Everyone Says It’s a Bad Idea; Should You Do It Anyway?

It's a special edition episode this week as Ben chats with Felix Livni of Schedulista to talk startups. There are plenty of hot takes to go around such as ignoring good advice when starting a business, how boostrappers should do the exact opposite things that a venture funded company does, and why you may consider direct mail for a SaaS business. Grab your pitchforks and tune in!

Show notes:
Links:

Felix Livni

Transcript:
*This is an unedited, automated transcript, with only about 80% accuracy*
Ben
All right, so, uh welcome the founder quest today, you have me, Ben, because Star and josh are taking the day off and we have Felix of me who is with us or with me chatting about uh founder related stuff. It's just one of our uh, intermittent founder interview kind of episodes where we're just going to have a great chat, talk about some stuff, so welcome Felix. Thanks. So, Felix was telling you tell me right before we got started about the differences of having an actual conversation versus a podcast conversation and you had a great great tip about email. So, if you don't mind, could you like, hit me with that again? Because I thought that's pretty cool. 

Felix
 
Yeah, what I've noticed is if I write an email knowing that a lot of people are going to read this email, maybe it's an onboarding email that's going to be sent out to uh you know, many, many people, I don't seem to be able to write it in the same way as the emails I write to just that one person and I often feel that if I could just if I was just trying to sell to one person, I could probably do a pretty good job and I think the better attitude for me has always been to then trying to do that and then try and automate that and it turns out very differently than when I'm trying to to do the thing that is going to be automated right away. 

Ben
 
So yeah, I like that, I've had the same kind of experience where it's like, well you spend a lot of time crafting, crafting, crafting and then it feels crafted right? It doesn't, it doesn't feel like a real email. So do you like uh Try to like email individuals for like  times  times first and before you get the final copy that you want to send everybody? 

Felix
 
Yeah, exactly. And I think really not thinking about tools at all is really the right way to go about it um where all you try and do is think what is the best thing for this one customer and you do that for a couple of different customers and then you look for patterns and I would say when you do it a lot and this is the advantage you have with podcast is once you do it a lot, you kind of see some patterns as well, some sort of meta patterns of like how, how do the things that sound unnatural look versus the things that sound natural and I'll just tell you one that I've noticed, I don't know if this is something you've noticed, but when I write an email to a single person, it usually has one sentence in it, maybe two. 

Felix
 
Uh but when I write something that I think is, let's say, an onboarding email of some sort uh it's not gonna be that short. Uh so that's definitely a pattern I've noticed. I think we we noticed that as consumers or business owners, when we see inbound email, we automatically filter emails that have just one sentence very differently than we filter ones that are multiple paragraphs. 

Ben
 
Yeah, I never really noticed that. That's true. Yeah, because most of my personal emails are just like a couple of sentences, man, I was thinking back to the initial like set of onboarding or just stock emails that we had for honey badger, like, you know, you're building has failed or thanks for being a subscriber or whatever. And I was thinking back and like I wrote them and they're all like one or two sentences. I'm like, yeah, that's that's true. It's like versus this big long book, right? Yeah, 

Felix
 
yeah. In general, I think I'm a big fan of looking at software, automating things that people already do. I think sometimes that's the best software and as opposed to sort of rethinking everything, because I think a lot of the time when you rethink everything, most things people can do just less maybe less quickly than it would be if it were automated. And so I think when you rethink everything a lot of the time, it doesn't fit as well as it seems like it might have back in the lab. 

Ben
 
Yeah, true, we'll get back to that. I want to talk more about that, but I want to uh introduce you more fully since everyone might be thinking, hey we just dropped to the middle of conversations like yeah, you did just kind of jump in both conversation because Felix and I are old friends, we've been uh we've been hanging out and chatting about business for years now uh and Felix is an entrepreneur who is running a business called Schedule Ista, So Felix want to give us a quick rundown of what schedule list is. 

Felix
 
Yeah, well before Schedule East it was scheduled to, it was sort of an idea of, hey I want to start a company that is a B two B sas company. And one of the very first conversations I had about that Was with Ben, I don't know if you remember, I was looking back through my email  

Ben
 
yeah, 

Felix
 
our mutual friend paul introduced us and the topic of conversation was marketing and BtB Sas um something admittedly I still struggle with, I kind of had it on in my mind is oh this is something I'm going to be bad at and I don't know how to get customers. Um maybe maybe I need to reach out and figure out how that happens. Um and I don't, I don't know if this is okay to bring up here, but I'm curious to know, I mean, tell me if my characterization of our conversation is correct, but that conversation way back then I think you were pretty pessimistic and or at least I think as a friend you were looking or as a new friend, you were looking out for me and you were saying kind of don't do this crazy thing. Um 

Felix
 
Was that the advice you gave me and then if you were to meet someone like me today, would you, would you give different advice? 

Ben
 
Yeah, my my memory of that conversation was not that I wanted you to not do it, but it was like, I I saw some concerns, some red flags and I wanted to save you some pain just in case you hadn't, you know, like considered like, because as I recall trying to, you know, rewind back to  years ago, what that conversation was like, you're sitting across table from me and you're saying I want to build this business that's gonna require a lot of sales effort because I'm gonna be selling to some people that, you know, I can't really reach well online and here I was thinking, okay, so Felix is going to be like walking down the street, knocking on doors, trying to get people to buy his says and I'm like, 

Ben
 
okay, sure, but are you sure you want to sign up for that? That's kind of but I remember is that is that kind of 

Felix
 
remember, I think that's accurate and that's basically exactly what I did. And we even did some, some things like send out postcards. I might have mentioned that as an idea that I've had, I said, you know, I think uh well used to do that kind of thing and then it fell out of fashion, maybe there's maybe there's some wisdom there and I think um you realized how crazy I really was and how little I knew and there was nothing but love I felt coming from you, which made it even like harder to hear, I think. 

Felix
 
Um so I believed you and the irony too is I think I would probably, so I don't you didn't tell me yet how your answer would change, but I would I tell people, I meet people all the time who say they want to start a bootstrapped company and my first inclination sort of out of love is to say, you know, that can be tough, it can be uh you know, I've seen lots of them fail. And is this are you sure this is something that you want to do? Yeah, 

Ben
 
I'm totally with you on that. And uh funny, the funny thing is like, the postcard thing is stuck with me for  years, like I still want to do a postcard mailing thing myself and I just never got around to doing it. 

Felix
 
So we we did it um and it worked. It worked and then we never did it again. Uh I would say there's a pattern, everything that we have done has sparked actually just not that well. And I actually, this is one of the ways that I think about marketing is uh in a sense, it's stochastic or at least one way to view it is stochastic. So if you make a cold call, there's some chance that that the person on the other end is going to buy what you're selling, even if it's even if most people don't want it. Um 

Felix
 
but it may not pencil, right? You may have to make so many calls that it just doesn't pencil. So in a sense everything works. The question is just how well does it work? And what we've found is almost everything does better than break even, but not by much and uh, you know, for probably for a variety of reasons, but we sent out, I think it was  postcards. We scraped yelp. We looked at businesses that had five stars. They were only massage therapists. Uh and they were only in I think three cities and we sent, we didn't license the photography very right. All really. So I would, I would probably, it's hard to find 

Felix
 
good photographs of you can license, but anyway, the photograph we sent out was this awesome black and white photograph that just looks so hardcore has joseph Pilates on it. So the guy who founded Pilates and he's in this weird machine that he built at home and it's so gritty and it would really resonate with the people that we were sending it to and so we sent out these  postcards and we got one customer 

Felix
 
that we knew of. The only way we would know about it is because if they were to type this long you're well that was on the postcard. If they just went to our site we would have no way to track it. So we have one. We got one customer, they're one of our biggest customers, we still have them today and it cost us  bucks to send those  postcards and get them printed and post digital that and yeah we you know had penciled I don't know if that proves anything but and I have had another conversation you know about a year after we sent the postcard. I talked to someone on the phone that was in Malta and this person 

Felix
 
friend had sent them someone we've never heard of had actually emailed them a photograph of this postcard because she loved it so much and she had had it on her wall and she decided to give us a call. So I know that it had some you know impact and yeah there's been a lot of things like we've done like that that it's that we just never really try to scale but it does seem like it's got a lot of problems. 

Ben
 
I love that. I wanted to answer your question. Uh, yeah. I think my answer today would be pretty much the same because it was like you said motivated from this place of love. Like hey, I just want to make sure, you know what you're getting into. Like sounds cool. But you know, and I love talking to entrepreneurs who have ideas and they want to run it by me and I always try to look for, you know, look for the good. Like, hey, yeah, that could really work. And also like bring some realism to the things like, hey, have you, have you thought about this because it might be something you want to watch out for, you know, 

Ben
 
but it's never, I never want to say that out of like, oh, I shouldn't do that because like I don't know right? It's not my business. But uh, hopefully that's, that's taken well. Like, like, like you took it well. Apparently 

Felix
 
I took it well. And I think the reason I didn't listen to you and I think it's the right reason was not because I thought you were wrong. It wasn't rational. I actually think there isn't a great rational reason to do these kinds of businesses a lot of the time. Um, just because I think we live in the world of tech, uh, it's pretty nice to go and work at a big tech company. It's extremely comfortable you get financially compensated great. I think what a lot of people overlook is the marginal value of any additional money that you might make is essentially zero. So doing financially better is just sort of not even interesting. So it has to be something that has to do with meaning in your own life. And 

Felix
 
it's the kind of thing when you add up all the negative reasons to not do it, that you're gonna do it anyway. So I feel, I feel like that's another reason that I tell people, I don't tell them don't do it, but I essentially say, uh, you know, a bunch of things that are going to be really tough and I hope that they'll ignore me because I know that if they ignore me, they'll be doing it for all the right reasons, in a sense, at least in my opinion. 

Ben
 
Yeah, totally. Uh, it's, it's so much, uh, I don't know if passion is the right word, but there's definitely passion in it. That's probably not all inclusive, but the, the idea that, um, once you hit a certain baseline of, of money in your life, like you're fine, like what's where's the fulfillment gonna come from? It's probably not going to come from other more money, it's probably gonna come from doing something that you really want to do. For whatever reason, maybe 

Ben
 
like me, you're very independent minded and you don't like having a boss, right? Or you just, you see this need in the world and you can't let it go or it doesn't let go of you. Like when an idea keeps hitting me and hitting me and I know I'm like, oh, that's probably something I should spend some time thinking about. You know, I think this, this, this kind of selection process, not everyone is born to be an entrepreneur, but when, when you get that bug, it's kind of hard to shake it loose. 

Felix
 
Absolutely all of those things you said resonate with me, I might add as well, being able to choose the people that you work with really carefully and also protect people. I think this this this makes sense. The kind of technology that you work with, it's no small thing to be able to say, I want to work on this cool new tech, just because I think it's cool. Which you seldom get to do that at a big company. 

Ben
 
Yeah. Being all that self determination is huge for sure. So you picked a business so schedule, it's, it is a, is a scheduling widget that sits on websites that, you know, hair stylist or massage person can use to help, you know, schedule appointments online for their customers. How did you decide that was the thing you wanted to do? Because when you came to me, those  years ago, like you pretty much already decided, I think you had some other ideas, but this was like at the top of the list for you, 

Felix
 
how did 

Ben
 
you get to that point where you're like, that's that's the thing I want to do. 

Felix
 
Yeah. So uh I knew I knew a couple of things and I started this company with a friend of mine, Lowell manners, we were best friends, we work together. And so really everything I say here, we decided together, uh we saw the world pretty similarly, but we also built a lot of our theories about what kind of business we wanted to start. We built that together. Um and what we knew initially, I kind of was trying to remember exactly when you and I have that conversation and where in the timeline, I didn't know yet that we were going to do scheduling, but that's that's a good point that we had probably already decided that by then yeah, I knew that we wanted to do BB rather than a consumer product. I knew what we wanted it to be software and we wanted it to 

Felix
 
be a bootstrapped company right from right from the initial uh, starting point. We knew that we wanted it to be bootstrapped. So we were we were intentionally bootstrapped. And so one of the core things we try to do is think about what is a bootstrap company, what makes a bootstrap company successful? How is it different from some other kind of company? And we came up with a a theory about her and the theory, I think is contrarian, But I also think that there's a lot of truth to it. So the theory was almost everything that is good about a venture backed company is the, if you take the opposite of that, it's good for a bootstrap company. So 

Felix
 
I'll give you some example. I'm trying to find our original, I have my, because I was doing a little bit of research for this chat, I found our original slide that we made for ourselves and what we thought was good for VC backed companies was that there was a strong network effect, uh, that they had an idea that there was kind of a winner takes all when, when there was a product that there could be a winner takes all. That would be good. It would allow you to create a moat. Uh, and this would typically be in the form of a new idea because if there was an old idea that had a network effect, there was probably, there was too big of a mode to enter that 

Felix
 
or it was, you could be a second mover, but you had something in your formula where you'd be able to kill the competition. So there's a, there's, there's this first mover benefit or the ability to kill the competition and then a lot of the time investors will ask how many competitors you have and they'll get worried if there's lots of competitors. So what we thought was good for bootstrap company was that they would be low network effects, that there'd be lots of winners, that there'd be no moat. That it was an old idea that was proven to work, that there were many late movers that did very well and that there were lots of competitors. 

Felix
 
So if you pitch that to an investor, uh, you know, they'll, they'll, they'll be like, okay, you, you, you, you hit everything wrong here. Um, so we, we, that was, that was one of our sort of initial ideas and then we created a fitness function to evaluate a couple of things and I'm trying to remember what they were, but it was essentially how big of a network effect does this have. We were looking for a company that was for a product that was established, but not super mature. So it was right at that point where there were examples and we were specifically looking for examples of other boots trappers because we thought that other successful bootstrap, because we thought that that would be a good sign that we could do it too. So we were like opening up a coffee shop in Seattle 

Felix
 
versus opening up a coffee shop where they've never tasted coffee. Those are very, very different. And there's difficulties for both. But at least when you open up a coffee shop in Seattle, you know, hey, there's gonna be people that are gonna enjoy coffee and you can look around and you can try and see what things work and etcetera. So that was kind of, you know, because we were bootstrapped and self funded, we thought that seems a lot less risky and that seems like an environment that we kind of have believed in. We like the idea that there could be lots of coffee shops and that they were in competition with each other, but not in a way that an independent coffee shop sort of desires that no other coffee shop exists. 

Ben
 
Yeah, I like that contrary and take agree investor probably kick you out of the office for coming up with that. But I mean what you're describing is like there's a healthy market already, right? There are people who are already looking for this product, like you don't have to convince someone that hey, you want to drink coffee. So kind of my coffee shop, right? Ah and if there are a number of businesses already doing that, you know that 

Felix
 
it's viable, 

Ben
 
right? Uh people spending money in that marketplace because there's other people currently receiving that money. So yeah, I think that's some pretty awesome criteria there. 

Felix
 
Yeah. So we, we wanted to come up with  businesses and then evaluate each of these  and then choose the one that we thought would be best for us and it wasn't completely scientific, but we did use uh, uh, you know, some numbers next to them and we had some kind of internal calculus that we did and I'll give you some examples like e commerce is an example that fits a lot of what what I mentioned, but it's too mature and so we thought okay e commerce uh there are, you know, since we started actually there's been some companies that are in the e commerce space that have done extremely well. 

Felix
 
I'm not sure when Shopify started maybe a little bit before us, but around that time. Yeah, but around that time and there's other examples that didn't do, you know, aren't as well known as Shopify but still did very well and I think it's because they have all of those criteria that the investors would not be so excited about, but they don't have strong network effects. So I think this kind of contrarian idea does, does hold some does hold some water, 

Felix
 
but so for us, e commerce was too mature then we thought of a bunch of ideas that they might have been like one or two examples of, but we thought it was too knew that it was just not yet proven and was a little unclear exactly where this was going to lead. So there were a lot a lot of ideas that we had around doing kind of online ordering from your phone that kind of dovetailed with how businesses already did business. So you can imagine you're sitting in like a T. G. I Fridays and you can order right from the menu from your phone or you could order from a from the waitress or you could be in a bar, you could maybe order some drinks at the counter and then at your table you can order, 

Felix
 
you know, additional drinks. So we're looking at lots of things that kind of intertwined with how the real world does things, but automated some aspect of it. But we thought we can see a little of this, this was before a lot of the online ordering that we have today because this is back in . But I think it would be much more viable to do to do those things today as a bootstrap company. But a lot of these ideas I think are more would be more interesting as a venture backed company. So those ideas were lowered down on our list. I did think of an idea actually um called, I think it was tell the manager or ask the manager or notify the manager or something like that. And I pitched it 

Felix
 
at a probably the only start up of the local and I ever went to was like it's night in Redmond and we went to this event and I pitched it and about six months later I was contacted by someone who said it looks like you never did that, do you mind if I do it? Uh and the person did it and did did well, so it's a funny story. So there might have been other ideas on the list that, that are still interesting. But yeah, so online scheduling really hit that sweet spot. It's very similar to e commerce in a lot of ways. I think in ways that maybe people don't really realize actually, but it's a lot less immature even now,  years later. Yeah. So yeah, that's, that's, it seemed good to us and we were like, let's do it. 

Ben
 
Yeah, I love it. And I like, I like the, I love the contrariness that's right up my alley. So you started this with bowl, You worked together, built the business at some point. I mean I've known you all this time and I know now that you're not working with low anymore on the business on a regular basis. So what, what happened like just in general, like what was that transition like and you know, what are some lessons learned from the co founder experience and now that co founder is no longer with you? 

Felix
 
Sure. Um 

Felix
 
yeah, let me, I don't know the best way. There's so many different ways to tell the story. I would say. One way to tell. It is to tell about how we founded the company. So we founded the company in my backyard, we had a conversation one summer day and we were drinking some beers and one of us said we should really just start a company and uh, I think I must have said that and Lowell said I'll quit, I'll quit tomorrow, let's do it. And uh you know, I knew he was joking, but as he left, I was like, okay, don't quit. Um Let's think about this, I'm really excited, but let's think about this. And the next day he, he texted me and he said I quit, have you quit yet? So 

Felix
 
I then, you know, took about another two days and and quit. Uh 

Ben
 
that's that's jumping on both feet right there. 

Felix
 
Yeah, and I think sometimes, you know, the biggest decisions that I've made, I've made sort of the easiest and maybe Lowell doubly so ah and I would say that's that's kind of how we separated too. Um It was really, really, really, really good until one day it was um and I think, you know, when you start out on, you know, definitely when we started out and I think this was maybe more true for Lowell, who is significantly younger than me, I think if I had said, okay. Yeah, but there's one rule, we've got to do it for four years, he would have been like, what? Hey, wait a second, I need to think about this a bit more. So it was unclear like 

Felix
 
we we thought, I mean, to be honest, we thought our first few ideas would fail and we were looking forward to that because we were thinking we would learn a ton, we were really aiming where the direction that we thought that we would get the most learning and there was no sort of long term commitment other than we just, we we thought we were gonna have a lot of fun. We did have a lot of fun. And I think that there was a point where there were some other things in that local realized that he wanted to do and when he, when he realized like, 

Felix
 
oh there might be some more long term commitment involved in this, uh it didn't seem so great anymore and it kind of happened at a time that was extremely destabilizing for both of us. We, we had entertained an idea of selling the business and that would have come with kind of some golden handcuffs which kind of explicitly put into uh, you know, black and white, this kind of long longer term commitment. So I think it's a bit more complicated than that. But it wasn't, it wasn't something that built up for for years and years and years and just, you know, kind of deteriorated. It went pretty rapidly from uh this is amazing too. Let's not do this anymore. 

Ben
 
Yeah, I would like to see that. Yeah, that makes sense. If if your expectation is to just, you know, do whatever and then all of a sudden is like, oh, you want me to commit to the next five years, whatever. That yeah, that could definitely put some cold water on it. 

Felix
 
Yeah, absolutely. And it felt very different after he left, but it has a business wise, the company has done, has done great. I would say as far as how it feels today, I enjoyed it more working with him to be totally honest. 

Ben
 
Yeah, it's nice. It's, I mean there's so many benefits to having a co founder, having the accountability is one that people often think about, but you know, just having the camaraderie, right, you're, you're doing the same thing, you're in it together. You know, it's uh, 

Felix
 
yeah, to me, I think it's a lot harder 

Ben
 
even even as as independent as I am and as self directors, I want to be, I do feel it's harder to do something so completely, so low because you just have to have all that motivation yourself and there's no one happening out. 

Felix
 
Yeah, absolutely. I agree totally. I would never have been able to do schedule is to, without having role as a co founder, it is much easier to run a company that's already in place than it is to start something from scratch and there's just no way that I, that I could have done it and it's not from, hey, it's not so much that we complemented each other's skill wise or anything like that. It's just the, there are a lot of things that are psychologically difficult and doing that with someone else makes it possible, in my opinion. 

Ben
 
Yeah. Yeah. I feel the same about honey badger. Like there's no way it could have been done with the three of us working together, there was just, I mean, first there's a lot of work, but also, yeah, getting through those times where it's just a struggle is Yeah, I think I would probably throw in the towel if it hadn't been to have two good co founders who helped me out. 

Felix
 
Yeah, absolutely. 

Ben
 
So I know from our conversations that we have from time to time, that you spend some time mentoring people who are looking to start businesses or who are just, you know, in the beginning end of this, this entrepreneur adventure. So what, what are the two or three kinds of themes that you see coming up time and again, people coming to you and you're like, uh you know, maybe maybe look at this, you know, so if someone today is thinking about something like, well, and they sat down with you, what are the kind of things that you would poke at their ideas and say, have you considered this or have you thought about that? 

Felix
 
Yes, most of the people I talk with are looking to raise money. Uh and I actually have found out that there's another definition of bootstrapping that I wasn't aware of until I started mentoring. So to me, bootstrapping meant a company that doesn't raise money and is structured in such a way that will make profits and poor those profits back into growing the company. So there's a, there's enough that's not how the kids today are using the term bootstrapping at least the ones that are looking for venture capital to them. Bootstrapping is what you do until you raise money. So you're structured is a typical venture backed company, but you just haven't raised money yet either on purpose because you want to build, you know, a prototype or 

Felix
 
or something else that an investor might see and you'd get a better deal or you just haven't managed to to put it all into place to raise the money. So most of what I do, actually, it's like, I love venture backed company, it's kind of funny that, you know, I'm so much of a bootstrap er but I don't know if I've told you this before, but one of my heroes is Craig Newmark and I don't know if you know that crate that craigslist started as a list of startup parties 

Felix
 
because he loved the startup scene and here he, he loves everything about startups and raising money and all of this stuff and then he starts this company that's like completely counter to that. Um and I feel like he is a hero of mine in many ways, but I feel similar in personality in a sense that I love the start up world and I love working with these people and who knows maybe I'll do a venture backed company one day, but uh everything that I do in my business life is about bootstrapping, but all my mentoring is pretty much about venture companies. So I think a lot of what I do is I try and you know, tell them all of the things that are opposite of what I did with schedule is to, uh, and uh, I really problem in the other direction and 

Felix
 
uh, it's, I guess everyone's different, I think I just try and help out where I can based on what I've seen. One of the things I love the best actually is working with other mentors, I love working with a founder with multiple mentors and so I feel I try to not do harm, you know, the Hippocratic oath of mentoring, but I think it's easier to kind of say what's on your mind when it's balanced out with other mentors. So I don't know, I'm struggling to think like if there is a single pattern or thing that I see that I would help people with, maybe I'm going to think about that for a second, We can come back to it. 

Ben
 
Sure, well maybe maybe maybe this is a different way to look at it. Like if you could go back  years and mentor yourself, right? You you come to you with your idea for schedule is to, what kind of things would you say to yourself with the experience now that you have, 

Felix
 
okay, a couple of things popping in my head, I don't know if these are pop things, but one of the things I tell 

Felix
 
new founders is about linkedin, how wonderful linkedin is. It's the only social network that I understand, but I think that I, which says a lot about me, but I think I understand it pretty well and I tell them you can reach out to people on linkedin who can help you. And it's not sort of like, hey, look for another mentor or look for people to give you advice about X, y and z. But let's say you're starting a business in the analytic space. And let's say that it's very similar to maybe some of these three other businesses, maybe these folks would be competitors, of course, I would say reach out to those people, which is so counter to what a lot of people are comfortable doing. But, 

Felix
 
and I have a formula for, they think that they'll never hear back from people. I have a formula for how to reach out and link, which is you craft an email that there is only one person in the world that can answer that email and that's the person you're sending it to. So if you ask someone a general question, like, you know, hey, how should I market this business or something? They'll think to themselves and I'm not gonna answer this, anyone can answer this. But if you ask them a question that only they would know and you make that connection in a way that hey, you are facing something that only they have seen, they will respond. So that's my sort of, that's one of the tips that I share is 

Felix
 
make those connections with other people in the industry that you're going to be in, ask them a lot of the time, you know, they'll have some plan And one of the things they want to do is understand each step of the plan. They call it the risking that's like the $ word. So I think one of the best ways to sort of the risk a plan is to find out other people who follow that same path and succeeded and try and map that path on to some other path that a business has followed and then talk to those people and and run what you're going to do by them and ask them if it's going to work. 

Ben
 
I love it. That's great. 

Felix
 
So I can say also another thing that I that I offered that I believe, and I don't know if you agree with this, but I think that there are far a few different business types out their business structures out there than people think because we're in tech. We often, and let's say we're a venture backed company, we're doing something that the world has never seen before. It's going to take, It's gonna be the next unicorn. It's by sort of definition, nothing like anything else out there. But we extend that to the business structure and what I mean by that is how customers are required. What metrics that you should measure, how growth will happen, how marketing will operate, how you'll get your first customer, your th customer, your th customer and what your channels are those kinds of things. And 

Felix
 
I don't think there is that many different patterns out there. I think that there's just a handful of patterns and there are businesses sometimes that introduce brand new patterns, but they're very rare. So a lot of the time, what I encourage people to do is to figure out exactly what they think their business structure or pattern is and then map it onto another business that was successful. That has the exact same pattern and maybe find three or four of them And then figure out how did they acquire their first customer? How did they acquire their th customers? And sometimes that you can find that out by looking for interviews and things like that. But reaching out to people as well that I just mentioned can be very, very powerful. So innovate where it matters. But you know, don't innovate everywhere. 

Ben
 
Yeah, that, that lines up with uh, you know, the technology world, we have this idea that you should use boring technology because like you only have so much innovation, you can do in your business. Just use a plain old database, right, Don't, don't go crazy with the newfangled hotness. Right? And yeah, I think I totally agree with you actually like use those well worn paths, Use those channels that everyone has done  times before because it's, you don't need to innovate there. 

Felix
 
Yeah, you can find so much depth in anything that I think there's sort of a fear that at least I have this fear I always want to orient myself towards whatever I think is going to be the most interesting life. And so, but I think if, if everything is interesting, that doesn't necessarily add up to more interesting, I think that sometimes, you know, a lot of things can be boring, like you can be steve jobs and wear the same black turtleneck shirt every day. He's not innovating in his wardrobe, but that doesn't mean that he's not innovating, He's not maximizing innovation. So I try and remind myself of that. I think it's an easy fall to fall into and really being intentional. I would say here's an advice that I would give myself that I thought of and that's kind of aligned with, with, 

Felix
 
with, with what I've been saying so far, which is uh huh A lot of thing I kind of think separate sort of opportunities into inbound and outbound, so inbound opportunities or opportunities that come to you, they arrive in your email box. They, you know, there's a phone call, a friend tells you something over lunch. You see a cool movie that inspires you. And then there's outbound an outbound happens because of some mental model that you have about the world and you intentionally decided to go and do something. And I think all the time you get bombarded with inbound stuff and most of it is not that interesting. And then sometimes something interesting comes along and you think, okay, I'm going to follow up on that. I actually think if someone ignores 

Felix
 
and I think it's more subtle than ignore, but if someone does not respond to all inbound, they're way ahead of the game. If you just sort of erase every inbound email and never read it, you're way ahead of the game. And if you do things that are that are only outbound for, for your life and for your business? I think that that is very, very powerful and by ignore, I don't mean like let's say you see a movie and it's about, uh, some people that move to Argentina and reinvented themselves and that really inspires you and you think, okay, I could move to Argentina and you do and it's great. That kind of stuff happens all the time. And, but I don't think it's optimal. 

Felix
 
I think you should watch that movie and be inspired, but then you should figure out what is it about that's inspiring? Is it living abroad? Is there something about Argentinian culture that's really cool. And then you should come up with some kind of a fitness function and you should also think what is the opportunity, cost of doing this versus everything else. And then you should as an outbound effort figure out. Okay. So I'm really gonna do this abroad thing. That's going to have the following characteristics. Where's the best place to be? And I bet you don't end up in Argentina. 

Felix
 
I love it. That's, that's 

Ben
 
awesome. And, and this is why  years later, like I still find every conversation with you secret productive and sometimes inspirational to 

Felix
 
write on. 

Ben
 
It's great. It's great job with Felix as always. Um, I think that's a great place to wrap it. Uh, do you have any parting thoughts? 

Felix
 
Um, yeah. How different did this conversation feel from a conversation that you and I might just have, 

Ben
 
you know, it's pretty close. Yeah. Obviously like we've got, we've got the world listening with us and so it's a little different. It's not quite as intimate as usual. And of course we haven't talked about any numbers and things like that that we usually get down in the weeds with you and I, 

Felix
 
but yeah, pretty close to our usual 

Ben
 
cars. What do you think? 

Felix
 
Um, closer than I thought? But I don't know, I might listen to this back and just be like, I'm not going to send bend the wave file. 

Ben
 
Well, my pro tip is, I never listen to the recording. So I mean that's, 

Felix
 
that's, that's the way I do it. Okay, good. Good. That's actually I should do that too. 

Ben
 
It's easier that way. He really is. Well, thanks, thanks so much for you. Thanks for taking the time. I appreciate you uh doing this for me and uh hanging out. I know that I've learned some things and I hope that people who listen to podcasts, I've also learned some things. If someone wants to reach out to you, where's the best place twitter maybe? 

Felix
 
I don't know how to use twitter with twitter. You have to show me the ropes. Um I would say just you can send me an email. Uh you can find me on linkedin. How about Lincoln? There you go. Find me on linkedin and asked me a question that only I know how to answer 

Ben
 
a lot. All right, Felix. Thanks again so much. So like Star usually does our outro is but I will I will try to fill in for Star as best I can and I will say you should, you know, go and review us somewhere. Give us those five stars on those podcast listening things that you do. And uh as always let us know if we can answering particular questions for you or talk about anything that you find interesting. Thanks so much for joining us and hope you have a great week. 

Felix
 
Thanks Ben was awesome. 

Ben
 
All right. So, you can stop the quicktime. We can stop 


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