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Tony Wright is an Entrepreneur, CEO of Rescue Time and Raised a Record $27.9 million in Crowdfunding in His Last Start-up Glowforge | Ep. 50 - Special Edition Half Moon Bay Business Podcast

Tony Wright is an Entrepreneur, CEO of Rescue Time and Raised a Record $27.9 million in Crowdfunding in His Last Start-up Glowforge | Ep. 50 – Special Edition Half Moon Bay Business Podcast

Tony Wright is an Entrepreneur, CEO of Rescue Time and Raised a Record $27.9 million in Crowdfunding in His Last Start-up Glowforge | Ep. 50 – Special Edition Half Moon Bay Business Podcast

Tony Wright is an Entrepreneur, CEO of Rescue Time and Raised a Record $27.9 million in Crowdfunding in His Last Start-up Glowforge
Tony Wright is an Entrepreneur, CEO of Rescue Time and Raised a Record $27.9 million in Crowdfunding in His Last Start-up Glowforge

Summary

I’ve known Tony since college when we were both Psychology majors. We catch up in this fun conversation covering start-ups, building companies, productivity, online marketing, life and lessons he’s learned over his twenty plus years an a successful entrepreneur. 

Tony has had an amazing entrepreneur career, sold several companies, raised a record breaking amount in a crowdfunding campaign that went against conventual wisdom of using Kickstarter and shares tons of actionable HPT’s (high percentage tips) that are sure to help grow your business.

Find Tony at:

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Hello, 

Brandon: 

friends. Welcome to another episode of Build a Business success Secrets. I am your host, Brandon. See, White. And today we’re talking with a longtime friend of mine, Tony Wright, who is back at rescue time. Tony is one of my all time favorite humans. I associate Tony with ultimate Frisbee and ultimate Frisbee. Is this like this cool thing? And actually, Tony plays ultimate Frisbee, and he has since college. I remember him running around campus. We were both psychology majors and both found ourselves a long time in Silicon Valley when I ran into him and I was so excited. I remember thinking, Oh my God, a guy from psychology Major who turned into an entrepreneur and has had a bunch of exciting cos I don’t know if you have one of these friends, but it’s one of these relationships where you cannot talk to someone for 9, 14, even sometimes 18 months, even two years in some cases, and you just pick up the phone and you just start talking like you never left off and neither of you feel like the other didn’t stay in touch or anything like that. You just pick up and it just happens. That’s the way it is with Tony and you’ll get that sense is we start the podcast. You’re gonna really love this episode. Tony takes us through entrepreneur life. We talk about funding. He his success of having possibly still one of the highest grossing crowdsourcing campaigns ever. It did 26.9 million in 30 days or something like that. It’s crazy and really just about entrepreneur life and death. Quite frankly, we talk about in here. It’s a really great conversation, and you’re gonna love it. I’m not gonna waste another second. Tony right, entrepreneur and current CEO of rescue time. 

Brandon: 

It’s do whatever you can dio sort of make it through. Yeah. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. Well, how’s Austin today? 

Brandon: 

Austin is lovely, you know, there’s ah, hey, I like I get got down here like an early summer Hell on Earth is like Texas in the summer time, as far as I’m concerned, like 105 degree temperatures and and humanity and like like I just couldn’t stand to be outside. 

Tony: 

But now, like I’m just in full glow mode, You know, all my friends are starting to complain about riel, winter weather and rain. And I like it’s 75 blue skies out there today and basically is going to be nothing but this for the foreseeable future. So it’s a good too, and, you know, every restaurant, because it’s such a, you know, warm weather place. Every restaurant has a patio. So, like I’m like, you know, you could, like, go have, you know, they all have social distancing rules and whatnot, so, you know, fewer tables. And but, you know, you can actually go out and have a bite to eat and, you know, like, walk around the world because it’s nice outside. 

Tony: 

Yeah, it could be worse, right? 

Tony: 

It could be, but I’m actually well what we’re talking. I was surprised that you went back because you should be used to that weather coming from Maryland. 

Brandon: 

Good Lord, you. Yeah, well, it is. What happened? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, that’s decade. Decades ago now, right? Like I, you know, went from Maryland to Alaska and then Alaska to Seattle. So, like, I haven’t endured that kind of weather, you know, other than like on vacation when it felt like a novel sort of experience for many decades now. So but, you know your body changes, right? Like you get used to it. We’ll say, we’ll say, I admit I’m California has completely made me soft and I’m completely okay with it. 

Tony: 

Yeah, I think there’s a lot to be said for finding a place where, like, the weather is broadly just nice. 

Brandon: 

And Seattle was kind of like that. Like, the winters are pretty mild there. And I and I played Ultimate Frisbee out in my shorts, You know, in the wintertime, get down like 50 sometimes gray, but not as rainy as not as rainy is purported to be right more gray than rainy. 

Tony: 

Yeah, Well, are you Are you in SF proper now? 

Tony: 

Were you out? 

Tony: 

No. We live in Half Moon Bay happened base, and that’s Yeah, Okay, that’s but that’s effectively. 

Brandon: 

Let me That’s like, what, 2030 minutes from SF? 

Tony: 

Yeah, so it takes. It takes me 25 minutes to get the sf, but totally different. Uh, as you remember, Climate on this side of the hill, it’s basically like 56 the 68 every single day of the year. 

Brandon: 

Effectively, I mean, it does get it trends down, right? Like during the riel winter which maybe will happen in February or maybe the high of 59. But for the most part, because of the ocean water, it’s it’s moderate, but it doesn’t get hot. Although this year we did see a 90 degree, it’s all about the wind here. So if the wind comes out of the east, you’re going to get a warmer. But normally its prevailing northwest, which is right off the ocean. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, cause everything down. 

Tony: 

Yeah, so I’ve already started. So this is how we’re going to start For all the all the listeners Tony and I have known each other since college and we’re in a went to Washington College is a relatively small school would be an understatement for college. Right? And we were both psychology majors, which is even a smaller cohort of people And then, I don’t know, college happened. And somehow, when I started coming out to the Silicon Valley, I think I Tony, I saw Oh, maybe I read when you started rescue time. Rescue time was a y Combinator company, right? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. Yeah, sure was. And I was blogging a whole lot back then. So that’s probably what I was trying to make some noise, and that was I. 

Tony: 

You and I aren’t that old for all listeners. But what was that, like, 20 years ago? I was 15 years ago. 

Brandon: 

I don’t know. Those two statements fit together way Are that old? And yeah, I was, uh, you know, I see was 2000 and eight. So it would have been, uh, 12 years ago. Being NYC and I was at the time was a fairly, uh, old fellow for y c. Right. Like it was It was unusual for a company to come. We came in there with, you know, some traction, which was strange at the time for y c. And I came in there is, like, a 32 year old. I think our 30 anyway was in my early thirties, and that was unusual, Y C two, which now, actually fairly common places. A lot of a lot of mortgages, Aled folks, they’re not just these sort of, you know, 18 year olds. 

Tony: 

And I think that’s how I originally I was like you imagine? I’m sure people know you. You lose track of people during college and at Washington College. I mean, you knew everybody and and certainly in a psychology program wasn’t that big. And then I was so excited. I was like, There’s actually a freakin entrepreneur who came out of, like, I don’t mean that in a bad way. But like a person who came to Silicon Valley has happened, I was like, Oh, Tony, I know this dude, but that really wasn’t your first company because you had done Didn’t you do a web design company out of college when you were in Alaska? Yeah, I kind of super accidentally, you know, I had I had moved. 

Brandon: 

I was in Alaska and moved briefly down to Chicago chasing my when I eventually married and I applied for a job and the person who was hiring me said, Well, this is a contract job and I was like, I don’t know what that means and he said, Well, it means I can’t guarantee you 40 hours a week, but I’m gonna pay you this much per hour, which I believe at the time was like $50 an hour and my previous job Before that, I think I was making, like, 18, 75 an hour, so I was just like this to me was this magical world of self employment. And, you know, there’s an attached story about taxation that I realized later in the game of like, Oh, wait a minute. I don’t get my taxes pulled out of my paychecks. And and all the naive things you are, you know, And you know when you’re doing this for the first time. So I went back to Alaska after that with, you know, with my wife and, uh, and end up starting a consulting company that we built up, like 25 30 people, depending on how you count it before I sold out of that. So, yes, has a services business which is so radically different than a product business, but one of the easier ones to build compared to product stuff. 

Tony: 

Right? So that was really your foray from what were you doing in Chicago? 

Brandon: 

I was It was Web design. 

Brandon: 

So it’s basically contract web stuff and very early in the thing. I was like a subcontractor to a subcontractor, you know, so we could go in, You know, is this sort of two levels down subcontractor and these bigwig meetings where they’re selling, like, true value hardware a three quarter of a million dollar content management system built on Pearl. So, yeah, this is starting to sound really old. 

Tony: 

Uh, Pearl E. Probably nobody young people know what that is, but it was a computer language. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. Yeah. It was, like the kind of dominant language of the Internet and massively harder to make Web applications in Pearl than than sort of modern stuff. So, uh, and yeah, we’re selling content management systems, which were considerably less sophisticated than WordPress for three quarters of a million dollars, Right? Like just a radical change of capabilities compared to today. 

Tony: 

Three quarters of a million to free. So how did you actually? Never. Even even when you and I had coffee and hung out. I don’t know how you made the leap from psychology at Washington College in Maryland. Toe web design was Did you just gravitate towards it? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, it’s I mean, I’m really super grateful. 

Brandon: 

I like, I think you know, it was really luck. 

Tony: 

That my dad growing up, he worked closely with apple and, like later, I had no idea. Like he worked with Apple like he spent the day with Steve jobs. When I mentioned that i y Combinator I met Ron Conway. My dad’s like, Oh, yeah, I know Ron Conway. I’m like, Wait, What? But my dad kinda every day would come home with new hotness of apple computers. So I basically had, like, leading edge computer on the apple side of things at all times and just, you know, not to interrupt you, because that was he was in Maryland, right? 

Tony: 

Yeah, yeah, he was actually. 

Tony: 

So he he started a business. 

Brandon: 

And this is kind of one of those, like, you know, entrepreneurial. I don’t think DNA, but, like example of, like just growing up and knowing like you can create your own job rather than the default position of like, and that your resume and hope someone hires you. But he started a company selling Apple computers to the federal government, which sounds like a small slice back then or today, you know, which is mostly standardized on windows. But there’s enough sort of contrarian bits of the government who bought Apple computers that my dad started getting the being the sort of conduit for these sort arms of government who used apple like turning a really good sized business, which he ended up building from nothing and selling to I forget who for some pretty meaningful sum of money at the time. So so, yeah, so have done all that startups stuff. But it just never occurred to me that, you know, And it was in federal contracting, radically different things. So, yeah, so just random. Like he randomly like the way he met Steve Jobs. Just totally wild is, uh, Ross Perot, who he also met in some way, like asked him to go check out this company that he was thinking about investing in, and he wanted my dad to go there and get the pitch and see if bring back a decision whether he thought this was a good investment. And so I went there and hung out with this guy for a day. This guy pitched him all day long, and my dad came back and said, No, don’t do it. That’s a bad investment. The company was next, and the person with Steve Jobs, which turns out in hindsight. My dad was right and then next, as a technology was not going to be a successful company on its own. But folding back in Apple with sort of Steve Jobs at the helm obviously turned out would have been a good financial outcome for up for Ross Perot, who probably didn’t find any way. But yeah, so just the wild thing. I just never occurred to me. My dad’s like, bumping into these people like, and I didn’t care about any of this stuff, right? I was just like the whole startup world was just this, you know, I never didn’t pay any attention to it. So I just kind of grew up with being nerdy. And then in the early part of the Internet, there wasn’t There were software degrees, but the software degrees where in FORTRAN and Pascal and stuff like that. So thes old crusty sort of computer science people really didn’t know what to do with HTML. And you know what the timetables and increasingly CSS is That became a thing. And so, you know, he kind of looked to these sort of young, nerdy people who rock and love computers. And I happen to be in that simply because my dad immersed being it totally accidentally. As you know, like a you know, bachelors in psychology is not a a gateway to amazing career opportunities, right? So just sheer luck that I sort of fell into that. So increasing as the Internet ramps up, people are calling me like Tony, you know, computers. My business needs a website, and I’m like, E can figure that out and you know, So that’s kind of how felling and nowadays you got like, you have degrees in this stuff and there’s a lot more to learn and there’s a lot more competition. 

Tony: 

But at the time of anyone who could move the mouse, you know who who wasn’t old crusty FORTRAN programmer like, you know, could could go out there and kind of find their own way. You know, scholars, a gold rush in a really, really way. Like, you know, guys with shovels going and found golden nowadays like you, individual gold mining entrepreneurs are not much of a thing, right? 

Tony: 

No, I think you’re really lucky. I don’t know. From a fellow guy growing up on the East Coast, I think there was this Northern Virginia movement that happened in the tech world. 

Brandon: 

But for the most part, like you’re just lucky that your dad had that connection because it, It just the East Coast. I mean, it just doesn’t have that. 

Brandon: 

I don’t even know how to describe it. It almost is like That’s not even possible. 

Brandon: 

Oh, yeah, yeah, I think that’s something. That’s one of the things you think about how to build another Silicon Valley, which people talk about all the time. I think so much of it is just like the examples like if you grew up in Northern California, you’re just looking around it. Just people just like you becoming gazillionaires because they had some idea of a website that they threw together on a weekend right, and obviously it’s a lot more work than that. But it z almost your birthright because you see it around you everywhere. And, you know, in the East Coast or Alaska, you know, never occurs to anybody that they could build a software company. It’s just something for for people out in that magical startup world who could pull off, but but surely not us, and it’s definitely one of my realizations getting immersed in startup land coming down from Alaska. I came down thinking these people were God like, and they’re really smart humans. But They’re just people, right? They’re just people who are about as smart as you are who happened to feel like they have the right to do this. So, yeah, I think I was super lucky. Thio get emerged about that entrepreneurial sort of blood and, uh and yeah, and just technology just technology. Me was second nature. You know where most people like computers were still kind of this weird thing. 

Tony: 

So I wanna touch on this because I think it’s an interesting subject and I have my own opinions. Obviously I voted with my feet, right. I moved out here mainly because I think there were more people like me. I don’t think I was an East Coast person. Now that I’m out here and you’re going to reduce your chance, you’re reduced the chances of something wrong going on. Why not be in the best place if you’re a technology nerd? And I say this lovingly because I tried and was a member of a group in Baltimore toe to sort of get the texting going there and was part of that Northern Virginia movement. And now you’re in Austin, where everybody is saying is next Silicon Valley and I find it interesting discussion mainly because I think these people and I’m not saying all of them because people like Peter Thiel are obviously very smart individuals who who have a track record of success. 

Brandon: 

That is obviously hard to argue with. But I would argue that the reason that Silicon Valley is the way it is and I’ve had an uncle who was part of a one of the most successful venture firms in the world here in Silicon Valley and and knowing the history it’s not just because they’re smart people here, right, it’s because there’s angel investors. Super Angel Investors around B Round see Roundy Roundy round and the companies to purchase them, and you can’t build that overnight. I would argue it takes five decades before you can get. Northern Virginia lost its own from my opinion, mainly because a O. 

Brandon: 

L. Left and a O. L was the company that was buying the tech companies in the Baltimore northern Virginia area. So then who was gonna buy him? And people say, Well, there’s a Microsoft office that having an office in these places is different than having the headquarters there. I’m sorry, it’s just hard to argue with that. And it’s hard to build up a place where you have enough people who were acquired wealth to be a seed, a round, be around. What do you think about that? You know, you’re in Austin and everybody I talked to my life was like, maybe he’s good. Awesome. A lot of people are going awesome. I’m a notion person. I’m not gonna leave the ocean, But maybe we should check it out. 

Brandon: 

Like what Do you think? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I mean, I like I like my most of my sort of startup career was in Seattle and that’s, you know, kind of in the, you know, one of the big startup markets. But I always felt like an underdog and having raised money in the Bay Area, spent a lot of time down on the y Combinator like Seattle. 

Tony: 

And these sort of secondary started markets are still still miles behind the Bay area. And I think it’s right, you’re you’re This 50 year notion is right is that you think about this is like you’re trying to build a forest and if you have a well in Virginia, well, that’s one big treat and it drops, um, seeds. But like all sorts of things need toe happen for those seeds to turn into sort of seedlings and, you know, small trees and kind of work their way up there so that they’re dropping seeds as well in the forest grows and, like one bad winter or one drought or anything like that can sort of ruined these sort of this nascent early forest growing in the in the secondary markets. And they Yeah, it’s a it’s this gravity. Well, right. Like you’re you know, like you. You go to the Bay Area and the surface area of your luck expands, and not everyone is going to do it right. There’s gonna be some really great entrepreneurs in Northern Virginia. Some really great entrepreneurs. Seattle in Austin, whatever. But enough of them do gravitate towards their that. It’s just it’s kind of overpowering, right? It’s like, you know, if you’re in entertainment, you goto Hollywood or you go to New York, and if you’re in finance, you go to New York or you go to you know, London or, you know, there’s just all these places have these sort of, you know, gravitational center And if you’re anywhere else, you’re playing at a disadvantage, which is not. It’s overcome mobile, right? Like you can look out, you know, Spotify And what Sweden and Stockholm. And, uh, Shopify is in What? Toronto. I think like, you know, big companies gonna go anywhere, but like if you want ecosystem, if you want, that’s your luck surface area. You know, you go to the hub and it’s kind of a shame, right? Because you want that sort of to be a level playing field and some entrepreneur and some small city in Africa. I have the same shot of some, you know, white kid who’s, you know, spend distances, Stanford. But this is not the case. I think it’s more the case than it ever has been, right. I think it’s a leveler playing field, geographically speaking than it ever has been like capitalism or mobile. And maybe this pandemic is really changing that right where now nobody’s going to boardrooms on sandhill like they’re all doing zoom meeting. So, like, these investors who used toe find this whole getting on a plane thing really inconvenient. Now they’re not doing it. And, uh, you know, maybe this is helping sort of accelerate that. That’s spreading out of opportunity. But I still think, like, yeah, if you want to maximize your odds, you know, you’re in the Bay area, you know, startup school stop. 

Tony: 

And I think it also to your point. The gravitational thing is just running into people, right? I wrote my bikes with these guys for a while, and one day we’re riding up Hawks Hill right on the Golden Gate. And they’re like, Hey, what do you dio? And this is like after three months, which is something to be said for, You know how, like, you know, people say, What do you do? It’s really do you bike? Do you ski and Tahoe. Do you surf? What, like hiker? Whatever. And I was like, Oh, I run this got this startup software company, and I’m like, What do you guys up to like? Oh, we did this finance company. I was like finance. 

Brandon: 

Like what? Payments over the internet. They’re like, Yeah, I was like, Yeah, which one? 

Brandon: 

Oh, Paypal. Oh, okay. Like, and you say that’s a chance meeting, But here it’s not a chance meeting. You can literally run into these people on a bike and that can change the course of your entire company in a moment. 

Brandon: 

And I think these other places just don’t have quite that density of people. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, my family, my favorite phrases, you know, around the world is luck. 

Brandon: 

Surface area, right is that you have this surface area of luck and it is so greatly expanded in the Bay Area just because, like at a coffee shop at a networking meeting at a you know, even if you have a job in a company your your next to four or five other humans who could be your next co founder, where that’s way more rare in any other market. So So, yeah, I think it Z, it’s chance meetings and and and relationships like you just your network is gonna have like all these people. Like, why Combinator like there’s a guy really, really nice human being who was also born in Iowa. Like I was who, uh, in 2000 and had founded a trivia startup at A. Y. C. And it failed. It did horribly. They shut it down. Later, he went on to found Pinterest, right. This is Ben Silverman, right? eso you like, Even like these people. You just sort of random, Like this person is like And I know so many people were just like, Oh, this person doesn’t seem like they’re really, you know, gonna succeed. And then all of a sudden, like you turned around and they’re like, you know, learned three or four things and all of sudden there, you know, founding the next great thing. So it’s Ah, yeah, can’t beat it. 

Tony: 

Its’s incredible. So let’s go back to your your in Chicago, you find your way to Alaska, you filed this lady who winds up being your wife, and then you do this service company and then something happens and you migrate south and create ah, product company. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. I mean, I wish I was like so many people have this sort of deliberate, you know, road and mine was not, like, literally, as at the end of my rope with the services company, I realized, you know, there’s something you don’t learn as an entrepreneur, but like you can’t quit your company like so I was six years in and I was sick of it. Then I was looking around like what else can I do? Like I could dio build Web applications for oil companies. That sounds terrible for the state of Alaska government. The other sort of people with money up there like that Sounds terrible. I could start another services company, but I already have one. And I kind of like people. I worked with a great and so I wanted out, and I didn’t know what to do. So I was really, like, this sort of kind of mid life crisis see moment for May, and at the time were fussing around with, like, building a web development framework kind of ruby on rails, ask but for PHP and started building a demo app on top of this with an engineer that I knew up there. And, you know, this is the time when Ajax was a thing where, like doing asynchronous things with javascript and like you could make Web APS not just look like forms and submit buttons, but actually feel like applications that were moving and things were happening on the screen. So we basically that if we’re gonna build this sample applications, let’s make it awesome. So we built this resume management application of basically like you as a employer. Get tons of resumes in and you don’t know how to sort of search short them and stuff like that. And we built this really cool kind of novel interface for doing that. That was super job, script intensive and asynchronous. So all happening in the browser felt like an application, and people were impressed enough that was like, Let’s see if we get a little press and I was like I heard about I’d read TechCrunch some and back then it was just Mike Arrington. 

Tony: 

And so I like trying to get coverage on TechCrunch and stuff like that. 

Brandon: 

We got started getting some coverage in, like Ajax ian dot com, like online zines and stuff like that, and also got a TechCrunch article. And on the heels that TechCrunch article and feel like every time I see Mike Arrington, these all he’s in Cryptocurrency now, I guess. But you know what? I didn’t see him. I would always shake his hand and say, Hey, you changed the course of my life by writing that article because he publishes that article and then we get in the span of a couple of weeks, got emails from venture capitalist wanting to fund us companies wanting to buy us. And we’re like, what you mean by us, like we don’t even have a corporate entity yet. We just kind of threw together this demo. And so we ended up actually, uh, selling the company, which was hastily formed. So basically, you know, when we decided we want to sell the company, we had to go find a lawyer like, hey, we need to incorporate and build a corporate entities to sell in the next, like, six weeks. We ended up selling to a company down in in Seattle called Job Stir, which is working kind of the jobs resume sort of space. And yeah, and that was It was like, you know what you would now call on Aqua Hire and that their their goal was to support a higher US patent, a couple things interesting things that they thought we were doing, and, uh, and then promptly shut down. You know what we had started but at the time were just Yeah, we knew it was kind of, you know, there is, like, buying a job, essentially, but yeah, I kind of got us down in the startup land. And, uh, yeah, there’s a fairly fairly well experience and amazing sort of testament of what one Valley blawg could do toe like a couple of people out of Alaska. 

Tony: 

So when you that wasn’t a big decision. I guess at that point when you were like, Hey, I’m gonna move from Alaska to Seattle because job, sir was in a Seattle right and VC VC funded, If I remember correctly, yeah, yeah, they had raised. 

Brandon: 

I mean, it’s a really amazing company in a lot of ways. Raised, $50 million ended up selling for 900,000. So created essentially zero value because people who worked a job stir went on to create multiple companies that sold for at least tens of millions of dollars. Urban spoon came out of there a couple of direct to consumer things. This hilarious company called Bacon salt, which made bacon flavored salt and then bacon flavored mayonnaise and like they were on Oprah and like, is this wild? The number of people who came out of there and didn’t kind of cool things? Jason Goldberg, the CEO, went on to found fab dot com, which raised $300 million and I think sold for, like, $10 million. So another, like big raise, big non success. But a really good education on, like getting a bunch of really smart people in a very rich market does not equal success, right? 

Tony: 

Like you really need, ah, point of view that the market once and we never, never found that s Oh, yeah, I was only there for 18 months, I think, which is the sort of contractual minimum that I had to be there. By that time, they had done a bunch of layoffs. They didn’t let me off, but like you could see which way the wind was blowing. 

Tony: 

And then when it just a comment on the Aqua hire because people here that basically they pay you a rich just for the listeners who don’t know, they pay you a rich salary that effectively compensate to you and your partner’s for the quote unquote value, which is really bringing you on board with the stuff in your head. 

Brandon: 

And then they shut down your stuff and say We got Tony and his partner are nerves and we got all the brain trust and we’re good to go. 

Brandon: 

Yep. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, it’s basically just like e mean still come out cos now very good formula of what it cost to hire an engineer or a good product designer or what have you So they can They have internal numbers? Well, they say, like, you know, if we can hire 10, engineers will pay a million dollars per engineer because that’s a cheaper way to hire 10 engineers than the old fashioned way, which is actually very expensive when you factor in all of these sort of interviewing and all of the like, failed candidates and whatnot, right? So, yeah, she’s so it’s a way to acquire interesting people who might not otherwise be acquire a ble. 

Tony: 

Right. So then you’re at job stir, you do the 18 month minimum, and now you find yourself in Seattle, which is a step up from the Alaska start up market. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, yeah, we had, you know, it’s funny, like mid job stir like I had come in with jobs. 

Brandon: 

They’re, like, kind of stars in my eyes, like startups. These people are gonna be amazing. They’re gonna be gods of technology and product, and I have so much to learn and I did. I had so much to learn, but But when I got there and I was expecting like, Oh, my God, the pace Like, you know, I’ve been in Alaska, you know, little backwater. I’m gonna come down here and there’s gonna be working 80 hour weeks and, like, I’m not gonna be able to keep up. And And I got down and like, a they weren’t eight working 80 hour weeks. They were working, you know, relatively mellow weeks and be like the pace of software development was glacial. Being a consulting company, like, I have customers come to me and say like, I have a $50,000 budget to build this thing. And I’m like, we will find a way to build that for $50,000. Right? And job stir had no urgency or budget, right? They had huge piles of money in the bank and eso you know, urgency is a powerful thing and entrepreneurship. So, like, we would just go around and around with these long email threads, see seeing half of the company and BC seeing the other half, and, uh, and these big, long, expansive documents and letters and these meetings with 14 people in them where, like, what did this meaning accomplish? And so I was like, six months and was like, Are we actually building any software here? Like, I mean, what percentage of our time are we spending building software versus just talking about building software, which is also important, But maybe we should balance that out a little bit. So I really like, you know, it’s funny. We’re deacon out with some friends of mine, and we were talking about like we could probably build something that just measured how you spent your time that basically just sat on your computer. And any time a window was in focus in your mouth was moving. It’s just sort of, you know, recording that time. And at the end of the day, we can say 30% of your time is an outlook. 20% of your time is, you know, spent in Gmail. You know, Facebook. You know, you name it basically everything on your computer. We could give you a pie chart of that. Um, and that’s kind of how rescue time was born because I wanted to have a piece of paper that I could go into Jason’s the CEO’s office and say, like, this is how we as a company are spending our time. Is this how we want to spend our time? I never did that because, you know, didn’t didn’t get it built by the time I left, But that was kind of the genesis of the idea. And, uh, started being this little sort of side, uh, you know, a side hustle kind of thing. 

Tony: 

So, yeah, for everybody out there, that’s really I think you had just told job, sir. And then I heard rescue time was in a blogger or something. Like you said, I think you were trying to get press, But so you leave there And did some people come with you and you decided to rescue time? Or did you? And, like, take a minute off and then it and then decide to pursue rescue time? How did that transition? Yeah, I kind of jumped straight into it. 

Brandon: 

I mean, it was it was, uh, you know, we had already kind of started poking out a little bit, and that sort of created some more urgency. And, you know, as you sort of socialized these ideas this didn’t exist at the time. And, you know, you tell friends and I’m like, Yeah, I kind of like to know that I’d like the like, I have that from my computer and like So we saw, you know, had this anecdotal interest. 

Tony: 

And I had, you know, the friends that I’ve been hacking on it a little bit, like all wanted to sort of keep hacking on it. 

Brandon: 

And, uh, one of them was little ex Alaska who sort of caught the startup bug, and he was excited about turning it into a company. So So we went through all the motions and like creating, you know, back before this is kind of the normal thing to do. We created a landing page with some, you know, vaporware screenshots and said, like, you know, sign up if you want to get notified When we launched and got, like, you know, 30 40,000 people sign up for that really good percent sort of rate on number of people who saw the page versus, uh, signed up. We’re like, Wow, we’re kind of on to something here and, you know, but none of us were making any money, so I was kind of, you know, one day we I think we have the realization of, like, why don’t we apply to y Combinator? And if they accept us like, we’ll take that as a signal. Let’s go all in on this and if not, well, like, you know, maybe just say it’s a hobby or shut it down or whatnot Eso applied. Oh, I see. And which is again weird to do back, You know, back then it was only people applied with ideas like you didn’t have a company you didn’t have a product, didn’t have customers. He just like to twentysomethings with an idea that they wanted a hack on for the summer. And we’re like, Hey, we have We have a launch list of tens of thousands of people and a bunch of software that’s like in prototype phase. So So I got in the way I see in 2000 and eight and ran from there. 

Tony: 

I remember you were down there. I found that I remember you said to me, and later I actually read the information, but it’s like a 30 year times on the company. 

Brandon: 

A 30 year time is exercise and a 30 year time. Is something else? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

I don’t know. Yeah, back then. You know why? She is very, like, health oriented now, which is, like, at the time, it was kind of all in, but yeah, we could measure. Obviously, we had a great measurement of our time and how much time we spend on computers. And it was basically, yeah, computers and some get out sunshine exercise and, you know, food. At the same time, Joe, one of my co founders and I were both trying. We’re both like, hey, we should, like, lose weight on this low carb thing. And, uh and so we’re doing, like the you know what at Kinsey. Sort of South Beach. He kind of stuff. And, uh, I think together we lost. What do we say? Like 144 sticks of butter is how we measured it. So, yeah, so we’re trying to be sort of healthy. That was rare back then. Everyone’s like, you know, you know, Eminem’s and and Diet Coke kind of thing, Uh, was the normal sort of started mentality. 

Tony: 

I remember that you and I met at the corner there, right down in town town Mountain view When they’re so, then you go through. I see. And you decided to raise money. I mean, it obviously worked out. I mean, this is like you guys going into it saying, which I guess is a good approach for people, right? I mean, I think we all do is entrepreneurs and say if this happens, then I lean in. If it doesn’t, then I either kill it or move on. But you keep making these rules like, Hey, if we get in the way I see again y c and then did you have it like, Hey, if we can raise money, yeah, we’ll go try it. 

Brandon: 

It was Well, I wish it was more thoughtful than that. Or as thoughtful is that it was definitely more like, I don’t think we really knew what we were signing up for Y C and like the default at the end of Y. C is you’re doing Demo day and then the default purpose of Demo Day is to raise money. So, you know, we kind of did that and it was definitely less of a like Now I think I’ve taken approach with raising money of like to a large degree. The market decides how big your opportunity is, and it is dangerous to raise money before you know how big your opportunity is. And so it never occurred to me to say, like, Hey, is this a venture fund? Herbal business like, What’s the pitch? It was more of a like This needs to be a venture fund, herbal business for us to be able to pay our paychecks and to keep working on it, which we all wanted to dio. 

Tony: 

And so you know, I worked with Paul Graham and why seeing all those folks to, like, figure out what pitch would resonate with investors. And that was the pitch I delivered and was the pitch I believe to. 

Tony: 

It wasn’t like I was actually just making stuff up, but it’s just kind of like it was a very sort of like, just sort of sliding down a track of this is the next step is raising money rather than like, you know, because raising money is like you’re kind of signing up for a commitment for multiple years of your life at a time where you don’t know a lot, so I think you know when you decide to raise money, especially like it’s nice to be in a position where, like, later in your career, like, you know, at at our age, with our backgrounds, like it’s easier to just kind of raise money on an idea. 

Brandon: 

And that’s get a little scary because what? That ideas that doesn’t work in year one. And you’re still sitting here with $2 million that you promised investors. You do something good with, like you can get kind of trapped in these things, so I’d be a little more hesitant now. But yeah, the time. It’s just like kind of desperation of like, this is the next step, I think. 

Tony: 

No, I think that’s a vital point, though. Tony, what? The thing you said. You say it like it’s every day, and I think as you get older and you’ve done a few of these, you sort of get it. 

Brandon: 

But the point is, is, and I remember doing this, too, is you feel like you’ve got to raise money and you’ve got to make the pitch fit the fund herbal message. 

Brandon: 

The problem with that is, is that eventually payday comes right and I think that’s the big challenge. 

Brandon: 

I don’t know, Tony that I found over the years and maybe the lesson that I’ve just come to deal with, like one is it’s okay to have a business that throws off cash and is a lifestyle business. 

Brandon: 

But to is, if you decide I had this conversation with somebody recently who I think I’m not going to name it but has a really good company here in Silicon Valley and I think would make is going to make could make a lot of money, but will of will be challenged because they raise money from VCs. 

Brandon: 

And once you do that right, you’re you’re at 100 x return. I mean, I’m exaggerating only slightly, though, right? And then you’re gonna have to burn down your money and your other point that I always, I think, is important is you want to do this company so badly in many ways. 

Brandon: 

But you’ve got to pay yourself some salary, and ultimately it’s like I don’t know about you, Tony, but I feel like in my spreadsheet that I built in my business plan. There’s this one tab that’s completely blank, that you just say that gets you from here to there. It makes absolutely no sense. But it’s like the magic pill that’s just gonna work, but it doesn’t work. 

Brandon: 

Yep. Yeah, I think you don’t. I mean, like, at that stage, you don’t know what’s going to work. You don’t know how well it’s gonna work and you don’t know how big it could get. 

Tony: 

And I think now I also have a like a little bit less, more of an attitude of, like BCS air coming in betting on the market there. 

Brandon: 

They know there’s a lot of uncertainty like I would you know nowadays, I wouldn’t raise money with financial projections like I would raise money as honestly as I could, which is like, Hey, we’re taking a run of this market. There’s a really good chance we might find ourselves 15 degrees to the left or the right. We don’t know what we might serve a slightly different market. We might pivot like, but so you’re kind of betting on the bets that we’re gonna make And here’s what we way no, so far, but like there’s a lot we don’t know, and I think the problem is, is that most entrepreneurs like Pitch. 

Tony: 

A lot of entrepreneurs successfully raise money, are great sales people and great sales people know what the person needs to hear to close the deal. And when you’re in that sort of moment of desperation of like, I can’t I can’t pay my co founders. 

Tony: 

I can’t pay myself. I can’t keep serving these customers who I love and want to help. I can’t keep building this product that I love and want to build. Unless I say what this person wants to hear and a lot of like a lot of good sales people like at the time believed what they wanted to hear right. Like Paul Graham talked me into it and I talked myself. I knew it. I went in there like, you know, pitching like I believe, because it did. And uh, yeah, but it’s I think a lot of people do it like there are people out there who don’t believe it. They’re like they’re out there just telling whatever lies they need to tell and fussing with whatever numbers and and faking, you know, traction and, like, throw it like there’s a phenomenon where young startups would spend money on AdWords to sort of show this up into the right graph. You know, they’re just basically buying buying a graph that they can show VCs to allow them to raise money. And like you say, eventually you have to pay the piper I call. 

Tony: 

I call that being on the crack pipe is you know, like, if you think that you are going to advertise your way into a customer acquisition cost, that just simply doesn’t make sense. But you’re going to be able to show the curve eventually you’re you’re faking product market fit. I mean, in many in many ways. You agree? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, totally do. Yeah. Sam Altman, You know, that said very loudly. And most wise, a lot of I see companies don’t listen to this, which is, if you aren’t growing organically like don’t spend money on advertising, you only need to buy as many customers as you do to test out your product, to see if they love it. But if they don’t love it, and if they don’t love it enough to tell other people like you’re not there yet, which is like a print like, Yeah, but when you’re buried in money and all this competition you got demo day and like, you know, competition with investors and everyone else is doing it. And you’re the one person who is like being honest in that pitch room and not spending money on those ads like you don’t look a shiny as those other startups, so it can get a little ugly out there. 

Tony: 

I agree. I also I didn’t I mean, my first company with the fishing said I didn’t have a lot of money. We did raise money. And I did tell a story that I did believe, you know, in hindsight, wasn’t Adventure Herbal fungible company? Obviously not. But was it a good lifestyle company? I bought it back, and we’re gonna get to that with rescue time with with you and how you came around. But I think I spent $50 a month on paid average or paid something with that fishing site, and it was word of mouth. And that’s an S e o which e think I count to get there. But let’s go back with your story. You come up with a story that you believe, but we’re not sure adventure fungible, but you do get venture. Well, becomes venture fund Herbal because of the story you tell and you do get venture funding. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

I mean, we had I mean, after our story, we had great growth of the time, and we had this need story of, like, you know, quantified self. And and that sort of world was in the ascent. Lifehacker dot com was this huge block that was blowing up and, like, sort of This was a thing that was, you know, exciting. And we have this notion of, like, all this data, the rescue time collects was going into the cloud. We have a story like, Well, you know, imagine like, how much we know about how people use technology that no one else knows, Right, Because we’re measuring like all of our customers, second by second attention data. And like, someday we will be the authority on this. And I didn’t at the time have any idea how that could turn into money or product or business itself, but like, it seemed like a really exciting assets have. So yeah, so we raised money, and this is in 2000 and eight when there’s massive financial crisis and So we’re one of two. I see companies to raise money in our class. The other one was Harajuku, but I believe none of the other ones raised. And I don’t think many of the other ones are still alive in any any shape. But there there might be a couple that managed a to do. Okay. So, yeah, we have raised money from true ventures who were outstanding investors and have, like, continue to be outstanding investors. Big fans of theirs raise money with them. They’re invested in my next companies. Well, Glow Forge. So Yeah. So it was great. So Yeah, but it was, you know, a million dollar Siri’s a Chris Sacca. Tim Ferriss were also in that. So it’s kind of a neat, you know, neat crew. Yeah, but like, like find nowadays, like, a million dollars. Siri’s Day is, like, you know, almost a joke, right? 

Tony: 

Like so. I mean, crazy is crazy as that sounds so you you You do rescue time. How long did you I don’t want to say survive, but you like before you got tired because you left eventually. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I left. It was interesting. You know, we we grew for a while, like it was very like in the early days of Freemium and we had a free product and the growth was great. They were like, Wow, we gotta figure out how to make money. And we introduce a paid product and it didn’t do great. And we, you know, gutted it out and got to the point where, like, it was kinda cash flow, positive ish with a tiny team and and I really like I had lost faith, right? I was looking at this, and I was like, This is not growing. And like, we’ve already spent our best ideas on this, like we like, we’re looking at our idea white board and, like big initiatives, big, meaty things we could fight off and, like, tackle that would make this business successful were like, Do you guys have any ideas like, is this in? 

Tony: 

This is the thing that’s gonna get us toe like, you know, the next Google or Facebook. 

Tony: 

And so I have lost faith in it is a sort of venture sized opportunity and about three or four years in and so, you know, started sitting down with Tony Conrad, who’s on a board and my co founders. 

Brandon: 

Me, like so having candid conversations like do we all agree that that this isn’t going in a direction that we think is very exciting And what do we want to do about it? And I was like, You know, like, you know, it was like, Well, you just pivot and like, Well, you know, we can’t pivot to like Social games or like the time iPhone games or big. We’re like, Why don’t you know iPhone game studio like, Well, that’s not a pivot. That’s basically like a reboot, you know? You know, at that point, like the investors didn’t invest in that and like, the team isn’t excited about that. And so, you know, we had some pivot ideas that were closer. What we’re doing Well, what we could be a market research company. Uh, we could work like with Nielsen, but we didn’t really love, you know, But ultimately, my two co founders, like we believe in this mission, and we want to build this company, and that’s where they wanted to be. And I was like, Well, that’s where you guys wanna be and I wanna be. Don’t wanna be doing that, then I should hand you the keys to this, And I should, you know, back away. You know, with, you know, with a handshake and a smile. So that’s ultimately what happened is, you know, I stepped away and handed the keys Toe Joe, one of my co founders, and Brian other co founder, you know, still there. And they just wait and to their credit, like, you know, change that they, you know, over time, like change the growth curve from, like, kind of flat to back. You know, we taking it up and then like it kind of flatten out. We’re like, Oh, boy. And then, you know, at some point after I left, you know, started going up again and they battled their way up and and got it from, like, I don’t know, 45 person company Thio, you know, 15 person company. And, uh, you know, that’s where it kind of kind of stabilized again. So So, yeah, so it was just did not like I was You know, I you know at that point had toe go big or go home mindset. If I wanted to do venture backed big things and this didn’t feel like it and felt like, Well, I don’t wanna be trapped in this. I wanna have the opportunity to go chase big things. If if I can’t figure out how the thing is gonna be big, I wanna be somewhere else. 

Tony: 

Yeah, I want to just I want to go thio your next company because I think it’s an interesting transition. I know it had a technology feel. I always felt like you were going to Ah ah, hardware company. And you can comment on that. But one of the things that I have, some people who have been in some businesses with Oh, and then there was a company in between, though I want to talk about Don’t let me forget the linked in thing that you flipped. Oh, yeah. Is this idea Tony that, You know, some guy said to me, I said, Well, we’re gonna This was a company and and we had thrown some money together and try and I was like, Hey, let’s give it a go for 12 months and you know, we’re going to go for the we’re going to go for the gusto here. 

Brandon: 

And if it doesn’t work in 12 months. 

Brandon: 

Hey, I’m probably out of here, and I was just candid, right? 

Brandon: 

Like that’s what we’re doing. It’s not. It’s not that I don’t think you can pivot Cos my God, I like took a company and then I bought it back and then grinded my way back and sold it. But like I did that, But in this one, it’s really a mindset. I think you touched on that, which is Hey, look, if I’m going to do a venture thing and it turns into a dud, I’m out not not like I’m giving up. It’s just that’s what we’re playing for and I’m not in it for the pivot. I think that’s a really honest discussion, and I think it’s, ah, hard discussion. I also think it has a lot of self awareness that you can convey to someone and someone said to me Well, Brandon, that doesn’t seem that doesn’t really seem like you’re in it for the long haul and I said, Well, I’m in it for the long haul but the bet we’re making is on this 100 x return, and if it’s not that, then that’s really my filter on this one. 

Brandon: 

And we all agree that that’s what we’re putting money in and raising money for. 

Brandon: 

And and if it doesn’t and I think the seas, I mean, they know that. That’s why eight out of 10 make it. And they no one likes to lose money, but ultimately to hit and they make their fund. What do you think about that? Do you think that that’s like a bad thing that we sometimes have that mindset? 

Brandon: 

Er, no, I think I mean, I think you’re right. 

Brandon: 

It’s really honest and candid. And the song is like, a long as you have all everyone around the table is heads up about that and talking about it. I mean, I’ve definitely heard that actor kind of angel investors who you know, invest, you know, 15, like all investors ever work has been great. 

Tony: 

But I’ve definitely heard of Angel investors like invest 50 k, and then the company isn’t doing well and the company is like, Well, we’re going to shut it down. And the angel investors like, what the hell, like in their upset right? Because they’re like and these were like small time angel investors who aren’t doing enough deals to sort of divers find there and they’re anxious about like, I don’t wanna do that money or lose that 100 K or 50 K or whatever it is like you owe me effort to sort of turn that into money. And I think as long as you’re sort of upfront about it, on the front side is like, Hey, we’re making here the bets we’re making We’re gonna bet this this and this. And if these bets succeed, we can all agree this is gonna be a pretty bad as company. If these bets fail, we’re gonna all agree we’re going to sit down and see. Is there any other approximate bet that we think is a similar sort of magnitude? They were like, Okay, here’s a Here’s a pit pit that we also think is $100 million opportunity. But if we get to this sort of, you know, if he’s whiffed and we get to this point, we’re not going to sort of force a pivot and go try to find, like, a $5 million outcome that sort of returns pennies on the dollar to investors and the entrepreneurs for the sweat that they’re putting in right So a Zilong has ever been like and I just I was never in my early or entrepreneurs heads up enough to even think like that. But I think it’s the right way to think. And you want to make sure co founders are on board with that notion on. Our investors are on board with that notion, and, uh, yeah, because it’s it’s and some some people like. And there’s also a mission thing, right? Is that, like my rescue time co founders cared about that mission in a way that that I cared about it, too. But I also at the time was very like starters. My eyes go big or go home, and, uh and so they like when it came down and sort of choosing between like, Hey, do we want a pivot away from this mission where we think there might be more money, They’re like, Yeah, we don’t really want to do that. And I don’t think there was any great pivot ideas in our lap, either, So that made it easier on him. Yeah, I think that’s the right way to think about it and talk about it. And there’s plenty businesses that aren’t venture sized and those air great to like. I mean, I hate you know, people get grumpy about the phrase lifestyle company and like like, how wonderful is it for a company to like, You know, throw off cash like to be a cash cow? 

Tony: 

I think it’s great. I mean, in my later years here, as much as I still have that, let’s go to the venture deal. I mean, I don’t know about you, Tony, but taking home million two or three a year in a lifestyle business seems pretty stinking good to May. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I think it’s great. And it’s It’s a much more tractable problem than building $100 million company. E less risky, way easier to pull off and, you know, can be Justus fun. But yeah, and I I think you know there is a how do you want to spend your life? I think there’s a lot of entrepreneurs like, I hope, most people trying to build those billion dollar companies. They’re doing it because they love the market and they love building stuff. But I do know a lot of people out there who are like gunning for dollars like they just want to be rich and you probably bumped in down the Bay Area and other walks of life. Enough rich people to know, like wealth and happiness, past a certain point, just have virtually no correlation. So, like don’t kill yourself and sacrifice a huge swath of your life. To make a pile of money like that’s a dumb way to spend your life unless it’s your having a blast doing it right, which I always have. But a lot of people are really suffering to going through this stuff, right? 

Tony: 

Well, I think so. My my one of the things and I’ve stayed in the game for sure, But my philosophy is changed a little bit, Tony and that Here’s what I say here I want to go for and this touches on a really important point. 

Brandon: 

I think you said it earlier when you were doing the white comedy Your pitch, which is you adjust the pitch to tell people what they want to hear. 

Brandon: 

And look, I am a really, I think a good salesman, mostly because I’m passionate and I believe it much like you, right? Like when you when you believe it, It’s It’s not hard. You just like, uses out of you. But here’s my you know, every there’s, there’s people who and I won’t. He can take money from investors like this anymore, which is a really hard thing as an entrepreneur to not take money when you need money, but someone that they said, Well, we’re gonna build it, we’re gonna flip it And I was like, No, where I’m not going to do it. Here’s what I’m willing to dio I’m willing to try to solve a problem for a group of people that they’re willing to pay us for and not bet on a flip. But bet on a fundamentally there’s a hybrid between hype and product market fit or solving a real problem so that if the market does crash like it did in 2000 and 1 2000 and eight, currently, that we have a foundation and and everyone and then this is I don’t know about you, but I hate this question. 

Brandon: 

Tony, who is going to buy your company, and my answer is, I don’t know. 

Brandon: 

But here’s what I do know. If you solve a real problem and you’re making money and people and you’re growing, someone will probably offer to buy you. We don’t need to answer that question. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, Yeah, I like that. 

Tony: 

I think the And I think that’s a honestly, a fairly unsophisticated investor question. I think, like right investor question is like, if this succeeds, how big could it get because of the power law on investment? Like, you know, all these investors really make almost all of their money on the one home run in their portfolio. So, like, question is, is if it succeeded, could it be Google? Could it be Facebook? Could it? I p o. That’s the venture question. And the answer is like we have no freaking idea, right? Like you just you know, we’re going to go into the market where I think it could be big. But no one thought Facebook could be as big as it was. I’m Andrew Chen has this just awesome post breaking down in meticulous detail how Facebook can never be more than $100 million company. And it was just It was It was it was unshakeable logic, you know, spreadsheet it out to the Integrion androgen like we laugh about it now. But, you know, it just it shows like in Google. Like, you know, what they got offered loaded excite pay, like, offered to pay a couple million dollars for them Or, like, you know, So all these companies, they’re huge, like people laughed off, right? They don’t at the time makes sense. So the answer is like Like we don’t know how big it’s going to be and let’s go try to, like you say, solve a problem and make it grow and we’ll see where the ceiling is. And, uh, hopefully we’ve invested in a thing that has a very high ceiling, which is I think the invest should be in the investors main goal. 

Tony: 

Yeah, I think you’re I’ve always hated that question. Uh, it I wouldn’t want to go down through my list that I have in my head of investors who have asked me that who actually aren’t that unsophisticated. 

Brandon: 

They’re super sophisticated, but they still ask. The question is still annoys the crap at me. 

Brandon: 

You know, it’s it’s probably interesting, sideways way of getting like Who are you gonna be threatening to? Who’s you know, who’s market? Will you chip away at, You know, like I think there’s It’s a it’s a good sort of thought exercise. Maybe, I don’t know, but but yeah, but yeah, Well, how about this one while we’re on the topic? 

Tony: 

Sorry. I’m just going to go a little bit off track here, but I know I can with you is why aren’t the big companies doing this, Tony? Why? Why Why is it Microsoft measuring the time that people do on their platform? 

Brandon: 

Oh, yeah. These sort of Yeah. Like, why isn’t Google a soon as they see you succeeded this just going to clone you and put you out of business? Yeah. And yeah, I think it’s, uh yeah, and like I mean, go ahead and ask that question retrospectively of why wasn’t you know Expedia and B R b o making Airbnb? And why was it excite making Google and why was it my space making Facebook? I mean, how dumb or is that question with those companies at those moments? Right, s. So I think, you know, start great start ups or contrarian. And the answer is why people are doing it is because it’s a stupid idea on the surface on its a contrarian idea, And contrarian ideas are the ones that win sort of outsized returns. 

Tony: 

And my thing is, hey, if you honestly, if you’re asking that question toe like, just see my reaction, that’s one thing if you’re actually actually that question because you actually are concerned about it, you we should probably in the meeting. 

Brandon: 

Now it’s another like feels like an unsophisticated best question. I do think good investors like throw punches in those meetings toe like ask you annoying questions just to kind of see, like, see, see if they can rock you on your heels, See if, like how you react the sort of things And and, uh, how do you think? On your feet and you know they’re testing your salesmanship metal, You know, I don’t know. 

Tony: 

Yeah, but anyway, so let’s go back. You leave rescue time and because you and I probably go off on that and probably get probably get myself into trouble. Uh, on air. And I do love investors, by the way, I was a V C. And I think there’s a lot of them. But of course, you know, as an entrepreneur, we all we’re gonna be annoyed some stuff and quite frankly, there anointed us because, God, just they they have. 

Brandon: 

You can’t even imagine what they have to sit or the or the or the answers we give them board meetings after they were like, Yeah, that that, Yeah, no guys, that that doesn’t work or ladies. 

Tony: 

So you you leave rescue time, and I think you did a I I was actually super. 

Brandon: 

I think you did the the LinkedIn. I call it the Lincoln Flip. I don’t know if that’s the right thing. You did this. I think I was actually so impressed because it felt like you came out of nowhere. And the next thing you’re like, yeah, we sold this thing. What was that? Yeah, it was a weird kind of side project. 

Brandon: 

I was working with a friend of mine, Adam Doppelt, who is one of the co founders, Urban Spoon, who’s similarly in a like, you know, wondering what to do with his life and how to do it with. So it’s kind of a co founder dating thing, and we, you know, Adam and I have since remained great friends and whatnot. Never started actual, like forever. Company together because he couldn’t land an idea. But this is an idea we said, Well, like like just to get to know each other. Let’s work on this and the notion Waas, like the press, called it hot or not for linked in. But what it did is basically put two co workers. It would hook up to your LinkedIn profile and then put two people that you’ve worked with in the past in front of you and say, Who would you rather work with again? This person, person A or person B and we set it up? 

Tony: 

Is this kind of game where people who did it would answer this question literally dozens or hundreds of times. And the notion was, Is that if you answered like 50 of them, we will show you how you’ve done in these duels, right? So if you answer 50 of these will say, Brendan, you’ve won 40 duels out of out of 50 or something like that, or, you know, because like, it’s kind of pulling on the threat of like we all want to know what our co workers think of us. And so we represent ourselves. The company that could tell you that like people have seen your face next to another face they’ve worked with and chosen you or this other person. And are you winning or losing those duels? It’s called Cube. Duel was the name and so we had just million’s of these duels happening and, like we, like, had fun stories of, like, Friday night we’re hitting lengthens ap ICAP and we’re like pouring through our network trying to find anyone who knows like an executive and lengthen, who can sort of make a weekend phone call to sort of get our cap rates because the whole you know, site was down at this time when we were growing in his very viral way. So this was a like, you know, very purposeful, kind of viral marketing stunt that worked really, really well. It’s a good you know, anything about viruses like and obviously we’re all thinking about viruses nowadays, you know, there’s a notion of immunity, and one thing that that we realized pretty early on is that everyone we infected with our sort of virus, right? It’s this, like word of mouth spreading, people were tweeting about blah, blah, everyone who used it and tried it like it was incredibly fun for about 20 to 30 minutes, and we could pull some people back a little bit here and there. But for the most part, once you tried cube dual, you became immune to cube. Dual viral sort of outreach, right? So we saw this thing raising up in this just sort of like a cento kind of way. It’s just amazing. But we also knew that it had sort of a shelf life. So when we, you know, started getting press about it and did play, you know, did the press drum kind of thing, you know, got on TechCrunch and much other things. Bunch people copied us. I mean, the clones like the numbers sort of career oriented sites where they were doing this was huge because the tempting thing was or the exciting thing from a business perspective was this reputation graph, right? Because you imagine when you hire someone you really don’t know like you have the resume, it looks pretty good. You have their references, which they hand fed you and like those air pretty good. But what you don’t know is like like for people who worked with them. Would they work with them again? And like if we could tell you that every time this person’s face comes up in a cube dual dual 90% of the time someone picks the other person. That’s like an interesting signal for you, right from hiring perspective. So the people who ultimately reached out we had a bunch people reached out to us want to fund us? Uh, one wanted to buy us a couple wanted by us, and they were all kind of interested in that angle. So we ended up selling it to a start up in a VC, sort of were joining forces to put the money to go to the buy it, and then we helped work with them for, like, three or four months. They’re kind of a kind of mini earn out. And then when our merry way. So, yeah, that was the whole thing was like maybe a month of effort on our part on then six kind of nail biting weeks of working through the legal paperwork right When it’s it’s pretty fun when you’re like Oh, yeah, we just like, put this thing together and it’s big success. Then you start paying legal bills to work through a deal. And during the deal we’re watching and then the, you know, the customer, the popular buying it, they’re watching the same analytics that we are. But they’re seeing the growth starts to slow down and start to top off and like And we’re getting down to the point where we’re signing paperwork and whatnot and like, Are they gonna back out of this deal because they’re watching the growth? And we can, you know, say, well, the growth is slowing down a little bit because we’ve been focusing on this deal instead of growing it. But like, you know, they knew how things were going. So so, yeah, so ended up selling it, okay and and work to those folks and they ended up billing a good related business. But the asset, you know, this sort of cubicle asset became this sort of virus with immunity that that wasn’t terribly interesting other than the data sort of being acquired, which I think it was interesting. But yeah, there’s a wild, wild story when you’re like, Oh, yeah, 10 or $20,000 for the legal bills racked up for this sort of acquisition that, like we’re still gonna have to pay if it falls through. 

Tony: 

Because it’s a good lesson, though, But I think there’s also a maturity level there and understanding because it’s eat. 

Tony: 

You know, it’s easy to start convincing yourself when you see that thing go up and not what I think. A key thing you said there is watching the analytics and understanding that you weren’t getting the virus of immunity is actually, I don’t know if you’ve, like, coined that phrase, but it’s really good because it basically you get worn out right. It’s a novelty almost, and being able to recognize that and not convince yourselves that you would go take a check from VCs and then wind up in this again non fungible in theory company that appeared fungible at the moment. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, yeah, I mean, I think that there was, you know, and Adam and I had worked, you know, we’ve both been in job stir, uh, back in the day, and so we work in the job space before we’re in hiring space and, like, we just didn’t have a lot of love for that space. 

Brandon: 

I think there’s something there and again. 

Brandon: 

I think this company that bought us ended up building a big and they raised a Serie C, D or E, or I don’t know anyway, raised a bunch of money, built a big company, successful good product on law. So there’s definitely money in in the hiring software game. But, man, it’s a hard, ugly space like dating software, right? Like it just feels like trying to match make in the jobs world of the dating world is a hard business. 

Tony: 

E think they’re still trying to figure that out. But you go on from that and then you start another company, which what was ah, hardware company out of Seattle. You went back to Seattle, I get or you’re still in Seattle and and that was Ah, I remember you doing all these like, cool laser cut things. But I actually never really understood it, to be honest with you, because I wasn’t in the space. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, no one understood it. And, you know, like like any self honest entrepreneur, I don’t think we understood it. Way do now. 

Tony: 

And I don’t know, steel is dumb because I was like, Tony is putting out. I remember you did this, like, super cool thing on a laser cutter for a computer cover. And I was like, I want that like, Yeah, I’ll buy that from you, Tony. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, Yeah, it was, you know, the whole maker movement, you know, with three D printers and whatnot. It’s sort of, you know, ascended and then decline. So they were in the sort of way past the hype, hype curve there and into the sort of trough of sorrow where three d printing was kind of looking kind of lots of competition, really ugly. So I really like that maker thing. And I’ve been a woodworker for chunks of my life, and I love and I was artistic and creative, and I love that stuff. And so I started playing about three D printers and and, you know, my co founder and who is the CEO still is. So he had been fussing three d printers. He’d actually made a Kickstarter a board game on Kickstarter called Robot Turtles, which is to teach kids programming and one of things you learned late in these sort of experiences. 

Tony: 

Like Wait a minute. Like all of my customers are nerdy software engineers with kids with new kids, right? And so my customers, our rich right, they know they have tons of money. And he’s like he had been really scrappy about this and put together this board again. That was really just paper and cardboard and here and selling it for, like, 25 30 bucks. 

Tony: 

And he realized, like these people don’t care if this board game is $30 or $100. So he’s like, I need to make a like a higher end edition that these people who don’t care about money would happily by that isn’t part cardboard paper. So he started trying. Figure how he could make pieces. You know, if you’ve ever heard about manufacturers like, Well, there’s there’s injection molding and plastics and this isn’t that he’s like, Wow, this is really complicated. I’m doing this on a relatively small scale. I need to figure out manufacturing on a really small scale. So started taking out on three D printing and realized that was crap from making actually anything nice. And, uh, you know, a friend of his had said, Hey, you should really check out laser cutters there like if you go to maker spaces. That’s what gets used a lot because they’re way more approachable. You could do things out of, like, wood and plastic and leather and, like, really make a beautiful things. Where the three D printer you kind of this gloppy sort of mess, you know? Now there’s obviously higher end technologies on three D printing. So he got excited about laser cutters, and he ended up buying a $10,000 Chinese laser cutter to make the robot turtles laser edition or type reality sold for. But it was more money, and it was a very good success for him, paid for the laser cutter and then some. And at the time he’d done it through Kickstarter. So he got all this kind of crowdfunding knowledge. So he invited me over and said, Tony, check out this laser cutter. You’re a designer. Do you think it’s cool? And that kind of, you know, I very quickly got the bug of like, This is like a superpower, right? You’re like cutting things out of wood with a goddamn laser beam, which between like, you know, being a science science fiction nerd and a woodworker felt like, you know, basically the coolest thing I’ve ever done. But it was also very difficult, like if this, you know, $10,000 old Xerox copier sized Cabinet thing that smells bad because it’s vaporizing things thes Softwares, Windows only and proprietary. You know, it’s just this complicated, you know, software and hardware mess. And we started talking about the notion of, like, well, and this and this is, you know, credit to Dan. Dan was like, What if we consume? Arise this. And what if we said Let’s make this thing as dumb from a hardware perspective as possible and put us much of the smarts in the cloud? Eso the notion was, you know, these things have, like, firmware on them and their basically their own little computers and whatnot, and you need a Windows computer to hook up to them. But what if you loaded them up with sensors? So we have cameras and temperature sensors and all these other things in there and made all the software and Web browser, which at the time was a pretty contrarian bet. You know, the same way that you look like fig MMA, fig HMAS, replacing Photoshop for a ton of people and it’s in a Web browser. It’s amazing piece of software. So So, yeah, so we, you know, didn’t really know if there was a market for that, the entire domestic or I think the entire laser like, worldwide laser kind of market, the time was like $100 million. So tiny dinky little market. So we went out and tried to raise a little bit of money on that. And, like, we’re all credible entrepreneurs are third co founder was this guy who like you never heard of because he doesn’t want to be heard of. But, you know, he built and sold $100 million company. Really, very successful was the CEO for a while deeply technical guy made, you know, plasma cutters in his garage for fun from scratch, like just super genius. Kind of, you know, but, like, really kind of colleague lot, you know, and great human being to boot so that, you know, the three of us were really sure, like, how we could pitch. This is a big market, but we thought there was some potential there. I wanted to explore it, So we raised a little bit of money and, uh and Dan and I were, you know, talking about crowdfunding as a notion of like, Well, this is like, you know, we talked earlier about as entrepreneurs. We want to prove these ideas before we commit our lives to them and we’d see saw crowdfunding as this way we could go see how much the market wants this. And if we whip on the crowdfunding Well, no, no one’s gonna begrudges shutting this thing down find if we home run on the crowdfunding. So we’re like, Well, you know, let’s do this. So, you know, we did a fancy video. We ended up not doing Kickstarter. We built our own crowdfunding software from scratch, which I think is the right move. Seems weird at the time. 

Tony: 

And why was that the right move, by the way? Because that doesn’t even make sense to me. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I appreciate. Yeah, there’s some strong conversation. I think you know, one thing is is that take start at the time they took a reasonable chunk of money out of it, which I think is a dumb reason to not do Kickstarter but be didn’t really have the tooling and analytics for us to do the things that we knew how to do, right? So a lot of things that that I’ve done in my life around sort of growth and, like things like a B tests and, you know, things like viral marketing. And we wanted to have, like, a built in referral campaign where if you bought a glow forge, we’ll give you, you know, if you will give you a special code. And if you share it with your friends for every friend that buys a glow forage, we’ll give you $100 off and we’ll give them $100 off too. And we want that built into the whole experience. 

Tony: 

The whole viral. Yes, Michael. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, double sided. I mean, they call that a kind of a double, double sided viral, sort of a loop. Dropbox did it to really get effect. It’s a hard thing toe pull off. But with $100 being the carrot, like, really, really work for us. And you think, like imagine you as a you know, a podcaster. You have an audience, you say, Hey, I’m gonna put on I’m gonna put my coat on my you know, in my podcast. So we had people who had, like, meaningful followings or even small followings who put out their code had 20 people buy it and they got a free glow forge. 

Tony: 

So, like, it was pretty darn motivating for people. So we couldn’t really tool that into Kickstarter from a software perspective. Plus, they took, like, I don’t know, 15% or something, And, uh, how long would do things like a B testing wanted have really, like, tuned analytics on how ads were working, etcetera, etcetera. So just couldn’t do what we wanted to dio. And, you know, it used to be that e commerce was this really challenging thing of, like to build a website that would sort of take a credit card and, like now, in the world of stripe, you know, some hard hitting software engineers and knowing the right tools to use this was kinda it was distracting, but not nearly as distracting as you might imagine to throw away to put together this throwaway software that we’re gonna use for 30 days and then, you know, throwing the trash can at the end of that. So, yes, that’s what we did. 

Tony: 

How long it take you That’s a good question, I think. 

Brandon: 

Probably all in like, uh, maybe 30 45 days. 

Tony: 

Um, but again, Yeah, I would I would definitely do it again. 

Brandon: 

I’m anything like, you know, this stuff is it’s pretty. 

Tony: 

It’s pretty surprisingly easy to do. And I think we took some wrong turns to like Like, if I was gonna do it again, I could do it faster, right? 

Tony: 

But eso you build your own software. Sorry, I just was interested in that. And it makes totally sense. I mean, they really don’t have If you’re a marketer, it doesn’t have a B. You can’t build a viral loop that well, you gotta created outside. And you gotta put a bunch of duct tape around it. Yeah, and it it is. It is painful. 

Brandon: 

So we also we had one other sort of angle on that, that we thought that there’s like, there’s a spectrum of, like, crowdfunding, which is like this. I’m an entrepreneur. Join me on my plucky entrepreneurial journey. Together, we will build this thing, and maybe it’ll work and you’ll get this thing and we were selling a piece of hardware. That was gonna be 2000 and $6000. I don’t know. Where are prices landed? I think it’s around there 2000, 4000 when we launched and we wanted a level of credibility that I don’t think Kickstarter could provide because Kickstarter have this very like. We don’t know what we’re doing. We’re plucky. We’re in this together vibe and we wanted to present more like, actually, this is more like a pre order. We’re pretty much done with this thing, and, you know, it’s almost ready to ship. It’s just really a formality. We’ve got to dot some I’s crossing teas and will be done. And for people to fork over $2000 that’s a big you know they wanted. Then this is actually gonna land on their doorstep, right? 

Tony: 

Right. 

Brandon: 

That makes sense. So you run this campaign and yeah, and we ended up raising $27.9 million. 

Brandon: 

I think $27.9 million. 

Tony: 

Yeah, and I love to say that we were expecting that we had it all planned out that way, and it was just, you know, everything fell into place. 

Brandon: 

But But we you know, at the front side of this, I think we said like, Well, if we make two million will be like we’ll keep going. If we make five million will be like Hi five. That’s our home run. That’s our home run number, Right? So this was like beyond all expectations by, you know, five x plus It was it was pretty crazy. 

Tony: 

So you basically have 27.5 million. What is a 27.9? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, about that I think. 

Tony: 

$27.9 million in sales in hand. 

Brandon: 

In what, 16 In the span of I think, 30 ish days. 

Brandon: 

We did 30 day campaign, and at the time I don’t know if it still is. At the time, it was the largest 30 day crowdfunding campaign in history, and that’s obviously a huge part of that is by virtue of the fact that it’s a 2000 and $4000 product. So, you know, tens of thousands of customers equal that much money? 

Tony: 

Yeah, but that’s how did you? Well, I guess it was that Vier ality, and that’s probably a whole another podcast episode. But that’s that’s still a lot of sales, Tony. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, No, it was It was off the hook, and I think there’s credit to the viral thing I think was big. The video like we I think we ended up spending $150,000 on that video. So it’s like, This is not like us running around the video camera saying Hey, look how we are We’re entrepreneurs. We’re here to make a cool thing. It was like, This looks like a commercial And it was we had an outfit out of Los Angeles fly up and film this. We did crazy things like they showed up and immediately went to Ikea and bought. I don’t know how many thousands of dollars for the furniture, brought it into our sort of big sort of office space and set up this like cool dot com office because we didn’t have one of arrows and, like, you know, made it look all cute And then, like after the thing, I think all that stuff got returned to Ikea. So yeah, so the video was, I think, really, really powerful. We also do the thing where, like, you know, because we’re veterans and could raise a little bit of money on the front side of this. We actually raised money with the intent of spending it on ads during the campaign s. That’s the thing. I think a lot of people don’t think about what Crowdfunding is during that 30 day campaign. You have this special window where you have this time sensitive price that is going away in 30 days. You have all this press that is happening because it’s a crowdfunding campaign and that’s all hot and and that’s going away in 30 days. You have this moment where your ad dollars are incredibly effective, where they afterwards were not nearly as effective when you’re in the sort of post crowdfunding law. So we you know, as we saw this successful, like, you know, once like, kind of on our theme of, like start advertising once, you know you have product market fit. Well, we didn’t know we have product market fit, but we knew we had pitch market fit right This pitch This bitch was working, And so we started pouring gasoline all over the little fire that was smoldering there and could not spend money on Facebook fast enough. I mean, quite literally like Facebook when you sign up as an advertiser. They keep you caps to make sure that you aren’t like doing shifty stuff. So we were just constantly calling Facebook like saying, Can you raise our cap? Can you raise our cap? We’re spending tens of thousands of dollars today on Facebook ads to really, really good effect, and it was just incredibly fruitful for us to do that. And meanwhile, you look at the crowd funding campaign. It’s It’s sort of self sustaining like frenzy where, like the numbers running up so awesome, like major press outlets, are like, Look at these numbers running up and we’re like, Yeah, we’re kind of juicing those with that dollars, but we don’t need to talk about that. So it’s this really sort of flywheel thing that was incredibly powerful and effective, you know, for those 30 days. 

Tony: 

So that’s incredible. Now what? Because I want to bridge the gap between how you go from glow for now, back to rescue time. But how, like you were there a few years, did you grow tired or did you? I feel like as I’ve known you, you’re you’re such an easy going guy. And as we’re talking here damn like God I wish I talked to Tony more often, but I feel like you and I talking like these spurts and and when we talk, it’s not like it. Just like we left off where we did it. I think that’s a testament. Ah, lot. How easy going. Maybe we’re mashed that way. But what happened there with, you know, Yeah. 

Brandon: 

I mean, it was like like I think crowdfunding is. 

Brandon: 

It is an interesting thing because your success is dependent on how optimistic Lee, you present yourself. 

Tony: 

So, like, you know, we really like I mean, you’ve seen this probably towards a lot is like, you don’t know what you don’t know. 

Tony: 

And so we went in this, like saying like, Oh, yeah, we’re gonna be shipping unit Super soon. All these product things, like, you know, we have some of these features baked, but some of them, like, are still speculative. But we’ll figure those out and like, how hard can they be? And even though we had a bunch of hard work and expertise on the team, we were to say it lightly. Surprised at the complexity and difficulty of some of the things that we’re tackling. So we promised in the campaign, you know, units would come out pretty early, and I think customers started getting their units literally 18 months later. So that’s a hard time to be in a company. And I would say a to our, you know, our company basically said over and over again at any time, like, here’s the button for a full refund. So we didn’t take anyone’s money hostage. We were adamant, but, like, you know, and we didn’t touch that money. So we immediately after a That’s an important thing. 

Tony: 

I don’t don’t overlook that you kept the money in a separate account. 

Brandon: 

Yep. Yeah, yeah. And that was like, that was that was kind of don’t touch that. And, you know, again, on the heels of this and the largest crowd funding campaign in history of the time 30 days, we went to a bunch of investors and said, Hey, we think we might raise some money for this now And like even then, we have plenty of investors like I don’t see it, you know? 

Tony: 

I just don’t understand. It cuts things out. Laser beam is like a craft box. What? I mean, like you said and I was the same way of, Like, who is the target market and why is it big and like, I still have trouble answering that question, but it’s it’s huge now. Wildly successful company. But yeah, but I you know, it’s a hard year and a half like, you know, sort of doing our best to try to get back to where we were, you know, proving this product in front of customers and to make sure we didn’t like, we kept seeing these other crowdfunding campaigns, like finally present their product to their customers and customers like, What is this crap? Right? Because you have all this pressure to move quickly and like we built this beautiful commercial. But that doesn’t mean the products Good. It just means the commercials. Good. So we have pitch market bit, but like a big question mark on product market fit. So yeah, it was Brill. So we you know, basically, you know, I was there for just shy of four years, all in and, you know, got the product to market, got it so that, you know, consumers loved it. And that was like to me, like as a product design and I was kind of been involved in a the design of the software experience and only sort of peripherally involved in a the hardware experience when they’re just expressing opinion about aesthetics and whatnot because I don’t know anything about hardware, and Mark was really smart about So, yeah, so the product got into customers hands. The software experience was great. You know, we had a team that was growing and, uh, you know, kind of an early stage person. I felt like I my value was sort of declining in terms of what I could bring the table and the things that I enjoyed most. We’re kind of behind me rather than in front of me, and it felt really proud of where we were. 

Tony: 

And so you leave. So you leave. But just for listeners out there when you leave, you know, there’s all these other things that probably six other podcasts, if not more, about stock options, vesting and all this crazy stuff. 

Brandon: 

So are you able to leave that you’re able to leave here after four years with something that at some point is worth something stock wise or something beyond your salary? 

Brandon: 

Or do you just get cashed out and say, Thanks, guys. 

Brandon: 

I’m moving on. 

Brandon: 

No, no. Very, very, very different. And then, like, you know, my services businesses, you know, up in Alaska, When I sold out of that, I was like, I sold, You know, my ownership to my partners for cash money. And I’m out or some sort of, you know, plan where I get paid X amount over 24 months. None of that. When you with startups as a founder, which is very different than being, you know, employee number one or beyond. You get sort of founder shares that have a vesting schedule. So, you know, you earn those shares after the first year, every month, up to four years and then, you know, you’re fully vested it four years, and usually they’ll sort of issue more shares and do other things to make you stick around. So at that point, I had sort of accumulated most of the ownership Anglo forwards that I was sort of on paper scheduled to dio if I’d stayed, you know, they probably would, uh, would have Dunmore, you know, stocking stuff. Who knows, But but yeah, and so those, uh those air. Technically, this. I don’t pay as much attention mechanics as I should, but they’re not. They there’s slightly different than stock options and that I don’t have to pay them. And there’s the 83 b and there’s also, if you ever gonna be a founder instead of employees. Either way, you should investigate how stock options work. But for me it was a very friendly like I have these options. I paid for them at the beginning, the company for a very small sum of money, and, uh, and their their mind. And so but now, like glow Force, having raised $27.9 million in crowd funding, I think at this $0.60 million in venture capital like the path for glow foresee who wants to buy your company question is no longer an interesting question, because the answer is no one can afford Teoh, right? The evaluation of Glow Forge, uh, is some meaningful multiple of the $60 million that we’ve raised. So when you’re like, you know, worth, say, hundreds of millions of dollars like you need to sell for billions of dollars for the investors to be happy with things. You know, the very good news is slow forages as, as, you know, done very well. And I think has a bright future. And, uh, I’m very, very confident that all of the investors were like, I don’t really see this is a very big market are going to, you know, put this on a list where they said, like, here’s the one I should have invested in, You know, they all have that list, right? And glow foods will be on that for a meaningful pile of investors. It’s doing great, but yeah, it was a wild thing. And first hardware experience, obviously super crazy. 

Tony: 

So you check out of this one, and then you’re figuring out your next move. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. 

Brandon: 

I mean, like, you know, this is the I don’t you know about this and and I like talking about because I think people don’t talk about this stuff enough. 

Brandon: 

But my six months after I left, go for my wife suddenly passed away. She was fishing up on the Kenai River in Alaska and had some free cardiac event that killed her instantly. 

Tony: 

Which is absolutely shocked me, by the way, just so you know that because I sent you that note. 

Brandon: 

I was like, we have a mutual friend, JJ, I think JJ said something. I was like, What? I mean, you and I don’t talk about when we would talk. It was like, Yeah, I felt like, you know, Alex was there so really sadden Thio here that it was a wild thing. 

Brandon: 

I mean, like, you think I mean, in your forties, Like I mean, if you’re lucky. And I was like, you know, the only people who died in your life are old people who were sort of you were kinda half expecting to die pretty soon and when sort of. But these sort of, you know, people dying in the middle, you know, in sort of the prime of their life. Alex was, you know, 48 you know, absolutely healthy, super active. Well, you know, clean living like just a freak thing. And like, super grateful that I left glow for it. It was kind of in sabbatical mode, because I got the have six months with my wife where I was present and like a good husband. And when I’m in start up mode, Was she was she was a great wife to a startup founder and that she was very supportive and very generous and giving, you know, was in start up mode. But you’re not a great husband when you’re in start up mode, right? You’re like, you know, walk in. You’re like, Hey, did you pay that bill? Is there food in the fridge? I’m going back to the office now. 

Tony: 

I call it absolute focus, and I think t to your point. I just wanted I say that Teoh entrepreneurs. 

Brandon: 

Everyone talks about your team, right? Your co fine. I’m like your team is at home and your partner whether that’s your wife or significant, significant other, like, at the end of the day, I don’t think being with people like us is easy. 

Brandon: 

No. Yeah. No, I think they’re like and Alex was was fabulous of this. And then she was like, if I wanted something, if I was focused on something, it’s not passionate about something. She wanted me to have it like she was supportive in a way that I think a spouse should be supportive. And I hope that I did. It was almost as good as she did that sometimes, but I know I didn’t, but I hope, you know, maybe we’ll be sometime in the future, but, yeah, it’s Ah, it’s a thing. I mean, I don’t think a lot of people can stomach that. A lot of people, you know, can’t. 

Tony: 

Alex could, like, hang out alone at the house for three nights in a row. If I was, like, at the office, and she’d be fine and, like, you know, maybe a little bit lonely, but she was, you know, had hobbies and had friends and was willing be like, Okay, like, Aiken, you know, I could do this, and we’d like their times at y Combinator would live down in the Bay Area for six months, you know, going through. I see. And then fundraising after should fly down every weekend, and she would make it work, right? And I think a lot of people are, like, justifiably want more out of a marriage than that. 

Tony: 

I think it’s all Yeah, I don’t I don’t believe in all this. What normal is I’ve had the same life like relationships. You gotta, in my opinion, probably get in trouble. Maybe, but your your relationship is something in exists that that exists in addition to your already existing life. 

Brandon: 

And if it is your life, then it absolutely I don’t. It won’t work. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, I think that, you know, like everyone has a different amount of relationship overlap that they want and need. And, uh, I think it’s really healthy tohave separate aspects of your life. 

Tony: 

But you can see that disconnect where someone wants to have this full overlap. We adore each other, spend every minute together and this other versions like Well, actually, my career is really important to me, and I’m gonna be gone 50 plus 60 plus hours a week, and that doesn’t match so like, yeah, I think everyone has different sort of needs and appetites. And again, that’s another thing that you know, Just like I could go back to 20 year old Tony and tell them all the dumb things he thought about startups I could I could go back and tell a bunch of dumb things he thought about, you know, marriages and relationships to right. 

Tony: 

But the thing we’re talking about, which is terrible, that happened. But it is really I think you’re referring to. And this happened to you during this period. Really? Thank God, in many ways that the timing, you know, everything happens for a reason, I believe, But you’re on this search after you leave. 

Brandon: 

And I think one of the things I’ve always admired about you and and I believe it too. And I tell my friends who sometimes came through the head around it is after you’re done a stage of your life, like you know, whether it seems to me you’re really around four years or five years is stages for me and start ups and companies that’s been around seven. For whatever reason, I can’t. I can’t tell you what that is. But I absolutely believe that after you are done, any stage major stage of your life and especially in a startup where you’re going into these insane hours and mental focus and all this crazy crap is you got to take a break. 

Brandon: 

Yeah, and I think that’s what you’re referring to. 

Brandon: 

So during this break, Alex passes away. 

Brandon: 

And then that sort of changes, obviously the trajectory of a lot of things for you. 

Brandon: 

Oh, yeah, yeah, it’s a massive reset, I think, you know, and I don’t know you. Stephen Colbert has a great interview with Think Anderson Cooper Stephen Colbert lost his dad and two brothers in a plane crash. News 10, and he describes it. He says, uh, he’s like, It’s weird wrapping your head around the notion of being incredibly grateful for something you never you wish never happened to you. And that’s how I try to think about you know, Alex’s death of Like, God, I wish never happen to me. But like, you know, I really tried very hard to take it as an opportunity of like, this is a wake up call of, like, you know, how do I wanna live my life? How do I want to treat people like like, if I’m never married again, how do I wanna be? You know, husband, because a lot of stuff I was just kind of coasting in the default sort of channels for those things and not really being mindful of like, actually, this is really finite and fragile, and any of us could die at any time and certainly will eventually. So are you doing what you want to be doing right now? So yeah, it was definitely a heck of a wake up call. 

Tony: 

So and the other thing I think you and actually I know even before and we skipped over it. But But there’s sometimes even when you took a break from I forget rescue time. You and Alex took a year off and traveled around the world, and I always saw it as to be candid. Tony, I was like, How the hell is he doing that? Like, but But it was never like you were living. You were having amazing experiences because I would follow you and you blogged. I think, during that year, you and Alex were traveling. 

Brandon: 

It wasn’t that you were living at the Ritz Carlton or at, um, academies around the world. But you were having these incredible rich fun experiences that that it didn’t appear to me cost a ton of money. But you were very clearly taking a moment to get your mental. 

Brandon: 

I don’t see that 12, because it is right. 

Brandon: 

Yeah. I mean, like, it’s like, recapture your energy and your your sort of pizazz, and and, uh, yeah, like some of this stuff is a little bit scarring. Right? When you get on the other side of these things like you’re exhausted. Maybe you’re hurt. Maybe you’re, you know, like anxious about your place in the world. You maybe you’re anxious about what happens next. Like there’s there’s mental health, things there that are very riel and and different for for everybody. So yeah, and I don’t like, you know, we talk about these acquisitions and stuff like that and I joked that, like, if I just got a job but Amazon Google Heck, you name it like I would have done better financially than I had. I think the difference in my life is I had these sort of, like spikes and troughs of sort of effort and intensity. And I think one thing I like carried through all of it is like live cheap. Is that like you meet these people who have, you know, 400 grand a year burn rates where they literally can’t their bank account declines if they aren’t making $400,000 a year? 

Tony: 

And it’s just this bizarre thing and you like it. It is a superpower to not care about expensive things on that if you don’t care about expensive things and you live in our world very quickly. You can do whatever the hell you want. And, uh, yeah, I think like, and people get attached, like I gotta have a Tesla and I gotta have of this, like, you know, and I gotta live in a house this big, and I probably need a vacation house and a boat I need a boat on. Do you know it? And like, every time you get a new page, I can like, Well, I should live a little larger now that I’m making this much money. 

Tony: 

And like, man, it’s just it’s a drug and people get addicted to it. 

Brandon: 

So yeah, a lot of stuff was definitely definitely not the Ritz Carlton, but cool stuff to be It was it was awesome. 

Tony: 

And I agree with you. I think you feel like you’ve got to ramp up. I have tended to be like you, Tony. I knew what I wanted. I wanted to live in the ocean. I knew I wanted Toto live in Silicon Valley or near it, and I got lucky, you know, and made that happen. But for three years, we don’t have anything on our walls. And eventually my wife’s like, Hey, we gotta get stuff on the walls. 

Brandon: 

And I was like, I don’t wanna crap. Like we moved from the East Coast. We we actually got rid of everything. Can we just, like, stay here? Because it feels like it did back in the early days when you’ve got and I were living in the like, I don’t know, 600 square foot house at best, with no heat. So I appreciate that, But let’s go back and you’re six months Alex passes away, then you took some more time. 

Brandon: 

Rightfully so. I think, toe, I don’t know. You travel a bunch of places, right? Yeah. 

Brandon: 

I mean, I think I was kind of like trying to figure out like I did this. Sort of like a I was trying to be contrarian about grief, right? Is that like my all of my instincts said, like, curl up on the couch, eat ice cream, drink, you know, like all the things that you like wallowing in grief. And I was like, I’m gonna dio the opposite. I’m gonna live as healthy as I possibly can. You know, food and exercise, you know, religiously. And this is kind of like this duty to Alex that I felt like I Oh, her not squandering this thing that I get that she doesn’t. And I also said, like I’m gonna be ridiculously social, like, anytime. Like a friend says, Hey, I’m checking up on you. I want to see if you wanna hang out. I’m like, Yeah, name of time. And I joke that I had this, like, comfort calendar that if a friend said, Hey, can we hang out and be like, Well, if you’re willing to come for me with someone else, I could fit you on Tuesday, but otherwise you’re probably looking at early next week so grateful that I had this pile of people who are sort of keeping an eye on me and I would say yes to literally any human who wanted to check out over me and spend time with me. The answer is yes. Let’s find a time. 

Tony: 

And I congratulate you on that because what you did, Tony, I think super hard. 

Brandon: 

It’s hard, and I’m like, I I a lot of you know, my friends and Alex and the timing of it right? I was in a place where I did mention this, but like my co founder, rescue time, it was a good friend. Died two years earlier. That was my 1st 1st experience with death. But like then Alex and I got to sit down and talk about, like, death and this realization that we could die and then, like, you know what? And like, we talked about each other’s deaths and, like, you know, like so, like, I got a chance to, like, think like I got kind of a dry run with a friend, you know, not like my best friend, but a good enough friend like Holy shit, this hurts. And, uh, and then I had the six month of, like being able to, like, hang out with Alex and be like a good husband to her. And, uh so I really felt like like you said, Like, the timing was just like it was. It was awful. And then it wasn’t like, 30 years later, but it was I think I was when I looked like and I, you know, hung out with, like, widower support groups, kind of seeing what that’s like. And like I realized, like, how lucky am I that Alex died in her favorite place on the planet Suddenly and without pain was an organ donor. There were MTs right next to her when she died on the river. So they kept her heart alive so she could donate organs like it’s this amazing thing. And then I meet these other widowers who, like I watched my wife, you know, deteriorated brain cancer over six years. Or, you know, people who, like, watch their their spouses, like, get hit by a drunk driver. And now they have this person in the world that they hate that took this person from them and I had no one to hate, right? I have no no one to be outraged for. Like, you know, I literally could not have written a better death for her other than 30 years later. Would have been better, but yeah, so I think I got, like, an easy road compared to a lot of people. Uh, so positive, Positive way. 

Tony: 

But I do remember reading that JJ Bonzai passes something, and I was working really late that night. I actually had shifted on purpose, my life to a more morning thing. 

Brandon: 

Really. And I just remember Tony and I don’t live. It could certainly you don’t. But there was just a enormous sadness that I had, And I felt so bad for for my friendship with you, because mainly I had gone and done some things in another market that I was like, I’m not gonna be on Facebook on, you know, And I just So I hadn’t I lost his touch and I was like, Oh, my God, I in many ways, although you are, you and I are the best of friends. 

Brandon: 

I’ve always felt like we’ve been connected because it was always like, Oh, yeah, I see you in class and we talk, and it’s like it had this entrepreneur thing together. And but it did make me reflect to, you know, my grand my grandfather shot, my grandmother killed himself, and that was Ah, a moment in time when death sort of changes your perspective and some some some love level. 

Brandon: 

And then I think what hit me was is I remember having dinner with you and Alex and Alki Beach. I think it’s called, uh, one night and and I remember exchanging some stuff with Alex on the nonprofit stuff, and I was like she’s just Tony. 

Brandon: 

Tony and Alex were so wonderful, and I just felt this enormous sadness and reflection like, Oh, shit. 

Tony: 

Maybe this is what happens in your forties. 

Brandon: 

Like, what happens if that happened to the event? Like, um, I gonna I I went back and read your posts and all this stuff. I was like, Jesus, man, Tony is like setting the bar here that I just don’t know that I could can handle, but anyway, you know, the good news is, I think everything you said is so positive. 

Brandon: 

And you had these six months and then but you did extend it. I think I say extended this finding yourself sort of extend itself another six or eight months until you found out where you are now, right? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. I mean, before Alex died were kind of talking. I was like, Okay, I’m gonna start ramping up the search and trying to figure out what’s next and who knows what that is. And we’re talking about, like what if, geographically, what would happen if it was somewhere else and and you know, then she dies, and it’s like, Okay, well, screw my career like that is literally the last thing I want to focus on right now. May I don’t know if that’s good or bad, but, uh, but yeah, I just kind of said I’m not in clear mindset. For another, I think there’s another, you know, year and change before I started. 

Tony: 

Like, I Yeah, hang out my house that she and I, we remodeled together and, uh, decided, like, Okay, I should probably get out of here and got an apartment in downtown Seattle and sort of started kind of just building a life and like, you figure out what new friendships of like, you know, a lot of times you have a couple friends. You’re like, Wait, are we still friends, right? 

Tony: 

Like, how does this work? Yeah, there’s a bunch of things to kind of figure out right and to figure out like I don’t know, the length and shape of grief and how to wrangle that stuff. 

Brandon: 

And and so So, yeah, so once kind of started thinking about what to get back to into, and I think I’m you know, my career has been very un deliberate where a lot of times like it’s kind of opportunities I’m sort of sitting around at a time when I’m sort of thinking about what’s next and an opportunity hits me. And I’m like, Yeah, okay, let’s do that rather than I think, um, or deliberate mindset of, like, what market do I wanna be in who don’t wanna work with, like, a surely kind of opportunistic. And this new rescue time thing was in that campaign, Yes. 

Tony: 

So what happens here? Because this is really full circle. Rescue time survives. Your other co founder, unfortunately, passes away of cancer. I assume the other co founder had been there. And you you did travel. I remember. I don’t know where you went South America or and around the country. I think you were in Arizona and then do Does rescue time come? How do you like? How does that happen again? 

Brandon: 

Yeah, Yeah, I started, you know, started getting a little itchy, and I once I sort of settled my life in Seattle and the like. I always love traveling like I don’t know, like you’re like, how do I travel alone? And so I was doing some solo camping and some solo traveling and trying to figure that out. Uh, and uh, the current. So all the co founders have left rescue time at this point, and guy was running it. Whose CEO? Good guy guy I have known for years and years. And he reached out to me and said, Hey, I think I’m gonna leave rescue time And I was like, Well, you know what’s going on. And he’s like, Well, I’ve been running for, you know, a couple 34 years been he’d been there for, like, seven or eight, and he’s like, You know, he’s like growth is kind of stalled, like he’s doing okay like it’s, you know, cash flow positive as tons of money in the bank like, But I’m just kind of out of ideas and energy kind of burned out. And I was like, Well, what is the board gonna dio? And he said, Well, he’s like the board isn’t sure, right, like, you know, their VCs and they’re looking at this like it’s true ventures. So again, these they’re like, I think some of the standard BCS in the business. So they’re like, Listen, we’re going to support this company forever if we need Thio. But they’re also like Is this should this company keep going, right? 

Tony: 

Like it’s not growing super fast. It’s 10 or 12 years in now, 11 or 12 years in. And, uh, and we don’t see a path a really meaningful growth. The market isn’t what we thought it waas like, you know, Should we find a home for this thing? 

Tony: 

Should do We have a new idea, you know, What do we dio and or do? Like, you know, I’m like like, do we shut it down like, do we say, like all these, you know, find people who work here like could work elsewhere, where there’s, like, good growth opportunities And if rescue times kind of, you know this flat thing like, is that where these people should be? So they were kind of talking like, you know, what should happen next. And I was like, Well, and it’s hard to recruit a new CEO for, like a company that’s doing small numbers of millions of dollars a year and of revenue and and not growing and has 12 years of history behind it. And so I was like, Well, you know, if if they want to talk about me coming in and see Owen And one important note here is the second largest shareholder. 

Tony: 

This company is the widow of my co founder, Joe, And she’s a school teacher. 

Tony: 

So, like the second largest Cheryl in this company, they were like, What’s the future of it? You know, should we find, you know, should we find a buyer for it? Like all these things kind of like we’re wondering were like And, uh So I was like, Well, you know, if they feel like they don’t see an obvious thing to do, like having give me a call and like, I’ll talk through maybe being involved in some way and we’ll see. So the born, you know, reached out and we talked and I was like, Well, the thing the bar for me is like, I would wanna talk to the team and kind of see if I could get excited about a new direction that might change the course, the company, because I don’t want to come in and, like, operate a company that’s just going to sort of be flat forever. 

Tony: 

And, uh, so anyway, so we kind of came in and dug it with people who were there and, uh, talked about some cool ideas, The stuff that we thought that could sort of, you know, spark growth and rescue time and create some value there. And like you say, you know, I’m in the same in mind that if you people a profitable company that is growing, someone will buy it someday. Like, uh, and, you know, have no urgency without on rescue time at this point, because again, profitable company, like, growing very slowly. Yeah, so that that happened in, like, late last year. Conversations happened. I spun up in February and then, you know, coronavirus hit, which is a good, good, uh, good test. The company’s doing well, you know, we boosted growth a little bit with some, uh, you know, just kind of funnel optimization stuff and have some cool just actually really big kind of product reboot on the horizon. 

Tony: 

That I think is pretty exciting. So we’ll see you moved to Austin to, though. 

Tony: 

Ish? 

Brandon: 

Yeah. I mean, I was like, you know, so many outstanding timing, eh? So I decided Well, okay. You know, around around this time, I was like, you know, I think it’s time for me to leave Seattle, you know, like I wanna I wanna go like I feed them. There’s a bunch of complicated reasons there and that Seattle was like Alex and Eyes Place and all of our friends. They were Alex and his friends, and I felt like I had this sort of widower brand on me that I was like I probably, you know, need to not have that brand. I don’t I just felt felt like time. And, you know, the standard reason you leave Seattle of, like, sunshine, you know, wouldn’t break my heart and, uh, yeah, just change Bunch of a bunch of reasons. So I decided to drive out of Seattle and, uh, drove out March 1 with the intent of, like, exploring new towns. I had a long list of towns like, Well, maybe Santa Fe might be cool. Maybe Austin. My parents live down in Austin. There’s a California towns I my eye on and then, like just then, like a bunch of people said, my going away party was the last social thing that they did. So this is like the sort of the coronavirus starts to hit. And I was in Santa Fe at the time, and I was like, Am I gonna be trapped in a pandemic in this town where I know no humans. And I was worried about my parents down in Austin, You know, they’re old and, uh, writes back in the, you know, scary scary spot for coronavirus. So I was like, Well, I’ll head down and hang out with my parents, and then you hung out with them. 

Tony: 

They live in a retirement community, North Austin, and I was like Then I started stretching out. I’m like, I don’t wanna live in a retirement community for like the next, however long this thing last. So I dashed up Thio Southern Utah for about a month, hung out up there, got to plan Zion National Park when, like, they weren’t letting anyone drivin or area the Busses go. So I got the bike around Zion, basically by myself, which is pretty amazing. Uh, but yeah, but then I was like, Okay, where do I go on this notion of like going to towns and exploring and meeting new people and networking and all the things that you would do if you like. When you probably moved to a new time, you started doing like you can’t really do that when the wagons are circled and everyone’s like, I’m only I have a have a quarantine that is like four people and you’re not it, buddy Like s. So I kind of circle came back down to Austin and, uh, wanna hang out near my folks in the other sort of fun. 

Tony: 

Death stuff is my dad has terminal cancer and has some amount of like, he’s in a really good headspace about it, but kind of realized I had finally time with him. And so being close to him was saying other keep an eye on them with coronavirus. So So, yeah, I’m here and, like, not convinced I’m here forever. But but, you know, it’s surprisingly cool. And, uh, yeah, 75 degrees and sunny right now, it doesn’t break my heart. 

Tony: 

No, I imagine that. And you guys air rescue time Are you a remote team or yeah, yeah, it’s always it’s always been a remote company, which is funny because, like when we talked about like, Well, who’s gonna buy us some day? 

Brandon: 

You know, when you have those conversations, the answer is like nobody because we’re remote team and like no one’s gonna buy a remote team except the four or five other big remote companies, and none of them are in our space now, everybody’s remote company. So that’s kind of changed the game. But at the time, we were kind of unique and that we were sort of remote. First. We always had been. We had teams team members in Nashville and Montreal, Florida, Gosh, where else? Atlanta. Seattle. All over. So yeah, so it’s like this whole coronavirus things like didn’t change the thing that Microsoft other than like, obviously the parents on the team, have a very different life when there friends are home school kids and do remote learning and stuff. But yeah, So pretty similar to how things were. 

Tony: 

It’s good to catch up, man. I hope you there’s a lot of great nuggets of lessons in here for any entrepreneur. And I think it was actually really interesting. Thio here you come back to rescue time. I think you wrote a blood post for me. That’s still of this day. Gives me s c o power in the rescue time. Blawg, when you are, I think when you first started and we were talking. So I’m grateful for that. And I’m grateful for you sharing everything. What? Three tips. 

Brandon: 

Tony, I I don’t even think I prepared you for this. But I know you well enough that you’ll come up with what three tips would you give fellow entrepreneurs who are looking to start a business? 

Brandon: 

Oh, boy. 

Brandon: 

I mean, you know, any kind of business. I think like the You know, that this is over. I just turned off by a S A rather I have this like, you know, God, I don’t be like the death themed guy, but there’s a great book on on, uh, A palette of Karen O’s wrote wrote about the regrets of the dying and, uh, one of the biggest regrets of the top regret. Dying people is living life for somebody else. And I think, like, you know, there’s so much pressure in the our world like build a business of a certain stripe, you know, whether if you’re in the Bay Area is like, go big or go home. 

Tony: 

And, you know, if your on the East Coast, maybe it’s sort of government related, like you have all this sort of outdoor pressure Here’s what you should do with your life, and I think there’s like I don’t I wouldn’t go and say like do what you love because like, you know, there’s a whole There’s a whole myth of that is like if you if you love starting businesses, you should start a business If you love, you know, making pies, for God’s sakes, don’t start a bakery, right? Like so. But if you really want to start a business like you should love it, you should love starting businesses and you should love the market. You’re in love serving the customers that you serve and as bright eyed and bushy tail is yard. And you think that this is gonna be a home run like you want to sort of be in a business that you’d be happy to sort of have a double or single and not a home run, right, because that’s a very real possibility. But yeah, you got to know like the no, the game, that sort of, you know, gives you joy. And for some people, it is they go big or go home thing. But I see a lot of entrepreneurs kinda forcing themselves into that sort of area all in sort of mindset, and it’s not good for you. I think there’s another of like and you touched on this a little bit. Is that that you’re a different entrepreneur today than you were earlier? 

Tony: 

And I think there’s, ah fallacy that people have is that they’re going to keep being the same person for their whole life. And I think you wanna be cautious about sort of reassessing who you wanna be at different stages of your life and be willing to shift based on what I’m a different person today and I’m gonna chase different goals even if it’s a reset on sort of. You know, what I was doing before? I don’t say with entrepreneurship like the there’s ways to do it in sort of varying lee risky ways. 

Tony: 

Every single thing that I’ve done was a side project or not every single thing, a lot of things that I’ve done a bit side projects that I built landing pages for before I had software that I had users before I had software that I had users before I had incorporated a company, so I think there’s ways you can kind of dip your toes in this sort of entrepreneurial waters in a particular market, or just being an entrepreneur in general to see if you enjoy it or or if there’s like hoping that market right. A lot of times you learn that there isn’t so I think that like being cautious about that commitment until you have the data that says this is worth, you know, committing two or three years of my life two or more or you like you say your he said. I’m about four and you’re about seven in terms of about when you get the energy, like maybe I should do something else. But either way, these air, big swaths of your life, meaningful percentage of your remaining life and like, you know, again, I guess I’m the guy who talks about death. But like, you know, these next four years, your life might be the last four healthy ones you have. So I think that sort of, you know, you wanna be cautious about what you dedicate yourself to, because it’s what you’re gonna be doing for a while. 

Tony: 

Yeah, I think the value of time everybody says it, but you don’t understand it until you get to some moment and either get really old and then it hits you or you have these moments along the way that to your point, in many ways, your greatest sadness is your greatest gratefulness because it allows you to live life fuller than just becoming this. 

Tony: 

Uh, I don’t know. 

Brandon: 

Zombie. 

Brandon: 

I do want to say, like, that whole thing about doing your passion. 

Brandon: 

I have this. I mean, I ran that social networking site for fishermen and, you know, it’s like, Oh, you love fishing. Go do a fishing company. And I told I haven’t fished in eight years because it totally room me, right? I think there’s something to be said that you got a sort sort of understand that. So those air really great tips. Well, I don’t know what’s in it for you. I know. I think based on where you are, how long you’ve been at risk, You know, you just started. So I know that we got three years to tune in with you. Although you might be a new Tony now and you might like, compress that the two and and bring them to ah to an exit whatever that means. I’d be excited to run that as a lifestyle business question. 

Brandon: 

Now I think. I mean, I like who knows about whether we can make it sort of venture size, and I think, probably candidly, I don’t think that the market so far shown us that this is not a venture scale business. But I think, like I confined a great outcome for, you know, a friend of mine’s widow. Eventually, someday on, you know, have these people like the people who work in this company like what we’re seeing, like a collection of humans who, you know, like their jobs more and like we have, no one ever quits this company like it’s a great company with great humans who like care about the product, care about the customer like, you know, work hard but have a sense of balance. Like like you say, time being your most important asset, like were rescued time, like everyone of this company, is like thoughtful about how they spend their time, which is like this weird feeling, right, like everyone super deliberate. It’s cool. So I’m having a blast, and I think, yeah, well, we’ll see where it takes us, but I’m optimistic. 

Tony: 

Well, cool. We’ll we’ll check in with you in a few months. Thanks for sharing the story. Like I said, it was great to catch up with you and see really review because there’s a few pieces there that I think I had missed in between catching it on social media, So Yeah. 

Brandon: 

Likewise. 

Brandon: 

Well, when when you’re not interviewing me, I would love thio. Love to catch up more on what’s going on Your world too. 

Tony: 

Yeah, right on. At any time you’re you’re welcome, toe. I told you this. There’s a spare bedroom here in Half Moon Bay in some ocean air and give you a little bit of a break from being landlocked. There in in Austin? 

Brandon: 

No, I mean, I miss oceans. The mountain. That’s a hard thing, right? 

Tony: 

All right, man. Well, thanks a lot. Take care of yourself. Have a good holiday season, and we’ll catch up with you soon, Tony. 

Brandon: 

Alright. Thank you, Sarah. Be safe, man. 

Tony: 

Was that a good episode or what? Tony, it was great catching up with you. And yes, you weren’t supposed to turn it off. We’re gonna talk afterwards, but I think that’s really an indication of our relationship afterwards when we actually said goodbye there. Tony just clicked off and normally I hit. I stopped recording and we talk a minute. But I think Tony haven’t e. I have that type of relationship and I sent him a text afterwards. He sent me a taxi is like, Hey, was I supposed to do that? And I said, Well, you know what? That’s just what happened. So let’s roll with it and we’ll pick up with Tony again. But thanks a lot, man. For opening up and sharing your experiences and some really life and how it happens and thank you friends for tuning into the show. 

Brandon: 

If you enjoyed this episode, please rate review. 

Brandon: 

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Brandon: 

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