2022 Recap: 2023 Opportunities, Wins, Failures, & Lessons

Colin and Brent discuss 2022's wins, losses, and learnings building a software holding company.

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All right. Hello and welcome back. Colin Keeley here. I'm Brent Sanders and we are two guys buying and building wonderful internet companies and it's the end of the year and Colin had a baby and all these things have happened. We haven't recorded a podcast in at least a month, right? Or around a month.

Yeah, probably a little more than a month. It's been a bit, so what has happened since then? The big news is Colin had Colin and his wife had a baby. Little baby Finn is out. Baby Finn Keeley. Yeah. Born, December 2nd, 2022. So yeah, it's going well. Some days are better than others as far as sleep goes.

As slept great last night. We're also in like southern Wisconsin, so out of our usual elements, so it's a little different. But yeah, every, everyone's doing well. Everyone's , looking good. That's awesome. That's great. Yeah. And so. I've been giving you a lot of shit. Every opportunity I can about, you being into to sleep health and, and then a child just coming in as a wrecking ball.

It sounds like it's been going pretty well, like from the get. Yeah, so our, ours was a little unique experience, ended up being an emergency C-section. So he didn't breathe for like four minutes, so a little spooky. But holy shit, we were apprentice, which is Northwestern's children's Hospital.

So as soon as things start going poorly, they like smash a button, like 15 doctors run into the room. They did that once. False alarm, they did it again and then they, got me all gown. And so it doesn't come through on the podcast. I'm pretty big. I'm too big for like gowns and booties and all that stuff.

So it's like it's way up in my crotch. The booties don't fit my feet and they're like trying to run you through the, the hospital. . But yeah, it all, it all went well. He breathed, he's in the NICU for five days. And so he, had this like grunting, he couldn't like breathe on his own. He is on C P A P initially, but all that was good.

The one benefit of that is we spent a lot of time with the NICU nurses who are really, really good. So they, basically coached us for five days all day, every day. And so I'm able to, Holly can pump and I can do a bottle. So I do like the first two feedings of the day.

So I do like the 6:00 AM and the 9:00 AM and then Holly's able to like, basically stay up late and kind of sleep, for like four or five hours consecutively. And I, go to bed super early, which I kind of naturally do. This is just more extreme. And then I wake up and like, sometime between four and 5:00 AM Awesome.

Take. That's great. Yeah. Like that had to be so scary. So my son did the same, not the same, but similar thing. There was about a minute of silence when he came out and they were pumping his chest, warming him up, and he finally, starts crying. It's like, oh my God. And he's purple, by the way. Yeah. So we were scared shitless.

I can't imagine five minutes or four minutes of, of that that had to. Super scary. Oh yeah. There's horrible photos. We're like, we're next to the baby. And he is like, he looks dead, basically. He's just completely white and Holly's like crying and crying. It's so, it's a hilarious photo, but, I can show you, but probably no one else will ever see that one.

Yikes. Yikes. Yeah. That's gotta be mortifying, so I'm glad to hear like, that's awesome that you got the bottle thing outta the way. That's like, that's some advanced stuff right out, out of the gate that like we've struggled with, with even two kids of. , know, just, just the mechanics of feeding that, it, it works for the short term, but then it will rear its head in bottles.

Is, is definitely one of the big ones. Yeah, it's been great. Otherwise, I don't know. Overall I'd say it's a lot easier than I kind of assumed. Everyone's like doom and gloom all the time. Yeah. I appreciate all the people are really positive about it, but it's, it's been mostly positive so far. Oh, you're never gonna live again.

You're never gonna sleep. Yeah. It. It's nothing that you can't handle. You realize like everybody does, not everybody in the world, but like everybody who's alive, their parents did it, right? And it's like, oh wait, this is like, this is, it's manageable. You can make it work. It's just going with the right expectations I suppose.

Yeah, it's just been like an explosion in our immediate friend group. While I was at the hospital, I had two other friends at the hospital that were having children at the same time. I ran into one in the hallway and then I found out afterwards another one was there. That's amazing. Yeah. Super crazy, but Oh, that's sweet.

Well, welcome to the club. You are now a father. And yeah, now it, it doesn't end. It's just, the fun, fun has begun. So, on that note, we are, we're also just gonna cover, what's been going on at Verne, what, maybe do a little bit of a recap of the year. I guess the, the other news that kind of bef right around or before, baby Finn showed up, we were working on a deal.

That since has died. We were trying to close one. We don't wanna get too far into the weeds around it, but, we got pretty far, we, did diligence. We invested a lot of time into it. Unfortunately, we're still unclear like what the exact status, but I think we're regarding it as, as dead in the water.

This was a, an interesting deal that had a sort of a foreboding beginning is we kept being, we were, we were l allowing ourselves as. Being fantastic at being persistent. And we may might have been like overly persistent on this one where, this seller even said, I think the first face-to-face meeting we had, he is like, I don't wanna sell the business.

And we're like, there's a broker involved. And so we, we had like, is is he serious? Like, and so I guess that was the, the lesson learned. We should have, listened to him because he's unfortunately been kind of disengaged and we've always been chasing him and just kind of thought that's been cool.

But it was a really interesting business. Something. I think continued and continued to grow. And unfortunately it looks like it's gone away. He, he's gone quiet and the broker has, has gone quiet as well. Yeah. That's not a great sign when the broker disappears. I, I think there's a chance that boomerang's back, but Yeah, I, it's tough cuz, scout was a similar situation.

I, the sellers were different, but persistence and like, just kind of dealing with the crap and the craziness of it all has paid off for us. Yeah. So, and maybe we, disinvested our time on this one. Who knows. Yeah. Maybe it turns around, works out in the future. If we're doing a recap of the year.

So that was a bigger deal that flamed out, which is the bummer. And also in, February Yeah. Was our, biggest deal that we've worked on. Also flamed out, this is kind of a year of spending a lot of time on some bigger deals that just, know, didn't quite pan out. Yeah. And I would say that first one back in February was significantly larger.

I would say that that was actually a success. That was like we. We, I think we already talked about this one, but we could have, a, we could have missed this point that killed it, which was like a, a legal issue, which, we don't touch legal issues if there's any chance of getting embroiled in a, a lawsuit.

We, we run with our hands in the air and scream and, there was a good chance that we could have missed that. There's a good chance we could have, done the deal. , the, the issues that were there and, and yeah. So I, I think that's like one of my highlights for the year of like, woo, happy.

We caught that happy, we walked away happy. We, avoided the issue. I don't really know what's, what's happened with that business since, but I know the seller is, is keeping on with it. And it was a great business. Like we really liked it, but, we just did not like the, the legal issues that we uncovered around licensing.

So that was, in looking back, I think that was like one of my highlights of the year. Of a relief could, I mean, I just, could you imagine going through with that and then having to deal with, the implications of, of that? I know we're being really, really vague and it's because we don't own the business and someone else's business and we don't want to talk about it, and they, for sure don't want us to talk about it.

So we'll kind of leave it at that. But yeah. I mean, it sucks, like there's legal fees obviously in a, a broken deal and a lot of waste of time, but that was quite a good learning experience cuz we had to go out and raise, we didn't end up closing it, but way more money than we normally would.

Yeah. So that's kind of over a year ago now. We started relationships with a bunch of investors and then that deal died. Probably in a way that made us look good cuz we uncovered an issue. Yeah. And, didn't put anyone's money at risk. So, everyone came, like, we learned a lot from it and we came out probably looking better in the, the eyes of investors.

Yeah. The, the one thing that came out of that is the seller is also a experienced PE firm who's great that we look up to. It was, I found it interesting that they. I feel like they kind of shit on us for walking out because they're like, we don't, they were real proud that they have never walked away from a deal that they had under l o i, and it kept coming up and it kept coming up and it kept coming up that they don't do that.

And, and, we never said that we don't do it, but I, I just didn't know that that's like a, a thing or like, I never regarded that. And if you think about. I guess we could have not walked away and tried to retrade the deal at a much different valuation and then it would've killed it anyways. So like, I don't know.

I'm, I'm, that was one exposure to like a different way of thinking about Lois that I have never had, and I, I don't think I ever will, will under fully understand that that concept of, we never walk away from an loi. It's like, what? What are your choices? Yeah, at that. I wouldn't blame it on the firm.

I wouldn't blame it on the deal. I think that was one specific partner that said something to an LP that shouldn't have, and then we made 'em look bad. But that was just a weird situation. You should definitely be open walking away from Lois when you learn something that's bad about a deal. You shouldn't be afraid to, move away from it.

Yeah, I guess that's a, that's an interesting convention. I don't know. Made me feel bad that we did, but I, I got over it pretty quickly knowing that, yeah, we weren't gonna walk into a, a landmine lawsuit or just a bad situation for us, so gotta protect ourselves. So, any other, like, let's talk through, we got.

Some deals closed or a deal closed that we, we really are, are passionate about over the last, we talked about on our last podcast, so it won't go too far into it. But then, one of the things I'm, I'm pretty pumped about upcoming year is one of our portfolio companies that we've really just kind of let run for.

Like, it's not that we haven't done much, but we've had from a technical perspective, we've just been kind of maintaining it and we're just wrapping. a whole bunch of new features, a whole bunch of stuff to kind of put it in more of a growth mode that I'm pretty excited about. Which, I dunno, we don't need to go into nerdy, it's a really, it's a technical product.

It's pretty fucking nerdy. I don't wanna bore our , our listeners to tears cuz they're probably not super technical, but pretty excited about, seeing that we're taking something and, and kind of being able to try to multiply its use. Within kind of the same product. So it's, it's called automatic too.

Yeah. So we are like, we're dancing around the name now. Our name's on it. There's an about page I think that should help with conversion, like putting a face to these things. Yeah. Yeah, I don't know. We could also sell to like other startup folks and it's a software product. I think it makes more sense to, not hide behind anything on that one.

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it, it's a old product and we've really spent the last year just kind of getting things upgraded, getting things modernized in order to be able to move on it, quicker. And as of today we're pushing new features, things that we couldn't do even a month ago, that, it has a really interesting way of working.

And, so yeah, so I mean, to get into some of the interesting parts of it is like it was just a database and file backup tool. Now we're digging into. Backing up SaaS products like GitHub, superb Base, which is like a hosted firebase alternative or open source alternative, and just more developer tools that, it's, it's important to have a backup regimen.

And, and on that note, we've tested, this on our own products, like we've had, we use it for our own products. We, it's been a lifesaver to have hourly backups that, aren't just a script running on a server or actually managed and hosted. It's definitely a lifesaver. I, I recently tested that on, on automatic of dumping the database and seeing what happens.

So it's, it definitely works and it, it's, if you have a tech business, you should definitely have a strong backup regimen. . Yeah. And so that, that was, it seemed like to me going to biggest mistakes of the year. Some like missed there for that. One is I think the pricing tiers made sense of the high end, but we should have added lower end pricing tiers on that one way earlier, like a competitors have a freemium offering, so like one backup instead of like five or 10 or different things.

and just, just get more people in the door. That is the one we've kind of alluded to in the past where like the conversion rate has just been kind of abysmal. The, like the churn rate is really, really low. So it's just a super sticky product, really good product. Once people are on the door, we were just not getting enough people like through the door and signed up and using it.

Yeah, so that was just a miss, we're fixing it now. It feels like the product is moving much faster now. And it's exciting for the next year as well. Yeah, yeah. I'm really pumped for it because you're right. Like it's, it's not fun to move away from, but furthermore, it's like, it's a, a pain to set up now and that's, that's where we're really investing a lot of times.

Just making it easier to get on the platform, easy to, to get your backup started. You don't even have to set up a server. It's, it's got some really cool features. So anyways, I've been nerding out about that. Making some changes on the tech side of things. I guess one of the other things just really excited about Scout is like trying to breathe some new life into.

We have a whole roadmap for that, but just bring some new life into that product in general and just, we hear a lot of positive feedback from, from customers, but now like being able to, to show them some actual changes, I think will be pretty, pretty enjoyable. I, I think the nearest competitor scout is like 30 times bigger revenue.

And we're, we steal customers away from them. I think we're pretty comparable or getting very comparable, like feature-wise. So I, I think that business should be so much bigger pretty quickly here. So, scout is the most excited I've been, we've talked about it in the past. We wanna talk about it again, but, I'm pumped for that one.

Yeah, it's, it's a good one in the sense of the customer base is like, delightful, like the best business names of any business I've worked on as far as like the, the customer names, like, I think one. Let me out as an m e o w, like a cat meowing, let me out. Pet services, like unbelievable puns with all the names.

I gotta say it, it, it's quite the work. Yeah, that's a fun one. How about biggest misses of the year? Biggest mistake of the year for you? I don't know. I mean, there, there's a couple, I'd say for me, there's, there's been two things specifically on automatic that have been really difficult just because it's such like we hired a, a development partner on it to, basically assist me to, to lead development.

They've been solid. But no one's really like put their arms around, like the ownership of the product. And what it, it has turned into is we've had like multiple instances, one we've talked about before, we got like a huge a w s bill or a bug that was happening and unbeknownst to us because of poor reporting and having to shore those, those things up, that's probably been the biggest.

Pain point of this year or just biggest miss is like not, I just wish I would've done that sooner. I wish. When we did the deal, it's funny, it was this time last year we closed it. We were so heads down on the, closing a new deal. We kind of did two really closely back to back and we ended up killing the other deal and I just kind of put a team in place and I didn't kind of come back and really own the product.

really until the last month or so. And that I think has been, the thought was, hey, it's, it's running along, it's doing just fine, which it has been. The business can support the dev partner that's, tackling it, but I think that's wasted about a year on that business. Like we could have been, moving a lot faster.

We could have probably done all these fixes this time last year versus focusing on other deals or focusing on a deal that like was in per. So to speak, but that was the, the kind of mindset at the time. So I, I, I'm not like a regretful person, but that was definitely a mistake to not dive into it, deeper at the moment.

Yeah. My other, I guess misses I'd say were like just scattered, focused generally. So I was looking at buying some non-software businesses for a while. Went pretty deep down, talked with a bunch of owners in a different space and it was beneficial to like learn. I could get up to the space pretty quickly and like vet.

Different types of acquisitions, but I just think software private equity is such an enormous space and there's tons of billionaires made here. Like there's no reason to scatter your focus just become really good at this one thing that we're doing. Yeah, and we have great companies like in the portfolio already.

Even if we just focus on those and double down, there's a lot of growth to be had. So I think that was a bit of a mistake. I think we could have probably raised money when raising money was easier than when raising money is harder. So maybe a missed there. But it's, it's okay. It's, yeah, I mean, on that note, like it's something that they're kept being, they're kept being roadblocks to getting, we, we had interest in, in a fund, but like the assets on our management are so small that the fees don't really make sense.

Or they're in such a state where, There were all these sort of like unbridgeable gaps or at least gaps that we were just kind of like, you know what? Let's just focus on doing deals. As I look at the focus, I mean, I agree on things outside of the, the sort of strike zone, but like as it relates to either raising on a per deal basis, like they were good distractions in the sense that they were deals that, you know, if you know the two that we, we didn't do.

like there were good reasons not to do them and, and it's understandable, but they are the things that sort of sidetracked fundraising. At first it was sort of a hold co concept and that got a little fuzzy in terms of, okay, well, well how is your, your, your organization going to d how are you going to deal with future acquisitions?

How are you gonna focus on the, the ones you've done? I think it's allowed us to kind of hone these things in real time. And I think, we, we have built an investor relationship base and I feel like. It's not too late to raise some money if we, we still want to go to that route. Yeah. Everything, everything keeps moving forward.

It's just like, maybe it's overly zigzaggy. It'd be nice to, like, this is where we want to go. Like, let's just go there. Instead, we're like, oh, let's do this, then we'll do this, and then we do it. But it's all moving up into the right, we have three acquisitions now. We have big investor base, so it's all good.

Next question. What do you, what space are you most excited? , I mean obviously we're talking about automatic, like that's, that's exciting, but there's this concept in automatic that is like, okay, well we have a system that that does backups, but like, what else could you be doing? So like dipping a toe and basically broadening the.

The, the target market there. It's like, which I know isn't like really what we want to be doing with each acquisition, but there is such a good opportunity here is like we're we're connecting to your infrastructure on an hourly basis. Like what else could we be doing? Could we be monitoring, activity?

Could we be doing security checks? Could we be doing things other than just database backups or file backups that could add value? And so like the idea of sort of repack. That business a little bit more and, continuing to, to modernize it. I think that's like the thing I'm the most ex excited about.

I don't know. What, what do you think? I think that's a good answer. I mean, what we're doing is we're buying kind of product market fit and as long as you're going where you already know that there is demand, I think that's like fine to just be building product cuz you're just stealing it from other competitors.

Like there's existing demand there. Yo, what's most exciting to me is, I don't know if you've played around with it, but chat g p t is so insane, just completely mind blowing how it answers. . Yeah, I think there's something to like chat G P T and overseas labor. Just combining those two, you're just so much more powerful than like, basically any white collar US worker.

Yeah. So I've been going through basically all our like standard operating procedures. It's like, how can I incorporate chat G P T? So, mark is like our customer service guy, and I was like, mark, use this. If someone asks for a refund because their dog ate their computer, like, how, how, how do you even reply to that?

It's a ridiculous thing, but you type it in a chappy G P T and you say, make a great customers support response and make it polite and very friendly. And it writes just a beautiful response to like, yeah, you're so sorry. You can't refund you. Yeah, but it's just incredibly powerful. I'm super excited to keep playing around with that stuff.

Yeah, I, I've had a chance to play with that. I got to play with Doll E two a little bit, which is like a visual. AI tool and, and actually like testing out like a commercial, commercial uses for it. I mean, there are things that, that we do that, not even, not just like the simple stuff, not simple, but like the existing ideas that people have had.

Oh, I wonder just build headshot or, generate faces, but like taking assets and, and making them, know, turning them into principles or whatever. It's like commercial ideas around those. Those tools are. Super interesting to me. I mean, I think one of them we've looked at is, taking, topics, what are people doing?

Like, not, not like Grammarly beyond what Grammarly's doing. Like, Hey, I'm reading what you're saying and I have actually a better way to, to structure the entire document versus, just this sentence. How about, a popular trend that you're not a believer in? I gotta say like, and we built a business in this space, but the creator economy, that was kind of one thing that I've, I've kind of had stuck in my, in my craw a little bit of just like, I've seen a lot of like strange courses.

I mean, there were always were strange courses, but it's not even the strangest, it's just like the idea that knowledge should be free, like, The more and more that I'm seeing of people just sort of giving away, it just seems so suspect to be like, the common thing that I see that I roll my eyes at, and it's like, oh, here's a tweet storm with 10 ideas on how to be rich and then buy my course.

Yeah. And it's like, eh, it's, it's gotten a little schlocky, right? Like we, we talk about this from time to time, especially when we're working on avocado, which was a, cr a, a creator economy startup, right? It was, that's what it was for. But I think that they're, There's just gotta be new ways to monetize and it, it can, it shouldn't be the knowledge itself.

It seems like people are giving away more and more on that front. And especially with things like chat, G B T, where you can say, Hey, explain to me how to, how do I write a letter of intent? How do I buy a business? How do I buy a software business? That there's, there's gotta be a, a, an evolution in that space that gets less, less scammy.

I don't know. It's not even scammy, it's just. credibility seems to be pretty short on a lot of these creator, these courses or even just like creator economy pieces. Yeah, I, I get the monetization aspect of it. I love the, like building the distribution and like connecting with people. Yeah. Like I just wrote a kind of flip and thread the other day about like asset deals versus equity deals and something like 70,000 people saw it in Reddit.

and it's like, I don't know, I spent, 20 minutes on it. I didn't spend that much time on it. And from that, reconnected with like some billionaires on Twitter and like these crazy software private equity folks. And so I'm so big on the idea of like creation, like being a creator in that sense.

Yes. But you know, less so on the, monetization with here's a, a hundred dollars ebook or whatever, that doesn't matter quite as much. Yeah, I fully agree. Like the connecting. Of people around ideas, like that's the dream of the internet. That's like what we, we came here for. But yeah, I'm, I'm all all about that.

I'm hoping to, I'm getting, I'm hoping to step back and I know I already was accountable to this like six months ago. Start posting a little bit more like getting my social medias like out of the grave and, and start posting regularly in the, starting next week, starting the new year. I've got, A bunch of reading I found, we talked about this before, but just like doing a lot more reading has been great for my mind and that triggers a lot more like desire to share ideas and concepts and, spout off about stuff that I, know or kind of know.

Yeah. I mean, all you have to do is basically explain what you're doing on a weekly basis. Yeah. Like every week you dealt with some issue that would be interesting for people to hear. Yeah. Let's, write it out in 10 sentences or something. My trend that I'm not a believer in is like, this, it seems like just nonstop complaining on Twitter about like this issue or that issue.

Yeah. I just like, I. Everything I meet, any like common topic that's popping up, it's kind of hard because it's always something new. Like week to week people are going nuts about, Elon did this, Ellan did that. It's like, I, I literally don't care. This doesn't impact me whatsoever. So it's like people used to say a Trump derangement syndrome.

Now it's just like derangement syndrome. It's always something. So if it doesn't affect me not interested, that's my, China, I'm not a believer in. Yeah, I feel like you have to get really focused on Twitter cause it's so broad. . I, I had to take a break from it for a while, but, I have enjoyed, since Elon Musk has purchased the company, a lot of people, especially around his thoughts and ideas and what's happening on the software end, people are like all of a sudden talking about software, talking about, these scaling issues around architecture.

I'm like, oh, this is like, this is like a really good common thread that keeps coming up, but, it, there's just so much noise and it's like the. The inference and outrage around everything. You post it. It's what gives me pause. I'm like, oh, someone's gonna respond to this. But I think you're right.

You just gotta mute, mute, mute, mute till you, you can't hear anymore. Yeah. So how about, what do we got next business goals for next year? Yeah, I think like, at least on my end, I, I'm really adamant, at least within my own mind, I, I'm wanting to build a internal team, like a full, not full-time necessarily, but like a set, rather than working with contractors.

I've worked with a lot of contractors. My, we have been working with like a variety of, developers and whether it's, a a contract or an agency or a dev team. , I'm burnt out on that and I'm super burnt out on like, just trying to, to get people like, what I'm realizing in this last sort of quarter and looking back at the prior three is like, there's a lot of work that's been done that like doesn't see the light of day until I put my energy into it, which I'm just, it's terrible leverage, right?

It's like it's to, to have to pay someone else to like do something, but then it, they don't take it live or they don't quite get all the right pieces to take it live. It's, it's not acceptable. So that's the biggest business goal for me, is to build out an internal team. What I did when I started an agency, and it's usually going to be more of like an apprenticeship program where I am gonna bring in folks that work closely with me and just be an extension of me.

And rather than trying to outsource or entirely hand off the management of a product or. , like, at least to start is I will kind of captain that work, but then have more sort of right hand people that are, experienced. I'm not bringing in like boot campers that don't know what they're doing necessarily.

But, folks that can, can really be an extension of myself and, and report to me on like a daily basis versus like a, we're, we're gonna do a weekly call with a vendor. And, while that, that has worked and it's been fine, it's just, it doesn't feel like we're getting the best value for. For our time there.

But it is really just building an internal team, like building a closer set of infrastructure, whether it's local people or not, but like building more Verne technology infrastructure.

That's a good one. Buying is just fundraise. We've like bounced around. Different vehicles do this. We talk with investors all the time. They wanna support us and it's just like we just have to pick a vehicle and it's probably not perfect. It's not a hundred percent perfect, but we just need somewhere that people could.

, put money into back us and like we could just grow from there. Yeah, I feel like we've dicked around a little bit too much going runway that way. So just settle on something and, imperfect is fine. Other one is, I think we could credibly five x Scout. So like, I know we're bringing investors on.

I don't wanna be like, all right, will you say you're gonna five x? What the hell? But I, I don't think that's crazy at all. I think that's certainly doable. No, I mean, you, not to get too far into like current progress, but like we have been. Focused entirely on, one thing on the tech side, which really hasn't affected our ability to convert.

It's been more so about like fixing issues that may affect our ability to convert in the future. But it will affect our ability to upsell people. And I, I won't get into too far into the details, but you've started some outbound, which I don't think has been done at all. Yeah. At least within the last couple years.

and like, like that gives me a ton of confidence that even if we just dabble with even people that are kind of on the outside, which I think was what you started with, which is, I, I, I, I don't think that, I don't think you're too far off. I mean, five x is a lot. I would start with doubling, but still, , I could see that happening for sure.

A sub pump for that. How about, a pleasant surprise of the. Yeah, I would say scout closing. Like I didn't think that, I mean, we already talked about this in prior episode, but that was one that kind of came back and, just the persistence held up and, that was a really nice surprise like that.

And I would also say, aw, w s crediting us $25,000 on our, overage bill when we had a, a bug that lasted over a weekend. That was a nice, pleasant surprise. I thought we were gonna have to pay something. But not having to pay anything was, was pretty. , biggest bummer. I guess we kind of covered in different flavors.

How about Best Habit picked up? Yeah. So I, this is a whole other thing, which a lot of my writing, thinking and reading is kind of around, but I've, I've been practicing this, this just concept of letting go. I don't know, you seem like you may already be aware or like well versed in this concept, but this sort of philosophy, and I won't get too far into it cause I can go on and on and.

But this concept of just sort of letting go of the moment of that, like something happening, like losing a customer, lose whatever, something bad happening, something good happening, whatever it is, and just like reframing it all with some perspective that like, hey, we're spinning around on a rock in the middle of nowhere and we're here and like just exercising, patience, calm and, and perseverance.

Things that feel like a big deal, but then, in an hour will feel inconsequential. So for me, that's been a big deal and that's a lot of it's derived from reading, Michael Singer's books, who's, I dunno, have you ever seen any of his stuff? Like his book, the Untethered Soul, who's probably the one to start with, but, it's an Oprah book club.

Okay. But the big thing is, the, it's this idea that you're sitting in the seat of self, right? Is like, who are you? you and it gets into these philosophical questions, but has very good answers that are easy to connect with. And, I'm gonna be, that's a lot of what my writing and thinking has been around, over the last, six months and, and reading his books and, and then, kind of matching that with other things I'm consuming and, and looking in the lens.

But this has been like the best habit for me to just kind of stay focused, to stay like happy to stay. Out of my head, so to speak, out of this like monkey mind that is constantly screaming and drawing my attention away and just realizing that's, that's a part of us that, it's, it's like, a function that our brain performs for us, it's, it's great, but it, it shouldn't be listened to or trusted.

I have kind of a weird take on this, so I, I, I would say I'm like, even keel, I'm probably better than this at most. I, I think most people try to disassociate like their physical from their mental, and I would say just do a really good job taking care of my physical body. So like, I see the sun in the morning, I work out, I eat well, and I, sleep well as much as you can with a baby.

and I think that sets you up for such a better perspective on life. And if you screw up all those other things, it's like, whoa, why is my brain going crazy? It's probably cuz your body is kind of telling your brain to go crazy. Absolutely. Absolutely. Which like, I, I've finally kind of gotten on that tip of like, I gotta work out every day.

Like before it was like, okay, I, I have stuff scheduled and there's a couple days I'll miss, but like the days that I miss the brain goes fucking weird and it gets anxious and it gets. Weird ideas and for sure you have to put your body in a, in the right state, which, you can hear and read about it everywhere.

But like that is, it's a very good like, practice to be in, to, to take care of that cuz it will then take care of your mind. Mine is kind of random, so basically all of 2023, I've been dealing with a front tooth. So it's the sun right here. Back in high school, I lost it, playing basketball. Someone's head just slammed into my tooth and it died.

And then I got it fixed. It lasted like 12 years or whatever that was. And so through that process, I couldn't eat with my front teeth and which you do for like sandwiches and burritos and all that stuff. So I didn't eat it for like nine months. And so I basically adopted this like fork and knife diet, which turns out great habits.

Yeah, , you eat unhealthy things with your hands generally. Yeah. So it's like you don't eat any bread. You don't eat any flour tortillas. And I didn't change my working out at all, but I got in like pretty amazing shape, just adopting this like, unorthodox diet.

And most of the flavor is like outside of carbs, so I've just kept it. You still drink beer, you drink wine, whatever, have dessert. And it's like way more flavorful calories and you stay in way better shape. Oh, that's wild. Cork and knife diet. That's an, yeah, I was really happy with it. So I, I've continued with it and it's been great.

About, go ahead. The worst habit you, you picked up this. I haven't talked to you, you about this as much, but injuries I've had so many injuries I had really, I'm dealing with the dislocated finger right now. Like I popped it out at basketball and it was like bent at this horrible rain angle and I thought about it for like probably a half a second and grabbed it and popped it back in.

Ooh. So it's healing, it's feeling better. But I had, that's this front tooth implants. I had a concussion where I got hit in the back of the head playing basketball. It was all, almost all basketball related. I had a crack tailbone. , which I like, couldn't sit for quite a period of time. Oh, that sucked.

I've had tennis elbow almost all year from tennis and pickleball. I had a back spasm that like, I couldn't get outta bed for a couple days, so, Ooh, maybe this is just getting older and it's just like, I'm still trying to perform at a high level and it's just like a endless list of ailments popping up.

Yeah. I mean, basketball is, it's, it's a, it's not a full contact, but it's like a full contact sport. Like you, you're out there, you're running around, you're using. I don't know. I, I would, I remember I had a teacher who was like, probably in his forties when I was 16 or 17 or something in high school, and he, he would still play basketball, but he would have to play with like older.

He kept saying, he is like, I don't play with younger people, like, because I don't want to get hurt. But he would still get hurt. But he loved it so much and he was in great shape. So, I mean, I, it's a super fun game. . I haven't, seriously played in a long time, but, yeah, it's dangerous, man. I mean, it's like, especially as you get older, you don't heal as fast.

That's a bummer. That is not a good habit to be in. Who's getting hurt? . Yeah. It's kind of a weird habit, but I don't know. Moving to Austin Baric chamber, I'm gonna heal every night in Yeah, that's, that's the next step. I'm going full Brian Johnson in this like, crazy diet of everything. Yeah. How about, how about you?

What's your, your bad habit pickup? So so I moved to Cleveland, right? So the big thing here, at least within my friend group, has been like a buildup of like drinking on the weekends of like, not. We're not like housing a keg, but like getting in this group of friends. We'll get together. We all have kind of kids the same age and we'll drink like IPAs and I have three or four of 'em on like a Saturday night and, and then I'm lucky I don't have to drive.

My wife is, she doesn't drink. So she always is the, the sober sister. But, the hangovers you get from some of these IPAs have been like, absolutely. debilitating and, and I'll, I can muscle through it. It doesn't ruin the day. It just makes you feel terrible, destroys your sleep. Just sets kind of the weak on a wrong angle and I, I'm, I'm looking forward to seeing people this weekend to, try whatever else, i p a they have.

But yeah, that, it's just the, the habit that I want to, to drop, which is the social drinking, which I've pretty done a pretty good job of like day-to-day, cutting back on, on booze or even, alcohol in general and, and getting good sleep. The weekend buildup is definitely the one, and I get excited for it.

I don't really know why. Like, it's Thursday, it's Friday, and then Saturday. Woo. It's like, it feels very like juvenile, but I think it's, cuz you know, it's a group of friends and we're all like peer pressuring each other into it. But although I'm like, again, I'm not like saying I don't wanna do it and they're pressuring me.

We're all looking forward to it. We order pizza, eat, eat like crap once a week. It's kind of the, the cheat night thing to keep us all sane. But it's coming with, maybe I gotta switch to wine like a fine wine. I like nice beers as much as anyone, but I just feel way worse having them, and you just feel a lot better.

I mean, pizza, beer, and pizza's just not a good, great combo for sleeper, know, health. But yeah, switching wine would probably help. Yeah, that, that, that's the thing, like here in Cleveland, beer seems to be a professional. I didn't really know about it, and I'm sure in Chicago they had all the same stuff, but the amount of diversity of different IPAs or high alcohol beers is, it's been, a dangerous and, and, and pretty hilarious.

Thing to get into. I, I should just switch to Milo Altar or something and just be, be a dad, wear my air monarchs and, and, and mow the lawn or something. And then we had a bunch of questions. I don't know, we could skip over most of these unless there's any you wanna talk about. We go to New Year's resolutions.

Yeah. Yeah. I, honestly, I do goal settings so regularly that I don't really have a resolution. I think the only new resolution I have for. Myself is like, I want to spend more time, more thoughtful time with my kids. Like I think that's the one thing, and I think you'll, you'll find this as Finn gets older, is like you get in a routine and like Saturday and Sunday roll around and you just kind of do the same thing.

You hang out in the house, you play things, you do, but to actually have like thoughtful stuff planned out on days that they're either not at school or you don't have childcare. So I'm just trying to put in. That and I, I'm gonna try to get into journaling this year. I know that sounds lame, but I think that's a pretty good way to deal with your, your mind, your emotions is, is get into like a, a regular habit of, of each night doing some journaling or Twitter threads.

Just write them in this Twitter threads then. Yeah, same thing. That's basically what I do. I wake up the morning and write for like, try to 30 minutes or something. Yeah. That's, that's what I'm trying to get on is exactly 30 minutes. Calm the mind, put some notes down and, and just kind of process what, what has happened the prior day and set some attention for the future.

Yeah, in my next year, it's a lot of changes, right? We're gonna do this fundraise, moving to Austin with a kid. So get a house over there. That'll be different. I've been on this a goal. I like this knees over toes guy. He's like this mobility, expert. I've been a disciple for like, since Covid.

I've been working all year. Once or twice a week to get a Nordic curl, and I still cannot do one. I'm getting closer. A Nordic curl is like really extreme ham hamstring exercise where you kneel down, kinda lock your heels or your feet in, and with just your hamstring, you kind of lower your body down to your chest and then come back up.

Does that make sense? Yeah. I mean, I do 'em, I didn't, I, I didn't know. You mean like all the way to the floor? Yeah, chest to the floor. Oh, . It's really, really hard. Dol I hold onto something and then like, do a 45 degree D degree angle, if I'm lucky. But yeah, it that burns. It is like pure targeted exercise.

Yeah, it's super intense. It's supposed to be one of the best ways to prevent a c l tears, basically preventing your leg from being pried apart. So I've made great progress. I thought I'd get it in 2022. I did not get it and I'm not that close to getting it, so it's now my goal for 2023 to get it. But yeah, making progress.

A pistol squat is my other thing. I've been working out, kind of outside the house. There's like a little gym, so I do pull up dips, all this body weight stuff, which I'm like the worst body type ever to be doing, body weight exercises. A pistol squat is basically squatting down to the floor just on one leg and then back up again.

So it's my knee wanna pop. Yeah. I mean that is that you get so, strong and flexible that it doesn't pop in the future. But those are kind of my big ones. On the health or life side of things. Good strength, flexibility, balance. You got it all. Yeah. Just surviving, getting older and trying to, maintain is the goal here.

Yeah. Well, I mean, I think as far as, as I look back in the year, it was pretty productive. Like, we got a lot done, we got a lot, as you said, everything's kind of up and to the right. So it's like, as long as things, it's not perfect, it's not, everything we may have set out to do and we wasted some time or wasted some, energy.

But I, I think all of that gets. Put towards something productive in the long run. So I'm not, I'm not regretting any moment, not regretting killing anything. Not regretting, not doing any of the, the deals that we, we had in front of us. Yeah. I feel like we're well primed for growth. Like all this stuff is like, saved up energy and now it's kind of ready to be unleashed, which is a good spot to be as.

Like things are kind of looking downward, things are looking upward for Vern and everything. So, yeah. Pump for the next year. We'll see how it goes. We'll follow up with you again in a. Cool. Well, I think that's all I got. Anything else you wanted to cover? No, I, I'm all set. Take care. Have a good New Year's.

New Year's, yeah. Happy New Year everybody. Thanks for listening. All right.

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