Matt: All right, we're recording.
I wanna show you this though.
Now that I'm on your
wifi, I found something.
Greg: I guarantee I
already know what it is
Matt: is for everyone watching or
listening or whatever, like, I'm with Greg
Koberger, founder ceo readme.com, pretty
stoked that you guys got that domain name.
And we're in the Read Me Office.
Greg: Yes, we are.
Matt: Readme HQ
One of two.
One of two offices.
Matt: You have two offices?
I'm trying to find this video.
I'm gonna just play this here.
Have you seen this since?
I watched this the other day.
So what this is, is this is the
video of us attempting to get into
Y Combinator for DocHub, which
eventually is now, I guess read me.
I'm just gonna play it.
Greg: I I, Zuckerberg, Matt, I used
the Winklevoss in the situation.
I don't have a twin though.
Greg: Oh, I was so young.
we were much
Greg: full of
Matt: at me.
I even dressed up.
Greg: you look like your son.
Matt: So cringe
It's still true, I think.
Greg: yeah, probably more than that.
Matt: and we make
Greg: You have a lot of
friends you had to brag.
We have a lot of friends.
Matt: Yeah, I'm pretty sure I was
We nailed that.
Matt: you were like, well, that was good.
Well that wasn't our first take.
Greg: That was probably our 48th take.
I don't know.
We, we did a few of them and we kept
messing up , it was also during RIT48.
Greg: That makes sense.
so you were living, where were
you living at that point then?
Matt: I was still in college.
right, I, I remember the first, when
you called me, I was in the car.
I was, it was nighttime.
I don't know where I was driving from.
but I had just gotten like a car phone
thing, like a, you could like Bluetooth
in the car and I was like, this is sick.
And you called me and was like, oh,
sweet, I can hit the button and answer it.
And then you were like, Hey,
I got this idea, like, do you
wanna do this thing with me?
And I was like, what
Greg: I, so I got into
YC eventually, obviously.
But no, obviously, sorry.
I got into
Greg: obviously once I ditched Matt.
Not, I got into YC eventually, but
like, that was one of the worst days
of my life was when we were waiting.
So we, we got, like, we signed up for,
we got an interview Matt and I did, and
we it was like 8:00 AM the interview
was, and it was like 10 minutes long.
And like they don't tell each that night.
So like, we just
that was the worst day of my life.
We were just like nervous the entire day.
Matt: I think, I think episode
two or three, we talked about
this, but, but no, you're right.
And like we tried , so the way it
works, and I mentioned this before,
if you get an email, it's bad if
you get a phone call, it's good.
It's the waiting period.
That's actually the worst.
And we were like, what do we do?
How do we kill this time?
Like we tried going on roller coasters.
The park was closed.
We tried to get massages.
They were booked up.
Greg: No, we got massage.
So the massage was booked up.
But then you found this weird
Matt: the foot massage place.
Greg: it was so weird.
It was like, just like, it was just people
sitting in chairs next to each other.
It was like a leg massage place.
Matt: ever seen like, like rush hour.
was, it's like that
Greg: I hate massages, but
like, it was something to do
and I couldn't be on my phone.
So that was a good
Matt: Oh, I got your mind off of
Greg: Yeah, exactly.
So when I did get in same thing happened.
And I went to a bar right away.
I went to Molly McGee's
Matt: we eventually went,
didn't, isn't that where we went?
Probably that's where I, that's
where I go to get good or bad news.
And like I, when I found out, so they
called me in the bathroom and like, cuz
I was, I was in the bathroom and they
called and I was like, in my mind I
was like, oh my God, if I don't pick up
now they're gonna like not call back.
Like I knew what it was.
So I like picked it up in
the bathroom, which is weird.
So I picked up in the bathroom
and like my nose started to bleed.
That's how fucking stressful it was.
So I didn't mean to swear,
but I was, my nose started to
bleed like in the bathroom.
I've never had that
happen before or after.
My nose just started to like gush blood.
I was so stressed out like that time.
Matt: So apply to yc.
It'll make your node bleed
Matt: Is that
Greg: So then I don't
think you know the story.
So the next day I'm out to
dinner to kinda celebrate.
Cause we gotten in and like Matt
said, they call, if you get in, they
email you a rejection if you know.
And like the nice thing always is they
actually give you a really good rejection.
Like they don't just say like, it's not
automated one, like it's a real person
who messaged you and is like really
like empathetic and nice about it.
So I got a phone call
when I actually got in.
So I went to dinner the next night to
like, celebrate and I get a phone call
and I know what the number is cause
it's the same numbers the day before.
So I pick it up and it's Michael
Sebel and he's like, Hey, is
this Greg Berger from Read Me?
I was like, yeah.
And he's like
Matt: made a mistake.
Greg: like, I'm so, yeah, he did.
He's like, he said, I'm so sorry,
this has never happened before.
We made a mistake and I
just really wanna apologize.
And I'm like, oh no,
Matt: this is an April Fools?
Greg: So he's like, he's going, he's
like, this has never happened before.
We have new software.
Like this is, we've never
made this mistake before.
I'm so incredibly sorry.
And I'm like, oh, okay.
And then he goes, oh,
congratulations, you're in YC.
And I'm like, I know.
And he's like, what do you mean?
And I was like, you guys
called me last night.
He's like, oh, thank God.
So he was apologizing cause he
thought he didn't call us back.
So he was apologizing because he
thought he just never got back
to us when he had gotten in.
But like their new system, he hadn't
marked down that he had called us.
And I'm thinking, cause I
remember obviously I remember
that he called us, let us in.
I'm thinking he's calling
to like revoke it,
Greg: So we, like, he was apologizing
cuz he was like, if I, if I, if if it
was true that he had not call me, then
the apology would've been like, yeah, I'm
so sorry we like didn't get back to you.
But he didn't say that explicitly.
He was just like, I'm so sorry,
this has never happened before.
Matt: Has YC revoked acceptances?
Greg: I dunno.
I doubt it.
Like it's just for like, I just, that's
what was going through my head is
like, why it's
like so little money for
them for like the bad like
So like, yeah, I don't
think they ever have.
But I don't know, like
maybe something's changed.
Maybe, or like, maybe like things changed.
I don't know.
Like, I'm sure there's situations
where they would, but it
would've to be pretty high bar.
I think it
would've to be like,
it wouldn't just be like,
oh, we've changed our mind.
It would have to be like, like,
oh, we found out this really bad
thing about this person type thing.
Cause they've only like kicked
like three or four people out ever.
And like every single one deserved it.
Matt: Well they do that in colleges
if you lie on your application.
Greg: yeah, I could see
'em like that maybe.
But like, even then
they don't research you.
So how would they even know that?
Like, you'd have to
like very blatantly lie.
Because like, they don't,
like, it's just 10 minutes you
get in and they just move
on and like, yeah.
I don't know.
So I don't think
Matt: but yeah, I don't really know.
Greg: I, I actually know, I'm pretty
sure they would because they're
really big on not pulling term sheets.
And like, that's one of the biggest
things that they, like, one of the big
reasons to do YC is because they get
really mad if a VC pulls a term sheet.
Greg: and like one of the nice
things about being NYC is like, kinda
like a weird, like, you know not.
Entrepreneurs in a union, but it's kinda
like, like a weird like union type thing
where it's like no one will pull a term
sheet on, for the most part, won't pull
term sheet on YC company because like
you don't wanna get NYC's bad side.
So either, either a union or a mafia,
depending on how you wanna look at it.
one of the two.
Matt: for, so for those who, of
the listeners that don't know or
aren't like entrepreneurs are in the
startup world, what's a term sheet?
Greg: Oh yeah.
Term sheet is so when you.
Go to raise money you'll pitch the
company with like, what, however
you end, do you pitch the vc.
And like, it's usually one
or two or three meetings.
And usually they, it's like a partner
or an associate, and then they like
layer on more and more people and you're
kind of repitching and repitching.
And finally, like every VC firm has a
different way of doing it, but every VC
firm gives your term shit at the end.
And basically it's a
agreement that kind of covers everything.
So it's basically the contract
that you would sign in order
to accept money from them.
So a term sheet will have
like terms obviously.
So it'll talk about the how
much equity they're getting.
So like a lot of weird
rules, I just make sure.
So a clean term sheet is basically
just, we'll give you X dollars
for why a number of shares.
And it's called a clean term sheet,
which means there's not a lot of
like stuff now there's like less
clean term sheets, which, you know,
they can make any rules they want.
So like, there's things like liquidation
preferences that can go into it.
Liquidation preferences like VCs get to
take out, you know, before anyone else
gets money, they get to take out like
two x and what eventually happened is
you sell your company or your IPO and you
have to like start turning, converting
all the equity and these like, you
know, promises into like real money.
You have to start doing the math.
So it's like, okay, so this term she
gets presence over this one cause
it came first, or this one came
second, or it overrides this one.
And like, or like, you know,
then you have employee contracts
and employees at equity as well.
And that's not term she,
but they have like equity.
So like that all kind of goes together
and like, this is gigantic math problem
where you kind of figure out like,
okay, cuz it's not just like, like you
think like, okay, like I own 5% of the
company, you own 5% of the company.
We both get the same thing,
but that's not really true.
Cause if you have a liquidation
preference, which if you have leverage,
you can get a liquidation preference.
It means like, let's
say we sell the company.
know, X number of dollars and you
have a certain amount that you
serve, like you can get money out.
So there's a lot of times where like
employers or founders should get $0
because the VCs have enough liquidation
preferences, stuff like that.
So anyway, that's what term sheet is.
We've been really lucky that I've
never gotten a bad term sheet.
Like it's always been pretty good.
But the problem with a pulled term sheet,
pulled term sheet just means like the,
the VCs like, nevermind, just kidding.
Before you sign it, is that, I mean,
people have been doing a lot of term
sheets when, like the past few years when
like covid happened and then recently,
like as the recession started to happen
more and more people have been pulling
term sheets and seen as very like Not
a good business practice, obviously.
Like it's very like, you know,
it's, it's like it's also like
pulling a contract for if you like,
you know, an employment contract.
Like, you know, you sign a contract
and it's like, just kidding.
It just seems like really
bad you know, bad business.
But unless of course, like you said, if
it's like, like true fraud, then like
no one's gonna be mad if you see firm
necessarily for pulling a term sheet.
But a lot of people are just doing it
cuz like, you know, the market changes
a little bit, but the problem is like,
if you pull a term sheet, it's like,
people are like, so like if you, if you
sign a term sheet, then all of a sudden
it's like you turn down your other VCs
that have offered you money and you're
like, okay, I'm gonna commit to this one.
And then there's always a
little bit of diligence after
the term sheet, by the way.
But you know, there shouldn't
be any lying or anything.
So like, by that point the diligence
should be purely diligence.
Not you know, anything,
anything significant, but.
It means like you're already planning
on the money, you've turned on other
VCs and you're planning on the money
and like you start like hiring or
making decisions based on the money.
So like pulling a term sheet's pretty
bad because like all of a sudden you
have to tell, then it trickles down.
They have to tell your employees
like, oh, just kidding.
I literally can't afford you
because the term sheet didn't
go through and stuff like that.
So anyway, that's you asked me
right before this and I was like,
what's it like to run a company?
I was like, I'd probably work like,
just raw, like less, I like write
less code or like, you know, spend
less time sending email, stuff
like that than like previous jobs.
But like, that's the like two A, not
that specifically, but stuff like, that's
like the two A am panic attacks that
that replace the the raw output of work.
So, so, yeah.
So what else?
Greg: It's like therapy.
Do you, do you take my
insurance or is our copay
Where's the, the, chaise lounge
the lay down and tell me what does
that, what does that actually mean?
No, . So what else is new?
What's, what's new with Readme?
What's for those who don't know?
README is sort of alluded to in the, the
doc hub video for yc, but why don't you
explain what README is and what's new.
Greg: Yeah, so we do API documentation,
so APIs I think most people know APIs
who are listening this podcast, but
API is a basically central application
programming interface, but it's how
different companies or products connect.
So if you ever go to a website, you
see like data from a different company.
So like you you know, go to a hotel
website and you get a hotel and then at
the end it's like, would you like to get
a car as well from this different company?
Like there's an API powering that.
It's a way like shared data.
It's a way to like, if you ever get a
text message, they're probably using
Twilio's, APIs, stuff like that.
So most companies at this point are
built on a bunch of cobbled together
APIs that do like discreet business
functions or data or whatever else.
And we do is we build the documentation
for the developers, have to implement it.
So like as of now, it takes a
developer to implement stuff and
to make it, make it all happen.
And what we do is we make it easy
for developers to learn how to use
an API because each API is like
different, like parameters you send
in and values and stuff like that.
I'm kinda trying to oscillate
between like using the technical
terms and also you know, more more
noob terms to fit the podcast.
But what we do is
the API ation.
There's numerous kinds of APIs.
There's like public APIs, there's private
APIs, like internal microservices.
But the entire, you know, most of
infrastructure when it comes to to
there's just tons of APIs, whether
it's like public API that you pay for,
free public api, private internal ones.
Anytime an iPhone app talks to
a server someplace, like it goes
over an api things like that.
So that's what re does
what is new with us.
I'm trying to think of like, features
you'd care about or anything like that.
Went to get Universe today, you saw that.
That was nice.
We got spent a lot of money for a half
hour booth, but it was really good.
We gotta talked to a bunch of people.
One thing I've loved about reading was
like, been doing this for six or seven
years at this point, seven or eight years.
It's been a while.
And pre covid.
So it was like, what, four years ago?
People like knew us and liked us enough.
And like I'll go to conferences.
Like people would kind of be like, oh,
I don't read me, or something like that.
And then like, didn't do anything for
two and a half years cause of Covid.
And like now when I go to
events, like people like no
read me and like, super excited.
And it's so cool.
Like, like, like prior to Covid, people
are like, eh, yeah, I've heard of Readme.
Or like, is that that thing?
And it's like, eh, yeah, sure.
But now it's like people, like
we have customers everywhere.
People use us, people like
us, like it's really cool.
So I've been really liking this
like post covid going to events
thing cuz cause people people
know Readme now, so it's nice.
Matt: It's really validating, huh?
Greg: Yeah, it's I mean,
that's not why I do it.
I don't really care if
people know read me.
But it is, I mean, so when we did, so back
when we like first started talking about
this, like when I, I did raise money, so
we got into yc and YC gives you $120,000,
which seems like a lot of money now.
It's like 600, but like
back then it was $120,000.
And that seems like a lot of money, but
like, that's not a lot of money at all.
So you have to go raise money and
like we raised 1.2 million, which
also seems like a ton of money.
I was like, it's 1.2 million.
It's more than I could ever used ever.
But it's really that, you know,
that goes away pretty quickly.
But you need to raise money.
And so like when I first
was pitching people, every
single conversation was like,
okay, what's an api?
So like, you spend the first, you like a
half hour or an hour or whatever it is.
And like I spent a lot of time not
talking about README and why README
is cool or what was exciting about,
but like, just trying to explain
to VCs like what an API even was.
And like, and, and they're like,
because like to them, like, so VCs are,
are fascinating cuz they're, they're,
they tend to be very curious people.
Cuz if you just care about just
like money and numbers, like you
go into hedge fund or you're into a
growth fund or something like that.
Like you're not doing like seed stage
VCs, like the seed stage VCs are really
fascinating because they are really
interested, like they do love learning.
It's one of those things where like,
yeah, sure, anyone now knows that like,
Figma is gonna be worth, you know, a
trillion dollars, whatever, but like,
or not anymore I guess cause they sold.
But like, you know, when you first get
like the first person like saw Figma
and like, you know, they're like, we're
gonna do Photoshop for in the pros.
Well, that's never gonna work
because like, it's too gonna
be too slow, too clunky.
Like, why didn't anyone want it?
Like they spend all their time in it.
Like they're, you know, very
happy to like, download an app.
You have to fight against
Adobe, which is gigantic.
Like, it makes, you know, it's so
that you can't be a good seed investor
without being like super curious.
And I mean, you can, but like for
the most part you really can't.
You have to like, you know, be open
to new ideas because you're taking
chances on things that aren't proven.
And like there's some seed investors
who are like, you're like, I'm like
this, but you get to invest in it.
And like, that's also a decent strategy.
It's like, you know, I'm like, we just
went to GitHub, which I'm thinking this
like, it's like, I'm like GitHub, but, you
know, five years later, which means that
you can invest in it at a cheap price.
And they're like, okay, GitHub's big.
Like I get that.
Like I'll invest in it.
But for the most part,
like, they're very curious.
But I said most of the time like just
explaining like why APIs were important.
So you get to the end and you'd
be like, you wanna invest?
And like, oh, we did really well.
Like a lot of people did invest,
but a lot of times they're like, you
know, you didn't get to the point
where you're explaining why re's cool.
They're just like, oh cool.
APIs are cool.
I like that idea.
Like APIs and like, you're like, but
I didn't tell you about my company.
But the second time, like we, we
raised when we did a series A I'm
not big on raising money, so we
raised money very, very infrequently.
Like when we not necessarily need
it, but when we like want it.
So when we raised like a
Series A, it was so weird cause
everything had completely changed.
Like in 2019, we raised a series A and
like everyone knew exactly what API I was.
And like, it wasn't like, I didn't once
have to, cause I kind of went in and
being like, oh, I know what this is like,
and I was ready to talk about like what
APIs and what it's gonna be important.
Everyone was like, not al like,
you know, like, just move on.
Tell us like why, why you're exciting.
And that was really cool to watch.
Like just the shift and like,
you know, back when like we were
talking about DocHub, it was like,
don't know what like GitHub was kind
of big, but it was like, get up has
like, 800,000 users at that point.
Like, it's like, and it
was huge for a dev tool.
Like, it's not, it wasn't
like a lucrative market.
Like maybe you could say like, Microsoft
had some cool, like, you know, back then
like net stuff, like everything was like
free and open source and there wasn't
like any examples, like, I remember
like, you know, really loving Twilio, for
example, and like Stripe just opened up.
But like I don't know.
It's, it's but they weren't huge.
Like obviously these names I'm saying
now, like Stripe and Twilio are
huge now, but like, Twilio was like,
you know, 12 people at the time.
Like it was super tiny and like, it was,
it was cool and I would've loved to have
like, worked there, but it wasn't like,
it was like, this is a good business.
And like now it's not.
That's completely that true.
Like now APIs are a gigantic business
and there's no doubt by mine.
But yeah, it was, it was an uphill
battle early on cuz like, no one
people, like, even people who knew
about it, like knew what Dev knew
by dev tools, like under show APIs.
Like, they're like,
yeah, that's cool, but.
There's not a lot of money in it.
So I dunno.
It's it's tough and that's why like,
I, I'm not a huge huge fan of raising
money is because I just never know.
Like, I was always like always afraid.
Cause like, we're always a little
bit ahead of time, I think.
And yeah, so
you were to start over again, and I
remember when I actually found the Doca
website, it was still up and if you
look at the Doco website, it says, Like
we, like, I think you made unsolicited
documentation for some company.
I Scribd, or I can't remember what it was.
And I'm curious if you were, if
you were to start again today.
And no one knows Readme.
And somehow you got, you know, you're
not even.com, you're like readme
dot, you know, io or.app or dot, you
know, whatever, you know, dev the
documentation website.com or something.
No one knows about you.
, how would you get people excited about it?
Like how, how would you get the word out?
Would you do the same approach?
Like make unsolicited
documentation, like show it to them
Greg: That, that didn't work at the time.
That's, that's never worked
Every once in a while I'll go through
a brochure, I'll be like, yeah, let's
like build the ducks for people.
And like, it's hard cause I just don't
really value it, which is totally fine.
Like, it's just like, they're like,
oh, it looks nice, but like, whatever.
Like, that's not how you sell to
I always like thought that would be,
and like you always hear stories about
like, and these stories are true,
but it's like, you know, the Carlson
brothers like launched Stripe at like,
going to everyone's office that would
use it and like sitting down next to
their engineer and like, I don't know.
I believe that story's true.
I just think that's more of a myth is
like, especially now, like maybe it
had 15 years ago, that's how it worked,
but like now no company's like letting
someone come in and like, you know, write
code that's not part of the company.
Like, that's just not a thing.
Like if, if someone message emailed
me right now was like, Hey, I got
this new product, like I'll come
to your office and like write code.
I'd be like, no, that's weird.
Like, definitely not.
But yeah, like, so I mean, what I
did differently, so I had, like,
I knew I wanted to make Apes used
to use, that's what I cared about.
And I had a bunch of different
like ideas, like there was Doub,
which was, you know, became read.
It looked very different.
Like similar but very different.
One called Hook.
I was very sim I was trying
to find that exact thing and I
always talked to people about it.
And and like, There's YC has this
like, or Paul Graham, who started
by C has, or one of the founders of
YC has this as this blog post where
he talks about this concert of like
sitcom startups and a sitcom startup.
His definition is if you were to write,
if you're in a writer's room for a TV show
and you want to, you know, this character
is a entrepreneur, a tech entrepreneur,
and like, you have to come up with an
idea that's plausible enough that people
would be like, oh, yeah, okay, sure.
Matt's a, that that company sounds right.
Cause like, you don't take
people outta the sitcom.
It's like, yeah, that sounds right,
like that's a good enough idea.
But like, his point is like, there's
a lot of ideas though, like that,
that like sound good enough that they
pass the, like, it could be a sitcom,
but like, no one actually wants it.
And the example they use is
like a social network for pets.
And like, you go to a bunch of people
like, Hey, you love your dog, right?
Like, would you use
social network for pets?
And like, you're like,
yeah, I totally use that.
But then when it comes town, like
you build it and like it comes time
to be like, okay, Matts sign up.
It's like, you'll you'll sign
up cause you're my friends.
So you'll sign up for it.
And then like, then I'll
be like, Hey Matt, like.
Your dog hasn't post in a few weeks, and
you'll be like, fine, and you'll post
like, one post just to make me happy.
And it's like, that's kinda the point.
It's like, it's one of those, like,
there's a lot of stars out there that's
like a lot of ideas out there where it's
like, it sounds like a good enough idea.
Like I could convince you that
pet star ideas a really good idea
because like, hey, look at Instagram.
So many people have like,
you know, Instagram accounts
for their dogs and cats.
Like, but it's not made for that, right?
Like it's, why would you post it on
like, you know, Instagram's for humans.
Like, think of all the cool stuff you do
if like, you like Paw or stuff like that.
And then, and then we also know, by
the way, that like everyone has a pet
so we can sell to advertisers, right?
So like, you know, and like you can
like make that case, but like if
no one actually uses it, like, you
know, if rounds down to zero and
you end up with zero customers if
everyone's like a maybe or a no.
So when I'm going with this is that
early on I would tell people about it
and they'd be like, yeah, that's cool.
I really like that.
And I'd like play around
with it and all that.
And like, it feels good to have
someone say like, yeah, I'd use that.
But then something shifted, like, I kept
like talking about it and like, you know,
shifting around ideas and like, it started
to shift where people were like, oh,
Like, when can I, when can I use that?
And that's where gets really cool.
Cause like, I, I noticed to
flip instantly, like the way
people like respond to me.
Like, and not that I was ever lying to
myself, but like, I was always like,
yeah, I guess they kind of want it.
And like, I like shifted how I was
talking about it and like what, what
features were important and what
features weren't, and stuff like that.
And like one day people just all
of a sudden started being like,
yeah, like, can I set up now?
And I'm like, no, no.
Like, it's not ready yet.
And like, and like one point, like I
like, you know, I did let people start
using it and like now people are using it.
Like one person like Venmo would be money.
Cause I didn't have a, I
didn't set up filling yet.
And like, and like he didn't Venmo
me for any reason or other like, you
know, you should be charging for this.
And like, I just want you to know
like, like this is what I want.
Like, I just wanna like, give you money.
Like that's when I quit all my I
was doing freelancing at the time.
That's when I quit my freelancing jobs
and like, okay, I'm gonna do it full time.
And like, it wasn't really a question
you asked, I know that, but like, I
think it doesn't really matter what you
do for marketing stuff, if the idea is
not kind of exactly where it should be.
But you had, like, you were doing
something buoyancy years ago, right?
How did that, I wasn't wondering
like what that, I mean, clearly it
didn't work out that well cuz but
like, what was it, how did that work?
Matt: so there's a couple other,
like, there's a couple entrepreneurs
out there that have like these lists
of all the things that they've done
and like what the status of it.
I need to make one of those.
I just abandoned it.
Like I, the idea behind buoyancy was
to test FBI test if your idea floats.
And you, I don't know, like I spent
more money like paying for the domain
name every year than I did working,
like, like would've been working on it.
And eventually I was just like, okay,
I'm gonna let it, I'm gonna let it go.
I gotta let it go.
But that was the idea.
And so it was sort of like, it was like
analytics and loosely borrowed from
the idea of Buffer how Buffer started.
So they put up like a home pay, a
landing page, and there's a few clicks
you could do and you could see pricing
and it was like, this sounds great.
I wanna go and buy this.
And then you go to buy it and it's
like, and you think it's real.
And it's like a couple
different pricing plans.
You click buy and sign up and
they give them your email and
then you, they say like, Hey,
we're not quite ready for you yet.
But, you know But we'll let
you know when we are ready.
. And so I wanted to like
build that as like a product.
. But you know, a bit more to
it, like how long did it take
you to click between screens?
What are the different screens?
Can you do it from your phone like in
a bar when you have an idea one night?
I never really got, I never
really took it too much.
I never built it out.
I got busy with other stuff and
I needed to make money cuz I
started that idea in college and
I was like, broke college kids.
Greg: I mean, you also, you can't
have a business where you're selling
to people who are also broke.
Just have ideas.
So it's not the best
Greg: Do you remember a launch rock there?
Answer of Launch Rock A little bit.
Matt: Launch Rock?
Yeah, I do actually.
It was so, or similar.
Are they still around
Greg: Googled and I got off
by startups.com, I guess, but
Matt: what is startups.com?
But startups.com, it's like a
roll up where they just like
buy a bunch of like stuff.
But like yeah, cause I remember like
back in college it would be like, yeah,
like it made it so easy just to like,
launch something look kind of nice
and you'd be like, and you talk to the
domain and you could like, get people
to sign up and like, I never got sign
up, but it was like a, a cheap way.
I mean, I think the hard part
about those are like, don't know,
it, it's such a hard balance.
Cause you have to find
that conviction though.
Like, I don't, it's cause it, it's,
it's like a, you get a egg problem,
which is like, you know what, what
number of people clicking, like the
pricing page is gonna like actually
convince you to spend the next like,
let's say two months for a
really, really simple MVP.
Oh, I had a question for you actually.
What do you believe?
So I think there's like, there's a lot of
Matt: That's a deep,
that's a deep question.
What do you believe just in general?
So there's like, like a lot of startups
raise a bunch of money and spend like
three years in development and launch
something like Superhuman for example,
where it's like, it comes out, it's
polished and other people are like, you
know, if you're not embarrassed by your
v1 then you've taken too long to ship.
Like, do you fall either direction on
those or where do you feel on those?
Matt: You get a lot of surprise
and wow factor with the former,
with the, the superhuman approach.
Like, we're gonna go into secret
build something for three years.
You need a lot of money to do that.
Unless like it's hard to do by yourself,
Greg: do it unless you
already have a success.
As a founder, I
Matt: you think
Greg: well like, okay, like look at like,
Mighty did it, but that
was like the founder did
Mixed panel before that.
So everyone knew who he was.
Raul from superhuman did Report,
rapportive but like the Gmail plugin
and like in the same space like what
are some other ones that, like Figma.
Figma I think did that right?
I think Figma did, like, there was a
pretty big, like Figma wasn't like an mvp.
Figma came up pretty good, but like, I
don't know what Dylan did before this, but
Matt: I think I, I don't know.
Apple does this.
And obviously they have infinite money.
They can do whatever they want, but you
get that surprise and that wow factor.
But, and that's great.
But I don't know if I.
My approach is not doing that.
So like I've been building this thing
called Pickle for years, and originally
like I've made so many mistakes.
Like, I was like, oh, I'm gonna build
this personal CRM thing and then
I'm gonna sell it to other people
and I'm gonna sell it to realtors.
And I got really into that.
I started going to real
I would go to open houses
and like and like harass the
realtors working the open house.
I started building like extra apps around
Greg: people were trying to sell a house.
And you're like, no, I can do one better.
Matt: Yeah, I could do one better.
Check this out.
And like, I, I thought I
understood real estate.
I know nothing about it.
Like, it's totally different like
trying to sell to a realtor than
it is trying to build for myself.
And that's what I've been,
I've been, I've rebuilt it for
myself and for me it's useful.
And if other people wanna
use it, that's cool.
Greg: well, that's the thing too though,
is like you said before, like, you
know, just to like build it out for
people, it's like no, people are
just busy and no one wants you to,
like, you can put the work in,
but like, no one wants that.
No one wants to like, you know,
everyone thinks like, oh, I can start
a restaurant startup, I just like,
I can see 30 restaurant around here.
And you go in like the restaurant
owner please leave me alone.
I don't wanna do
You know, it was like my
first actual startup you
Greg: you do mini thing or
Thir 14 or or so I hacked
together this PHP thing.
. So my dad owned a restaurant and this
restaurant, like you had a website with
a menu and back then, like restaurant
websites were absolute garbage.
They were either flash or they didn't
exist or they, they didn't work on mobile.
And then finally, like you couldn't get
any of the information that you wanted,
like what you want about a restaurant
Greg: I wanna know if they're open,
what time the kitchen's open till,
Matt: to make a reservation
or contact them.
Reservation and see like they
specials that sort of Exactly.
But they would all be like, look at these.
Be like, you're like lost.
So I built this thing and it would
let you, the person behind the bar
would be able to set the specials.
They'd be able to print
them out in a nice format.
They would be updated on the website.
At the same time the
contact info was there.
It worked on mobile.
And when I meant mobile then it wasn't
iPhones, it was like Blackberry and
like Palm Pilot things and, and like the
Windows CE or whatever Windows phone,
like which is basically a Palm pilot.
And so that was I went door to door
trying to get to restaurants to buy it.
And not a single, like maybe one or
two did, but not anyone really cared.
They're like, we don't
have money for this.
We don't care.
People still show up.
And the last thing that they're gonna do
when people aren't showing up is like,
give this 15 year old kid a bunch of money
to like, for this like web app thing.
Before web app was a term.
No one cared.
I did sell it though.
Hey, you sold the company,
like as a company?
Matt: It wasn't a real company.
I sold the product to the guy said I
Greg: that's where, that's where
you got your millions from.
I, I knew there had to be
That's what I was driving.
A Ford Exploder around.
No, that was like rusting
through the floor.
You're oh, You you're humble.
Like we're in Buffet.
Matt: you ever
Greg: up your money.
Matt: did I ever tell you the story?
How I got pulled over by Cop
the first time in that car?
Okay, so I told you it was
rusting through the floor.
I got pulled over by a cop and I
couldn't find my wallet anywhere.
And I was kind of nervous cuz I'd
never been pulled over before I was,
I was going like 40 on a 35, like,
I don't know, it was Christmas Eve.
And I'm like, can I get outta
the car to look for my wallet?
Because I like the only interface I
had with cops was like my friend's dad
was a cop and then like the show cops.
And I'm like, yep, I don't want to go to
like, I don't wanna be on this TV show.
So we said, yeah.
So I look, I'm like, okay.
Greg: no, I, the show cops and tourist was
about teenagers who were going a little
bit a little bit over on Christmas Eve.
It was, it was a great show.
Matt: yeah, yeah.
It was really.
Greg: was always a
Matt: It was great.
Greg: 17 year olds and
like, whatever, you know?
Matt: Yeah, no, so long story
short, he's got his flashlight out
cause it's nighttime and he's looking
around cause I can't find my wallet.
And he says to me before I could
find my wallet, he could see like
how like the seatbelt thing like that
attaches to the floor was rusting and
everything was like rusting in the car.
He said, is this car safe to drive?
And I was just like, it's my only car man.
Greg: Your family own the Yankees.
What's going on here?
Matt: he, he gave me a warning.
He gave a warning.
But that was pretty funny.
Yeah, going back to the original
Greg: original Oh yeah, I just also, you
said like billing for yourself and like,
it's really tough cause I think that
Matt: hard to do though.
So if you're in an industry, it's
really hard to build for the industry
because like you have, so like, I
always have this like, concept of
like intentional ignorance I call
it, which is like, I don't wanna
know what our competitor's up to.
I don't wanna know what already
exists because like there's something
like, I know a little bit about,
of course, like, and of course I
actually know a lot at this point.
But like, it's just,
it's so easy to like to.
To, to fall into like the fallacy
of like, oh, it can't be done
because so and so tried it.
Like the problem is like, if you ever
like have an idea, by the way every
idea has been done not well and, and
all that, but like, you'll be like,
oh, I wanna do like X And like, then
what you do is you get like a bunch of
bcs who are like, oh, so and so tried
this two years ago and like it didn't
work and here's why it didn't work.
And like, you start to get very
discouraged or you start to be like,
oh, this company already did it.
So like, okay, let's say I
wanna like launch like a, a
Photoshop competitor for example.
Like, you probably go and you
look at Photoshop and you're like,
I'm gonna copy all these tools.
It's like, is that the right way to do it?
Like, I'm blown away, like the
figma of some of the features that
have, I'm like, I just didn't think,
like, I never would've done that.
Like, that's insane.
Or like, and like this intentional
ignorance is like, it's tough cuz like
you can't go too far the opposite way.
You can't like know nothing cuz then you
just like, you know, it's like people who
don't learn history or fail to repeat it.
Like you, you need to know enough.
But if you know too much, then you either
get too afraid or you get too like locked
into like, oh, this is how it's done
and then there's like some crazy ones,
which, you know, I don't advocate for or
not, but like a lot of progress is made
by like breaking the rules intentionally.
Like, you look at Uber and like
Uber was ly illegal for a long time.
Like do you remember like
first in San Francisco?
Like Uber cars were just getting pulled
over all the time and like people
like, and like they pushed through
it and like that went well for them,
but they got like zenefits which also
pushed through healthcare regulations
cuz they're selling cross state lines
and that did not go well for them.
And like, it's always hard to find anyway.
So like, there's this like intentional
ignorance that I think is like really
fascinating where you, you just
have to know enough but not too much
and it's hard to find that balance.
Cuz you know, like for a bit before
I started readme, I was like working
on construction software and I
wasn't the founder, but I was one
of like the people on the team.
I was like a junior
founder or whatever and
Matt: junior founder,
Greg: It was a thing.
I don't know, it was like it was one of
the PayPal founders starting your company.
And so he was like, they had like, I
guess PayPal did this as well where
there's like two tiers of founders
Yeah, no, a hundred percent.
It's, it's, it's employees that make
absolutely no money that, but they
like, like you're a founder though
Matt: Put it on your LinkedIn.
Greg: Yeah, so it's not on my LinkedIn,
but trust me I'm not gonna say which
founder it was, but not a lot of, not
a lot of, not a lot of PayPal Mafia
people are getting good press these
days, so but he was, he was a, he
was one of the PayPal mafia people
Matt: You can tweet that
On Elon's site now.
No, I think I'm gonna get a pass on that.
I'm gonna keep that one to myself.
But anyway, so I was working on it
and like, one of the things that
was like really interesting was like
I talking to construction person,
he's like, here's the weird, again,
we never really did anything.
Like, I was never into this idea
cuz, and like, but this is what made
me realize like, I don't wanna be
doing this, is like, we're talking
to this guy does construction.
He's like, Hey, people trying to sell
construction software all the time.
And he's like, one of the weirdest thing
about construction software is he's
like, every single one, you cr you like,
you create a new project or whatever,
like a new like construction project
and you click create a new project.
And every single time he's like, every
single time a tech person comes to me, the
first thing is like, enter the address.
And he's like, we don't have an address
because we're like construction people.
We're building the thing.
And he's like, he's like,
and like he's like, that's my
like, like my like litmus test.
He's like, if they ask for an address,
like up front, it's like they clearly
have no clue what they're doing.
Matt: They don't get it
And I always thought that was like such
a, like that stuck with me like, not about
construction, I don't care about that
person or that's not what stuck with me.
But what stuck with me was like
this concept of like, okay, you
can't like, like you can't go
if you're too into construction.
Then you just create construction company
that's a model of everything else out
there and you just kind of like do what's
already done and like what's the point of
doing something that's already been done.
So like, you know, something like
PlanGrid, like I don't actually know their
backgrounds, but like, I can't imagine
they were like doing construction for
20 years before they started PlanGrid.
So you be an outsider, you can't
be too much of an outsider.
Cause if you're too much of an
outsider, you're solving problems
that like no one actually has or
perceived problems from the outside.
And like, I don't know, like I think the
healthcare industry is very messed up,
but I a hundred percent know that anything
I were to do in the healthcare industry,
like would not be solving the actual
problem most likely because I'd actually
know what the problem is necessarily.
Matt: so do you, would you say.
That in order to build a good product
or a company around it, you have
to sort of build it for yourself
first so you understand the problem.
Greg: Yeah, but that's hard because
like, okay, so that being said, like,
So Readme is caters to developers, like
other developers like you mentioned,
like, you know, the restaurant
that your dad owned a restaurant.
So like, that's not for yourself, but like
it's for someone you know, really closely.
But like outside of that, it's
like tough though, cuz like,
it's different skill sets.
Like to your point, it's like not
many people, and there are a few,
not many people like work at a
restaurant for 20 years and then
decide to create a startup out of it.
Like that's a really tough jump as well.
So like, I don't know, like, I imagine
most startups, like if you were to
look at the people's backgrounds, I'm
trying think like off the top of my
head, like some like big startups like.
But like for the most, I mean, I do think
that's why there's a lot of dev tools now.
I do think that's why there's a
lot of like I mean there's like a
gigantic sectors, like there's tons
of startups for like salespeople.
So it's like CRMs all flavors
of CRMs, all flavors like that.
It's like, okay, I imagine 80% of
those people who started them are 90%,
were like salespeople who are like
this, the current situation sucks.
Like, I can do my own or like,
you know, tools for marketers
or HubSpot and stuff like that.
And like, there's just so many like
tools out there that definitely are
building for yourself, but like once
you get out of there, like it, I
feel like very, like maybe there's
a co-founder or something that like
did it or whatever, but I don't know.
I think that's like, I don't think
it's bad advice to build something
for yourself, but I think it's like,
I don't think it's the full picture.
Like I don't think it's, cause I think,
you know, again, like you can build
a dev tool right now and you should.
Cause it's a great market and I love
it, but it's like, Everyone's like,
that's every what everyone's doing.
Like, if you really wanna make a
ton of money, like go find like this
industry that you've never heard of and
like build something for it, I guess.
And like, so I don't think it's like, I
don't think there's advice either way.
I think like both arguments really
Matt: What, what's the Flexport
at Ryan Peter Patterson.
find that to be interesting cuz he, he
started like companies before, right?
And then he decided to go work for
like, in the cargo ship industry.
Greg: am so outta my
league at talking about
Matt: this, oh, I only know about
this from like like startup school or
something when he was talking about it.
But I thought that was interesting.
Like, it was like the amount of
paperwork and all that stuff.
And now they're huge.
So that, but yeah, I don't know.
How do you know, like what, you can start,
what, like what do you look, what are
the indicators that you would look for?
Like if you were to start
another company Now?
not, let's say not like dev tool.
What, like what would you do and
how would you like, identify what
to do if you don't know what to do?
about this a lot.
Not that, I mean, you're not
sitting here thinking like,
wow, daydream my next start.
Cuz what I actually daydream about is
Matt: cause you did the escape room thing.
Greg: Oh yeah.
I mean, so that's what
I think about a lot.
It's like, let's say whatever, for
whatever reason I leave Readme tomorrow,
I know exactly what I'm doing, which is
so I built an escape, not leadership.
This is not a
I'm here, but but if I were to leave
tomorrow, like I wouldn't wanna do another
like venture back company right away.
Like I just love the escape room.
Cause I built an escape room four years
ago or so, four or five years ago.
And with my company we've done a bunch
of escape rooms and I just like really
fell in love with not escape rooms.
But this concert of like
physical in person, there's
a few things I led about it.
One was that it's not competitive in the
sense that you're not competing against
each other, you're working together to
compete against like something together.
And I, I like that so much more.
Like, I dunno if you are, but I'm not.
I think you are, but I'm
not a competitive person.
Like I don't care about like, you know,
bowling cuz like if I win, I don't care.
And if I lose, I don't care.
Matt: hold on.
Like, the first thing
you went to is bowling.
No bowling because like, it's,
it's like a team bonding thing.
It's like, you don't, like, you know,
I know that there's other sports out
there than bowling, but like, it's
like, okay, like let's go do something
that's, oh, lemme take a step back.
I think like most team events just
are drinking and like, I don't
mind drinking at all, but it's
like, it's not very inclusive.
It's not, it's just like, it's just like,
it's not an activity, it's like a lack
of activity almost, and stuff like that.
So it's like, okay, what do you wanna do?
Instead of bowling?
It's like, or sorry, instead of
drinking, it's like, we can go bowling.
We could like, I dunno
what else you got, like,
Matt: well, I know where
you're going with this.
And I feel the exact same way.
And this is also not just team
events, but conference events.
Greg: Conference events,
dates, anything like that.
Matt: night I went to one of the
happy hours and it's, they're the same
every conference I've ever gone to.
You go and, and they're fun, but
to an extent, right, they're loud.
You can, it's hard to hear each other.
There's just alcohol, which isn't
like, you know, it is what it is.
And then that's really it.
Like they're all kind of the same
thing with just with different people.
and like, I, I wish there
was something more there.
Greg: Yeah, so that's what I
loved escape from was cause
like, it was like a activity
where like, cuz there's
like it's activity where you get
to like work together and it mixes
you up and it's, but you're not
competing against each other.
Like no one gets their feelings hurt cuz
you're all working together or maybe you
all, you all get feeling hurt together.
It's not that bad if you lose together.
So I got really into like the,
the social dynamics of like an
escape room and stuff like that.
And so I started getting bored of going
to them because like, once you've done
like 10 of them, it's like, okay, I
kind of get like, you're like, okay,
I get like how this all works and
like, you kind of like, they're not,
not fun, but like, and also like as
I was getting into them, like there
was a, the quality started to go down
because like, there's an explosion them.
So like some would be really good
and some would be really crappy.
But I got really interested in like
this concert of all of them and I was
like, I'm gonna build an escape room.
So I started just kind of like
doing it in my, in my, not really.
So lemme put it for, I didn't like sit
down like, I'm gonna start an escape room.
I was like, I was like, I had this idea
was like, I love for team bonding events.
Like what if it was like an escape room
where it was like you have one hour.
To launch your startups.
Like you have like a million dollars
and like, instead of an hour, it
is an hour, but like you watched
your bank account go down, you have
one hour to launch your startup.
So I was like, I wanna
call it start escape.
And like, I would like do escapements.
I'd like, oh, like I could see
that, I could like take this
and like do a take and this.
And like, I started like
designing in my head.
I wasn't like trying to start anything.
Cause I had read me and one day I
got to the point where I was like,
I just really wanna build this now.
Like, I, I just like, cuz I don't
know, I've, I've never really been
able to kinda articulate this, but
I'm sure you'll feel the same way.
It's like every amazing thing that has
ever happened happened because someone
just like did something that was like
very like like had a, like, just something
like, like out of the, they, they woke up
and they did something different that day.
Like maybe it's like you.
You know, you're married, I don't
know, like, I don't actually dunno
how you met wife, but like I'm sure I
did at some point, but like, you did
something different that day, I'm sure.
Or you asked her out at least, or
you did something like, there's
like a, you made a jump and like now
your life is completely different.
Or like, with reading me, it's
like, again, it's not a big deal.
It's not like I like woke up one day and
I was like, I'm gonna start reading me.
It was like, I just chose instead
of doing something else to do
this and then I did more of it.
And like, it was a, it wasn't a conscious
decision, but it was like I didn't just
exist and I didn't just like, get up,
go to work, grab dinner, go to bed.
Like I like did something different.
And like, I brought up like
marriage cuz like, I think it's
just everything in your life.
Like, very rarely do things just happen.
Like it's, it's not even
It's not like you like wake up and like,
I'm gonna get married, I'm gonna meet the
person I'm gonna get married to today.
It's like you just do something that's
like a little out of the ordinary.
And like it's for the escape from, it's
like everyone can, like everyone has
an idea obviously, and like everyone
has startup ideas or company ideas or
ideas for a TV show and stuff like that.
But it's like, Okay.
But like the ones that got made,
it was because like someone sat
down, wrote the screenplay and like
mailed it in or something like that.
And it's like, it doesn't seem like much,
but it's huge to actually like do it.
And like people just don't, myself
included, like for every one thing
I do, there's 2000 things I don't
do and I'm like, I should have
gone there that time and I didn't.
And like, or I should have like,
you know, made this happen.
So anyway, so I got like, I
got to this point where I was
I just hate thinking about stuff
and I just wanna do something.
So I was like, I'm gonna rent a place.
So I rented a place in San Francisco
and I was like, I'm just gonna do it.
I don't know, I could be sitting
on this podcast too and being
like, I had this idea for an
escape room and it was really cool.
And you guys, you know, somebody,
I'll build it and like, that's
cool to talk about too, I guess.
But like, that jump to actually like
do it is like, I think everyone in
their lives has done something like
move to a new city or you know, drop
outta college or go to college or.
You know, it's so easy just to
sit there and like at your job
that you hate every single day.
But like sometimes you're like, you
know what I'm gonna go to, I don't
know, where do people go to find jobs?
monster.com or whatever, and you're
like, I'm gonna find a new job.
And I wouldn't go there
Matt: I think everyone
uses like LinkedIn now.
I don't know, man.
Matt: or they just get
a bunch of recruiter
don't think anyone's like looking
for jobs in tech, but like, but
like as a tech, people are like,
you know, how do you jump up?
You just one day you're
like, I'm gonna do this.
And like you just get that, like that
rush of like, cuz people very few, like
again, I don't like Elon at all, but like
he does have the sustained, as much as I
dislike him, he does have the sustained
ability to just make things happen
every single minute of every single day.
And like half the time it light
things on fire and all that.
But like, he's kinda interesting
where he's always doing something
and I think that's really annoying.
I would hate to be anywhere near
him cuz like, it's like a bull in
a China shop cause like all that.
But like most people don't have that.
Most people have a burst where it's like
you, you do something big and then you
spend a lot of time like dealing with
the good or bad consequences of that.
So like, you like get up and you're
like, I get a new job and you get
it and then you can't just like
get a new job two weeks later.
Like you're like, okay now I have to
like, you know, you go back and down,
like your energy kind of goes back down.
You're like, you're coasting a little bit.
Stuff like that cause you're
tired or, or whatever else.
And or you focus on different
things or like, you know, your
health got bad so you're like, okay,
I'm gonna go get healthy again.
Stuff like that.
But again, that's another thing, it's
like, I decided to go to the gym today
and like be really like, it's like that,
like everyone wants to go to the gym.
Everyone wants to be like, you know,
gorgeous and healthy, but like, you just,
it's just one day you do it and it's I
don't know where we're going with all
this or where I was going with all this,
but like, I do think like it's this thing
where it's like that for me, the escape
room was like, I was like, I could just
like talk about it or I could just do it.
And like, it was, it's, it's, it's,
it's usually like, there's usually
like a pivot point and for me it was
like, I actually like found a location,
like signed a lease and like once
I did that, the ball was rolling.
Like I couldn't get out of, it wasn't
like, I could be like, ah, just kidding.
Now I have like a $5,000 lease in the
heart of San Francisco that I'm just not
gonna do anything with the next two years.
So I did that and I so I just like, you
know, was like, I'm gonna do it and I
did it and then I like had to build the
escape room and it was a ton of fun.
Like, I had I think it was like
7,000 people, a little under 7,000
people went through it in two years.
It was, it was awesome.
Like Steph Curry did my escape
room for his 30th birthday.
One time I was doing it.
And so I am my current job as CEO read me.
And I was sitting there with my laptop and
I had a read me logo on my, on my laptop.
And I'm sitting there working at
like 7:00 PM at this like, just job.
And someone comes in like a team comes in
and I'm like, oh, hey, welcome everyone.
And I do like this spiel and stuff.
Cause like, we had someone who
ran it, but like, every once in a
while, if they couldn't do it, I
would jump in or I actually down
nights and weekends once in a while.
Cause like then I could see what was
broken, what was working, and I could
like, make tweaks and stuff like that.
And I, I just didn't like, it
wasn't, it was something to do.
And like, it's pretty
easy to Jo by the way.
Like, you sit there, you like bring
people in, you spend two minutes with
the spiel, they go in and then you just
have an hour basically where you're
like, kind of watch them on the screen.
You can like mess around,
do it whatever you want.
So I do it, like I have my company
ReadMe logo on the, on the thing.
And these like, it's like four or five
guys come in and they're like, whoa.
Like, how do you gonna read me?
And I was like, oh, I'm this is weird.
But I'm like it's my company.
I'm the founder.
And they're like, oh.
We, we invested in you.
And I'm like, cuz they're VCs.
Like they weren't my partner.
So the way VCs firm works, there's
like, like a bunch of partners.
So you meet like your partner and
like a few other people, but like,
you don't meet most partners,
but they all know about you.
And I'm like, oh, I swear
things are going well.
This is like,
This is, and they were totally fine.
They loved it.
They're like, we need to do a selfie.
So like, we did a selfie of me
and my like, my little like polo
shirt, that's a star escape.
And like all of them.
And they sent it to my partner and I
was like, this can go one of two ways.
He's either gonna be like, cool or
he is gonna be like, all right, so
you're working a, you're working an
hourly job now to make ends meet.
And but now it was great.
Matt: that's hilarious.
So we gotta wrap up soon.
I have a couple questions.
What tips for managers,
Greg: Okay are you a new manager or not?
Matt: Let's say you're,
it doesn't, let's say new.
The biggest tip I have, so there's
obvious tips, which is like, care
for your employees, listen to 'em,
have meetings and stuff like that.
I think the biggest tip that I see that
I think that is that you have two teams.
You have your team and the company.
And what I mean by that is it's
not that the company matters.
Like when I say company, I don't
mean like the Delaware C Corp in, you
know, on a piece of paper in Delaware
where you're like, you're, we're all
capitalists all trying to make money.
That's what I mean.
It's that the worst thing I think you can
do for your team is create an isolated
environment where yeah, sure you're really
good to your team, but You know, you're
kind of hurting your team because you,
they don't have the opportunities cause
it's very isolated and stuff like that.
So you need to really care about
your team and that's definitely
your number one priority.
But like, you also have a team of your
peers, so other managers your boss
who maybe you don't like your boss and
that's totally fine, but at the end of
the day, you, you, like, you, you have
to play ball with everyone around you.
Cuz very rarely, like, unless you're
like a brilliant team of like,
you know, such high performing
jerks that like it works out.
It's very easy to create.
Like it's a hard balance to create
that isolated culture where people
like, feel like they're on a certain
team in a larger company but also get
the chances and opportunities, you
know, from the rest of the company.
So I think it's, it's a really hard
balance to both like care about the people
below you, which everyone should do, but
also make sure that you care about like,
the people to your side so that you're
not too isolated and you're not creating
this like, weird island at a company.
Because like, I don't know, if you worked
at a company where like there's like a
team that's kind of an island and it's
like nothing gets in, nothing gets out,
and it's like, I dunno what to do here.
This, by the way, if anyone's
listening that works at Read Me,
I'm not talking from experience.
It rude me.
Just like in my past, like at
Brazil and stuff like that, I
used to see like, just different
teams would be like very isolated.
It's like the, the manager's
job is to protect people but not
protect 'em too much because you
still need like that in and out.
Like it can't just be a like, like a like.
Like a, what's the word I look for?
Like a sealed like thing, cuz
that's not how companies work.
Like even if, and I, you know, I'm
not a huge fan of capitalism per se,
but like, even if you're like, I don't
care about like, capitalism in the
company, making money, like all that.
Like, you still kind of have to care
about other people in the company
and like, you know, be a good place
to work or a good team to work with.
So that's my answer.
Do you think you.
If you're going into like a computer
science programming or technical field,
do you think you need to go to college?
Greg: No, but you can't I'm,
you can't expect someone to
teach you how to program.
I don't think that you can
be taught how to program.
I think you have to learn how to program.
And I don't know exactly how you described
that, but like, you can spend, like,
you and I took the exact same class.
We went to college together.
If you didn't get that, and like, there
are people who send the exact same
classes that we did every single day
and like, gun to their head, couldn't
write a line of code right now.
Cuz like, it's one of those
things where like, yeah, could you
like, can you pick up some stuff?
But like, The problem with programming.
So when we did programming,
it was not a lucrative career.
Like it was, it was fine.
Like none of us were worried about it.
But like, it wasn't like, you know,
Silicon Valley wasn't what it is now.
When we started in 2000, year
2007, I was thousand six, maybe
year a little bit later, but
And like, it wasn't a lucrative career
necessarily, and like by the time we
like graduated it was like a lot better
and like, things were pretty good.
But like the reason that was like,
you can't, but like, you can't just
sit like there's other careers to get
into if you kind of wanna be taught
and like learn stuff like that.
Like you have to like to program.
I think like, I'm not saying you have
to do it on nights and weekends every
night and weekend, but you kind of
have to, especially early on, you
have to build stuff to make stuff.
You have to try stuff.
Like, I don't believe that whether
there's a dev bootcamp and dev
bootcamp's really cool because
they actually make you do projects.
Like they, they, they know
that and they force that.
Whereas like in school they don't
really like, it's like we did
projects, but it was like homework.
Whereas like, but you just have to like,
you have to commit to liking it and to
doing it on nights and weekends or in your
own time and to really like it because
like, otherwise it's uphill battle because
like, programming is not fun to do.
I love it more than anything.
It's fun for me.
It's relaxing, but like, if you don't
like it, it's not fun, I don't think.
Matt: Think, yeah,
Greg: and you have to like be,
I think you just have to commit.
So I don't think it matters if you
like teach yourself, you go to classes.
I do think classes are nice because
like there's just a world of stuff.
Like you need someone who's smarter
than you to like tell you what to do.
And like a mentor would be great, but like
people don't have the ability to mentor.
It's like really hard to be a mentor.
So like, you know, dev
bootcamp is basically you're
paying for a mentor almost.
So I think the answer is definitely no.
And if I didn't go to college at all,
I think it would've totally been fine.
Cause like I learned how to
program my own, but like, I think
you need to want to program.
And if you don't, there's a ton
of other really phenomenal careers
out there that you're gonna have a
lot less of enough help battle on.
Matt: I think at RIT there was a
lot of people who were like, sort
of self taught before they came.
That was my feeling.
Greg: And I don't some of the best
programmers I know, by the way, went
to college and you know, learned on,
like, learned like their first line of
code they ever wrote was in a class.
And they're phenomenal.
Like, that doesn't mean that if you
didn't know how to program before.
But you have to like it.
And you have to like, be curious.
You have to like, want to learn.
Like, no matter how good the
teacher is, there's only so much
that you'll get out that teacher.
Like, you need to be the one, like,
not forever, like I haven't, I don't
read blog posts or anything like that
anymore, but like, you have to like
be curious and like, you know, I'm
trying to think like, cause I can't
even give like prescribed stuff.
Cause like anytime I say anything
it's like, okay, go to this website.
Like, that's not what I mean.
Like, you just have to like, be like,
I wonder if I could fix that and do it.
Like, you have to have that
mindset of like, I'm gonna solve
it and then like, and like just
brute force your way through it.
And it takes time.
It takes a lot of time,
which is really tough.
Matt: well, just to add to that,
a lot of the, a lot of really good
programmers that I know didn't
study computer science or anything.
They got into programming after they
were like architects before or whatever,
you know, like, they're like, I wanna
be an architect, or I wanna be a doctor.
I wanna be a lawyer.
And then they're like, got naco
and they're like, I love this.
And they're amazing.
Pineapple on pizza.
Not my top 10 choice, but like, I like it.
Matt: okay with it?
You can't go to Italy now.
Greg: That's okay.
I, I mean, I don't love it, but like,
I like it.
I don't like it.
I'll eat it.
Like I'm very happy.
It's like I don't, I'm not a picky person.
What are you most excited about?
Greg: Now I'm getting
hungry cuz of that question.
So I think I'm gonna order of
pineapple pizza after this.
What am I most excited about?
And this is a very tech answer.
Also like if you're watching the
video, it's gotten increasingly dark.
We're just sitting in
the dark at this point.
But there's a lot things
I'm excited about.
Cuz I mentioned before
about the curiosity.
Like that's my favorite quality
in people and in myself is just
like, The ability to like just
constantly be excited about stuff.
And for me, this is a very tech one.
I started ReadMe seven or eight years
ago, I picked like Angular 1.2 cuz it was,
you know, react wasn't quite where I, I
didn't, whatever, it doesn't really matter
why, but like Webpac it was really hard to
like get react set up cuz like Webpac was
like, if it existed, it wasn't very good.
It's still not very good, but like,
it was just tough to get all set up.
So I went with Angular and it was the
biggest mistake of my life probably.
But, so I started writing code, so then
I got to this like route where I was
like, do you remember like when we were
in school, I know these are lighting
rounds, but I'm going along you can
edit this later, but you know, in, you
know, in school where like you'd meet
Matt: I don't think I
can make you talk any
So, you know, in school
you're meeting someone I
Matt: m take it easy eminem
Greg: You know, in school when you'd
meet someone who's like really old,
like they were like 30 you know,
we're like in school and like, they're
like, they're like still using like
an old Java framework and you're
like, I will never be like that.
I'll never get lazy
and like stop learning.
And then like now I'm still using
like tech from like 10 years ago.
I'm still using Express and like the
exact same like setup that I used
Matt: Express no longer.
Greg: No, God no.
I mean, I still like it.
I still use it for stuff, but like,
I kinda like jQuery, I use jQuery.
I still use jQuery for everything.
I love jQuery, but that's not the point.
Matt: does John sig still use jQuery?
Greg: No, of course not.
So where I'm going with this is like
my, basically without talking about
specific technologies, I feel like my,
like the, I, when I wanted to write
code, I didn't wanna learn anymore.
I just wanted to like, use my tech
stack I knew and just be comfortable.
And like, I did that for like three,
four or five years past 3, 4, 5 years.
And like just recently I've
kind of flipped like, okay,
I wanna like try new stuff.
Cause like, when you're trying to
get something done, you don't wanna
learn new technology at the same time.
And now I'm like, I wanna
like learn new technology.
And I, I started using like Next and
like, it's just a breath of fresh air.
Like there's some stuff I don't
like about it, I could complain,
but it's like, okay, it's such a
nice time to be programming it.
Just like for the first time
ever using next, like using.
A framework that was built by someone
who's actually made a website before.
Because like, it's like if you use it,
and again, I'm not gonna check trash
other stuff, but like you use, like, you
know, I've been, is my first language.
Like a lot of these were like
people who like understood
computers enough to bridge the gap.
So a human being can understand it.
But like now it's like, but like
it always felt like you were like
speaking the computers language.
So you're like, you know, like
you're trying to do something
that's like, oh, well that's a put,
or that's a poster, that's a get.
And it was like, you're like thinking of
these like, like how computers think and
like you get really good at that, right?
At some point.
Or like, jQuery, while Query is
great, like jQuery is like, okay,
how do I make the dom, which is,
you know, built for computers,
easier to use, easier to access.
Like, it's like shorthand
at the end of the day.
Like, and like then you look at
React and it's like, oh, this person
like, built a lot of websites.
Whoever, I mean, sorry.
Like the people like, you know, working
on Next, like, it's like this person
like built a lot of websites and when
they sat down they weren't like sort,
go back to like the the ignorance,
like the intentional ignorance.
It's like, it's like, okay,
they built something that was.
You know, made for
people who make websites.
The one that I love, and this is
very controversial here at Readme,
like people, like this is probably
the closest thing to a fight.
This is the pineapple pizza
of of WebDev is tailwind.
I love Tailwind.
And some people hate it.
Some people love it.
But like, again, that's the, like,
the, like nothing about Tawan should
work because when I first saw Tailwind,
I was like, this is the worst.
It's like CSS, inside html, like
Matt: it's 47 style or classes.
And like, this is horrible,
but like, it's delightful.
And I love it more than anything.
Like, it's just, it's so nice.
And like when I build a full
site with it, I don't know.
But when I build a, like a marketing
site or I build, like, you know,
most of my projects now, like
now I go back to writing old css.
I'm like, I hate this.
Like, I just miss tailwind.
I just wanna let be to write my little
See I, I've, there's like this there's
like this bell curve and there's like,
there's like a meme associated with it.
It's like, it's like, you know,
hoodie, hoodie, programmer at
the bottom at the beginning and
then hoodie program at the end.
And then there's like all this
stuff happening at the top.
And I was stuck at the
top for so many things.
Like, you spend so much time
contemplating what do I use to build this?
What do I do this, this, this,
that, and the other thing.
And it's like this easy
thing, all the complex things
like, oh, this one's faster.
It's like better, you know, whatever.
More efficient, you know.
And then there's like back to
originally like the easy thing and
that's like the master programmer.
And I feel like I, you know, if you
look at the top apps in the app store,
for example, and all my iOS like
developer friends are gonna hate me
saying this, but I think it's true,
most of 'em aren't actually native.
Matt: No one, no one who's rating at five
Stars cares if your app's native or not.
They care if it solves the problem for
you and that's all they care about.
and I started personally, like I went
through that like journey of like, oh,
I gotta build all this stuff, like the
hard, the hard way because it's better,
but it, but it like didn't make me
feel better, actually made me feel like
more stressed and worse and I act and,
you know, building this stuff, even
if it is old tech or if it's you know,
sort of like boring tech or whatever.
If it works and it's easier
and to have a good developer
experience, like I'm all for it.
Cuz no one at the end of
the day is gonna care.
Like no one cares that GitHub is written
in Ruby on Rails unless you work on it.
Greg: Or unless you're a hacker trying
to like overload methods what they
Matt: sure, sure, sure.
But you know what I'm saying, like nobody
cares what your thing is written in.
All they care is like, does
it solve the problem for them?
Does it like make their life better?
So my advice, I guess, if this is advice.
Don't get stuck in that.
Sort of like the paradox of
choice of what do I need to use?
Just like, just just build stuff, right?
Build stuff that solves problems.
I'm a, I'm a huge fan of like, so
like, for a while, like to your
point, like whenever, be like,
what's your favorite language?
Be like right tool for the right job.
And now it's like, eh,
everything's turing complete.
Like I'm just gonna use it every simple.
Like, why I try to like spin up
like, you know, 18 different things
that like to get things right
cuz like it's, it goes out of it.
And like, that's a tough
thing to say though.
Cause like at the same time though,
I don't think you should be like,
You know SSH into your FTP server
in order to upload your PHP files.
Like if you're using modern day php,
it's, I've heard it's pretty good at
this point, but like, there is like,
there is something to be said too for
like, you know, keeping up a little bit
because it's like you have to maintain it.
You like, so there's
like stuff like that too.
It's like, I think there's a distinction
between, you're not saying you're
not a letter, you're not saying, you
know, I learned PHP back in 2007 and
I am doing that till the day I die.
You're saying that like you're saying
that like, you know, you also don't have
to like always be chasing the cool stuff.
Like, I think like, what I'm really
excited about, so to answer like the
question, like, what I'm really excited
about is like, I think we've gotten to
this point where like, there's always that
like you know, like the, like any sort
of like, like innovation stuff like that.
But any sort of like or like the, like
adoption what's the, like the ludite?
The No, what's the laggard?
Like what's that thing?
You mean the cross, like
the the chasm across?
Greg: No, we're just like saying
buzzword at this point, but it's like
Matt: yeah, you want more buzzwords,
Greg: but like, it's basically
like the way people adopt stuff.
Like there's something really fun
Matt: like early adopters,
Greg: Adopters, laggards
is the, yeah, but whatever.
So I forgot the graph, but like Matt's
going to buzz in here with a post recorded
thing where he says what this is called
this, this thing I'm trying to think of.
But Yeah, so I think there's like,
there is something kind of cool
about watching that, like, that
funny cause like will Tailwind be
what we're writing in five years?
I have genuinely no clue, but
like, whatever it is, we'll
have learned something from it.
That's kind of cool.
It's like I, I'm not saying that I would
start my new startup with the coolest
of new technologies, but like on the
side it's fun to like spend something
up and play with it and like, you know,
say what I like and don't like cuz like
that dislike of stuff, like also informs
like, very few people do something that's
kind of semi-popular without there being
a threat of something interesting in it.
And ultimate happens is the
trade offs become too much.
Like, and 1.2 I complained about it
before, and you 1.2 is phenomenal because
all of a sudden like You know, it, it
was like, it, it just flipped how I
thought about programming completely.
J qu was like, you were like
constantly modifying the do and
like it was like html so became
like a programming language almost.
Like I loved it.
And like there's something
really beautiful about that.
Now the problem was that the trade off
was that the maintainability was too hard.
Like, you know, variables
coming from, it was slow.
Like there was like 50 things
that were wrong with it.
But like, there's something
so fascinating with the way it
flipped how I looked at everything.
Cause at the end of the way, this is
gonna be really nuanced, bear with me.
Probably not for the end of the
podcast, but like there's this
concept of turning completeness.
So turning completeness is
basically if a language is turning
complete to like really kind of
simplify it, it's that it can.
Basically do anything that any
other programming language can do.
Like, if it's turning complete,
it means that, you know, it all
gets compiled down to binary.
And like any turning, complete language
can technically do anything that any
other turning complete language can do to
kind of like simplify and boil it down.
So at the end of the day, whether you're
writing angular, I'm writing Java, you're
writing php, whatever, like it all just,
you know, boils down to zeros and ones.
So you can do everything
with each language.
It's just harder to do some things.
A lot harder.
Almost impossible cuz like, you know,
there's like other stuff like, you know,
you can't look PHP on a iPhone like that.
There's like stuff like that.
But you could, cuz it's all running.
Like it's all you could, and
when I'm going with this is like
you're, you can do anything with anything.
it's more of like the
ui, the dx on top of it.
Like what's easy and like what's
you know, easy to do and what's
harder to do, like what are you
fighting against and stuff like that.
And like, there's something kind of nice
about realizing, like any technology
you pick, you can do anything you want.
You just wanna like, you
know, kind of like
find that perspective where like, you
to like see the compiled code, you
couldn't tell me which one was which
cuz no one could like, I mean, you
could, but like, you couldn't tell me
by just looking at, it's just zeros and
ones and there's no way to really know.
It's like the server doesn't care.
The server has no clue what
language you're building with.
And like, again, they def like, and we're,
so we're stacking things on top of things.
On top of things.
Like if you're doing, you know, react,
you're doing reactor compiles into,
you know, type script compiles, j j
which is compiled into like, and
just, I don't even know at this point.
Like what it compiles into is like
different run times to different stuff.
And like, it's, it's so fascinating to me.
Like it's, it is.
It's not just, you know,
you can do anything.
It's not like they're inventing
new stuff at this point.
Like everything you can do
has been kind of invented.
It's just like, how do
you make it easier to do?
Like, I kind of feel like this is like
a weird way to like end this argument.
But like, Matt's my new office right now.
We've been in this office like three
years and like we had another office
that was like downstairs and right
around the corner, so it's like the
same city block, just like around.
And like when we moved offices, my
like experience was so different.
Like we're still within walking
distance of almost the same stuff,
but like my perspective just shifted
on like, oh, okay, like I didn't
notice this restaurant over here
or like, this restaurant's easier.
Or like, this coffee shop's easier to
get to cause I didn't have to cross
the street here and stuff like that.
And like, it just, even though I like
didn't go very far, it like completely
changed how I think about stuff.
And I feel like that's what
programming languages can be like.
And you do the same stuff, but you
get a different perspective and
like all of a sudden it's like, oh,
that's easy to do because like I
can do it now and stuff like that.
So that's my long rambly answer to
Matt: programming languages
are like moving offices.
Greg: I dunno what the question
was at the beginning, but
Matt: It was What are you excited about
Greg: I am excited about I'm excited to
make websites now like, because it's just
a great time to be starting something.
Like it's a great time to start a
new project because like next is so
good and it's just getting better.
Matt: Have you tried remix?
Greg: No, but did you did you say it?
Cause like when I walked in
here everyone else I was looking
at remix on their web, on
Oh, I, I've, I've
rebuilt Pickle and remix.
I've been using it a lot.
I love it.
Yeah, I love it.
Greg: I mean, I don't
really care if it's next.
It doesn't have to be next.
Like next is just one of my, and
again, I don't think, I don't wanna
like say next is not gonna be around
five years, but like, statistically
speaking, it's not what from five years
ago, like, are we still really like
loving, not using Sure, but like loving
Matt: what that has, what has
around from five years ago?
Greg: I mean,
I still use stuff from five years ago,
but I'm not the best the best example.
Matt: but you know what I'm saying?
Like, there's a new thing, there's a
new cool thing every, all, all the time.
So I'm just really excited about this
like paradigm where like, like building
tools for like, just like this new layer
of like DX on top of stuff get me really
excited I think whatever that means.
Like this new way of thinking about
Matt: Developer experience.
Greg: I dunno if that was I dunno if
you wanted me to say like, there's
a new coffee shop that I like
or something like that, but I'm.
I'd rather like burst again where
I'm like back to like learning new
stuff and like, I'm like, this is
such a great time to be learning new
Matt: I don't think you
should stop learning stuff.
But I think like the, the web dev,
like the web world over the past
five years, like you remember those
like memes from like five years ago.
Like, this is how you get started
have to compile through Babel es
and like, there's so many stuff.
And like that sucked, but it pushed
everything forward where like
better, type script got better.
Next became a thing.
Like so much thing like React got better.
Like React was not great when it started.
It wasn't bad.
There was like cool ideas in it, but
like Angular and React in my mind were
pretty similar as far as having cool
ideas, but like one built and iterate
and like did something really cool of,
and like, my point there is like, you
know, you should never stop learning,
but like, sometimes it's, sometimes like,
web dev, I think like program in general
like goes back and forth as a pendulum.
Like it goes like, you know, very liberal.
Like it's, it's You know, it doesn't
compile like just on the fly,
everything's magical and all that.
And then it gets hardened and hardened
and hardened as people like Ed, like
layer like type script on top of
like that, like pendulum shift to like
the, like you can just do everything.
That's all magical.
But then it's like, okay, well
okay, we can't be that magical cuz
like, there's security concerns.
You can't be that magical because
speed, you can't like, and they
start like tighten things up and
then like the pendulum swings again.
And like it's, we're at that
swinging of the pendulum where it's
like, oh, now it's really cool.
Like now it's in a really good spot.
And then what's gonna happen is like this
for new, for me years and like someone
come up with something like brand new.
which has been around forever,
popular maybe like 10 years ago,
eight years ago, seven years ago.
Started to be like, get a little bit of
respect cuz like it got, people started
like rapidly iterating on it and now
it's got to a really good point and it's
gonna keep going that way, but eventually
it's gonna go too far and someone's
gonna come along and start from scratch
again and be like, this is amazing.
It's a new language you've never
heard of and it's really simple
and friendly and fun and like
Matt: I use Rust.
I yeah, it could be rust, but I dunno,
that's a, that's very high level don't
really, I could go like more in depth
with my, like, thoughts on alt tech, but
like, I think it's a pendulum and like
we're in this really good spot of the
pendulum and it's gonna get worse at some
point and it's gonna get better again.
And it's gonna get worse again.
It's gonna get better.
I kind of like, the jQuery days was
like, that was, you know, great.
That was like peak web dev because
like, things were really nice and all it
all worked, like all these like random
ideas came together and started to work.
Not just jQuery but like,
everything like PHP got better.
Like it just worked and then like
it got worse and worse and then
like, Ruby came along and changed
how people thought about stuff.
Like the express and node came along
and how people, it just like, it's every
few years like it, it just hits this
point where everything kind of comes
together and feels really, really great.
And I think we're in that spot right now.
Matt: All right.
How do we wrap this up?
Greg: I dunno.
You probably could just cut there.
Matt: No, no,
Greg: final question,
Matt: Final question.
What startup are you really excited about
or what company, new product, new feature
that's not yours, something new that's out
there that you're really excited about?
It can be anything.
It doesn't have to be tech.
it can be like a new shoe
company or something.
Greg: Oh, I don't know if it's, so
this is, I'm only saying this because
like I just I was just thinking
it was like five minutes ago.
There's like a new breed of
software that I really love.
Like Superhuman might have been like the
first in this, but like, I think Raycast
is one of the best apps I've ever used.
And then Linear is the other one,
like those two, like they're very,
like, they're created with like
new, like type of software and like
they're informed by other software.
Like, it's not like they like came
outta nowhere and like, you know,
build software like out of nowhere.
But like and I, I'll, you know, I'll
probably get bored of it cause like
linear and superhuman and Ray has like,
they all kinda look the same and it's
like, okay, like at some point it's
gonna go out, out of Vog a little bit.
But like, it just, like, they're different
enough from like previous stuff and
like, I just, they iterate quickly.
Matt: is it in less than 60 seconds,
what is it that you like about
them that makes 'em different?
Is it that they, you know, I know
that I know a lot of'em are s be fast
and help you, like, optimize your
They're fast, they're opinionated, and
they were built by people who really
understood how people were doing.
So same as, like I said about next,
like, it's like it's, it's, it's clearly
built by someone who, to your point, uses
the product and is like building it for
themselves and not just for themselves,
but like building it for someone
with the exact same use case they do.
Realizing that most people
have the same use case.
And it's just, again, it's just,
there's really nice software out there
today and I'm just really excited
that I get to use a lot of this Nice
a lot of this nice software day.
Well, thanks for, thanks for
being on the podcast again.
Matt: Any, any shoutouts you wanna
No, I got no shoutouts.
But I'm always in, so in a
year, two years, whatever.
Matt: Where, where can people follow you?
Are you on Twitter still?
Greg: I am on Twitter for now.
As long as it's solvent just today that
he's like, might go bankrupt next week,
But twitter.com, that's t w i t t e r
dot c o m slash no, g G k o b e r g e r.
Greg: Thanks Matt
Matt: see ya.