From having a team of 25 people (who were all under 25) while still being under 25 himself to escaping scorpion infestations in Las Vegas that the exterminators could barely believe the severity of, PartnerHacker co-founder Jared Fuller has had one hell of a journey.
In this episode, PartnerHacker co-founder Isaac Morehouse grills Jared for all the details. How did he decide to move from Hubspot to Drift? Why did he start a marketing agency when he was in college?
This episode covers the gambit from the good, the fun, the bad, the ugly, and of course, those God damn scorpions (which must have been some of the ugliest moments, right? Tune in to find out if anything topped that...)
Behind any story there's struggle and anxiety. You look at the plan you spent hours on and wonder if any of it's worth it. You form moments of humanity, friendship, and laughter along the way, even as you question and refine your beliefs and come to better understand what your purpose in the world can look like.
Hope you enjoy this special PartnerUp episode. Please don't forget to tell your friends about the secret insights we're sharing on these kinds of episodes.
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Isaac Morehouse 0:00
Hey what is up, partner up? This is episode number 100. Here I'm here with Jared. Jared. Congratulations, man. I've only been here for the last handful these episodes. That's a big deal.
Jared Fuller 0:28
Well, I know you reached the three digit podcast club a decade ago, Isaac. But for me, it was a it was a cool milestone in terms of being a host and like having a show that reached, you know, 100 100 episodes. And the LinkedIn announcement that I had the other day was a fun way of kind of like describing the journey. So yeah, 100 episodes with everyone here, partner up. Thank you. Thank you very much.
Isaac Morehouse 0:50
And huge shout out to everybody here. It's it's so fun when I when we very first started doing this, and you're like, you gotta come to SAS connect with me. So I show up at SAS connect. And I had just maybe hosted a couple episodes of the podcast with you at that point. And everybody, everybody was coming up to us saying what is up partner up, we had our little podcast studio and it was like so cool to get that out the gate that experience of seeing the audience who Bill and all the people out there who are fans of the show and have been a huge part of everything at at partner hacker all the guests on the show. huge celebration, give yourselves a pat on the back. But I'm hijacking the show today, Jared. From you, I'm taking it, here's what we're gonna do. Because I didn't even realize I mean, from I knew you from way back when 1012 years ago. And we kind of kept in touch across that time. And then, you know, obviously, we got partner hacker go on a year ago. But I did not realize how insane you're like I knew what you were up to. But I didn't realize how insane it was during like all the things you went through in that period. And I feel like this is a story that needs to be told not enough people realize this. Not enough people know this. So I'm going to interview you, I'm going to get out of you the life and times of Jared fuller because this is some this is some stuff, correct me if I'm wrong. You actually had somebody that wanted to make a show about this at one point, is that right?
Jared Fuller 2:18
I won't out the producers names, but it's for I'll say this for HBO. And they've produced a handful of decent like their top. We're not talking like Lord of the Rings here, right Game of Thrones. But they've produced a series of shows for HBO and sold them and they'd heard my startup story journey, so to speak, like how I got into tech today. A few years back and my wife and we actually storyboarded and went to write a series based on just our lives together like to you know, aspiring entrepreneur, you know, couple and the craziness that comes a part of it. So we're basically on season nine right now, Isaac, and I were hoping that we get through season 10
Isaac Morehouse 3:02
Somebody had to steal the name for Fuller House. Right? That was that would have been your Oh, yeah,
Jared Fuller 3:08
hilarious. Well, it was funny is when that came when that came out. We did live in San Francisco, the continuation to Full House Fuller House, it was in San Francisco when we lived there, so that was that did not get old at parties.
Isaac Morehouse 3:21
So okay, I'm gonna I'm gonna jump in. We don't, we don't need to go way back into the past. Although the story of you falling off a horse and tumbling down a cliff when you're like three years old, maybe is a harbinger of your appetite for risk. But, but when I first met you, you were a college student at Wake Forest. And you were involved in all kinds of different campus activities and clubs and organizations. You were involved in various political campaigns. And then you started a company called Market aces. And did you just drink soap or something? You just looked at that bottle like it was the wrong thing. Oh, wow, look at that.
Jared Fuller 4:00
Can you read this?
Isaac Morehouse 4:01
I cannot read that. It's,
Jared Fuller 4:03
it's one of its I think it's a Japanese soda. It's one of my son's I'm like, I'm gonna have like a, it's like a week soda, you know, like a low sugar soda. And it tastes like soap. So it looks it looks like pineapple.
Isaac Morehouse 4:15
When I was in Peru. There's a pineapple flavor soda. It was really popular there. And I just I couldn't I couldn't do it. But so you, you started market ace is like as a college student, basically, as far as I know. And you can get into this. You were like building basically building websites for people for a lot of nonprofits that you were working with at the time and you realize they had a very bad digital presence. And then at some point that took off to the point where you dropped out of college went full time with that, and then the story gets really crazy. So start me there, like what prompted you. You're a college student, you were involved in a bunch of political activism. When did this marketing agency come out of that and like, give me walk me through that story.
Jared Fuller 4:54
What's interesting, I won't go backwards from there necessarily other than to set the context of like, why Why did it why would I call it You didn't start a marketing agency, I'd helped found three nonprofits, two of which still exists today, in terms of being like on the Founding Executive Board or whatever, and I, in college, those two organizations SFL. And while students really, really Young Americans for Liberty, you know, more of the ideological strain of libertarianism less of the political. So like, yeah, sure, I aligned to that. And in college, that that ideology, so to speak, very broad, broad, broad term, of course, can mean a lot of different things to lots of people. And what I realized was is I go to these events, ironically, the student events, these ideological events, and I'm like, these ideas are so beautiful. They really, I truly believe they are. But then it was the most, like, socially awkward, and unacceptable, like unbranded like just it. I had an aversion to being in the places and the content, the field, the execution, like, this isn't where the cool people are, like, why are we all here at 7:30am on a Saturday, like, no one normal is here, you know, it's like, no one would get out of bed this early to come hang out with us, all of our suits don't fit with none of us have any style, like none of us have anything cool to speak of. And, you know, I was like, there's, there's a branding problem with these ideas. It was what I kind of came to. And so what I, I became quickly obsessed with was like Photoshop, right? And then I picked up a copy of like, well, I'm going to do some logo design, because I think your logos suck, or your flyers suck. When I was like, this is these ideas are beautiful, but you have no idea how to present them. So it was like an obsession with an ideal, right? So the A, there's so many different bodies of work that we could reference that kind of like talk about some of the magnates that we, you know, studied and that I fell in love with. And I just hated how they were being represented to the public. So I started a marketing agency, because people like, Oh, you have an eye for design, or you have an eye for copy. Right. And I got into donor development, which I think I don't know if you were doing donor development to Isaac.
Isaac Morehouse 7:16
Yeah, yeah. I didn't realize that at that time. But yes, eventually, that's what I was doing. Exactly. Yep.
Jared Fuller 7:22
Right. So writing copy. And so basically, I had this guy, I don't even want to say his name, because he might he may or may not have ended up in, in prison. Not kidding. Toffee direct mail, because he, he was in this training in college, Isaac, and he, he's tested the entire classes he's like,
Isaac Morehouse 7:39
by the way, the people who are not familiar with like anyone who's in marketing and b2b, direct mail, in the nonprofit world, is an art that will blow your mind, like the things that they have dialed into a site. And this is very, very old science. This is before you could AB test on the internet and all that stuff. So just in the physical, like the optimal conversion on direct mail, is typed in typewriter font, and is 13 and a half pages long of just text of like talking about the double space happening with some whatever your nonprofit is. And then it's got a call to action at the end and asked to donate the I'm not kidding. 13 and a half pages, typewriter font, this has been like studied and maximum maybe it's changed since I was in the game. But it's a totally different world, very counterintuitive.
Jared Fuller 8:29
Now, when your median donor age is 82, that's also a very real, you know, like, this guy was training us at this Youth Leadership School. And that's, that's where that's where I realized, like, so this was my first political training Isaac, like I was very much ideological, like learning new ideas like, oh, wow, there's more than just a red and a blue party. There's like independent thoughts that don't adhere to classrooms or to government's right. Yeah, like
Isaac Morehouse 8:55
the ideas of spontaneous order. And like, you know, yeah, exactly, like classical,
Jared Fuller 9:01
all sorts of weird stuff that I fell in love with, like, truly did like, I was reading economics for fun, right? Like, I was a double major in philosophy and political science and economics is what I read for fun. So like, you know, not That's how much these ideas like kind of meant. And then I realized, I went to this political training school and I went, Wait a second, ideas and tactics are two separate things entirely. Right. So like, how we brand something and talk about it and the way that you create movement and you rally people like, holy, there's a playbook for that. So this, this youth leadership school was a political school. And I realized, okay, there's ideas on one side, there's tactics on another. And, okay, here's all the problems of the tactics of these ideas I'm seeing, and that's what led me to, you know, like, copy was like, Oh, I can go raise money to like help advance this idea or this candidate forward. Right. And then I Okay, how do I how do I raise money? I went to get training on how to do donor development, right? Like right direct mail. Al to donors in this guy, if I have to get back to this guy store he grabbed. He's like, I'm going to teach every single one of you in this class today, the subtle art of this, how to take a man who just got home after a hard day of work, sits down in the couch, opens up his mail. And then he grabs his heart. And then he grabs his wallet, and he cuts me a fucking check. He said, I'm gonna teach you the art on how to get a man that's exhausted, to grab his heart, and then grab his checkbook and mail it to you. And I was like, what this guy's insane. And they raised hundreds of millions of dollars through direct mail. And that's how I learn how to write copy actually was in that I was like, wow, this is a whole other thing. And I started a marketing agency with my obsession with Photoshop, but like, yeah, ideas and tactics and realizing like there's some lovers there.
Isaac Morehouse 10:52
So this marketing agency pretty quickly, like seem to be gaining a lot of clients, because at one point, I mean, I don't know most of it within the first year or two that you started it. I remember all these students because I was working at a nonprofit running student programs. And we had a lot of overlap. And a lot of these various events and stuff that we're both involved in. A lot of those students that were in my programs, they started going in and saying, Oh, I'm now I'm working for Jared fuller. Now. I'm working for marketplaces. You were like hiring people. You were growing like, what? What started clicking what started working? I remember, I remember you had something where you were telling me early on that you had a chance to work with HubSpot. And you were like, what, what's sort of working with that agency? And then from that, what made you decide to? Well, maybe you didn't even put it on the shelf, you were probably still running it knowing you to go start, you know, sort of your first like venture backed startup.
Jared Fuller 11:46
Yeah. So I had these political causes running on the side, I was running an agency and everything that we did in the agency was kind of at the intersection of like nonprofits, politics, in terms of our clients at that point. And, you know, what, what we did well was, like, I figured out that I was really good at sales to like, the ideas and the tactics, components, like I could package the ideas better. And then I could go and sell it. But then executing on it, I had to also do it. So I fell into the first entrepreneurial trap of like, you know, you can't scale yourself. And then also, I was surrounded by a whole bunch of people that didn't know what they were doing. I don't mean my employees that I hired, I hired them, I'm responsible for them. What I meant was, I'm in Washington, DC, Isaac, there is no one in Washington, DC that should be teaching you about entrepreneurship. There is no entrepreneurs in DC that like there's so the circle was very political, right, and very ideological. And that's kind of where I'd come from. But that's a horrible place to start a business or like to learn how to run a business. So I had no idea how to run a business. There was some leadership in there in terms of people but in terms of like, you know, we're just talking like basic, you know, business one on one, like, small business economic stuff even right. So it was It wasn't like it was a massively wild success is like very much, far from it. But we got lots of great clients to work with for presidential campaigns. The world's largest privately held company, too. I mean, yeah, we did a lot of cool stuff and thought above our weight class, a whole bunch of kids under the age of 25. Right, I think I had 25 employees under the age of 25.
Isaac Morehouse 13:17
Jared Fuller 13:20
Very, not not great. Not not a great recipe for long term success. But we learned a ton about marketing, you know, like in the web, and I mean, Isaac, we built the first ever Bitcoin plugin for WordPress. Yeah. Yeah. Like, like we did that, like that was, that was the thing that we did. And we did it for a client. Like, it wasn't even our idea. Like, I used to have we had Bitcoin. So how did like retrieve the price back then, of Bitcoin, by the way, was a fascinating subject, because there was no place where you could just check the price of Bitcoin. Yep, you had to like run transactions and infer price based on a whole bunch of different things. And you had to run them on your own servers, which means you had to mine your own Bitcoin to run test transactions to retrieve the price. And, you know, God bless the Dev, I won't ask him here, just in case there's anything associated with this in the future. You know, like, we're just, he's literally just bashing his head against this problem. And I'm like, trying. I know very little about that level of deep of tech, you know, at that point. And, yeah, long story short, we ended up putting it all on Mount Gox. And, well, doesn't need to know No, Mount Gox was a major last exchange. So we had all this Bitcoin. Gotta take it from everybody. So hundreds and hundreds, but yeah, I mean, that's, that's the kind of crazy stuff that you could suss out in this story is the fact that like, you know, I had like 1000 Bitcoins, you know, in our own wallet, and we didn't even know what kind of gold we were sitting on.
Isaac Morehouse 14:48
Yeah, this is the this is the pattern is these, these crazy, like early successes, where you figured something out ahead of the market, sometimes too early. And then In some kind of epic, crazy ending, so Okay, so market aces. When did you when did you start? Job hive? Was that the next big thing that you started after market aces.
Jared Fuller 15:14
That was the SAS companies who who shall not be named? Wow. I mean, there was a lot of great things that came out of the failure that was job hive. So we had this marketing agency. Starting to figure out some stuff like I got into video production then to like, the very first video I ever produced ever. I won 40 grand for this, it was like the first like, I never even produced a video produced a video and won first place in this contest that we entered. And there was like a lot of good entries. It was it was really cool. So like, each thing I was doing, I figured, like I was figuring out, and then like hiring, this is what got really screwed up is that I felt that like all the job sites were broken, and that I could build a better hiring website. And I wasn't wrong. But I also was far from right. I was far from right. Like I wasn't wrong.
Isaac Morehouse 16:11
I know the feeling here and I know the feeling.
Jared Fuller 16:16
So I will tell the story of the co founders per se all the way but I'm one of my co founders was,
Isaac Morehouse 16:24
I mean what you got to get into some of the crazy, like,
Jared Fuller 16:27
I'll get into some of the crazy stuff. There's just some stuff I can't I literally can't talk about publicly.
Isaac Morehouse 16:32
What Weren't you like, then you raise money from some, like super mysterious, let's just say non traditional VCs. Oh, man. I mean, you gotta you gotta give us a little man. Whatever, you feel comfortable?
Jared Fuller 16:46
Oh, no, I'll get I'll get into all those stories. I'll get into all the stories. So my, my VP of technology at market aces was like a political friend. And it was like, hey, this kid's brilliant, much older, much more senior in tech. We ended up becoming like best friends. We moved to Vegas together to start job hive. So it's like me and him CTO CEO, who moved to Vegas to start job five as part of Tony Shay's Downtown Project. This is circa 2013 2014. So I'm like out of the beltway, and I'm going to Vegas, which Vegas is also not the other place to learn how to build a company, by the way, Isaac, right? Because you don't think of DC and Vegas is like where the two best startup hubs in America, dc in Vegas? Not at either, I can tell you right now. So we go to Vegas to start a tech company, right? This HR tech company job live
Isaac Morehouse 17:35
there. But there was a lot there was little thing going on in Vegas right there. And there was a little bit of a thing texting.
Jared Fuller 17:41
Well, Tony Shea God, God rest his soul. I mean, it was a visionary beyond his time. I mean, Tony is the guy that invented what the heck customer support is in the modern era, right? And so like Zappos was infamous for doing things like you could call them and, like, ask them to, for a pizza, and they'd get a pizza to your house, right? Like, they would just go so far above and beyond for customer support that they really set the standard. So Tony sells it for billion dollars and builds this startup hub ecosystem in Vegas, in his recruiting companies to kind of follow and we're like, hey, there's a little tiny community. But it's not Silicon Valley where we'll just get lost. Right? There's like 20 3040 companies that are building up biggest tech. Well, every single one of those companies failed. So it was definitely not the place to build a company. But yeah, so we started this job hive in Vegas. And gosh, man, that's where I started to realize really quickly that like we had a tiger by the tail with the opportunity and had a lot of things figured out. But it had so much that we did not figure it out from the structure to the people we raised money from, to building go to market. I mean, that's where I learned, I learned more in that failure than you could have ever got working for someone else.
Isaac Morehouse 18:54
Yeah. That's one of the things that I think a lot of if you if you're raised not around the startup world, and neither of us, neither you or I were, and we both kind of cut our teeth in this sort of, like, nonprofit world of ideas, right? Things that were interesting to us in, you know, philosophy and whatever. And then we go in the entrepreneurship route, one of the first things that you don't know is, who is a good investor? Who should you? Like, not all money is equal, right? And like, what does that look like? What does raising money look like? What does that going to mean? Down the road? What is that relationship with those investors? Like it's a marriage, right? It's a big deal. So you're like, what? 20, early 20s You've got this job hive idea. How did you go get your first checks?
Jared Fuller 19:43
Oh, boy. Not the way you're supposed to do it. Not the way you're supposed to do it at all. Not even remotely close. So obviously friends and family I don't I think I've told this before one, one way that we did it is I raised money at political conferences. So like, there would be 50 booths. And they're like, nonprofit think tanks, and political candidates. And then there would be like my booth, like tech company, it's like, why the heck is this? Why are you here is the tech and I'm like, I'm raising money. You know, like, that's not a place to raise money. But I didn't have any now or I didn't have any investors. Like, it's like, Y'all spent money to come here, like, you must have money. You know, Are you an accredited investor. And I raised a lot of money by like, going on the conference circuit, right, like, and then obviously trying to get customers to but like, I was mainly looking for, you know, investors, because we were even pre product. We were building all of this. The other thing that you don't realize our tech was so far ahead by my co founder at the time, he was way far ahead, too. And we were using Scala, that now, no one really knows what what Scala is, it's probably listening to this podcast, but at the time, it was a bleeding edge. Coding platform. I mean, this is like, you know, Scala as opposed to Python as opposed to Java, like, or opposed to Ruby, which at the time was like the cat's meow. Like, that was the new thing like Ruby was like taking off or you know, web 2.0. And we're building everything on Scala in scala.js. So like, we could write everything in the same back end code that would spit out the front end. I mean, this is we were writing like core contribution stuff to scala.js. Like, has to try one of our lead engineers. Dude, why the hell were we building this thing on Scala? Like, we're using tech that like, was 100 times more advanced if we needed to be using, you know, as building a rocket ship, when it's like, we needed a golf cart.
Isaac Morehouse 21:50
That's like the the classic early entrepreneur is like, Okay, I'm not just going to innovate in one thing, I'm going to innovate in everything, everything about the way the business is run, every tool that we use, every everything is going to be innovative. And it's like, so many fronts to be moving on at the same time.
Jared Fuller 22:10
Totally. So like, definitely screw that up. And, you know, that's, we didn't even know we're screwing it up, right? Like you don't know what's wrong. And so that was how I'd raised the money. And then we finally got to a place where we could launch, you know, like, Hey, we're launching this product raised probably millions of dollars from all sorts of various people all over the world. I mean, Isaac, we were I was cold calling. I was cold calling investors. Now. I want to say investors, I mean, high net worth individuals that had never made a technology investment in Kentucky, in Texas.
Isaac Morehouse 22:46
That No, that's what you learned from like, political campaigns and nonprofits. That's how you, you get your list of high net worth be fundraise
Jared Fuller 22:54
with donor development? Yeah, exactly. Yeah. I'm like, You know what, I want to sell a piece of my company I used to get you all to donate for nothing. A feeling, right? I'm gonna give you a piece of the company, this is much better. And oh, gosh, we dumb. I mean, I raise millions of dollars at a Isaac not at a $10 million valuation, not at a $20 million valuation. Not at a $30 million valuation. I'm talking pre revenue, pre product, dozens and dozens of millions of dollar valuation. That should have never been like, I had no track record. I'd never done anything that was like, Oh, this guy is like, I'm like not even close to 25 yet. And I'd raised millions of dollars at a valuation that was absurd. Even in peak frothy market. Like to like a year ago, I was getting a higher multiple on my valuations. back then. So yeah, bad bad, bad. Not not smart. Had no idea what I was doing. Oh,
Isaac Morehouse 23:55
so that was like your angel round or whatever, your Mega Angel, your seed round. Then you got you got the products started building it get out in the market. When did you wasn't there like some like mafia guy, and
Jared Fuller 24:11
now this is where this is where it gets crazy. So some folks that are listening, Isaac, I've told you I'm a big fan of the all in podcast because I followed all of those hosts prior to the following all four of them so Jason Calacanis, the host. So he has the LAUNCH Festival is how I knew Jason. And you know, This Week in Startups, a great podcast, and Jake has always been a cantankerous, you know, kind of rebel has has lots of issues socially, like he likes to talk shit. But at the end of the day, like he's, you know, he's been working in the startup space in advance in the industry as much as anyone so like, hate the guy love the guy, kind of. So I'm like, I'm gonna go launch my startup at LAUNCH Festival job hive, and like our tech was pretty sick, like the demo, like we're talking 2013 And if you'd like to candidate
Isaac Morehouse 24:59
Oh, was ridiculous. It was amazing. It was it was insane.
Jared Fuller 25:02
Like, if you liked a candidate that you know that you were had recruited in or got pushed to you or had applied for your job, you could send a follow up question right from the app or your mobile phone, where they would record a video response, like a 62nd. And so this was SMS to video in SAS, like 2013. No one had ever seen it. But then customers were actually using it to like, you know, like, hey, I really loved your application, can you respond about this, this and this, you could record a 62nd video response right from your couch like that same night in advance and so much faster. And people were using this. So I got to demo this, like right there LAUNCH Festival I went from, I'd raise money, like you have to keep in mind, I went from DC, Las Vegas raised millions of dollars from no one that knew anything about what they were talking about. We had no idea we're talking about, but all of a sudden, we have this product that is actually legit. And I'm in LAUNCH Festival with Jake Howell. And we're in consideration for winning. Like we might have been we were one like we were this close from winning and being like on LAUNCH Festival mainstage. We we came in second. So we didn't go on the main stage. There wasn't big press coverage or anything. But can you imagine if we had one? How bad? Like if they would have looked at our terms what we'd done before like, everything would have been like this company's going to implode, but because we didn't when we came in second, we everyone was like, Oh, you got robbed. Right. So then I had a little bit more sophisticated money come in, right. And people were like, oh, yeah, that your texts amazing. And then it was like this reared time where it was like really exciting and about to explode. So on the on the way home, this is where it gets crazy. Like even way crazier. On the way home to Vegas, right? So I lived in Las Vegas launch festivals in San Francisco. I used to take that flight to Las Vegas to San Francisco. And that was new remember Virgin Airlines it got bought out by Alaska. Virgin was the only good airline left. But stupid skits. This is where it'll get ideological. Isaac, you know why virgin doesn't exist in America anymore. It's because Richard Branson own more than 51%. And it was a legacy law passed after 911 That no foreign so non American National could be a majority owner of an American airline. And I think Alaska and another airline were trying to pursue that in court to force a sell. Right? So it's not, it was like this really terrible thing. So that's how Virgin Airlines died. Because of some regulatory BS, even though it was the only airline that was like trying to compete on like quality. And they had the cheapest flight between Vegas and SF. So anyways, I'm flying version I flew so much. It's the first time I ever get bumped to first class. Right. And that's where I learned like point systems, which is kind of like partner programs and loyalty programs. And I was like, Oh, this is so cool. Like, I got bumped to first class. Amazing. And this guy sits down next dude. It's just,
Isaac Morehouse 28:02
it's so it's so wild as you're talking through this stuff. The crazy parallel, like, similar around that same time, was when I started traveling all the time for my job. And I had the same experience I was I had status on a couple airlines or whatever. It just so it's so wild. It's so wild. Anyway,
Jared Fuller 28:21
we did the intro to Isaac episode. Early on, because I was like, We got to introduce you and your story. But like, we need to do the deep dive. I was like episode two, because that'll be a blast and then compare them side by side. There's a lot of similarities. Okay, so you're on this flight. I'm on this flight. And I see the guy sitting next to me. And at the time, I'd started dating my now wife, Brittany. She was in Vegas living with me. And I see he's wearing a Rolex. And all that I do, like immediately, this is me, Isaac, like, I text my wife and I said, I'm gonna close this guy on an investment before we land. Shit, you know, like, that's what I texted my wife. I said, I'm gonna close this guy on an investment before we land like he's got. He's got a watch. That's more than my net worth, right? Like, I couldn't even afford a loan to pay for this watch. So I'm like, surely he could afford a 25 grand 50 grand 100 grand 250 grand. So I started striking up a conversation with him and he goes, you know, you go on to Vegas for fun. Are you live there? I was like, no, actually, I live there. I was in San Francisco for work. He said, Oh, me too. He said, Who are you meeting? And I said, Well, I was at this big event. And he's like, Well name some people and I, one of the people I named was Travis Kalanick. Travis Kalanick was the CEO of Uber. He was a original donor to one of the nonprofit's I helped start, so I knew him from that. And then Uber was like taking off at the time, right. Like Travis was like superstar status before he became you know, a pariah, so to speak. And I pitched him on job five. He said, No, he didn't want to invest. But I told this guy I said, his name was Mark James, the guy sitting next to me. So you can google him now and you'll see all sorts of fun stuff and Yeah, he's like, that's funny. I was meeting Travis Kalanick, too. And I was like, you don't look like someone was meeting Travis living in Vegas. And he goes, I own the largest taxi cab company in Las Vegas. You know, the last major city for for Uber to launch it and right was Las Vegas, the taxi cab mafia there was very real. So he was the former CEO of freest transportation, and he was trying to launch his own rideshare app, exclusive to Vegas, and then go work with all the taxi companies, right? And like, block out Uber. So like, they were like at war. And when I say war, like the the Vegas taxi industry is the most profitable taxi industry in the world. Right? They were pulling down Isaac in revenue, just one company, one of these taxi company and there's like 10 400 million in revenue a year. From one taxi cab company,
Isaac Morehouse 30:55
are all the trips, just like from one spot on the strip to another straight line, like $400
Jared Fuller 31:02
million is what they were pulling down. Right? And this, you know, like this, a lot of money is involved there. So anyways, I'm like, oh, okay, this is awkward. I'm like, well, he didn't you know, it wasn't it ended up not being a great meeting for me. He's like, Oh, it definitely wasn't a great meeting for Travis whenever I left, you know, like this guy. He's like, he thinks he's watching at Vegas. There's no way he's launching in Vegas. So it turns out this guy, Mark, who was nothing but amazing to me. And I have nothing from like my narrow sliver of experience to say but great things about him. There's absolutely stories around him though, that I can't speak to and talk to you, but I'll put it this way. I get him to a show on job pipe on my laptop. This is right when you know, internet airplane, you know, stuff came out. And he does a multiple six figure investment in Job Hi, before we land, like sub doc signed like, so I did it. Come to find out. This is like one of the most influential people in Vegas. And I've and he's kind of tied between New Vegas, and old Vegas. There's and there's a lot of squiggly lines in between. I'll leave it at that. But there's definitely stories we can suss out from like my interactions with Mark and like seeing his home. That's three, three doors up from Nicolas Nicolas Cage's home. And some of the people I ended up getting involved with in Vegas that were I just put it this way they could crash your airplane. So they did crash your airplane. That's what they do.
Isaac Morehouse 32:28
So job hive is like on the rise. How much money did you raise total?
Jared Fuller 32:34
Close to 4 million. Okay.
Isaac Morehouse 32:36
And what was the like? When did that start? When did you realize something was wrong with with job? Hi, when did that start to fall apart?
Jared Fuller 32:46
Well, when I realized that I was doing wrong things. I mean, isn't my I'm supposedly the CEO. And I had I had two business partners, one who had way we had a structure where one of the business partners and I didn't know like I'm an idiot. So I didn't know I had basically all the voting control, right. But it wasn't me a CEO and it wasn't my my my other partner. And so I'd screwed up a lot of things around that. And I'd put myself into a situation I tried to get out of it. Right. I'm like, actually, I don't want this and like we have a shot to go real. So it's like we figured out how to bring in slightly more strategic money. Right. So like Mark helped us land like, you know, big name logos in Vegas. Like, I can't say the Hotel's name on air. But like some of the biggest brand names in Vegas, like we were landing as clients for job hive, right? Big ARR Oh, shoot. That's amazing, right. So it was kind of strategic, right? Like he did help. Even though some of the places and things that we did, we'd be like, Tarik terrify a lot of people it was like, not not like mafia acquired, but like, you could see how like, oh, just pass that hill. That's where the bad things are. You know, there was lots of there's lots of Bovis that are kind of crazy, but we started to bring in money. The definition
Isaac Morehouse 34:03
of partner influence is a little different in Vegas, there's a lot of ways to influence
Jared Fuller 34:12
Yeah, like we started to get invoices for things that was like we didn't What are you? What's this invoice for and had nothing to do with Mark in particular, he's the name I've said, I said, I can't say anything about him from my interactions as being like an upstanding citizen, but there were there'll be like invoices that came in from other associates and business partners around you know, things that we had done. And I'm like, What's this invoice for? And it was very much like, is this extortion? Like, or, or did you actually help me get this deal? Like, are you the reason I got the deal? I do. I'm supposed to pay you for that. I never signed anything. But I also feel like if I don't pay you, I could end up in the desert somewhere. Right? Like the body bottom of lakes. That's actually how I felt at some point. At some point. It was so scary by like, the people that we were dealing with and then the deals that we were getting walked into Isaac were like, I was like, are we gonna? Am I gonna get taken out? I'm either gonna end Up in Bohemian Grove, like this supposedly secret place that like they were trying to bring me to, and like part of like, the Illuminati or whatever, joking around, but like, also serious, like they were trying to bring me into places like this, or I'm gonna end up dead. And I was like, I'm, this isn't quite the right people. I ended up raising on AngelList I got Foundry Group involved. And that's when shit really hit the fan is when smart money came in. Right. And they started a foundry group came involved. Yeah, yeah. And they were like, What are you doing? Like you sold us on this? And you have, you literally have no idea what you're doing. And I'm like, I, you should have said, I had no idea what I was doing before you put your money in. You know, like I didn't, I didn't know, I didn't know what I was doing until you told me I didn't know what I was doing. Right? Like the smart people actually working on the business. So your shout out to Seth from Foundry that really elucidated how bad I didn't understand my cap table, my corporate structure, my how, like, I was managing my business partners. Like, there's corporate governance is not just this thing that like exists in the ether. It's like, Oh, if you have a disagreement, how to like, make sure you don't get there. So there's so many things that I screwed up, got in smart money and then realized I tried to get out of it. And then it was like, Oh, shoot. I wasn't trying to leave my own a company. I was trying to restructure recapitalized like Isaac. I just got married to my wife at that point. We'd been dating for like a year. We we moved from this context setting here and it was the biggest stage.
Isaac Morehouse 36:27
Please tell me this. Please. Please tell me this is the flaming scorpions.
Jared Fuller 36:32
Oh, gosh, no, that's the third house that we lived in in Vegas. So the very first place I moved my wife and two is a penthouse on the Vegas Strip. This place called Turnberry Turnberry is like, Dude, this is where like the richest people, like have a place but they don't actually live there. Right? They all like don't pay taxes, these four towers. And then this huge club in the middle, a giant swimming pool, like you can get room service to your penthouse. Like a restaurant like imagine living in an apartment and like getting room service. They had their own private limos that would take you anywhere in the strip as part of being a resident. And I'm like a 20 or 40, even 25 year old kid, I got a place there with my co founder. But the only thing I had to my name to get this place was an inflatable mattress that had a hole in it that was plugged with bubble gum, I kid you not. So you, you come out of you come out of the elevator and you walk into this panoramic penthouse. Like my route like our penthouse. The whole floor is ours. And I have an air mattress. That's it. That's all I own, like and then. So that's where Brittany moved in. She's like, this guy's crazy. Like you have nothing but then you act like you have like no, so we could throw parties and invite people that might want to invest or become customers. It's kind of like, kind of like Maxalt usher in sales hacker in Salesforce. Like we did that we drafted on all the conferences in Vegas. So we are right across from the convention center. Every time there'd be like, an event we'd host a giant party and steal their traffic and try to sell them, you know, job Hi, or invest or whatever.
Isaac Morehouse 38:12
So did you have did you have revenue? Yeah, we
Jared Fuller 38:15
did. I mean, we ended up getting to a spot where we did like, but for the longest time, we didn't, I mean, we didn't get into revenue till the very, very end of it. And that's where it kind of like the story starts to get stranger and stranger is and how much like I became obsessed with things like outbound and inbound and GTM is that like my company starting to implode around me. I didn't know enough about it. But then I started to figure it out. It's like, okay, how does business development really work like these partnerships inside of, and then all of a sudden, my wife Brittany, she was working as like a PM. Job hive. So like, how did that work? She started, we were already dating. And then she started working, she got hired by my director of ops, I did not hire my girlfriend. My director of ops hired her and then she ended up working for a CTO, and then she had being a PM. And she built all these integrations, LinkedIn CareerBuilder monster, indeed, you know, and then I started doing big deals around them. And then I'm doing those big deals in Vegas with like, kind of shady or entities, let's put it that would end up getting us deals with the hotels, right? These entities that shall not be named, but they would getting us deals right introductions and like, I'd be like, Hey, I sent them a proposal. They never responded or signed, and then I call this other entity and then the proposal would be signed. It was incredible. I have no idea what they did to get that proposal signed, but they got it signed. And then it went to like okay, so how do we scale this? Like are we got these integrations now we do some big logos as a startup. The outbound sales playbook is probably Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross. I was Aaron Ross is first customer Predictable Revenue. Like you used to be able to go to carb.io or Predictable Revenue. dot com and you'd have a logo of job hive in me. Because that's where I learned like it was literally the book came out and it was his first client. It just so happened that the right person told me, I lived in Vegas. And then I started to learn the Predictable Revenue playbook hired someone and we started doing outbound. And that's how I got to know Manny Medina from outreach, and Kyle Porter from SalesLoft. They just turned on their very first like, sales engagement tool. So like I'm had Aaron Ross advising, like connected. Kyle Porter from SalesLoft, Fannie Mae data from outreach, and I'm doing outbound on a SAS thing. All of a sudden, I found myself like dialed in, like, Oh, this is how it's supposed to be as a CEO, like, I have a go to market strategy. I have this other vector of partnerships, my product kind of works. But at the end of the day, I had, you know, I didn't have you. I didn't have like someone I could trust. They didn't have. They didn't have their version of what they needed for them. My other co founders. We were definitely. Well, we were we three co founders, each co founder was 20 years apart. How about that? Wow. Early 20s, early 40s, early 60s, so I mean, that was never going to work, right. So I'll leave I'll leave everything else to like, you know, that the those that dynamic alone,
Isaac Morehouse 41:18
so did you end up getting like voted out of your own company? Is that how it ended? No.
Jared Fuller 41:24
So that's is like when it was best is when I got worst. Right? It was like we started doing nailing outbound and like I was closing, it was just like, founder led sales like Jason Lemkin started writing about how you should get to your first million in ARR, as a founder, and it was like, demo demo demo, call call call. And I was just on fire, I was selling. And I was like, we're figuring this out. And at the same time, it was like, this thing is going to implode any second. Like, it's gonna explode. Because I was trying to like figure restructure the company, my wife and I, we went into debt $350,000, we took a personal note, against a very wealthy individual, we said, we will personally guarantee this money to buy out, you know, some of the stuff that was wrong with the cap table. And how terrifying that is to ask that of your new partner less than a year into marriage. And like, I mean, the stress was palpable, because it was like, we're figuring it out. And we're about to blow up No way. Like, how all in I was, I talked about that penthouse. Yeah, well, I couldn't afford that anymore. I didn't take myself off payroll. So my wife's making, you know, Brittany, she's making the money to pay for both of us. I didn't have any money. We end up moving into the office. A married couple. There was a we call it the office. It was an old. Gosh. What's the best way to describe this place? 517 Tonopah drive. You know, those Adobe houses in Arizona in the desert, like the big Adobe houses, it was an adobe house that was converted to a doctor's office, which was then converted to like something more bland, right. So there was like a bedroom off to the back that was still like actually a bedroom, but the rest of it would have been, you know, kind of turned into this weird mix of Adobe office, Doctor space. And we have like, you know, 20 some odd employees their desks. So my wife and I lived there. Like you talked about weird, really weird. But, you know, it kind of works in Vegas to like Brad Feld that like whenever he came in. So Brad's. You know, the founder of foundry, founder of Tech Stars, like Legend of the West, right in terms of investing, like the Rockies, etc. Brad came to the office, met the whole team, and it's like, welcome to my house and the office. And he just thought it was so cool, right? He was like, so cool. It's like, no, under no circumstances is that is this is it okay to be married in the office? Like, we didn't start it there. We ended up there. You know, like that. That was also the thing. It's like, if it started, they're like, Hey, we started the startup out of our house that we own right, like the garage is no, no, we ended up having to live in that house. Well, this house also has some problems. What's that?
Isaac Morehouse 44:19
Said? You got the story in reverse. We ended in it. Yeah.
Jared Fuller 44:22
Yeah, we ended up we ended up living in the garage. So God bless my wife for staying through all of this. I have no idea how what kind of spell I had on her. The other thing about this office, right about before the company was gonna implode? Was it was infested with scorpions, like infested with scorpions. And I don't know what part of me thought the the antidote to scorpions was fire. But a part of me thought that they had to go to this court like I had to burn them out because I didn't know what I didn't know what to do. And so one day, I had actually burnt a bunch of them before, like outside and like around the side of the house. And then I wasn't really paying attention. I was like, Oh my gosh, all these scorpions are coming from these palm trees. Well, apparently, they're called like palm scorpions, or what or something like that I forgot. They're called Palm scorpions. I think that's what they're called bark scorpions. That's right, bark scorpions, because they come from the bark inside the tree. bark is like the most flammable thing in the world, by the way, and palm fronds, they're extremely flammable when they light they go off. So TLDR I managed to light the palm trees on fire and there was literally flaming scorpions, like falling out on top of being us. At that point, literally, the next day, my wife made us pack up all of our stuff and leave. You know, I didn't have any money to go anywhere, though.
Isaac Morehouse 45:53
Like if you see Breaking Bad or something where an episode will open where there's like, a pizza on the roof. And you're like, What the hell? How's it Why is there a pizza on the roof? And then you know, the episode eventually works its way to explain it. I feel like that is the opener right there. You're standing out there. You know, holding a gas can in your hand. And there are flaming scorpions falling from the sky onto you. And then it's like, how the hell are they going to explain how they got to the to this? I
Jared Fuller 46:20
was I was doing hairspray like hairspray. Oh, yeah. The torches, right the torches before 25. So I'm just gonna say that my brain was not fully developed.
Isaac Morehouse 46:31
Well, if I remember correctly, Brittany's told me one time that at one point, she just woke up in the middle of the night with some like, premonition, like something just woke her up. And she looked in there just a scorpion, like right there.
Jared Fuller 46:44
Like that. Alright. And between both of us in the covers. Yeah, that was that same night? Yeah. How like they were on the attack. They were like out to get us at night. What happens if you get stung by one of these bark scorpions? Oh, it's just like, they're like the most painful I believe. And then venom is pretty high. But the dosage is small. Oh, extreme pain. extreme pain. You know, you're in the hospital. Definitely. But I don't think they were necessarily like deadly. And I'm not sure that. But I know that bark. Scorpions are amongst like the most potent, so definitely not a fun night.
Isaac Morehouse 47:17
So that's what you told your employees at the at the office. Look, you might see some scorpions from time to time. Yeah, it'll hurt but they won't kill you. Don't worry about it, you're back to work well, so we
Jared Fuller 47:27
had to move out. And we didn't move into this dive of an apartment. Oh my gosh, it was so bad. It had no money and had to borrow money from people to even like pay for, you know, to get into this dive apartment. But we ended up getting the office X Scorpion exterminator right? To come in and try and Kleenex like this is bad. And they said that they're like, how many scorpions Have you seen here in the past week? And we're like, oh, easily hundreds. And they're like, No, I was like, No, easily hundreds. Like, that means that there are 10s of 1000s of scorpions. I was like what? They're like, No, they're 10s of 1000s of scorpions. If you've seen hundreds I'm like, Oh my god. So like, yeah, they had to like strip all the palm trees out. Like they were everywhere. There was like burrows and there. It was a giant, massive, massive, massive bark scorpion colony. With that, according to them 10s of 1000s.
Isaac Morehouse 48:20
So you tell me about what happened with this. Your personal guarantee 350,000 to try to clean up the cap table by out some of the other people on there. How did that go down? Did it work?
Jared Fuller 48:34
Oh boy. So this is we moved to I'll tie this all back to this moment. Just because it's part it's part of like why this could potentially be even a television series. When Britney when Britney moved to Vegas and I moved to Vegas, like we'd known each other for a long time and even our stories kind of like this serendipitous, kind of like weird alignment of the stars. But I moved her to Vegas, she agreed to come obviously so she comes to Vegas after we'd been dating remotely. And meaning neither of us had any social base in Vegas at all. And to keep the lights on in the beginning before she got into tech. My wife she was working, you know, on the strip, right like at the Venetian. She ends up befriending a long lost cousin of mine. How weird is that? That came from Farmington, New Mexico. There was like oh my gosh, like yeah, you're my my sister's husband's like you're the you're the sister from my my brother in law that like we could never track down like holy cow. Emma Wow. So we should be out of all the people and this is very strange that there was a tie back back home. So she has she starts dating this guy that was like visiting the Venetian a lot lived in Vegas it was kind of like a high rollers guys name is Van love Van Van was the man and we We, the four of us become friends. And I'm like, he loves to do high roller man, he would come in and he he'd win 10 grand, he'd lose 10 grand and win 50 grand, he lose 10 grand, I'm like, Van koffice money like, crazy. And then he ends up saying, like, well, maybe he's just a gambler, whatever, he ends up, you know, realizing what I do at Job hive, etcetera. And he goes, I'm a programmer, I mean, I can figure programming out and I was trying to like hire. And I was like, okay, cool. You can come by the office sometime, buddy. Like, check it out. Turns out like he was like, Prodigy, Prodigy programmer. He never actually, Isaac, he never actually been a programmer, for anyone formally ever. But he sits down with my devs. And my, my devs are like, I think there's something here with this guy. He has no idea what he's doing. But I think he's just like, figured out like, all of this stuff in just 30 minutes, and is like writing lines of code. And it makes no sense. So like, he actually has no idea what he's doing. But he might be a product. Turns out he was he end up being like, the guy that rewrote the entire front end of job Hi, single handedly by himself. And like a week, it was like this feat that was impossible. And then I'm like, Dude, I can't pay you though. Like I don't really, I You seem like you have money. Like, he's like, No, I'll just, I'll just work. Don't worry about it. I don't need money, he ends up investing in Java. Turns out he's extremely wealthy. But then he was working 60 hours a week with me, had all this independent wealth. And he's like this unknown prodigy programmer. And he's the one that gave us the guarantee. Right? And we finally he gave us his gear. So like, even that, like, the fact that my, it's just so weird. So weird. We hadn't, we wouldn't have got a product where we were at if it was not for him. Like, there's a lot of things that like, you know, wouldn't have had the opportunity to try and restructure the company. Or even talk seriously with Foundry Group about how to like potentially even do that. He's like, Well, you got to do this, you got to do this, you got to try to buy these people out. And the long story short of it was, I had made everyone so pissed off at that point at the corporate level, like not the employees, not our customers of the market. But like, because they had things that they wanted that I'm like, Look, we don't have a company structure that's going to work beyond this, that they were like, we'll never sell a share. Even if you run 100% of it. We'll never sell a share. And it was like, Well, what do I do? Brad? What I do, Seth, what do I do Foundry Group? No, like, you have to call their bluff. Here's the money or you resign from your own company, because you have all of the liability as CEO, and none of the control? None. You have none. You have zero control over this company. And I'm like, and like the worst part is, you didn't know you had no control over this company? Technically, you have none. And I'm like, so I, I did the hardest of hard things. And I did not realize how stressful this was Isaac until after. I mean, it was the tenseness of all of this to like not having any money company doing better than ever and being like, Okay, here's the offer, you have 24 hours, if not, I'm sending an email to the board, all of our employees, and everyone saying, here's the deal, like I have to resign, I'm forced to resign as CEO of my own company, and they call my bluff. And the next day, I sent that email and resigned the CEO of my own company, quit and then I think everyone but one person quit the same day.
Isaac Morehouse 53:19
One was your I
Jared Fuller 53:20
mean, it almost it almost killed me it definitely 2014 I mean, it almost killed me.
Isaac Morehouse 53:25
That's what I was gonna ask like, because I've been through, excuse me, a phase that not to that level, but I think I think each individual has a different stress tolerance or chaos tolerance. And like, for me, I was like, at the max of my tolerance for a phase back in 2019. And it literally almost killed me, like, my health. Seriously was so messed up. So did you have like, health? As I know, like, I think Ben Horowitz said is that your, as a founder, your your nervous system is wired into your company, like your company. Performance literally impacts your bodily physical performance. What what what did like, what was the impact of all that stress?
Jared Fuller 54:08
I mean, the impact of that all that stress was I gave my wife Hashimotos. Right, like, that's how real it was, how stressful it was, was not just me blocking it from the world. It was, you know, those around me, right? My wife's thyroid stopped working in the middle of all of this, and we went in to the hospital level. It like, we're like, something's wrong. They do bloodwork and they're like, this is I forgot what the, the T level was. But the the measurement was normal is between one and five. And hers was at 300. Right. So like, the variance for medication is like, you know, less than one or five to 10 and hers was at 300 and it was like should have been dead before the next morning. Just from straight stress. Right, just like your endocrine system can shut down which you experience something very similar. your endocrine system basically like ain't done, right. And then I think I ballooned from 180 pounds to about 245 250 At my worst, and like some of those pictures, I'm like it, it wasn't a healthy you know, what weight gain it was like the worst possible one where it was like months, like two months? And what was it from? Like, I don't even know if that I was eating. You, right? Like, I wasn't even eating. How did I? How did I balloon up so bad? Just like the swollen bag of stress? You know, that wouldn't let anything go. So I mean, it was bad man, it was really bad for both of us. One day, we what? Yeah, go ahead, we left, we left this is how bad it got. I mean, both of us were hospital ended up in the ER, you know, for different health reasons. And we should be perfectly healthy, right. But we had, so we had no money, no health insurance like nothing. One day I we had to go to San Francisco for a trip or whatever, and our power got shut off. Coming back. So like this is after I'd resigned, I really had no money and I had no equity like, had no future. I was nobody. I had nothing. And I just lost everything. And I'm in Vegas in a shithole apartment with his wife, that's like I've just made her hospital sick. And then the power gets shut off. And it was 99 to 106 degrees in the apartment, in the apartment, like inside. And if you've never had a freezer that went bad in that environment, and then our cat almost died. So it was like it was literally like the end of the end of the end. And this interim story I didn't, I didn't realize we probably have to get it get into it. But it's probably worth worth it was. We both worked. We both went and worked with a company called order with me. In Vegas, my wife and I did. I joined as VP of Sales and Marketing just because it was like this guy can sell. And then my wife joined as a lead pm because of what she'd done on the job Hi product. So we got jobs, you know, in the Vegas tech scene with a company that raised like a lot of money. First time founders, the CEO and for those of you that get this, the co founders Isaac husband and wife Jonathan and Danielle, good Christian folk Good good good people, but had the most interesting relationship I've ever seen. For good Christian folk, it was I think Danielle was under a lot of pressure and stress. And I'll just put it this way that there was lots of like there was lots of public fights, I'll put it that put it that way. Lots of public fights and in this hotel that had been renovated into a startup you know, office space, which you know those hotels that like they're like a there's like a square in the middle you know, it's like a it's an open box right so all the rooms you come out of the rooms and you're facing another part of the hotel so like entire walls were taken out of sums you come out and you look across oh there's marketing over there there's like I don't know 70 People in this company engineering product everything raised a bunch of money from Tony Shea but there's a lot about it that was just Silicon Valley there's this is the this is the story is like this is so much Silicon Valley and also Halt and Catch Fire. Right like what I've what I'm describing to you before was like Halt and Catch Fire This is real as it gets like we're both you know, it's like the American dream turned into American dust like I drove everything into the ground to where like we almost starved to kill ourselves. And you know, even the cat that we had left right? To complete like okay, hey, we're making 70 grand a piece right? And these executive roles of this new star were like yeah, we're rich now like compared to not having any money at all. We were lucky that God
Isaac Morehouse 59:17
was that the part where you like just went and bought a bunch of champagne and like, lift it up for a day or?
Jared Fuller 59:26
Oh, no, no, no, no, no, I'll get I'll get into that one too. That's the transition after order with me so we get that and we're like hey, maybe we should just learn here like we're both obviously capable you're good at great at product I'm great at sales and marketing let's just you know go do this thing. Then. Holy cow did that get crazy fast like Silicon Valley crazy not Halt and Catch Fire drama crazy but just like the stuff that can happen in the tech world is bonkers. So order with me did is In a lot of ways was factoring don't factoring is not gonna describe it for the audience. So factoring is basically buying future revenue. What I mean by that, it's like, hey, it's net 60 on an invoice net 90 on an invoice. Like you get your cash up front, but you pay, you know, a fee of that total volume, right? So it's $100,000 invoice, you know, you can get it up front, you basically get 97 grand, the other party collects the money, right and keeps that 3% that three grand. It's a low margin game with high stakes, because you're assuming that credit risk. So anyways, we just start turning on the sales like I come in, I'm all excited, like, let's go let's just start selling through stuff. And we just got the CFO from like Visa and MasterCard Silicon Valley Bank just gave us a giant line of credit. I'm like, I got the big look. All right, I can factor anything. We don't get involved in this like solar deal. And we end up factoring a giant a lot of millions of dollars Isaac, and I've asked the finance team and it's like there's reputable like solar S company anyways TLDR is missing so many millions way more than we should have ever done. And we end up closing that account and we would have made a lot of money cuz it was continuous right? These orders were like factory millions of dollars every single month. Holy cow the first wire which was for I'll just put it eight figures to eight figure wire gets lost in China our wire and it was like how does how does like eight figures get lost? No, dude, it was gone. It was like I didn't like this was above my paygrade of like, even possible. Right? So like we at that point. I was like this is this is not looking very good. This is not looking very good. The CEOs office was covered in pennies like head to toe. Do you know how much money it costs to cover your entire floor and ceiling and walls and pennies? Just to be like your frugal like we just lost and I started to feel this strange sense of like a dystopia. Like a comedic dystopia. I'm like, we're we're playing so fast. And we're in Vegas. This is like there's literally a slot machines next door to the office that we're in. And there's millions of dollars flying out this office is paved in pennies as if we're frugal, and it's like, no, this is bonkers.
Isaac Morehouse 1:02:38
So, okay, so you have a customer that owes you tons of money. And
Jared Fuller 1:02:45
it was just gone. And they quoted so fast. Like,
Isaac Morehouse 1:02:49
so did they were they just like because if they send a wire and doesn't go through, can you just like call the bank and be like, hey, cancel the wire here. We like to give you the correct information.
Jared Fuller 1:02:58
There was a series of things that I won't get into. And I'm not privy to like the entirety of the story, just the point is, is that there was large sums, like massive financial transactions that were unaccounted for, and that we could not account for, that was not the result of any kind of like fraud or displacement. But it seemed like malpractice on the on the end of the client, right? That that is there was absolutely something happening there that was preventing anything from going on. And it was losing increasingly more and more money. The company tried to pivot in a bunch of different ways, like getting into retail. There was the there was community. So there was a whole bunch of stuff. It was like, you know, shiny object syndrome. Yep. So much so that like, you know, Bezos, whenever he would come out to Vegas for Tony, because Amazon bought Zappos, you know, he'd come meet with John the CEO, and it was like, Oh, God, Jeff Bezos is here. Right? And like, their visions were big. You had Tony Shea you had Jeff Bezos and John. So it was like, Let's go change everything about commerce that Amazon doesn't own right now. And it was it was approaching from the payment side, but then it went all the way down to the retailer, right to worry, like as a consumer, you could have this credit card that did this and it was like we were spending so much money chasing the biggest problems and I just realized the hypocrisy of all of this. I'm like, This is not where I'm gonna get great. Like I just had an implosion and I'm about to have another comedic implosion like this company is gonna blow up way bigger than job hive did and it's not anyone's particular fault like I don't want to I don't want to make like I'm saying anything bad about the company. But you know, because you wish these bad like any bad thing I would describe to them like I'm sure I screwed up even worse prior but at the same time man is bonkers. So I'll tell I'll tell this trans transition story now from the where we left Vegas where I left Vegas, is it was going to implode and luckily my wife I think she Makita Mikado from panna doc you As a CEO of quote, roller, and they are just launching panda doc and job hive, I was trying to do some stuff with them. I use them for contracts from day one. Market ace is actually my marketing agency. I use this product called quote roller to send all of my marketing quotes. I was like one of their biggest like, user product all the time since they launched Little did I know that this was a company made in from Belarus, right? Like, you know, Belarusian tech, like you would know what I was thinking that in America TLDR is I met Makita at a entrepreneurs summit in Vegas that he happened to get roped into the only reason that he was there as that like they targeted people that didn't know what they were doing quite yet. But he was actually successful. He was just from Belarus, right? Of all the people that were there, I think he was the probably one of the only truly legitimate entrepreneurs that had built a million dollar ARR business. Lots of other logos that people that you know, weren't. So we became kind of like, he just liked my style. And then I was a longtime client, before he launched panda doc. And I liked his. And then he tried emailing me and saw that my email had bounced the job hive. So he reached out to Brittany, my wife, because she he somehow had her Gmail because she was like, helping before anyways, she had her Gmail, I don't think we had like, I think I think he was on LinkedIn at the time. And he's like, Hey, where's Jared, what happened at Job hive, and he immediately was just like, you have to come work with me immediately. And I was like, Well, I live in Vegas, my wife, you know, she's kind of feeling like, this job is working out really well for her. And he's like, you just have to come to San Francisco. And I was like, you know, maybe I need to spend some time out there like DC. Vegas. I think, you know, I used his product before, right? So I knew he could build a product that I paid for. And I use for years. And this other one panda doc seemed like it was going to be 10 times better. And I'm like, this company looks like it's going to explode. And I think oh, he's actually got a couple actual real angels and like, office in San Francisco. So real money. I'm like, maybe I should go take that bet. So I did. I took that I took that bet. And I moved to San Francisco with into makitas house and the office. Married which again, right so that's the second company where the office, I was married and living in the office, which is you know, a tough ask but um, how we there's some more back, I have to I have to tell the story super quick, the some of the backdrop for how this could be a i don't know i tragicomedy so to speak, is, so I go and tell John, the CEO of order with me that I'm, I'm leaving, right? I'm gonna go help build this company, Panda Doc, I just, I feel like it's the right learning opportunity for me, blah, blah, blah. He says, Go Go and get your wife. I was like, what he's like, this isn't your last day. It's both of your last days. And I was like, well, she was gonna plan on working here still for a while and like, maybe she could work remote or something like that. Like, and he's like, No, go get your wife right now. I'm like, I wasn't even thinking at the time. Like, Trey, I was like, What is going on? We're gonna have a fight. Like, I'm pretty sure this is you can HR like, Is this what's going to happen? So I'm gonna get Brittany and I'm like, I'm pretty sure we're both gone after now. And he was so mad Isaac. So there's his office upstairs covered and Penny's show, then like downstairs in the big office room. The big conference table, you know, that big conference table is made out of? Legos. Right? This is a big, you know, 20 person conference table, right? Because that's somehow like, you know, startup world circuit 2014 15. It was like, Wouldn't it be cool if the main conference was made out of Legos and like, we built it. I bring in Brittany and he immediately stands up, and he smashes the Lego table. And Mike starts screaming at us and says this is your last day? Get the hell out. You know, like, I don't think he used that word, but because he was a devout Christian, but was screaming and it was just like, what was he so angry about? fired my wife because I quit.
Isaac Morehouse 1:09:14
Just because you were leaving
Jared Fuller 1:09:15
with? Yeah. Yeah. So like that was? So she's, you know that that's definitely like in the startup wife. You know if that's the that was the what the producers were wanting to call the show. That's definitely one of those like, seminal moments are like into a season. Right? Like, that's the end of that season. Is that like, you know, she follows me into this chaos startup world. She finds herself Oh, I can be a pm right? And she's good at it. Oh, I can be like a lead pm at a company that's further along than job hive. And then she gets fired because I quit. I mean, there's something about that that is just so true about tech and like this demeanor and like you know, like there's a reason why canceled culture happened. It's because of shit like that. Like actually really did happen. Yeah, right. My husband quits and they fire the wife like that's real world like I saw it happen. That's wild. So I gave her Hashimoto syndrome syndrome and got her fired from a job that she liked in like less than three months. And the poor Lego
Isaac Morehouse 1:10:13
table you know so so you guys, you guys pack up and go to San Francisco? Is that when you had your your celebratory ROI, keep coming back to your like, champagne party. I feel like I remember. You had a moment where you were you were really poor. And then you finally get like a paycheck.
Jared Fuller 1:10:38
Yeah, yeah. So what happened was I was, I was basically couldn't start at Panda doc, for a period of time. Because I was like, help. I was like, helping get things going. And like they were closing around. So I think technically, it was like, they couldn't even pay me. And then we just got fired. And then obviously, we didn't get any severance because of that, because we weren't going to sign any releases. So that's why I'm a little bit more confident about even telling that story is like, we didn't fucking sign anything. You know, like, whenever you leave a company as a founder, like, I want to be careful of that story. And the things that I you know, said I would never disclose. But in this one, I was like, No, fuck you. I didn't sign anything. I don't think you're bad people. But like, it was, it was screwed up, it was really screwed up. They made a very emotional decision that they shouldn't have. But so we had no money still. Right. It was like, Hey, we had this job. But we had the job for like, a month to two months max. So like, we barely just got our first paycheck, because they were like, kind of like a, they were kind of like laid on their payroll systems to do some of those weird startup things, you know, whereas like, we still ended up with no money like paying off bills. And then there was like a week where it was like, What are we going to do? So we basically just went on like yeah, champagne Bender for like, we have like champagne and like crackers for like, the cheap champagne to like, the cheapest of cheap and I don't know what we were doing. But we were in some like blur where for like a week we just gambled on a slot machine strategy with like, no money, and bought it and had enough money to buy the cheapest champagne and keep playing these slots for like a week off of like our last $100
Isaac Morehouse 1:12:19
I mean, look, after every thing that ended the way everything ended in Vegas, you got this new opportunity in San Francisco, you got a little bit of time before you can start. What else are you going to do? How are you going to say goodbye to Vegas? You know, I think
Jared Fuller 1:12:34
oh, it was it was so depressed. It was supposed to be like fun. And I kind of ironic, but looking back is so depressing, like, extremely depressing to think like, we had $100 left in a week. And it was like, we could make sure that we save it every day and like have enough money to eat the rest of the week. Or we could buy some champagne and go play the slots and see how long we could keep this you know, keep this high last day through. Oh my gosh, it was so bad.
Isaac Morehouse 1:13:05
Yeah. I'm amazed that it was slots rather than blackjack. Because isn't your dad like a like a blackjack tournament champion?
Jared Fuller 1:13:15
Yeah, so it can be yeah, there's there's definitely parts of this story that will go back and forth. In the beginning of the job hive market aces story. So like I'd started job high but Barkat aces was technically still running on the side. I appointed a new like CEO president who, who had no idea what they were doing and took it because I asked them to, you know, like, they're like, Okay, sure. And it was they were left with a shit show, you know, totally my fault. I had no idea what I was doing. And then it was like, Okay, I could couldn't quite pay myself through that anymore because the business wasn't going as well because I wasn't focused on it. And then I also wasn't really in a position to pay myself job five what I needed to be making. So like I was basically making no money. So I would play blackjack. And I basically finance my personal way through the first six months in Vegas playing blackjack because since I was a very young kid, my dad taught me how to count cards. My dad won the world championship blackjack tournament before the before Texas Hold'em took over like the strip and like the main stay of like, you know, Vegas gambling mindshare. It was blackjack blackjack was the game before Hold'em took over and you know, the World Series of Poker became popularized. It was the World Series the world blackjack championship at the Riviera was like, that's the biggest one. That was the biggest one and my dad won. He has this giant huge trophy. So simple mountain man redneck from New Mexico. That is probably the quietest human you've ever. He doesn't say a word. Why? Because animals don't say words and I feel like that's the only thing he wants to live with is you know, turkeys and elk and bear and like, if no human ever says no The word to him ever again. He'd be as happy as could be like, he just hates talking. But it's somehow obsessed with numbers. Like you just wouldn't ever expect this like mountain man redneck to just go into a casino and wipe the floor. Oh, and he could, he could run it, he can run multiple counts on a card deck. So he taught me from when I was a little kid how to count cards. It was like the only thing you could communicate around was either hunting or gambling. Just those two things were like
Isaac Morehouse 1:15:24
casinos. Like, if they figure out that you're doing that, won't they kick you out?
Jared Fuller 1:15:29
Yeah, so my dad has been banned from multiple casinos. I've confirmed this because I've seen him get escorted out. That is a real thing. And then I got way too cocky one time in Reno at a political event. And at this casino, and I started because I just got, I got into two shoes in a row. So a shoe is six decks. And you really shouldn't try to count in a shoe because there's just so much variance at the beginning. And if you get a screwed up, like you got to play a long time and lose a lot of money to get to hit it right. So I was inebriated enough to where I start decided to play a shoe. How about that, right? You should always play two hands single hand, there's not enough cards, double deck is like, you can bet three four times hit a run, and then max bet your way out. Now that's a telltale sign that you're counting low bets, then all of a sudden, high bets, right? Like it's just very simple, low bets to high bets. Why did you change your bet from 25 bucks to $250? Or from, you know, says $100 Minimum table from $100 to 1000? Or even 10,000? Why did you do that? It's like well, there's really not a good answer, right? There's really not a good answer other than you're counting. Right? And I built I built a crowd in this Reno and I was just giving the casino shit. I think I was like, early 20s. I was given the I was letting the casino know how much money I was making. And I definitely got the pit boss warning. And then I got the floor manager. And then I got escorted out money taken like converted chips taken for me so I got some stuff converted. I think I had I had a lot. I had way too much money for early 20 something on a table a lot. And what I walked away with was not what I had in front of me when I got kicked out. So yeah, they'll kick you out. So anyways, yeah, there's there's there's lots of the back of like the gambling in Vegas side of the, you know, family. Yeah, that's the Vegas. My first company's called Market aces. Right? My dad is a world championship blackjack player. And if somehow in Vegas, there was always some gambling component not as like an addiction, but as like a strange, you know, thread. That's definitely a part of my story. Are
Isaac Morehouse 1:17:46
you familiar with any do and the guys who found Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. Because there's so much.
Jared Fuller 1:17:56
Yeah, she wrote thinking that's fantastic game theory, optimal optimization. I love that field of study.
Isaac Morehouse 1:18:04
You know, it's funny, we probably met because I remember back when I was doing the fundraising days, I met with a bunch of different guys from the Susquehanna group, which is like a massive, private, like Investment Fund. And they all got started going and playing poker and winning a bunch of money in Vegas. It was it was Texas Hold'em for them. And I met Annie Duke at an event with those guys. And, uh, wow, funny that we had. And they this is this is why this is crazy little side story. But I went to their office, one of their offices, and basically how they hire people, it because they have all of their own capital is what they're working with. And they hire you. First they play they play poker with you like they play blackjack, or not Blackjack, Texas Hold'em with you. And they basically only hire poker players. And if you're smart, and you're good at poker, and whatever attributes they're looking for, they'll basically give you a chance, and they slide you a pile of money. And it's like, you get whatever, 50 grand, and you have your first two weeks to turn it into more money or not. And if you don't, you don't work there anymore. And if you do, then like something like that, I don't know the particulars, but you go there, and they have this whole floor, where everybody's just there training all day, the probabilistic
Jared Fuller 1:19:16
approach to that as a whole, like on any individual, you're like, that's stupid. But if you spread that across a bunch of people, the probabilistic outcome is is probably a far more effective system, right?
Isaac Morehouse 1:19:26
Well, that's what they're like the combination of probabilistic thinking in the mathematical side of poker with the ability to read and predict the behavior of other humans who don't think like robots necessarily, right? Like that's what you need to do. So you go to their office and they everybody's there with all these multiple screens and they're trading all day and then all of a sudden, they'll just like, bring it a lunch tray and then like spontaneous games of poker will break out at lunchtime and, and they had they had a first edition of the Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith in a glass case in the office. Is it wild, wild and crazy, but So anyway,
Jared Fuller 1:20:00
that's a flex, that's totally a flex ager.
Isaac Morehouse 1:20:04
So you know, you have
Jared Fuller 1:20:07
real quick, quick aside clear sight on this. What would go? So Isaac, you're coming out to St. Pete next week. And I'm trying to convince you in the family to move here. Low key. Well, let's imagine we built the ultimate office. Oh my god, we haven't even like addressed the news. By the way. This is episode 100. We have even addressed the news have we? We haven't. We didn't even address the news. And we're like an hour and 20 minutes into this ridiculous recording.
Isaac Morehouse 1:20:36
Yeah. Well, that because that's the cause. That's, that's the part of the story. We got to catch up, I guess.
Jared Fuller 1:20:44
Yeah, I guess that is the I don't think we would have like rolled that into some of the pre Yeah, somehow, right? We should have. But what would what would go like you move here we build like the ultimate team in office and St. Pete, for like the future of partner hacker reveal our next business ventures, what would be the book that would go in our glass case?
Isaac Morehouse 1:21:02
Who I mean, I'm gonna tell you what mine would be. And this is super nerdy. It will be human action, by Ludwig von Mises. And I'll tell you why. I'll tell you why. Not not just because it's such a foundational text and like how to think about, you know, the study of economics and human behavior more broadly. But the very beginning of that book, Mises described, it's so simple. The three preconditions for any purposeful action, right, any purposeful action any human takes requires these conditions, you have to have dissatisfaction with the status quo. Otherwise, you wouldn't act, you have to have a vision of something better. And you have to have a belief in your ability to get there, right. So something as simple as me getting up to go get a bag of chips, I have to feel some dissatisfaction with where I am right now, I have to have a vision of something better some kind of food, I can put myself and I have to have a belief that I actually am capable of going and getting it. That's a precondition to action. As somebody interested in marketing and entrepreneurship and business in general, I can't tell you the number of times, I will come back to those principles and be like, Okay, I mean, let's talk about what the where we are right now, in the near bound movement, people have dissatisfaction with the status quo of go to market check, they kind of are starting to get a vision of something better, it's starting to come clear. We're like halfway there on that part. Almost nobody has a belief in their ability to get them. So they're like I get it traditional outbound and inbound networking. I kind of see what you're talking about how like, there's this opportunity to work with partners in this ecosystem, this neuron motion, I'm sort of getting the vision, I have no idea how to put that into practice how to get there. Like when I use that framework, it helps me know like, where we are and what we need to focus on it. Otherwise people won't act and anytime people aren't acting when you think they should ask yourself which of those three ingredients is missing? That book has been hugely influential for me just the way that I think about everything. What would be yours?
Jared Fuller 1:22:53
Man, that would that was one of the two books that was gonna come out of my mouth. I knew it. Yeah, it genuinely was because that books impacted me for that reason, amongst others, like, you know, frameworks praxeology or whatever. Which, Praxis praxeology I don't know if there was any tie tie in there. Probably actly why
Isaac Morehouse 1:23:16
I named my first company practice. Yeah.
Jared Fuller 1:23:19
Right. I don't think I've ever formally asked you that. But there you go. praxeology from human action. That's why Isaac named his company practices. But I had Bettina graves was the individual who had done the translation for that work since Macy's was, you know, Austrian, and she was BC, his personal translator and somehow ended up in Winston Salem, North Carolina. I have no idea that story, but she's owns the copyright on human actions. If you look at it, it says Bettina graves. And I'd hosted a political event there that she was dying to see this post candidacy. So Dr. Ron Paul, when he ran for president, I was dying to see him and I had the student campus event and she came out, and I got to meet her and talk to him. That was such a good doctor Paul to meet Bettina for the first time in Dr. Paula credits, human action is being the most influential work to him. Right. So like, that's the most important thing to him. And he's read a bunch of times, and I gotta introduce him to the person that like actually took it from me sees his mouth. And like in the book, and like seeing, I have a picture of Bettina and Ron, and both of their faces, I mean, so these are two people at the end of an illustrious, illustrious careers, right. changed the course of what I believe to be the right kind of direction of economic thought. And then like one of the more you know, whimper in a bank, political movements, but still, at least interesting in terms of its questioning of the status quo. And Dr. Paul,
Isaac Morehouse 1:24:45
I think for I think, if nothing else, you could say, like put aside whatever, you know, ideological stuff, policies or whatever you agree or disagree with. He was probably the first one who had like a genuine The internet based grassroots support movement, right? Like any any old school. Yeah, in the old school, no one would have ever heard of him. But in the era of the Internet, there was this window where it was like, right, like he broke through the establishment of the party because of grassroots Internet support. He did the first online fundraiser money, but like, kind of influenced a lot of what was to come.
Jared Fuller 1:25:23
I mean, I wouldn't know my wife, you know, like I met her at an event. That was I met Brittany Isaac, at the Ludwig von Mises Institute. That's where I met my wife. So like, the book would have to be human action. How weird is that? How weird? Is it that that would be your book? And it's like, yeah, that'd be my book. I mean, I have a story around that book. It truly impacted my life, my train of thought everything about it, and I wouldn't be married if that books didn't exist. While Okay, I
Isaac Morehouse 1:25:52
got I got through one more. One more in there. Nerd flex. One of my daughters is named Vienna, after Vienna, Austria, the Austrian School, which Mises came from. So yeah, you could tell it's like a very influential, you know, foundation for me intellectually. Okay, so. So when we get this, if we get this office someday in St. Pete, if you convinced me to move down there, we gotta have. We gotta go one better, so we won't we won't cover your office in pennies. We'll cover in quarters. Okay. And then.
Jared Fuller 1:26:26
Oh, God, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, I don't. I don't care about any cheeky things like that. Like, either way. Like, I don't want just how about just a normal office that has an amazing production studio? Like, that's all I want? Like anything else is like, if you try to go to over the top or to like anti or, like, balance.
Isaac Morehouse 1:26:47
Yeah, I agree. When you do those? Nope. Everyone, we're all just going to be on the floor of an open warehouse. Because it's all just it's all like, Okay, well, that's really inconvenient when you have phone calls, and then the other way where you're like, every office has its own like living grow wall that has different, you know, cannabis, so that you can, whatever. Okay, okay, so I got you to choke on your drink there for a second. So. So the, you take the panna doc job, and they just finished raising around you move out to San Francisco? What was that like? Because you were employee number what a panda doc. And by the time you left you like you guys had built something pretty amazing. And that's where more people on this podcast will probably start to get more familiar with your story when you get to Panda doc and drift. But I'd love to hear just like those early days of panda doc and personally, in San Francisco. What was that like for you and for your wife, who now just got fired and has to move to a new city?
Jared Fuller 1:27:46
Oh, man, yeah. So thank God for the goodwill of some people like San Francisco was such a special place. I didn't realize how special of a place it was. Like, do you know how impossible it is to get a lease on anything? When you have not just no credit, like the opposite of no credit, like the worst credit you've ever seen? No, like, you know, like job history is like, Well, I was self employed like the worst possible thing, right? So I got very lucky in that there was a, you know, executive that had sold some companies. And it was, you know, owned a house and rented a house was in tech kind of understood the situation and allowed us to rent. So thank God, we were able to get a place there. Eventually, so like the first two months were, you know, living in and out of living couchsurfing as a married couple more or less. Right? We have this expired lease in Vegas, we drive back and forth from Vegas to San Francisco, sleep on the, you know, the futon mattress of Sergey or makitas house, which they live together. And then the panna doc office, which was literally an apartment. So I mean, how many people were there was probably five to six, seven in Belarus, and then probably another five to six, seven in the States. So I mean, I don't know less than 20 people. I mean, it's early, but I wasn't I wasn't co founder. I mean, it was just early. We had an office in Belarus and an apartment in San Francisco.
Isaac Morehouse 1:29:21
And you were brought in for sales initially.
Jared Fuller 1:29:26
Makita said I have no idea what you should do. That's what I was brought in for was just like having another founder in that like, was crazy enough to like move and do these things. He was just like, I just want you in. And Makita is probably one of he definitely gets most improved CEO award. I mean, in terms of like the growth that I saw him go on and then the hell that I put him through, because I put him through hell. And I put I put Makita through some crazy stuff. I broke that man and that man broke me like we learned a lot together. He actually deserves so much credit for making the right decisions at the right time. Like in hindsight, he was making so many wrong decisions, so many everywhere. But the big ones he would get right. He's like batting 100%. There. One of the first big ones was focusing me on partnerships. He gets all the credit for that, because I wanted to hop directly into sales. Now, I just experienced the power of partnerships, that job pipe, and I was trying to build one with him. So I love that too. That was absolutely a part of like what I wanted to do. But he focused me on partnerships initially. And I mean, that's where I started, just pulling the tree apart of like, what it meant to like build these relationships in San Francisco is, you know, I use the relationship with like carb and Aaron, Ross and Derek, the team over there to find my way over to people like Steli Efti, who was probably you may have still he was writing more on the sell side. But still, he was a pretty big personality. He was one of the probably biggest content people in sales in the mid 2010s. So like, 2015 2016 he was CEO of close, close, I think they have.com Now, I want to say clothes.io. But
Isaac Morehouse 1:31:15
yeah, I was what I was thinking of to it. Somewhat.
Jared Fuller 1:31:18
Yeah. closed.com They got the.com. Nice. That's a. So I started reaching out to people like him and getting like a webinar together. Like, okay, here's panda doc with clothes, like, how do you weave a narrative between like two companies? Like, that's something I've been practicing, like, literally day one was like, How do I? How do I bring value to Panadol? Immediately, we didn't I didn't have any engineering, I didn't have any understanding of my job is to go build integrations with CRM companies. Makita didn't know that. Like, I didn't know that we had a thesis. We could get our tech to work together. We could do some type of integration, but it wasn't like a there was definitely not a role for that in 2015. Yeah, that was not like something that people were doing it early that series series a pre series A companies. No one was doing that as like an intentional strategy. So Makita to focus there. It was really smart. A lot of foresight to put me there versus unleashing me on sales right away. You know, that came later. I actually ended up taking over sales from him. And a few not great fits prior. Right. So like, you know, we saw the thing, like we hired the executive from the big company. You know, the big logo, VP of sales. What was that? Oh, gosh, Silicon Valley as if you've watched you watch all Silicon Valley? Yeah,
Isaac Morehouse 1:32:44
yeah. The Jack Barclay the No, no, the
Jared Fuller 1:32:49
woman sales leader. Oh, yeah. Like Jan, direct director, whatever. Director inside sales like how she would do it her like professional every time Jan THE MAN Yeah. Yeah. Jan, the man director inside sales, we hired one of those, you know, like we had those two, there was like so formal, like inside sales leader from like, a big CO and it was like you this is not gonna work at a company that has panda in its name about documents. I mean, our marketing was the worst marketing I've ever seen in my entire life. Like, this anorexic panda with a head the size of a balloon, like dancing around throwing papers everywhere. Especially cold calling. So what we're like, it looks like an animated cartoon gone bad, like on drugs, like throwing documents everywhere. It's like, what brand are we trying to send to like our prospects here?
Isaac Morehouse 1:33:43
Now that could actually work with these younger kids who love the weird irony type stuff, like I'm thinking will and add them on our team. They would love weird, you know, Panda costume throwing around documents, it would it would fly but not back then.
Jared Fuller 1:33:58
No, it was definitely like, what panda what like, what is this thing? Like, what are you guys doing? So yeah, that was uh, we got started there and started working on
Isaac Morehouse 1:34:08
that's where that's where you and I, you know, because we I had tried out job hive and played around with I think we were using a little bit right around the time when I was starting practice or early on with practice. And then I kind of didn't keep up with you for the next year or two. I don't know how long it was, but you know, just kind of would see you on social media or whatever, but hadn't seen you. And then panna doc. I don't know how we got reconnected again. But we ended up placing some of our practice apprentices with you like it started with like one or two. And it was just such a phenomenal success for both of us. For us. It was like, we've got a great case study because we would place people and they would succeed in their career and do great, but the business we placed them in. We're just kind of like, oh, yeah, cool. We got this apprentice kid. They're doing a great job. We love them. But we wouldn't we couldn't get them to like create content with us. they'd be like, Sure, I'll give you a quote. So they give us a quote and say they're doing a great job. You actually went out of your own volition and we're like, I'm going to promote this program. I'm going to write an article for Forbes about how we built a team with all these apprentices who just skipped college and
Jared Fuller 1:35:14
still offended people. That article Yeah, yeah. Yeah, the first article how I built, you know, an apprentice program to drive myself to work.
Isaac Morehouse 1:35:22
Yeah. And it became like the dream the dream placement, like the Praxis to Panda pipeline, like people in practice knew about it, they'd come in new people and they'd be like, I want to get placed at Panda dock because they like knew and had a reputation of like, this is where you're gonna go, you're gonna learn you're gonna get turned into a beast, you got all kinds of upward opportunity I know to this day because I just saw one of them on a video that what's his name Tyler put out on LinkedIn. There's there's people that started there with Praxis five years ago, and they're still working there. So
Jared Fuller 1:35:51
yeah, lots of people. I mean, the very first practice hire was the number one a panda doc in some pretty competitive years of its journey, you know, with you know, not one or two competitors but dozens and dozens of badass salespeople that you know, practice kiddo number one. Oh, Luke roughing he was kind of like a prodigy so
Isaac Morehouse 1:36:14
So at what point in panda doc did you have to go to the to the banya and get the intense
Jared Fuller 1:36:22
traditional gosh, okay. Oh, man. So ironically, my Brittany ended up doing my wife do it, doing some consulting for close, like some CRM stuff, got him with a few other things. And then she started her first company in San Francisco too. So I'm like VP sales and BD at panna doc, where we've closed our Series A can we grow into our series B. She co founded a company with my lead designer from job hive, Allison, which was here's a funny story. Anyways, I heard Allison at Job hive, nine months pregnant when I already had a designer because she was the best designer I've ever seen. Like, by far, she was the designer for this company called Treehouse, which was like, Treehouse was like, Khan Academy, but for like design, right, like web dev like HTML, CSS, and she was like the teacher like she was the one teaching design. And I was like, oh my god, she moved to Vegas because her husband did something and she was like, trying to meet locals. I hired her nine months pregnant. I did not have the money to hire. I was just like, she's so good. I have to have her to help like, take this brand mainstream. Gender being like, you know, one of the best hires ever and we stayed close. But you know, I ironically, several years later, my wife co founded a company with her right so there's this weird stuff like this ring throughout the story of like, startups coming and going and they start roadmap roadmap.io together and then panna doc story started to take off like we this is where the HubSpot story enters the picture. And like not not having the playbook figured out, but like looking back and like oh shoot that there was something there. So man, what's the best way to tee this up? We went out maybe in terms of partner up because we've been this has been like the episode 100 like behind the scenes Jared story special the stuff that only a handful of you have heard in like backroom bars or after hours maybe I'll pull in like a really interesting insight here on the on the panda dockside. So I did this like webinar, these webinars with Steli. From close, you know, tried meeting Anthony from Insightly. He was the CEO over there. I mean, I was just going out and building CEO relationships in sales tech. But I wasn't the CEO isn't really interesting. That is like, I don't think anyone's first. And I don't think I've ever talked about this before. Like, what worked is that Makita was like, No, don't focus on sales, focus on partnerships, figure out partnerships, like you can do anything you want Jared depended on basically so you can do anything you want, just like figure this out partnerships. And I'm like, okay, cool. So immediately my gut reaction without, you know, one of my favorite quotes Isaac, I think I've said this to you before I am, I am a junkie for Emerson. I do love Emerson. Ralph Waldo Emerson, he says, a book both opens and closes the mind. And there is so much knowledge that can like send you on a path that you don't even realize, like, why am I doing all this stuff? I had no knowledge. I had no book. So my frame of reference was if I'm gonna go and figure out partnerships, then I need to be talking to the CEOs of all these companies. I just who out there's starts that way. Right. Who else out there really starts at that at that level. So yeah, man. We got to get to the bill to relate to Sally from Carlos Anthony from Insightly. Like what's that?
Isaac Morehouse 1:39:53
We got to get to the banya somehow?
Jared Fuller 1:39:57
Yeah. Oh gosh, the banya. Well I'll, that's where I'm getting to. So I build all the C suite relationships with the small business like CRM and other sales tech tools. And then we figured out, you know, the, the integration and the go to market stuff was like easy. Like, we built actual integrations, co marketing, enablement, all this stuff with all of the top CRM and sales tech providers super early from Panda docs, your business. And then that's where I started to, like, have an opinion on an industry for the first time. Like, you so don't know these things when you don't know these things. Like being able to have a point of view on an industry. Like when I was a job hive, I had no idea what like, industry truly even meant. And then now I'm like, Okay, I really have to understand like, what is this market that we're living in? There are existing players and relationships. And that became very important to me. And that's where I recognized that HubSpot, this marketing automation player that I didn't really know much about other than some agency salesperson from HubSpot tried to convince my agency marketplaces to become a HubSpot agency. And I didn't, and if I would have I would just put it this way market aces would have been would have been successful. We would have figured out we would have had to follow that playbook. We would have made a lot of money. We would have made a lot of money as a HubSpot agency. I didn't though. And this marketing automation player coming over to CRM, I was like, I think they're gonna win. And this was early this was like, this is right when David can sell and Ilyas Torres, it's sold performable. And they were turning over the company. HubSpot was not the market leader in CRM at all. He was, frankly considered a ship product that was just free. And I made a really strategic bet, like after getting to know all of these SMB CRMs. And put I mean, really risk the entire company on it, if I'm honest, like at least at least any contribution that I would have had on that HubSpot relationship. And you know, called the shot to say that we were going to be their most important partner for CRM, like told HubSpot, that, you know, I mean, that was, so how did I even potentially have the ability to get them excited by that? How did I end up in Belarus, with some executives from HubSpot in in a trip that is the wildest one of the wildest stories ever? How did that all end up happening? And I think the lesson here that that's so interesting is that, because I did not know what I was doing, and I was entrepreneurial by nature is that I went and I built C suite relationships with all the major players. And I never tried to build relationships downstream. First, it was always how do I get to the CEO or you know, CSO or CMO, CTO, whoever, as quickly as possible. That was a super interesting insight. But those conversations, Isaac, why is that important? As I'm, as I'm working my way up the C suite of bigger and bigger companies, the knowledge that I'm getting on the market and how they thought about their business, and like how they were serving their customers and their challenges is like, wait a second, I know more about this space and industry than like, any one of them, because they're so worried about their business. They're not thinking about the rest of this. So whenever I was able to make my business case to HubSpot, like I was bringing them insight that they didn't have. They were so worried about their internal things that they you know, they listened and they were like, my, here's what I'm seeing an SMB CRM. Here's what we did over here with Pipedrive. And they were super interested. Oh, Pipedrive. They're like, they're beating us right now.
Isaac Morehouse 1:43:47
It's funny, I had a Yeah, well, when I was, I actually started with it before, before I started practice. When I was in fundraising, I would go and meet with all these, you know, wealthy, wealthy people, most of them were entrepreneurs, people that had built their wealth starting a company, and they were very old at this point. But I always wanted to ask them all about their company, like, Tell me about it. How did you how did you think about and you get them going, they get really excited. And I'm telling you how they built it from nothing, whatever. So I kind of learned like a little bit from that. And then with praxis, I was in this position where I was trying to place everybody in these apprenticeships on trying to get startups to take these kids and put them in this six month apprenticeship. And so I would always like you, I would go to the CEO, I was like, I don't want to ever talk to an HR person. I don't want to even talk to whoever is going to be managing them directly. I want to get a CEO or somebody at a high level. If I can get a CEO great if I can get like whatever Sales Manager for and I want to understand from them. I don't just want to know their like hiring needs. I want to understand how their business works and what their business needs is for one because I'm just curious, and I just I just think it's cool. I love businesses. I think they're really interesting. And I was trying to learn how to run my own business too. And so having conversations with hundreds of of these startup executives To get a feeling for, like, what mattered to them. And what I was always trying to get at was, what creates value for them? And what are the various ways to create value and then for my, you know, case, with practice, I would try to boil that down so that we could go and tell our participants, look, all the things you think matter, your resume, whatever you did in school, whatever. Here's how you create value from day one here, you got to go in, and in your first 60 days, you guys, and I would only know that if I understood their business from the top all the way down, if I understood like, what are they trying to do in the market? In general? What are their big roadblocks and pain points? And then that kind of like, flows down step by step. And I think that perspective, like thinking of the business itself, what's their business model? How and we would always tell this to all of our participants, the first thing you need to think about is how does my company make money? What departments are not, you know, adding revenue to them? Why do they still have those departments? What is needed that like, you need to think like an entrepreneur, like a CEO, otherwise, you're always going to be annoyed and confused and think that people have it out for you or think like, you're going to miss attribute motives, you're not going to understand. And you're going to wonder why you didn't close the deal, you didn't get the raise, you didn't get the job, you didn't get the partnership, it's because you're not thinking about what they care about, you really got to get in their heads. And a lot of times, what I learned is people don't know how to tell you, if you just ask them directly, what do you care about what's valuable to you? They're so in the weeds, you have to like tease it out through like a process, right, like a really good interviewer would do on a podcast or something. It's just so funny that we both sort of stumbled into that, getting in the heads of of C suite and understanding how they think about their company in the process of our jobs.
Jared Fuller 1:46:45
Well, yeah, I mean, there's so the lack of knowledge that we had to make that the only available option, versus someone that's like, Hey, here's the playbook on how to break into the C suite. Right. And it's like, if I'd read that playbook, I would have never been able to do it, ever. So that brings us to, uh, we started kicking butt. You know, we got, you know, we hired a bunch of practice apprentices. And I go to this HubSpot partner day in Boston. We have you know, dozen sellers at this point companies, probably over 100 people. We'd become hub spots, like, you know, one of their top partners help them build their first API for CRM. And I remember being at product day and CNC Todd Chris Todd was their former CTO, he wasn't their CTO at the time he's like a VP of Product senior pm unveils HubSpot like II sign that like that's a feature that's coming in I'm like And I remember I remember this I remember the snap engage guy so snap engage at the time was, to my knowledge like the top in chat. And then it was like, intercom had come out but it was like for behind your app snap and gauge was like the front and then HubSpot released HubSpot chat. In the snap engage guy is sitting like right across from me, and it's like HubSpot e sign and the snap, engage guys looks at me and he goes, That's what fucking happened to me, man. And I was like, You look miserable. It's like He clearly doesn't really have a partnership anymore because there's HubSpot chat. You know, I'm like, I was like, yeah, it seems like it's a big problem like, so. I mean, the TLDR and I've talked about this so like the the story to get is what's the best place partner? handbook.com. Yeah, partner handbook.com is the strategic alliances chapter Murphy's, got a partner hacker.com and just search strategic alliances, partner up play to win. That should pop up is kind of the story that I uncovered on how to how to win that alliance with HubSpot and kill e sign. Right. So like I got HubSpot to kill a competitive product by I wouldn't say pump faking an m&a but it was kind of pump faking and m&a like we were interested but we knew we probably weren't going to do it. And we built such a strategic partnership that we worked our way into the onboarding, journey, etc. And it was like, Hey, you have this competitive product that you think you're gonna launch? Like, why not just partner deeper? Like do you want to buy us? instead? I told you Brad that like in less than a year you were gonna buy us so what's up so like less than a year from when I told Brad coffee that I was flying Brad Maschinen a handful of other people from the HubSpot crew. Brad at the time was the Chief Strategy Officer at HubSpot. And I'd spent time with Halligan Dharmesh. Like these are like two of the best founders of the world. Like I might get dinner with them me like the partner guy, so to speak with the sales guy. I'm built relationship with Dharmesh with Halligan with you know, JD was the CEO and just phenomenal entrepreneur is CEO of a big tech company himself right now. JD sure Ben, and I flew them out to Belarus. And boy, I don't think any of us knew what we were getting into in Belarus, because that was the home of panda doc. And that this has to be a movie, by the way, like the panna doc story has to be a movie. Because if you're paying attention to recent recent history, right, so Ukraine, Belarus, like it's been wild on what's happened in that country, so TLDR that's where the engineering team was, and we flew out to Belarus. And that's definitely a full episode is this five day trip, have the story, the full episode of that, you know, of the Sunday TV series.
Isaac Morehouse 1:50:36
So I remember right around the time where it must have been right around the time where you were leaving panna doc and going to drift. And I was, I was starting crash my, my platform for job seekers. And because I had one of my investors during the diligence process reached out to you as a customer of Praxis to get a feel for you know, whatever, it gets some get some reference checks, blah, blah, blah. And he called me back. He's like, You got to hire this Jared. Dude, this guy's amazing. And I'm like, Yeah, I had I said, Yeah, I already tried. I had actually just reached out to you, I said, Look, we're raising around, we're gonna build this tech product. You know, I want you to, I want you to come on. And like, I don't even know what I was trying to get you to do marketing say that probably sent me this Makita like, hey, let's just go figure it out. Go figure it out. And you were like, I love praxis. I love your vision. I love what you're trying to do. That sounds really cool. I just got this offer from drift. I gotta go. This is a rocket ship. I gotta go take this opportunity, man. There's no way you're gonna be able to match what they offer me. And I'm like, yep, that's absolutely true. Turns out you were you made the right choice. Because my hiring platform after three years of bashing my head against the wall, as I said, physically, almost killing myself. lived out in San Francisco brought the whole family for a summer. I tried, move, tried everything. We went through all that. So you made a good choice. Sticking with drift. But what what made you feel like,
Jared Fuller 1:52:08
we both have a failed HR tech company as part of our
Isaac Morehouse 1:52:13
what made you feel like it was time to move on from Panda doc to drift? And then, you know, we, we've, we've talked more about the drift days. So yeah, I'd love to hear about those transitions. Why leave panda doc for drift? And then when did you know it was time to be done at Drift? And then And then, you know, partner hackers? Well,
Jared Fuller 1:52:32
I want to, like tie this into the, the deeper story of like, you know, when job I've almost killed me the amount of identity crisis and like, you know, like, I've always thought of myself as an entrepreneur. But it was like, I'm a very dangerous entrepreneur, I didn't realize how dangerous I was, to myself and to others, like, I could convince the scariest people in the world, the wealthiest people in the world, the most powerful people in the world to like, do stuff for me. And I didn't know what I was doing. Like, I was dangerous. I could I could put people into situations that were just not okay, including myself, my family like, and, but I knew I didn't want to stop doing it. I was just like, I have to get better, how do I get better? Like, I want to make sure that whatever I do next, like the next time that I call my shot. I remember this moment very, very, very vividly on the bathroom floor in Vegas. And I was like, I don't know what I'm going to do from here. But the next time that I call my shot, like, I am going to bat 100% Like the next company that I start, is there a 0% chance that it's going to not going to be successful, so I need to feel that way before I go do it again. So like that was with me when I was a Panna doc, like, I was voraciously. Like I'm not sure that there's ever been anyone as obsessed with not failing. After that, like I was voracious in terms of like, who I would meet and get connected to and like trying to learn, like, not all choices are equal. Like there's got to be better ways. There's got to be better ways, right? Because that to me, it was like, I can get so excited. And I can get I can get all this momentum and I need everyone around me and then go push them in a direction. It's like what the hell were you taking us? Where were you taking us? Did you know what you were doing? Was that on purpose? Was it not on purpose? So like I was very reticent to like, you know, it really has been a motivating factor is like I need to figure this stuff out. And then you take up spa take them to Bella Russa, we'll unpack like a little bit of that story. You know, prevent them from blocking, you know, getting them to invest in panda doc. It was just it was like okay, there was there was something there. There was something there. But was even more interesting to me at the time was not had nothing to do with me. It had had to do with how did HubSpot do that If that was the thing that like sparked my mind, how did they just come into this market and beat everybody? How did they do that? They did that on purpose. Well, that's where I got to know about delete Ilyas Torres and David cancel. Right. So if you wouldn't, and I got to know about them because of talking to Brian Halligan. You know, I was like, Hey, how are we getting? Like, what was the moment that HubSpot changed to you? Like, like, what are the moments and he's like, I named like, you know, five to 10 that were like really big moments. But one of the ones that he talked to me about directly this is first party information and lunch with him was like, the moment we acquired performable and brought in David can sell on Ilyas Torres, you know, in DC with the time was known as Don Kelly on the gangster, because he wiped out like the entire engineering team, because they wouldn't talk to customers. And I was like, wait, what? Like you sell your company to like this company that's growing faster. You know, like HubSpot wasn't public yet, right? They weren't the giant company. But they had a couple 100 employees, right? You sell your company, the CEO makes you Chief Product Officer, and you fire everybody. What, in that story stuck with me so hard? Because I was like, What is this guy know that I don't know. Like, what a gutsy freaking move. And getting to know the people at HubSpot that were like, you know, a little bit of Sequoia educated. You know, it's like, all of a sudden they bring in platform revolution as a book. Like everyone had to read platform revolution. And it was like, as a business. They were just operating at this level that I was like, I think people know what they're doing here. This is intentional. And then that's where I got to see like, what DC and aleus had made on the culture side of like, building a winning team. And I was like, oh, that's, that's what's been missing it panda doc, Panda was crazy. We like our culture was learn, have fun, make impact. Learn have fun, make impact, like that's a culture, right? It's culture, you know, like ping pong tables, and all those things. And I was like, no culture has got to be something deeper, more meaningful and purposeful, and like defined and like, you know, the people that were successful, were hard working. But like, did we do that on purpose? No, it was kind of like, It wasn't intentional. So it was like, there was there's other There's levels to this game. And that's what I, you know, started to put together philosophical concepts and like, being around smarter and smarter people, like, wait a second, the more time I spend with David and aleus. Like, that's where my brain going back to the ideological like, you know, like, ideas realm, and tactics realm. I'm like, this is the top it's like, we're the, they're actualizing. Both like, they have very strong ideas that they're academic, but then they're tactical, right? They read everything. Like they were voracious readers, DC. So much.
Isaac Morehouse 1:57:47
All the all the best entrepreneurs that I've met in my life are deeply philosophical, very, very curious. Like, they think at a very high level of abstraction, but they're able to pull that down into it. And like, that's the connection. I know, people who are deeply philosophical or ivory tower kind of disconnected from stuff. And there's, that's great. There's nothing wrong with that. I know people who are just like, crushing it tactical just get me in the work. I'll do it, I'll nail it. And the rare people who really combine those at a high level are almost all entrepreneurs. Yeah, yeah.
Jared Fuller 1:58:19
There's both. They're both it's just crazy like that, even things like that, like, you know, DC would be like, anytime I would do something, like describe anything, in a way where there was a dichotomy that you and I would never, like, you just don't have the habit of recognizing when you think you're in a dichotomy, like, and he would just say dichotomy. And what he meant by that was like, that was a false choice. You don't have to whatever, all of this complexity, he would reduce down to a word dichotomy, like you've idiot, like you're trying to make a choice? And the answer is clearly both. You don't want to say both, because you know, that's the hard one. Well, the hard ones, the only good one, it's both, and you just say dichotomy. Like, wow. And that's where that's where I was, like, I'm just ascending this ladder of like, trying to be around more and more successful people, mentors and role models, right? We did an internal team podcast today where like, we're talking about where I'd screwed up early. It's like I didn't, my mentors and role models were like, you know, Kings of blackjack and shady business deals in Vegas. Like, I didn't know, I just knew, like, I had this ideological obsession, like where's the business side of it? And I didn't, I didn't realize that there was that level of like death and like, being able to be in the boardroom. So that's why I went to drift was like, a panda doc was great. I figured I figured out something amazing. And how to build sales teams to like, you know, Matt Cameron, my mentor, who I picked up, like, I learned that like, Hey, you gotta have a sales mentor. You've never built the sales team. Like that was just common knowledge in a lot for a lot of people in San Francisco entrepreneurs. Like hey, you need a sales coach sales mentor. Oh, that's the thing. Wow, I didn't know That was a thing. And so like, that's what I've been chasing was like the next available opportunity. And I didn't feel like after Panadol even though we had I had a, you know, a good exit, and a successful story. I was still chasing the am I going to screw this up again? Because I toyed with it. You know, I quit panda doc, Isaac and I told Britt, I didn't have a plan. But, you know, we would move to St. Pete at this point, to go back to St. Petersburg, Florida from San Francisco, you know, was able to pay off debt, you know, and like, try to fix the credit stuff, but I just quit and then she's like, okay, so what are you going to do? And she was trying to start her company roadmap, so at the same time, so we'd have a ton of money. We had, you know, my income basically now. And I was like, Oh, don't worry. In less than 30 days I'll be making more money than I wasn't panda doc. And I did. So I picked up I was doing 30k MRR as a consultant in less than 30 days. And it was like, okay, like, nothing scares me now. Like, can I go start another business? easy cake. I just did, nonchalantly, like, okay, let's put up a consulting boom. And I had seven clients 30k MRR, you know, 360k a year single entrepreneur, and I 10 hours a week Isaac. Right? And I was like, I got this I'm, and there was a part of me that was like, What are you even doing? You have no co founder? You will? Maybe you should go solo. Like, Well, maybe you should just have like, what I'm gonna live this like, semi optimized life to where like, I'm a fake guru and I sell consulting stuff. There was this weird in between phase two, where I'm like, I didn't really know what to do other than there had to be better answers out there. There had to be better answers. Like, it's like cracking this code to entrepreneurship, and like markets and I guess, ability to make an impact. Right? It's like this deep seated like, philosophical obsession with truth, like economics, like why why obsess over Austrian economics, like there's something more grounded in like, what should be true about that, then, you know, any sort of dogma, there's a lot of dogma in the academic realm, the economic realm, the political realm. Like, I love that, for that reason, I loved Greek philosophy for that reason, like it was a bunch of truth seekers. And in business, it seemed like, there had to be something similar. There had to be a playbook that was like that of the Austrians or whoever, right. So I was just obsessed with it. And being around Sequoia DC ileus, you know, C suite conversations. I was like, There's smart people out there that I can learn from. And so that's why I'm going to drift was to like, I want to tell a great company is built, how was a great company built and it ended up being one of the fastest growing SaaS companies ever. I learned a ton from it. I'm very glad I went.
Isaac Morehouse 2:02:50
It was incredible. I mean, I I was watching and like, in parallel as I was, you know, launching crash, like, we were running the drift, play or trying to, incidentally, really the only things we got, right, where
Jared Fuller 2:03:05
do things that don't scale? Right, right. Yeah. And like this won't, you know, remember that playbook? This won't scale?
Isaac Morehouse 2:03:09
Yep, totally. The only things we got right. And the things that actually did work, were all of our content, marketing type stuff, which was totally like we published the book, we had the gorilla campaign around the book with all of our early people that we did, you know, we did one on one calls with every single early customer, and we did all like, all those things. We crushed and like that component. We just had other issues. But But I was waiting, but your marketing drifts like go meteoric. And what's so funny, Jared, this is such a funny coincidence, I just thought of. So I was living in Charleston, South Carolina at the time. And really good friends of ours who had moved down from Boston that we met there, because they also homeschooled their kids, and we got connected through some meetup or something. And I'm talking with the guy and he runs his own business running like, he's got like an agency. And, and I'm talking about practices because I was trying to place an apprentice with him. And I'm talking about some of the places we place people with and I'm like, Yeah, I'm trying to get somebody placed up at Drift because I got a guy who just started working there. He came from Panda dock where we had people blah, blah, blah. And he's like, Oh, drift. Yeah, he used to be neighbors with David Kansa. We used to play tennis all the time. It was just like such a it's such a weird coincidence. So what made you decide it was time to leave drift? And then when when you and I crossed paths? You were like, kind of trying to decide what's next. But well, you had already you've already decided okay, I'm gonna move on from drift and you were like, do I launch? What do I launch? Do I launch a product company? Do I launch a media company? Give me like that point that decision leaving drift and then how you figured out what it was you want to do next?
Jared Fuller 2:04:48
Yeah, so we've talked about the drift story a lot. I mean, the crazy stuff there's trying to tie this together in a way that can make the story seem cogent. Like There's this deep if I'm trying to like describe myself and like, how I arrived here, and I've actually had a couple of people like shout out Karina, here in Tampa Bay, she shot me a note on LinkedIn and kind of like sussing it the answer to this question like, Jared, you have so much conviction and so much passion, like how do you, you know, how do you so sure about the partnership stuff? That's where I'm like trying to get to the answer of at Drift, some of the stuff that I learned was, was like, such an aha moment like it, there's points where you start to learn. And like you learn how to learn. And you accelerate your capacity to take learning and translate it into action. Like, that's what happened to drift is I was able to, over time realize, oh, all strategy is his choice, and you have to make better choices. So like, being into this forcing function of like a LEUs, and drift telling me figure out our number one partner, now, right now, like, we need money, now, relationships now. And here's the framework you use playing to win. Like, here's how you make choices. I was like, Wait, there's a framework for making choices. That's like a thing. It's highly academic, actually, you know, more, there's way too much to it. So that's why I tried like breaking it down for like thinking about alliances, but like putting together that book, another book, another piece of knowledge. Like, I've never done that. And I so many people, I guess don't talk and I don't hear any conversations about obsessing over the game. I'm obsessed with the game man, like, so I would I read everything I possibly could on BD, and there was nothing good. But like some of the stuff stuck, right? And then oh, wait, here's strategy playing to win. There's this other thing. Here's this other thing. And then I would just wow, here's how am I going to do this with Adobe ads. Here's how I did it with HubSpot. And like the how fast I moved on that, in hindsight is crazy. Because before that, I had no idea what I was doing. Not a clue. Not a clue. And that's the game that I'm playing, is how to continually get better. At, you know, if you want to predict the future created, right, the stupid fortune cookie from the other night, if you want to predict the future created. That's the game that like, I don't know, I felt 100% confident on starting partner hacker Z. Like, it's like, we're not going to fail. We are going to knock it out of the park to be to be seen, but we're not going to fail. I had no no qualms about it. So I don't know there's there's something to unpack that I'm still trying to articulate in the story of that being the obsession. Loving the game, loving the process, you know, the the score to keep takes care of itself, so to speak. Yeah. That's fascinating about the journey that we're on.
Isaac Morehouse 2:08:07
Yeah, it's funny, because when, when we started talking about partner hacker, and I'm like, okay, you know, what, what are we trying to do here? What do we want to accomplish? And we talked about a lot of different things. And basically, you had, I had seen that conviction in you. And then you had convinced me and I have that same conviction about what's happening in the world and the opportunity to transform go to market in the next couple of years. And it's like, yes, okay. This is and again, I wish I would have known this way back with my earlier startups. Right, you pick your market? First, you pick your segment of that market. Next, right? Then you build, you live in that market, you build trust in that market, right? And then you start thinking about solutions products, like to me, that's the way that you do this, right. But we we were like, Okay, this is this is the market, this is the opportunity, the moment Right? Transforming go to market, there's a little bit of people talking about it, but not a lot. There's a handful of companies trying to provide solutions to help people do this. Not a ton. It's early, but it's going in the right direction. And, you know, we launched partner hacker, but we both had a much bigger vision than a look, we want to lead the conversations, because you don't change go to market without changing conversations, right? You need you need ideas and experiences you need both, right? So you got to get people to change the way they think. And then change the way they act. And those don't always come in a particular order. Sometimes you start taking the action, and then you understand it later. Sometimes you get the understanding that motivates you to action. They can go in both directions, but you need both. And so let's push forward on this front with partner hacker. And I think that's a good a good way to lead us up to the big announcement we made last week. I guess it will be last week when this comes out.
Jared Fuller 2:09:49
The quick thing I would say Isaac is because I've talked about this on the podcast with you before is like I think I realized there was three different types of entrepreneurs. So like having a framework for are understanding like, if I want to dent the world that I have, you know, we both have visions, well beyond, you know where we're at today, you know, where we want to try and create the world. What we want to try and create the world is that when you know, like, not just the market, like there's this, Paul Graham says the best entrepreneurs have, you know, tacit knowledge and earn secret. There's some truth to that. But there's like, hey, there's market knowledge. And then there's strategy knowledge. And whenever we were starting partner, hacker, I was like, Look, I think there's three types of entrepreneurs. There's builders are geniuses, and there's pros. There's a great book called Turning Pro. You know, Malcolm Gladwell 10,000 hours, right? Like, there was a lot of effort put into, like, Am I ready to like, go start another company, a lot of energy, like, all I obsessed about, and just about a 24/7 for years and years. And I was like, I was a builder, I became obsessed with this, like, I could make hiring better. But I was never a genius. I just started building stuff building, building building. And then I'll never be a genius, which is like, Hey, here's this amazing innovation and then like can't culturally rally people around them or sell or market or do these other you know, people things. And there's obviously people who can Elon Musk, perfect example, right, genius that can, you know, dent the world in other ways. But then there was these pros, when I felt like that's this other persona. And I never met a pro, like DC. That was just like, here's how we're going to win. And it was like the playbook was for him. Was the market first? Yep. And it's like, well, you really need to understand a market, you pick the market first, not the product, you're like, wow, I pick the market. And then I pick the audience. Okay, so the is that b2b? Is it b2c? Is it enterprise? Is it SMB and you pick that intentionally? And then you pick the vertical? Okay, is this applicable to tech? Is it here? Is it there? And then you pick the horizontal, which persona? And then you own that audience? And then you build for that audience? And like, that's what drift did. Yeah, they had a chat bot, but you there was so many products before it was even the chat bot to and then like before DG and him got it dialed in. And they started the brand and like drift had two T's. The product didn't even matter. At the beginning. It was just that playbook of like, I'm an expert in marketing automation technology. We're going to use the website and bring marketing automation to the website, because marketing automation never been on the website. And then going, Wait a second, Isaac, we can do the exact same thing. Just like there being a playbook when I don't know I mean, how to be how to make sure how to ensure you don't fail your next startup. Like no one would make that claim. Like who no one would talk about that. There's so much get rich quick schemes and like stupid stuff. If you watch this video, I'll show you how I got to 20 grand a month in income with this, you know, there's they're selling Amazon stuff, right? So there was just something about like that knowledge of going, I really understand this market. This Oh, the thing I miss from the previous thing is the undeniable shift that's affecting that audience, right? Like, what is the undeniable shift that is affecting that, Hey, there's this undeniable shift, that sales and marketing GTM is broken forever. We can absolutely go help these people, right? building an audience is about helping people we can go help these people. And I think it's going to the industry is going to grow. And then we can figure out the solution from there. Yep. And that's, we were right. Now, there's been a lot of crazy shit that happened not to mention that like we started it, we both went full time. And then it was like the worst market downturn in our lifetimes. The same time.
Isaac Morehouse 2:13:49
It's funny because I, I was reading through speaking of mentors, Mike Maples, who invested in my previous country company, has been a bit more of a role model probably than a mentor, but a little bit about and his kind of building breakthroughs framework, you know, very keen on that. And so I was very much thinking about that the time that you and I started talking because I was I was thinking of just doing some like fractional work. Cmo work since I had basically turned turned, crashed into a media company and handed off the reins and was like, Okay, I'm out of it, I'm gonna go do something else. And I was like, I want to build another company, but it's gonna be a while, but I was, you know, trying to figure out what I want to do, but I'm very, very keen on this like, Okay, what do I identify? What are the breakthroughs? What are the inflection points? What's that undeniable shift that's coming and I was playing around with some different areas, you know, different different, totally different things. micropayments different stuff. But when you kind of partner pilled me, it was like, Yes, that's it. Okay, I have what I need. There's a market. That's an undeniable shift is taking place or has taken place, but most people still don't know it yet. And There's people who kind of see it, but they're like alone. They don't know what to do. There's not enough solutions. There's not like, this is what I can sink my teeth into. That's what I like, Yes, let's go, let's go and tell the story get these conversations going create, sort of, not necessarily create the category because it kind of already exists in like a really nebulous way, but like concretize it, crystallize it, like bring it down from the clouds into something real that has momentum. And, and, you know, I think, getting back to the, you know, the announcement we just made with the launch of neuron.com, and the merger of partner hacker and reveal that why, why why does this merger make sense? Why is this a good fit, you know, for both companies, and for both of us personally, why are we excited about it? To me, it's like, this is the next step. And we have many more steps to go in this bigger goal we had from day one, which is nothing short of transforming b2b go to market forever. Like bringing about that transformation, and bringing it about I hate, I hate it.
Jared Fuller 2:16:09
I hate go to market in so many ways, because of the things that were broken that we just couldn't fix. Under the old frameworks, like sales and marketing alignment meetings, I've had those with a marketer that I didn't love as a seller. And with, you know, being a seller that my marketer didn't love with teams and big budgets and venture money, and like, Dude, it sucks. It's like, it's broken, so bad, at taciti experience of how bad is broken, leading it. And it's like, I was passionate as much as anybody about fixing it. I was very happy to get on the other side of it and be like, I'm not selling sales tech anymore. Am I selling martec anymore? I came from both of those spaces, by the way, right? I was in sales tech, and I was in martec. You know, outbound inbound, like both of those things prior to this moment, then and like, that's, there's a lot to be said for this next phase. There's so much to say about the next phase, like which we talked about a ton. But I don't want to like I don't wanna turn this into an advertisement. Here's
Isaac Morehouse 2:17:09
what I want to do, though. Here's what I wonder. There's why The reason I brought it up, because we just kind of got your whole story, your backstory? Well, not your whole story, but we got some little bits of it. And the crazy ups and downs and you kind of going through and you sort of tied some of that together with realizing oh, like I need to know what the hell I'm doing before I go into this stuff? And how like, for you, how does where we are now connects to everything in the past? And why do you feel like now you have the equipment that you need to sort of go in and accomplish what you want to accomplish without feeling like you're stabbing in the dark quite so much. I'm just curious, like, how would you how would you bring the story? Yeah, it to the moment that we're in now.
Jared Fuller 2:17:54
I mean, the thing that you should that can be taken away from me sharing the crazy, some of the crazy parts of my story, like we even we even get into like what actually happened in Belarus, right? Or the aliens story or any of these things that are absolutely bonkers. Is that throughout the chaos? There are consistently better and better ways to like play the game of life. There's a there's a gentleman Balaji Srinivas, Ian Balaji was a very amazing podcast guest. He was the former CTO of Coinbase. Partner at Andreessen just brilliant genius on another level that's hard to comprehend. And he says that most humans approach to life, you know, approach to life. It's kind of like a prime number maze for rats. Like, you know, let's say you were going through a maze. And every, I said, every odd number, take a right hand turn, or every even number, take a left hand turn. But let's say at every prime number, take a right hand turn, like you'd quickly get lost, right? Like every prime number, like you're just gonna miss that like in practical execution. That's like, that's a game of life and entrepreneurship. It's like this prime number of maize, but we can like scratch it, the next one, right? There is no like formula, so to speak. But we can get continually better at it. And being able to put that together on like, market knowledge. Like how to start a business with someone and like, identifying that I didn't start partner hacker without you. Like, having a co founder. I was like, a great co founder, an intellectual person that we can battle with and like, be on the same page on we'll finish each other's sentences all the time. And how you might be like, I'm never doing another business with Jared like after this. This is crazy. But like seeing David and aleus, right, like that professional friendship that they had, and the intellectual like aleus is batshit crazy desease like he's a genius that you just can't tell like he's kind of quiet and it's like, there's so much there like he's a genius. And they're both so different, but it's like the intellect tool play that they had was phenomenal to see. And I'm like, You got to have that. Okay. You know, we got to own the audience first. We got to build from the data up in terms of wherever we have a tech play, right? Like that was like, man. That's why like that marketing workflow ideas like how because it'd be interesting, but like, we never really dove into it, because like, what could you build on top of that? Yeah, nothing. So like, there's all these insights and like, answers that seem more true than not true. Like, is there an objective reality going back to the beginning, like we started in politics and academics, in like, you know, some of these things from Austrian economics, that some answers are more right than other answers. And you should be insanely curious about finding out the right answers. And if you obsess over finding out the right answers, then the next decision that you make, the choices that you make, can have massively cascading impacts. And we've seen permutations of this Isaac were like, as entrepreneurs as people working together, sometimes we knock it out of the park. And it's like, Damn, how did we do that with 234 people, and just execute it in a way that seemed impossible from the outside. And it's like, because we stacked on top of each other four separate things that all worked that helped each other. Just being able to see that in execution is so wild to be like, we even get better at this game. Holy cow, it's so much fun to be better at the game as you play it. Right? Like, imagine if you just played the same level over and over again, it was like impossibly hard. That's the takeaway for me and like, looking backwards, because the first time I've reflected on a long format interview like this ever, is, wow, we could get better at the game. And I feel like that's what we're doing every day. And it's so fun to be able to like take a first principle and apply it in a way that's, you know, compound interest, right? It's something I've talked about in the podcast a lot. Like it's everywhere. I use it all the time. I play seeds for it everywhere. And then it's like, oh, boom, I can go make a big giant deposit later on that, you know, I hadn't before. Yeah, yeah, it's a stacking of first principles, right, like just being collecting more nuggets of truth. And like things that actually work and choices that are better. And the more that you kind of collect and have the good things, you're maximizing your probability of success tremendously. And that's what I feel about, like near bound is like, look, we stand on the shoulders of giants, we innovated, we're not inventing, right? We're, we're meeting people where they are, we're using language as a, you know, as a network effect. We're building very tight partnerships with the very creators of inbound, where there's just so many things stacked on top of each other that aren't separate initiatives. Yep, yep. Right. Like, we need to go help people figure out this partnering thing by partnering with them. And, wow, these concentric circles of value where if we work on one thing, it actually helps for things,
Isaac Morehouse 2:22:57
that and that, and that's where that's where I've stumbled through. And every time things felt like they were going well, in my life and career was when I was in my zone of genius, as you say, are the companies are in their zone of genius. And I didn't explicitly realize that, until very recently, it's like, Okay, this time, things weren't going well. And everything we did was just so hard. We were pushing the boulder uphill, why was it so hard over here? Things seemed to be going really well, what was the difference, and you always use that phrase zone of genius, I think about like a, it's when it's when things that come easy to you, and then also those around you. So maybe there's two, three things that come easy to you, they're fun for you to do, you look forward to them, you're good at them, you know, you're in your zone of genius there. And then two or three things that somebody else does. And you can have a team with people that all have their zones of genius, but they're all just scatterplot all over. And they're all kind of just individual when they start to layer and overlap with each other. And now you have these multiple zones of genius that stack on top of each other. Yes, right. You can see it in a sports team where you're like, certain people are just when you get chemistry, it's different than having a bunch of individual players who all have skills, when you have chemistry where one guy's skill is excellent complements another and it complements the other and makes the other skill better. And when the other skills better. It makes that original guy's skill even better. And you get this like infinite compounding where you're like, yes, now we're unstoppable. And that's that's the thing that it's taking me too long to figure out and, and to you you have this like gut check like, okay, are we in our zone of genius if we pursue this this to the strategy part? Or is this kind of like riding a boulder uphill? And anywhere you're like, Oh, this is Zona genius because we're already good at this. This is easy, this is easy. You stack these on top and all of a sudden you're getting all this compounding, like that's the insight to me that started me too long.
Jared Fuller 2:24:48
Right our opportunity to help the industry win with you know, this, this merger and like it's so funny to like not like address this on the backside of the story, not likely with any hype. Which we don't eat Dude, like, we're not going anywhere partner hacker is gonna be around for a long, long, long, long, long time completely independent. And we'll still do partner up. Because this has been too much fun is like looking at this next phase and our ability to help when it when those things are true, like just in the past couple of weeks, Isaac, you and I have had conversations about things where it's like, okay, we're going to partner with these accounts, we're going to do these things. And we're going to sell this way. And they're going to get commissioned here. And we'll get commissioned here, which is going to finance these things. And that's gonna dictate our content strategy. And that's going to dictate our sales strategy and our partner strategy. And it's like, all from narrowing the focus to like, a subset of specific accounts. Just for example, where it's like, all the all of that stuff works together, like the content strategy, the sales strategy, the partner strategy, and it's like, Whoa, I think the way that I would, I would summarize, this is like, I've been obsessed with not screwing up the game because I want to play bigger games. I love the game. I don't have hobbies. I have startups. It's the game I want to play. And it's like, you don't have to play it on expert mode. Right? Like, you don't have to play the game on like, oh, grind crazy chaos. Like Yeah, that happens. It's just it's part of the ebbs and flows, like just time and work and like grind. But like when you can do something. And it's like, it's like, wow, that was on easy. That was easy mode. How do you like take that and bring it down to where you can play other games. And it's, it allows you to open up new opportunities. Man, that's been the, that's been the wildest part of I think this journey is, than we did it a partner hacker so fast. So fast, because that was, I was like, I am not going to do another company that and you were like yourself, like, I'm definitely not starting a company. You know, like, I'm gonna go do some consulting right now. Like, I am definitely not gonna go to them. I know, we're ready, we're ready. And we're not going to fail and like calling the shots. So like in this next phase, man, I just feel I feel so lucky and fortunate that we survived entrepreneurship. You know, we're afforded the opportunities to survive entrepreneurship, because you don't have to play the game on expert mode in any part of life. Any part of life.
Isaac Morehouse 2:27:17
I love it. This has been an absolute marathon and absolute blast special celebratory episode, we'll be back to our normal partner up 45 minutes of intense partnerships insight with the next episode, but I just wanted to I personally have been begging Jared to do this episode. And he's been like, I don't know if it's like right for partner up. It's like, you know, my story. I'm like, no, no, okay. 100th Episode celebration, we're gonna get into the story. I love it. I had a blast. Anything you want to you want to shout out to to our people before we sign off?
Jared Fuller 2:27:51
No, just you don't have to play the game of life on expert mode. And, yeah, just looking back, all the role models, the first principles, you know, living by analogies, like what was the thing you reference all the time. Now analogies we live by well is that metaphors we live by metaphor metaphors we live by right? Like these things that just stack up in like a mock cheat codes in your life. It's, it's really fun to get to stack them on top of each other and play the game and be out there in market with all of you trying to help advance this thing forward. So that's all that I care about is like, how do we help play the game bigger and better for everyone? And it's been, it's been a blast learning out loud with all of you for the past two plus years, starting partner up and then obviously, with Isaac making it much better. Calling out my shit and challenging me intellectually, because I'm definitely not the expert here. I'm just obsessed with learning, right? Finding the cheat codes, playing the game as easily as possible, to where you can take what do one thing that has 10x the impact. So that would be my parting like, wow, there is better ways to do things like focus on that if you become obsessed with playing the game on like, how do I play this game easier? That's the only piece of advice that I think I can actually share from that story. So don't play the game on expert mode. Hey,
Isaac Morehouse 2:29:11
and if you can avoid so much everybody if you can avoid the flaming scorpions all the better. So peace out. Partner up. This was absolutely a blast. 100 episodes. We'll see you next time. All right.