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Not Boring (with Packy McCormick)

Not Boring (with Packy McCormick)

Fri, 03 Dec 2021 03:03

When does a creator become a company? Who says that media companies — or venture firms — have to be organizations? How high is the ceiling on one person + the internet? Acquired has the answers and they are... Not Boring. 🙂

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Okay, we got to get you over 100k. This episode is a failure if we don't get you over 100k subscribers. All right, so let me time stamp where we are right now just so we know what we need to do. So we are at 88,460. Oh, we can so do that. Oh, we'll juice this. Welcome to season 9, episode 6 of acquired. The podcast about great technology companies and the stories and playbooks behind them. I'm Ben Gilbert and I am the co-founder and managing director of Seattle based Pioneer Square Labs and our venture fund PSL Ventures. And I'm David Rosenthal and I am an angel investor based in San Francisco and I am back sort of from paternity leave. An abbreviated partial ongoing paternity leave. Yeah, we're making it work. And we are your hosts. Well, today we have a first for acquired. We are covering a business that is only one person. Not boring. The newsletter gone media and investment empire run by Paki McCormick. I did some research last night. Not boring is the number one substack newsletter on business. If Paki decided to switch to the technology category from everything I can tell, he would be number one there too. In fact, even in the crypto category, there are only two newsletters with more reach and they've existed much longer. Not boring is only a year and a half old. The not boring story isn't just impressive because of its explosive growth. Paki is reinventing the media business model and simultaneously the startup investing business model. He's done all this with a very distinct personal flair writing in a unique whimsical voice that makes us all just want to have fun and play the great online game. And we're very lucky that he is a part of our liquid super team here at acquired. So he could join us today live to help tell the story. Welcome, Paki. That was amazing. Thank you, Bennett David. Great to be here. I was doing my best Paki impression, trying to write, you know, whimsically in the unique style you've cultivated. It was beautiful. It's some good buzzword bingo in there with not boring piece titles over the I want to say years, but it hasn't been. It feels like years. It feels like you always been here. I had two more. I cut them. It turned into just like a long series of not boring titles. Anyway, Paki, we do it to let you know, this is not going to be all softballs. We're going to like actually do the full acquired deep dive here if that's okay with you. I mean, acquired is I think particularly for the first year when I wrote about soft bank when I wrote about 10 cent when I wrote about these companies, getting deep the work that you did to go deep on those companies was hugely instrumental in being able to write those pieces. I would expect nothing less than the full acquired treatment. All right. Let's do this. Well, listeners, we have a huge announcement, a gigantic, exciting piece of news to share with all of you today. For the 98% of you out there who have not joined the acquired LP community, we are opening up every single episode of the LP show back catalog to you today. We have created a new public podcast feed in Apple Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts called the acquired LP show. Very creative. That is right. That includes our series on VC fundamentals and our startup deep dives on pricing marketplaces, SaaS investing with top investors and founders. And in fact, we are about to drop an episode right there in that feed where I interview 15 year president of Blue Origin Rob Meyerson on how he sees the space landscape today. Now, of course, members of the paid LP community still get great benefits like exclusive access to new episode for two weeks before we drop it in the public feed, the ability to join LP calls, zoom book club, you know, all this stuff. But if you aren't an LP and you really want to start getting these episodes, you can click the link in the show notes or go search acquired LP show wherever you get your podcasts and subscribe. Thank you to all of our LPs for being on this journey with us. We are very excited to now share all this content more broadly. There's some good stuff. Ben, you interviewed Joseph Gordon Levitt the other day on the LP show. Super fun. Yeah. So far. That's kind of look alike. We've gotten that a few times since Joe is a professional Hollywood actor. I take that as a great, unbelievable compliment. So thank you, Becky. Before we dive in with Becky, I'd like to welcome our presenting sponsor for all of season nine pilot dot com pilot is the backbone of the modern financial stack for startups and they are backed themselves. As you know, by all star investors like Sequoia index, baseless expeditions and stripe, they are truly the gold standard in startup bookkeeping, including maybe solo corporations that will have to dive into here on this episode. Now over to our conversation with pilot co-founders, Waseem Dacher and Jessica McKellar. Let's talk about how pilot actually works. You have both software and a large team of human accountants and finance professionals. What does the software look like and how do the humans and the software interact together to help your customers? Our interface to you is that you have this really delightful and useful way of understanding your finances and you have a person who understands you and your business and engages with you on questions that we have for you, questions that you have for us insights about your business. Under the hood, we're using software to ensure an exceptionally correct experience and consistent experience. And then we're also able to use software to surface key observations, insights, concerns about your finances so that you can engage on those in a really accessible way and also with a person if you want to. I love that answer Jessica. You know, what thing I've heard Waseem say in the past about pilot is that it's like an Ironman suit for your finance professionals that you have working at pilot. And I just love that pilot is the Tony Stark of accountants for your customers. You can learn more about pilot and whether they can help your company solo or otherwise eliminate the pain of tax prep and bookkeeping by going to slash acquired and all acquired listeners. If you use that link, you will get 20% off your first six months of service. Thank you as always for being with us this season and go check them out. Thank you David. Well, before we dive into history and facts, we should say this show is not investment advice, though David and I are both investors in multiple not boring entities. So not only are we conflicted, we want to be extremely open about that. We definitely have investments that we are discussing today. This show is for informational and entertainment purposes only and I promise you it will be both of those. All right. Look, we're going to do the whole acquired treatment on you, Packie. But the first place I went, what I was like, I was like, I was starting research, I build the script here for the not boring story. I went to your LinkedIn. I know that's kind of a boomer thing to do, but I did. You are listed there as the quote unquote founder of not boring. How on earth did you decide on what to put there? It's a really tough question for me. Still, when I get asked to do, if I'm going on a panel or joining a podcast or something, I can ask to send over a short bio or CNBC or, you know, if I'm on CNBC or I can ask for a short bio and sometimes it's writer, sometimes it's author, sometimes it's founder. I don't know really what I do or how to describe what I do. And then if you mix that in with not boring capital, like the whole thing, it's very confusing. Founder feels like a catch all I did definitely start this thing. And so anything else beyond that, I think it's subject to change. Love it. You are definitely the founder of the not boring empire. All right. So let's tell the story. I'm assuming you were born in either 1986 or 1987. 1987, 1987, January 26th, the same birthday as Wayne Gretzky, Vince Carter, you know, a lot of the great athletes. Okay. So January 26th, 1987 in Bryn Mar, Pennsylvania, just outside Philadelphia, there's the birth of a baby boy named Patrick. Patrick. Also known as Packey McCormick. So Urban Dictionary tells me that Packey is a very common diminutive form of the name Patrick that is especially popular amongst residents of County Cork, Ireland. Is that where your family is originally from? I believe so my dad has done kind of the deep dives on his side of the family. I think we're probably fourth generation over here. And so we think it's County Cork, but not 100% positive. Nice. All in the Philadelphia area. All in kind of the Lehigh Valley. Allentown is where I might add grew up. We have a bunch of family in Scranton, so Joe Biden country. Yeah. Billy Joel, grown up in Allentown. What were you like as a kid? Any little glimmers of the future not boring empire that were popping up when you were growing up? Yeah. I used to make these little books or newspapers on Post-It notes. So one of my dads, my dad was a consultant at Arthur Anderson. They luckily got out before Enron. Thank God. But one of his early clients was Miami Herald. And so when I was like, you know, six years old, I would make these little Post-It note versions of the Miami Herald. I also have this one that was called Golden Memories of a Young Boys Life. And so I had all these opairs and they would take me in like, you know, the women's locker room at the pool or something like that. And I was like a five year old kid and I would come home and draw stick figures of boobs in this little book called Golden Memories of a Young Boys Life. So that was probably the earliest version of not boring. You could have taken a very different career direction after that. I could have. It wasn't a particularly good artist. Which actually has carried through perfectly to today. And still not a good artist. I think it's part of the charm. But you know, even in high school or middle school, we had an eighth grade teacher, Mr. Algeo, who would make you write a composition or an essay if you got in trouble. So for me, I would actually sometimes try to get in trouble because for most kids, that's punishment. For me, like, if I have to write as much as you write, I couldn't do it. There's no way. I mean, I did cross-country in track in high school too. And that was kind of a similar vibe where for most people, that's punishment making them run many miles. And I love that. But Mr. Algeo, you know, you'd have to write a composition. And I would love to do it because I would try to write a composition that was so funny that Mr. Algeo would let me read it in front of the class. Or you know, in high school, I would try to write essays that were a combination of very well done and well researched and all that, but funny. So that, you know, even my most serious teachers would have to laugh and give me a good grade despite the fact that I turned them into a joke. So I think kind of always combination of class clown with the backing of kind of serious research. It's pretty rare to find those two combinations together in one person, right? Somebody who is both the class clown and has a work ethic. And I think that comes through and not boring. All of us who read every or close to every one of your posts, I think that's the charm. That is the style is that you're diligent. You've written many times about how the process works and how you go into your basement and spend the time and do the research and start writing and tear it down and write something. I mean, there's real diligence there. And for sure, you are the class clown of serious business newsletter writers. If there are people who've read every or close to every not boring, thank you. I think it takes a work ethic to read all of the upwarnings. It's been probably close to a million words in a year and a half at this point to get people to read that much. It has to be both kind of informative and entertaining. I think I'm using your phrase here when I say that the reason it works is because you don't put on your serious business pants. I don't even own serious business fans. So where does the work ethic come from that is certainly from both of my parents. My dad, as I said, was a consultant at Arthur Anderson. I'm literally fly to Germany for a day and come home or fly down to Miami to go to Miami, Harold and then make it home by four o'clock that night to take us to the fair and then fly back out the next morning. So I was working all of the time. My mom was getting her PhD and working and raising two kids. And so like both entrepreneurial, they both ended up starting their own kind of consulting practices, both incredible work ethic. And then there was just a way that they parented. My absolute favorite story growing up was when I was thinking fifth grade, I told my parents everything was going really, really well. I was probably going to get straight A's maybe like a B plus, but probably not. And then I got my report card. And I remember my dad was coming home from a business trip and he was a fancy consultant. So he added a cell phone way back in the day in his car. We got our report card and my mom made me call my dad and tell him the grades that I got. And so I was like science, a English, a French C plus, blah, blah, a, and he was like, all right, packy, I'm going to be home in an hour. By the time that I get home, I want all of your certificates, all of your trophies, anything that would suggest that you might be a winner. I want them in a box in the attic. We're calling that box a little loser box because you're a loser. What? And my mom said that my dad went to like the Mo-Market Office School parenting for this. I actually think it was awesome because what he was mad about wasn't that I got a C plus like that wasn't the big deal. It was that I lied all semester and said that I was doing really well in the class. And so I thought that was the best parenting lesson that I could have ever received because it was a really good lesson both in honesty and in work ethic. Because after that, I actually started trying in French and I ended up taking it all the way through college and got pretty good at it. I can't really speak it anymore, but it was a really good lesson that if you're not going to do well, at least be honest about the fact that you're not going to do well. And so now I think, you know, when I get things wrong and not boring, I blare it from the rooftops and probably comes back to that moment. Yeah, you feel like an intense need to own the mistake. There's a tweet that you had around the crypto winter where you said them's the rules. You got to play fair. And I think you were owning the fact that a lot of things that you thought were going to go up did not go up. I mean, our ideas dinner podcasts, I think, is a test into the fact that I get things wrong all the time. Oh, we all do. So, okay, so you go to Duke. You were on the debate team at Duke. Great. I was shocking. We were able to unearth some pretty awesome photos from that time them. Maybe we'll link to it the show notes. I was incredibly cool. I was, you know, in the debate club, I was in an acapella group. You know, there were a couple of big all male acapella groups. I was the cool one on the debate team. Me and my partner who was my best friend from high school also, we were like the cool team. So I was like in all the nerdy things and tried to be cooler than I was probably in all of those things. But that was certainly my kind of college vibe was just getting involved in a lot of different things. So okay, you graduated in 2009, which I mean, I remember I graduated in 2007. I sailed through. I was a French literature major. I get the investment banking job. I'm like, oh, this is great. Then of course, I got my butt kicked. What I actually got to Wall Street. But you got an investment banking job in 2009. Like nobody got investment banking jobs in 2009. This was the middle of the recession. Also, just to drive David's point home here, even French lit majors could get investment banking jobs in 2007. And by the time the door slammed in 2009, it took something special, packy for you to get there. Yeah, so I was to be fully fair kind of an investment banking light in public finance, but it started this summer before in 2008 when I got my internship. Things were actually still pretty good. So I got an internship at Bank of America on the energy trading desk. That was a wild experience in itself because Bank of America's energy trading desk was all X and Ron people. And so they were not psyched to not be at N Ron anymore and not psyched to be on a desk that didn't take physical delivery. So there are two types of energy trading desk. Some like the bigger banks, Morgan Stanley all of that, which will take delivery if they need two barrels of oil or whatever else. Those are the kind of serious desk. And then there are more just pure financial desk like we had at Bank of America. Worked my butt off that summer. There's the intern programs and there's drinks and there's speeches and there's all these things that you do when you're an intern on Wall Street. My desk wouldn't let me go to any of those things. I had to sit there and you don't do anything when you're a trading intern. Like you literally sit on these people's shoulders. You're not allowed to trade. You're not licensed to trade. Right. You're not licensed. You don't have the series seven, series 63. Is that the other one you need? Exactly right. So I asked them dumb questions throughout the day while they were trying to focus on these multi-million dollar trades. It was like the worst experience. They didn't like me being on the desk, but they also didn't want me to have any fun. So they wouldn't let me go to any of the other things. The summer before my internship, they didn't like the intern. So they took it out drinking until like 4 a.m. and then when he came in a little bit late the next morning, they marched into the HR team's office and got him fired. So that was the environment that I was coming into. This is like Lyre's poker totally. But there's definitely the work ethic there where I just didn't let it bother me. So God an offer to come back. Bank of America merged with Merrill Lynch. Merged quote unquote. Merged quote unquote. So we bought them, but there were higher quality interns quite frankly at Merrill Lynch. And so when we merged, I guess the other problem was we all got put on the bank of America side in a rotational program. So you got your offer from a specific desk, but you came back and had to rotate around different desks, whereas Merrill got hired into specific desks. So all the Merrill kids for both of those reasons, they were probably smarter than I was. And they already had their desk kind of placement locked in. They got their desk. We rotated around in about half the people in the trading program ended up getting spit into public finance, which for those listening at home is municipal bonds. So I worked on the Sydney Jersey's bonds that were backed by their tax obligations or the Pennsylvania turn pike when they wanted to build new roads and issued debt to do that. Wow. That sounds kind of boring. It was a little bit boring. Hopefully that's the first of hundreds of funds throughout this podcast. But yeah, it was boring, but I actually, you know, I liked it. I was number one in my class, kind of each of the years that I was there. And I realized very early on because I had friends who were I remember a New York Times article came out about the fact that really top quality investment mechanism lists for getting their PE offers way way earlier. And I think they quoted two of my friends in that article. So like, I had friends who just love this stuff. And I just was not one of those people. So I knew that I want to get out of finance at some point. And so I was really just playing to be in the top of my class and go to business school. So you applied a business school. And trollers, if you're linked in profile, we'll note that you do not have an MBA. Walk us through that and what happens. One other thing to add was while I was in finance, I started a company called Throgo, which was a terrible name. I bought the site for something else. And then I applied it to building this company that essentially took people from New York down to the Jersey Shore and the Hamptons every weekend. So the party bus ride. It was so much fun. Paid for my summers, I took it way too seriously and thought that this was going to be my ticket to a great business school. Applied to Stanford got summarily projected from GSB. Ended up getting into Chicago, had my deposit down was going to go. And then one, I kind of visited and it was snowing and it was like April or May. And I also found a company called Breether on Angelist and had just started a conversation with the founder of Breether where there was no guarantee of even an interview or anything. But I asked Chicago if I could defer. They told me no, I couldn't defer your deposit already. And if it were Harvard or Stanford, they would have let me defer. But they know that people might try to say they wanted to first, they can go to Harvard or Stanford. So they wouldn't let me defer. And so I just said, all right, cool, not going to business school. I had already quit my job. And so really spent kind of the next four months, I think, in this weird kind of winding interview process just with Breether, traded pretty actively, made some of the dumbest trades in the history of the world. I think I bought Tesla during that summer at like $29 and sold it. I bought Facebook at $19 sold that plowed a bunch into like Apple options into earnings, which you know, it's just like not waiting. You're admitting your mistakes here. I bought Bitcoin at 100 sold at 150. So it like, you know, really had a fun a fun summer where I was. That's a nice little returns here. It's a nice pops. Yeah. Thank you for that. Fought pretty good. So you know, I had this kind of summer where I had no job. I didn't have a future job lined up. But I was interviewing and trading and making a bunch of dumb decisions that I think would kind of make me a better investor later on. I will say it's hard to buy and hold when you're in that position in life where like the cash is useful and a material amount of your net worth. And you don't have a job. It acquired wasn't around back then, but you could listen to us have all these people on over the years saying how great it is to let compounding do its thing or the Berkshire episodes or even if you're a deep student of all this on your own and you know this, you kind of can't at that point in your life when you're looking to a learn or be potentially use the cash in a pretty short period of time. I mean, the Bitcoin sale was a result of going to October fest with my friends while I was unemployed and they all had jobs and finance still and said they went out to the club and I was like, yeah, of course I can do that. You know, I just got my bonus. And then I woke up the next morning in the hotel and I was like, you know, that was stupid. I shouldn't have done that. I should have conserved my cash. Let me sell these stupid Bitcoin so that I like just kind of refill the coffers with USD. And so that was why I sold all 38 of my Bitcoin at 150. Whoa. Okay, we can't let you gloss over a couple things here. We got to rewind. Am I hearing you right that you wrote your business school application about starting a quote unquote company to bust drunk people from Manhattan to the Jersey Shore and the Hamptons? I mean, it wasn't about busing drunk people from New York to the Jersey Shore and the Hamptons. It was about community and bringing people together. I mean, people who had never met somebody going to the beach town that they were going to made friends. People got married who met on the party bus. It was about community. But yeah, no, seriously, that is how I tried to spin my business school essays. Wait, wait, wait. So to quote a writer named Packing McCormick, the hard part about being a great writer is that you can convince people that a really bad idea is a really great idea. And you just did that to me. That is another one of those formative experiences where obviously it wasn't a startup. It was startup light. It was stupid and it was fun and it paid for my summers and all of that. When I was applying to breather though, I mean, like I had done marketing. I had done operations. I had to deal with a bunch of shitty situations. And so like that company in particular, the CEO is kind of an iconoclast. He runs a company now called practice, Julian, great guy. But he didn't care at all about the finance background of the proof that I could work hard and like maybe I could help with some business stuff. But he really cared that I like got my hands dirty and like had to deal with all of the junk in just being kind of a one person running this company. So it was definitely a silly experience. But I think it also kind of helped with the next chapter. What was the name of the party best company? Throgo. I actually don't think I've actually technically shut down that LLC. So I have one of those too. It's funny to actually doing that gritty stuff of like dealing with tour bus operators. You got to do that when you're an entrepreneur and so many people that go to business school think, oh, I'm going to get all this glory. It starts some internet company. It is like, yeah, you got to be willing to shovel your fair share of manure here. I mean, that's like the Chris Saka quote about, you know, he won't hire or work with anybody who hasn't had just a shitty job growing up. So you know, I'd wash dishes. I had my fair share of kind of those types of jobs. And I think that all helps because I mean, we'll get to very there. But that was my first year's experience was doing that exact same thing. Yeah. So let's jump to breather. So that summer, I had thrown away my money in business school as well. That deposit was gone terrible summer from a financial perspective. But the way that I was thinking about it was like, I'm either going to spend the next two years not making a single dollar and paying for business school and racking up debt doing that. Or I can go somewhere anywhere really that will pay me more than negative dollars and learn on the job and get that experience. My interview process at breather was doing a bunch of really random things. I don't think they knew what they were doing from a hiring perspective. I wrote the JD for the job that I ended up getting, which was New York City General Manager. How big was the company at that point? It was six people in Montreal. So I was going to be our first US employee. One of my jobs was Julian said, there's a guy at Uber who does a job similar to the one that you want to do. Go track him down and then get him to interview you. And then he'll tell me what he thinks. And so that ended up being Josh Moore, who was the New York City General Manager at Uber. So that hit me. Remain to friend that that was a lot of fun. I think he works at levels now. Yeah, exactly. He's at Super Sapiens competitor levels now. And so that was one. Another was our other co-founder, Katarina, was a designer by background. And so she was like, go to a Marriott business lobby and go to the Aso Tell lobby and then make a presentation on why they're different. They're obviously very different. But I'm not a designer as everybody who reads not boring nose. And so I had this whole thing about the vibe of both of the spaces. And it wasn't particularly good. But the fact that I did it is probably what they wanted to see. I learned later that it came down to me. And somebody who ended up working for the company later, who's way more talented and smarter than I am. And Julian and Katarina went point by point on both of us in the lobby actually of the Aso Tell, the night before they made their decision. And I won by one point and got the job or else I would have had four months down the drain and absolutely nothing. So I ended getting the job. So what breather did was it rented out meeting and workspace and beginning these very small meeting rooms for as little as half an hour at a time. So my job was twofold. My job was first convinced landlords to rent spaces to this random Canadian company that once random people to come in and out of the building for half an hour at a time throughout the day. So that was challenge number one. And I literally like got on my knees. And in one case, this is actually like that mean literally got on my knees and begged to one of the landlords to give us the space and they ended up giving us the space. Oh my god. Julian told me I was going to be a fired if I couldn't get three spaces by X date. And you're probably competing against we work for a lot of these leases, right? ours were really tiny in the beginning. So ultimately we ended up competing with we work in the beginning. We were looking for like the 150 square foot really quirky space somewhere in the building where someone could come take a nap or like maybe get a little bit of work done. But the idea was that your phone should be able to unlock all these spaces that are underused throughout the city. Turns out one of the challenges about these is in Manhattan. There's really no underused space in the city. And so we ended up just having to compete with whichever firm wanted to rent that space. Ended up, I think kind of figuring out how to make that pitch. And so that was one side of it. Once we made it, we had a design and furnish in all these things these spaces. And then we had to get people to clean them. So we worked with one cleaning company that ended up getting acquired by a company that got acquired by Google. And the day after they got acquired, they're like, by the way, we don't want to do these terrible five minute jobs that we have to run all over the city for anymore. You're on your own. So some of that was me going literally just cleaning breather spaces. I leave dinners with friends and whatever kind of after hours, the other was because I had met Josh during this process. I called Josh and was like, Hey, you have that Uber rush thing. Is there any chance that we could get Uber rush messengers to clean breather spaces since they're moving around the city anyway? And so we actually, I was the largest consumer of Uber rush messengers in the world for a while. We never had that outside New York. I don't know. It was a New York test that might have gone to a couple of other markets, but really kind of a New York test were the idea was if you want to deliver documents from one place in the city to another, which is super common in New York. It was super common from our banking days. We know, oh, you're always curring documents around exactly. And I think part of that is probably what became Uber Eats, ultimately, as these people kind of moving around the city on their bikes. But we had a slider in the Uber app where I would call hopefully there was somebody nearby. I would hit the button. I would drop the pin on the space, hit the button, and then have to text with that person and be like, Hey, by the way, like this isn't a delivery job. You're cleaning a space. And to be fair, these people opted in. So we had our own view where it's all only people who opted in and they made a little bit more by doing that. But I'd be like, All right. So this particular space, you go into the room. There's a set of cleaning supplies under the couch. There's instructions there. If you have any questions, just text me. This is my number. And so seven days a week, six a.m. to 11 p.m. pretty much when we closed. I was just on my phone texting messengers who were going to go clean. Breathe. So talking about startups, not being glamorous, like there was absolutely nothing glamorous about this. The fun part on the flip side of that was, you know, I had equity in the company. I was our only US employee. I designed the system myself. I chose to work with Uber. And so it's all on me and the fun thing about startups is it's all on you. All the crappy stuff is, you know, a product of the way that you designed the system. And so that was a really fun experience. And then, you know, a higher-to-team signed a bunch of leases, got promoted a couple of times, ultimately ended up kind of like running our operations in real estate and design, which doesn't make any sense, but managed a really talented design team. And a bunch of stuff that our COO didn't want to do. I did all of that, kind of globally for us. So incredible experience. A breather, but none of it was particularly easy. And how big was your team in the company by the time you left? So in New York, my team grew to about 25 people. And we were about half the revenue in the company, which was 10 markets. And then when I got promoted to VP of experience, which was a fancy title for a bunch of junk jobs, not junk jobs, but like, not jobs that would normally go together. It's a catch-all. Yeah. It was a catch-all that sounded way fancier than it was. But that was about 150 person team, including our operations associates who were full-time employees of breather and clean to maintain the spaces. All the way to our team of designers, our customer care team, our real estate team, operations team and all that. All right. So I'm assembling sort of the cornucopia or the puzzle pieces that would become not boring eventually. I mean, you started pure finance, pure analysis, pure spreadsheet, jockey, so disconnected from what actually happens at any of the companies or even in the physical trading of the commodities that you're looking at. Then of course, you have one of the most operational jobs one could possibly imagine. And of course, you have the entrepreneurial moment before that of starting your own company. Now you have leadership. So you have that piece of the puzzle too of understanding like it turns out actually the hardest thing that any of these companies is the people. And that was the most amazing thing too. I probably stayed a breather for two years longer than I should have because I really loved the team of people that I was working with. I'd say the last turning point and the last kind of thing that contributed to not boring was we deeply overexpanded our supply because we had been given advice by people on the board and others who said, you're pretty much like Uber. The job for Uber is to get as much supply on the map as humanly possible. You should also get as much supply on the map as humanly possible. Which we did, the cat was there was actually demand for Uber. There was demand for Uber. And Uber supply could come and go and Uber didn't have to pay them anything. We signed five year leases and did construction. And so it was just a very different situation. So we added a space per day in 2016, 2017 for about a year there every day we were launching a new space. And so we were deeply ever supplied. Our gross margins were awful negative, I think negative 25%. And then me and Ben Roller, who never runs a company called Composer, which just launched Congrats Ben, who was kind of our head of data science at the time decided to spend a Christmas break just figuring out how we could fix this thing. And we'd always have this thing where we only did short term rentals, we only did meetings, whatever. But we just went deep into the, we read like a bunch of Ben Thompson and we read good strategy, bad strategy. And we're like, we're going to turn this company around using strategy. And so we wrote this like detailed memo full of his data science and my crazy ideas on how we could actually turn the company around by adding monthly space and competing kind of more at the margins with companies like we work in no tell. And then we send it out to the company, we got back, we got the blessing of the exact team, we send it out to the company. Did it have gifts and Taylor Swift references in it? I actually don't think it had just until we took this very seriously. You put on your serious business pants for this. We put on our serious business pants for once. And the company was on the really on the line. Like it was going to be really hard fundraising, we were doing anything. We had negative gross margins and too much supply. And the craziest thing that happened was one, everybody bought it and got really excited by this vision, even though it was a ton of work. Like we had a flip spaces. Part of the thesis was we have this crazy thing that nobody else has, which is that we can rent spaces out for as little as an hour. And we have this data science scene that can price spaces for as little as an hour. So if somebody wants to rent a space for one month, and then we want to put it back online for hourly bookings in three days, we'll flip it back and forth depending on what the market is telling us, which meant that for the obvious team, it was an absolute nightmare for the design team having design between the two types of spaces. Absolute nightmare. But everybody bought in. And we turned the thing around and we went from negative 25% margins to positive 25% margins. And like things were going really, really well. And so I think Ben and I were both like, wow, strategy, like actually kind of matters here. Like having a plan and getting people to buy into it and having something that makes sense and fits within the market. Like all of that actually, like it's not just BS, like it's a real meaningful thing. And so I think that was probably also part of why I ended up writing a newsletter that was about strategy to foreshadow. I think at one point early on, you described not boring as if Bill Simmons and Ben Thompson had a baby. And so clearly, this is where the sort of Ben Thompson side comes from 100%. It was a quote from your first newsletter post, which was not called not boring. It was about this course that you're taking this rating course. It says the first piece I wrote for the course was an introduction to Ben Thompson. And if you check it out, I would love your feedback. It was a spiritual Godfather spiritual Godfather. The fun thing about that course was I took the course because then we brought in a professional management team. And strategy was less valued and my brain was dying. And so I decided to take a writing course. And I wrote about Ben Thompson because they're like, you know, instead of starting from scratch. And I think this actually just showed up in my last piece, kind of like go remix other people who you respect, go remix their ideas and like kind of just get a sense for what it feels like to write about and to write like the people that you respect. And so that's how the soul thing kicked off by writing about Ben Thompson. And so that was David Pearl's write a passage course, right? Exactly right. And you also did on deck at the same time? I did on deck at the same time after I left breather. So, you know, it was a little bit later that I did on deck. But after I finally left breather, I tried to quit a few times in 2019. I took a sabbatical went to Japan. And while I was there, I called our general counsel and was like, get me out of here, please. Whoa, you quit from Japan. The sabbatical was like the last ditch effort to get me to stay. It was kind of like, all right, go take a month off and see if there's any way that you'd want to come back. And while I was there, I just realized that I did not want to stay there. And so I quit from Japan, like all like our general counsel. Does that ever work? It feels like when people get to disconnect and they're already sort of emotionally disconnected, all it does is make them more sure that they're ready to be done. For sure. I think it's also valuable to give like the team, I had a 150 person team that I think I got along really well with. And so I think the sabbatical is also useful in being like, look, Packies away in Japan right now. And the company hasn't fallen apart. And your life is not miserable. So everything will be fine when he leaves. Yeah, that's a good point. Okay, so when you did leave, you didn't start not boring as we know it today right away. Am I right that you started two things concurrently with the not boring club, this social in person experiment, but also a different email newsletter. I had had per my last email going and that was really like kind of a link round up where it was an assignment from the right of passage course to start a newsletter and to get 20 people to sign up. And so while I was a breather, I was I was writing that and I realized I like writing and occasionally I would do an essay. But for the most part, it was like here are the five things that I've read and listened to this week that I really liked. And they're all still on the not boring sub stack. You can go read them. But if you go to per my last email dot sub, the day that I took it down, somebody else took the site over and I think it's maybe like advertising shampoo or some scam that is now in per my last email dot sub Everything turns into a link farm eventually. Exactly. So I had that going and then I use that to kind of just think through and write about different ideas that I had for a company that I wanted to start. I mean, like even while I was at Bank of America when I was in college, when I was a breather, I always knew that I wanted to start what I thought would be a real big startup. I had just managed a big team and I thought I was actually interim CEO for a little while a breather and thought that I did a fine job there. And so I was like, I can do this. Every level that you go up in a company, I thought that they were like these God-like people above you who had all the answers and realized that they're all as dumb as me. So why not start something myself. And so I use writing as a way to kind of think through and public a bunch of these different ideas. And somehow, despite that tool, the best idea that I came up with was a social club that kind of combined Soho House and College Extra Curricular. So I was a debater in high school in college. And one of the tests that I ran was starting a debate club in New York and got 20 friends to come into debate. And people loved it. I had a blast. People really enjoyed it. And so I was like, that's a really good signal. This is going to be a huge business because 20 people like debate club. This was the NYC debate club, right? Which you can go read about in the per my last email archive. Yes, you can. But it was, I mean, like all of this stuff is a blast. And I think it all comes from the same spot as, you know, the name not boring comes from, which is I had dinner with my mom and her business partner one night in New York while I was still a breather. And her business partner asked me what I like to do outside of work. And I like just did not have an answer like, you know, other than I like traveling and I like hanging out with my friends. Like I had no passions, which is crazy because in college, like that was all I did. I spent a lot more time doing other things than I did actually probably studying. And so I think that kind of just like put a bug in my head that I wanted to figure out how to get some of that back. And then I talked to a bunch of other people and they realized that they had kind of the same thing going on that once you kind of got out of school, it was work. And then it was your tight group of friends and whoever became your significant other and then your family. But you didn't have those like kind of small groups that were bonded around a particular kind of passion or hobby. So I was like, oh, cool. Like that plus so house. That sounds like the coolest thing in the world. Let me go start that. And of course, you're coming from a physical real estate company that you just spent six years at. Well, that was part of the thing too. I just thought that, you know, if I tried to build a software business, I'd have a lot less credibility even with investors than if I said, look, you know, I know how to do all of this. I can go, like, here's the model. All the numbers work. I wrote a bunch and you can see these essays too, trying to justify like how this could be a venture scale thing. If you added a bunch of stuff on top and started community first and like, maybe that would have worked. I don't know. I mean, today, what not boring club would have been is really a dow probably with physical locations. I think actually that model works really well for what I was trying to do. At the time, it was a real stretch. Did you pitch any VCs or investors about investing in not boring club as it was coming together at the end of 2019? Yeah. So I had a few early conversations with friendly VCs that I knew from not boring. And some people actually were like, cool. When you actually start raising, like, let us know this is actually pretty interesting. And like, we'll back you. You'll figure it out. Oh my god. If any of these people had actually invested in not boring, like, wow. I know. I might have shut that one down and started fresh. But, you know, it was more of a, I think, we'll back you with this idea, like, maybe you can do something with it. It gets interesting at some point, but we'll back you. But I got a bunch of advice from a bunch of other people who were like, don't raise money and don't sign a lease. Please for the love of God. Don't sign a lease before you actually try to build a community because it sounds like the other stuff is hard, but what's really hard is actually building a community around this kind of stuff. So I started a Slack group. I used the newsletter that had, you know, 400 people at a time to try to get their early applicants. Got the community up and running. We were doing like some book clubs. We did debate club. They're about 150 of the first people. And before we had a club to welcome people in, I was like, great, we're going to do a bunch of small group dinners starting in February of 2020. Late February, we had, I think our first four 10 person group dinners. There were a lot of fun. People were really enjoying getting to know each other. And then I think it was March 10th. We had these like separate Slack groups for each one of the dinner groups. And somebody was like, you know what? I'm not feeling particularly good. I'm going to just bow out tonight and other people were like, you know what? I'm going to bow out tonight too because I'm hearing a lot about this COVID thing. And so, you know, I was trying to start not worrying club in the middle of this COVID thing. And so, you know, we put it on pause, canceled that dinner, out of an abundance of caution, canceled the next night's dinner, and the next night's. And I was like, I'll be back in two weeks here. Do we remember that? Or we're all going to be back in two weeks, right? We're all going to be back in two weeks. As soon as this blows over, we'll be back. I'm going to put a pin in here. I was trying to figure out listener is how to do the thing that I did during the Uber episode where I bring in the share price at every moment throughout history. And I don't have Paki's internal number. So I don't have the newsletter count. But what I do have is his personal Twitter following as of every month along the way. So here we are today where Paki has 105, 110,000, something like that followers here in February of 2020, taking us back to the story, 956 followers. And that was good. That was like a triple from earlier in the year before I started writing per my last email. And we can talk about this one of the things that I wanted to do. I found like very, very early on. I would say like, welcome to the new X subscribers. Now there are why of us here. Ah, such a good growth hack. And it wasn't even meant to be a growth hack. It was really kind of like just in case this works out and becomes a big thing. Like there are all these people with a big Twitter following or big audience. Like certainly you were in that conversation where I was like, there's all these people that seem again, like kind of God-like. And like it was just like preordained that they were going to be successful. In case this newsletter becomes anything, I just kind of want to show like that I was just a random unemployed idiot who started writing this thing. And so we can kind of like track the whole progression of number of subscribers and all of that throughout the journey. It's so funny. You had that impression of us because I had like zero credibility before starting acquired. I mean, I felt exactly like you did. Like I had these startup experiences and I've worked at this. Well, to be fair, there was a front page Seattle Times article about you before you started acquired one day, one moment in time. Yeah. But packy, like I know that exact feeling. And it's so funny how like at some point, and there's no like clear moment in time when it changes. But at some point, then people look at you like you're on the other side of that valley. And you're like, wait, how did I get to the other side? What? It's crazy. And like, you know, I try to be the same idiot that I was in. It is, as you know, like I'd still tweet dumb stuff and maybe that's good. Maybe like the SEC is going to knock down my door at some point. But I'm like really trying to just be the same person that I've been the whole time. Not in any like, you know, fame hasn't changed me. But really, just like, I don't want to care that like I'm going to get responses from a bunch of trolls now. If I say something, I really think this breaks when I let that change me and I like get a little bit safer in what I write about because or what I tweet about or anything because there are more trolls out there and more people who are paying attention to what I'm writing and all of that. And so that's been important to me the whole time is kind of remaining the same idiot that I was in the beginning. I think it's super important. This is the not boring episode, not the acquired episode. But I've had a few conversations recently with people who have grown a personal brand very quickly online. And I think a lot of people make a lot of trade-offs to do that where they play a part on the internet and play a character rather than being themselves. And you sort of have this magical thing, at least my perception knowing you personally and following your work is that they're pretty much the same person. But you've managed to like grow very quickly by being yourself, which is remarkable. Because I think in three conversations that I can think of recently, people have told me like, I really wish I could be more myself, but I played a character on the internet so that I could quickly grow. It's easy to make that trade off. And I probably did a little bit of that, frankly, early on like where I would do more threads and different things. So like try to boost engagement and all of that. But still it was like so small that nobody was paying attention. By the time that I had anybody kind of following, I've just decided to be myself because I'm spending so much time doing this, both writing and tweeting and meeting people and all of that that if you're not yourself, it's not like a be true to yourself kind of thing. It's like you're going to have a miserable experience because all of your interactions are going to be other people wanting to interact with this persona or if I were writing from a different voice, everyone would expect me to write from that and it would just make it twice as hard to both figure out the content and the voice every week. And so I realized really early on that I just needed to like kind of be as close to myself as humanly possible or else it was just going to be too much work. And once you admit that you're kind of like, okay, well, if it works, it works. And if I don't have product market fit with some sub-segment of the internet who can discover me, then shoot. I'll take my ball and go home. But if it works, it's actually remarkably scalable for a one person operation. Exactly. So we can debate when you cross this valley. But certainly at this point in time, you have not. What are you feeling now in March 2020? You're unemployed again, but you're older. You're married. Your wife is pregnant at this point, right? Correct. You are working on a, I won't say hair brained, but maybe a startup idea in a physical real estate space with maybe some issues with the business model, not particularly venture backable business, not particularly venture backable. What are your emotions like right now? Are you just, I'm happy, go lucky, it's all going to work out? Are you like kind of tearing your hair out? I'm too a fault. And like, you know, everybody has their double-edged sword and mine is optimism. Never once was there a time when I was like, my life is absolutely over. You know, like when I joined Breether and took a lower salary and it was a risky thing, my mindset was like, you know, my absolute worst case scenario here is that I moved back to my parents' house. And I can still eat meals and I can still sleep in a bed. And there's a roof over my head. So like, the floor is not that low. Certainly this time around, there's 100% ego piece of this because I have a bunch of friends who are doing really, really great things. And I was, you know, when I tried to bring not boring club online, I was sitting there. I had trivia nights that I like spent all day writing trivia questions and making slides. And seven people showed up. And I was like, this is with my Duke education, my expensive high school education. All my experience like, this is incredibly embarrassing. And so I decided to kind of just let not boring club, the digital version, followed by the wayside. In February, early February, Pooja and I learned that we were pregnant. COVID kind of hit. And I remember this probably April when I decided like really go all in. It was like a bunch of soul search conversations with Pooja with my mom, talking to my mom and being like, I don't know what to do. And she's like, well, I like the name not boring club. Like maybe you should just like apply that to the newsletter and just go all in on the not boring thing. So that was my mom's idea to port the name over. Nice. Wow. Thanks, mom. Thanks mom. We should all think our mothers more. Thank you, mom. Totally. Thank you, mom. And even my dad has always been kind of like, don't close off doors. And like just serious about me making sure that I did the best that I possibly could was super supportive of this whole thing. Maybe just because they saw that there was like nothing else in the table. I, to be fair, I could have gotten a job somewhere. But I just didn't want to get a job yet. I didn't want to quit on the idea of being an entrepreneur and doing my own thing. And so I went to the beach with my brother for a week and was just like, all right, like what if I just start writing this newsletter and what if I start writing essays and it needs to be different than Ben Thompson. So I came up with this idea to do kind of a mix between business strategy and pop culture. And so my early essays were like creative destruction and the Mickey Mouse Club to explain why COVID was actually a really good thing because it meant that people were no longer going to be stuck in bullshit jobs and we're going to be freed up to go do the things that they actually wanted to do, which is ironically also the subject of your most recent piece. A little bit. It's a different twist on it for sure. It's more about this sort of community and societal impacts of that. But of the same it, but this totally there are definitely some through lines through a lot of the pieces I wrote about Amazon had a fashion show and I tried to examine Amazon strategy through the lens of this fashion show and did a bunch of those like direct pop culture, X business strategy type essays. That also like pretending to be a character became too much where I'd have to both think of like the business side of it and then also figure out what movie that business was like and that became too much. So I kept the tone and I dropped that direct thing. But yeah, I mean, I just like I asked Pooja if I could have three months to grow the newsletter and see if there was anything there and like maybe one day I'd start making money. But for now, let me just see if I can grow this. A friend of mine, Tommy Gamba, who is an Airbnb and getting ready to leave helped me out on the growth side of things and had this brilliant idea to launch a landing page so that we could launch on product hunt and that alone, I think, took us from something very small like a thousand subscribers to 2000 subscribers. So that was a huge leap and I remember sitting with Pooja at dinner and being like, oh my god, I could actually like this newsletter could be a full time thing. I have 2000 subscribers. This is amazing. Seven people at trivia night. Now you have 2000 people on the internet. Maybe this internet thing is a good idea. So we like to say we're talking orders of magnitude difference here. That's a VC term. So yeah, so I mean things like kind of started looking up from that point and wasn't making any revenue for a long time. And I still remember having conversations like deeper into the pregnancy where it was like clearly going to be a thing. And I had planned to turn on subscriptions and decided to keep holding off on that because I really like the growth. And I had conversations with Pooja where she was like, are we going to do like a revenue thing here? And now we're living it at my in-laws house in New Jersey during COVID and I was writing with her parents with her parents and I was writing from a basement. So like none of this is glamorous. But she's like are we like, yeah, at some point we'll need like health insurance and blah blah blah. Like you're going to turn on revenue and I was like, no, no, trust me. If we can keep not having subscriptions turned on for a while, then we can grow to a point where like I'll be able to turn on subscriptions. And if I convert 10% of the audience at $5 a month, then like we can be making a couple thousand dollars a month. The subscriptions work as a business model. If you architect the rate wait, there's nothing wrong with it. And obviously our friend Mario Gabriela is doing great with it at the generalist. But that's such a fallacy that way of thinking of, oh, if I only get X percent to convert, I'm so glad you went a different direction. There's also the dirty secret which it seems like you kind of intrinsically knew, which is even 10% is going to be a pretty big stretch. Creators can typically convert at best 2 to 3% to a paid offering unless they're significantly handicapping the main content where you'd say like, sorry, every other main post is behind the paywall or something big like that. But even that, I think it's like 10, 15% if you bring out your big stick. And that prevents growth. And so like it's hard to model out exactly how that's going to play out. But my big thing was like, I was just like, dicted because I had locked myself into this thing where I was telling people how many I grew every week. I was kind of addicted to that number continuing to go up. And so I just kept pushing off kind of turning on subscriptions so that that number would keep on. And then Mario did it well. Lenny Ruchiski obviously did it really well and has a great business. So there are ways to do it. I think a huge difference between like someone like Lenny and someone like me is that Lenny's audience is so specific. And like you know exactly who you are and who should be paying for that, which is people who do product or people who do growth. And not only do they know that they should be reading that and that they need to pay for it, their companies are going to be willing to pay for it for them. Whereas I could not imagine a company that be willing to pay. So somebody could read about the Mickey Mouse Club. And so that was the other kind of thing that kept me from going to the subscription model is like I just don't know if companies will be able to pay for not boring. Well, I think that was the secret when I was at the Wall Street Journal. And this was in the days of like paid content was such a thing. And it was everybody thought, Oh, the Wall Street Journal, they did it so right. The New York Times was wrong. It was like, yeah, this is the dirty secret. Most people who pay for the journal, it's their companies that are paying for the journal. And it's hyper specific. It's you know, business finance. It's the most reputable of that. Yeah. If you're going to go the paid subscription route, it's great. But you need to architect your whole business and content strategy around that. And obviously you would take in a different path. Package is just going to be packy on the internet. Yeah. So it's too lazy to do the subscription thing too and think about which should go behind the paywall and which shouldn't. And like, could I possibly double the amount of content that I was doing so that I could still grow and have some things behind the paywall and keep the quality. And so I just frankly couldn't figure all of that out. And so that was one of the reasons that I decided not to go that route to. Okay. So what month was your baby born? Our baby was born on October 4th. I remember I had my laptop in the hospital. Like he was supposed to be born like a day later. And so I was going to be able to finish a piece I was writing about reliance. And so I was like almost done that piece sitting in the hospital while we were waiting for him to be born. And I just couldn't get it finished. So he was born. Devon who is the absolute best shout out to dev. If you're listening to this in the future. Okay. Well, I ask for our tracker here. So you were talking about later into the pregnancy when Pooja was asking you like, Hey, are we going to do this revenue thing? I'm going to assume somewhere end of the second trimester beginning of the third trimester. You're at 3,500 Twitter followers when you get that question. Then we fast forward to you know, Devon is born. It's a big moment in your life. You're already up to 12,000 Twitter followers. So you're starting to feel like geez, I'm assuming that this maps similarly to newsletter subscribers. You're kind of looking at this like, well, if it's going to keep growing like this and it's actually going to grow geometrically, not linearly, we could be in good shape pretty soon. But I imagine you're probably also pinching yourself and going, this can't continue, right? In the summer, kind of late summer, somebody was nice enough to reach out. Chris at marketer hire was nice enough to reach out and be like, Hey, I like your newsletter. Are you thinking about taking advertisers and I was like, Yeah, I'd love to have you advertise. It's a great semi-deck and I didn't have a deck. And so I surveyed the audience and I asked them for their characteristics. And they all came back like exactly like you want 25 to 34 high income households, leadership positions, the companies, well, educated voting big budgets decision makers. Exactly. This deck is amazing by the way. It's still on the internet. We'll link to it in the show notes. It's still on the internet, which haunts me actually because people reach out and they're like, great, I'd love to do a sponsorship at a thousand dollars or whatever price I put in the deck at that point. But after I made that deck, I was like, you know, this internet thing has been pretty amazing. And Twitter's been pretty great. I'm just going to tweet the deck out. And so that filled up and you know, public came in, marketer hire came in, a few other sponsors came in from that. But that filled up pretty much through the end of 2020, all of my sponsorships lots, which was great. And I was like, oh, wow. So then I remember having a conversation with push orders like, I don't think it's going really well. I think maybe there's a chance that in the future, we could do three or four hundred thousand dollars on this newsletter on sponsorships. You're an optimist. Optimist. And I kept relying on the math. I had some sophisticated formula here. I was like, push it. It's purely math. It's just a CPM thing. And so as long as we have enough reader, the rates will grow. And this will be something that at least I can make what I was making when I was a 24 year old investment banking again. So before Chris at marketer hire reached out to you about sponsorship, had you been thinking about advertising or were you totally focused on one day when we get to a certain point, we're going to flip to subscription. No, I mean, I think the other thing about me is I've been addictive personality. And so I think we had probably crossed a point where I just realized that I like the girl too much. And I realized that I like the fact that, you know, if I was going to be spending all of this time, like, you know, 40, 50 hours straight in essay, I didn't want a thousand people to read that essay. And I wanted people tweeting about it and talking about it and all of that. And so at some point, I realized it was probably going to go as I just like hadn't made the leap because I thought even ads would slow growth. And the people wouldn't like me doing ads. And so I was trying to hold off on that for a little while too. But yeah, a few companies kind of pushed me in that direction and proved that I could actually make a dollar doing that, which is great. There is another moment where I wasn't allowed to buy an iPad until I actually made money from not boring. And so finally, I made like $10,000 and push it let me buy an iPad. So like a bunch of little wins late 2020. How proud were you at that moment? It's quaint now looking back on it. But like these are the things along the way that I'm sure you remember. Totally. And it is a glorified candle for me. I've read books on it and occasionally I'll draw something and throw in the essay like this last week's title image. I actually drew myself. It's horrendous. I was like, you know, I'm going to be pentompson is all I need is an iPad. Like, could I please like dip in the savings here and get an iPad? And she's like, no, you don't make any money on this newsletter. Like you cannot buy yourself an iPad that you don't need. You have a computer you're fine. Okay, so two questions for you. One, did you experience the thing where the period of time where hey, this isn't going to cover our lifestyle is long. And then hey, the period of time where whoa, this is going to more than cover our lifestyle is long. But the period of hey, this is great. We're like right at break even sustainable is like remarkably short. So you sort of like blow by it. And then you're like, whoa, holy crap. I expected that to be like a longer period of the journey. 100%. Yeah, that happened really quickly. And again, to be fair, covering our lifestyle was like not particularly difficult when we were living in my in-laws basement. We had a baby. And so that was a real meaningful thing. But when you have a baby, David, you know this people send you probably like the first at least six months worth of clothes and diapers and all of that kind of stuff. So you don't really start incurring expenses on the kid for a bunch of months. And we were living in a basement and my mother-in-law is a phenomenal cook until like, you know, I was maybe paying for like a wawa hogey every once in a while. Yes, wawa hogeys. Yes, it's the best. You guys need to do and acquire it on on wawa at some point. Oh, we totally should wait. So okay, let me get to question number two then. And I asked question one because as I've talked with other creators who experienced that moment, there's this really weird thing where you feel like because phase one was so long and you've been looking forward to phase two, the break even phase. I mean, it's great to be in phase three, but it's like weirdly unsatisfying how fast you blow through phase two because you've been looking forward to it for so long. I guess it's the optimist thing again. Like we're because I said the first three months up as an experiment and knew that I could go, you know, find another job somewhere and hopefully maybe the newsletter would have introduced me to somebody who might be willing to hire me because they like what I wrote. So that wasn't like a revenue desire, a spirit. And then there were those months in between that kind of after that where it was growing. And I was like, this is gonna happen. So probably everybody around me was relieved that it happened. But for me, it was kind of like, no, no, again, it's math here. And so like this will happen. And as long as it keeps growing, then it'll become like a number that is really exciting. I didn't think it was going to go as well as it did. But there was no point where I was like, I really hope that I'm like, you know, able to eat and that I can scrape things together. Again, probably because we were living in my last basement. But I think that probably would have made it a little more satisfying if I was like every month dreading the rent check. But fortunately, that was not an issue for us. Yeah. Okay. So then that leads me to question number two, which is, you have pioneered a pretty unique sponsorship format. Like we thought we pioneered a unique sponsorship format and the presenting sponsorship where you'd like really throw our lot in with the presenting sponsor for three months, shout out to Pilate, AlbumR, website, everything, interview on the top of the show. And then here comes packing McCormick and says, you know what? Every week one of the two posts that I do is gonna be pure, unadulterated. I'm getting paid by the subject to write this. I am doing the thing that is gonna make classically trained journalists freak out. And I'm just gonna own that. How did you come to this and what were your fears around it? How did it come to be all that? So I'm gonna get the origin story somewhat wrong. I'd started talking to Nick Abysseed at that main street. And if you use Twitter, you've probably gotten a sponsor tweet from him about using main street also happens to be a phenomenal guy. Love Nick. Thank you. And he was like, by the way, look, these posts that you write on companies, you can write those on startups. And I bet people would be willing to pay. And he had just come over from Shrunk Capital to run marketing at Main Street. And he's like, we'll be the first ones who do this. And I was like, all right, cool. Let's try it. I'm gonna caveat the hell out of it and tell everybody right up front that it's sponsored. But like, I think Main Street is really cool. So I would actually love to write about Main Street and explain. And like, my audience is a bunch of entrepreneurs and founders. And I bet my entrepreneur and founder audience would love to make money back from the government that otherwise they might not have in some Main Street. We'll get you kind of your tax credits back in an easy way. By the way, what month was this that you're having this conversation? Ish. This was actually pretty early in the sponsorship journey. So this was probably also in like the August September range. Okay. So still at 10,000 ish Twitter followers. Still at 10,000 ish Twitter followers. My fears were obviously like, this is not what you're supposed to do. You're not supposed to use the newsletter to shill sponsored content. Is this journey word because you know, to normal journalistic institution that has integrity, there's a wall between the people who write the actual journalists and the people who write sponsored content. And it's this thing that is like optimized for SEO and like, kind of like click bady and like all that kind of stuff. So the sponsored content like does not have a particularly great name. But I was like, all right. So if I do this, really my kind of bar for myself has to be as high as it would be writing a normal piece. And I'm only gonna write about things that I'm actually bullish on and companies that I would actually invest in myself. And this is before there was a fund or anything. But you know, that I'd put my personal money into. And so that was kind of the bar that I stepped for myself. And I was like, you know what? I'm gonna like ask the audience even like, did you hate this? Please let me know if you hated this. You know, one or two people every time I write a sponsored post is like, you're shilling. This is sponsored. No sponsored content. Please. But the vast majority either don't care. Although the open rates are actually like fairly consistent, maybe a little bit higher on the Monday pieces or they get something out of it. So you know, mainstreamed a bunch of people went and got a bunch of money back. So they love that. It's interesting because I serve a bunch of different audiences. When I talk to founders for not boring capital now, a lot of their favorite pieces actually end up being some of the sponsored posts because I get behind the scenes access into some of these really fast growing successful startups and get to write something more detailed on them than anybody else has written before. Yeah. I am an investor in modern treasury. And I learned a lot about the company from your recent sponsored post on modern treasury. Yeah. Even Ben Thompson on his podcast, I think it was back in February without calling me by name was like, there's somebody who writes a newsletter who does this thing where the startups actually pay him to write about them. But it's actually kind of good because he gets more information for these companies that aren't publicly available. He was kind of saying that he doesn't write about private companies as much because he doesn't have as much material to analyze. But that if I actually work with the company, I have a bunch of stuff to analyze. And I'm very honest with them that like I will talk about what I think isn't great if there are things and I will talk about competitors in a positive light. And I will never say just like, you know, do a hatchet job on competitors in the piece unless competitors like a straw man. Like, you know, I talked a lot of shit on passwords when I wrote about stitch. And that's fine because nobody loves passwords. But you know, as long as I keep that bar high and I'm like, very honest, I say upfront every time this is a sponsored post. This is how it works. Here's a link to a doc that I wrote about how I choose them. People end up liking the posts. And so what I was saying was founders end up liking those because oftentimes they're either at the same spot in their journey or they're a little bit behind where those companies are. And so they're learning kind of like practical on the ground things that those companies are doing. You can take lessons from that. So those actually feed in a lot of different ways really well into the fund. I want to pause for a second. In the action movie story of the not boring story, I think this is a good point to talk about a few things kind of just going on in the world around you doing this. And one, obviously, what you're doing wouldn't be possible without all the platforms and infrastructure, sub-stack, Twitter, all of the things that we take for granted now, but 10 years ago didn't exist. It just wouldn't be possible to have a solo corporation like not boring to be doing what you do. Even when Ben Thompson did it, he had to roll his own for so much of this. You are operating a venture fund with no other employees. That angelist makes that possible. But it's interesting, right? Like you said, a traditional media organization would have journalistic integrity and would never do this, right? Well, what is journalistic integrity? And post 2016 and Donald Trump and everything, this is one of those second-third-order effects of the last five years in the world in this country. Well, maybe mainstream journalism still has a great place, but maybe it's okay to also do things differently. And maybe they don't have all the truth. Maybe you can think differently about what journalistic integrity means. And then you kind of looked at this like ghetto of sponsored content. And it truly was a ghetto. Was it a ghetto because it didn't have integrity or because nobody put the work in to make it great? You made it great. Yeah, there's a lot to unpack. So first of all, the platforms like, you know, all of them web 3 now certainly rely on web 2 platforms in a really big way. The most beautiful part about sub-stack is because they've taken such a strong stand for subscriptions and against advertising. No one on their team has ever even reached out to me. And so I've paid $0 for my main platform because they want to pretend like ads don't exist. And I hope they don't hear this and start charging. They've never reached out to you. Never reached out. Oh my god. Yeah. So that is just like kind of this happy accident where my main platform ends up being free. And so people will pitch me kind of new newsletter platforms all the time. And they're like, but you're pretty bummed that you're paying 10% of your revenue to sub-stack. Right? And I'm like, I actually haven't paid anything to sub-stack. Twitter is free. And I've written about this before. But actually, I pay for Twitter blue now just out of like a thank you. It's a garbage product so far. But just as out of a thank you for all that Twitter has done, I paid $2.99 a month for that now. So that's a cost. But you know, these platforms have been hugely helpful in making that boring what it is and and our look-ost. On the other side that the point you're talking about journalistic integrity, we're catching me at a time where I'm like kind of in this mini self-proclaimed nobody cares, but like kind of war against all the cynicism that's happening out there. I think everybody has incentives and motives. And at least if I'm saying I am sponsored and this company is paying me right now to write about this, it is just very out in the open what I'm trying to do. Or if I say I invested in this company or whatever else, like everybody can go into the piece kind of knowing that that is the table stakes. I don't know what the incentives are for traditional tech journalists. And they're not certainly all this bad. But I think a lot of the reason that not boring works is because there's so much snark about tech out there for all of these companies that are one, just groups of people not making a ton of money. And like now maybe salaries are a little bit better and all of that. But for the past decade, people at these small companies not making a ton of money and like actually trying to change the world. And that's like a corny phrase. But like that is how you recruit people to come work somewhere and not make a lot of money. Trying these new things like taking different pieces off the shelf, going and trying to build something. And then there's like snarky 50 year old men sitting back and being like, I've seen something like this before. This is really stupid. Or you know, like X, Y and Z. And this is not well thought out enough even for me to like be saying this publicly. But it feels like a lot of journalism is like left over from an era where journalism was like really needed because not everything was out in the open and like you needed journalism to expose corruption and like take down Tammy Hall and like all this stuff. And then you apply all of that to like these little tech companies that have raised like $5 million and you're like trying to dig through the garbage. There was an article in Business Insider on spring health about their work culture the other day that was like trying to be a hatchet job. But there was nothing bad in there. It was the people worked hard at the company. A marketing guy said his team was working too hard. And so they want he wanted to lower the goals. And the CEO said, no, we're not lowering the goals. But I'll hire more people for you. Like that is a tale as old as time and startups that you know, there's a battle between the CEO and the marketing team about what the goal should be in the CEO. So that's an overly aggressive goal. And the fact that somebody think it's worth investigating for four months this story about this company or like the hit job that they just did on row, which was like also total BS. Like you can always find someone who's unhappy in a company when you're not making that much money and when you're working a lot. And then to use these people who have gotten fired as sources for these hit pieces that are poorly done and nobody believes that is just abysmal. I think when the market turns and when we enter a bit of a bear market and tech in Web 3, like it will be really easy to throw stones at me. Like I am unabashedly optimistic about all of this and like things are going to turn out. I'm going to like, you know, the tide's going to go out and my pants are going to be down. I'm also totally fine with that because I do think that like the overall tone of tech journalism is like what's wrong with these companies? Like they're making too much money. And so if somebody has to be on the other side saying like, no, this is awesome. I'm happy to be that guy. It's exactly what you said. It's incentives and its audiences, right? You planted your flag from the very beginning that you are going to be an optimist and your audience is founders and people who are also optimists about this whole industry. There's a viable audience of people who are pessimists out there and who don't like it. And that's what the other media outlets can write for and too. But it's like nobody was doing what you're doing. The other piece of it too is like, you know, I want to be optimistic because that's like naturally what I am. And it goes back to doing the thing that you actually are. And there's a reason I worked at a startup. And even that sort of didn't do well. I'm still optimistic about this because I think like a lot of really great stuff has come out of this. I also want to be realistic. So like I'm not going to just be like, this is always the greatest thing in the whole entire world. My favorite kind of audience of the people who come in and they're like, I was frankly really skeptical about crypto or about web three or about tech in general until I read this piece and it explained it really well in ways it makes sense. So I still try to tie this stuff back to like business principles. I mean, we're both huge seven power fans. So I'll try to actually tie back to like, what is the competitive advantage of this protocol or of this company? And so I don't want it to just be like pie in the sky optimism. So if I can convert people who were like either pessimistic or skeptical over to at least being thoughtful about it, like that's all I'm going for is be thoughtful about it. And I think if you're thoughtful about this industry, you're going to come the way at least being like, wow, they've done a lot in the past two decades. Well, and you seem to operate under the same primary principle that we do in David and I text ourselves this phrase all the time or text each other this phrase, one of us is straying from it, but rule number one, it acquired is assume the audience is smart. And if you assume that the cool thing is long term, it means you'll get a whole bunch of smart people as long as you keep doing your thing and you stay true to that, that'll pay attention. It comes with these interesting trade-offs where you can never allow yourself to hide the ball or else you're compromising that long term goal. And so you always, to the extent that you are assuming your audience is smart, you have to write well-reasoned stuff or else you are just going to take an enormous amount of shit for what you put out in the world. It's not like you can say, hey, here are my incentives. This thing is sponsored and then write a total fluff thing with zero serious analysis in there because everyone's just going to look at it and go, well, yeah, you told me that your independence was compromised and that it wasn't useful, then it wasn't something that I enjoyed thinking about. You can't waste people's time, certainly. One of the tests that I always run for myself and I probably actually would have failed this test is if Theranos had come to me on a sponsored post, you know, however many years ago, chances are, frankly, I would have written something positive on Theranos because I assume the best and I'm not technical and so I'm not digging into that machine and being like, actually, do you know the science doesn't make any sense? I assume it's impossible. With that small of a blood sample, how could you possibly? And that's where investigative journalism has a very valid role. 100%. There are goods to both and there are bad things in my approach and I don't know which company, probably none of them, but maybe there's a company that I've written about that ends up being a total house of cards, you know, in five years and I look like an idiot for writing that piece. I probably would have written it about Theranos and that's, you know, that's an okay trade as long as I'm like, nobody's expecting me to analyze the science behind Theranos if I could analyze like the business side of the business at least and do the work and maybe somebody learned something that is, you know, not just about Theranos, but about some other concept that I'm using to analyze the company than that's okay. So I guess that's the risk. Well, they get back to this, you know, frankly, I don't know if it was intentional or not, but this brilliant, you know, sort of jujitsu you did with sponsored content that was a ghetto and sucked because nobody actually gave a damn, put any effort into make it great. You've done that, but you do have to put the effort into make it great. 100%. Yeah, the worst thing that could possibly happen is if I did one of those and wasted people's time because people would unsubscribe, people wouldn't read the next sponsored post. So the whole thing falls apart if I lose my integrity throughout this process. The lucky thing is that I've been pretty like open optimists the whole time so no one's like, that's so weird. You rip a part tack on Monday and then on Thursday when people pay you, you're like really generous to this whole industry. So it's all consistent at least. So I told you at the beginning, this wasn't going to be all softballs. I don't want to pretend that every Thursday piece is exactly as interesting as every Monday piece because and again, I think this is okay, but there are a lot of Thursday pieces that the headline doesn't sound interesting to me and I end up either not reading it or just like skimming it to make sure I like didn't miss some huge piece of information where I'm like, it would be good for me to know this. However, when the Monday pieces come out, I'm like, this could be the next great online game. This could be the next cooperation economy. And it's rare that I think that a Thursday piece is going to be that. Actually, except for like Salana summer, that kind of was that. But I do think that that's probably in line with your sponsor's expectations is that it's going to appeal to a group of people that they particularly want to appeal to who wants to know about their company and happens to be a subset of your audience. But it's probably not going to be like, hey, let's all close our eyes and pray and do kumbaya that this is exactly the same thing as the non-sponsored content. That's totally fair. I try to make it as good as I possibly can. I'm often writing though about either a specific company, which is just like a smaller design space than something like a great online game would be. And I'm also writing, I guess about a company that has less of a history and like less complexity to it, maybe than some of the larger public companies that are at about. So my goal is to write the best thing that's been written on that company every time I do a sponsor deep dive. And chances are in a lot of cases, it's a two year old company. Like the best thing that's ever been written on that company isn't going to be as interesting as breaking down 10 cent over 20,000 words because 10 cent is a sprawling business that has this like crazy innovative business model. And so while I wanted to be as close to the Monday as humanly possible, like my real bar for myself is can this be the best thing that's ever been written on this particular company? Plus is this a company that I would invest in and all of that? And so if the open rate is 37% instead of 45% on Thursdays, I'm totally fine with that. And you know, everybody's come away very happy from the sponsor deep dives on the company side. Yeah. To my mind, the right question to ask isn't necessarily is every Thursday piece going to be as good as every Monday piece? It's if I'm the company, if I'm your customer, is this blatantly obviously the very best thing that I can do to get something written and a great deep analysis done about my company? And that is so obviously yes. What are their alternatives? You know, I'm sure there'll be more people like you who pop up and that's great. It's not a zero sum game. But if I'm a two year old company and I'm the founders of that company and I want to I think I've got something great, but I need to cross the chasm to have people know about it. It's not like you're going to write a Monday piece about it otherwise. That's necessarily the other fun thing too is like companies can almost choose how interesting they want it to be. I think the best example of the sponsor deep dive that I've done was and this was, you know, this was kind of early on, but it was ramp and like they're kind of double unicorn round when they raised at a 1.1 billion dollar valuation and 1.6 billion dollar valuation in the same transaction. And the reason that that one worked so well was because Eric, the CEO there was like, dude, completely open kimono, ask us anything. I will give you the timeline of how this round game came together. I will give you exactly how we think about cap table construction. You tell me what you need to make the most interesting piece possible and I will give that to you. And a lot of companies make the trade on the other side, which is also totally fair that they want to keep some information private that they think there's an advantage to keeping private. And so that's the trade that I think you make there. But there's a reason like I think people refer to that piece often when, you know, they're reaching out to me about the sponsor posts. And then a lot of companies aren't willing to make that trade off when I'm like, cool, the reason that one works so well is because they told me everything. They're like, cool, do that, but like, you know, maybe 90% of the information. Before we move on, I want to cover one final topic of journalistic integrity because David, I think like your take may come across when we go back and listen to this as a little bit too, and this is when the downfall of democracy started. We can point to this moment where David Rosenthal said that journalistic integrity is not important. I don't mean it that way. Hey, I don't think that's like really the right takeaway, but it could be heard that way. I think there's like two pieces when you really unpack it of like, why is journalistic integrity important? The first one is that the reader is fully disclosed on the incentives and knows what they're getting. And we've covered that topic like packy, wavy arms around all over the place and everyone knows what they signed up for. So that's almost like the micro economic or like the micro to your business. But then there's a macro one, too, where it could be a bad thing for the state of the republic. If every journalist looks over at what you're doing packy and says, I could do that. And you have the very best writers from the New York Times or Forbes or the Wall Street Journal that are just like, I could go make five to 10 times as much and have a much more independent lifestyle with control over my life. Okay, by opening this up, this independent journalism, the quote unquote journalism, I think it's important to not call journalism independent content creation that is entertaining to read and fully disclosed incentivized to be chisel away at the third estate. So one of the things that I think has been really interesting is that people have jumped over the fence from working for a publication to going independent and then now have started to jump back. And like, I couldn't do what they do. And this is not like, you know, a lack of respect for those people like my brain wouldn't work if someone hired me to be like, you have to go be an investigative journalist, it wouldn't work. Right. And so that's one part I do have respect for that, particularly where it's applied the right way. My problem is when it's applied to like a one year old startup that maybe like overworks their quote unquote overworks their employees a little bit as startups occasionally do and as a lot of companies occasionally do. Like when you apply the same rigor to that as like watergate, like that's when I kind of have a bit of an issue with it. So going back to the piece on kind of people jumping over and back, there's a lot that goes into that. And I think it's really hard to do that kind of journalism independently because you need lawyers who have your back and you need editors to make sure that you get everything right. And you need like all this stuff to protect you when you're doing this really brave work that I think is tougher to do on the independent side. So I 100% think that there's a place for that kind of journalism. It's just like don't apply that to like a startup that makes hot dogs and like came in over budget one quarter and like that shows how stupid startups are like that kind of article is what what really gets me. Well, I think it also works the other way too, which is that it's hard to do what you're doing. The goal of this episode has been to tell your story. And I think what are the takeaways that I'm not surprised by is like your whole life and career led to this. So if you were an investigative journalist at XYZ publication doing very much not this. And then you're like, oh, I'm just going to jump over and do what Packie does. You wouldn't be equipped in the same way that you are. You know, you worked for six years at a startup from employee six through hundreds of people and through failure, which helps through failure. Yeah, exactly. I think that's right. There's definitely an empathy there too. And like I go into this knowing full well that it's wild that I was an employee not a founder at a startup that sold for $3 million after raising $120 million. So like unless the content stands for itself, like nobody should be listening to me because there are many more successful people to listen to out there. So all of that has led in and I think gives me a great empathy for what founders are doing, but the content has to stand for itself. Okay. So taking us back to the story, you mentioned February is when Ben Thompson mentioned you as some guy who writes a newsletter whose name I can't remember, something like that. And of course, the funny thing about compounding you went from zero Ben Thompson mentions your whole life to like now it feels like every few newsletters I read it from him. I'm like, oh, there's Packie again. But that first no name name mentioned I think was in February when you had 22,000 Twitter followers. You also sent out a tweet in February that you wanted not boring to make one million dollars this year, which as David has in the notes sounds f'n crazy. And I'm curious what happened in your brain as you formulated that tweet? Was it that the sponsored posts had been going well? Were you already contemplating not boring capital? What was that moment like? Yeah. So I'd been taking a little bit about not boring capital. And so that was there, but really was talking about just purely making a million dollars off of the newsletter. A couple of things had happened around that time. Like me and Ben from composer wrote this piece on Excel that got picked up I think by two separate New York Times articles and got to the top of Packer news and all of that kind of stuff. So I was like, whoa, that was my first taste of like this thing really going kind of mainstream. I had written a sponsored post. I think probably, you know, either that week or was in the middle of writing the post and the company was really happy with it. And I was in Miami and the weather was nice. And I could have been in New York in the middle of February. And I probably wouldn't have tweeted the same thing. But I woke up and the sun was shining. And I was like, you know what? Life is pretty good. Like I'm probably making at this point call it 10 or 15 thousand dollars a month or something like that. So like not close maybe 20. I don't know. But I just woke up feeling like really good. And I was like, you know, I'm just going to say this and like people probably think I'm an asshole, but I've struggled on zero dollars for the past X number of months. And I'm just going to say it. And then as I think happens often with this tweets, like the support was actually huge from them. Like nobody reads that as a cocky signal. Because first I didn't say like guess what I just did. It was more like I would be wild if this happens. But also people like want to see other people take risks and succeed at them, I think. So like if Paki's making it maybe I'm kind of making it in a way. And the other thing is I guess there is like a tiny buffer between just like me saying like I'm going to make a million dollar salary this year and saying like not boring will make a million dollars because it's still a business. And for a business a million dollars a year is like fine. You could probably raise a seed and maybe a series A in this market on that. And certainly not in a media company. So you know, it's not like anything crazy from a business perspective. But you know, that was that was where that came from. All right. So give us the update. We're now in it'll be December by the time this comes out. How we trended? I think wag me. We're talking about pilot. And I certainly probably need the help of Vicky for as I just pulled my Mercury account that you know, I do all of my banking in and I think that probably has about 750,000 in revenue. There's a bunch of invoices outstanding. Some people send checks. Some goes to my personal bank. Like this is not a well run business by any stretch of the imagination. And I have a few pieces kind of coming up. And so I think chances are we're going to just kind of cross a million dollars in 2021. Wow. So great. What would you have put the percentage chance at when you sent that tweet? I would have put the percentage chance that we got to a million dollar run rate pretty high. I thought probably given that I kind of knew what my sponsorship calendar was for the next couple months at that point. And it wasn't the right run rate to get me there. I probably would have put it at like 20% than I actually had a million this year. It is the power of compounding kind of happening where like the numbers just keep getting bigger to the point where it's like, you know, what would have taken me 10 sponsor deep dives. I can now do in one sponsor deep dive. And so that just kind of all grows and compounds, I guess, but still absolutely crazy. I mean, speaking of compounding. So you had gone from a few hundred followers to 20,000 followers or 22,000 followers by that February when you sent that tweet, you'd already doubled that then by June to 42,000. It's crazy that you're now over 100,000. You definitely have this thing where you're growing somewhere from 20 to 40% per month, they're going to bumps up and down. But at this point, it's probably for you more of a market saturation question of like, when does that top of the S curve start to hit or when does this thing linear out a little bit? There's a little bit of a bummer in those Twitter numbers, which is a point of pride for a while was that I had more subscribers than I had Twitter followers. And now I have more Twitter followers than I have subscribers. And like, you know, 105 or something on Twitter and 88 in the newsletter. And so like, let's change that. That probably means that I should spend a little less time tweeting everybody. We need to help tack you out here. Go subscribe if you haven't already. In some ways, it would shock me actually. If I know numbers, why is there people who listen to acquired who aren't subscribed to not boring? But in my head, I'm like, who are those people? Like, we're a little bit less. And this is something I wanted to talk to you about like ethereal, theoretical, abstract. And frankly, like a little bit less future looking like one question I have for you is at what point did you skeptically walk up to the web three cliff and then just jump off it without a parachute? Because you did way more of that than we've done here at acquired. So I can imagine maybe that's a different syn audience. But let me bring it back to if you're not subscribed to not boring. Oh my god, go subscribe. Thank you. Not Yeah. So the web three point, I think the web three was a turning point. And so, you know, I wrote about for a lot of 2020, a lot of companies that are super fascinating and that I've always wanted to just like dig really deep into. And frankly, that you all have done way better work on than I haven't was able to kind of build on the back of of what you've done there. Thank you. Not true. Different approaches continue. You were first. And so like I can tell you for a fact that without again, we'll go to the 10 cent episode, but without the 10 cent episode on on acquired, there wouldn't probably be that not boring to partner on 10 cent. And so either way, like that is just foundational stuff. And I realize I think probably something that I realized when I was in finance in the first place is that there are people who are just so much better at digging into public companies than I am and analyzing public companies than I am. And so it wasn't really kind of that clean a choice to say like, you know what? Instead of public companies, I'm going to do this web three thing. But when I started writing about web three, I remember there was one essay that I wrote the value chain of the open metaverse back in January where I was really apologetic almost even in the intro to that piece that I was writing about crypto and the metaverse and I was like, everybody, this is really weird. My audience had become like fairly fit, and finance heavy and I thought that's this year. That's packing a comic writing in 2021 apologetically that I'm sorry I'm talking about crypto. Right. I mean, it shows how much the world has changed since then. This was before people's $69 million sale and a bunch of stuff that I talked about kind of some of the early early people's before you tried to buy the US Constitution before I tried to buy the US Constitution with a bunch of friends. But you know, that piece ended up being I think really well received because it was a again, optimistic take, I guess on crypto. It was like a non dismissive take at least on what was going on. But it was really back to like the basics of like, all right, take a value chain. What happens when you take the middleman out? Like I didn't like the language that was used around crypto at the time. And I think it had scared me away. We're like, we're going to take down the institutions and we're going to remove the middleman and we're going to bubble. And I was like, no, all right. So just taking a step back, if you take out somebody from the transaction and you let the consumer and the creator interact directly, more value accrues to the consumer and the creator. And everybody out there reading is more likely to be a consumer or a creator than you are likely to be Facebook or Twitter. So like, this is actually probably a pretty good thing for most of us that, you know, there's just more value that can accrue to both sides of this equation. And so that was kind of, I think my jumping off point into it when people were like, oh, this is actually really interesting. And I didn't understand this stuff at all before. And now I really don't understand it still, but I understand it a little bit better. And I understand that maybe it's worth looking into. And I even set myself a rule that I would just do kind of like maybe one web three. I'd probably called it crypto back in the day before it was even called web three one crypto piece a month. And then something else interesting happened. And so then it was two. And then other ideas that I was thinking about like, you know, I wrote this piece called Power to the Person, which wasn't essentially about crypto. But it certainly was partially about the things that crypto lets a solo creator or solo printer do. And then there are a few more articles like that where I wanted to write about something else. And crypto just kind of kept creeping back into it. And then you know, wrote a piece that we discussed on a previous acquired episode about Ethereum and then dove into Solana. And I think hopefully what I can do. And I actually need to keep myself honest because I'm getting so excited that I might like actually lose some of this. But really want to give the like somewhere between this is a scam. And this is like going to save the world and take down the institutions. I want to be able to give that take in the middle that is like, here's where it's good. So I think the thing about this a lot of piece maybe that worked is that it's like, here's what this thing is like it's a blockchain and that's crazy. It's a platform. And it needs to attract developers to build on top of the platform. And those developers need to attract users. And if that happens, then Solana will probably be in a pretty good shape. And like, here's maybe one way you think about valuing the blockchain and go from there. But it's really that's kind of the approach that I'm trying to take to all of this is like, this is amazing. And let's tie it back to some sort of like business concept that you're familiar with. I like that. That is a thing that doesn't exist. There's a clear divide between the let's look at regular companies world and invest in regular companies world and the people who have for lack of a better phrase gone down the rabbit hole. And that divide is really around business fundamentals and structure fundamentals because a lot of people are like, Oh, well, with Dow is we throw everything out. So no one even like has a manager. And like, of course, there's no borer and of course, there's no shares. And of course, there's no contracts and of course, there's no employment agreements. But like, yeah, this way, everyone gets to do what they want. And I like to your point when you're writing about the cooperation economy where you sort of like, well, at the end of the day, humans are still humans and do need to organize in ways that if our goal is to ship a product, we do have to figure out some structure to ship a product. Yeah. I mean, nothing is a panacea. I think this is a really amazing new toolkit to have and opens up again. I'm just probably I've spent too much time in tech and VC. And so I say design space now too often. But it opens up this like new design space where you just have a new set of tools that you can build with. And so Dow is I think a really great in certain situations. I think eight out of 10 Dow's might totally fail because they have like kind of that leadership issue or like who's the final decision maker issue. But I think those other two are going to do things that like you might not have ever thought to do with a traditional corporation and they'll spin up faster and they'll be more responsive. And so I think like nothing is all good and bad. But I think they're going to be some emergent properties to Dow's that are really interesting and probably previously would not have been possible. And so that's a really good thing. And so I don't want people to just dismiss Dow's outright because sometimes they can be a little bit chaotic or whatever else. I mean, like I got involved in the constitution down, which was trying to buy the constitution this week. And it shows both the amazing things, which is you can rally a group of people around this shared mission and raise almost 50 million dollars to go fight to win the constitution and bring it back to the people. And then it's also like very hard to make huge decisions in a seven day time frame and to organize a 20,000 person discord, all of whom has been told that they're a part of a Dow and has a voice and so like what's the right balance there? Then you go into the idea of like progressive decentralization, which I think makes a lot of sense, which is start out kind of like a company. And then over time, particularly if you're building a protocol or something that is not as like consumer facing maybe, then over time, you can kind of progressively give up control and see more control to the users and the owners. So I guess again, there the whole the whole approach is like, here's where it's good. Here's where there's issues. And like, here's something that might kind of work and let's go try it. The worst thing you could do is just dismiss something. Do you get blowback from people who were really into what you used to write about and are now like, you got to like spin something off or like, I just can't, I'm not buying it. Before I had, and I still have it on, but I just don't read them. I had my unsubscribes turned on and would literally go through every time someone unsubscribed and be like, oh, someone unsubscribed. Now I don't care as much. I think this is kind of to your point earlier about kind of like getting the audience that you deserve. Maybe there's a little from not comparing myself to Jeff Bezos here, but like a little bit of the Amazon shareholder thing right where like he had to work as a soft to get the shareholders that would actually appreciate what Amazon was doing, but then when he did that puts you in a really great spot as a company when you have shareholders who are bought into the fact that you're the actual quote, it does make sense. The actual quote is not you get the shareholders you just you get the shareholders you ask for in the long run. You get the audience you ask for exactly. And I hope like I what I don't want to do is alienate everybody who has like some sense of that fundamentals have that like those are people that I really want to read not boring and I want to keep me accountable. But if people are just like, hey, you're writing about Web 3 and I think it's stupid and they leave them that's totally fine. It's really like the people who are like, hey, you're actually like losing all sense of fundamentals here. Like then I'm out like that's what I'll know that I have an issue. There was one. There's somebody who DM me after I wrote the piece on Salana actually that was like, man, I missed the old packy when you would give us alpha and you'd be early on things like snap or whatever. And then of course Salana like three and a half acts in the next two months. I just gave you a truckload of alpha. But like that stuff still hurts. I don't want to not do the thing that I'm promising to people. But I also have been, you know, I've never had a very specific focus and I've always been honest that I'm going to follow whatever I think is the most interesting. It makes my schedule miserable because I pick each week what I want to write about based on what I think the most interesting thing happening is. But you know, I do want to follow whatever I think is the most interesting thing going on. And look, that has attracted an audience that includes CEOs of FANG companies. I mean, that are active subscribers to your newsletter. So unless they've unsubscribed, seems like it's working. Did Jeff Bezos send you that email? Yeah, Jeff and I, so the thing about Jeff. You're not giving him the alpha anymore. Jeff Bezos and I have never spoken. He doesn't subscribe. Someone I think signed up with such a Nadella's email address, but it certainly wasn't him. And that email address is never opened in email. So I think that was a prank. But like, you know, I do know that CEOs of FANG companies and all of that. It's actually a proof of it. That would be messed up. I was so excited. All right. So speaking of Web 3, you wrote in your power to the person piece, another sort of crazy sounding prognostication that you predicted that within a decade or two, there would be multiple trillion dollar market cap organizations that were run, quote unquote, by just one person that you called solo corporations. And your point was, hey, it already exists. It's called Bitcoin. Nobody works for Bitcoin. And it's a trillion dollar market cap. Back to not boring itself. It's so awesome. It's like incredible. And like Ben and I are 100% in the camp that are cheering for you that you made it to your goal of making a million dollars in revenue this year. A kind of old school way of thinking about that would be like, tacky is the head of the distribution in the creator economy. And one of the few people that have really broken out, you're going to be like an MBA player, you know, level in the professional player in the creator economy. Another way to think about where this could go though is, no, you're building a solo corporation. And it's not just that you're going to make a few million dollars a year writing a newsletter. Not boring can be something a lot more. How do you think about that? This is like a one of the hypocritical things about not boring. Maybe is that, you know, I analyze everybody else's strategy and plans and all these things. And there really isn't one for not boring. Like what I love not boring to be a big and lasting thing that builds actual products and does, you know, things that kind of outlive me 100%. I would love that. I'm right now worried about what I'm going to write about on Monday. And so that's like, both a blessing and a curse, I think so far. I think maybe the good thing about not boring has been that, you know, I'm fully focused on the content and making sure that's as good as possible. The downside is that I'm not planning ahead by like any stretch. I'm like one of the worst planners you've ever met. Clearly, if you've been listening to this story. So there isn't right now a long-term plan for something like that. I think the really fun thing about kind of like, the exponential growth of this is that new opportunities kind of pop up. I do think I need to put, you know, a bit of a structure in place, whether that's formal or informal around not boring, so that I can have some time to focus on other opportunities, you know, either as they arrive or just got forbid proactively. But for right now, I mean, I think one of the things that I can, and this maybe why media businesses are hard and have a hard time transitioning into something a lot bigger is that if I say, you know what, I really want to like go start building apps. And I'm going to build like, I'm going to launch Pakicoin and I'm going to build a bunch of apps and make, like, try to make like a billion dollars. And I don't focus on the content. The whole thing probably falls apart. And if I bring in people to like help on the research and to go straight for me and all of that, then it loses the thing that's one that I like doing and two is at the Corvette and on which everything else relies. I think there's a really interesting kind of web three angle here where like, how do I figure out how to build, you know, whether it's a DAO or some like kind of loose structure around this where other people can go off and like kind of tap into the not boring audience network and all of those things to build things on top that are aligned with with what we're doing. Obviously, not boring capital, you know, you can kind of scale the outcomes with, I guess, both the combination of AUM and actual kind of ability to invest in the right companies. But there's not a lot of plans beyond that. Like, if this becomes a thing that is a couple million dollars a year, like, you'll never hear a complaint for me about that. But it's like, certainly, I think when I'm 80, what would I want to look back and say like that, I build something that the second I stop writing doesn't fall apart, like 100%. Yes. I think it's worth spending a little bit of time on not boring capital, which is obviously not Web 3 other than you are able to invest in Web 3 projects via it. But it is this really interesting thing. Like, and maybe it's unique to sort of our collective corner of the creator economy. But it is a real business and it is a real step towards going from just being a, you know, I'm thinking about like the Oprah episode that we did a year and a half ago, whatever it was, where was it her first agent from remembering right who said like, look, you can be the talent in front of the camera and you like, you can make a few million dollars a year, you'll have a great life, right? Or you can own the production, you know? And then you can become Oprah. It does feel like there's kind of this opportunity for creators now to go from just being like an indie version of the talent in front of the camera to a lot more. Yeah. I mean, I think certainly not boring capital is a step in that direction. I think the three of us are very lucky that the type of content that we make is also really well aligned with doing venture capital. Obviously, there's a lot of creators who are starting to invest in startups. I'm less dismissive of that. You know, you can probably tell at this point, then most people are because I think, you know, they probably have really deep insights into certain spaces that other people who haven't been creators and haven't built that kind of business wouldn't understand. But I think for us in particular, we're really lucky. You know, Harry Sevings falls into this camp and a bunch of other people do as well, Lenny and Turner all fall into this camp where we're living and breathing this stuff every day. And this probably goes back to our conversation on journalistic integrity where like, I actually don't want to do this without having skin in the game. And I don't want to do this without kind of like digging in and getting involved in the companies that I'm writing about and they're trying to help shape their trajectories. And like, I love picking up the phone and talking to a founder about like, not just like, here's this idea that I came up with and wrote about kind of abstractly. But like, here's this problem that we're having right now. How should we think about solving this problem? And so I think like, that is really like a huge benefit of being able to have both an up-waring capital and not boring the newsletter. And there's all sorts of ways that they work together. And from a business perspective, it's phenomenal because it does scale a lot better to run a venture fund than to show up every week and get a sponsor and then write an essay. But like, again, like, this wasn't even planned. That's not where it came. It really came from like one time where I wrote an essay to help a friend who was trying to explain how his company worked and then he raised a syndicate with somebody else. And then that turned into my own syndicate, which turned into a fund because it was too much of a pain in the ass to write. Memo was every time that I wanted to do a deal and founders didn't want to wait three weeks to see how much money I might be able to give them. Wait, you're telling me as an LP and your fund one and fund two, you don't write investment memos for every single one of your packy. I write them up here. Yeah. So I did. Fundament I did not do any one investments and not all of them have investment memos. But in all seriousness, I do think that all of the time that I've spent writing about all of these different kind of industries and companies and all of that like really helped me show up kind of prepared and thinking about what to look for in these different businesses. I know a lot of your investments you've written about a lot of my investments I've written about a lot of investments frankly come in because you know, I start writing about web three and I write something like the cooperation economy that unlocks like how somebody thinks about something and then they want to start I've had that conversation with founders a few times with like this is actually like we make all of our employees read this because this is what we're trying to do and so like that kind of helps you know on the sourcing and winning deal side. But this wasn't planned either. And so I think the next iteration of not boring whatever like we kind of add on top here. It probably won't be planned and it would probably be because it makes sense with what I'm doing. But I could not do this and I didn't plan this way. I couldn't do this if I didn't have some sort of skin in the game with what's going on here and some sort of like I like being honest when I get some for wrong like my worst call of all time being short only really the only time I've ever gone kind of pessimistic. I like being called out when I'm wrong on stuff and I think to be able to run a venture fund that says like cool here are the ideas. But then also like I'm putting money behind it and you'll see the results in how well fund one fund two fund three did and whether I'm just like fully talking out of my ass or only partially talking out of my ass and got lucky a little bit in the results of how these funds do. Well it does seem like you're publishing pretty much like I think on Saturday you send out the email to LPs and then come Monday you send out a public version and it's pretty much the same. Obviously there's some things that the companies don't want you sharing. But other than that it's a remarkably transparent way of going about venture investing. And it's also super different than classic venture capital like did you lead a single round? Did you write any term sheets? Were you the biggest check in any one of those 91 investments? Never and that's all part of the strategy. I mean we all love talking about strategy and strategy isn't doing everything well. It's picking what things you want to do well and taking advantage of those things. And so even like figuring out how to price the round and figuring out what should go into the term sheet and spending time negotiating that and then being on a board god forbid like it actually just doesn't work with my strategy because like it is a house of cards already where you move one thing and like the whole thing breaks. And so if I'm doing kind of the more deeply time consuming parts of venture it at least as I'm currently constructed doesn't work. But it really works very well when you know I can talk to a founder and we have the specific area either kind of internally or externally where I can be helpful not to you know make one of that that venture pun but put on your khakis and ask the question. Yeah. Yeah, but there's a bunch of things that you know you make trade-offs throughout and I wrote in both the public and private memo that I'm doing probably less diligence on a specific company than most people who are investing in a company will and that's like an embarrassing thing to say publicly when LPs are reading that or when like the world is reading up but it's a fact of the business that like there's just no way in the world that by myself here while I have another job and investing in any one companies I'm going as deep looking for the flaws in a company and like calling references to look at what this person did wrong managerially like I trust that if a good fund is leading the round or somebody that I trust is leading the round that they've done that stuff and my job is you know as it is with not boring to look for like what can go really really right here and so this will either blow up totally in my face or we're in this crazy bull market and I should have been a lot more conservative and like gone for like VC value investing or it'll work but the whole thing is transparent which is a thing that's never worked by the way even ho and altos would probably agree with that I would argue I mean I'm sort of doing very similar things with kindergarten ventures with net is what you're doing with not boring capital so I'm arguing my own book here to a certain extent but I would argue you're selling yourself short with not boring capital and I love how you know everything you've done is like emergent and it's not like you cooked it all up on a whiteboard but it's kind of like the sponsored posts right people used to think about venture capital in a box in only one way you did a lot of diligence you wrote the term she you came to evaluation you negotiated you joined the board you did all these things and obviously that wouldn't work for what you're doing you know you've got a big business writing a newsletter but there's aspects of what you're doing that work way better than that one specific way of thinking right and you know you've already scaled capital under management doing this you could probably keep scaling even a lot further with this strategy but what you're bringing to the table and how you're doing it is just this kind of new way of thinking right yeah and there's a group of people who I think are doing this and I mean you're certainly involved in this and it's maybe a liquid super team to quote myself which is always fun the but that's coming together and like sharing deals with each other and like trading thoughts and advice and here's where I think you're maybe wrong on that investment the kind of things that maybe before you would have gotten out of a partnership at a firm and certainly that right now you get out of a partnership but a firm and it's not as formal and I will still make more mistakes than probably a firm will make at least on the like saying yes to things that maybe I shouldn't say yes to venture capital's never about the mistakes the only thing that matters in venture capital are the ones you get right and that's kind of the point right there may even be one founder committing fraud that you've invested in and it kind of doesn't matter to the best of my knowledge none of my founders are committing fraud in there all amazing but I mean I you hope that doesn't happen right like I don't want to like leave room for people to commit fraud for me to just kind of look the other way and make a quick decision and be like I don't really care but I'm putting trust in the overall kind of ecosystem and system that other people are doing their jobs but which again could totally blow up in my face or not but that's just a trade-off well the way you're constructing your portfolio with 91 companies is you know of course like absolutely we don't want any fraud to happen like that's not the goal but you've kind of shifted the mindset from like playing defense of like we're going to make sure fraud doesn't happen but in venture capital the zeros are meaningless you know the most you can lose is your money the most you can make is a thousand times your money and so you want to maximize the winners and the thing is because of what you're doing with not boring you're getting access to these great investment opportunities that otherwise if you are a traditional venture investor you would have to do all of that effort and work to build we're going to take board seats we're going to give you great advice we're going to do all this stuff for you it's a byproduct I think that part is totally determined that portfolio construction thing is super interesting too because I spent way longer than you should spend inside of even a successful startup at a startup that ended up failing so I saw you know the other side of that where their investors who are right off and at some point you just kind of stop caring about that particular company and you move on to the next one I really don't want to take that attitude towards it if there are companies that are not doing well I want to answer their call as quickly as the companies who are doing really really well because like I know how it feels to be on the other side of that but at the same time like this is why I'm totally cool with founders being investors as well and all that like you should diversify and not put all of your eggs in one basket obviously if you're a founder and you have a thousand employees or a hundred employees or even 20 employees you have people who rely on you should be giving a vast majority of your time to make sure that those people who are definitely putting all of their eggs in one basket get the best possible outcome and as much care as they need from a leader but I do think there's obviously value to constructing a portfolio and having been on the other side of that I appreciate that I think even more all right so we're talking about portfolio construction you invested 91 companies you're on your second fund first fund was nine point nine nine million dollars nine point nine nine your second funds 25 million you couldn't get it to 10 oh you're not allowed to get it to 10 oh I see I was gonna see you could have called me up I'd give you an extra hundred bucks like and fun to where it to exist would potentially be in the 25 to 30 million dollar range in that range okay well listeners if you are interested in data like this on funds and how many investments they have and what fun size it is like if you're thinking about geez I want to pitch that fund but I don't know when was it raised oh it was raised a long time ago and while they've made a lot of investments is it actually worth my time to meet with them do they have the dry powder to invest does packy have a new fund that he can even invest out of I have a great product for you and that product is pitch book you like what I did there guys that was so good that was great that was inspired well I think as folks know pitch book is the like no brainer leading financial data provider for VC private equity mna I should have these numbers memorized by now but 3.1 million companies are in the database and over 1.5 million deals only half of those are ones that packy did so you know plenty of other deals and pitch books database to 96% of pitch books clients rate their coverage of private companies better than any other data provider I use it all the time we use it here for acquired I was looking packy up in there before the show just a great product great company so you should totally go check out pitch book dot com slash acquired if you are interested in signing up and that way they'll know that we sent you so our thanks to our friends at pitch book for sponsoring the show and packy go do more deals so they can grow the data set we've texted about this before to how jealous I am the pitch book is a sponsor and that you are pitch book clients and get access to the database because I had the trial one weekend and I'm still a solo printer and so I can't justify paying for any tools really I think the sub stack is spoiled me but the weekend or the week that I had access to the pitch book data I wrote a post called dreams all the way up where I compared kind of public company valuations to private company valuations and I was really a kid in the candy store this is you know I'm not going to pay it all for this but I will second that pitch book recommendation 100% because that was as much fun as I've ever had writing something when I was able to just kind of think of a question and then the answer was right there is amazing and if you're listening at pitch book I would love a free trial again please yeah we'll make sure to get you hooked up okay so I think before we move on from not boring capitalist or this next phase maybe it's the final additional phase of not boring maybe there's more phases to come in the future we talked about sub stack Twitter etc the platforms enabling not boring the media company angel list enables not boring capital enables kindergarten capital like I've spent 11 12 years in venture now nine or 10 of those as a traditional professional venture capitalist this would not have been possible you are one person you did 91 deals in fund one who knows how many you'll do in future funds now having the equivalent of sub stack for a venture firm it's game-changing this was not possible before it's more than I'd say the equivalent sub stack for venture firm because sub stack I still have to write everything and edit everything and make all of my own graphics and all of that I work with Jen on the angelist team I will give Jenna shout out anywhere that I possibly can because it is like having more than just a teammate like a whole team of people working with me like I will come up with a crazy idea and be like hey we need this crazy idea done kind of like tomorrow is that okay I'm so sorry and she's like yeah 100% I went and talked to our legal team and we can make it work if we do x y and z thing and so having both the platform itself which is great and makes it really easy to raise money from LPs and for LPs to get visibility into kind of how the portfolio is performing all that data is a little bit delayed LPs those actually perform better than it looks on there but really like having a teammate over there who is like fully responsible for making sure that things go smoothly let's all of this happen if there was no Janet angelist not pouring capital would not 100% would not be a thing it's a total reorganization of the value chain by dismantling the vertical integration of venture firms and it's so interesting that going into this episode I thought oh I see and this is a crude oversimplification but for not pouring capital pack he doesn't need to have associates that are pounding the pavement out in the community meeting with entrepreneurs because he has a digital way to do that called not pouring the newsletter and that way he gets deal flow from that but it's so much more fundamental than that like you look at a venture firm that has 50 employees that has several funds and has been around for a while it's not just that there's a massive back office that you now don't need to have to I mean traditionally venture firms you have an it person like I mentioned you don't have an it person so not only does your media company not have a vertically integrated staff associated with it but your venture capital firm also doesn't have a staff associated with it and so you actually can leverage all this new value chain that is completely reorganized for both the media and the venture capital business to stay a one person corporation I mean none of this is possible 10 years ago I'm not nearly technical enough to make any of this happen on my own I'm not organized enough to build the systems to even make it happen even if I couldn't build software having these software tools is the only reason that not bring is this I mean this is kind of the point of the power of the person piece was that there are just all of these things that you can snap off of the shelf and so instead of having to deal with all of the organizational headache of managing and organizing a firm it's very easy then to just snap one piece in at a time when you need it now it's great you know sub stack is not an as needed thing it's every week I'm sending on that angelist is like snapping a whole huge sophisticated back office into place it's not even like sub stack for a venture firm it's like AWS for a venture firm it's like AWS for a venture firm with a little bit of like also the person doing you know like let's say I'm not technical like also the person doing the integration and setting up AWS in the first place because that has been the big thing for me is not just that the fact that there's the software there that makes it really easy but even when I don't know what to do there's somebody that I can ask about like hey is this a thing like we ask about you know 9.9999 million dollars for fund one that was you know through a conversation with Jen where she's like by the way like I looked into it this fund actually has this many beneficial owners but if they're less than 10% of this then you can do x y and z thing and so it's even better than normal software until AI gets a lot better because like all the things that I'm too stupid to know that I don't know they can kind of anticipate and show you the ropes and so this is not angelist ad but it is maybe a gen ad genzo best Nicole is also great she's our person there there you go thank you Nicole it is amazing that it's not just software and like there are like when you think about the future and tech and like AI stealing everyone's shop maybe that happens at some point in the future but I think the really great thing is that it's just people kind of like pulling resources in the right place and then you can go access them at the time makes sense so angelist model would never work if I only paid them $25,000 a year to do what they're doing for a job boring like I've got a hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of advice and service and all of that from angelist but they also have thousands of other clients and so it works and the more there are places that get really really good at one specific thing the easier it is for one person to start a business that draws from all that your championing specialization of labor it's like hey pie growth happens when everybody gets really good at one thing and we have a super super liquid way of stitching all those together exactly okay so we're sitting here evaluating in all the most positive ways and sunshine and butterflies around this one person corporation thing what are the tradeoffs your strategy person where's it get hard so the tradeoffs right now are I don't have any outside investors I mean I have LPs for the fund but if I get hit by a bus not boring is just done and that's like the extreme example and the example that everybody uses when they talk about my first things but that means every week if I don't show up and write something the momentum slows a little bit and so it's like very very very hard I think from that perspective like you'll hear zero complaints out of me but it's really hard to take a week off because I'm worried every time that the momentum will slow and there's not you know somebody else in the team who's just gonna like go write something else and keep the momentum going that particular week so I think that is the obvious one and the one that you know I don't have a solution to because I've said on the other side that if I have other people writing maybe people don't want to come to not worry to read x y and z other person that's not the point I don't want to be an editor and make sure that we all have the same tone and so like I'm kind of limited I think to whatever I can do as kind of one at least kind of front person on this thing so that's one big downside the other I guess like there's the whole churning group thesis right that if you have a big audience that is loyal and dedicated to kind of this like one particular thing then you should be able to build businesses all around that person and like I said like I have zero time to think about building other businesses around up worrying so the sponsorship model is like phenomenal and you know it works really really well but sponsorship if I could be using that same kind of microphone to sell my own products that probably is actually better and higher upside and like more equity value in all of those things and I don't have either the capabilities or the time to build out those types of things I guess here's another downside with the one person model for the more I do of that stuff the more delutes the core thing and the more it makes it seem like kind of a shell factory like advertising is just kind of part of the model but if I were like hey you should also buy packy branded hats they do all right like maybe I'll buy a hat can we get some sneakers I definitely pimps him not pouring sneakers all right we'll do some not pouring sneakers that we can do but there are certain things where like I could plug in also to kind of these off the shelf companies that let you launch your own brands and all of that but like at some point be like did we like you because we like to read your stuff every once in a while like chill out with building these other businesses on the side and so I do think it's limited that whereas other companies are set up expressly for the purpose of like building their core product and then expanding on top of it and you know exactly what you can expect I think it's all about expectations and the expectation with not pouring is that it's mainly about the content and then other things that like plug in very cleanly to that content and the more I do things that like seem like a stretch the more people are like you know what never mind we're going to go read this other person who just does the content it's funny it flies in the face of the most common advice I give seed and series a founders which is until now until product market fit you were the only reason that the business could exist you uniquely figured out the product that people wanted and wielded into existence and needed to do everything and now the only thing holding the business back is you because you still are doing all that stuff and you need to stop and pull yourself out and hire and you know that sort of thing that is like exactly not true here you will always be in that first phase and David and I will too because we're not willing to organization build around sort of pulling ourselves out of the core product because you are the product 100% and for better or worse right like that has other benefits for you I'm sure as well and for me as well that you are the product you're probably more visible than CEOs of a lot of companies whose products you love and that gives you all sorts of other personal opportunities but for the business itself it means that it is harder to kind of scale it out in a predictable way maybe we could both figure out how to scale these things out I mean like you know I like business breakdowns a lot from the investor like the best group and so like Patrick's kind of figuring out how to scale out the business it looks like Harry with 20 BC and some of the data stuff that they're doing is figuring out how to scale out the business in different ways but it's really hard and it requires like at least for me it would require a big pause and a step back where I was like all right I can't do as much content for the next three months because I need to build out a team and I know how hard it is to hire I know how hard it is to manage I know how hard it is to manage on an ongoing basis and so it would be a real risky move to even hire people in and take that kind of step back that you need to build the structure to build an organization on top it's to kind of go that morning brew route where you're like actually there is a brand voice and a format here and if we can hire correctly for people that can do the not boring thing kind of like they did for the I mean that's what is a hundred person team now or something doing morning brew and I don't think Austin or Alex are actually writing the letter anymore but it still feels like a pretty similar letter to what I was reading five years ago or four years ago so that worked it's a totally different way to go about it though and you guys could probably do it better than I could write like I think the great thing about that business is they had both Alex and Austin so you know if one person could focus on the content then one person could focus on kind of building the organization and take turns and all that again a little bit different with acquired because you're both the personalities and you're both kind of on on the podcast but it is nice I think for them they've had this partnership where you know I'm sitting in a room alone here but you have robots on the wall robots on the wall I have my brother who edits the vast majority of my piece and help me things helps me think through the business side Pooja is a saint and like in addition to kind of like working a full-time job and managing our growing boy also well you know she's dead tired on Sunday read drafts like I'm not solely alone here but I also can't be like all right Dan and Pooja you write the next not boring while I think about building this organization you know Ben and I talk about this it is interesting like I've been thinking for a long time now and you know certainly this is the path we've taken at acquired of like what is the ceiling to the core thing like if the core thing is great and continues to be do you need all the other stuff do you need more shows do you need more content or on the internet can it just get big and then when you add the capital piece too then that is very scalable and directly related to the content as well so it's interesting I think it can scale with this one thing pretty well and like everything also kind of continues to feed off each other where if I have a bigger portfolio of companies but each time I mention a company in a newsletter it has a bigger impact because the audience has gotten bigger it all kind of scales with each other which I think is really nice and yeah I don't know I mean if this ends up being a thing where I do you know one sponsored post a month instead of two and get a little bit more time to like and take a weekend off every once in a while like that would be great but you know there's a path to this being a million person newsletter at some point in the next five years I would be very psyched about that from the graph I'm looking at if it keeps this shape it would be in the next two years so that's the question is how long can it continue on this 20% month over month growth what do you think the saturation point of your audiences I mean you know it doesn't feel as exponential the chart where like it still grows a thousand to two thousand people a week the newsletter but a thousand to two thousand people a week is a lot different when you're at 40,000 versus 80,000 so like maybe it does go a little bit more linear than exponential at some point maybe we are hitting the s part of the escrow I certainly hope that's not the case I think probably the reason that that would happen is if I get really lazy on it frankly and I'm like look I have a big audience things are great making money this is awesome I'm just going to kind of keep doing what I'm doing and don't want to mess it up on the content side specifically but I think if I kind of keep pushing on the content side and keep attracting new readers who are interested in want to learn while also kind of keeping a tether to the audience that's there already then I think it can kind of continue to grow and that's why I like on the content side other than just being kind of obsessed with the idea of constitution dial was like all right I can either write a normal not boring piece or I could like kind of go go on so on this and like actually join it and write about what's happening and like take part in this whole thing and so like I think where this ends up losing its steam is if people don't think that they can get a glimpse into the near future from reading up boring and glimpse into the near future that's explained in an approachable and not crazy sounding way like if I go too far into the future and I'm just making stuff up then that's bad but if I'm just like hey here's what happened last week here's your kind of like tech roundup then that's not good I think like what I will hopefully continue to do well is looking into like the very near future never being the earliest person on something but like kind of being the person who can say like all right this is actually probably worth taking a look at now and here's actually like why it's not as wild as it seems or why it is as wild as it seems but it just might work that's I think where I can hopefully kind of continue to grow is the future will continue to get crazier and crazier and crazier and so if I can just like kind of help keep translating what's going on and make people feel a little more comfortable with it then I think I'll be able to kind of continue to grow I feel like you live three to six months in the possible future and we live one month into the probably future I don't know if you think about that way at all but that's like whenever I'm reading your pieces I'm like oh I'm not there yet but I bet this will help me get there by reading it the fun thing for me has been that I'm writing this like very tech optimistic newsletter in the greatest bull run ever that somehow instead of getting you know like hitting its own escurve point like keeps getting wilder you know if that keeps happening that I have in really good shape but you know it can also slow down and like not boring is still I think you know even if there's a two year bear market we come out the other side and reload and continue to grow and things continue to get better and all of that but like those two years are going to be a really interesting time and not boring or I'm like all right everybody just like here's another piece talking about why we should hang on and not lose hope like that will get old pretty quickly and so that's probably actually the biggest risk to the business in the short term both of the venture side and the newsletter side is that people are like enough of this optimism like things are kind of tough right now okay so just to highlight before we finish history in facts here and move into powers the insane last month speaking of compounding like all this somehow happened in one month and I'm just again looking at your Twitter you went from 78,000 followers to 106,500 followers you made your first and then second appearance on CNBC you with Chris Dixon wrote a piece that was published in the economist and proved to the world that you can write in the economist voice not just in the unique packy voice that I love that brings me three to six months of the future today and it is a very different voice I mean you read that economist piece and you're like wow this is written by the economist not by packy and Chris and of course speaking of Chris Dixon you're working with injuries in harrow it's now the whole world including packy they've hired so I want to point out all the results of this crazy compounding that unbelievably happened to you in mid October to mid November of 2021 and a what does that feel like and b what are you doing with a 16z yeah so I think actually the biggest growth driver potentially was that mario and I wrote this piece on discord oh yeah and then discord CEO in the replies to my tweet about the piece announced that they were adding web three integrations and then announced that they were not adding web three integrations and so that brought out the deepest darkest worst parts of Twitter the replies to that were fast and furious and crazy but it also added you know I think a bunch of followers and that happened that yeah the same week that the economist piece came out and announced the advisory at andrieson off the back of that so just a bunch of things happen at the same time so that makes the Twitter graph look a little bit wild but I think that was an underappreciated one it's weird I have to pinch myself every week that this stuff is happening or else it's like oh yeah I don't know that was last week like what are we doing this week like picking the braid yeah take over the world but I don't think it's compounding the same way that interest would where like next week even cooler things will happen and then next week even cooler things will happen like there will certainly be ebbs and flows we're gonna go into the holidays season here where everything like I'm gonna get panicked because my graph looks a lot flatter than it would have otherwise actually taking some time off so maybe this whole thing falls apart and we regret having this conversation in the first place but you know hopefully the ebbs and flows just kind of average higher over time in terms of the a 16z advisory that's a really you know a really fun one I think where we're just kind of mission and values aligned and I think Chris said it that there's a lot of complex stuff happening and the overall kind of like arc is really good and really positive but if you can't translate what's happening and why this is going to be actually good for people and like actually what's happening beneath the surface here everybody's kind of just going to miss out and dismiss this whole thing and so I think really kind of the the advisory there is like you know working with some of the companies in their portfolio to think about how they tell their story writing pieces like I wrote with Chris in the economist they'll introduce me to companies you know that they've invested and are excited about it not like you know there's no guarantee that I have to write about them or anything like that but maybe I invest in them maybe I you know write about them but I think you know the main thrust of the partnership is that we're both out there just trying to like explain what is going on and why this can be you know a potentially good thing and where it can go wrong and why it's not as scary as it seems and so I think it's really all about kind of that we're both this is going to set wake on here that I wanted to but both kind of just like working in service of this thing that's happening and one of the things that I think really impressed me like I sign on obviously as you alluded to in the middle of them hiring all of these people and so I was like so excited to announce it and I was like oh man everybody's not like I don't know about that and so I was like going to do a good snarky tweet not snarky but you know like I was going to do a tweet that was kind of like I'm joining a 16 Z2 and then I went out to the offside the team did out in California and it was so clear that like this big team of people was there because Andrewsson was just kind of throwing its resources behind making sure that this nascent movement kind of had the resources it needed to grow and so there's you know a bunch of people working on the regulatory side there there's a bunch of people working on the technical side there they have genius engineers are like other web through protocols and companies were trying to hire who were just in house there working on behalf of portfolio companies and I know that I'm like romanticizing the services model of venture capital right now and there's obviously a reason that they're doing that we did a two-part series on it exactly I mean like it's good for them if the industry and their particular companies do really well but it really feels like a group of people that just like actually believes in this thing and wants to put the management fees to work in service of it actually happening and not getting kind of choked at the beginning by over regulation and by people's lack of understanding and so I came out of that feeling a lot more optimistic and just even like more excited about working with them after kind of getting to meet more of the team cool well thanks for clue in us and I mean it's fascinating to me that yeah that it's not like you joined the firm and you are still investing completely separately out of a separate pool of capital you have your own newsletter that's staying totally separate but that there's I think it's a smart evolution of the venture model to say hey actually crypto advisor I don't know exactly what your title is but it's smart yeah I mean I've had that other conversation with funds to where it's like hey you want to come work and you know be a full-time partner at this fund and no like we've talked for the past couple of hours about how much fun I'm having doing this particular thing so that would never be an attractive model stealing the thunder on our big idea for grading yeah listeners we're going to talk about this and greeting because I I'm curious to dig into that no so hold that thought for now let's do powers you've got this concept of the not boring flywheel which I want to say it's kind of like you can make an excel spreadsheet say anything you can put a flywheel diagram down on paper and it will always look good but no one has Amazon's flywheel and so before actually naming the powers you've got the not boring flywheel here that has audience at the core that feeds out into founders their sponsors will link to this in the show notes and they're sort of the Monday pieces that really feed it all and go back in and grow the audience and those from great interview did with Jake Singer like a year plus ago that we use his big resource here actually right around February oh wow so it needs to be updated they probably actually was a result of the million dollar tweet I think that's when he was like all right we should talk I'm curious how you would describe the most powerful aspect of the flywheel like what is the thing where you are like oh these mutually reinforcing aspects are strongly tied I think as we talked about a little bit before audience at the center of the flywheel is maybe not exactly the thing like if I had a million person audience of people who didn't care about startups or whatever like it wouldn't be kind of as powerful I think it's really just kind of the alignment between the content the particular people who are in the audience and then the investing and like those three just I think really work well together because they all kind of feed each other so that's a cop out answer where I think I pretty much just name the whole flywheel but I don't think there's any one particularly strong link I really think that it is that the content has attracted a certain type of audience member who's both more valuable to companies and who also include people who are starting companies and running companies and all of that and it all just kind of feeds back into each other but I think maybe the core part is that the content itself is so aligned with the venture business I think that's the magic with what types of companies or founders do you have strong product market fit on the investment side versus weak where has it happened where someone's been like sorry there's not really space in this round for this reason or you're talking to somebody about sponsoring and then they're like actually no on the sponsor side really comes down to price frankly and I think if this were a business I'd probably be more relaxed on pricing sometimes but because it's me at the center of it and I'm equally happy not writing a sponsored deep dive and like giving myself an extra week off as long as I like the company I'd like to write about them but I'm going to stand pretty firm on price and so that's where that falls apart it's not necessarily a particular type of company what's really interesting is like there are actually companies that all say no to that I think that I would invest in that I think are great businesses and I think are like have something interesting strategically that like just maybe isn't interesting enough to the audience where like actually it would still perform and I've done stuff like this a little bit in the past and I've learned from that where it still does well because maybe they're high ACV product and if they get 50 people to sign up coming out of the newsletter like that is a huge win the ROI is fantastic and all of that but maybe those 50 people the only 50 people who actually cared about that's particular story so I tried to do a little bit less of that on the founder side I don't think it's a particular type of industry as much as it really comes down to like nobody gives a shit that I write not boring it's that's why I'm like I kind of bristle at the audience like size being the thing because if somebody comes in and they're introduced cold to me and someone's like this is packy from not boring and it's an 88,000 person audience I like oh cool you read newsletter I think like the divide is did the person actually read not boring before and like really get value out of something that I've written or not and I think that's actually where where the divide is such a good point because otherwise it's transactional and they're like so are you gonna write about me for free why do I care that you have an newsletter a hundred percent and like you know I'll get that sometimes from founders when that's kind of the introduction path where like I had a founder recently emailed me and asked you know after I said you know I committed and said here's what I'd you know I'd love to do on the allocation side he was like great and can you give me the open rates on your last five posts and like your audience size and I was like this feels more transactional than I want it to feel like this will be good for both of us if this works out yeah I really don't like what I'm on a pitch being like here's how the newsletter will like this will change your company's trajectory like I think it can be really really helpful for companies and I don't want it to be this transactional thing where it's like all right we'll give you $75,000 in allocation because you have a 45% open rate and 88,000 subscribers and I've done the math that doesn't feel right it's more like am I aligned with this founder and want it excited about the story put another way the size of the audience is not important because that is reach that a founder or company will have access to after you invest it's because the larger the audience size is of the right types of people the more likely it is that someone has read something you've written and that introduction is warm and appreciated rather than who are you and that meant to leap is like automatic if you're already a not-boring fan then you're like oh yeah I get it right like people like me read not-boring I want to get in front of more people in my orbit this makes sense the other way to describe that is I don't think it's gotten any easier convincing founders to give me allocation at 50,000 readers or 88,000 readers if they're a reader then they kind of get it and if they're not then you know they don't on the sponsorship side it's different like there's more of an equation there and people are willing to pay more with the bigger audience which makes total sense but I do think on the founder side that's really the binaries do you read not-boring or not yeah makes sense makes total sense okay powers seven powers for not-boring yes this is gonna be fun I'm going out on a limb here I think it's not gonna be scale economies for folks I don't know how this could possibly be your first exposure to seven powers because you either have listened to acquired or read not-boring coming into this but briefly the real question is what thing enables this business to achieve persistent differential returns so more profitable than their closest competitor on a sustainable basis for years and years and years in the future so it's kind of interesting the first thing that I was thinking about when I was prepping for this episode is Hamilton Helmer makes the point that actually public company shareholders are not short term oriented they're long term oriented and that's why when you change your guidance for the next quarter the valuation can change by billions and billions and billions of dollars because people are accounting for the next 29 and three quarters years after next quarter in the way that they think about the trajectory of the business and so it's interesting thinking about the future value of not-boring because it's actually much more near term than you would forecast in a public company with a durable organization and product market fit because it's so packy dependent and I know that's not naming a power and I think we should do that too but it's an interesting observation and probably why media companies and small organizations and family run businesses get lower multiples that's right I don't want to raise money because then I'd have bosses and I don't think I'd get a valuation that I'd be happy to sell part of myself for yeah well David where do you think the strongest one is I hadn't thought about this before going through the whole episode but I think there's a strong element of counter positioning here with what you're doing at least relative to traditional media companies yeah certainly on the journalism side actually and on the venture side totally on the venture side I think there may be some element of network economies here kind of like what you were just talking about with the flywheel and you know being a reader like the more people in your target audience is who are readers the more powerful taking an investment from not-boring capital or sponsoring not-boring or frankly just continuing to read not-boring becomes as more people in your circle are reading it I think that's probably right but I don't want to give myself too much credit on it and I know like you know there's definitely a difference between network economies and like some sort of kind of benefits to scale and I wouldn't call it scale economies either where hopefully it gets better I think this is like data network effects or something where like maybe it's there and like kind of sometimes like maybe people have it but probably like you say there's a network effects just like pretend like they're a network effects and I actually don't know if I if I have them like if it means that I'm able to write about more interesting companies because they're more readers and some more different types of companies want me to tell their story and all of that were you know the audience is getting bigger and I have more interesting conversations with people so I have more interesting ideas like then maybe that is there but it's certainly not Facebook level network economies where it's very clear that one extra person coming on is really good for the people who know that person etc well there's a factor of strength of network effects and like no you're not Facebook strength network but I do think it's there like it is valuable to me that Ben reads not boring we talk about not boring yeah it's weak though like you notably don't have a community there's a pseudo community that exists in your Twitter replies but like you haven't organized the community in a way that actually has network value I'd say that's an opportunity now maybe one that doesn't meet the bar but an opportunity I think that's 100% right I'm definitely I think probably because of not boring club shy away from trying to like be a community manager again but I do think Twitter is kind of where that exists now but I think there are absolutely opportunities and maybe that's where you know a doubt or something comes in or even you know we're not boring token at some point down the line comes into play where then you know you get all the network effects that come built in with crypto but for now I don't think that it's particularly strong I think it's pretty weak there's one that I want to bring up where Hamilton would probably yell at me for calling it the cornered resource of packy so I guess it's probably more process power but you could not write a document such that you could hand it to someone else and they could do your job like that they could create the product that you create and I think that's definitionally process power that you can actually write down the process of creating the product that you create and I've heard you try to explain it a few times and it's always a little bit different and you can never really articulate the consistent way that lightning strikes you such that you have a great idea and it seems like you go into your basement you surf the internet and magic happens and you might have to start that process a few times but I don't think even you can really articulate the process by which the product comes out. That's an incredibly good point I've tried to explain this many times it's one of the first questions that I get from people if I go to a group of people and I never have a good answer for it because there isn't a good answer for it. Totally it's fine we get it a lot too like what's your process like well I can tell you mechanically but it's not going to sound like well Ben opens up text at it and he has a document that has a zillion font in it because it's been cloned from 250 episodes and that text at a document plus David's notion has almost nothing to do with what our actual process is to create an episode. I mean that's the beauty right I think for acquired for not boring for like good content businesses this is why I don't want to scale it and have to write like a brand Godline or the style guide or even the economists has their guide where you should be able to kind of plug into that thing and kind of sound like the brand voice I don't want to do that. Okay so what was that process like right and for the economist like what was the transition from you wrote a draft to final piece it was pretty close like yeah it goes to their editors but the interesting thing is that they send you their guide up front on kind of the things to avoid and so like one of those things is to not use the word increasingly which I then realize that I do all of the time in my writing but they give you those things up front so that you come in kind of aware and so it's as much of what you've written as a composer being then obviously I think just normally like an editor thing up for it but I definitely tried to kind of you know catch the economist style in the thing that we wrote. All right done with powers yeah I'm with that I think it's process power it's like at the end of the day it's creative business for sure well before we get into evaluating should pack you go work at a venture firm I want to talk about NordVPN but I have a personal story to share as we sort of close this out so many of you know NordVPN big company over a thousand employees 15 million people use the product it's a really cool story the CEO Tom Oakman started this company with some childhood friends in Lithuania back in 2012 he's an acquired fan and DM doesn't slack it's just the coolest thing so I was in Lisbon a couple weeks ago for the Solana Breakpoint conference and for Web Summit and found myself in dire need of a VPN because I was like I am pulling my laptop out at a cryptography event where that's dumb for lots of reasons but there was a couple things that I had to do and so I opened up NordVPN and it is actually that I had it on my computer but it was the first time I had really used it and it's a remarkably good UX super flexible you know great clients for my Mac and my iPhone and I'm sure every other device that exists out there too and it was a really delightful experience and if you like using well-crafted software I think you should go check it out so you can sign up at nord VPN dot com slash acquired or by clicking the link in the show notes and using the coupon code acquired at checkout and our thanks to Tom and the whole Nord crew ignored all right so packy I was thinking about this should you go work at a venture firm and without naming a venture firm because then it gets harder to talk about let's say you were to go work at a big big venture capital firm where a fund is like a billion dollars plus and let's say to reflect the very quick audience that you've sort of built this relationship and community you've cultivated and you know the way that you're seeing into a very important future in web 3 you would become a general partner and the offer would be for like a big let's call it I don't know what carry is a big firm but call it double digit percentage of carry in a brand new multi billion dollar fund or at least billion dollar fund so you're getting like serious economics but the returns are probably like seven and plus years out in the future and you make a pretty good salary like you probably make I don't know half of what not boring is baking just in salary so you have this sort of interesting question of like do you want to delay most of your upside another five seven plus years and do you want to like cut down on something that is sort of an inflection point right now or do you want to stay the course and hope that what you're building now has way more risk but what you're building can eclipse even what the greatest upside would be from becoming a general partner in a big firm am I thinking about that sort of right in the set of trade offs I think that you're thinking about it right in the set of trade offs I think the tricky part is that and Schrodinger's cat is not right here but maybe you'll understand the right version of what I'm saying is that as soon as I go in house somewhere I lose half of my value or X percent of my value as soon as I go in house somewhere and that is kind of one even though you know I do do sponsor posts and all that there is like this independent voice that I have that obviously goes away everything that I write would go through a legal team and a compliance team and all of those types of things probably wouldn't be able to even do it at the cadence or you know even the schedule that I do now where it's like I'm making my last kind of edit or writing my last sentence 30 minutes before the piece goes out or even a minute before the piece goes out so I think it would lose a little bit of that flavor and so I think probably you know you need to add like a time dimension on this which is when does it make sense to do this and there's probably like when I'm deeply in that S curve if I've like gotten big enough that like somehow just because I'm backing more people like now think that I'm smart where like now I kind of need to prove that that I can add value every week like maybe at some point in the future when there's half a million subscribers people will just assume that I know what I'm talking about even though I don't and I'm just making it up every week then maybe the trade makes sense but for me because there's not that exponential upside and for the fun because I don't lose all of my value as soon as I set foot in the door of that fund but I think for the time being it would be upside limiting for me an option limiting for me and it would be you know the fund would not I don't think get what it paid for it's funny I'm thinking as you're saying that you doing this joining a venture firm would to my mind be almost exactly like Amazon buying Kiva systems Kiva systems robotic warehouse company they had lots of clients I think like maybe Target was a client while my like lots of clients including Amazon lots of value and then at a certain point Amazon was like okay it's worth more to us to buy you and it's worth more to you to sell to us at Amazon then continue and we're going to shut down 90% of your business but the ultimate value is going to be higher I think that's right so maybe you know where it would make sense right now is like if there is it's more than just you know kind of like having a GP it's their strategic value in another firm not hiring me or in maybe you don't have a web 3 practice but like you need to play catch up I still think there are better people frankly who are like way more technical it'd have to be me and some technical people who are like kind of deeper in the space than me but like maybe it helps you get a quicker leg up into an area where you feel that you're behind but I think you're absolutely right that like Amazon was not just making that decision based on Kiva's revenue and client roster because that all goes away they're making it to keep that away from other people and to do something themselves. There's this funny like game theory thing happening here where it seems like you're willing to be reasonably public about the idea that like it's not that attractive and it doesn't make sense to go join which then makes me with my professional venture capital is had on going well I guess I don't need to do a takeout acquisition here because he's not going to go join anywhere else either or makes me boy like shoot up I'm in a game theory this all the way out if that he's going to do it at some point then do I actually need to make the over the top offer now to make sure that he doesn't go anywhere else in the future. Well I've been public about kind of everything in not boring space so if this does happen if people start making big offers I'll come back on and and let you know what those offers look like. Okay so to me though I think the wild crisis where you know it's our show we get to grade you you can chime in. I still think you know look I'm feeling I'm the I'm packy on this episode I'm the optimist the question to me if you had that offer on the table it'd be really hard to turn down right like that's a lot of economics and Ben's probably underselling the amount of salary you'd make every year from like the management fees on multi billion dollars it's a lot of money. Yeah I was trying to create this straw man that wasn't just like well if you want lifestyle you do not boring and if you want a whole bunch of cash now and a whole bunch of cash in the future then you go join them. I it's actually not lifestyle I'm sorry I'm really restate that lifestyle would be better actually and that one it's control. Yeah if you want control now or you want lifestyle and cash now and cash in the future could talk about you for but here's my question can you also manage billions of capital in not boring capital that's the question someday it's such an interesting question because I keep telling myself no right and we've actually had this conversation over text and voice with this group of people before right now the answer is clearly no like if I built out infrastructure and not boring keeps getting bigger and I was able to hire like a really phenomenal team of people who are much smarter than me around me would not boring be a platform from which you could launch a billion dollar fund potentially it changes the strategy completely though you can't deploy a billion dollars in follow checks you can't just slide in and little yeah exactly you have to be able to invest in like every even at all reasonable company it just wouldn't work and so I'd have to change the strategy totally where it's not friendly and you'd have to go ahead and head with these big reputable established firms with teams full of smart people and so that I think is also a limiting factor that said you know Josh and Locky and like that group of people has turned kind of a sole capitalist thing into a bigger fund and they're competing in winning deals and so it's doable it is just a very different strategy that I don't know if I'd be good at it or not well hell it geese in itself the entry since story was that right like Mark and Ben were super angels they played dice with everybody they had everybody in the valley except maybe bench barc after the loud cloud experience and then they were like well I think we can turn this into a firm and they did they're a little smarter than I am well it's a different thing to being a super angel but it doesn't mean it's not possible well let's just stay tuned to find out as the I don't know if you're the primary or the soul shareholder of not boring you also kind of just get to pick you're like well if this will make my life worse and I don't need to make more money why would I do it there's I mean I think a lot of this is don't get greedy like that yeah I think getting greedy and that is hiring more people that is lowering the bar on who I write sponsored posts on or even who the advertisers are on a normal piece like this works if I don't get greedy and this stops working if I get greedy and so it's like a pretty actually clear binary there and maybe that means I'm being too risk averse on some things but I'm very happy with kind of the way things are going now and I know that I can mess it up by getting to greedy very answer we'll accept it you guys want to do carveouts yeah let's do it all right David you first okay my car about fitting for my status is new dad this might be portending a lot of parenting carveouts to come but some people had told us this before we went to the hospital to get right there and I didn't pay attention and I wish I had so if you're a parent you know what I'm talking about if you're not this may happen to you someday baby comes out and then like babies need to be swaddled right and the nurses in the hospital they just like a regular blanket and they take it and they put the baby in the blanket and they do some folds and they're like this is how you do it it's so easy like oh yeah that's so easy I can do that that's just like folding a you know sheet of paper no problem and then the nurses leave the room and then you're like the baby comes out of the swallow you got to re-swaddle the baby like I got it's just like like whoa how did they do that that was magic you can't do it new parents do not try and swaddle your baby in a regular blanket get some dedicated baby blanket swaddles with velcro and zippers it will save you so much heartache and bring them to the hospital for God's sakes that's my car about seconded boy David's carveouts have really changed totally great advice though I'll take a note so it's funny in prepping for carveouts for this normally I have like five or six I can choose from that I'm reading that are off the wall stuff or different things I'm watching I'm watching succession but I've already carved that out everything that I'm reading or listening to right now is either prep for this episode or our next two episodes which I won't spoil so I'm gonna do something that is way too much talking my own book but I think it's an awesome thing to read and we were a top few posts on hackernos yesterday so clearly there's other sort of heat around it there's a pioneer square labs piece by Dave Peck who's a veteran engineer on our team called an engineer's hype free observations on web three and its possibilities and I helped a little bit in this and our goal was really to take all the spelunking that our engineering team has done in the studio and this is people who have worked their whole careers not in crypto and explore what actually are the technical merits of these technologies what should be built is there a lot of discussion around building but doesn't actually make a lot of sense to us why you would build that distributed and try and write like a balanced honest take on like here's what the tech can do here's what the tech can't do and you know we're going to try and ignore some of the cultural elements of web three and just do it a little more analytically and of course you can't help but throw in some cultural elements because it's a cultural movement but I'm really proud of how it came out I welcome all feedback and we'll put a link in the show notes so I'm going to keep it in Seattle for mine I think the last time that we talked maybe I recommend a sci-fi book I've been reading a lot of sci-fi I think it's just if I'm spending so much time in real stuff when I'm writing it's nice to turn my brain off the other day I finished a book in like Google best sci-fi 2021 and this one book came up and it was described as Haruki Marikami meets Ready Player One and Haruki Marikami is my favorite author Ready Player One maybe not the best written book of all time but it certainly inspired a lot of the things that people are talking about right now so this book is called Rabbits it's this thriller about this kind of global game that takes place to save the world and you play it by following a bunch of these coincidences that seem like coincidences but maybe they aren't and ultimately playing in winning rabbits is how you kind of like reset balance in the universe it's you know again maybe not the best written book that I've ever read I've heard the ending isn't great I haven't gotten there yet but it's been a really entertaining I can't put it down kind of read and it has Marikami-ish vibes if it's not quite as good as Marikami oh I would have to check this out and I'm learning a lot about Seattle which is making me feel pleasure to be on you welcome anytime my friend Seattle such a great sci-fi tenuous Seattle connection but also sci-fi and sci-fi books I am so hype November 30th which will be probably after this comes out but before as we're recording it the last book of the expanse is finally coming out oh wow I'm so I'm so I'm going to recommend it to you expanse me today I've never had any of them so I just I bought book one oh my god you got to read it it's the best it's so good have you watched the show no I've been told to read the books first and then watch the show I could see having not read any of the books at least the first two maybe three seasons of the show were excellent like some of the best sci-fi TV I've ever watched I'm rereading to get ready for the final book so there's gonna be nine books total eight have already come out the ninth is coming out the first two amazing so great and then I would say three through two three is pretty good to four five six and seven are like they're still really good like read them through the first time I reread one and two and then I'm rereading eight and then I'm gonna go right into nine have you read red rising the red rising trilogy no I need to so just what you said reminded me like normally because again like I'm happy go lucky optimist kind of guy when people say that but they're like I liked one and two I didn't like three I loved four I hated five I don't have that kind of nuance in my brain but red rising it feels like it was written by like not only a different person but a different species almost after book three like books one two and three were so good and book four was an abomination and it's one of the few books that I've stopped in the past few years wow yeah how many books total in the series I couldn't tell you you just stopped stopped wow interesting okay I'll just check it out one through three though you should definitely read once the expenses over great well the expenses if you only watch the TV show you might not know it there's two authors so James essay Corey is a pen name of the two authors who collaborate they are George R. Martin's assistants no way so the expense is Game of Thrones in space oh I never realized that yeah it's really good all right well now I have to go read the books me though well well packy we can't thank you enough for being here thank you for I mean this was a dream come truth so much fun it's a very unique acquired episode for us notably not a special we want to be very intentional that like this is profiling the history and strategy of a company the way that we would the New York Times or standard oil or Amazon and the company just happens to be packy person at 18 months old it's surreal I also as we drift one our closing notes here you know I was gonna tell folks seriously you should go subscribe to the public acquired LP show wherever you get your podcasts now but it's worth pointing out the strategy to shift to make episodes and the whole back catalog public to listeners on a new feed after two weeks of being just for the paid subscribers is totally inspired by you packy I mean I think the realization that with such a smart valuable audience that attention is the scarce resource I think that part of us realizing oh we should change the way that the limited partner program works and really make it just the limited partner community with some early exclusive access to this content and actually in crypto I guess two weeks is forever so that two weeks is valuable especially as we do more crypto stuff but yeah that was really largely inspired by you so thanks for that too if my biggest contribution to the world is making more great content free on the internet I am very psyched with that legacy awesome well packy where can listeners find you or not boring on the internet so not boring is it not boring dot coat I have a poorly produced podcast that you can find by searching not boring podcast where you listen to podcasts we're gonna get you upgraded we're gonna get me upgraded next time we do this you're not gonna be saying poorly produced it's not that like that is how I read not boring is listening that's true yeah I mean none of it is overly produced which I think is good or twitter is at packy m packy m awesome well thank you to pilot pitch book and nord vpn and listeners we'll catch you next time see you next time bye