Losing it all, suicide, depression, comeback

We didn’t talk about anything I expected to talk about in this interview. Instead we talked about suicide, alcoholism, and the illusory nature of startup goals.

I’ll interview today’s guest again about how he built his business but this interview is about the inner struggles of entrepreneurship. If you don’t want to hear me get personal with a guest, skip this interview. Go to the next one.

If you are someone who wants to know what goes on in a founder’s head, I don’t know anyone who opens up more than today’s interviewee.

John Saddington is the founder of The Iron Yard, a coding school.

John Saddington

John Saddington

The Iron Yard

John Saddington is the founder of The Iron Yard, a coding school.

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Full Interview Transcript

Andrew: You’re about to hear me introduce this interview and tell you what’s in it. None of what I thought was going to be in this interview actually happened. Instead of what I talked about, we ended up talking about suicide, alcohol, the illusory nature of startup goals, and a bunch of other stuff like that. We will schedule a follow-up interview where John and I are going to talk about everything about his business. This is not that. This is more about the inner issues, inner game of entrepreneurship.

If you’re someone who doesn’t want to hear me get personal with a guest, tune out, go listen to the next one or go listen to someone else’s interview. If you’re someone who does want more of this personal stuff, what’s going on in an entrepreneur’s head, I don’t know of anyone who gets more open than John. This interview is a good example of that. So that is what we’re talking about.

I also forgot to mention my sponsors. So I’ll tell you now. The first sponsor is an event that I’m going to be going to that you’ll see may or may not be a good fit for you. It is called Baby Bathwater. You’ll hear about it in the interview. The second is the company that will host your website right. It’s called HostGator.

All right. Now listen to me do what I thought was going to be the intro with what I thought we were going to talk about and then listen to John and I end up going into the personal parts of entrepreneurship. All right. Here it goes.

Hey there, freedom fighters. My name is Andrew Warner. I am the founder of Mixergy, where I interview entrepreneurs about how they built their businesses. I recently became an LP in a fund. Can I say, John, the name of the fund? At this point I’m allowed to talk about it, right?

John: Sure, probably.

Andrew: Yeah, I think so. They gave me a watch with the name and the logo of the fund on it. I think I’m allowed to say I’m associated with it.

John: And a pretty good party.

Andrew: Yeah, damn good party. It’s called the Hustle Fund. It was founded by past Mixergy customer and fan and interviewee. Eric Bahn is the cofounder of the company. And frankly, it’s not a huge investment that I made in it. I would have paid it even if I don’t make any money out of it at all because of the people I get to meet at their freaking parties.

One of the things I like about being here in San Francisco and then investing in companies in San Francisco is the bonding you have with the people who are there. One of the people who is there is John, who you just heard, John Saddington.

John and I knew each other a while back, lost touch, and we were just having a drink, me a whiskey, him water. We should talk about why. He’s like blowing my mind because he’s got a company that’s doing well and he says, “I’m going to leave it.” I go, “If it’s doing well, why leave it? Or maybe you’re leaving it and you’re BS’ing me about how well it’s doing.” He goes, “No, I’m about to have another kid and I’m going to move on.” I said, “You’re going to move on because you’re going to have another kid? Can’t you do both?” He goes, “No, I’d rather not.”

Then I say, “What are you going to do?” He goes, “Who knows? I’ve done all these other entrepreneurial things in the past.” I go, “I didn’t fully know about it. Like what?” Like a true San Franciscan, instead of just answering me, he gives me a link to his blog, which he’s been keeping up for like over a decade and he goes, “Here it is. Go read about it.” So I have been reading about some of it, John. You’ve done a lot over the years.

John: What’s so crazy, though, is we live like half a mile away from each other or something? I’m in Glen Park and you’re in what?

Andrew: I’m in Noe Valley, and it pisses me off that you were able to find a place so fast and showed me the photos. I went to look near Eric’s place. I can’t find a good place to live. We should figure out how to make that work.

John: All credit goes to my wife.

Andrew: Yeah. That’s the thing that I hate. I hate that it comes down to, “I knew someone,” or, “I did this thing.” I’d much rather it was just an easier process. Anyway, here’s the thing. I said, “I’ve got to have you on Mixergy to talk. Why don’t we pick one company that you can talk about? Can you talk about this thing that you started and you left, Pinpoint, which is engineering analytics for better team performance?” He said, “Yeah, but I’ll be very evasive, essentially, because I just recently left it and I don’t want to piss on what they’re doing by telling you whatever it is that you want to know.”

I said, “How about one of the other companies?” He said, “There is this company that I was a part of that I was a cofounder of and I sold and I think it would be interesting to talk about.” He told me the story of Iron Yard, a coding school boot camp that he cofounded and sold. I said, “Yeah, let’s talk about how you did that and along the way, I might ask you about some of the other businesses and why you can keep starting these companies and do so well,” and he said, “Sure, ask me anything, including about why I’m not drinking alcohol.” So that’s what I invited him here to talk about.

John: All right.

Andrew: John is going to talk a little bit about Iron Yard and a little bit about some of the other projects on his website. If you want to do what he asked me to do at the event, which is go look at the list of all his companies, go check out john.do/cv, what is that? CV is Curriculum Vitae?

John: Yeah, essentially, or resume. I used to use LinkedIn. I still have an account, but LinkedIn is shit.

Andrew: Why? Why is LinkedIn shit?

John: I just think it’s just noisy. I’d rather control most, if I can, the narrative around who I am and what I do. So I just ported all of it to my own website.

Andrew: I see. One of the things my assistant does for me with every interviewee is she goes through their LinkedIn profile and just puts together a list and chronological order of what they did. She couldn’t do it for you.

John: Also, if you go to like all the way to the end, I list not every single job that I’ve ever had, but most if not all of them, including my time as a Publix bag boy, including my time at a meat deli. I’m a software engineer. My descriptions are kind of ridiculous. My time at kind of a tier three collocation facility, where my manager and peers watched porn at night—I write some ridiculous descriptions because they’re all true and I just felt like if I wrote this on LinkedIn, I’d be even more accountable to saying shit about these companies. But it was on my site, it was like—

Andrew: I think it would be okay. Let me ask you this. Of all these different companies, which is the one that made you the most money? I’m a philistine. I’m not an engineer. I don’t care that much about the details or development. I do care about dollars and cents. Which is the one that made you the most money?

John: The one that has made me—the biggest exit was my last one, which I sold to a Fortune 500, Apollo Education Group.

Andrew: We’re talking about The Iron Yard?

John: The Iron Yard. That has actually in aggregate hasn’t made me the most money. It’s mostly my smaller projects. In fact, my macOS app, which was a writing app, won best app of the year from Apple two years in a row. That one has done phenomenal. In fact, I’ve shared publicly the figures and I know you’re a figures guy.

Andrew: What is it? We’re talking about Desk 3?

John: Yeah, Desk version 3. I shared like—

Andrew: Can you give me the number—what is Desk?

John: Desk is a—

Andrew: Not what is Desk. Desk, I know. It’s a writing, blogging, notetaking app. It’s specifically meant for Medium.com.

John: Yeah.

Andrew: Revenue-wise from that.

John: At the highest level, it was making $50,000, $60,000, $70,000 a month.

Andrew: A month?

John: That’s net, not gross. So that’s after Apple taking about 20% to 30%. It’s phenomenal because the app itself is actually not that amazing. It’s a writing app, native writing app for macOS. But I’ve always been fairly opinionated about the products I want to build and almost very much single serve.

So if I can figure out a way to create incredible amount of value in one specific area of a writer’s need or among the list of the needs they have, then my hypothesis is that people would buy it. So, if you actually download it, you might be completely overwhelmed, as you should, but if you’re the person who needs a writing instrument that connects to WordPress specifically or Medium, there’s a Medium version now, then you’d be really happy with it.

Andrew: It’s nothing but a simple box that lets me write my blog post. I didn’t realize it worked for WordPress, WordPress or Medium.

John: Yeah.

Andrew: That’s a thing you did—give me an annual. 2017, what kind of revenue did you pull from that?

John: Last year, I didn’t do so well. It was like $300,000, but the year before, we did like $800,000.

Andrew: See, this is why you can just walk around with confidence, am I right? You can say, “You know what? I’ve got a kid. I’m going to go leave this company I started. I’m going to go start something else.”

John: Well, we both live in San Francisco, and my wife has never worked. Real estate is not exactly cheap. So yes, everything is relative.

Andrew: Even for you, that’s an issue?

John: Well, with home school, private school for my oldest and a number of things, I’ve got debts. I have borrowed money from a number folks and institutions on a lot of projects that didn’t work. I think that’s the secret, the more common secret that no one talks about, especially as an entrepreneur is over the course of your career, you may have a couple really good things that work, but most things radically fail. I’ve gotten into serious debt.

For one iOS app that I kickstarted on Kickstarter.com right before they stopped accepting software projects, I raised about $56,500 on Kickstarter.com. It was awesome. I had no concept of mobile server costs. So I went from like zero to $20,000 a month in server costs through Amazon. I mortgaged my wife’s dream home in Atlanta to finance it. I thought it was going to make money, and then it took another $400,000 in venture on top of my really nice house. In aggregate, that app made about $1,100.

Andrew: Wow. I see.

John: It was like a radical, monumental failure.

Andrew: Why did that app fail?

John: It’s hard to know. I think it can take some very clear guesses, but I think in general, the market didn’t respond to what I thought was an obvious need. I learned some very valuable lessons—to validate as much as you possibly can against real customers, not your fan base. Your fan base is going to buy everything, but your fan base is not going to subsidize a $1 million investment.

Andrew: What was this product?

John: It was called Pressgram.

Andrew: Pressgram.

John: I got on like Fox News. I was on Fox News. I was on MSNBC. I had all this press. It was a complete and utter total disaster. It took me years to come out from under that debt.

Andrew: What you were thinking was there’s Instagram out there, but people shouldn’t be publishing their photos to someone else’s site. They should be publishing it to a site they own themselves. Let’s do this Instagram on the WordPress platform. That’s why gram from Instagram, press from WordPress. You married them together and you said, “Great, people are going to buy this,” and that’s the thing they didn’t buy. You spent that much money building it?

John: Yeah. I spent 14 months building it full-time, which for my salary, was a lot. Then I sold my wife’s home, which was an incredible like 1918 craftsman-style home in historic Cameron Park in Atlanta. It was an unbelievable home. But we had to mortgage it because I thought this was it. My wife was completely supportive. We turned on monetization in version two and in total, it was about $1,136. It was one of those moments where I think—one of the worst moments of my life, for sure, but one of those moments, I just kind of sat there and was like, “Holy fuck, this totally failed.”

Andrew: I’m biting my pen out of frustration just hearing the story.

John: And there’s no way to like reconfigure the narrative and spin it positively. No. This was an absolute, abject failure. My wife and my two kids are going to have to pay literally for this. So I moved my wife and two kids into a smaller apartment than the one I got married in when we didn’t have kids, and we had to completely restart our lives.

Andrew: How was it talking to your wife about this? Were you guys angry at each other? Take me to the bad part. Let’s not just brush it over and make it seem like these are some of the bumps on the road as an entrepreneur. Let’s be real here. Give me an example of a time when you guys had to deal with this and it was painful as a couple.

John: There were so many. I’ve been married for 12 years. Thank the Lord she stuck by me through all of it. We’ve talked about divorce maybe three and a half times. We’ve printed out the papers.

Andrew: Wow.

John: I signed them. She didn’t. But what’s funny is that wasn’t the first thing, the first major failure in our marriage. When I got married—we got married right out of college. I got a couple jobs right out of college, made some really terrible decisions based on some really shitty advice from a career counselor but got fired with my first two jobs within the first six months. I couldn’t even last three months for my first two jobs out of college. We had like $206 to our name. We got pregnant right after we got married. I moved her when she was pregnant into a room above my parents’ garage. That’s how we started our marriage. That was rock bottom as well.

But for her, she loved me and she was committed to see me pursue the work that I wanted to do. So, in the very beginning of our married life, I knew that I had a keeper, someone who didn’t need—

Andrew: Still, you were the one to sign the divorce papers, not her. What caused you to get to the point that you wanted to break it off?

John: I think probably like many of your listeners as a creative person, I spend a lot of time in my head and a lot of those voices in my head are very negative. I don’t think I suffer from imposter syndrome, but I know of some friends who do. I am my biggest critic and my worst critic. I always think that I can do infinitely better than I am able to do. So I disappoint myself a lot. Add the struggles with a bunch of mental disorders that I have as well as alcoholism, you just get this really wicked combination. So I made some poor decisions with my life, and I am just so grateful that I have a wife that supports me through them.

Andrew: The poor decisions meaning work?

John: Work, alcohol, for sure. I am actually celebrating a year and 16 days sober.

Andrew: Wow.

John: So this is fairly recent, actually. I just crossed a year of being sober, and I am so grateful because those are some really rough years.

Andrew: I almost want to dump out the whole outline we have for this conversation about work and just talk to you about what’s going on in your head and do another interview where we talk about any one of the companies that you did, maybe starting with Iron Yard.

John: Here’s the thing. What I appreciate about you and I think I’ve really enjoyed hearing your interviews over the many years you’ve been doing it—I don’t think some people realize how long you’ve been doing this, grinding on the same damn thing.

For a lot of entrepreneurs, the companies are just—it’s almost like for all the highfalutin talk and all the sexy appeal of being in Silicon Valley, life is still happening. The people that you meet, they’re still on Tinder at night because they’re lonely. They’re drinking themselves to sleep because they’re so tired. They’re overweight. They’re anxious. The company is not like the biggest challenge that they have. It’s their lives, it’s living a healthy lifestyle.

Andrew: I actually think it’s the company that makes people live unhealthy lives, and I didn’t realize to what degree until here. Maybe it’s people who are working 12-hour days for a bigger company, but also it’s the entrepreneurs that are here. The highs and lows are really tough. I think you mentioned that alcoholism is a much bigger problem than people are willing to admit and talk about publicly. I think a lot of us are failures at times, maybe for most of our lives and we can’t talk about it. I’m kind of surprised to hear you talk so openly about it.

John: I want it to be less taboo. One of my goals as a parent—I’ve got an 11 and a 7-year old and now a 5-week old. So I’m tired as hell. But I want to remove the taboo around the number of topics that I’ve had to struggle with because, as far as I can tell, their lives are not going to be a radical departure from mine. I think they’re very creative. They’re probably going to be in technology, maybe. I don’t know and I don’t care.

They’re still going to have to deal with relational challenges. They’re still going to have to answer the existential questions of who they are, what they should do with their lives, who are they doing them with. If we don’t talk about the difficulties of life in a very candid, honest and open format, then my kids are going to struggle with a lot more than they should.

Andrew: Right. I get being open with them. Why be open with me? You know what, John? You have this list of companies that you’ve been a part of, these successes that you could champion. You could ignore completely the setbacks and more people would want to work with you, more people would want to invest in you. More people would want you as an advisor. More people would want to participate in what you’re doing. I actually think that in some ways, it hurts your ability to get more projects to be that open, don’t you agree?

John: I couldn’t disagree with you more. A couple things—the first one is this is therapy. Part of my recovery process as an alcoholic and ass someone who has anxiety disorder, as a suicide survivor is to talk as openly as I possibly can. These things have happened. There’s no changing the past. Me walking forward in healing and recovery is being to see them for what they were and then continue to move forward away from them. To do that, I need to be able to conversate in a way that’s healthy, in a way that’s respectful of the people in my life who have been hurt by it, and I think that’s important.

I think the second most important thing is to remember that when you showcase vulnerability to another human being, 99 out of 100 times, maybe 1 out of 100, but 99 out of 100 times, the vast majority of the people that you interface with when you become vulnerable, they leave that conversation respecting you more. I have had—my at bat rate is so fucking high that it’s continued a virtuous cycle.

Andrew: I think it’s both, though. I think if all you did was come out here and say, “Listen to all my failures. Here’s how I am a suicide survivor and alcoholic,” and so on, it would be a bit of a downer and people wouldn’t want to listen to the rest of it. But if you balance it, I think they’re more interested, and then the tougher parts of your life are what they grab on to and feel like they know you better and connect with you better and care about you more.

John: I think that’s fair. What’s interesting being here—you know this because you’re here as well—is there’s enough success stories to buoy the entire industry. You need to walk outside or down Market and you encounter all the big names. Every product that most people have used was born on Market Street or just further down south.

There’s enough success stories to buoy the industry ad infinitum, for all eternity. What we don’t hear enough are folks who are coming online and saying despite the success, my marriage was destroyed. Despite the exit, I’m an alcoholic. So I think my job, what I’ve taken up as a cross, so to speak, is I want to fill in that gap.

Andrew: I’ve got to be honest with you. This is me being a jerk, but I’ve got to be open in these interviews too. I would let my marriage get destroyed for my work 100%. I feel like if I’m doing something that’s meaningful with my life, any marriage, mine or someone else’s could be sacrificed for it. I wouldn’t let my relationship with my kids go, but I would absolutely be willing to be an alcoholic and a drug addict—I don’t even like drugs—in order to see my business succeed if it’s a business that I care about. 100% it would not be at all an issue for me.

My bigger challenge with this city, and with this whole startup mentality, is that there are a lot of people giving up a whole lot for nothing. There is this belief that look at all these companies that have exited and until you ask the founder about exit and what they sold for, you don’t realize they exited for peanuts and along the way, they didn’t make as much money as they would have if they had a decent-paying job.

As a result of that sham, people are sacrificing a lot for an illusory goal, for something that is hardly ever going to happen. So you don’t have a really good understanding of the statistics. You don’t have a good understanding of what the lifestyle is like. You go hang out with people. You see they’re having a good time, a good life. You hear some of them talk about how they exited, and as a result, they have all this money. In reality, they’re not having a good life along the way and they don’t win at the end, so what are we sacrificing for? That’s the part that frustrates me, the part we need more openness.

John: I think we’re seeing a reflex as a whole. Is it surprising that a lot of people who have had a lot of sexual misconduct in the Silicon Valley in the Bay are also simultaneously the most wealthy? That’s not a surprise to me. Wealth does not create happiness, I think. I think it can create a lot of good, but there isn’t a ceiling to earning money. I think that’s something that I’ve had to wrestle with as an entrepreneur, especially with investors is they’re investing in you and your responsibility, your job is to give them a return. That ceiling should not be capped. At the same time, it’s like you’ve started building stuff, I’ve started building stuff, not because we thought we could necessarily make $1 million or even more, it’s because we wanted to.

Andrew: I did it because—for both reasons. Let me take a moment to talk about my sponsor and then here’s the thing I think I’m doing as a mistake here in this interview—we’re talking in generalities. You heard me talk about lots of entrepreneurs who think they’re getting this thing because lots of other entrepreneurs are making—let’s talk in specifics, specifically about your life. I’ll get open where it makes sense about my life.

But first, I should tell people about my first sponsor. I have an obligation to them. It’s an event called Baby Bathwater. It’s the kind of conversation you and I are having right here, John. These guys at Baby Bathwater said that is the best part of conferences, to get to talk to someone for five minutes and have this really good interaction. That is the best part of a conference.

They said look, we’re throwing out conferences and not going to conferences because there’s a lot of what they consider bathwater, which is the wasted time of listening to speakers go on endlessly about the bullshit they think they learn, when in reality, they’re just putting up slides and they don’t know jack. They said, “Why don’t we have this kind of event?” We go out somewhere kind of isolated, just entrepreneurs like us who can talk openly like this and as a way of making sure that anyone who comes to the conference first of all is accomplished.

They’re not just trying to get in and trying to get to know people, number one, and number two, is willing to get this kind of open and have this kind of conversation. They are insisting that anyone who wants to come actually apply to do it. So, I’m going to go there. Since I’m going to go there, I thought I would invite anyone who’s listening to this to apply to go and be a part of it. If you want to, if this kind of event calls you, go check out BabyBathwater.com/Mixergy.

When you go there, you’re going to get that autoplaying video, which is kind of cool, but I had to pause it. You’re also going to get a big discount off of signing up. You’ll read more about it. You’ll get a sense of the entrepreneurs who have been there. My suggestion to you guys is if you’re interested, you might want to reach out to one of the entrepreneurs who you see on this page who’s gone there before and apply now so that you can have a conversation with one of the two cofounders about whether this is going to be a good fit for you.

They want to make sure that if you’re getting into this event that you are the kind of person who can have this conversation and not just feel like I’m hear to listen in, like I’m a gossip monger, but someone who can hear other people, get open and then bring your issues and have other people talk to you openly about how to deal with them and how they dealt with it and so on. It’s called BabyBathwater.com/Mixergy. Go check it out.

If you’re there, I’ll be there too. We’re going to have scotch over there because I still do drink. We’re going to talk super openly. Really, I encourage you, if you know any of the people who are on that page, don’t just take for granted that there are like quotes from people who have been to past events. Just contact them and say, “What did you think of Baby Bathwater?” before you go. I think if it’s the right fit for you, then the reaction you’re going to get is going to tell you go get in there right away—BabyBathwater.com/Mixergy.

All right. You know what? I am going to scrap the Iron Yard story. I want to do it. I’d love to have you back. I know I’m kind of risking, John, not having you back because you just had a baby and what the hell is in it for you for doing this interview and coming back again and doing another interview, I’m not promoting anything for you, but I’m going to just take a risk and maybe this interview will suck ass because I’m going to off script here or maybe it’s going to be something really meaningful. Are you cool with that?

John: Totally.

Andrew: Okay. Tell me about the suicide situation. When did you do that?

John: That was my freshman year in college. So I have struggled scholastically my entire life. I’ve never been a good student. I’ve never wanted to do things the way that I guess is traditionally taught. I wasn’t very good at math. I was fairly good with words and language. So I think the systems began to break in college, where I realized that I was not nearly as scholastically inclined, and all I saw was a very, very, very dark future.

Andrew: What was that dark future for you? When you looked in the future, what did you imagine you were going to be?

John: I thought I was going to be—I wanted to be a computer scientist, a programmer. I was. I had been writing computer software since I was 15, actually for Fortune companies. I was fairly accomplished, already making revenue. But I could not pass my basic computer science courses because, one, I think I was an arrogant prick, but two, I didn’t care so much about theory or the philosophy of computer science and programming. I just wanted to build stuff. So sleeping through class, not doing the assignments and failing out.

Andrew: Literally you failed out. I think you wrote on your blog you ended up going somewhere and crying about it. You had a breakdown because you cared that much.

John: It was a combination of a number of things. I also drank myself silly. Over a couple of months—I think a girl broke up with me as well. There’s always a girl, right? So a culmination of those things, I realized my life is so pathetic.

Everyone around me has what appeared to be working through their freshman year just fine, I’m sure everyone was totally fucked mentally, but I felt like the wheels were coming off. My father, it’s not his fault, but he had modeled—he’s been very successful as a businessman. I was the oldest of five kids. I had this overwhelming pressure to perform to model what was to be a good scholastic education person, student, and I was failing in every avenue.

So I ended up taking—overdosing on sleeping medication. Luckily, I woke up mid-vomit and I phoned my uncle, who had actually gone to Georgia Tech as well. He was in the Lawrenceville/Suwanee area. I said, “I need help. I think I’ve taken way too much.” He drove right over and took me to the hospital. I began my recovery. I took a semester off, kind of reevaluated my life and said, “I’m never going to graduate from computer science. I don’t even know if they’ll accept me back.”

But an advocate within one of the engineering departments came alongside me and said, “Hey, I believe in you. We’ll cobble together essentially a makeshift career educational path so maybe you can graduate, but you have to get straight A’s because your GPA is like 1.1 or something.” So I was able to graduate and that was good.

Andrew: So you were both arrogant, like cocky, and at the same time doubtful about your own abilities and where you were going in the world. Does that keep going on in your head, this sense of, “I can do anything,” and, “I’m nothing?” Is that still there?

John: I think most creative people—I think most entrepreneurs, as far as I can tell, struggle with those things simultaneously. It’s I feel like I can build a rocket ship and go to Mars, and yet I can’t remember to do my fucking laundry.

Andrew: I do both of those, but I also feel like I think I can do this great this thing or maybe I’m delusional and I’m really a failure who convinced himself that I can do this great thing.

John: Absolutely. Most of the time as I go through the day, I think none of this matters. It’s not making any impact. Any statistics or data-driven decision is absolute horseshit. Whatever happened yesterday is not enough to get me through today. I should just give up and I should just go and do something else, maybe go back to Publix and be a bag boy.

It sounds funny coming from someone who has done okay, but the insecurities never go away, especially for engineers or software developers or people who are in the business of knowledge working. We do a lot of work in our heads, and I think those are also where our demons lie as well. So I’m constantly thinking, “I can’t do this,” and at the same time thinking, “I can fucking do this.” It’s this whiplash that—

Andrew: Have you tried committing suicide since then?

John: I have not. I’ve had many suicidal thoughts, but I have not made an attempt.

Andrew: Was there an external event that pushed you to one set of suicide thoughts?

John: I think the combination of alcohol and the girlfriend was probably the thing that shot me over the edge.

Andrew: What about since then? Is there anything work-related that made you start thinking about it or relationship-related?

John: Definitely. I think when I first came out here to Silicon Valley, I sold my company, had some money and I knew that I wanted to build another one. I’m 35. I’m old here in the Bay, but there’s still a couple bullets left in the cartridge. I knew I wanted to build something. But my wife, I’d moved her 15 times in 10 years of marriage for the various different companies that had been built. She was, “Yeah, we’re going to head out there finally, but don’t start a new company,” which meant I had to go get a fucking job.

So I started applying to jobs. That was incredibly foreign. It had been such a long time since I applied for a job. But quickly, I found some folks who were interested in my skill set and my background. I got a job out here and I got fired within the first like—I think I lasted 87 days.

Andrew: Of what?

John: It was a Y Combinator company. They raised $2.5 million, your typical seed series. It was just a classic, like I don’t want to be too mean. The cofounders split up like two weeks after I arrived. So that wasn’t really my fault, but there was so much dysfunction within the founding team that there’s no recovery when one of the founders literally quits. So I’m surprised they even lasted 87 straight days. They eventually fired me because I had opinions about how to run a company because I had done it a couple times.

So that was really depressing. It was my first job outside of my own company. I just couldn’t hack it. I felt like a failure. I took a month off and then said, “Well, shit, let me try again.” So I had built some relationships. I had a fairly good relational network. I found another Y Combinator company. They had raised like $19 million on a series A. They had a ton of runway. They had a great—it seemed like a great team.

They were in the on-demand ecommerce food space like a lot of companies out here in the Bay. I think I lasted 50 days or maybe just shy of 50 days, and ultimately the founder was booted from the company, left in disgrace and deported. Long story short, I believe he was having sex with girls on his team.

Andrew: What company was this?

John: I’d rather not say.

Andrew: Okay.

John: I got fired within the first 40 or 50 days because I started seeing issues operationally. I was the first kind of outside executive to come in. I started seeing things that were not operationally ethical, I suppose.

Andrew: This is external problems. At this point, do you start doubting yourself? First of all, you shouldn’t have gotten a job and you were forced to get a job. I heard after that first firing where you stayed 87 days, I read on your site that you had to get a $7 an hour job at Kinko’s. You moved into your parents’ garage with your wife.

John: That was in the beginning of my marriage. I’m talking about like—

Andrew: This is later on.

John: Yeah.

Andrew: Does this start to send you into some kind of spiral?

John: Yes. I don’t know if you’ve ever gotten fired. I’ve been fired maybe four or five times in my life. It never gets easier. It only gets more painful.

Andrew: Because?

John: Because every anxiety that you have even as a child becomes very apparent. You look at yourself in the mirror and say, “No one likes me, no one loves me, no one wants me. I’m worthless.” Even as a fully functional, somewhat functional adult, I still have those anxieties. Do people like me? Do they want to be my friend? Do they want to work with me? Do I have what it takes? You get fired once, it’s really devastating. You get fired again, which I did, like back to back, and then I tried a third time. I took a month off. I took my family to Hawaii for like 11 or 12 days, which was fantastic. I tried again. I think I lasted 19 days. I started and got fired within the first month.

So you had three consecutive dismissals. It’s kind of like what happens here in the Bay. After three quick firings, you kind of look in the mirror like, “God, you suck.” That’s all I could see. I went through all five stages of grief, denial to being emotional distraught to being angry and dismissive. But I was angry. I was so angry that I couldn’t hack it, couldn’t make it, no one wanted me. That’s when I said, “Well, fuck it. I’m going to go start building companies again.” My wife, who’s just seeing me through those six months or whatever, she said, “Yeah, you are miserable. Go do what you’re good at, which is build stuff.”

Andrew: Yeah. It’s not like you got a job and at least are able to pay the bills and are able to pay a salary. You’re giving up this craziness for no money.

John: Which is actually what you were talking about earlier. There’s a lot of people here looking for the dream and when they can make a lot more money if they just work for Amazon down the street.

Andrew: Or giving up on ideas because they seem too little or too small in comparison to what people are doing. You’ve got to tell people, what’s your brother doing that you now are working with? I think many times in my life, I would have said, “This is too tiny what he’s doing. He’s making a mistake.” In reality, I shouldn’t be comparing it to Tesla and saying, “Because it’s not Tesla, it’s not worth it.” I should be saying, “What’s the opportunity today? How is he growing it?” Evaluating it differently.

John: I don’t know what your demographic is. We may be right in the middle or we may be older than most folks who listen. As I’ve gotten older, my value systems have changed. The things that I once valued are kind of put on the top of the stack rank for what I wanted to do have become a lot lower.

So, as I was making some wild decisions this year, I cofounded a company. We raised about $3 million seed series from two incredible tier one VCs, one out of New York City, one here in the Bay. I realized I was going to have a third kid, and we were done having kids seven years ago. So this was a colossal, seismic shift in the trajectory of my life both personally and professionally. So, long story short, I resigned from that company, which is doing very well.

But this summer, I was reflecting, trying to figure out like new kid on the way, need to get back in this mode, have no fucking idea what I want to do now. This has totally fucked up everything. It’s an incredibly like strange emotion to be angry at your kid who hasn’t shown up, and I was just like livid, just livid that this miracle was going to fuck up my entire plan. That’s probably another story for another time.

This summer, I was hanging out with my twin brother. I was just like, “I have no idea what I want to do with my life, but what are you working on?” That’s what a lot of my career has been, “What are you working on? Can I help?” He’s like, “Hey, I’m working on some stuff in the blockchain space, cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, blockchain.” I just started working with him because he’s my twin brother and I love him and I needed a safe place to do work.

As things often happen, because I was at peace with myself, because I didn’t feel the pressure to perform, because I didn’t doubt my ability to create value, things have worked out really well. So it’s not surprising, but it does take me by surprise. It’s one of those things where you realize, “Things are working. I don’t deserve this at all, but it’s really fucking working. Am I doing something wrong? It’s really fucking wrong. It’s going to come off anytime.” We’ve been having a lot of fun. I think that’s been really good for me.

Andrew: All right. I’m going to talk about my second sponsor and then I want to come back and see did you notice any patterns that led you to—are there any patterns that you’ve seen that led to the successful companies, having been a part of companies that didn’t work out and those that did.

All right. My second sponsor is a company called HostGator, where anyone can go and create as many websites as they want. Let me ask you this. If you had nothing right now, you go back to living in your parents’ garage, Sean. You have nothing except Andrew walks in and says, “I’m going to buy you an annual HostGator package. You can create unlimited domains. What would do with that today?”

John: There’s so many different things. I think I would start doing a combination of products and services.

Andrew: Products and services. So what do you mean by that?

John: Honestly, I got a big start in my career with building small websites. So I’d probably go back to that.

Andrew: Building websites for people. So you’d put together a website saying, “I build websites. If you want me to build a website for you, here’s the button where you can press and schedule a call with me.”

John: It’s kind of crazy, even services like HostGator, how much—you and I live in a world where it’s like, “Creating a website? That’s so fucking easy.” The reality is the vast majority of people have no idea. So services like HostGator are absolutely required still.

Andrew: Would you focus on a specific type of website or specific type of person that would get it?

John: I’ve always started with small businesses. I’ve gone back to working at SMB, building products for small businesses multiple times in my career because they have the greatest need and they don’t have much money, but god, they have heart. If you build a solid relationship with them, then they’ll do you a solid as well.

Andrew: What kind of small and medium size business would you build websites for?

John: Mom-and-pop shops. One of the first small companies I built was building small websites for a particular street in Atlanta. It was for like first and second generation immigrants. So we went to like Hispanic communities, me and my business partners, into the Korean community in Duluth, Georgia and we just literally walked down the strip malls like, “Do you have a website?” Back in the day, they didn’t have any. So everyone was like, “Yes, we need a website. Can we give you groceries in exchange for a website?” At the time, it was like, “Sure, why not? I’ll take groceries.”

Andrew: But services are a great way to start because you take what you have, which is your skill that doesn’t cost any money, which is what you know and then start applying it and create the product yourself and then you start hiring people to take on smaller and smaller and then increasingly bigger tasks and then you end up with a services business. Eventually, maybe you come up with a product they need that they wish somebody made, and then that’s the product you create for them.

John: That’s right.

Andrew: If you guys are out there and you want to take on that idea, frankly, HostGator would be a great place to go because they’ll give you unlimited domains. They make installation of software like WordPress so simple because they’ve got one-click installs. They have unmetered bandwidth so they’re not going to pester you about bandwidth, about how many people come to your site. I was trying to come up with a use case for that.

Here’s what you do—go to HostGator.com/Mixergy. When you go there, you’re going to get 50% to 60% off their already low prices. You also get tagged as somebody that I sent over and frankly, you’ll also be supporting these interviews. Once you do, you’re going to find that the creativity will just come out of you. Once you have one of these accounts and you can create anything, you’ll find yourself creating stuff that you never could have anticipated when you signed up.

So go to HostGator.com/Mixergy, sign up, get your site and send me links to what you guys are building. I love seeing what you guys are out there building. All right. You’ve tried a bunch of things, speaking of building, John. What have you noticed that works that is part of your toolbox?

John: I was actually talking with my brother about this the other day, going back to getting older, wiser and more beat up. You asked me a question during the break whether there was a couple patterns of behavior and thinking that aligned with success, kind of the positive outcomes that typically people think. There was one thing that immediately came to mind. That was the things that were the most intellectually stimulating have always driven me to do better work. Better work does not necessarily guarantee success, but man, it’s a fantastic fundamental ingredient.

So, for what I’m doing now in blockchain, the level of intellectual stimulus is off the charts. I have not been so technologically challenged. And then also principally and philosophically challenged around the computer science than I have in a long, long time.

Andrew: This is like the inner kid, the younger John who used to play with Lego and erector sets and tinker toys, who just liked to get lost for hours and build. This is what leads to you being successful, that if you’re so lost in the project that you can’t stop it, that’s one of the keys to success.

John: Yeah. I think you know this, there’s a very clear relationship between play and I think ingenuity and production. When you feel like you are just playing, time seems to slow down or seems to be maximized and capitalized and your production and quality of production goes up. Right now, I just feel like I’m playing.

Andrew: So your brother started out by doing what in blockchain that you got excited about?

John: It’s actually a really interesting story. I don’t think we’ve ever shared the genesis of this. I think this will be a perfect use case of how this creativity is limitless in how things operate. So I started—this goes all the way back to December 6th maybe of last year when I challenged myself to do a vlog every day for 365 days. I like to give myself creative challenges. I’m not a video production or sound engineer. I knew video was kind of a big deal.

Andrew: A vlog, video daily about your life. That’s what vlogging is.

John: I had some kind of ridiculous theoretical goals that maybe my YouTube channel would become awesome. It has not. It totally sucks. But I completed a year of uploading at least one video to my YouTube channel every single day. It was a slog. It was one of the most challenging year-long projects I’ve ever done. I will never repeat it.

But I learned so much about the technology, etc. as you might imagine. Halfway through this summer as I was reformatting my life, I challenged my brother because I was so fucking lonely uploading videos by myself, I just needed some help. I said, “Dude, you should try uploading YouTube videos too.” He took that challenge. He’s also very creative and he said, “Sure, I’ll do that too. What should I talk about?” He went through a number of iterations, some more embarrassing than others. He tried political commentary. He tried esports. He tried playing video games full-time.

That was terrible. He tried a couple different iterations on his YouTube channel. He finally asked himself the very hard but important question of, “What do I really like? What am I doing right now?” It was blockchain. He had been investing since 2011. So it was like, “What if I just start talking in my YouTube videos about Bitcoin and blockchain.” That was the perfect marriage. It had to go through a number of different iterations. That was the perfect marriage. It had to go through a number of different iterations.

So the great irony is that out of my creative project, I challenged my twin brother. I was not succeeding in it insofar as gaining popularity or subscribers, but his took off like a rocket. He went from zero to 20,000 in a couple months and it just eclipsed me.

Andrew: Subscribers. You’re at like 1,400 still.

John: 1,400 yeah. It’s paltry. It worked. So it was one of those things where it keeps you humble. I’m looking at my twin brother, which I love and respect, and I’m like, “Fucking shit. You did that as an accident and it’s working. You’re having a ton of fun, much more fun than I am. I’m slogging through uploading a video every day. I will complete it.” And I did, but it’s just play for him. So he started building and I kept up to date with it and said, “Hey, what if we started building some infrastructure around that community?” Long story short, now we’re formally putting together a company. It all started with being intellectually stimulated and seeing an opportunity and then capitalizing on it.

Andrew: So him creating videos about cryptocurrency then led you to saying, “What if we create a community of people where they could talk to each other and learn from us based on what we’re learning?” and then you’re coding that up and then the software that you’re using to create his community you’re going to use to create other communities, or is it going to be just one community?

John: Technically, if we are a purist, the decentralized nature of blockchain, then it will be everyone’s community. But I think for us, what we’re trying to figure out is can a legitimate, technology-based business be built on top of blockchain and Bitcoin and all the obvious energy and enthusiasm around it or we too early? I have been in an industry, fast growing industry but I have been too early. I know what that’s like.

I’m not naïve enough to believe today that legitimate, longstanding businesses, businesses of worth are starting today. I think there’s a lot of foam, a lot of frothiness, a lot of excitement. I think the vast majority of the companies that are started right now probably won’t be here a couple of years. So the question, of course, for my brother and I as we’re putting this together is what we’re building today, is it going to be around in 10 years? We don’t have an answer to that quite yet.

Andrew: And it’s still bringing in revenue. Before we started the interview, you and I were talking about it. Can you talk publicly about what the revenue is and where it’s coming from?

John: Yeah. Absolutely. So this is so new, so we’re still experimenting rapidly. But we built the community site, and we thought we built the community site for his YouTube channels built on Ember.js and PostgreS—

Andrew: What’s the community site URL?

John: TheBitcoin.pub.

Andrew: TheBitcoin.pub.

John: Yeah. We built it because he had this incredible amount of comments on his YouTube channel and he just needed a better way to manage it. We had no grand scheme of building a community site. We just needed to build some tooling to help his community and for him to communicate his community. First month, it did over a million page views. We were like, “Holy fuck.”

I think I quadrupled the size of the architecture within the first month. It was absolutely ridiculous. They were like, “Holy shit, people are communicating with each other,” which again, you kind of look at it and you’re like, “God, John, you’ve done this a thousand times. This is so obvious.” It’s not in the moment. It’s always very serendipitous and feels very new, like I’ve never done it before.

So we built that, and we said what if we started advertising on the YouTube channel and what if we asked people to pay. So we booted up Patreon.com to see if some of our community members would financially support our creative work as budding video creators. We’re both software engineers. So it’s the funniest thing ever. 300 people showed up to the tune of $5,000 or $6,000, which is clearly not enough to support fully both of us, but it was one of those moments where you’re just like, “Holy shit, people are willing to support this.” What if we could start using our real estate within the YouTube channel to start advertising? So the next month, we experimented with that and that made $32,000.

Andrew: From running ads for what, for ICOs?

John: Yeah, for ICOs or other blockchain companies. These weren’t like true—they were just interviews, ones like the one we’re doing right now, totally off the cuff, no quality control, essentially. But there was so much money in this entire industry that we’re able to do that.

Andrew: Got it.

John: That paid for a lot of the architecture, a lot of the costs, which are mounting and growing quickly. I think that was a clear moment where my brother and I looked at each other like, “Fuck, this is making a lot of money where the IRS is going to start caring about where all this money is going.” So we either double down and formalize a business and began to go that route, or we reconfigure all this and go our separate ways. We ultimately decided that we’re going to build a business together.

Andrew: You guys are partnering up in this business?

John: Yeah.

Andrew: I’m trying to figure out his video strategy.

John: We don’t have a video strategy.

Andrew: In the last three hours, we’re recording on a Wednesday evening. In the last three hours, he published five videos—

John: We have 20 in the hopper.

Andrew: Six videos.

John: I should be publishing right now, but I’m talking with you.

Andrew: It’s just pump out as many videos—maybe it’s every piece of news gets its own video because some people like to consume news that way and some of them are going to become hits?

John: We’re still experimenting. We believe there is a clear white space for video news around the blockchain space. We’ve created some software and hardware to automate our process of delivery, of production. Again, we’re both software engineers and product people. If we can automate a lot of the manual processes around video production and content development, then fuck, we will.

So I think that’s our magic sauce right now is we have totally annihilated a market in terms of video production. There’s not a single other YouTuber on the planet, I think I can say that with confidence in this particular space that can touch us with content development. We know that as software engineers, if we can automate that, it’s only going to start compounding in value, because the industry is so new.

Andrew: The ability to create video fast. That’s what you’re saying?

John: Video fast. Right.

Andrew: And high quality, the production is not that bad either.

John: But because it’s so early, no one’s doing this. So there’s this whitespace that we’re walking into. We believe, our hypothesis is that there’s a lot of money on the back end if we can do it well and right. We could be sorely mistaken, and we can have a lot of laughs at the end of the day. A lot of these videos that our kids are laughing at—you actually see my brother’s kids walk in and out of the videos. You’ll see my kids walk in out of my videos as well. I think that—

Andrew: This is the thing that shocks me. For me, when I was doing Mixergy in the early days, I had a business before that was doing $30+ million. To get up and do a podcast where it’s a few thousand people listening, back then it was hardly even that, where some kid who did some viral video falling off of a skateboard got bigger traffic, I was a little too embarrassed about it.

I wasn’t going to boast or talk about the future. I kept it to myself, and then I also even myself said this is small compared to what other people are doing. You don’t do that. How is it that someone who is suicidal, who has these negative thoughts of himself also has these positive thoughts to the point where you say, “No, this YouTube video could end up being like holy shit, so exciting?” Where does that come from?

John: I think when you see—after my attempted suicide back in college, I had a moment of clarity is what they call it, where I said, wow, life is incredibly short. I began to deeply care about my own mortality and the time I have left on this Earth. That was part of my therapy and recovery was thinking positively about the potential of having a fulfilling life. So I have to consistently remind myself that there’s so many positive things in life. It’s hope that I grasp on to. There’s something on the other side of all this depression, anxiety, even alcoholism that is good.

Andrew: This is you shifting your focus to that, that if you start to think where am I, I’ve got this new kid, this new kid could actually change my life for the negative. We all have these thoughts. You actually have to say, “Where’s the future that I want to go to? What’s the positive that I want need to get to?” How much of it is you using a system or a process to get yourself to focus on that and how much is it naturally you doing it today?

John: The only remedy that I have discovered for me, and it’s not prescriptive of anyone else listening, is to get back to work. Busy hands keep my mind pacing in a positive direction. When I find enough time to just sit and meditate about all that can go possibly wrong—I’m the CEO of this company, technical CEO of this company, everything is an existential crisis.

So, if I give myself enough time to literally think about all that could possibly go wrong, then that’s when things typically go wrong. But if I can get back to building software, back to serving the community, back to building product, my mind follows my hands, so to speak, and I am kept from the edge.

Andrew: So it’s just about sitting and doing the work.

John: Yeah, sitting and doing the work. It’s not sexy, but man, does it help me not drink.

Andrew: Did you find yourself drinking when you were feeling down or just a natural habit?

John: A lot of different opinions on alcoholism, but for those listening, yes. For me, it was both a remedy and an escape. I wanted to feel less pain. I wanted to drink to get drunk and pass out so I didn’t have to think.

Andrew: Give me an example of a time when you were thinking in the wrong way, thinking negatively and you turned to alcohol as a way of dealing with it.

John: This was in the last year, just outside of a year. Last year, this time was when I made the big decision to become sober and follow the path towards sobriety. I have this unbelievable dark thought, which my psychologist, my therapist helps analyze for me, but I’m adopted. So I was given away or given up as a young child with my twin brother in an orphanage. So, psychologically, I’ve got a lot of baggage.

Out of that experience, out of that beginning, I told myself that I didn’t deserve anything good. And consequently, when something good does happen, when something positive happens in my life, I feel that that is counter to what should be happening, which is, “John, you don’t deserve anything good. You deserve something bad.” Alcohol was a solution. When things go really well, my goal was to knock myself back down to reality.

Andrew: To where you belonged, which is—

John: Where I belong, which is closer to the dirt halfway, foot in the grave. So I’ll give you a very clear example. When we were raising venture capital, which was incredibly difficult. Despite being here in the Bay, it’s still hard. It’s still a slog. We had closed some significant capital from tier one VCs, and we were drinking, kind of like celebrating down on Market Street, meeting with some of the LPs and stuff.

I just was sitting there and had a moment where it was like, “Good god, this is amazing. I’ve done it. I’ve cofounded a Silicon Valley based company. That was my hope. That’s why I came out here. I don’t deserve a single moment of glory. I don’t deserve a single moment of rest. I’m going to drink as much as I possibly can because that’s what I deserve. I deserve nothing good.” I found myself biking down Market Street without a helmet and blacking out and then suddenly coming to and almost getting hit by one of the trains, the Muni cars and dying.

That was a moment in late November last year when I was like, “Holy shit, you’ve lost complete control.” Your wife is going to be a widow. Your kids are not going to have a dad, and you are out of control.” That was a very clear moment. So it all goes back to when things are moving forward positively, I think I deserve something negative. I try to self-sabotage. So I decided to get sober.

Andrew: Wow. Has it been hard to be sober?

John: Absolutely. I dream of alcohol.

Andrew: You find yourself sitting—do you watch a movie and see someone drink and think I want to have that?

John: I want it so bad.

Andrew: Wow. The hardest thing for me, I think, would be around the social aspect of it. We got to this event where drinking was a big part of it, where you and I connected last, and you’re not drinking.

John: Sparkling water.

Andrew: Do you feel like less of a man for drinking sparkling water instead of a drink?

John: I would lie if I said was completely comfortable going to social situations and not drinking. It feels like I’m unable to interact as socially as I want. But the clarity I’ve had in the last year being sober, I’ve been able to do things I can’t even remember ever being able to do, being intellectually on point with the work I’m doing, building software, being present with my kids and not being so stupid with my wife. There have been net positives. The positives have been so great that it keeps me from going back to the bottle.

Andrew: I feel like for me the social aspect would be hardest because just to give a much weaker example, I stopped eating meat once I got back from Argentina, where I ate beef all the time. I don’t miss it. I don’t sit around thinking, “I wish I had a hamburger.” But when I have dinner with people and they bring out the steaks and they assume I’m going to have it and I have to tell them, “This thing you care to share with me, I can’t share it with you,” that’s when I feel like a shit head.

John: Meat is so good, man.

Andrew: I don’t have a craving for it. I have a craving more for running. Not eating meat makes me run more. That’s fine. I can’t say there are many foods that I crave except for potato chips. The point is you have both the craving and the social pressure. That sucks, man.

John: Yeah. It does, but also at the same time, I think we have a moral and ethical obligation and opportunity to show people alternative ways to run their lives.

Andrew: I think so. We saw Sam Parr at that event. Sam Parr has been very open about how he doesn’t drink. I think he just says he doesn’t want to. But the fact that he goes to these events, he can be him and not drink. I think it’s an example for other people who don’t want to drink that this is fine. I think everyone who speaks out about it and doesn’t just say, “I’m drinking water because it’s all I want right now,” is having an impact on people.

John: This is not me judging anyone. My wife still would love to have wine, but she’s a partner in my recovery. So we have removed all alcohol from our house, and I love her for that.

Andrew: Wow. All right. We covered nothing in my notes here, nothing about how you came up with this business, nothing about how you sold it, nothing about how you built it up so freaking fast, nothing about how you feel about it post-sale. I would love to have you back on here. Would you be open to doing another interview?

John: Yeah. Absolutely. Again, this is part of my therapy.

Andrew: All right.

John: We will inevitably talk about these things because even during the growth stages of these previous ventures, god, they were some of the most difficult emotional and psychological things, but they also created the breakthroughs. It’s part and parcel. The physiological struggles of building a company, meaning staying up late, working hard, are always combined with the psychological and emotional challenges. You cannot segregate those things. So, we can talk about growing businesses, but we’re also going to have to talk about growing as a person.

Andrew: All right. We did a lot of both of them here today. I’m excited that you’re up for doing another one. I’d love to see you in person at some point. We don’t live too far from each other. I’m going to say to anyone who’s interested that first of all, they should get together with you in person. We did these Mixergy dinners where everyone who’s Mixergy Premium could reach out to someone they admire and bring them out to dinner and then have other entrepreneurs get together. Nelson Wang, I think, was the guy who put together a dinner with you.

John: That was cool.

Andrew: No, Nelson Wang maybe was at the dinner.

John: He was at the dinner.

Andrew: He talked about how phenomenal this was. Other people did too. There’s something about getting to talk to you in person. I’ve gotten to do that at the Hustle Fund’s drinks. I got to do it here with you. I’m looking forward to doing it again. I urge anyone who’s listening who has an opportunity to do find a way to do it to get together with John in person. If you can’t or just want to get to know him better or see what projects he’s working on, the best thing you could do is go to john.do.

And my two sponsors, the first is an event where if you like this kind of conversation—frankly, I’m going to be honest with you, if what you want is like tactical SEO, this is the worst for you, but if you like these kinds of conversations from entrepreneurs where it’s not just hearing their story but also giving them some ideas back, having them give you some ideas, bonding like this, with very, very little presentations, no PowerPoint, none of that, come hang out with me at Baby Bathwater.

They’re going to screen you to make sure it’s a good fit for you and you’re a good fit for them. It’s not a real heavy screening process. They want to make sure that people aren’t spending their money on it if it’s not a good fit for them. So, if you want, go to BabyBathwater.com/Mixergy, check it out, see if it’s a good fit for you and if it is, I’d love to see you there with me in person. Second sponsor is the company that will help you start all your ideas, see which one takes off, lets you experiment. It’s called HostGator. Check them out at HostGator.com/Mixergy.

Finally, John, I’d love feedback from the audience. Usually, I’ve been asking for feedback from the audience about the sound quality because the team is trying to work on that, but I’d love for someone to tell me what they think of this approach. I try to be so focused in every conversation. This was not focused. We just let it go and I’d love to hear your feedback, so email me and the team, contact@mixergy.com. It will go to me. It will go to the production team. We want to all hear from you, contact@mixergy.com. John, thanks so much.

John: Thank you.

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