2023 Recap: Wins, Losses, & Learnings

Colin and Brent discuss 2023's wins, losses, and learnings building a software holding company.

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All right. Hello and welcome back. This is Colin Keeley here, and I'm Brent Sanders and we are two guys buying and building wonderful internet companies and rarely podcasting. We yeah, we haven't recorded a podcast in probably, what, two months? It's been the holidays. It's been busy with trying to, to follow deals.

It's been, it's been on the back burner for, for a bit. It. Yeah, it felt like we were committed to doing more and then, you know, we're gonna do this probably three weeks ago, this end of the year episode and just week after week things, you know, derailed it. So we're back. Yep, yep. Indeed, indeed. I think both of us got sick.

Think that's, I, everybody I talked to over the holidays like, oh, I got a stomach bug or this or that. It's like, I guess it's a good time to get sick 'cause it's like it's pretty low volume work. Like there's not a lot going on, but. Hey, we did it. We're here. It's the, the 3rd of January, 2024. So, we wanted to record sort of like a recap episode, and I think we did this last year and we kind of set our set our accountable intentions or goals for, for 2023.

And, and we can talk about those. But yeah, like, why don't we do a recap. I mean, so we, as a business, we sold a business, we didn't acquire a business, which was kind of odd given our trajectory has been, you know, acquiring it. A pretty good clip. And so this, this year we slowed down a little bit and I think looked at what we had and, and wanted to ensure that of the things that we do have, making sure that everything is kind of aligned with what we wanna spend our time on and what we can spend our time on.

So yeah, not closing a deal is kind of a bummer. I'd say we had quite a few that looked like they're gonna close and just didn't end up panning out. Few they're working on that I think could still close that were, you know, 20, 23 deals of sorts. But

for Verne, we raised money. That was in 2023, so that was pretty big. Wow. That was a time, everything together. Raised equity into it. That's going well. I'd say Scout. I think in the last episode last year I think we said we were gonna five exit. We didn't quite achieve that goal. But things are up and improving every day.

So that's nice. And then selling a company is pretty big. Putting a big win on the board was nice with Blink sale. Yeah, that was and we, we did record it. That was the last episode I think we recorded was the, the closing of that and sounds like the new team has been doing really well with it.

So we're, we're happy to hear we could kind of focus a little bit more. But yeah, you put some questions together. Let's, let's run through 'em. Okay. Best project this year or highlight of the year for you? tHis is a tough one. I mean, it's, it's kind of the best and the worst project at the same time, but I would say like.

Scout continues to be the most deep, interesting and complicated and difficult project of this year. But in, in terms of like highlights on the business side of things, I would say our, our first sale was, was probably the, the best highlight in terms of, you know, something we haven't done yet.

Something that people have asked if we've been able or be able to do, and it was good to, yeah, as you said, put, put some points on the board there. Yeah. We have a real track record of sorts now, not just like a theoretical one. Yeah. So that's pretty big. Yeah, I had someone ask, ask a question the other day I thought was interesting is like, how would you start Constellation Software today if that was your goal?

I. And I think my answer is, I'm curious to see what your answer would be, but it's just like, do one good deal and then do two and then do three, and then like kind of scale up from there and get an outbound machine going and then, you know, you're off to the races after that. I wouldn't be like overly top down or prescriptive about it.

I. You have any thoughts on that one? Yeah, I, I think I'm thinking along the same lines is, you know, and, and we could talk about this a little bit more under maybe a different question, but I, yeah, I would, would look as compared to like what we're doing right now, I would look at larger businesses, right?

I would, I think we're still playing in this like, kind of micro SaaS or, or smaller revenue. Then I would, would imagine a, a constellation should, right? If you were gonna start a constellation, maybe you wouldn't start out so small. I mean, that's a function of kind of where we've gotten started and, and where we've had the traction thus far.

But yeah, I would say I would look at, jump to or try to jump to the deals that we're looking at now, which are you know, three to four times larger than the, the historicals. Yeah, I think that's right. And that those are kind of the future. We'll discuss it in a second here, , how about biggest mistake of the year?

Uh, you know, this one's kind of tricky. Like I, I was looking back at this year and looking at like my organization and like, I think one biggest mistake is like, not. Not spending a little bit more on, on developers to get a little bit higher quality. Like we kind of got to that point a little bit later on, but like it started kind of at the bottom and worked our way up and it just, it, it caused a lot of, a lot more time than it was worth.

Right. It's like should just kind of. Spit the bullet and, and worked with I think a little bit higher quality developers, which, you know, has a, an effect directly on, on my availability. And then I think the other biggest mistake is just not just the general level of organization to leverage people, has been, I think, minimal on my end, like I am.

I struggle with like, Hey, I might as well just do it. I can knock this out. It's faster for me to do it than even to write a brief for someone else and to hire them or to hand it to someone else that doesn't quite understand it or doesn't have access to everything. That's probably the biggest mistake if you know beyond that, maybe just better cash planning.

I think cash was, a little bit more hard to come by for everybody this last year, whether that's personal cash or even in the business, but just like doing a better job of budgeting and organization, I would say is like the broader like pillar that I'm trying to work. A hundred twenty, twenty four is like just be far more organized in, in order to anticipate things.

Yeah. I guess yours are related to the your sector. Mine are related to my sector. For me, it was like. I felt like we missed out on deals because we didn't have committed capital. Like there's a few deals where I think we could have moved faster and closed them. Venture Orphan specifically I. Where it's just like, all right, we'll do it, but, you know, hold up, let us go find the money quick.

And we had delay. And I think that's just a rep recipe for disaster. And I think we unfortunately missed out on probably a number of deals because of that. Yeah. I, I wholeheartedly agree with that. Yeah. When it comes to these venture orphans, I think that's the. It's a requirement. Like you can't fundraise unless you have, like we've talked about these situations where we had, like, the actual parties that were involved in this deal are actively involved, but they, they weren't really you know, ready to cut a check right away.

Right. It's like this dynamic environment. You have to kind of have that sitting in your backpack ready to go. You know that, that briefcase of money. Ready to be put on the desk. So I think if you want to go after that stuff, if we want to make a habit of it, if we want to make it like which I think we should, right?

It's like those are great deals. We've gotta secure like terms and all, you know, up and down the chain to, so there it is just like a very easy, there's only one party that we need to convince, and that's the seller versus, you know, putting deals together while they're in the air, while they're spinning plates, while the terms are changing.

It's, it's just too hard. Yeah, I, it's just so hard to create a market, like on the fly at all times to be like, all right, juggling this side, juggling that side. So I think we probably just have to raise some amount of money and have it committed. And it could be a small amount just to like prove ourselves a little more and just keep proving and, you know, creeping up from there.

Yeah, that was, you know, a bigger learning from this year. How about what space are you most excited about? You know, over the last year I've dug far more into machine learning than prior years. I mean, I've always toyed with it. We, you know, we have a lot of data. We have data in each of the businesses, we have a lot of data, you know, in, in other projects I've worked on.

And you know, doing something with it is now becoming easier and easier and easier. And as I look at, some of the modeling tools out there, but in short, like starting to. There's always been this you know, startups are like, oh, well, once we have the data, then we'll be able to provide insights and all these things.

It's like we're, we're there. Now we're finally at that point where we have this plethora of activity data, either around businesses or whatever it is, and we can start doing things with it. It's becoming so easy to start training a model and getting good insights. The barrier to entry is getting so low that really starting to apply.

Those tools to our businesses. And then looking at, okay, what could be a little bit more, you know, bigger picture, interesting either to our customers or, you know, some other customer down the line. It's, it just seems really ripe for, for digging into it. I mean, and, and just for our listeners' sake to the, the context I'm thinking of, it's like we have these niche B2B SaaS businesses, and it's like the insights that we can garner are so unique to us.

Because, I mean, it may be a small space or whatever, but it, it, it's a unique data set that I think we can get unique insights out of. What's like a cool example for Scout? Like, is there something obvious that could help our, you know, customers grow faster or something like that, their business better?

Here's, here, here's like a silly one that I wouldn't say silly, but like, you know, create a machine learning model that can go through all the photos that are uploaded on the platform and generate like a lookbook for end of year right? To send to every single pet parent. It's like, hey, we can generate a, a slideshow or a, I mean, this is like.

That's more of a, a computer vision, machine learning thing, but still like, hey, we can have it identify dogs or cats or whatever, pets, and then build a a scrapbook of like your yearend dog walking and see your pet, you know, send them a, give them something that they can purchase or whatever. I mean, it's, we just have so much data.

I mean, I won't even get into the geospatial data. We have, we have walks, we have, could we provide, like, based on the weather today, what's a great. Walk path for this pet that maybe some other dog walkers that have served this pet have, have used. That's kinda where my head's at, right? And, and those are the little bit more customer facing.

Like our customers might like that they might be able to add more to their bottom line by selling or using some of these, these tools. But then there's this, you know, whole bunch of other stuff that, you know, might be. Interesting around, you know, time to payables, things like that. I mean, a little more business oriented, but that's, that's the stuff I think is, is getting easier and easier now, especially with like, uh, uh, image recognition and instant segmentation.

They're, they're fun things that we, we could definitely start doing. Like, you know, I, identifying who's in the picture, simple as that. Like, your phone does this stuff now, like I iPhoto or Apple photos does it, you know, natively. But like, why, why shouldn't we? That's a fun idea. I think there's a lot around like just so we have customers, but they're like end customer engagement.

I think a lot of them could be communicating with their customers more or offering more and they just don't really know how to do it. Yeah. The one obvious lever, I don't know if it's really machine learning or not, but it seems like. prIcing is like the easiest lever for these businesses to like pull and we could probably look at all, we have, you know, enough customers all over the country.

You could probably say like, Hey, your prices are, you know, 30% below the market in your area for sure. Like, if you, you could raise prices, you know, this is the template of like, how do you price? Probably send that email. Yeah. Stuff like that I think could be really helpful. I think we had somebody reach out to us, by the way, who was like, I.

You got, you know, you're, everything that's wrong with this, this, where they were a a pet parent and they were like, you're telling, I guess we had a blog post about what are like pricing trends. And they were like, you're, you're telling 'em they can charge $20 to watch my dog poop? And it's like, well, yeah, that's, that's market.

They should charge what's market. But yeah, I don't know. I, I'm really excited about the machine learning capabilities. Again, they're getting cheaper, easier. More fun to use. It's it's not as onerous as it as it once was. fOr my, I, mine is a similar answer. It's not as business oriented, but like, just AI generally I use it all the time now.

So I pay for chat GPT, which is like $20 a month. And multiple times a day I'm having a conversation with it. And I find like, you know, an example was we got raw payment processing data and you put it in and you like were able, if it got churn from it. If I could do that manually, it would've taken me like me and like a virtual assistant, like a week or something.

It would've taken forever. Oh yeah. Yeah. That's, or that, or like, just learning. So like productivity and learning I think are just gonna skyrocket. When you could just talk to like this, I don't know, college educated person on all topics at all times. It's kind of crazy. Yeah. Interesting. Yeah. I, it's that specific instance was a good one for ai.

It's a, it's funny when you have just like a really. Big but boring, repetitive task. It's like perfect. There was very little creativity or like nuance to it. And, and yeah, their, their tooling's getting better and better. So, it's cool to see for sure, and we've done that exact task manually, like a year ago to get it stuff, to qualify with bankers, to figure out like cohort tables, basically those like triangles that go from green to red.

Yeah, it sucks. It really is not fun. Okay. How about, what's a popular trend that you're not a believer in? Uh, you know, on a, on some aspects, I think it's like I'm gonna, this one is like, not wholehearted, but it, there is an element of there, like this idea of abandoning junior developers and using AI instead.

I, I've been using, you know, I use JGBT, I use AI related tools. I just think like I. There's still going to be a demand for junior kind of level development that it, it just isn't going to be replaced entirely, in my opinion. By ai. I mean, there are things that it can do now and, and again, I'm using some of the cutting edge tools, but not all of them.

I just still think that there's a, you need this sort of er, this person that's, you know, yes, they might be able to go write some. If and for loops for you and, and all sorts of stuff. And like, but there's still like this, this master connector that needs to be thinking about it and architecting things and I just don't see that person going away anytime real soon.

I mean, I hope it, I hope I'm wrong, but I think like this AI is gonna replace everybody is is pretty far off. I had my one last year, which is still kind of standby, is like. I don't pay attention to any popular trends. I try to mute all like trending topics on Twitter as much as possible. And that makes things a lot more bearable to me.

So I try not to pay too much attention in the news and different things like that. The one kind of in our space that is pretty popular now is all these tech people buying boring businesses. Yeah. I think there's just something to, like, the grass is not greener over there. I think you're trading like. You know, a different set of problems for people problems and internet companies are pretty awesome.

Probably some of the best business models ever. So like recurring revenue, acid, light, remote, high margin, and then all of a sudden you're like driving a dump truck around like you're mowing lawns. And you have people showing up to drunk or not showing up and you have to have like armies of people instead of people just in Slack that you talk to periodically.

You know, I kind of skeptical. Yeah. I think a lot of people have started to like. Gravitate towards that. Just from the sake of like, Hey, I can get, I can just be in business. I can be, you know, I don't have to have a tech co-founder. And I think a lot of people that are good at, you know, managing people good at organizing, like they're flourishing in that because it's not.

You know, it's not impossible to, to grow that business with like your basic block and tackle. So it gives people that, I think otherwise we're doing sort of like the mental masturbation of reading business books and thinking about, well, how they're gonna structure their hold codes. And it's like, yeah, you can go and execute and it gives you something to grow and, and focus on and, and you know, do things like bolt on acquisitions for, and it has a huge impact.

That being said, like, it does seem like unusually high number of like Twitter users. And I guess that was the other, that's the other trend that I'm, I'm actually trying to just get out of entirely is like, I am just trying to step away from social media in general, like with what's going on in Twitter.

It's like, it's its own like microcosm of I know you. You have your own philosophies around this and you have a following, but like, I have zero interest in like reading opinions of people. I don't know. I'm, I'm just going back to books. Like I'm getting into my Kindle. That's all I spend my time on now is just no Facebook, no Instagram, no.

I Try to stay off LinkedIn. That's. That's also kind of the worst. But definitely no Twitter. I'm just trying to like, I'm finding they don't really add anything to my life and I, I, I feel I've always felt like this need where I'm like, well, I gotta keep up with what's going on. And then it's like, you read like people are buying landscaping businesses and, and that's cool, but it's, it's like, I don't know.

I don't need like, the 10 reasons to do it. Yeah, I think that's probably, I mean, it's definitely great and it's not just you, I think the algorithm is maybe favoring. More exaggerated stuff, more like entertainment stuff. Not as like, you know, maybe four years ago it was more like, you know, educational and that's not rewarded quite as much anymore.

Yeah. So I, yeah, I definitely am leaning more towards like, it's worth creating still and like publishing stuff, but Yeah. Consuming much less so than it was Yeah. You know, a couple years ago. How about business goals for 2024? Hmm. You know, I very regularly, regularly, quarterly, monthly, almost weekly, go back to my goals.

And it's constantly the same thing. More leverage in my work. Like I, it's a struggle for me 'cause I do like to code still, right? Like, I like to contribute directly to our portfolio companies. I like to work on them. I like to improve them. tHat being said, I want, I always want to have a little bit more leverage and so working on apprenticeship, I'm really pushing on trying to get a replacement for myself in the portfolio companies from a, like, the fallback person, right?

It's like if we can't get ahold of so-and-so we gotta get in touch with Brent. If you can't get ahold of so-and-so you gotta get in touch with Brent. It's like I'm trying to put in a person in between myself and the businesses a, a little bit more. And yeah, I think that's like, that's always my goal.

It's always been my goal. It was my goal last year. I'm pretty sure I, maybe I said something different, but it's always on my, like, this week, how am I improving my leverage?

Yeah, that, I think we had the same goals last year. Mine has probably, you know, raised some form of a committed vehicle which I think is easier now that I'm down in Austin. It seems to be a lot of money here. And a lot more money that specifically is interested in this kind of thing. So meeting with a lot of folks and kind of noodling on different forms that this could take.

So settle on some form and go out and try to raise, you know, some small capital vehicle. Nice, nice. That's, I mean, so from a business perspective, like it, as I think about it. Like, there's just, it's a constant every day, every week, every month. Like I don't feel like I sit down and like, okay, it's 2024, let's lay down the goals.

It's just, it's such an acute, like review of goals every single time. And I kind of go between this, this idea of like cash flow and equity and, and leverage and these, these same kind of buzzwords that are floating around, at least on my list of things that are focus. But it's, it is something I think as we look at, you know, where do we want to kinda level up to?

I think that is the natural in terms of structure, I think that is the natural progression of this is having some committed capital. And, but just moreover, like what does that look like? Having more businesses think more revenue, more more of everything kind of going at the same time.

How about pleasant surprise of the year? You know what? My kids are growing up like. That's been a pleasant surprise. My, my son is four, my daughter's two, and like, you know, it's still like the heyday, right? It's, it's hard at those ages. They're not sleeping, they're not, you know, the. My daughter's still in diapers, but I'm seeing like the, the light of day, right?

I'm starting to see the light and so, you know, the holidays is a great time to kinda see that and focus on it was the kids are growing up and it, it's getting easier. So it, it, it has been a pretty difficult last four years of like, you know, just going through the young ages. But yeah, I'm, I'm pretty excited.

I'm pretty excited to see what's, what's like. Just traveling with like a, maybe like a five and a 7-year-old sounds really exciting to me. That sounds a lot easier than a two and four. Yeah, one and three. Yeah, exactly. How about you? Yeah, I have like similar mushy, but I had a son the December of last year, so this was the first year really with him and I mean.

I didn't really know babies before having one myself. They're horrible at everything when they're born. They can't use their eyes, can't use their hands for a while. It probably takes 'em five months to get like even the most basics down. Yeah. And then they become a lot more interactive and a lot more fun.

So that is definitely a huge highlight. Slowly watching a little person get less bad at everything over time has been really enjoyable. Yeah. But yeah, and you, you see all these people at my age or your age where they're just having like these existential crisis, like what is life like, what am I supposed to be doing?

It's like, Hey, just just have a kid just stop being so neurotic about all this crazy stuff. I would not recommend that. No, that's terrible advice. Don't just have a kid definitely want to do it. 'cause it's it's going to tire you and Yeah. It's, it's gonna, yeah. That's funny. But yeah, I, I hear what you're saying from the existential, like, what are we doing here?

You know, I I, it doesn't necessarily have to be kids that don't have to be one of the other, but it's, it definitely if you're having that existential crisis, you, you have more time on your hands, I guess. I don't know. Yeah. How about, how about biggest bummer of the year? You know, I don't really have one.

I I think like my health's been good. Like I really can't complain about anything. I, I kind of skipped this from even thinking about it. I, you know, I, I would say like, I skipped this one too. So either way, I would say the biggest bummer is, is probably going back to, to business and it's, you know, not, not getting another deal done.

I think that. It was, it's a hard year, right? Like the economy was in a unique place and we were, but we were focused and I feel like positioned to. Do some of the deals that we had in front of us, but they kind of, they, they didn't happen. I'm, I'm glad they didn't happen because we found something out or whatever.

It was like, okay, that, that we don't wanna get involved in that, or that person doesn't want to actually sell or whatever it is. But it's that was kind of a bummer, but that's not really a life thing. This is more, more life stuff. Yeah. I, I didn't have anything great for this one. How about Best Habit picked up.

Yeah, I, you know, over, over the last year, really consistent exercise, like, not every single day, but super consistent around, like, in know, prior years I was like going, maybe I take a couple weeks off or a week or two and kind of fall off the wagon. But definitely really, really consistent exercise.

Definitely I feel like my health has, has just gotten better. Yeah. Banks, it's amazing how similar we're in all these I, so we we're simple people. Yeah we got a house down here so I could actually like, build out a home gym. 'cause I don't plan on moving for a while. And so I got like a pull up bar, dip bar, you know, a nice Nordic curl set up.

So I, I'm able to like really push on some of these, , workouts and there's kind of no excuse 'cause it's easy to, , bring my son in here and he could just like, walk around while I do folks and stuff like so I'm able to do it every other day, you know, without fault ever. That's great.

So yeah, finally, like making real progress there. My other big one was for. I'd never got into tennis or anything growing up, but I always loved ping pong. And then I got into pickleball slowly and I was like, I should just learn tennis. Yeah. Like, I think I could be good at tennis. And so this previous summer I just got into tennis, basically.

I was playing like three days a week. So I haven't found a great run like in Austin yet, but I have a few, you know, first meetings I wanna play with people. But getting like passable at tennis was you know, nice accomplishment this year. That's awesome. Yeah. That's, that's a great sport. Like I.

Stink at it, but, and I've, I've kind of played a little bit here and there my whole life, but it is, nothing will make you run like after a ball if it's like just outta reach. It's, it's so fun. It's so funny as a 30 some year old to go to something that you're just bad at, like day after day, week after week.

It took me forever to just be like, not the worst person there all the time. Yeah. But yeah, it is fun. It's just fun learning a new skill that's not an easy skill to, you know, pick up. Yeah. How about worst Habitot picked up? lEtting our kids sleep in our bed. I mean, if they've just taken over, it's brutal.

It's like my, we can't put my daughter to bed right now without her. Like, you know, it's, it has to be either like. The perfect lullaby story, whatever mix. Otherwise she will scream her fucking head off. You know, like blood curdling screams until you go and get her and let her sleep in the bed. But once you start that they know it's possible.

And it was just me being, or my wife, I don't know who would, us just being lazy one day and like, ah, I just let 'em play with it. We're tired. It's two in the morning. We're not gonna like be un regimented about it. And that was a huge mistake. 'cause now they. They just, they just get, like, my son just gets in the bed.

He'll like be up at whatever time. We'll wake up and he's there. I'm like, did you bring him in? I didn't bring him in. Okay. He's just here. Okay. Wow. How do you unwind that? I think we're gonna have to do sleep training again. I. My, my son, I shouldn't say like, we can just say don't come in and he won't come in.

'cause he's a, a total, total angel. My daughter, I think we're gonna have to, yeah. Just start from the top of like, cry it out again. And she's two, so it's like, oh my God. She's got, she's got some lungs on her now know. Oh man. Yeah. We're still in a crib. So this hasn't come up yet, but it's something to look forward to.

Mm-Hmm. How about you? Probably falling too much on like consumption and falling away from writing. You know, I used to always just roll outta bed, make a coffee, and start writing, and now I roll out of bed, , prepare a milk and like immediately go into entertaining and making breakfast and stuff.

Mm-Hmm. And that just kind of blew up my whole, , writing cycle. So I haven't got back to it. In theory, I have to start writing like. As soon as I get back from daycare drop off or something, it's hard, but then I feel like, , I'm going to Slack or going to email and like replying to stuff in that, , writing just kind of falls away.

It's like figuring out a better writing, , process again is something I have to do. Yeah, yeah. No, it's, writing processes is difficult. I mean, I struggle with it far more. I, I like barely ever write anything and when I do it, it takes forever. But, it is funny that like first thing in the morning is just blasted.

I like, yeah. With kids it's just, you gotta find it some other way. Yeah. I mean now it's like almost a panic 'cause he's just like, he needs milk. He woke up, he needs milk, and the milk takes like five minutes to warm up and you wake up and it's like, it's just absolutely freezing in the house. And you run over there and do it real quick.

Yeah. oKay. Hmm. Best new software you use. You know, I don't use any new software. I'm like such an old man. I've got like my, I got my go-tos and I keep them up to date and you know, I got my like code editor and a handful of other things. I mean, in terms of software or libraries I'm using, it's like, it's a lot of the same stuff.

It's honestly nothing new. I mean, notion's the newest thing that I use and I've been using that for three, four years now. So How about you? Do you have any good tips there? Mine's, I, I think it's probably similar with everyone, is that we aren't adopting that much new software nowadays, it seems. Mm-Hmm.

But mine, I, for the longest time was a like, dedicated overcast user as like my podcast player. Mm-Hmm. I found it just got super buggy over the last six months in the Marco guy that made it. Seems to have like, fallen off the face of the earth. So I don't know what's going on with that. So I moved over to Snipped, which is kind of interesting.

It's like an AI assisted podcast player. So you could clip things like press a button and it'll clip the last, I think, two minutes or something and send it to, you know, your note taker of sorts. Cool. And it does like transcriptions on the fly all the time, so it's one of the more interesting, like actually AI assisted thing I'm using.

That's awesome. Your script's amazing, which is kind of similar, but Yeah. Snipped is a cool one. So how about what skill did you level up on this year? Two things. Management, like one-on-ones. I de I definitely like took that very seriously this year and ran, you know, our support teams one-on-ones, and then also like my customer support.

Chops, I feel like have gotten really good. We've had a lot of opportunities for training, you know, new people coming on and giving them materials on like how to phrase things, you know, how to talk about you know, customer support issues and, and how to talk to people that are, you know, struggling with something.

But I'd say management one oh ones that has been like that I've taken really seriously and I've found that to be pretty. Useful now that we have kind of this distributed team and, and mechanisms for like managing remotely. I feel like we've found a, a handful of interesting techniques, but it largely starts with just like doing good one-on-ones and having good retrospectives or just good touch points.

You know, that's the main thing. Mine, I feel like I've had it on my list for a while and never really took the time to do it, is just like. Get better at ConvertKit and set that up properly. So that's it's like a newsletter, an email collection system for mostly creators, but now for businesses as well.

Hmm. So. Like, I was manually adding it to blog posts each time that I was writing a blog for a period. And now it's just like, it's embedded. It's better at the top of every blog post on my personal site when I send like investor updates, I just have a group that's tagged as investor and it's easy to like, duplicate and send again.

Nice. But just set, like if I didn't have that, it would be like B, c, C every time and it'd take me a while. Now it's just super fast and I don't have to spend any time like formatting and stuff. So I finally got that set up with lead magnets and everything on my personal site. And then for Scout as well, we have a number of those that are firing off.

They're like email, basically email courses. So now we could remarket to those people over a period of time instead of all these people just hitting our blog posts, which we have a lot of blog posts at this point that get, you know, good amount of traffic and we could remarket to them. So like actually spending the time and watching YouTubes on ConvertKit was super useful.

Yeah. Yeah. That's awesome. That's, that's like the, the the dream right is like the, and just getting all your shit connected properly so you don't have to worry about it. That's like, I love it. Once it's like set up and working well, it's such a great feeling. It's so good. They, ConvertKit is more expensive than the alternatives, but their automations are pretty amazing.

So yeah, it's like having a bunch of little robots working for you and setting those up is not super straightforward, but once you kind of figure it out, you know, it's nice and it just goes so yeah, cost of money, but it's basically bulletproof over time. Awesome, awesome. On the media front, how about your best nonfiction book of the year?

Best nonfiction. I've read a couple. So I went on a sort of Caribbean vacation back in, I think it was February. And I read a pirate book. It was called Black Flags, blue Waters. That was really good. Historical stuff. But in, in that, that's more personal. On the business side, I've read a couple of really good books.

Have you seen Stripe has launched this thing called Stripe Press. Oh yeah. And you have a. They, they've got a bunch of really great books in there. One of 'em was called Scaling People, which is actually where I feel like I've picked up a lot of this, like sort of management contemplation of just becoming a better people manager.

I think it's Claire Hughes Johnson. She has a book called Scaling People that they put out that, it's, it's so good. It's like if you deal with people in any way or like have an organization and you're thinking about designing organizations or setting up businesses, whatever it is, like read that book.

And you will, you will just benefit greatly. I won't, I won't get too far down it, but those are the best, like two nonfiction I like. I mean, the pirate book was, was pretty fun to read. It ends up my impression of pirates. They're, they're, they're not, they're not that. Bad. They're actually, most of the pirates that were in the Caribbean, it sounds like they mostly just stopped being pirates and started families after a while.

So it was it was not, not the greatest not the most exciting story, but scaling people is definitely where it's at. Yeah. The Stripe Press books. STripe press is beautiful. Like, I think all their books are quite good and they all are. They just look awesome. The design of 'em, I was thinking of buying more of 'em just to like have, just to have around the house.

Yeah. I'm reading the, you know, poor Charlie's Almanac one right now, which timed up with them, you know, passing. Yeah. But yeah, they're phenomenal. Yeah. Really enjoying you know, I've been, I've been on like a Kindle kick, like that's the things, keeping it all on the Kindle. But I do appreciate their, their cover designs and yeah, that would make for a very cool, I.

You know, on the cool looking thing on the bookshelf.

My other one was outlive by Peter Attia. So he is like the number one longevity doctor. Mm-Hmm. It's basically a, a bible of like what you should be doing if your goal is like health span and lifespan. So I, I talked about it before, but that is something that I think it's far longer than it should be.

It should be like under 200 pages and everyone in the world should read it instead. It's like 400 but. Still it's a great book. That's cool. Yeah. I mean, longevity is such a great subject. It, it does seem like, it is every, I mean, it's a, it's everybody's concern at a certain point.

And how about your best fiction book? yOu know what? I didn't really read a ton of fiction in this last year. I'm looking at like, my list. I, I'm actually just noticing I didn't read any fiction. Now that I, now that it comes to it, I just stayed on non-fiction, which makes me kind of sad because when you get a good fiction book going, it's like, nothing's better.

How about you? I had one I thought you'd like. Avogadro Corp. It's a singularity series, so I think it's a trilogy of them. Basically starts with like a chat GPT type, , application. And then it spirals into like a, a sentient ai, but it's a, you know, very timely with the rise of chat GPT and everything.

Mm-Hmm. I dig it. Yeah. I'm looking at the. That's funny at the description now. Yeah. I love sci-fi. I need a good one. So I will, I will check that out. That's a good, like Paige Starner, it's easy. Like before bed. It's not, you know, super intense book. Dig it. How about New Year's resolutions? Oh, we kind of did work already, right?

Yeah, we did personal and health. Yeah, we did work. I mean, personal health, I definitely, want to take an opportunity every week, like at least once a week to just like do some form of. Self-care. I've been doing float therapy every now and then. That's been, it just puts you in a really good mind state.

Just calm me, calms you down. I had to get a, a colonoscopy this year, so I fasted and I actually found, like what people talk about when you do like the full day fast. I was like, felt amazing. I mean, it, it, it's uncomfortable to an extent, but I'm gonna start doing that on a semi-regular basis. But yeah, those are the two things I think from a, a personal sort of health perspective is like, you know, my wife she put would say it gets a lot easier, you know, fasting, it sucks.

Yeah. When you haven't done it before. But if you start doing it, it's a million times easier. Yeah. That's good. Yeah. Personal health for me, I gotta find a regular tennis game. I have some leads on it, I just haven't like pursued it yet with the holidays, people outta town. And then just keep working on the stuff I'm doing.

Posted Twitter, I've been working on this Nordic curl for like two damn years and maybe like 50% of the way there. It's just really, really hard, but. I bought this like dedicated machine for it. I got it used in Austin, which is nice. So it's like 50% off. But I feel like this is my year. I'm gonna get it in the next 12 months.

Those are hard. Those are so hard. Like it's all hams, right? It's all hamstringing in, in glute, right? I. Yeah, I mean it's all hamstringing. It's basically preventing your knee or leg from being like pried apart. And it's supposed to be getting really strong acls basically mimics an ACL so you don't tear it.

Mm-hmm. So if you get it really strong, that's, you know, the theory there. It's also really good for sprinting and everything. But yeah, it is not easy. I think like the best people, they say it takes 'em like two to five years to get it in the like natural freak athletes, some of 'em could do it out of the gate, but yeah, for the regular people it takes forever.

How about any wild predictions for 2024? Wild predictions. I'm, I'm hoping there's gonna be like a lasting piece. That's my wild prediction, that there's, there's been so much war and conflict, like the war in Ukraine, I'm hoping draws to a close. I think that's my wild prediction is that that and other conflicts that are going on just within the ne like within the first quarter of the year, somehow, some way, I don't know, I don't have much detail behind this, but I have a feeling like, hey.

Things are going to get better, things are going to reconcile. And you know, these, they're all these different complicated conflicts across the world. And I'm, I'm not saying peace on the earth, but at least peace in Ukraine. Peace in the Middle East in some respect, but it doesn't seem like it's heading in that direction.

But that's my, that's my wild prediction is that there's gonna be some lasting piece going back to the good old days like we remembered in recent history. Yeah, that would be great. I like the optimism hopefully. I dunno if it's a wild prediction, but yeah. Soft landing kind of all around. I don't think we see a crazy recession.

I think interest rates kind of come down. You know, hopefully we get some boring president that's not 80 plus years old. And we could all kind of forget about those like, you know, public topics and go back to whatever we're doing personally.

Do you have any wild crypto predictions for 2024? Crazy bull run. I don't, I think if you want a crypto prediction that's kind of wild. I'd be scared of all this AI stuff. I think that is your biggest risk to like breaking encryption across the board.

So if anything, I would be. Concerned about a complete crypto collapse with AI progressing at the pace it's progressing. It feels like at some point there's just gonna be takeoff and the takeoff could maybe just completely disrupt any kind of cryptography. Yeah, that makes sense. Cool. Well I think that's our year review.

I think that's the, looking forward to 2024 and I'm hoping to record some more podcasts about, you know, the next deal we close. Yes. It's a good resolution. All right take care everyone. Thanks for listening.

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