right word, but I definitely, um it changes my mood, I guess simple is that it can make me more happy's not. There were just uplifted in some respect, like there's there's sort of like this, especially certain music music has this ability to tap into, at least for me and a lot of others like this emotional like a mostly psychological aspect of the brain, which, it's like, tickles the brain in the unique way that's it's other things can't and Ah, and I think the live music experience is so amazing because it's you know, as much as I love listening music by myself, and I enjoy that thoroughly. The live music experience is very tribal and it's very social on its very Ah, you know, you could be around hundreds, thousands of people. And you're all enjoying this music, and it feels like you're there's a connection there. Yeah.


And you're where you're supposed to be kind of thing.


Yeah, it sounds again. I already said this is gonna sound cheesy, but, um I don't know. I just I just love that in, uh And so, yeah, I've just enjoyed music ever since then And, um, you know, fifth Coachella was this past weekend and probably go again next year, and hopefully the year after.


All right, listen here. Um, okay, what's the second story that has helped shape Who you who you are or who you've become. So nothing one comes to mind is actually,


it's a guess. Here is not a specific one, but a series of things that certainly shaped shake me tremendously. Especially especially that reflected or invest few years is, um, my parents entrepreneurs and they've worked together since I've been born. Really? And, uh, they they had a video game store is like kid, which is pretty amazing. Um, and and so I always saw them creating their own work and and what I loved about that admired about that was their ability to turn an idea into something to, like create something. Because entrepreneurship is a form of creation, same way that you know being an artist and creating music or film maker. Whatever it is,

it's it's a former creation, and I always loved that. I, uh So I grew up without parents. They encouraged me to do all kinds of things. Such as, Um, I think the earliest thing I can remember was managing the gumball machines at the video game store, which is like an 11 year old or however old I was was really simple, just mean, basically replacing putting candy in there, you know, taking a few runs on the way and getting quarters out, putting it in the spreadsheet and my grandpa's old computer. And so things like that were, we're encouraging and made me realize there was a different way to make money than just work hour by hour and,

you know, also then worked the video game store here and there. I sold these handmade kind of like game walk throughs at the store, to which I just like printed out had a giant like paper cutter stapling together. Um, I, uh, bought and sold things on eBay through high school and some of college amount of the Xboxes, which, by the way, like modern Xbox, is like the best media center of all time went by it and it was little bit great hat, but, you know, it made good money. 80 bucks Ahmad and did some other things.

They're all on to Meryl and I just love the concept of creating something from scratch, like really controlling my own paycheck to some extent. And and I hated getting paid by our I didn't didn't like getting paid by the hour because it didn't matter how hard I worked or how terrible I worked. I got paid the same amount. I just felt that just wasn't motivating to me. And so my parents essentially just encouraged. Me and my dad were always they find a need and fill it, and that was like saying, and you know, he's not the 1st 1 to say that by any means. But there's such a simple statement like find a need and fill it. What is the problem out there that you can solve. And, you know, uh, through the power of capitalism,

you commoditize that you can turn that idea or that output into money instead of just, you know, investing your time. Um and so, yeah, that's that shape me tremendously. And I, like, have a lot of appreciation for my parents for, like, encouraging me to do things like that.


That's awesome. All right, what's the third story that's helped to shape who you are?


I think the well, the most obvious thing that's that's certainly shaped me and change the last five years of my life is his Protestant and that I went from being a product manager and kind of learning on the job and being really terrible at it. But learning along the way into starting a side project which turned into a company which became product on. And you know that that journey from like employees to now, which, by the way, I never manage anyone. Actually, prior to Politan, I've never had any direct reports, and it was also I was 26. I think when probably started into raising money building a team, and that figuring out like on the waves kind of daunting, and I'm kind of shocked that I didn't totally screw things out. Ah, but the there the impostor syndrome of managing people was one of the biggest ones. I think of all the aspects of building a company and,

you know, hiring people who were, You know, Ben in startups longer than me who were older than me, um, who had amazing skill sets in areas I really wasn't qualified to evaluate. That was challenging. And at the same time, I think I think it reflect on it, and I realize it's almost I'm home. Some wonder why wasn't more scared on. And I think I think it's, I think a lot of people humans are very adaptable, and you sort of just have to, like, deal with it.

And I think I was that this is an example of that where I sort of learned on the job and figure things out and hopefully in the screw things up Too bad. But, um, you know, now I feel I'm better at a lot of the things that I was five and half years ago, for sure. I also realize there's so much more I have to learn when It comes to leadership and management and product management and product design and all of those things. And, um and so there's a tactical things, and I think the things I'm actually more focused on arm or the emotional management side of things like How do I not get so Ah, stressed or how do I not get so emotional about certain things that are happening? You know, small things, like I'll see a tweet directed at me related to product that will spiral me into frustration, sometimes transparently and,


um And how come Why do you if you were to try toe diagnosis, Why it's it's so obvious it's human nature. S. O M m. It's somewhat obvious, but I would love to hear your kind of introspection on


Yeah, it's It's a thing I talked to Suzy a lot about, and some of it's in nature of Protestant is, it's It's a little different than other companies because it's 24 7 and it's very it's community focus. It's public, and because I'm the face of it, it's like all three of those things make it arguably really stressful. The disconnect And since Twitter is the place where I communicate and, you know, engage with so many people, it's 24 7 as well. And so for five years I've had 24 7 Like, uh, just sort of, uh, how do we say it? I'm just on 24 7 That makes sense,

except for one at Coachella. Um and and it's sort of going back to the were talking about before, Like I made this prison. That's like, it's it's what I chose to do and I do love it, but it can be challenging when something unexpected happens at 8 p.m. I. C a tweet or something and I'm eating dinner. And now I'm stressed out. Oh, no, just gonna spiral into a whole thing Or am I gonna have to deal with this? I was planning to just relax and chill and, you know, get to bed early. Um, I don't know,

like, right now I could look at Twitter and there might be it's probably going to be fine. It's not like every day this happens, but that could be suffering. That spirals into something. It's It's my responsibility at the end of the day to figure things out.


It's true, but it's not. It's not your responsibility to please everyone and and I I know you know, just for for creators in general, it's It's like you. You make this apple pie for people and then they're mad at you for it or some people are. And you're like, I'm like, pouring myself into making this apple pie, giving it away And yeah, that everybody's gonna like apple pie. Yeah, to to get like, viscerally mad at he is a credit for it. I think any crater that that, uh, for you and product on which has such a footprint,

such a massive surface area off of huge community. I think it's thank you for sharing that vulnerability. Um, it seems like it's par for the course to build something that big. That's significant for so many people. And, um, and it means that it's going thio, you know, anything of significance is gonna you know it's going to strike a nerve with people if something isn't what they expect or what they wanted.


Yeah, yeah, I've gone through there been moments in Providence history to where we're both small. But then some bigger issues have come up where cause extreme anxiety. 11 was, uh he someone wrote basically hit piece on product in saying I was just a bunch of insiders like pushing their portfolio companies and all these other things that were not true. And, of course, the hacker news crowd jumped all over it. They've never liked, probably from the very beginning. And I know I might. The logical side of me should knows that I should just ignore a lot of those haters because, you know, um, haters he called validation, like,

if people are hanging on you than you're doing something right, like you're doing something that's meaningful at least, um, but it was effective Me a lot like this is three. Yeah, three or four years ago, Um, affect me a lot. It was really, really stressful. And


in what ways we did it affect you like, physically or for how long did it affect you?


Yeah, this is like three or four days. I'm just, uh you know, feeling of almost want to throw up kind of feeling, um, didn't actually throw up, But just like extreme, it's like it's hard, hard to articulate feeling, but like extreme stress, like your heart is just constantly pounding and that the worry was just It was really based on. The fact of a fear of loss is a lot of it wasn't because the community was was upset necessarily. But there was this feeling or risk that How could this how might this blow up or get worse? Right? And being, That's the committee and everything about Project Mint.

It's, you know, it's the people that use it is what makes it valuable. If somehow this goes in the wrong direction and all of a sudden everyone stops using provident, what's that gonna mean for me? What is going to be for the team? Um, how do I approach this? The harder thing to isn't you have multiple stakeholders saying you should do this. You should do this and it's all on you to decide. But you have multiple people pushing me different directions, and you're like it's this wildly stressful. Um and so So, yeah, I remember. Remember that moment those few days and it was actually mark injury since that many millions like to paraphrase,

he said, Ah, you know, don't worry about this. Is this is, uh, you know, if people are hating on you than it means like you. You're


making impact so well. In the end, he loves this phrase of the dogs bark, but the caravan moves on. Yeah, and and I think it's Ah, maybe a Arabic phrase that that is is true. There's there's barking, but the caravan moves on and and you have The haters are a form of validation, but I totally know what you mean. And I even just hearing you kind of helped or me kind of figure out that it's for a founder. You can be. You can be so future oriented off. Like what? This is what this can be. In fact, many ways.

That's why you're in the role, because you can see something that others can of what it can be. And I've heard it described that we don't fear the unknown. We fear loss way more. And so if you were a founder thinking about what it could be five years from now, 10 years from now and that trendline potentially dips, it's not to someone on the outside to expect it. So I never saw that piece and ever I mean, no avenues had had I got that I love product. Um, but so too announcer It's like, Oh, it's like, you know, it's like, you know,

you miss your numbers on that week by 2% But for the extrapolating, future oriented founder, it's like, Oh my God, this is like, psychologically, a U turn from where I have envisioned this five years from now, 10 years from now and everyone else on the sidelines just thinking, you know, three days out, like I was just, you know, one article but their founder. It's not that at all. It's like, Oh,

this is literally fear of loss of maybe this imagine leaves for me this imagined, you know, paradise five years from now of what this can be for for others and and completely candidate. What this can be for for me is like, Wow, that's like liberation. Five years will be this big company. I will finally have, um yo have waited through so much, so much shit to get to the other side, where it's like, you know, we're going to be. It'll be worth it and you can have these tweets. You have these moments that to no one else. You know,

two feet from me, they'd get it. But to you, it's like, Oh, my God, no. This is what I'm trying to fight against.


Yeah, Yeah, And there is no other side to realized, right? That's kind of what makes it fun to because you're never done when you're building something a ceased startups that iss and there's always another challenge. That's part of I think white people build startups. But it also means that you're constantly gonna be dealing with unknowns and unpredictable things like this, whether it's yeah, some uproar or, you know, someone leaves the company or whatnot. Yeah, I guess that's one thing that's a true and start ups is the unpredictable nature


of them. Yeah, it's so searcher, I think, one of the things that, um, I'm I mentioned this, um, another episode. But one of the things that I learned for for a stress management that was so powerful may be the best advice I have ever least top five things advice that I've ever seen that's actually generically applicable because, you know, as as this phrase goes, there's only generic start advice is there is no train. Eric started advice, but when it comes to psychology when it comes to stress or when it comes to, you know, your,

um, physiology. One of the most important things I ever heard was to wake up every morning at the same time, and so much my stress, I had no idea was related to fatigue and pretty constant fatigue, part of it being, you know, these just so much on the plate. But also, I would stay up till 3 a.m. Wake up, attend. Stay up till 2 a.m. Wake up. It's 7 30 I never got into a rhythm and a sleep doctor told me this 45 years ago to wake up every morning at the same time and actually sets your circadian rhythm throughout the day. And I thought it was, like, so hilariously simple.

I just thought, there's no way that's gonna be that big of a deal in Holy shit, I was like, It has changed. I tell everyone I can now survives to every guy and is a founder. I think it's, um it's I just felt a voice in my head being like you mentioned that right now for people out there for creators out there for anyone for? I know people. That everybody. The 5000 poise, it's It can be really, really stressful. Really, really anxious.


I love routines. Personally, I wake of it. Uh, we're not a coach. L Week About 5 30 every morning. 55 30 or so. Make it better. Really early to be embedded around 9 80 Fall asleep between nine. And 10 a.m. or 10 p.m. And, uh And then I also you know, when I'm in San Francisco, I got it. Feels in the morning for two hours, go to the office, go to the gym two or three PM go home, finish working.

So I like that routine in that kind of nature. And that's just me. Personally, I don't think it's like everyone should adopt such a struggle. Struck, structured, worked a routine. But for me, I find it I find that the reduction of decisions helpful and the predictability of okay I know there's gonna be. I know Phil's gonna open at this time. I know that coffee is gonna be good. I know where to sit. You know, if I get there in time. I know the gym is not busy between two and three PM compared to like five or six. So I tried, like, formulate my routines around the optimal, like things that I prefer or iTunes routines that I like.


Yeah, the it will. It's And I remember reading Ah, research really recently that said that Ah, your routines are It was, Ah, research around. Essentially, the headline was, um um the recap of it was avoid doing stupid things by building routines, and it was defined stupidity as knowing better. Your intelligence would tell you one thing, but in this situation, you did something else that wasn't like, you know, like your intelligence based it was just doing the wrong thing when you would have otherwise known better and said, The number one thing that can lead you to stupid decisions is completely new setting environment.

It just, like, throws off. Probably a lot of intuition to throw. It throws off a lot of your, um, your decision making skills. And it was they. Actually, the reason I even read about it was it was this, um the research came out and then someone wrote, like, seven days later, um, for hospitals like it's like the worst because it just throws doctors. And,

like all seven things that lead to bad decisions, hospitals do them all and looked at that. Lay. Sounds like I'm like start ups to all of those things, too. Like every day is different. You're completely, you know, taking on different is a CEO. It's every six months, a different job. And, um, I think you have. For many creators, it's it's hard to find those routines.

So then when you do at least the physical routines, you stick to them. I know. Yeah, I'm obsessed with you. Think that that's


the reverse for some types of creators? I think about musicians who often will travel to remote locations, and they'll get inspired to create their next album. You know, somewhere in Iceland, in some houses that


Well, I I don't s So I'll say that, um, a band that I know really well, it's It was Ah, that invited me to Coachella was super, super cool. They very much have a routine, and they have their computers set up a certain way. One of them works in one room, the other one of the others. Three main, um artists, one of the other ones works in another room, and they switch off night and day. One of them loves working a night one loves working in in the daytime. And so it's,

you know, it House helps with version. Control of the song is one's working on one side, while the others sleep and they're obsessive about their routine. And like their computer, they were actually saying that they hated two. And this just timely Brent, bring it up because I was hearing this last night. They were saying that they hate, um that they can't They can't upgrade their Mac OS beyond, like, 10.9, because they'll lose all of their programs. I was like, Well, what about the new programs?

They're probably Justus Good. They're like, No, that's like That's like, so off the table. Everything we have is so set up and they're, um yeah, the way that they they synchronise between each other. It's so routinized that there Yeah, it's it's funny that you ask that, So I think that maybe for some creatives, but I think what you do it's extremely creative. So each task you're doing or each set of tasks each day, I imagine if it similar means totally different actual tasks. But what he wrote in eyes is that foundation of sleep of, um, you know, coffee shop caffeine and take actual Why do you exercise in the afternoon?


I find it a one to avoid the rush in the evening, and I used to do it early in the morning. But that's when I have to be online. And I also like it two or three PM because it's a good break. It's like a mental reset. For me. It's after lunch. It's it also lost money, come back and then work for 24 more hours or so the rest of the day. And then, ah, you know, kind of unwind from there. So it varies. I don't I don't do it every single day. But when I'm in San Francisco and not in L. A, I'm more routine than I am.


Here is the low in my days at about 2 p.m. So I try to exercise, Then I'm just cause it's I can't do anything to cognitively important. Yeah, at that point, um, right. OK, last question I got for you is what's something you think a lot about but you rarely get a chance to discuss.


Um, yeah, I was thinking about this question today. Um um, you know, there's there's a topic that this is totally maybe out left field, unrelated to kind of everything. That's what I love. But I've been so I don't talk a lot about politics. In fact, I'm not, frankly, super involved in politics except for certain topics really sparked my interest and some soon as an emotional reaction like like politics do, uh, but there's one that I've been reading more about it. It's really drug reform, and it's It's unclear what the right answer is to really any kind of political topic.

I think it's really hard to know exactly what the right solution is, and I'm not gonna claim that I know the solution by any means. But we certainly need something changed in the U. S. And globally when it comes to drug reform and and you just look a TTE, the amount of money and a lot of people in prison for various things and just the way that we're treating people who are addicted to drugs in particulars is disheartening, and it's it's causing a lot of costs to our government, to our cities, not to better treat these people who are addicted to opium or heroin, whatever it is, as is almost victims to some extent, because once you're addicted to that point, it's it's almost not your choice. And yet we we villainize them and then we put them in prison and, you know, that cost us money as taxpayers.

And meanwhile, these people are also giving money to criminals. And so there's just the whole system is completely broken. And I think you know the actual cause of a lot of this is actually not drugs themselves, but it's other things around. Drugs like mental health or, um, other other problems in situations in people's lives cause them to kind of go down this path. But, um, the way we're kind of treating this, this output of drug addiction and, uh, you know, the war against drugs itself is just it's not working. Clearly,


what triggered what triggered it? Is it something recent?


It's a common not not anything recent something about following for a while, and, you know, part of it's just the rise. If you look at the charts of just the rise of people dying from whether it's fentanyl or other related drugs, which is off the charts. And a lot of it's happening in Middle America, where a lot of people are losing jobs and, you know, struggling through poverty or homelessness or whatnot. They're looking for an escape using drugs for that. So you know, it's it's. In many ways, drugs is sort of a byproduct of other, bigger issues in our society. But the way that we're handling drug situation is just not not helping.

I think there's there's, um there's some really good documentaries. Is one of the HBO, um, what is it called Meth Meth? Something. It's about method addicts, mostly in middle America, and it kind of goes through the lives of what these people are struggling with. And it's. Some of these people grew up in homes where their parents are doing meth, and this is this. Is that what they know? And meanwhile, there, there,

you know, were spending all this money and to fight and capture these people and put him in prison and then let him out and get that There's this one guy in the documentary he's been to prison eight or nine times. It's like clearly this isn't working right, Like we need to figure something else out. And and there's also just other. There's things that we're seeing in other countries to such a CZ, even simple things like, uh, places to shoot up heroin. So taken example. You're a heroin addict. You're going to get heroin somewhere, no matter what, you're going to do it, no matter what you know. Why can't you go to a place where you wanna know the heroine is clean and pure and do it in a place where you can be monitored by someone to ensure that you don't overdose?

And the certainly that cost taxpayers. And there's a reason why a lot of people are upset about that and think that, you know, we shouldn't be spending money to support heroin addicts. But if you look at the cost of of what heroin is doing to society, you know, it's, um, you know there's different debates, but that it's arguably a lot more costly


than right. We are paying already. Yeah, thing already. Yeah, that's really interesting. It's on. That is, um especially in California last year or two with the legalization of cannabis. It's come up, Maur. I know that the experiments in Colorado um, so much more research that needs to be done. But it it seems like it is not spiked drug usage like anyone thought o r let critics thought where it was gonna happen. It hasn't in the last four years. And yeah, I think it is.

I think it's really especially for the cases where someone might have become addicted through literally someone like their doctor telling them they should start taking this opiate or, you know, fentanyl. And and then four years later, being told, okay, or I cooked you on. Now we're done and and then that person, especially if they're in a, um, a mentally challenging situation, loss of job or in a in a town where there's just not create prospects. And then you take this this thing from the menu as a doctor prescribed them. Yeah, that's pretty. That's a pretty it seems pretty,

um, poorly thought through that the our community's reaction is going to be imprisoned you and make it even, you know economically, even even worse for you to try to ah, to get a foundation.


And yeah, could look getting out of that too, right? You know, there's also another another element here. More of the tech angle to that that makes us even more of an issue. In my my mind is is automation and job loss. And of course, there's different perspectives on this. Some, some believe you shouldn't worry about it. You know, automation is nothing new, and we've seen automation through the Industrial Revolution. All that and yeah, there'll be some job loss. But this is the nature of progression and everything.

And certainly we need to as a site society, we should certainly not stop our nation like we should continue pushing forward and evolving is as a society in that sense. But I I think we're gonna see tremendous job loss. And if you look at a truck driving is, I think the most popular I could be wrong on this. But I believe I heard the reports the most popular job within 26 or 27 states and us, and that's just one. There's also service


workers, you know, real until I think is retail, maybe the other 24.


And so there's a tremendous amount of potential job loss that's coming. We know it's coming. It's just matter when and how quickly. And I think this will be very different than what we've seen in previous technology shifts. And also, yes, these people could be trained. Aah! Agh! To do different jobs. But like, ask yourself like if your job was lost tomorrow and you had a train to do a totally different job than what you're used to like, How do you feel about that? And and then combine that with what we're seeing with the drug epidemic is a lot of the areas of society that are most affected by drugs of the areas where there's most job loss. So if you combine these two trends together, it's it's not good. And I think we need to figure out you know,

something with how we treat drug addicts and how we treat that whole ecosystem. Whether it's decriminalized, decriminalization is kind of one approach. Full legalization is another. There's this interesting forgetting the name of the blawg. Maybe I'll share it with you get from the show notes. That's a block all about drug reform. And and there's even an article arguing for the legalization of cocaine and other things like that. Um, you know what? Do you agree with it or not? People are gonna use cocaine. They're gonna buy him illegally, and they're gonna be supporting, you know, drug cartels around the world. Um, and and so anyway, this is all kind of marinating in my brain right now. What do we do in this future where there's more job loss and and and more drug addiction and how to society adapt


to that future? Right. Well, give me a lot to think about on that topic end and all others that we that we touched on today. Ryan, thank you for taking the time out of out of your data to chat. Um, always love our conversations, and you're in the forefront of thinking about a lot of these things. So I really love you sharing these thoughts here, or I know you share a lot, Um, you openly on twitter and medium. So, um, keep doing it. And,

uh, really looking forward to ah, to maybe a second chat here in a few months. Yeah. Thanks. Thanks. A friend's and listeners. I hope you enjoyed today's episode. If you want to hear more of these types of conversations, Go over to your favorite podcast app and hit, subscribe or leave us a review. Fitter. Bad. We love hearing from people that that appreciate this type of conversation and want more of it. You can also follow us on Twitter at Go below the line. Well, a CNR twitter bio Our email address for you to shoot us a note on any suggestions of guests for topics that we should cover. We read every single one so thank you for those that are already sent Those in. That's it for us today. We will see you next time on below the line below the line is brought to you by straight up podcasts.

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