Jason Cohen — Two Exits & Two Unicorns

Reading Time: 45 minutes

Arvid Kahl 0:00
Are you a bootstrapper who’s never considered raising investment money? Or maybe you’re a diehard VC funded growth hacker who can’t imagine running a business without that extra cash infusion? Well, either way, Jason Cohen’s journey from bootstrapping to raising millions will give you a fresh perspective on the funding debate. Jason discusses his personal discovery of wanting a different journey with WP Engine, which led to raising money after two years of bootstrapping. And now it’s unicorn. Well, there you go. We also uncovered the importance of understanding your competitors instead of just demonizing them in order to develop a unique strategy for your own business. Jason has seen and done a lot as a founder. And no matter what stage of this journey you’re on right now, you will learn something from our conversation today. Let me quickly thank the sponsor of this episode, acquire.com here. More about that later. And now, here’s Jason Cohen.

Thank you so much for being on the show, Jason. That’s really nice for you to come. Two exits and two unicorns, those are quite some credentials that you have there. And one thing that I really, really love about your journey is that the businesses that you’ve been involved in, started out bootstrapped and then later raised investment money. And I always wondered, following that journey, was that the plan from the start or did it become a necessity at some point? How did you go from bootstrapping to raising money because those tend to be different things, right?

Jason Cohen 1:26
It was never the plan from the start with any of them. And so with Smart Bear, I never raised money. I sold it as well, it was still bootstrapped. And it was only the company I sold it to, which was Insight Venture Partners, a well known VC out of New York. They put in more money and bought up a number of companies, which it now is still called Smart Bear. But it’s a number of development tool, companies centered around quality. And, but I never raised money for it at all. Then with WP Engine, WP Engine was my fourth company and in bootstrap again, because all of them were. That’s the deal. But about two years in, it became clear that the market was way bigger than I thought. It really was an opportunity size, that you could raise money for, meaning like it was plausible. It made sense too. Not that you have to, but you could and it would be logical given how big it could be. That became clear after two years. And then the other factor was, again, having done it many times and also now being a father at that time. I think a combination of that was like maybe I want a different journey this time. And I don’t mean a different journey as in, oh, I know how to make companies. This is easy. That is not true. There’s a couple of things that are easier, like, oh, you know this about taxes or you have this one framework about doing this one thing. Okay, a little bit. But largely everything’s new, new customers, new market, new product. Even in a market you understand, 10 years later, it’s still a different market. Still, everything’s different. And so you really have to have beginner’s mind with each company. So not that I thought I knew all of that, but rather, am I optimizing for profit or growth? Is the constraint money? Or is the constraint people? How big of a strategy should we make or can we make? What kind of an impact can we make in the world? What kind of an organization we want to build? Those are the kinds of things where there can be very different paths. And since I had done one path and one set of constraints and goals, you know, multiple times. Again, I didn’t go into it thinking I wanted something different. I thought I wanted the same, but then it turned out like you know, what may be? And so it was this just discovery, personal discovery, I guess, as well as being in a maybe luckily in a market and with a product with such fit because it was incredible product market fit that that was a viable option. Of course now in retrospect, absolutely. Correct.

Arvid Kahl 3:59
Right. Yeah. I think that paid out pretty well. Well, the thing that I wonder about, like when I build my businesses in the past, I always considered myself identity wise, a bootstrapper. I thought that was part of me, right? And that always made the even just the idea of raising money, something like no, that’s what other people do, right? It’s kind of the inversion of what Seth Godin is talking about where things move up, like people like us do things like that. People like us don’t do things like that. They don’t raise. So did you struggle with that at all with this kind of identity thing as a bootstrapper?

Jason Cohen 4:32
I did not because of a couple of things. One is I do identify with the companies I have or the ideas that I have, the blog that I’ve written for over 16 years. Those kinds of things, of course, are part of my identity. And I do feel that way about. I don’t feel that way about processes. I don’t feel that way about sort of some of these more objective decisions, should you raise money or not? What kind of culture should you have? Is design important or less important? There’s which markets and what kinds of things are good? Other than some very broad things like making the world net better instead of net worse that I think some companies do or unethical things other than some, like very big boundaries like that I don’t have a personal thing. So like, I don’t have an axe to grind with investors versus not having done both. It’s like, yeah, they both have upsides, downsides. There’s bad actors in both places. And I don’t know, you know, like, I see all of the above. So I don’t know the one’s evil and one’s not evil. I’ve had experiences with investors, where without them there’s no way the company would be as good as it is including things like culture and people, not just financially. And also things where the internal desires of the investors mean that the pressures on the company are wrong. And I don’t mean WP Engine necessarily. I’ve invested in dozens of companies. So I’ve seen the other investors act. But like, as an investor myself, I’ve been with companies where it was very clear that the founder would be better off if they sold it. They wanted to sell it. And I saw some investors trying to get them not to because I guess that investor wants to whatever. But I saw others, including myself saying, like, good for you. Let’s help you do that. That’s what you want to do. Let us help you do that, which we did. So maybe that was, I mean, was that less overall return for investors? I don’t know, it was a return on the founders burned out. So that actually sounds good for everybody. So I’ve seen people be extremely helpful in that role. And I’ve seen people be, I mean, hurtful is maybe the wrong thing, but like, not taking the company into consideration, being very selfish and so forth. I’ve seen both. So to just paint a broad brush and just say it’s bad. I get it, I understand that mentality, it’s something to do, it’s a thing to rail against. That makes sense to me. But to me, I care about the actual behaviors going on rather than the concept of like fundraising, being something that is or isn’t me.

Arvid Kahl 7:05
It feels to me that it kind of not taking investment. Too many people is shortcuts to not having alignment problems with investors because there’s no investors, kind of an alignment problem, because you’re not gonna have any alignment. But obviously, there are great investors that will align magically or at least intentionally with your business. So yeah, that’s kind of what I’ve come to understand as well. And it’s funny that you’re saying that you are invested in other companies. I think I found on your website that you are or were invested in short, Swift capital. Is that correct? Yeah. Yeah. Did you? Were you aware that? Sure. Swift capital was the acquirer of my SaaS business a couple years ago? Yes. Yeah. So I kind of I guess I have you to thank on some level for being

Jason Cohen 7:52
No, but but there’s a great example of what I think of, okay, as an investor, well, it is, as an LP in that they are an investor. Of course, they buy out the company completely and run it and so forth. But they are an investor in the same way that a private equity, is there really a private equity for small companies? So Aren’t they great? I mean, I watched your interview with Kevin and like, aren’t they making the world a better place? Aren’t they making it not only the world better for founders who are getting who gets to get out of the company, whether that’s for liquidity or burnout? Or both? I would guess a lot of the time, isn’t that better. And that elevates people who are at the company, and they get a chance to shine and have some leadership positions that maybe there wasn’t room for before, because it was a small company. So it’s not better for them. And it’s better for the customers, of course, if the company has continuity, and doesn’t just burn out because the founder burned out, you know, that’s, so isn’t that making the world way better, and that’s an investor. So, again, like I care about, I do think there’s a lot of bad behavior investors, and I love it when, when that’s called out because it’s very bad. You know, Cory Doctorow, for example, fantastic at calling out bad behavior in industries, companies, etc. So, Hell, yes, I’m like, I’m way I’m ready to rail against those behaviors, right. But to just say, like, investors are bad, it’s like, Sure, Swift is bad. Really? You really want to say that, because you’re just so Boostrap? Like I said, people do say that. And I don’t I don’t I just don’t agree with that.

Arvid Kahl 9:16
Yeah, I don’t agree with that either. It’s funny because I learned a first word through Morgan style singer who I had on my show just a couple of weeks ago. And he was just just an assassin entrepreneur who sold his businesses there as well. And that gave him the opportunity to build better and even bigger businesses. Like they literally make the dream that he had possible by being there and being willing to acquire the thing that he was ready to sell. Like, that’s also a thing like what Kevin was saying, like most people sell for a reason. And money is not always that reason. Burnout is different diversification that is a big thing too. Right? Like taking some money off the table or getting getting a half exit or full exit or whatever. Yeah, people have their reasons. And it’s nice that there is something in there for everyone. And even there are funds like the com company fund or tiny seed where there’s Some money for bootstrappers that is not bound to the VC growth expectations as well. I like that there’s a continuum. That’s what I really enjoy. And I think at some point in my life, I was very much on one side of it, just like, you know, radical bootstrapper. Which is funny because I used to work for Silicon Valley like series, a race, SaaS business in the past, and I thought, oh, Vc is where it’s at, right? It’s where it’s all at overreaction, that’s

Jason Cohen 10:22
false, too, right? Like,

Arvid Kahl 10:24
both are super limiting, in a way. Yeah,

Jason Cohen 10:26
it’s silly. I think I think when is it bad? When is it good, very interesting questions. But just to say, like, you know, selling your business is bad, or fundraising is bad as like, oh, my gosh, that’s just that’s just, it was productive and silly. Right? And then especially if you’re really mad about it, what do you do?

Arvid Kahl 10:47
Yeah, that’s, that’s a pretty weird stance taking in in our community, I think the polarization I think it might be a social media problem, that things are so polarized that you have to take a stance, because if you don’t, then nobody cares. You do because it kind of in anticipation of getting some support, you take a more radical stance, and then you kind of drift apart. I mean, do we have this in the political systems of the world? Maybe?

Jason Cohen 11:12
One nice thing about being extreme, is it’s very easy to think about stuff, because it’s just like, This is bad. This is good. And so that that, and I don’t mean that in a bad way. I mean, that in a good way. It’s sort of like, you know, what diet? What’s the diet that works? Well, really, like, as long as you’re not eating too much and too much bad stuff. That’s probably about right, unless you have like a very special problem. So how come there’s so many diets? Well, these diets are like super extreme in this are never eat that. Probably, it’s just a simple rule. And the fact that it’s a simple rule means it’s easier for you to follow it. And a more complex, subtle rules is harder. And so the cognitive load going down, it just like makes it easy. Go to the restaurant, just do this and tell them know that and, and it’s just better. And so it’s not really about that there’s no carbs, or there’s no this or that, it’s really just that it’s a simple rule to get to what you want. So similarly, I mean, it’s fine just to say, like, VC bad, or fundraising, bad, bootstrapping, good, that’s what I’m gonna do. There’s nothing wrong with that, really, because, okay, then you’re only going to read these kinds of blogs, you’re only gonna follow this guy. So good, because that means you’ll get this, you’ll go deeper in one area, that’s good. Now, I could say you’re not as well rounded, you may be missing out on ideas, you certainly have a skewed version of what the world’s like. But it’s actually kind of useful. So I don’t know like, it’s a good way to focus your time. So I think if you’re getting upset about it, then maybe it’s like, hey, look, that’s crazy, to be upset. But if you’re like, no, I’m just focused, I think that’s probably why is actually,

Arvid Kahl 12:42
I think that there’s a difference between being interested in something and being prescriptive about that. Right, you can be super interested and go super deep. I mean, that’s kind of the T shaped employee thing that I’m always thinking about, right, you have a broad view of everything, but you choose one or two, the moment you become an A shaped employee, you have a problem, right? You don’t want to be the just just going deep on one and ignoring everything else. Well, another thing too, is,

Jason Cohen 13:05
uh, your competitors may have raised money. In fact, if you’re in any kind of a market, that’s not trivial, there is other there are other competitors that are maybe large, maybe raise money, or maybe they’re simply large, so they have money themselves, like, it doesn’t really matter where they raise it or not. And so if you know nothing about that, and what their incentives are, what their culture might be, like, what they might be trying to do, what their goals are, how is it that you’re going to develop a strategy of your own, where you win in your own way, knowing how they might react, or may think about different things, you may know, oh, since they need to do growth over everything else, if I’m, if I go really strong in, let’s say, customer relationships, and I spend all this extra time talking to people making relationship reaching out as soon as they can, personally, as soon as they sign up. I can do that, because I’m not at scale. And because I, I could be profitable, more profitable, or even just happier have a happier customer base, more delighted customer base, rather than how fast can I grow a certain number, but they do, because I know that they’re raised from wherever place and that’s how they run their companies. So if I have a strategy that does X, Y, they will not follow me. Like even if they could compliment could like in quotes with, you know, monetarily, they won’t, because that’s not their culture. That’s not their goals. So I will definitely have a unique strategy if I do that. See, that’s, that’s part of what makes strategy good is when you can say that. So if you know nothing about the other side, because you can’t be bothered, and you think it’s quote unquote, stupid, even though they’re 100 times bigger than us, how could it be that stupid? Then you’re probably just ignorant about your own strategy. So again, you don’t have to like it. And you know, but like, just be ignorant of it. Or say that they’re dumb when they’re winning. It’s like, that doesn’t sound right. You want to build your own strategy where you win in your way, whatever that may be. And what that way will not be is you trying to outspend them on things because that’s what they’ve got. Is that money in a different way. But similarly, they do need to in a funny way, they almost need to spend money, it’s not quite true that they need but they kind of do like you raise the money, the purpose is to spend it on something that directs the company or causes growth, something like that. So they kind of do need to do that. Well, if you know that, what can you do differently? Okay, so it actually can be really enlightening. Not because again, they’re, they’re dumb, but because they have a different set of things they’re solving for different set of constraints, different different goals than you. That’s, that’s the genesis of a good strategy.

Arvid Kahl 15:31
I like that. That makes a lot of sense to me that that’s self imposed ignorance by picking a spot and never looking anywhere else. That is a self limiting belief, right? That is something that limits you, not just in who you can talk to and who you can learn from, but also just understanding how other people work. Thanks for sharing this. I think this is a pretty smart strategy, just to be aware of other people’s incentives tends to be good to know what your competitors want. So you can see if you could just do something else that they don’t want, and then live beside them

Jason Cohen 16:01
react to they won’t follow just so they don’t even want to. It could be, yeah, you know, another thing is, if your attitude is, they’re dumb, like they raise money, so they’re dumb or they’re bad, or they’re evil, that’s preventing you from a true analysis of what their strengths really are. strengths that they have, that you may or may not want to combat, you may, you may want to go strength or strength, that’s fine. But you may want to go in an area where they’re weak or not looking. If your attitude is they’re dumb or bad, then then you’re not thinking about where they’re strong and good. And that’s what you need to do so that you’re building a strategy with that in mind. So it’s harms your ability to think objectively and rationally about it.

Arvid Kahl 16:45
Assigning any kind of emotional quality to a business generally tends not to be a smart choice. Yes, it’s a very, very human thing. And businesses as much as the legal code may disagree here are not people. They don’t think exactly like people. Yeah, I like that. And I think this this kind of self, it’s an ego thing to me in many, many places where founders are like this, or at least where they openly communicate about it that often rings off. I know best because and then comes the list of accolades and experiences that they think that gives them the right to feel superior to everybody else in the industry, right? It’s protecting their ego, to not look at other things that might clash with their reality

Jason Cohen 17:25
does. But like, I think that there’s a healthy aspect to that, like, yeah, why did you start a company? If you must think that you know, better? Like otherwise? What are you doing? You must believe this is a better design, I have better ideas. I want to run the organization in a better way. In fact, they don’t want to raise money, because they’re just going to pull me as you say, in the wrong direction, or have the wrong account or incentives or just whatever. And I don’t want that. Because it could be I think I’m right, but it’s it’s even more, I think, just don’t tell me what to do. I just need to do it my own way. Yeah, some people need to do it their own way and think they’re right, they’re very confident. But I find that a whole lot of founders, me included, want to do it my own way. But I wouldn’t say I know I’m right. I just need to do it my own way. Right or not, I need to do it. Sorry, I just need to, and I don’t need investors telling me what to do. And I certainly don’t want employers to run with you. So I might not even have that confidence to say that I’m right. But I still need to do it my way. So I think you do have to hold on to that, because that’s the impetus. That’s the motivation to do it in the first place. And so you need that, that’s the thing that’s giving you the energy to do it. So you do need to have that, that whether it’s confidence or not, you need to keep that because that’s what’s going on. But to your point, like, okay, so that can be very strong and give you energy give you motivation, cause you to do all these things in the first place. Good, keep it, but then when it bleeds over into, not just I need to do it my way, but and also everyone else is dumb or evil or like Well, wait a minute, like, you don’t need to put that label on someone else in order to say everything you just said about yourself. That’s not necessary to do that. And if you realize that maybe allows you to keep that attitude without having to be negative. Something else.

Arvid Kahl 19:11
I don’t think I’ve ever was trying to instill in others that they’re doing it wrong. But I did suffer I guess in the end a lot from thinking that only I knew how to do it, right? And only I was the one that should have done the thing that I did. You had a talk recently, I guess to in 2018. It’s Astor where you kind of go into the mental health things that that founders go through and where people who are at a stage where they they’re really not happy anymore with what they’re doing. And they say, Well, I can leave the company because if I do everything implodes, right? That’s kind of self aggrandizing perspective, but I really thought that it was let me just admit this year i i thought i cannot hire anybody they don’t know like, they can do the work as I did it, even though I was effectively building a yet another crud app, right in a movie and I did it elixir. So it’s a language that not too many people code in. But it doesn’t matter. This still hundreds of 1000s of these developers out there, I just thought, hey, there’s not enough work for them. Because only I can do it quickly enough. If there was so many self delusional stuff in my life that I didn’t hire, and not even just coders, we didn’t hire anybody, which led me to a burnout state and fortunately, had Kevin and insurance there that were able to guide me through the acquisition and kind of allow me to leave the company and not have it implode on me and derive the value that I so painfully build, including this right now not even understanding my own mental psychology around this topic. It was horrible. I didn’t hire because I thought nobody could do my work, which is like, why do we do this? I wonder you certainly didn’t do that you you did hire and you grew a sizable company. You have your own building, though. That’s really cool. So did you ever struggle with this? Like, how did you talk to yourself about this, to get other people to do the work that they’re better at than you maybe?

Jason Cohen 21:00
Well, I mean, I’ve worked with really good people. So I’m not under the illusion that there’s not such a thing as good people, I think, a couple of things to unpack there about that. So again, the founder does have a certain vision and energy that you can’t hire for. So you’re kind of right, that you can’t hire someone, quote, unquote, to do your job for you. If by your job you mean everything about being a founder, and that’s true. But what’s not true is that you’re that you need to hire someone to replace all of you. That’s not That’s not wasn’t needed, as you said, like the job might be to hire a developer. That’s not replacing all of you. And it’s really quite silly to say out loud that no developers are as good as you at writing code, it’s just not true. It may be true that you don’t know how to find them that nobody wants to work for you. That might be true. But that sounds like a personal failing, actually a problem a personal problem, not something that you should be proud about, you know, now, maybe you can’t afford it. That’s a whole different story. But but if you can, yeah, so the attitude that I give, and I think I might give it in that talk, I can’t remember, is certainly as the CEO, let’s say, founder, what is your job in terms of creating the team? And the answer is not that you’re creating, that you’re hiring marketing person to do marketing, how do you engineering through engineering, you’re hiring people that specifically are better than you at that function, so that that function becomes better than it currently is. If you don’t, then the company will never get better than you personally are at every function, which is a complete failure of leadership. You’re telling me it’s not a leaders job to make the whole organization better all the time. Really. That’s not That’s not his job. That’s not the job of every leader to things getting better. Clearly part of the job, your organization is not getting better, smarter, more skilled than making better decisions, then you’re not doing good, then then that’s you’re failing. So that means you have to hire people that are better than you at everything. Again, there’s some things like there’s a certain there’s a certain relationship that you have with everyone as the founder or a certain aura you have that you can’t hire for it. There’s a few things like that very few. But almost nothing is like that. And now the difficulty is higher is how do you find someone who’s better than you at something? If definitionally they know more, they have a higher skill set, they’re more experienced? How is it that you would evaluate that, but again, if you use that as an excuse not to then you failed as a leader, and that’s on you? And so, there are some answers to that. Like, again, it’s not easy, but like who said it was easy. No one, no one promised it would be easy. So some things you can do, for example, is during the interview, you can ask them even questions that you have currently. And how would you approach this? Like, they don’t have all your details? So they can’t give you? Well, maybe they can, but you could ask how, how would you approach this? How have you approached this in the past? So let’s say it’s marketing, and you know, well, you know, we’ve exhausted our one channel, like we get customers every month this channel, but we need to go to other channels, we’re not sure even what to do. What do you do? So do they, they’re like, oh, yeah, so like, you got to look at a lot of channels at once. And then and then test like this and use budgets like that. Or maybe they say, you know, people say that, but it’s wrong. Here’s why. And what you should do is just pick one or two adjacent ones, or you should first I like to survey the customers or find out where they go. And it turns out, they’re only in like one or two other places. So you just go whole hog into those two places. You don’t try everyone or whatever their ideas. I don’t know. The point is, if they come back with all these thoughts, they clearly thought of this before they’ve done this before. It sounds rational to you. It sounds like someone where the things they’re saying seem rational to you. So in other words, they’re compatible with your way of thinking that’s important. And yet it feels like oh, wow, that feels like several steps in the future, and yet compatible. That’s starting to feel like someone In an interviewer who is better than you, but compatible, so you can also you can think of that in terms of their thought process and skill set. You can of course, think about it culturally, although it doesn’t tell you. You can do reference checks on them that can be hard, especially if they’re working and not telling people that they’re looking. Also you don’t you know, you want to a lot of times when reference checks, people just say nice things. So you want to ask to me, I asked things like, Look, everyone thrives in certain environments and fails in certain environments, where what kind of environment do you think this person throws? And like, what would be the attributes there? And where would they just fail? Again, not because they’re bad, but just this be a super mismatch? So I ask questions like that, so that the person doesn’t feel like they’re being negative about the person, but I don’t tell them what my culture and expectations are. Because I want an honest approach. So that’s an example of that. So things like reference checks with questions like that. These fit questions of thinking, but ahead. Again, there’s no magic formula, obviously, this, it’s hard. But like, these are among the things obviously references from other people you trust. If you’re hiring a marketer, and you’ve never done that before, do you have anyone else that you know, or it’s in your network that you’ve worked with in the past who’d be willing to help you interview that person, you know, help you do that, you might even pay them a fee for that, if it’s a little bit more of a professional relationship, and that might be worth it. Obviously, recruiters can do it. But we all know like, the best ones are really good, but a lot of them just shuffle resumes and charge you a lot. So might even be better to give someone you know, a grand five grand, 10 grand, and have them help you with the process that might be actually better. So these are all possibilities to tackle this question of how do I hire someone who’s better than me at the thing? But when you do that, I mean, obviously, it’s almost definitionally, you’re you’re creating a stronger, better company. And by the way, it’s so much fun. Like, as a founder, who thinks you know, everything, how fun is it? When other people have an idea? And you’re like, oh, okay, we that design is amazing. That feature was incredible. That insight is good. That marketing campaign is freaking badass, I would never have done that. How fun is that? Anyway, just fun. Not to mention effective. Like, yeah, that’s the organization you should be trying to build, of course, you know, so that’s some ways to do it. But yeah, that should be the attitude. Now, of course, you may say, I never want to hire anyone ever I want to be so that’s totally fine. I’m not, I’m not trying to put that down at all. But if you want to hire even one person ever than then this is the right attitude.

Arvid Kahl 27:26
I wish I would have met you five years ago, because I couldn’t really use this honestly, that because what you just said, like I the solopreneur thing. That was everything. And the only thing that I really knew is to do my own thing. I had worked in companies before, but I never had any management training or hiring training. I was just a software engineer. Right? It was technical, I did the thing that people told me to went to a couple of meetings not at and bring brought my ideas and stuff. And that was really the life that I knew. So I had no idea what to look for. And even that I could do it. I think that was the big difference. I was not aware that I could just talk to people and then hire them. Like it was bizarre, because solopreneur ship was all about giving yourself permission for anything. But I was not internally giving myself permission to even think about hiring is that that’s kind of where I was. So what you what you thought, or what you just said, and I thought this is this is a wonderful way of leveraging, I guess social media is to have a network of people that can help you with it. That’s

Jason Cohen 28:21
one way. I mean, you don’t have to have that. But it’s an example of how a network can pay off in ways you might not have originally thought. Again, there’s there’s many different ways that’s one way I do think there is there is an attitude, which I’ve had in the past as well believe it or not, of like, well, I just I don’t want employees, I want it to just be me, I don’t want to deal with even one employee. Because I really want to control everything. And it’s just more fun and screw it. And the only meaning I want is in my own head. Now, again, I’m not putting that down. I’m just saying if you want a different path, then here’s some attitudes to have, right? But let’s say you let’s say you want to be like I’m the only one. But then you burned out. So here’s what I would say about that. I say you I burned out. It’s smarter to like, like you’re the only one has ever burned out. I think it’s actually the most common case. That’s my opinion. And I certainly have myself so like, anyway, so but what do you do about that? So there? Again, I go back to a theme that’s common for me recently, which is this idea of having a consistent strategy. So okay, you don’t want employees, it’s just you, obviously, you want to be profitable and probably sustainable. Maybe you want to say sell it someday? I don’t know. So what other decisions do you need to make about the customers the market, the product, tech support, marketing, sales? I know you don’t have sales people in that environment, but like there’s a function of sales, or maybe there’s not maybe it’s a zero function, but like, what other decisions need to be made, so that you don’t burn out? As as because if if it’s like it’s only me, but I’m going to make these decisions that really need more people. Support is 24/7 but it’s just me. Okay, well then you’re going to burn out when you get a certain number of customers certain masks stuff is just gonna consume you. So if it’s going to be you forever, do not have 24/7 support. Now you could art you could and now anytime I say like, it has to be like that you can always think of, well, it could be because what if so, there’s always other way other solutions. So I don’t mean to say it’s so absolute, but let’s just say, by default, if it’s gonna be just you, then you don’t want to be waking up in the middle of the night if servers go down. So you need to pick a product, which the customer is not depending on 24/7. So that if you have four hours of downtime, they’re not going to be happy, but they’ll live. That’s works if you’re solo. Having having to always be the only one with a pager always forever, burns you out, especially once you get more and more into that stuff happens more and more, and then your dev support can be similar. So it’s like, okay, no problem, you want to pick that no problem, but then you need to make other decisions that are consistent with that choice. So that overall, you’re building a manageable thing. And I think when that’s so I don’t, you know, any decision you make is, to me is like, that’s fine. But inconsistent decisions, they’re not fine. You need to pick, you know,

Arvid Kahl 31:12
yeah, I don’t think I ever made that choice. Again, I don’t think I ever thought that I had to make that choice when I started. Because it just I’m going to build a software business, because that’s what I know, that’s what I’ve done for 10 years, I’m going to do one by myself. Yeah, and I kind of I must have completely missed that I did all the other ones in teams have like four or five people with people on call and stuff, right? This must must have slipped my mind that there was support to be done in a software business. It’s bizarre, but you are, in a way as a founder, this is the kind of reality distortion field that you also talked about earlier, that gives you this optimism and that like striving for making something new, where other alternatives already exist, that sometimes blinds you to the reality of the business for which you may or may not have the capacity, what you just said with the Patriots in the morning, that is where my anxiety levels came from.

Jason Cohen 32:05
Or you could you could have no choice and you can say, oh, you know, I can contract with people for that. You can do that for support. And you can do that for the pager. Now, you mean, there’s downsides to that, besides cost, like, will they do a good job, especially in support, that’s really dangerous, because they’re talking to right to your customer. So that becomes part of your brand. And part of your product. Is that okay? It might be might not be depends on your business and your attitude. With the with the technical page, or at least the customers aren’t seeing it. So if they can, if they can kind of shield you from some of that, then that might be alright. So again, like, you can be creative in saying how No, I am going to make a 24/7 product. But I’m also going to design my product in such a way that I can then when I’m at scale, not right away, when I get bigger, I can contract with a company. Because my product is going to be built such that there’s Runbooks that just always allow you to rollback or re you know, redo the I don’t know, whatever I’m I’m going to be able to do that. And I will build a product so that that’s the case. So we’ll be able to offload that. Now we sold it again. Yay. So but what you can’t do is ignore is ignore it completely, like either make them go away by not having that requirement, or there’s another solution. So I not just not just having effectively inconsistent choices, but probably probably not choices you made on purpose. But choices that happened anyways, about your behavior that are inconsistent that will kill you. So another thing when you start doing that and saying like, oh, wait, this is conflicting with that is is you start having to decide, well, what do I really want? Do you really want to be a solopreneur? Or do you really want to have a bigger company that takes more people to be bigger, you have to really decide again, there’s no right answer. It’s only right for you or wrong for you. And at this point in your life, like I started the VPN and wanting to bootstrap again, then I changed my mind. So that’s okay. But which one is right for you? Maybe you should limit growth. So that doesn’t ever get to any kind of scale? That’s an impossible thing to do. Close signups. Yeah, you did it. So there’s so many ways, but like, you really have to end up deciding this is what I want. This is more important than this other thing. So I will keep this and give up that. But having to do that having to make those really tough decisions. It’s a beautiful thing. And I don’t care how smart you are, you should you should make these decisions. And then you’ll have this more consistent company that sought that solving for the things you whatever you decided was what you wanted. That’s what it was solving for. And also, again, these other strategic choices about who you’re picking as customers and how they’re aligned and that’s good. That just feels good. Oh, I got another type of customer who’s right for me. Yay. Like this is a good thing. That’s what strategy should look like when it’s done right.

Arvid Kahl 34:59
What do You ever consider building a solopreneur business again, now that you’ve been, you know, way on the other side with a business like WP Engine, um,

Jason Cohen 35:09
I would consider doing anything again, because I can, you know, so I’ve made enough money where I can do whatever. So I can definitely do work on stuff that I enjoy. So, but one of the nice things there is, that means I don’t have to make money. So when I do something solo, yes, I probably would explicitly do something solo, but it doesn’t have to make money. So it could be it really doesn’t have to. And the fact that it doesn’t have to, is such a special advantage of whatever it is. It could be philanthropic, it could be writing stuff or whatever. Like it could be whatever, investing in other companies. But since it doesn’t have to make money, that gives me lots more choices of what it could be. So I almost feel like, I want to do one of those other things. That ignores money because I can tell that’s something that’s more unique, that would allow me to do something be something more special, which is probably overall better. Like I don’t think you have to be do that. But like, it’s probably better overall, if you are if you subscribe to like the Kevin Kelly idea of being completely unique, or they’ve Perl thing of the personal monopoly, you know, being you’re the only person who’s you kind of thing. I think, in general, that spirit is very good. I don’t think it has to be dogma, you know, but, but I think the spirit is good. So that tells me I don’t need to make another company that makes money. So it could even be an open source project. It could be a philanthropic activity. It could be Yeah, more of the writing and that kind of creation. I want to write more about the strategy stuff I was just talking about. I haven’t written much about that. So I want to Okay, good. So, so do it. So probably not a company, but that’s why, right?

Arvid Kahl 37:02
Yeah, sounds like you. You’re not limiting yourself, which is great. Like the the idea to that you have to repeat yourself reminds me of the thing. Patrick Campbell, he was speaking at MicroConf in Denver a couple months ago. And he was saying after he sold profitwell to paddle for like $200 million dollars, he still felt like he needed to prove that, you know, he could do it again. And if you have a nine figure exit and the first emotion you feel is this is probably a fluke, I need to do it again. Right, that was his reaction says a lot about the pressures that he was operating under. And it’s nice to hear that you don’t feel to be quite

Jason Cohen 37:45
I mean, this is all very personal, right? So there’s no, there’s no right answer, but it is interesting to see. One obvious reaction to that is I did it now I can, I might do it again. But I can pick what would be fulfilling and I’ll have to figure out what that means for myself. That’s my attitude. And as you said, I’ve written about have written about what fulfilling means to me and how to do that. So okay. Your other attitude could be Yeah, good. Maybe it’s a fluke. I have to do it again. Now again, who is my fourth company? So I guess I did go back and again, I guess, maybe Fourth time’s the charm. I don’t know. But that’s also logical. Because why did you why do you why do you do the second startup? For the same reason you did the first one because you were just compelled to, there’s really to me, there’s Oh, we have so much rationalization. My mom used to do this to me, my dad did that I grew up like this. I had this kind of thing. It may be who I’m not who am I to say what the rationale is, but what I feel it’s often just you just needed to like it’s really not necessarily that complicated. And so why didn’t you do the second one? Because the same way you did the first one because he’s like, I gotta do it. You know? Is it more complicated? You know, and some of these rationalizations they sound okay, I’m just, again, I don’t know what’s in people’s heads. So but I’m skeptical because it’s so easy to justify, or to rationalize in any way. So like, a classic example is someone’s a neat freak. And they ask why and they’re like, well, my mom growing up was an absolute neat freak and made me this maybe do this maybe that and you know, it just stuck. I like to do that. That’s how I grew up. Then you ask another person who’s a neat freak. Why are you a neat freak? Oh my gosh, growing up my mom was the slob and the whole house was a mess and keeping my room neat was like my way of keeping control over my own life. And just having some agency was staying neat and that’s just kind of stuck with me. Now here’s the that by the way, this is all true story. This this this example is a true story. Turns out these are identical twins separated at birth. Both growing up in a in an adoptive family. Okay, so the reason they’re neat Is there any freak? It’s in their genes? That’s why that’s the whole thing they just are. And this explanation of it came from my mom, from completely opposite reasons is all bullshit. None of that’s why it’s because you’re afraid that the end of the story is justification. Oh, right. That’s a real story, by the way. And so to me, that applies to many people’s rationalizations of anything. So like, why did you start a company? Oh, well, are you aware that? It could be? Again? I don’t know. I’m no psychologist, and I don’t know you. And you know, so I don’t know. But maybe he just needed to. And so why did you do it again? Because he still needed to? I mean, maybe that’s it?

Arvid Kahl 40:37
Honestly, yeah, I think so. And with this one in particular, right, we sold the SaaS business, and then we fell into the void, you probably know which void I’m talking about, like, when you when you leave something behind, and you feel like it’s right. It’s kind of it’s still yours, but it’s not. And that made me built what is effectively the boots are foreigner, which is a media business, which is not SaaS anymore, obviously. But I, I still needed to do something. And I needed to do something that gives back to the community that allowed me to do the first thing. So I started another business. And now I’m doing the same thing again, right, I’m at a point where I should probably hire and all that. So, you know, there’s I’m going through the same motions, but this time with some more experience, hopefully, more enough more to make better choices. But yeah, it’s it’s the nature nurture thing that bothers a lot. That bothers me a lot. Like not knowing if the thing that I’m doing is because I meant to whatever that may mean, or internally, right? Or if it’s something that I think I should do it this this difference between the like going your path and going to default path. Who determines what that is? That I struggle a lot with that because it’s so easy to still be a founder once you’ve been a founder? Again, we talked about easy, easily done, easy done. The next thing? Yeah. Have you ever considered not being a founder anymore? At all?

Jason Cohen 41:52
Yes, I mean, again, you know, I’m not I’m not leaving WP engine right now. It’s been 13 years, though. So at some point, it just makes sense. It’s just long time. And I’m not going to start another company. First of all, I’m older. And and I think continuing to do the writing and putting these thoughts out like that, that that’s an obvious thing to do, which is not accompany. I don’t have ads or anything, you know, there’s not a company. It’s fun to write code. So open source project. Sounds sound interesting. Of course, working with other people, again, I’ve been an investor and been on board and stuff like that. So that kind of stuff. Sounds sounds interesting. I don’t want to be just an investor, I think a full time angel investing wouldn’t be good for me because I need to produce I need to create, and I love helping others to create that is great. But at the end of the day, if if, if I’ve not produced anything at all, that’s not I’m not going to feel good about that. So I imagined that’s part of it, but not all of it. But even that isn’t a business. I mean, sort of investing is sort of but not in the way you’re saying, right? It’s you’re not incorporating and I don’t know that not like that. So yeah, I probably almost for sure won’t have another business, but they’ll have projects that matter, whatever that means to me.

Arvid Kahl 43:16
That’s fun. Yeah, I do like your writing I really enjoy it. Your long form writing is it’s very thoughtful, and it has nice graphs, when I do like me some graphs to have people visualize their thoughts, like the most recent one you did with the the elephant curve that is really interesting. You have notes in the space that I don’t have much knowledge of the DVC growth space, it’s still exciting to understand, just like we said in the beginning, so you know that the companies that follow that pattern have these particular problems or issues at a certain point. So I I really liked this, like, it’s funny that you think that’s not a business, because, in a way, like most things are potential businesses until they are turned into a business. And it’s not and I don’t mean like turn your hobby into your business kind of thing. I just mean, this is a thing that just either can or can not be monetized, you’ll see. And the monetization turns it into a business but the action would be the same that you would take in the business. It’s a it’s a media business that doesn’t make

Jason Cohen 44:17
Yeah, sure. Like maybe that’s what it is. When I think of business I think of something that has revenue that would be good. I would like that. That’s not my goal. Like I would rather like oh, I’ll take the you know newsletter subscribers the RSS feed the Twitter that’s what I want because it helps my ego and makes it feel good when I posted and other people share it. I like that. And then people say it’s nice and then I that makes me feel good. And I have these ideas but if no one else has no one else can have them that’s not so fun. So that that feels like it’s worth putting it out there. That’s that’s the revenue I want. I suppose the dollar I even say in my in my emails just once a week. I say like, I don’t make any money off of this in any way. And so The best way to, to contribute back is to share it. Because again, that’s that’s what I want is I just want that. That’s it. So, is that a business? I just don’t say that because it’s not for revenue. But yeah, if you if you want to say like, Yeah, but you’re, you’ve got a project and you’re trying to optimize for something or other and you’re trying to build something up, and it’s over a long period of time. And it’s not a hobby like chess. It’s a little bit more directed than that. Okay, then I agree. But I guess the real point is, is not for money. That’s the point of that.

Arvid Kahl 45:34
Thank you for honestly defining what it is for you. And I think that that honesty stuff is something that I’ve heard you talk and seeing you talk about a lot, too. And if you’ve had a talk for more than 2020 years, 11 or something, I think, yeah, that about honesty and business really enjoyed that. Because I’ve been doing a thing that I have so conveniently placed on this here, thing I building in public, right. So like building a public is something that I’ve been doing by myself or myself and with others, and seen a lot of people do, and I really, really like it. And building and public is effectively being honest about your journey, the ups and the downs and that kind of stuff. And I do wonder, what do you think about that movement, in particular, because you’ve been around for a while, right? Like burning and Publix that structurally exists since I guess 2009 when Pat Flynn started the Smart Passive Income podcast where it became more of a digital thing. I mean, people have been sharing that journey everywhere. before, but now it’s a it’s a thing, right? So the fine thing. So what do you think of building and public? Would you recommend that for founders like to share the journey from the start, even while they’re still building? That’s something you would do?

Jason Cohen 46:41
Yeah, I mean, this is definitely another one of these personal things, a bunch of stuff comes with it. And if you value those things, then that’s fantastic. But you don’t need to do it if you don’t want to. So there’s a lot of nice things. One nice thing is you are constantly evaluating yourself, because you’re not just post revenue, you say things like, I’m trying this marketing thing, oh, this didn’t work. Oh, I had this thought. And you know, Oh, what did you do for that? And even to think, what am I going to post? And what do I think about that? Because I need to post what I think about it, that’s almost for sure. A valuable thing. That kind of meta conversation is good. And then having some feedback. Now, of course, you’re gonna get feedback from all over the place online. So who knows which of it is valid or not? You have to sort through that’s too bad. But But, but hey, that’s better than no feedback and just sitting there going, is this good? Is this bad? I don’t know what to do with any of this. So like having some kind of feedback, even though you still have to evaluate it, that’s probably valuable. We were just saying, Do you have a network? And do you have you know, where can you go for that? Well, you’re building it, you’re in you build it over time that way? Is that valuable? Yes. There might be these moments where you’re like, I need my network for this, or can you help me that I noticed some people sometimes are like, should I do design a or design B and you know, it’s, it’s kind of fun. And it’s kind of neat. And sometimes there’s really smart people out there who give really interesting feedback that you were never gonna get. So these are all kinds of reasons why it might help your business succeed. Because it helps you think more clearly. And you can get some feedback and build a network like, not necessarily network to buy the thing, but network to talk through problems. Or, hey, I need to incorporate should I use that stripe Atlas? Or what should I do? You know, like, even just these basics, that’s pretty useful. So these are benefits. Drawbacks would be things like, it takes a lot of time, if you actually are going to build a network and have a lot of people and say, it’s a lot of time, and you could be spending that time doing anything else. Resting, writing another feature, launching a new marketing campaign, anything, anything but yapping on Twitter. And so, in a sense, like, yapping on Twitter will not directly help your business. And we just said I would indirectly and so that’s fine. But like, it takes time. And I don’t believe people are like, I just do it for five or 10 minutes a day, and I’m building a public that I don’t believe you, you’re on here all the damn time. And you’re doing all kinds of shit and like, it’s a lot of your life. And also it’s fragmented. We all know that context switching and that is bad, very bad. So it’s not just I spend 20 hours on Twitter if in 60 hours of my business every week, it’s that it’s like this. And so that context switching makes that much worse than it might sound when you total it up. That’s not totally enough is not how time management and attention management works. So I think it’s quite distracting and probably dramatically reduces your productivity to build in public. So that’s that’s a big issue. I think Uh, another positive aspect though, is going back to strategy since it’s my favorite topic of the moment, obviously, but not the academic, crappy SWOT type bullshit. But like the stuff we’re talking about, you know, some of the things that matters. One beautiful thing about building public is you have to build a product and a strategy in which beings a secret is not part of your strategy. Yeah. And that’s good, because that’s usually a really weak kind of a strategy. It can work for like your coke formula, KFC for okay, like there’s, there’s, there’s a time in place, maybe a truly tremendously amazing algorithm of some kind, like, occasionally, occasionally, I get it, but like, is that what indie developers are normally doing something of that? No, no way, right. And so but so it’s forcing you to make a strategy of growth, and even have competitive advantage that isn’t based around some sort of secret that probably other people can just rip off. We’re like, because you’re small, like, one kind of a secret is that you’re small. So like, when you’re starting out, especially when you’re selling to businesses, you don’t want them to know, it’s just you. So you say we have a homepage about us. And you talk about how you’re headquartered in wherever the hell your houses, you know, right. You know, you never let on that you’re one person because you want the you want that business to trust you believe in, you think that you’re stable, and so and so you don’t want to say that you’re only one person. That’s an example of a secret, though, not just algorithms, but that’s the secret. If you’re building a public, then that’s not a secret. So that means you can’t rely on that ruse, and still get customers. To me, that’s good. Yes. Because you are just one person. And if someone thinks you’re a big organization, they may expect things like 24/7 support or you know, more features or integration. And you’re not going to do that, because that’s how you’re so that kind of a secret to me built a bad strategy in that it’s inconsistent with who you are and what you can actually deliver on. So that promise, I’m like a bigger company, you will not fulfill it. Therefore, it’s a bad strategy to have that positioning. And I think it’s a good strategy to have positioning, it’s, you can fulfill that promise. But then some people will want to buy from me. Yeah, and they shouldn’t, because all the things they need, that’s good thing. Instead, you should focus on the people for whom you are a perfect fit, you know, so to me, it helps you actually kind of forces you into a better strategy, meaning a better, like, actually who you are, therefore, promises you can actually fulfill. And then you’ll get people who are like, oh, I want to support the little guy. I want to support the one person. Yeah, then you will get them. And that’s right. That’s who you are. And so that’s a good reason. So building a public sort of pushed nudges you towards, don’t have secrets, don’t try to be something you’re not trying to win on your actual own merits and weaknesses went on that that is a better strategy. Again, you should pick consistent decisions with that to go with it. Right. But that’s actually going to be better. So build in public, if you use that that way. I mean, that’s, that’s helpful. So overall, like, of course, building and public is cool. I do worry about the time commitment, I say commitment, the time that you spend and that you just have to decide what you think about that might just be worth it might be like, well, that’s part of my social time that I could have spent with friends instead of spend on Twitter. It could be this just so fun, you just don’t care. It could be that you do regulate yourself a bit. Like maybe you don’t go on all the time, or it’s real regulated, like I go on during lunch and I go like kind of over mealtime, I’ll do it. Otherwise, I really won’t. And that will keep my productivity high. So there might be ways to mitigate, mute the negative things that it is and keep those good stuff. Overall, though, is it better for the world I would have to think it is, the more you can see that people, all people of all kinds from all kinds of backgrounds doing all kinds of things are all trying and many of them won’t succeed. And we love all of them anyway, we’re rooting for all of them anyway, if they don’t succeed with one particular product, they’ll just do another one. And when people can see that, I think that’s a beautiful empowering thing. So that to me that in terms of the overall view of the world, hell yeah. That’s, it’s a great it’s a great thing to see.

Arvid Kahl 54:12
I love that because the motive motivating nature or quality of building in public is extremely strong, particularly with failure like people fail and they do something else. All right, I guess I can try if you’re afraid of failure because I come from a I’m from Germany a pretty you know, bureaucratic system and school was just the same don’t try you might fail that’s kind of often was the message that I got as a kid and it’s kind of still in me, although you know, nature nurture. We talked about this earlier, but I learned this and I’ve just I’m just now just doing things to see if they work or not, because I’ve also seen other people try and fail and get back up and be successful eventually. So that’s, that’s something that that that definitely allows for and I love that you talked about this, the self selection of your potential customers, either in into your business or out of your business. You you’re forming, you’re not for me either of these is great, because it just aligns better. So that’s, I’m glad to hear you’re talking about building public in that way. So it’s really nice to hear what I feel mirrored back at me. Because that’s, that’s why I do it because I want to see people feel empowered to do things that they otherwise wouldn’t do. That’s really

Jason Cohen 55:19
nice. Yes, and that that aspect is undeniably Great.

Arvid Kahl 55:23
Well, I do also appreciate that you share a lot of your knowledge around building businesses, even if it’s not like building public, as you build a business, but you just have a lot of strategy stuff that you that you do share. And I was I was recently looking at your Twitter profile and I looked at your Twitter bio and I found what I think is probably one of the best Twitter bios that I’ve ever seen. I can just quote that here because I just really, really loved the bio is keyword buzzword half truth, adjective. Hey, look at me, founder of two unicorns, WP Engine and smartbear.com. I love the stash is great. And it does say a lot about how you don’t want to be perceived in our community. And what I what I do wonder is how have you avoided becoming like a hyper public thing influencer in a space that very actively pulls people like you that have been successful into these prominent places, and then corrupts them into these machines?

Jason Cohen 56:19
That might happen? You say, I avoided it. I’m trying to I’m trying to get more popular. What do you mean, when you get I’m just I’m just failing?

Arvid Kahl 56:28
More smart quotes, like just really, really tiny frogs every day. Just throw him out? Like a you’re avoiding success? How did you do it? What wouldn’t call that success? I don’t think our community it’s necessarily a successful thing to be considered like, you know, a person that is only doing it for for cash or some

Jason Cohen 56:49
Yeah, I don’t know. Who knows, because I don’t control how other people see things and what they do. One thing is I don’t live in Silicon Valley. And so whatever machine that is, I’m not a part of never have been. So I don’t know if that’s part of it or not, it’s really hard in retro spec to even in retrospect, to say like, why did that happen? And you’re like, oh, like, I did various things, various things happen. I really don’t know, what causes what are what absence of thing? Cause the absence of another thing? Like, I don’t know. I do think I mean, you said earlier about being honest. And as you know, and as you said, like, I’ve been talking about that for a long time, really live that all the time, and just like just being very open about everything. Maybe that’s part of the answer, though. Because maybe if you’re vulnerable and a human being, then you can sort of stay grounded and stay. I want to say accessible, but you know, relatable maybe, um, whereas like, it’s hard to, like, Zuckerberg is a machine, right? And like, anything that would pierce that idea of him being was the machine is bad. Like, the thing is, he’s a machine, you almost don’t want to think of him as a human. So maybe the maybe being honest, like that maintains my, my status as a human being,

Arvid Kahl 58:10
your lack of success as a machine. That’s funny. I never heard anybody referred to being a human being as a lack of success in a social media platform. That’s pretty funny. Yeah, I get it. I think, like just being a relatable human being makes you kind of more immune to the allure of being a persona, right? Like, it’s this thing between being a person and a persona. Oh, right. Right, right. Personally, I think I’ve been a prudent person. When I started, then I became a persona for a little bit, right, all of these smart quotes and stuff. And then I just thought, wow, this is so much work being not me. I would rather be myself. And then I went back to person with the knowledge of what a persona does, so I could avoid it. Yeah, I guess you had similar experience on those platforms, right.

Jason Cohen 58:58
Yeah. I don’t know. I think it’s just it’s just what I it sort of, like we were saying earlier, it’s just that’s this is how I have been forever, as you can see, I mean, I’ve been writing for so long, in that way public, not like public like a government official. But you know, that kind of public for so long. It’s real clear over almost two decades of writing. Like, okay, well, this is who I am. Take it or leave it, I guess. Like, if you like it great. If not, well, that’s what it is. So I don’t know.

Arvid Kahl 59:27
Certainly is your personal monopoly right there. I think you’re gonna find yourself pretty

Jason Cohen 59:31
well. Yeah. Right. And one of them in fact, the Twitter bio has this exemplifies this is I’ve always said like, if you’re first honest about a situation, then it’s very, it’s much, much easier to deal with it, whether it’s negative or positive, whatever the hell it is, but just like being upfront about it, just kind of like, if it’s in a meeting, it like takes the the worry levels down a bit. She’s like, Oh, we can just admit something and then we can do Deal with it. It’s okay to just say it. Yeah, it’s okay. Yeah. And so, or like, even if you’re like, Man, I’m terrible at x or like, I’m I don’t know, like, I’m too hard on other people about X, if you just say that, like, I know I am. I’m kind of working on it. And I kind of don’t know, it’s kind of out of my control. But you know, there it is. I’m not proud of it. But there it is. It just diffuses it’s so much like, the next time that happens. They’re like, you’re doing it again. You’re like, God, I know. Okay. Oops. It’s just very, very different. Right? So it’s right there in the Twitter thing. Bullshit, bullshit. Look at me, me, me, me. Then I then what do I do? I turn around, say, Look what I did. Yeah, that’s right. Because I want to follow me. So I want to say something that says you should follow me, right? But I start by by being like, hey, look, this is we all know that Twitter is just like CNBC. And right. I do too. Well, here’s mine. And it’s like, okay, you’ve sort of bought my debt forgiveness, but okay, like, now listen to your bragging and, but I don’t quite feel like it’s bragging because you just defuse the situation.

Arvid Kahl 1:01:03
It’s all expectation management. That’s what Yeah, I think that you’ve done you’ve been doing a great job. So let’s do something for your Twitter following. Now that we’re coming to a close with this interview. Where do you want people to go to social media?

Jason Cohen 1:01:15
On Twitter, it’s a smart bear, like the animal and and then the blog, or the articles, I guess, is a smartbear.com. So there you go. So yeah, like you want me to feel good. And follow me on Twitter and subscribe to that. I only I post at most once a week. So and as you said that, like they’re, they’re more in depth, they’re thoughtful. So it’s definitely like, low, low quantity, but and then sometimes I’ll post like an old one from decades ago that are that are a decade ago, that’s um, you know, poignant or people like or whatever. And so it’s low. You won’t I won’t send you a lot of stuff. But hopefully, it’ll be a good, median. Good. So yeah, you want me to feel good, subscribe, and then tell other people and then share some stuff. And I’ll feel so good. It’ll be great. Right?

Arvid Kahl 1:02:07
Like it subscribe, right? Is that what you got to say today? Thanks so much for that. I think that the stuff you do send is more than median good. Let me just say this. I really appreciate it. And I appreciate you being on the show today. That was really, really kind of you to share your knowledge and your insights and your experiences from building businesses like this. Man, Jason, thank you so much for being on the show. That was

Jason Cohen 1:02:29
oh, man, I love talking about this stuff. And anytime, any topics, happy to it’s, this is a lot of fun for me to see. I don’t make money. But like, this is fun, actually fun. So I want to do this. So yeah, I think thanks for having me. I appreciate it.

Arvid Kahl 1:02:44
I’ll take you up on that. All right. Have a good one. See ya. Thanks so much.

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And now thank you for listening to The Bootstrapped Founder. You can find me on Twitter @arvidkahl. You’ve heard on my books and my twitter course there too. Hey, if you want to support me and the show, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, get the podcast in your podcast player of choice, and please leave a rating and a review by going to (http://ratethispodcast.com/founder). Any of this will truly help the show. Thank you so much for listening and have a wonderful day. Bye bye.

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