Tune in to Listen to Tech Stories from Hacker Noon 2-3 times a week!
Hi guys – it’s me again. Your pod host, Amy.
So happy that Ben and Jordan joined the podcast this week. I love to hear from all kinds of founders but I’m particularly interested in what goes into building a SaaS company.
I got to ask Ben and Jordan about the journey of a CEO. I wanted to know if they went to school, what kind of jobs they held that shaped their entrepreneurial journey, what their plans were for their companies, and so much more.
It was great to ask these guys about how their growth has looked like over the years. In my mind, I want to go fast and furious to the finish line and start cashing in those cheques. BUT, they told me that I need to go slow and reiterate again and again until it works. Jordan described hitting the pandemic and product adoption just shooting through the roof. I guess ya never know when things are going to work out.
Stay weird and I’ll see ya on the internet ✌️
This one goes out to all the techies with an attitude – we’re SaaSing it up this week. Ben Milne, Founder and Chairman of Dwolla, and Jordan Husney, Co-Founder and CEO of Parabol, join Amy Tom to chat about how they started their B2B SaaS companies 🔥
On this episode of The HackerNoon Podcast:
- When did Ben found Dwolla (for the first time – lol entrepreneur life) and when did Jordan start Parabol? 🤘(01:27)
- Ben talks about how he started his entrepreneurial journey in high school (03:11) and Jordan recalls his young entrepreneurial journey as well 🥺 (06:35)
- Is post-secondary education recommended for entrepreneurship? (11:11)
- The epiphany that led Jordan to Parabol 🤯 (16:41)
- Why did Ben start Dwolla? (20:17)
- Do CEOs start a company with the intention of selling it eventually? 🧐 (28:56)
- Are there certain types of people that make better CEOs than others? (34:58)
🚗 Vote for Parabol for Startup of The Year in LA:
🤑 Say goodbye to bank fees with Brex! https://bit.ly/37doqiH
🚙 Vote for Dwolla for Startup of The Year in Des Moines:
Connect with Ben and Jordan:
Learn more about HackerNoon and Startups of The Year:
[00:00:00] Amy: Boom baby. I am on my second cup of coffee today and we are riding on the most extreme caffeine high of my life. So I’m excited to do this episode. It’s probably going to be super high energy. But anyways, this is Amy, Tom, and you’re listening to the hacker noon podcast. I am talking today to Ben Millen.
Who’s the founder and chairman of Dwolla and Jordan Husney, who is the co-founder of parable. Welcome everybody. And so I would like to start with Ben, can you tell me more about you and your role and what your company is?
[00:00:38] Ben: Yeah, I’m Ben, no founder, chairman, previous CEO, previously VP of blank. I feel like I’m wearing a lot of hats at Dwolla over the years.
And dwell is a programmable payment platform that essentially enables developers to program us. And that’s something that I feel like ushered in and the Bitcoin and ether worlds are by the Bitcoin and ether worlds. But frankly, a lot of the commerce still uses us dollars and that’s what the company is focused on and enables developers to embed modern payments platform to do just that.
[00:01:15] Amy: okay. Wait when did you start the car?
[00:01:19] Ben: So the company was started the first time in 2008, took me a couple of years to figure out the regulatory complexities launched in 2010 as a consumer product. We built it into a company that serviced like a million dollar or a million people moving a billion dollars a year and decided that.
Wasn’t that great of a company. So we shut it down. We relaunched it about five or six years ago. From a cold start with a developer first focused and that’s turned out to work really well, not only for the company, but I think also for the development community, there are a number of developers, hundreds, thousands of developers that have built some really impressive innovations on it that come up.
It’s not that old now. And as I mentioned before, I’m not the CEO anymore. I onboarded my CEO replacement last year. Now the opportunity to participate in a very different way.
[00:02:04] Amy: okay. Exciting. Jordan, who are
[00:02:07] Jordan: you? I’m Jordan Husney I’m the founder. And for as long as people will follow the CEO of parable, which is the Internet’s number one agile meeting platform.
[00:02:20] Amy: Okay. And when did that?
[00:02:22] Jordan: We started in 2015, but it was a slow roll until folks started to believe. And what I mean by folks is the financial end of the market started to believe that remote work was going to be a thing worth paying attention to, and then things started to grow very quickly. Toward the end of 2018, I would say.
[00:02:47] Amy: Yeah. And especially in 2020, I would imagine
[00:02:51] Jordan: 2020 was what? Not much sleep happened. Yeah. Okay,
[00:02:56] Amy: cool. So what I want to learn from you guys is how you got to where you are today. So can we start at the very beginning? What was your very first job? Ever,
[00:03:09] Ben: I think the only actual job I’ve ever had is I was an intern at an advertising agency, one chip once in high school.
I started my first company in high school. I’ve been building companies my whole life. I build companies. I only took a, I don’t know, maybe a couple of months to realize that selling time for doing deliveries was not maybe what I was building. So I’ve been really lucky. I was always surrounded by people that supported building companies.
My first one was not venture funded. It was, self-funded had the opportunity to do that. And that was a lot of fun and it all has been a heck of a ride. And now there’s another 10, 20 years left of that story. And so it’s very different. But I think my first job was probably sounds cliche, but like lawn mowers yep.
Or building websites.
[00:03:50] Amy: Oh, when do you think you build your first website?
[00:03:55] Ben: It’s probably elementary or middle school, I think is when I started like selling them because you can sell website that people are like, I don’t know if this is like dad pants. I’m going to date myself.
Anybody else here use like VBL and you’re like, yeah, you’re going to date yourself. We don’t even know what that is. So you can sell a web services or development services or like HTML template. On the bulletin boards and no one knew how old you are. And PayPal back then was not doing like age verification checks.
[00:04:23] Amy: So you were like 13 making people’s websites.
[00:04:26] Ben: Yeah, no one cared like you didn’t need Bitcoin, just PayPal didn’t have the same requirements. It was much easier back then.
[00:04:33] Amy: Cool. All right. And what was the, what would you say the first official company was that you found.
[00:04:37] Ben: it’s probably, I don’t even remember what I called it. I was dropshipping speakers when I was in high school. I sold in journalism class. I would go to the library and sell speakers to people on internet forums. And eventually I got enough money that I can found, like my own brand line. That was my first oh, I’m going to do this for a living thing and not leave journalism class.
But that was where my official education ended, but we’re in different educations started when Jordan, what was your experience? You start building companies because you felt like you had an internal mandate to do
[00:05:09] Jordan: i, that’s a really good question. I had a similar thing I think to you I, I know that I really wanted to be independent, but I didn’t know what that.
And my first job just cause I think I saw other kids that were older than me doing it was bagging groceries, but I didn’t, I did not like punching the clock and I to date myself, I think we’re probably a similar age. I started a thing called a bulletin board system where you dial in with a motive and it would screech.
And you would basically play text games with each. Over motives is pre internet and windows 95 was coming out. So it’s basically 1995 and people needed more memory to install it. And so the first thing that I was doing was driving all over the Minneapolis St. Paul area, where I’m from.
Through like friend and family referrals, I would upgrade people’s computers for them so that they could install the newest version of windows. And I started a company an S-corp called chips, which was computer help installation and personal service. And that was like the first thing that I did, I had business cards.
[00:06:18] Amy: Okay. Do you remember how much you charged people to upgrade their
[00:06:22] Jordan: members? I think it was like a hundred bucks and then parts obviously were on top of that. But it was, I remember it was like flat fee and that was, it was, I felt like it was just robbery. Like I’d be in and out. It would be so fast.
I was curious to ask Ben, did your parents encourage this path? Were they modeling for you being self-employed or or are you responding? What pressures created a, was it intrinsic? Like I gotta do this for myself, or how did you get on that path?
[00:06:55] Ben: I think I grew up in the country, so there are only so many options for how to earn income.
You can basically clean up people’s yards. You can mow people’s yards. You can do other manual labor, but those things only work when the sun is up or you need a car. So someone has to drive you into town to do that. That’s amazing how, like all these things go to, how do I make money on the internet?
Because my parents will not buy me things that I want. And I am a teenager and I would like to have other things. And I think all those things just coming together. I was really fortunate that my parents subsidy is an early internet connection. And even I was like hearing myself talk. I’m like, I don’t even think back then we can use PayPal.
I think I was like bartering services for like trade. Like you mail me stuff for the thing I do. Yeah. Because I was trying to think, cause I don’t think in the early days PayPal was even there yet. It was a build this thing or I’ll do this service, but you’re going to ship me this good. And the reason you do that is so I didn’t leave you bad feedback on the forum to the internet is so much easier.
Now it’s so much yeah.
[00:07:56] Amy: Interesting, but how did you know, even that entrepreneurship was an option? Because I feel like for me growing up, it just, it wasn’t ever presented to me as an option until I was maybe in my later teens when I started to realize oh yeah, I could be an entrepreneur. So how did you know that it was a possibility for you,
[00:08:20] Ben: Jordan?
You want to take that one?
[00:08:22] Jordan: I my. Dad was strongly entrepreneurial still is strongly entrepreneurial. Where
If I was really tired in the morning, bagging groceries, cause I used to work the 5:30 AM shift on the weekends, which really sucked. If I was really tired, he’d be like, yeah. So how’s that going for you? And then he’s there’s another way you can be your own boss. And he was very encouraging of that.
And I had this other strange experience where, or set of circumstances that were influential for me were when I was 16 years old. I did a science fair project. For high school, just like homework, but then it took off and I went to the international science and engineering fair representing our country in computer science.
And I got a little bit of media recognition in my local area and I got an internship offer at a local technology company and started working there. And stayed there from when I was 16 until basically until I was like 30, so a pretty long time. And I was working for somebody else. And when I talked to my dad over dinner about just like corporate crap, that would happen, he’d be like, see, that’s why I can’t work for anyone else.
And so that narrative was always in there and I was like, okay, eventually I’m going to do something on my own. I want to dad. I want to know what you’re talking about. It’s where it’s coming
[00:09:48] Amy: from. Did either of you do post-secondary education?
[00:09:55] Jordan: Good question. I went to the university of Minnesota for eight years and never finished my degree.
[00:10:01] Amy: Okay.
[00:10:02] Ben: No, my primary education has company one. My secondary education was company too. And I feel like in many cases I’m still in that. I just went a very different very different route. I feel like when you’re talking about the bagging groceries, I applied for that job and they want to hire me.
So maybe the universe. Just gave me a nudge in the other direction, because eventually I did decide, Hey, I’ll go do something a little bit more traditional. I applied there and fleet farm. Oh yeah. Yeah. It’s almost like entrepreneurship in many ways is almost like a the last resort in some ways.
My, my dad Maybe somewhat similarly, probably slightly different story though is a total loony tune. He did stuff like he’d wake up and decide he wanted like a two hole golf course in the backyard. So we’d get on a tractor and make a little golf course and then he’d play golf on it for a week or maybe he wanted to build a Silbart jumps and just start building things.
And there was never really major restrictions on it, except can you afford to do that? And. And so I grew up in this environment where you can build whatever you want, as long as physically and intellectually you’re able to do it. And money in a lot of ways was the restriction. And to his credit, he created an environment where experimentation was a really okay.
And encouraged. And I don’t think they probably regretted that. And they being my parents until I told them I wasn’t going to go to college. And I was going to build a speaker company. Cause I liked me. Yeah. That didn’t go so hot, but like four packs that now everybody’s good.
[00:11:29] Amy: We’re all good. Okay.
Actually, that’s really interesting because I think I’m am not a founder yet, but I will be there at one day, I think. And like I said, I didn’t even picture myself as an entrepreneur, as a. A path that I could be on until I had already passed a second secondary school after I graduated high school and went onto post-secondary, then I started to meet new people and realize that oh yeah, entrepreneurship is a path and I was in business school.
So yeah. But I think. Maybe that has to do with how I grew up because my parents are both lifers. They’re both company lifers. They’ve been, my dad worked at the company for over 25 years, one company all his life. Then my mom did two 10 year plus stints. So I was raised by people who are very like stable in their career and very much lifers and I am all over the place.
But I did not come to that as an example. What could be, so I think it’s really interesting that you have those back, that background where your parents were wild or they had an entrepreneurial background and they helped you to realize their potential. So that’s cool. Cool.
So can you tell me Jordan, about how parable got started?
[00:12:42] Jordan: Yeah, so it, the Genesis of parable began. In, I think 2013 or 2012 when, okay. I was with the same company for a very long time with a short stint where I left them for a little bit to join a startup in Palo Alto. And, I like woke up and had a David Byrne talking heads moment.
I don’t know if you’ve heard the song where it’s this is not my beautiful house. This is not my beautiful wife. I felt like I was living somebody else’s life, even though I had spent 20 years of my own and I was just in Minneapolis and I was like I love Minneapolis, but it was like, is this.
What I want to do, or do I want to experience something else? And I was listening to a podcast and show that’s still on the air called radio lab. And there was this underwriting segment that says, Undercurrent strategy firm in lower Manhattan, thinking a lot about human refrigerator, interaction, 3d printing, and cat names for this and other thoughts, please visit undercurrent.com.
And I did, and it was like the smartest writing on the intersection of technology and management and the world that I had ever read. And I was like, I want a job there. I don’t know what these people do, but I want to hang out with those people and be there. And so I cold wrote them an email and I got a job and they were like, We do corporate consulting.
We advise them strategy. We advise on corporate structure and we’re looking for somebody to take over our account with GE and you’ll be working with the chairman and the vice chair and all the C-levels of GE on contemplating their future. And I’m like that sounds weird. And I was super naive.
I don’t even know what that means, but I’m like, yeah, I’d like that job. And like TLDR, I got the job. It’s 2013 and I’m with my client, this woman named Beth Comstock and I’m in Fairfield, Connecticut, the headquarters. And she probably doesn’t remember this, but everyone was late. There was like a snow storm and everyone was late and everyone’s schedule got screwed up and we had 10 minutes to do what we needed an hour plus to do.
And she was like, looking. Schedule mine. And it was just constant WebEx meetings, but she had driven in to Connecticut, like I did from New York city. And then I had this epiphany where I’m like, oh shit. If you’re an executive in a global company, you’re a remote worker and you don’t know it. And I just started thinking of everybody that I knew and I’m like, oh, you’re either on airplanes all the time.
Or you’re doing video conferencing all the time. I’m like, oh, this is just the way that knowledge work is going to go. And then I couldn’t stop. I was like super obsessed about that. And I’m like what will the future of collaboration look like? When all knowledge workers are remote and we’re hiring from the global market, not the local market.
And then I saw the thing I could not see. And I was okay. My hand. And like the short story is undercurrent got bought by. That then abruptly went bankrupt and we couldn’t buy our S we had the cash, but we couldn’t buy ourselves out of the bankruptcy for stupid technical reasons. And so I was given this like red pill, blue pill choice, restart a version of undercurrent with the same people, because the nice thing about consulting is there’s nothing to take with you, but your mind, or start this thing that I couldn’t unsee.
That’s how terrible it started.
[00:16:14] Amy: Interesting. Okay. Can we go down a brief tangent here? What do you think the future of remote work would have been if COVID didn’t happen?
[00:16:23] Jordan: Oh, that’s a really good question. I think that I think that COVID the risk to the remote work. Is we’re going to see thrashing now where if you we’re S we’re seeing this just in the general chatter of human beings.
We’re now seeing people that are like, I will only work in office it’s forever because it’s remote work thing was really terrible for me. And I don’t think that those folks keep in mind that what we did, wasn’t really the remote work experience that you could have because we were in lockdown, which is not the same as remote work.
And then there are people that are like, I’m never going back. I don’t care how much you pay me. I don’t care how fancy the office facilities are. I’m not going back. And I think what we’re going to see is because COVID bred extremism in every possible way. We’re going to see this oscillation now in the marketplace about what attitudes toward remote work are.
If COVID hadn’t happened, I think it would have been more gradual and more moderate. And from our own company’s standards. We were like finance such as we can take our time and figure out this, oh shit, everyone needs this. Now everyone’s hip to the inevitability of remote work because it’s here.
And so now we have to hustle in a way that we haven’t had that.
[00:17:39] Amy: And so you’ve experienced like massive growth over the past
[00:17:42] Jordan: year. Yeah. Yeah. Our metrics are transparent. So if you go to parable.co/blog every week, we show what adoption looks like. And when lockdown happened in March, like all of our metrics just turned straight.
[00:17:55] Amy: Nice. Okay, cool. That makes sense. And Ben, how did you start. How did it come to be
[00:18:05] Ben: are just pissed off.
There’s I feel like when I got started talking to people at doll, all I did was talk, basically travel around on planes and talk to people for two years, about how angry I was about credit card fees. For me, intellectual curiosity has always been a little bit like gravity. It’s like the thing, no matter, it doesn’t matter how much I fight it.
I will eventually lose it. And for me, that particular quandary was the thing that led me into payments in the first place. Just trying to understand why is it so expensive to put the bits in between other place that track bits? It’s just not how databases work. Over time I discovered more about the why, but the reason I started the company is because in my first company, And my first, real company that I relied on and fed me.
All of our money came in through credit cards, came in through online and all the options were different variations of a slightly better API or a slightly different UI or a different merchant account. And in many ways today, that’s still what e-commerce merchants have. And there wasn’t really an option for if, okay.
We were starting over from the lion. How would we make the system more usable? And the system itself was built in like the seventies and is not well-documented is actually quite difficult to use. As I mentioned, it took me two years to figure out and get it into market and to do that, I literally signed it my entire life, all the money in my bank, accounts, my house, everything I owned over to the bank as collateral to get access to the system, to drop off on encrypted batch files.
And to think about where we’ve come, which is a developer gonna build something like that in a far more complex and provocative, but the Wala in literally two days, if you know how to write to an API, that took me years, but I was angry enough to do it because I felt like there just has to be a better way.
And I thought it was like a five-year problem. And maybe five years ago, I was saying like, maybe it’s a 10 year problem. And now I’m realizing, oh, it’s probably like a 20 to 30 year type problem. And. Yeah, we just start companies. You don’t always know, but for me that was the impetus.
[00:20:06] Jordan: Was your rage sufficient aware?
If you’re still here. Yes, your is
[00:20:13] Ben: sufficient. It was sufficient. My favorite question
[00:20:16] Jordan: was your rage sufficient? Such that if you put yourself hypothetically back in your shoes and you knew that it was going to be a 20 or 30 year mission, do you think that you would have done that mission again?
[00:20:28] Ben: I don’t know. I definitely, I think about things in an introspective way quite frequently, but I don’t think about things in the conquest of the past of how it would behave. I think about them in the context of now. And what does that change about how I think about things? The thing that I now understand about helping founders grow is that if I can find founders that are approaching a problem, but there’s some narrative violation to the way that they’re approaching the problem.
And if they’re right, the likelihood of them having outsize impact, even if their business model is not perfectly dialed in is really meaningful. And so I find myself in retrospect, Seeking out a lot of those types of founders to try and help or invest in, but more often just try and help them onto their next step and encourage them to make decisions.
And five-year windows of, can I commit to this in five years? Because if I can do that halfway through, I might be able to commit to it for another five or another 10 or another 20, but three years is too short and seven years is just feels too long. So anecdotally in five years just has felt like the right framework.
[00:21:34] Amy: Ben, I’d like to ask you about the process of stepping down as the CEO. And I’m wondering why you did that. What went through your head at the time and what the process was like?
[00:21:45] Ben: Stepping down as CEO is a same feeling as hiring your first engineering leader. If you’re an engineer and you’re hiring your first engineering leader, you’re replacing yourself as VP of engineering or head of engineering or whatever you’re appropriate for an Acular for your.
Company size is middle, like founding companies is a state of mind. Amy, you’re clearly already operating in a founder state of mind. And the question is just which order will you take position on the cap table? You’re already behaving like a founder. You have your own brand in the way that you’re presenting yourself and the way that you’re talking about what you do and who you like talking to.
So like intellectually you’re already there. The question is just at what point do you just go it alone? And so I just think that like that founding companies is an intellectually honest process of continually replacing yourself. And most technical founders start to do that with engineers ideally on day one, because they’ll ideally find someone who is significantly better than them at the most high leverage thing in a company.
And as companies grow specifically around like 80 to 100 people, 120, to me, it feels like that’s where the CEO role really starts to be one of the highest level. And you can probably tell by looking at me, I love technology and I love building companies and solving problems, but at some point you got to look at every single role you have.
And because now the right time and the replace myself company finally has enough revenue. It was time company finally has a long enough runway that is far different than the one that I thought about originally, but it was time. So I know it’s a long-winded way of saying it is literally the same as hiring, like the first engineering leader.
You’re upgrading the company by being intellectually honest, that there might be somebody who’s better at that thing. You were just good at making it work for a long period of time
[00:23:33] Amy: at Scott. I take a lot of humility though, to be able to admit that you want someone to replace you to better the company.
[00:23:40] Ben: People say that, but I actually, I. It’s not that humble, right? I’m an owner in the business. I want the business to have the best leaders they can possibly have. And if I remove myself from how other people think I should feel about a title and I think about what’s best for the business. It’s actually pretty straightforward.
Right? Why the world thinks that founders think their companies are children. To me is insane. They either have never started a company or they don’t have any children. These are not the same thing. It like a thing people say that they should stop saying forever because it’s untrue. Companies are not children.
Companies are projects and organic things that grow dissimilar to children. Okay. Sorry for the diatribe. Something happens to my kid. I will be crushed. Something happens to the company. We’re going to work through it. And eventually even if my contributions under another title, that’s cool.
But if somebody else says I’m not that kid’s dad, I’m going to be really frustrated.
[00:24:37] Amy: Okay. I don’t have children, so this makes sense. Why I mindset. Okay. Okay. Okay. That’s interesting. Yeah. I had a question off of that and now I forgot it. Oh, no. Okay. Can I, oh, okay. I know. So I think that what you’re saying is definitely a serial entrepreneur mindset.
And I think that some people go into starting businesses that not having that serial, entrepreneurial or mindset where they don’t intend to necessarily step down as CEO ever. Do you think that’s true?
[00:25:11] Ben: Yeah. I think there are people in Jordan, I’m sure you also met very many that they will go to their grave with that if they can.
And I maybe in some ways that’s healthy and another ways it’s not, I know that’s not healthy for me. I think the company got better when that new engineering leader came in to company gotten better. When that new product leader came in, the company got better. I think when the new CEO. And there’s lots of times where the company got better because a new board member was added or a new CSM was added.
Like these additions make the company stronger. And I don’t ever want to be the thing standing in the way of growth of the business or the people in it. That to me just seems wrong.
[00:25:51] Amy: Do you start a company with the intention of selling it eventually?
[00:25:56] Ben: So during one of your thoughts.
[00:25:59] Jordan: Question is tied deeply to the conversation that we were having. And it, to me, it depends on all of these questions of when and how you give up roles, how closely your ego is tied to the business. Oh, parental you believe your role is to the business. Yeah. It’s tied in many ways to how you, as a person, see putting points on the board.
And I don’t even like that metaphor much because I’m not much for sports metaphors, but there are people in the world who are, seem to be purely motivated by seeing a monetary number increase. There’s nothing else there. It’s like as long as the bank balance is going up the day. Would say that they feel like they’re doing a good job.
There are other people who are like myself, who are mostly interested in
yeah. Building something that is robust and meaningful and leaves what I believe. Leaves the world in the condition. That’s better than when it started. And maybe that, like I identify with Ben’s earlier statement of I was just pissed off about paying credit card fees and seeing other people pay credit card fees.
Like I started this business largely out of rage and anger as well. And there’s a purpose to that. And. Being able to align a bunch of interests because a business, is it a business is not like a solo musician’s career. It is a team sport. And what you have to do is you have to get a diversity of people in a diversity of skills pointed in a direction that they’re ready to go in and make the system robust to all of the crazy unanticipated shit and some anticipated shit that’s going to happen.
And. To me building something that can survive without me is one of the most fulfilling parts I took. I took a three week vacation recently and nothing broke and nothing made me happier than that freak some of my investors out. But to me, that’s what winning feels like.
[00:28:17] Amy: Cool. All right. That makes sense.
Thank you for sharing that. I would like to know what your advice would be to future young entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a SAS company. Ben, would you like to start?
[00:28:34] Ben: My advice has been really unchanged for a lot of years. Just shut up and build it. Just.
[00:28:41] Amy: Go just start. Okay. That’s
[00:28:44] Ben: it.
Just do it.
[00:28:46] Jordan: Okay. Yep. Yep. I, my, my advice is largely the same and
to that step one, and then step, step two is don’t. Unless for some reason you’re really going to do harm to yourself because it’s. I think the thing that most folks don’t understand about entrepreneurship partially because in our societies, let’s call this, let’s just carve out a piece of the world.
We’ll call it like the America’s for a minute. Piece of pieces of Western Europe. We look at entrepreneurship in the same way that we look, it’s a form of celebrity. And I think that people assume that it’s amazing when you’re doing this. It’s not, it’s just eating generally. It’s eating one shit sandwich after another and just chewing on it and chewing on it and chewing on it.
And so you have to find a way to get up and motivate yourself and ask yourself a very honest question. Do I really enjoy these sandwiches. This is what I want to be doing with my life. Like you really
[00:29:50] Amy: enticing
[00:29:51] Jordan: that’s right. Every day in many ways for folks it’s hard. It’s really hard.
And granted you have these like sublime moments of ecstasy when you overcome some sort of really difficult challenge, but the developing whatever’s appropriate for you. Be it therapy, be it mentorship. Whatever to figure out what your motivations are and why you’re doing it and get clear and dealing with the stress so that you can stay in and show up and be your best self.
That’s really the most important part. And I think that. The grueling parts of this job are not often discussed. They’re not often glorified. It’s all the other things. It’s the exits and the jets and the round sizes or whatever your entrepreneurial ship journey is. It’s often glorified and that comes at the expense of not being able to stay in the game early.
When you recognize that it’s actually a normal experience for it to be really awful when you’re getting this thing off the ground and the way the metaphor that I try and give entrepreneurs when they’re first starting out is go to the supermarket or they haven’t figured out single cuing.
And it’s just, everyone has to pick the line that they think is going to be fast enough. And you just pick one and by odds, right? If there’s 10 line, you got a one in 10 chance. If you were. Pick arbitrarily that the other nine are moving faster than yours. Entrepreneurship is just like that. If you’re looking to make comparisons with everyone else, except that it’s infinite lions in every single direction nowadays.
So you have to figure out how to be motivated to show up, knowing that you’re probably going to be in the slowest line. Yeah. Forever. Yeah.
[00:31:22] Ben: Ahead and chime in on that. Not as a negative at all. I think that. Some people are really built for this. And my personal observation is that being built for it, I think has a lot to do with internal reward systems.
And for some people internal reward systems is money.
[00:31:41] Jordan: Yep. I
[00:31:42] Ben: talked to one recently that I said, why aren’t you doing this? He said, I want to be a billionaire. And I was like, okay, I never got that answered directly before, but cool. Let’s unpack that No, like it is what it is, but you ask another person and they say the same question.
Like my answer would be I get my reward system is what people build with the products that I participate in building when somebody builds a cool new fractional ownership application using glaucoma or build something that I can’t even figure out how it works. That for me is the reward system. And I’m willing to go through it.
To get back to that reward system. Because for me, it’s intellectual and gravity. It’s I can’t fight it. So just follow it.
[00:32:28] Jordan: Oh, interesting.
[00:32:29] Amy: Okay. What about the school of thought that you don’t need to care that much about the cause that you’re being an entrepreneur of just start
[00:32:38] Jordan: whatever.
There are some like the cool thing about humanity. For better or for worse, you’ll always find one that will. And I think that the thing that Ben said makes a lot of sense. I think there are many different ways of being built for entrepreneurs. Yeah. Absent morality. Like none of them really, I think, are going to be more successful than the others because that success is determined by that individual for what that means for them.
Do the thing already, and don’t give up, see, to be the two ingredients that are the most necessary in terms of your intrinsic ability to succeed, then there’s all the societal factors of like, how networked are you and how do people perceive you when you show up in the room and dah. But those of the things that are about just your intrinsic skill, those two seem to be right the
[00:33:37] Amy: most.
So my follow-up question then is how do I know when I’m ready? If you say, just go, how do I know? And ready?
[00:33:45] Ben: Just do it. If you haven’t done it, you’re not ready when you’re doing it. You’re done. It’s that easy. Oh man. Very binary. Yeah. I
[00:33:54] Jordan: completely agree.
[00:33:56] Amy: In my mind. It’s a lot more complicated than that.
You make it seem very simple. All
[00:34:02] Jordan: right. It is until it’s not. And then you’re rolling down here. And then your own inertia just takes over.
[00:34:10] Amy: All right. I am excited. Catch me in a few years. All right. Thank you very much, Jordan and Ben for joining the podcast, Jordan, if we want to find you and what you’re working on online.
[00:34:27] Jordan: You can go to parable.co and in particular, if you want to see how a bunch of weirdos operate a fully transparent company, parable.co/blog is your best place.
[00:34:38] Amy: Sweet and Ben, where can we find you? And what you’re working on online,
[00:34:44] Ben: stole it on com or search Ben Mellon. You’ll find me sooner and lighter.
[00:34:50] Amy: Sweet. All right. Thank you very much, guys. If you like this episode of the hacker noon podcast, don’t forget to do all the things like it, share it, subscribe to it, tell all your friends about it. I would love that. And also this episode was produced by hacker noon, hosted by me, Amy, Tom edited by your lovely audio wizard, Alex.
And you can find us on all these social channels at hacker noon. Stay weird and I’ll see you on the internet. Bye-bye.
Also Featured In
Create your free account to unlock your custom reading experience.