07: Noah Kagan

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This is a podcast episode titled, 07: Noah Kagan. The summary for this episode is: If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. --- A few weeks ago, the Drift team went down to Austin, TX for some team bonding and tacos. While we were there, David and I stopped by AppSumo to catch up with Noah Kagan and thought it would be fun to record a podcast. We talked about everything from the biggest mistake startups make, to morning routines, favorite books, and the importance of surrounding yourself with better people. Tweet about this episode right now by clicking this link: http://ctt.ec/7B0RG Every now and then, we send an email exclusively for Seeking Wisdom listeners. You can get on the email list here: http://go.drift.com/seeking-wisdom David on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dcancel Noah on Twitter: https://twitter.com/noahkagan Dave on Twitter: https://twitter.com/davegerhardt stay #seekingwisdom

Speaker 2: That was good.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, that was really good. I hope you all paid attention to that. I always like inaudible.

Speaker 2: What's up everybody? Thanks for listening to another episode of Seeking Wisdom. A couple of weeks ago, the whole Drift team went down to Austin, Texas, to do a little off site hang out for a couple of days, and while we were down there David and I went over to visit Noah Kagan and the crew over at App Sumo. And we hung out with Noah for about an hour, recorded a podcast that was all over the map. Talked about learning, favorite books, what David and Noah do in the morning, this things most start ups get wrong, and a bunch of other stuff. I think you're going to enjoy this one. So, here it is. Here is David Cancel and Noah Kagan on Seeking Wisdom. What's the number one thing that people get wrong with start ups? They're all marketing, just say with a start up, the crosstalk.

Noah Kagan: The most obvious thing that... I was just talking to someone on the phone about this. The number one immediate thing is they don't make money. That's the most immediate thing. It's a business, not a non- profit, and everyone's like... Everyone plays business, this is what a friend, Ryan, told me. Everyone's playing business. They get a tool, they're using all these tools, reading all these blog posts, but they're not actually trying to make money, right? And so it's like how do they accelerate that time or minimize that time to actually get money and validate that someone wants the idea, service or product that they're building.

Speaker 2: Is that a product of this culture? This start up culture, where it's like, " Oh, you don't have to make money on day one." Whereas, if you start a hardware store and you didn't make money, you'd be like, " Fuck, I'm going out of business."

David Cancel: I don't know. My answer was going to be similar, which is like mental masturbation.

Noah Kagan: Did I just steal your crosstalk.

David Cancel: crosstalk.

Noah Kagan: So, I stole David's answer. I want to apologize to everyone listening.

David Cancel: Yeah, just like mental masturbation, whether it's reading or doing or not starting or starting, and then playing and just not realizing that it's a business and that you have a timeline, and that whether you bootstrap it or self fund it, or you're on the other extreme and you raise money, not knowing that it is a business, right? So, even on the extreme end of people raising a lot of money, I've talked to so many of them and they don't realize that they have to return money some day. That's the flip side of that equation; someone's expecting money.

Noah Kagan: Yeah. But the problem is everyone listening... Is this a podcast, or what is this called?

David Cancel: Yeah, podcast.

Noah Kagan: Podcast.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: Okay, wow. It's pod and a cast.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: Okay. Within that...

David Cancel: What is it? You've never heard of them?

Noah Kagan: No. This new technology.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: I'm still on tapes.

David Cancel: Tapes.

Noah Kagan: So, here's the thing that crazy, and I think you've noticed this, you've seen hundreds of people, you've started many successful companies. I hope we're recording this too because we had some really good stuff you guys all missed out on.

Speaker 2: That's right.

Noah Kagan: Here's the problem though. Everyone thinks their business idea is the unique one.

David Cancel: Oh yeah.

Noah Kagan: That's the problem. Everyone listening is like, " David and Noah don't know shit. Even though they've started a few successful companies, they don't know anything. My idea needs funding." Not even just funding, " My idea needs to be built. My idea needs time. I'm the one that's going to go opposite of a lot of things that are successful." A lot of the most successful companies that we... and mine are now, basically started with not a lot of money, with not a lot of capital. Let's go through. Dell, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, even... and I think Amazon was self funded from the beginning?

David Cancel: He raised money from his parents.

Noah Kagan: But a lot of those companies started out small, didn't use a lot of money, made sure that it was validated with the customer, and then they wanted to expand it and make it, 10 years later, a successful company.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: You are not the unique one. I think I just want to burst everyone's bubble. Go get a dog from someone. Who was your first... What was the first customer payment you got in the past companies that you're like, " Okay, it's real."

David Cancel: Yeah. As soon as someone gave me physical money.

Noah Kagan: Do you remember?

David Cancel: Their names?

Noah Kagan: No, no, anyone's or company?

David Cancel: Yeah, totally. Even at Drift and then Performable, just going out and selling someone and getting them to give us 10 bucks and just sign their name on 10 bucks.

Noah Kagan: Who was the first Drift customer?

David Cancel: We had a couple. We had Price Intelligently, I don't know if you know Patrick?

Noah Kagan: Oh really?

David Cancel: Yeah, yeah. Patrick, pretty early on.

Noah Kagan: Nice. How did that happen?

David Cancel: We knew him. We just went to him.

Noah Kagan: And what did you say?

David Cancel: Hey, here's what we're working on. Blah, blah, blah, we're working on... He's helping on the retention side, we're helping understanding customers, how do you keep customers and how do you know what they hell they're doing, and more importantly how do you upsell those customers?

Noah Kagan: Yeah.

David Cancel: And so, do you want to do anything? It's like, "Yeah." "Okay, give us," whatever it was, 10 bucks, 20 bucks. I don't remember what the dollar was.

Noah Kagan: Is that really... You had like just... Why didn't you give it to him for free? That's your boy. Patrick's your boy.

David Cancel: That's your boy. Because you've got to validate, right. You validate. Because at Performable we learned this thing which was... we used to call it dollar test, I remember, something like that, which was... It was mostly on asking for new features. This was past the point that they were already paying us, and just saying... Someone would ask for new shit, more shit, more shit, more shit, and at one point we were just like, " Okay, it's going to be$ 5 more a month," whatever it was, and we were just making shit up. And then we noticed that almost no one would back and say... They basically would say, " Okay, no, let me get back to you. I need to talk to John in the office," or whatever. " We need that, though, it's critical. Pay$ 5." Then time would pass and we're like, " They never came back. They're paying us already but they never came back with the$ 5 thing. And so we just kept doing that over and over, and no one would come back. And basically you put a price on something...

Noah Kagan: So, they wouldn't want it at that point, or they would want...

David Cancel: They wouldn't care enough, because when it's free it's easy to say, " I want that. No, give me this, give me that, give me that." The minute you say, " Give me a dollar for it," it's like, "Let me think about it."

Noah Kagan: You find out how important it really is to them.

David Cancel: Exactly, yeah.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, that's a really good point. I'm going to do that.

David Cancel: So, email the existing customers, right?

Noah Kagan: Yeah. Or you've said just the difference between asking... going from nothing to just a dollar is like some type of decision needs to be made

David Cancel: Totally. So, try it.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, I like that one. What's the... You start this one.

David Cancel: Okay.

Noah Kagan: What's the best thing you've done selfishly for your own career or personal development?

David Cancel: What's the best thing? Not giving a fuck. Yeah, number one.

Noah Kagan: But did that start... It's easier for you to say that now because you've had some success.

David Cancel: No, it was the beginning.

Noah Kagan: You said, "I don't give a fuck," from day one?

David Cancel: No, it was basically like I had nothing to lose. I feel like so many people have something to lose, either...

Noah Kagan: How did you get to that? Did you grow up poor?

David Cancel: Yeah, yeah, I grew up lower income.

Noah Kagan: I don't know.

David Cancel: Oh, okay. I grew up low income. My...

Noah Kagan: What's low... How much is low income?

David Cancel: I don't know how much my parents made but my mom and dad both immigrated to US. my mom was a seamstress, worked out of her house, and my dad did construction stuff, and so I don't know what they were actually earning at that point but we lived in middle class neighborhood by accident but we were lower income. And so, I basically didn't have anything to lose, right, and I felt like everyone who was around... I didn't know this at that time, but everyone who was around me had something to lose. They went to a particular school, their parents expected them to make X amount of money, they had this kind of lifestyle thing. And it was just like I didn't have anything to lose.

Noah Kagan: How did you get that motivation to get that, do you know what I mean? Because I think there's both sides of things, where they can't progress through it, and someone like yourself comes up big time?

David Cancel: For me, it was... I don't know, but I think it's just being around my parents for seven days a week. That was my normal. And it wasn't like, "Oh, we're working a lot," they were doing what they were interested in doing. My mom was sewing, my dad was building stuff, that's what they were passionate about, and they worked seven days a week but they were always there for us. So I grew up around that and then I grew up being bored in school and wanting to... As soon as I could work, I would just like to do any job, work in a supermarket or work in a warehouse, work in whatever, and then I could see... I guess, now you call it mastery of that. I was willing... I started to notice, " Oh, I can work harder than other people," or I could do more than other... Other people would quit before I quit. I didn't know this going into it, but you just start seeing that pattern over and over, and then that developed. " Okay, I'm good at this. I have nothing to lose if I fail. What's the worse thing that would happen? Nothing, right?"

Noah Kagan: So, with that mind too, you've sold now two companies, or three maybe, more than I realize...

David Cancel: Four.

Noah Kagan: Four? Jesus. How do you keep that? How do you maintain that type of tenacity or nothing to lose kind of... Is it just ingrained at this point, or how do you maintain it after you crosstalk.

David Cancel: No, I think I go back and I'm constantly oscillating between two ends, which is... Before we started recording this, we were talking about books that we like and I was saying Made In America, which is a Same Walton book. And this is back to your question there, why I probably end up rereading it all the time, which is, you feel like you've progressed, you've put some points on the board, and then you start getting wild. And then I reread that book and read about him being the richest man in the world and driving a pick up truck and working seven days a week, and I'm like, " Shit, I've got to get back on track." Go back to the other extreme. It's almost like... the other thing we were talking about before we started; cutting and bulking? It's the same thing. You're going back from either extreme and you're hoping to, in the middle, be pretty good, but you're oscillating between these two ends. So I think that's how I do it. Not only that book, but I go extreme back the other end, and maybe that's what you're doing with downsizing, new apartments, whatever.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, which makes sense.

Speaker 2: What's your thing for selfish?

Noah Kagan: Oh, I'm super selfish. I think two things. You know what I hate, when people are like, " Hey, A or B," and they're like, " C."

David Cancel: C.

Noah Kagan: But I think at the same time...

Speaker 2: His thing is... You guys are like, " Should we be doing this or that," and he goes, " Both."

Noah Kagan: Yeah.

Speaker 2: Always.

David Cancel: That's the joke.

Noah Kagan: But I think there's something there, like if you're starting a business, you're basically doing something that hasn't been done, so it's proving something that hasn't been proven. So, at work, of course there's problems, so I think mindset is like... Lately, I'm just trying to get even better myself at it. What's the solution? We all have problems. Every day there's a problem. This person thinks... And your default to be, "Oh, that just won't work," what this person says, but then you're like, "Oh, okay." So I'm just trying to keep reminding myself, " What's that solution or what is the solution?" So, selfishly, two things that have helped me; number one was being in Facebook. So, I was only there a little bit of time and I was fired, there's a story online, there's a book on Amazon, it's free.

David Cancel: Mm- hmm( affirmative).

Noah Kagan: I think the biggest takeaway from that, and I just called to get the job, I sent my resume, was being around other people. And here's how you know you're around better people; if you're not feeling uncomfortable, you're not around better people. Everyone thinks they have good friends. No one thinks their friends suck, unless... I mean, maybe a few, but everyone's like, " All these people are smart. I'm around good people." But are you actually uncomfortable with how they are around you? That's how you know you're around better people, because you're like, " That was really good idea. That guys really good, yeah. This girl's really smart," and then it kind of pushes you. I probably grew the most selfishly just being around the guy who designed Napster, Zuckerberg, project managers, guys who are now running job blocks, guys who started Quora. So, being around people that were honestly just on another level. And if you don't know that person, ask someone impressive who they know that's impressive, and you can always find someone, even if you're in Ohio or in a foreign country. Second thing that was super selfish, and it wasn't intentional but now in retrospect I encourage anyone's who's younger, starting out maybe in your 20s or even in college or high school, put on events. Selfishly, that was the greatest way that I've ever connected with people. And I got access to everyone; Max Levchin at PayPal, James Hong, Hot or Not, Suicide Girls, Plenty of Fish, Guy Kawasaki, Aaron M. Hoffman, Tim Ferris. All these people that I was able to connect with was only because I started becoming a hub in connecting people through online, but mostly offline, conferences and small meet ups. So, if you're in a small city, do it online, if you're in a bigger city, pay for the dinner. It'll probably be one of the best investments you can do. But crosstalk.

Speaker 2: So, you're like the facilitator of these people.

Noah Kagan: And they all look back to you. So, even this morning, there's two guys who are doing product... VPs of product at very large companies in LA, and I put them together. And it wasn't self... It's not intentionally selfishly but ultimately they're like, " Oh cool, Noah too," but I want them to form a strong relationship, and everyone comes back to, "Who was the hub and spoke around that?"

Speaker 2: We talk about role models all the time, and just how people think a role model needs to be some person or name that you look... specific person that you think about ever day.

Noah Kagan: Like an idol.

Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah. But it's really just what you say, which is role models are the people that you can surround yourself with. And you learn this from this person and...

David Cancel: And so how do you keep that now? Especially now that you moved from the area to Austin? Probably big fish here?

Noah Kagan: Yeah. It's a different experience, right, and I've gone through phases. I think what a lot of people have to do is look aback on what's... This is one thing I talk about with my friends, you have to look back on what's got me successful, and then keep doing it.

David Cancel: Yes.

Noah Kagan: A lot of times, what we do is... and it's kind of coming back to not having anything to lose... You're like, " Man, this felt really good. I did all this stuff." Maybe you're doing pig marketing and you're like, " Oh, I'll just turn down the pig marketing." And then in six months you're like, "Why's business down?" Because we stopped doing the pig marketing.

David Cancel: We talk about that every time, every day.

Noah Kagan: That's all the fucking time. And so, for me, what I do with Austin is I realized that a lot of my satisfaction and fulfillment in life comes from being around inspired people. Hearing your story. I never heard that stuff. It's actually amazing because hearing more of your story makes me even like you more. I just don't... It's not that I didn't like you.

David Cancel: Yeah, yeah, it makes sense.

Noah Kagan: And so, what I do is two things intentionally. So, one, I moved just my physical location. So, in my calendar, if you go on my calendar, it says move location every three months. It's on auto repeat. Every three months, it's like, " Change your location." It's not always have to move consistently but I know that I'm inspired in new places. So, I live in Austin, it's smaller, so instead of making an excuse, " I've come to Austin, there's no one around me," I go and fly... Last week I was in LA, Next week I'm going to Seattle, and then two months ago I was in San Francisco. And I go out of my way, even though I'm like, " I don't really want to go. I have my girlfriend here, I've got a good lifestyle here," I go because I know it serves me and it's what's served me in the past. Second thing is, and this I'm not always great at but it's just proactively tying to meet new people from the people I already know.

David Cancel: Even here?

Noah Kagan: Even here, yeah. Here, as well as...

David Cancel: Everywhere.

Noah Kagan: Anywhere. I think a lot of people... I don't know, I get a lot of inspiration, so it's like what people... I think, for a lot of people who are maybe starting out, who are listening to podcasts. Maybe you're starting out or you have a successful business, the easiest thing to do is who are you already in mind that you have access to, or who do you want to replicate? So, if you're starting your business, whose business is doing really well? Obviously, don't go... If you go to someone big, start with one of their junior people, but those people are pretty accessible. So, for someone you're admiring, reach out to them or find someone who knows them. One of my favorite things, like I'm going to Seattle, so a buddy of mine runs Outreach. io, I don't know if you're familiar with them?

David Cancel: Yeah, yeah. I've seen it.

Noah Kagan: So, Manny's a good buddy, not a great buddy but good buddy, and so I asked him. I'm like, " Hey, let's go and have drinks. My treat. Just one drink, you treat for the rest." Always treat the first one crosstalk. Yeah.

David Cancel: Yeah, yeah.

Noah Kagan: But then I said, " Who's one person that's interesting that you could bring?" And I did this last week in LA. I met Larry Brown with Sports. com. Larry Brown is awesome. And he brought Kai Lee, and Kai Lee was just this super interesting guy. And so that expanded my network but it also expanded my inspiration. So, my two points, I'd say, how do you get the most of being in a non- major city? One, move to a major city, there's a reason why everyone's there. If you're trying to do movies, you go to Hollywood. But if you're not, or you're limited by family or finances, do it virtually and then... So, physically try to do it, or do it virtually, and then try to meet with certain people that you think would inspire or admire you.

David Cancel: Yeah. Makes sense.

Speaker 2: Are you guys both creatures of habit? You have things you do often?

David Cancel: Do you sense that?

Speaker 2: I sense that, yeah, yeah. What's your... You start this one. What's your... How do you start...

Noah Kagan: When you say you start this one, they have no idea who you is.

Speaker 2: Well, they'll know next. They'll know next.

David Cancel: When they hear my voice.

Speaker 2: You, David.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Speaker 2: What's your morning routine? How do you start every day?

David Cancel: So, I've been doing... For the last year, I've been doing this experiment when I start every morning in the same way. So, I do yoga for 20 minutes, very simple routine. I had never done yoga before. So, I do yoga, then I read a book a certain amount, then after that then my kids are waking up usually, and so I spend...

Speaker 2: What time do you get up?

David Cancel: 5: 00. Yeah.

Speaker 2: What time do you get up?

Noah Kagan: 6: 30.

Speaker 2: Oh my god, you guys get up so early.

David Cancel: Yeah. So I get up at 5: 00. It's the only way I can do it with kids, right? So, then my kids get up and then I hang with them. So, my thing is I want to spend mornings with my kids because I'm almost never there at night because there's always something going on. So I'll spend time with them, then drink coffee, then I'm finally checking email or whatever and catching up.

Speaker 2: How do you resist that temptation?

David Cancel: It's so fucking hard, dude. It's so hard. This is the Buddhist meditation man. I'm just like, "Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it. Don't touch it, don't touch it." It's so hard. And so, that's been the experiment more than anything. More than the yoga, more than the reading, it's been resisting, trying to be intentional about the day instead of just... I just wanted to see, was there a real difference between starting each day the way that I was, which was reacting to shit that's just going on, versus, " No, I'm going to ignore that, be proactive, and then I'll get to the reactive stuff on my schedule." And I just wanted to see was there a real difference?

Speaker 2: Did you start noticing a difference?

David Cancel: Huge difference for me. Just in how calm I could remain, and also my...

Noah Kagan: Can you ever remain calm?

David Cancel: Yeah. Remain calm.

Noah Kagan: inaudible recording the podcast thing? Just remain calm. Remain calm.

David Cancel: I'm calm, I'm calm.

Noah Kagan: This is inaudible talk, leave the business to you and me.

David Cancel: Yeah. And then the other thing, which is feeling that I got something done that day went up, because I had time to think about what I was going to focus on that day, versus it was just easier to fall into just reacting to other people's stuff.

Speaker 2: What made you start it? Because you said you've been doing it now... You started crosstalk...

David Cancel: A year ago.

Speaker 2: ...previous ones. But do you remember, around a year ago, what triggered it or what started this?

David Cancel: I read... It was one of the many books that I read somewhere around being intentional. I cant' remember which book it was. But we've all read many, many books that have the same message around being intentional, starting each day with this. And I think it was the five minute journal kind of stuff, which is part of my morning routine. So, I journal stuff that I want to get done, stuff that I'm grateful for. Three things, three things. I think that led to it.

Speaker 2: Do you still do that?

David Cancel: Yeah, every morning.

Speaker 2: Wow.

David Cancel: So, I do three things that I have to do before I do anything reactive, which is, be on... Of course my kids are the most important if I'm home, but yoga, which is my form of meditation, reading, and then five minute journal, to start the day.

Speaker 2: I love it.

Noah Kagan: I mean, one thing I love for myself, because I love that it's an evolution, you're trying things, you're adding things, you're removing things. You didn't do those all at once? You didn't just go from like-

David Cancel: No way.

Noah Kagan: So, I think that, for myself and for the listeners too, I don't know if you've noticed it, but he didn't just go hard core, like he's doing this super human morning. He's drinking bullet proof coffee, he's meditating four hours, he's levitating and shit.

David Cancel: Yeah, I always do the bullet proof before that, that'd be super great.

Noah Kagan: But what did you start with, and did you remove anything? Is there anything you were doing-

David Cancel: Yeah. Well, I was doing bullet proof, I was trying to work out before. So, I was trying to work out before I started everything, and that was just becoming hard to get up early enough to do it. I do that at a different time of day now. So I flipped the order of things and I started with the reading, then I added the yoga before that, and then the five minute journal was before then, then I added it back in. So I keep experimenting with these things. But it's a progression, you've got to do one at a time. I mean, we were talking about tidying up before we started, and right now I've just got these three things I'm doing, plus some other things, and I just need all of those to be concrete before I can experiment by taking one out or adding something else.

Noah Kagan: Yeah.

David Cancel: It's just a stack.

Noah Kagan: No, I thought your stack was really interesting because I was like, Dave, why don't you... We were talking about, like you mentioned, tidying up, which I love. And I read it and I just threw away a lot of stuff that doesn't really give me joy, just like the book. And I was like, "David, why don't you do it? You've read the book?" And he's like, I'm already focused on these three things. And it's the glass is full thing we were talking. Actually, you can't pour more into a full glass, so I like that. It's interesting for you too. You started small, you're adding things, and then you're kind of iterating as you go.

David Cancel: Yeah. And we'll see if I can add more or if I have to take stuff away.

Noah Kagan: I think one thing that I've noticed for myself; I don't have this amazing morning routine, I just do my own thing. I think it's also how do you make it hard for yourself to do the things that you... the reactive thing. Even when there's like... It's like Christmas morning every morning. I haven't seen this joke but no one ever laughs, which sucks. I'm always like, "It's Christmas morning..." Oh, I guess Hanuka morning?

David Cancel: Yeah, Hanuka morning.

Noah Kagan: You're like, "All these fucking people have stayed up late emailing me so they could have me respond their shit." I think the two things I would say, one, with email and Instagram and social, now that there's access to the phone, you work around the clock, you don't work at... Eight hour days, it's bullshit now; it's like eight hours around the whole day. It's just like how much of it is... Just think about when you do it one day, actually how much of it actually beneficial? In that morning, how much is it beneficial for getting my mind right? The other thing that I've tried to do is how do I make it harder for myself to work at home? So, I have a shitty computer at home.

David Cancel: You do?

Noah Kagan: Yeah, I intentionally crosstalk it.

David Cancel: What is it?

Noah Kagan: It's a MacBook but it's not a fast one, which... Upstairs, here in our office at SumoMe. com... plug.

David Cancel: Plug.

Noah Kagan: SumoMe. com, inaudible website, I have a MacBook Pro double circuit GDR, DDR RAM, top of the line drive and all this shit. But at home I have the smallest MacBook. If I try to do more than one thing, I can't do it, and it helps me kind of... At home, I'm like, "All right, well I can't work that much." The battery life is not cool so I have to plug it in. I basically try to set it up to make it harder for that, right? As my friend says, it's easier to run away from the dragon than to slay a dragon, so the harder it is to use my... I don't have my phone in my bedroom, I generally don't use an alarm so I want to wake up when I'm ready. I try to sleep in the dark. But I do think there's times when I grab my phone and I just get on it, and 15 minutes later, in the morning there's just no benefit to this.

David Cancel: So you don't bring it into your bedroom?

Noah Kagan: I have it outside the bedroom.

David Cancel: That's good.

Noah Kagan: That works for me. And I think, to your point, for myself it's a good reminder, try new things in the morning. So, try not reading your email till you get to the office. Don't even look at your phone till you get to the office.

David Cancel: That's tough.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, I know.

David Cancel: The other pattern that I fall into...

Noah Kagan: The pattern, that's the thing, right? You wake up, you do this, you do this, you do this, and then... I think, to my Mom's detriment, this is a thing from her. My mom will keep doing things even though it's not good for her.

David Cancel: Most people.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, because they don't reevaluate it. And so, the problem is you don't want to reevaluate every single moment and remove things, but I think there's some balance where, " I'm doing this bullet proof coffee. I miss eggs." I remember when I used to have eggs, I'm happier, so try it for a week; you have eggs and no bullet proof, and then evaluate.

David Cancel: I love the experiments, yeah.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, so try out these little experiments and see. And I think, for you, what was really fascinating was, " This made my day feel more... I got more done."

David Cancel: Yeah. I think the other thing that... We were talking about things coming off the stack, that I've given up, is... Man, email's been... I've fallen into the... I used to order all email, right? Try to answer all email back in the day, and now I basically don't answer them unless they need an answer. So, emails fall into two categories for me right now. Either answered in 30 seconds or I never answer them. If I don't answer it in 30 seconds...

Noah Kagan: They'll text you if they really want to.

David Cancel: Yeah, exactly. It's something about that, which is just, " No, I'm not going to..." Which makes me a shitty person for not answering emails but...

Noah Kagan: Not at all.

David Cancel: I can't.

Noah Kagan: This is the thing. People are cheap with your time. They're emailing you some, " David, I need this thing," but 99% don't follow up because they're cheap and they're lazy and they don't actually want it. If they really wanted it, they'd follow up and email you until it actually... in a non- annoying way, until it happens. The other thing that I thought in relation to this; the amount of emails you get is proportional to how many you send.

David Cancel: Totally.

Noah Kagan: If you're fucking emailing a lot, you're going to have a lot of email. If you don't respond to people, they just, "Well, not responding," and then the ones that really make it through, they'll text you, they'll call you, they'll snail mail you, they'll tweet you, and eventually they'll get through.

David Cancel: Get through. I believe that.

Speaker 2: A lot of people are... How do you guys say no? When you do have to say no, do you just straight up say no? Because a lot of people say, " Yeah, it's easy. I get an email and I ignore it, but then I feel like a dick." Or, " I have to say no and I feel terrible." How do you actually say no?

Noah Kagan: So, two things. One, Dharmesh taught me; he says he's phone phobic. So, a lot of people want to do phone calls, "Okay, let's do a quick 15 minute call," and I'm like, " Oh, you know what, I have a phone phobia. I can't..." Now a lot of our generation has phone phobia so it's a little more normal. " Can you just email me your questions?" " Sure." So, that's the number one I'll use. Dharmesh, I love it. Two, I'll do TLTR. So, if somebody emails me, I'll just TLTR. I'm like, "It's too long to read," and I'll just respond with that. At the end of the day, it's my life, I don't get the time back, and I don't know if people actually calculate it but I calculate. Take an email, and even if I have to open it and move my mouse to delete it, times that by how many emails a day times... For everyone, not just me and David, for everyone. That's months, years of life, just responding to these people, so I don't mind saying TLTR. And then, honestly, the easiest one is, instead of saying no, just delete it. So, I've seen angry people who... Just archive, delete. " Oh, I never got it. That sucks."

Speaker 2: We talk about the thing that... The hardest part is the switching cost. You're doing something, you get an email, it sends you in a completely other direction and you don't just instantly get back into that groove.

David Cancel: That's what I do now. I don't reply, just delete it.

Noah Kagan: Do you keep your email browser open? You eMail or Gmail or Mail?

David Cancel: I do. So that's a good question because I used to turn it off, now I keep it open and then try to resist it, which I usually do. It's hard, though.

Noah Kagan: And you can do different tactics? It's tough. You can do different tactics like remove it from your phone. I've never done that but that would be interesting. Or do you still have the tabs open inaudible?

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: When the tabs... It's hard not to... We're, I guess, trained for that inaudible. We're like, " Okay, what's the new present I got?"

David Cancel: I should do that.

Noah Kagan: But I think one thing I'd love for people to think about themselves, really think about it, I'm doing it for myself too. How many emails have you gotten today that really changed your business? How many emails were like... If you're a salesperson, that's maybe a different story, but for a lot of other people, how many emails did you open or respond to that were like, " Oh my god, my business is so much more forward," versus me doing something else?

David Cancel: None. None is the answer. Yeah, none today.

Noah Kagan: No, unfortunately it's very small.

David Cancel: No, I've talked to some people who've done just auto response... I've never one the auto responder route.

Noah Kagan: It's kind of douchey.

David Cancel: It sounds too douchey.

Noah Kagan: Mind you, I get a lot of emails.

David Cancel: I'm not answering you, I have not read your email. Yeah. I just...

Noah Kagan: Someone said something funny about that. I thought it was so good. I think Chris inaudible said it. He was like, " All these people who have auto responders, they always encourage you to join their mailing list."

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: And Chris said that and I was like, " That's true."

David Cancel: That's genius.

Noah Kagan: So true.

David Cancel: That's genius. He's smart.

Speaker 2: What are you... So, you said you try not to have work stuff at home? Email sucks. When you get work thoughts or ideas about what you guys are doing here, for example, where do those go? Do you write them down?

Noah Kagan: I write everything down. The people I hate the most in the world... Top three, okay, not most. Top five, maybe. Is that when you tell them something and they're like, " Oh yeah, I should watch that. Oh yeah, we should do that," and I'm waiting for them to get their phone out or... I'm like, " Aren't you going to write that down?"

Speaker 2: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: Unless you're Chad, Chad the CEO of SumoMe. com. He doesn't write anything down and he remembers everything and he always follows through. So, I write down... I use either like... If it's a to do, I'll put it in remember the milk, and if it's... I think the problem with a lot of business is people do give you a lot of ideas or you come up with a lot of suggestions, so I put those in a buffer, which is my notes folder. And I just let it sit there for at least a few weeks. And if it comes up again, then I'll probably go see it and remember it. A lot of times, for me, just writing it down in my notes...

Speaker 2: Basically you think, "If it comes up again," because you got it out?

Noah Kagan: I got it out and then I can think at a later time if it's important or not. And I'll put things I don't really care about, maybe I just want to store it for the future, like my lock box code in Evernote. I think the most important thing is just writing it down. It's critical just to write it down. And whatever system people have, people are bold now, they've got something they're all using.

David Cancel: I do something similar, which is I just write it in a note but not... But I never read it... I almost never read it again. I just need to get it off, and then if it just keeps coming back up, either I can't get it out of my head or I just keep coming up with the same thought, then those are the things I usually pursue.

Noah Kagan: How do you deal with product? And I don't know if we're going to crosstalk.

David Cancel: Yeah, yeah, do it.

Noah Kagan: You're like the product expert. No, no, no, You've saved HubSpot from bankruptcy, is what I've heard. I mean, Compete. com, Performable. com, you have the new Drift. com which is going to do well.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: How do you... You have a lot of people, so you talk to customer meetings and they tell you, "David, give us this," and then you guys have your internal meetings. How do you filter that and then prioritize that?

David Cancel: Man, that's a fucking tough one.

Noah Kagan: I know that's a long questions. Maybe let's take the highlight reel of the ESPN top 10 of that.

David Cancel: Yeah. So, usually when I'm talking to people, like a prospective customer or current customer, I'm not... and they're just telling me, " Hey man, I need this, I need that, I need that, whatever," I'm not always listening to exactly what they're saying. I hear what they're saying and I may write down what they're saying but I'm trying to get to what is the actual problem that they're having? Is it actually the problem? And so a lot of that is weird in that I'm just listening to what words that they're saying about... what words they're using, and I'm just trying to observe how they're... and then I try to get into, " Well, how do you deal with that today?" " Well, I'm not dealing with that today." So, maybe not really a problem? So let me dig in there. They might say, " Hey, Noah, for SumoMe, man, we really need Pinterest integration."

Noah Kagan: They do. That's what they say.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: They say... Yeah, okay, go on.

David Cancel: "Need Pinterest, need Pinterest." " Oh, how much Pinterest stuff are you doing today?" " None. Okay, but I need Pinterest. Pinterest, number one thing that I need." " Okay, Pinterest. Okay, cool." And then you just keep going. " So, what else do you do... What do you do in each day? Show me your tabs? Show me what you are doing? Show me the problem that you are having? Show me your website?" I'm just looking and nothing has to do... They're a B2b marketer who sells pipes and they're talking about fucking Pinterest, and it's just like " Pinterest, Pinterest," because that's like a... Lots of times, when people are telling me about features, they're talking about aspirational things.

Noah Kagan: Oh, that's interesting, yeah.

David Cancel: I would love to be on the hot shit.

Noah Kagan: But what do they actually need now?

David Cancel: What do you actually need now? Your job is not this, right? This is some aspirational thing. I could talk all day about apps. We could talk about abs, abs, abs, and maybe from a marketing standpoint that's great, because you can use that as a lever on marketing, but if you ask me, " How often do you work on them?" " Zero. I don't work at it at all." " How's your diet?" " It sucks." " Blah, blah, blah," and you're like, " But I really need abs to inaudible." " Okay, but what do you do each day?" "Oh, I sit on the couch, watch TV." " Maybe I should build something better for TV than abs, because you're not going to use the abs. Or maybe I should just sell you some fake ab builder and then make money and-

Noah Kagan: Shake Weight.

David Cancel: Shake Weight, yeah.

Noah Kagan: So, for Drift.com, how has that evolved with product? Are you taking inputs and deciding what you want yourself? How has that evolved, and what have been some inflection points on those product decisions.

David Cancel: Couple of inflection points. We started out talking to people, mostly around how they're communicating either to customers or internally. It was around customer communication. And so, in the beginning, a lot of that shit started out internal; how you guys are talking about customers that you're working with, how do you take in... exactly what you asked me... customer feedback on product ideas, how do you turn that in? When you actually build something, how do you communicate that back to the customer, all of that kind of stuff. And it was really internally focused so it had to do with how teams were communicating. But the more that we kept talking to people, the more that we saw what they valued when we would talk to them was the communication that was going out to your customer. You guys know this at SumoMe, right? It was the stuff they were pushing out to customers, either prospects or customers, was the most important thing, it wasn't the internal dialogue as much because they had figured out some way to deal with that problem. And so those were inflection points for us. We were dealing around the same problem, we were focused at the wrong end of the problem.

Noah Kagan: How did you recognize that?

David Cancel: Because we... That's another good question. Because we saw them using our early stuff for both things, and so we were just trying to... kept asking, " Which one do you value most?" " Oh, both. I do it in here, I do it there." " What other tools do you use for internal?" "Oh, I've got Slack, I've got this, I've got that, I've got a bunch of tools there, and I use Drift for some of that stuff." But they basically told us after a while, after enough people, " Oh, the most valuable thing is when I send something out to a customer, because that's part of my job." Part of my job for most of these people, these were like...

Noah Kagan: What they're actually needing.

David Cancel: Yeah. These were mostly product marketers and product managers, and stuff like that was part of their job. The way that they were measured was, when they were communicating to customers and getting customers to do something, like use the product more, upgrade, whatever it was that they were trying the drive the customer to do, that's how they were getting measured internally so that's where they were motivated. So, I think a lot about alignment. This is a different topic but I think now all organizational problems are just alignment issues. Meaning, you look at a sales rep and the sales rep is bringing a lot of deals but a lot of those deals are churning, so instead of fixing the fundamental problem, you say, " Oh, we're going to have call backs, we're going to have this, we're going to have fancy map," but the sales rep doesn't give a shit because, " This month I'm getting comp on sales so I'm just going to sell as much of this shit as I can." Until you try to change the alignment, like if they sell bad things and customers go away, there won't be an ability to add new customers for them. And you can do that simply with territories, they talk a lot about, like old school thing. " Hey, you can only sell in Austin." So, if you burn and churn Austin, there's no more leads for you, right, so that changes... this is a weird example... the salesperson's alignment, so it's like, "Oh shit, maybe I should not be burning and churning through these people because I can only sell this area."

Noah Kagan: How do you organize all the different things you want to do? Your guys' roadmap and things? Is spreadsheets, Asana?

David Cancel: Okay. Tactics?

Noah Kagan: Oh no, I'm just interested more in how you do the buffer stuff and then how you do the actual stuff you're going to do?

David Cancel: Yeah. Bunch of different ways. We let the... We did this at HubSpot too. We ultimately organize three person teams internally and we let the teams really decide where their organization's going to be, instead of doing company- wide. So, some people will end up using Trello, some people would use GitHub Ticket. Whatever, spreadsheet, blah, blah, blah. My thing was like, I don't really care where it is, because for each team they've got a different way that works for them. You have a different method than I have.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, for sure.

David Cancel: So, me saying, " You can only use that one method because that's what I like," is not that useful. All I care about is, " Are you hitting the goals that we have?"

Noah Kagan: So, how do you guide them? So, let them do whatever tactics they want. How do you guide them to the right direction, like the alignment that we were talking about? How do you...

David Cancel: Okay, from a feature standpoint?

Noah Kagan: Yeah. From a higher level. Like, "All right, this team, you're responsible for this, you're responsible for this," but how do you make sure that they're on the right path that you want them to be on?

David Cancel: So, with product it's simply around the customer, so this team is... I don't know how you divide teams but...

Noah Kagan: No, I'd love to know how... It's a thought.

David Cancel: Yeah. So, let's say they own a portion of your product, like...

Noah Kagan: Let's just say email tools.

David Cancel: Yeah, email tools, that's easy.

Noah Kagan: crosstalk tools, or are we-

David Cancel: Yeah, yeah.

Noah Kagan: Okay.

David Cancel: So it's something that the customer can see that they think about as part of your product, but it's a discrete thing, it's not like half of a setting or half of a screen, it's email tools, crosstalk email tools. All right, so how do you measure that team's being effective? You look at... I would look at the customer metrics and measure those teams on the customer metrics. How many customers are using that tool? How many customers after 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, are using different features inside of email tools? For every new feature you release in there, how does each cohort, not only by time but also by plan size, how much they're paying us, how are they using those tools and are we basically increasing all of those cohorts over time? How does churn look like for email tool customers?

Noah Kagan: Yeah. And you're specializing, interesting.

David Cancel: Yeah. And then have the basic stuff that they would have as well. What's down time on email tools? What's speed on email tools just from a performance standpoint, and then what's the retention stuff and then what's the activation stuff for email tools specifically? And you've basically had that for each team and you're looking at week over week, month over month. And as long as those things are right, and I don't know what the metrics are for you, as long as those customer metrics are right, that the customers happier, they're using the tool more, they're paying you more money, then if they use Asana or Text Pad or Notepad, who gives a shit? It doesn't matter. And what you're doing is giving that team autonomy to decide. I don't care if you fucking use Asana or Trello or write it on your fucking shoe. You have a goal and we measure that goal, and everyone in the company sees that goal.

Noah Kagan: So, is it... Do the goals trickle down? Here's a common goal and then there's a goal that affects that goal, and then you have sub- goals that'll crosstalk.

David Cancel: Totally. But instead of having lots of company goals, it'll be very simple, right, like you have. We have a revenue goal. That's it. I don't care, I just want revenue goal and I want revenue with this kind of churn, right? So, email tools, figure out how to fucking do that.

Noah Kagan: How to make the revenue with this kind of churn?

David Cancel: Yeah. And I'm going to measure everything that you do based on that. New features, existing features...

Noah Kagan: How are they impacting them or not?

David Cancel: Exactly. And so you want to use whatever tool... I don't care, who cares? Do you need to see the roadmap that they have? No, who cares.

Noah Kagan: Oh really?

David Cancel: Yeah. We would have no roadmaps for that stuff.

Noah Kagan: No way, really?

David Cancel: Totally, yeah. HubSpot, we had zero maps.

Noah Kagan: So it was just more, " Here's your goal. Here's the revenue and churn goal," but more or less, there's variations for different businesses.

David Cancel: Totally. Here's the customer goals that we're measuring for the team, and then from a strategic standpoint, " Here's some themes that we want to hit this year." That's not a roadmap. That's not like, " This feature will be released on this date, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah," it's like, " These are the things that we want to do." And then what we did was we separate marketing events from product events, because usually most companies would tie those together and say, " Hey, you're going to release email tools next Tuesday. Okay, we're going to market the shit out of it next Tuesday." And that's when all shit goes bad, right, because it's like, " Well, they released it, it's fucking jenky, it doesn't really work." We drew up a lot of traffic to it, people are a little pissed off, you didn't give them a chance to have iterations. So, we could set marketing goals that... and sometimes that helps, like our marketing goals would be six months out after we have released something, people are using it already for six months. We never announced it to any one but they were already using it, and by the time we released it, now we had case studies, now we had iterated the shit out of that thing, we knew it was driving the metrics the right way. And we just did 10 iterations of it, that's when we did a big marketing push on that thing.

Noah Kagan: I like that. So, man, smaller teams, which is, I think inaudible your non- specific customer thing?

David Cancel: Goal.

Noah Kagan: Customer goal.

David Cancel: Mm- hmm(affirmative).

Noah Kagan: I like that, just a longer beta period. Because I think we do that. I'm assuming we push out... That's what we did at Facebook. You push it out, fix it right away, versus actually getting it in, having a lot more beta people, longer time frame. Make sure it's hitting the right goals. I like that.

David Cancel: Totally. Especially when you're pushing stuff out to paid users or to people who are increasingly paying you more. Their tolerance for shit not working goes down. It's different when it's free, so people are a bit more tolerant, but less so on email and stuff that fucks up their customer experience, right? Or takes down their website.

Noah Kagan: I like that, that's really good. Thank you.

David Cancel: No problem, man.

Speaker 2: That was good.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, that was really good. I hope you all paid attention. inaudible.

Speaker 2: We'll end with a couple of lighter ones. Not lighter but... You guys were talking a lot about reading before.

David Cancel: Mm- hmm(affirmative).

Speaker 2: Give us book recommendation or just talk about the book that's had the biggest impact on you personally or professionally?

Noah Kagan: Well, we were talking in the beginning about readers versus non- readers. Non- re- readers.

David Cancel: Non- re-readers.

Noah Kagan: So, there's people in the world who read a book once and those who read it many times. I read a book, and personally what I do... I don't know if it works for everyone... I always do a book report.

David Cancel: Oh, that's good. I always wanted to do that, I never could.

Noah Kagan: Well, you can do it even lazier now. So, in the beginning, with paper books kids, I don't know if you remember, I had to bunny ear and then... I'd try to underline it if I had a pen. If I didn't, after the book I'd always go back and undo the bunny ear and write a note on whatever that section was. Now, with Kindle you can just highlight and then you can export your highlight to an article. And so, now I'll even put my articles on OkDork. com. I'll just export my book reports.

David Cancel: That's awesome.

Noah Kagan: Not every book is worthy of a book report. Some are, some aren't.

David Cancel: Mm- hmm( affirmative).

Noah Kagan: I don't... you know, it's funny. I think most things... One blog poster's shit, no matter how great they are, the... A book is a blog post repeated 200 times, and so almost zero times has my life has really ever been changed by reading someone else's blog post. So I think if you're looking for substantial and sustainable change, I'd suggest reading more books consistently from successful people. I mean, in terms of the books, there's so many... I don't know, I have a lot of different books for different parts. So, I'll say, David, all of the above.

Speaker 2: Why do you do book reports?

Noah Kagan: It's a way that I can remember and highlight the most important parts of the book, because as we were talking about notes, for me, just the act of writing them down... Publishing is more to share them because I'm like, if I already wrote it, maybe I'll make it easy for someone to want to read the book, so I can make 45 cents on my Amazon affiliate link.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: Most importantly.

Speaker 2: But you rarely go back and read your notes?

Noah Kagan: I never. Not rarely, I don't read the notes, I don't read the book.

Speaker 2: Ever?

Noah Kagan: I skim the notes as I organize the article, the post, but just the idea of writing them down and getting the out there, for me, has helped me solidify... Every book, basically, you don't have more than two messages.

David Cancel: That's true.

Noah Kagan: Three in a good one.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: You're not taking away more than that.

Speaker 2: If you think about... People are like, " I don't want to spend money on books," or whatever. It's like you need one... You need to come away with one thing.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, one thing. One idea. All right, I got it. Stop the book. Or just finish the book if you want but you only need on thing. I think people are looking for 1, 000 things, and there only needs to be one thing that you can implement. All right, yeah, I got it. That's it. Move on to the next thing.

Speaker 2: Are you a finisher?

David Cancel: No.

Speaker 2: So, there's two kinds of people as well; there's the finishers, who have to finish to the end, and then there's the... " It's just not... we're not doing that."

David Cancel: Yeah. I used to be a finisher, so I did not read.

Speaker 2: Used to be a finisher? Why did you change?

David Cancel: Because I didn't want to read any more books because I didn't want to finish... Because I couldn't finish them.

Noah Kagan: We should start a book club.

David Cancel: Yeah, yeah. That'd be awesome, let's start a book club.

Noah Kagan: But that's interesting sometimes, because you start these books and I notice I'll start watching more TV shows, because I'm like, " Why am I watching..." Oh, because the book I'm reading sucks. So I'm like, " How do I... Fuck that book, go back to fiction."

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: So I've been trying to even add more fiction to my life.

David Cancel: I like that.

Noah Kagan: It's way more stimulating. So I'll do one and one fiction. What am I reading now? I haven't started a new one yet. What should I read next?

David Cancel: I'll send you something.

Noah Kagan: No, so just...

Speaker 2: crosstalk recommendations.

Noah Kagan: So, I just finished The Goal last week. The Goal's... Have you read The Goal?

David Cancel: No.

Noah Kagan: It's that Israeli guy who... it's about operational efficiency, so how we took... It's like the eMyth revisited, which is a pretty good book. It's basically that for an operating plan and how you do analysis of... you have to create a goal and then how do you evaluate things to get the goal. So, through a life story of fixing a manufacturing plant. So I thought it was... it's actually pretty quick. I would ignore all the parts where he talks about his wife and his kids, it's just waste, but the part about the story with the business is actually not as fluffy and pretty interesting.

David Cancel: Yeah, I haven't read a fiction book recently. I'm trying to think of one but I've just been reading a lot of non- fiction.

Noah Kagan: What are the last ones you've read?

David Cancel: I'm in the middle of a bunch of them. I read... It kind of reminded me of what we were saying, this book called The Radicle Focus, which is...

Noah Kagan: Is that good? I wish listed it.

David Cancel: Yeah, it's good.

Noah Kagan: Worth it?

David Cancel: I liked it. For me, so I'll say it was for me because...

Noah Kagan: I like to focus.

David Cancel: It's basically just about OKRs, all right? That's all it's about, right? But OKRs never... I mean, I had a bunch of teams, I worked with a bunch of teams who've implemented it, and I... never really did shit for me, you know, OKRs. I can't even really... Because I felt, like many other things, people go religious about it, like it was the process they were religious about, not the results, not the goal. Just, " I'm doing this fucking process," and so I didn't really care. And so I read this book by Christina Wodtke. Anyway, she tells the... She basically explains OKRs in a parable, so she tells a fake story, a parable, straight out of the fucking bible.

Noah Kagan: Is that what it's called?

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: I never knew that's what it was called.

David Cancel: Yeah, straight out of the bible. A parable, which is just a story, and it's about some little start up or whatever, and how they went wrong and then they went right, and how OKRs got them in line. And it was just like, " Okay, I've got it," because it was about this thing that affected the company, versus these kind of localized process shit.

Noah Kagan: One thing you got me... I wonder, because a lot times when you're listening to interviews or podcasts or websites, it's like, " What books do you read." But I wonder how many people... sometimes I'll read them but not appreciate, but secondly, would you rather recommend if you... You're going to say all of the above. I know inaudible, I'll just say... As much as it's learning to read the books we're reading, they're all available to everyone else, but it's the actual experience of doing, I'd almost say, is more valuable than reading more books.

David Cancel: Way more. Yeah, that's the part that... So, I talk about books all the time, and geek out with them all the time, but I think what you said is probably one of the most important things which no one ever does, which is... Knowledge is interesting, it's useful, but if there's no doing, it's not useful.

Noah Kagan: No application.

David Cancel: Right? Yeah, no application. And most people are like, read, read, read, do nothing. So I think that separates most people...

Speaker 2: What's the last thing from a book that you've read that you've actually then done?

David Cancel: So many things.

Noah Kagan: Can I have my check list? Oh, Marie Kondo, the... Well, I mean the books that stand out...

David Cancel: Are you talking about Tidying Up?

Noah Kagan: Yeah. So, Marie Kondo's Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up and her follow-up book, Spark Joy, which is... It literally is the same book, it was just different title. So, I went and threw away probably half the stuff I had in my place, or mostly donated it. That Ultimate Sales Machine, if you're looking how to sell.

David Cancel: Check.

Speaker 2: I read that one from your poster.

Noah Kagan: YEah. That book is... it's way undervalued and way under appreciated, and I would say one book I'm actually going to re- read, and it's on my list for this year, is the Seven Habits.

David Cancel: Yes. I'm actually... my third time.

Noah Kagan: It's on your list?

David Cancel: No, I'm re- reading it.

Noah Kagan: Yeah, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

David Cancel: So good.

Speaker 2: It must be... If you are a non- re- reader, then I've got to read it.

David Cancel: Have you not read it? That's like a bible for business.

Noah Kagan: What are you crazy? I mean, but you live it because we talked about Stephen Covey's Big Rocks all the time.

Speaker 2: This stuff is just so sure. The One Thing was recent.

David Cancel: Yeah. We read that as a company, The One Thing, which is just like the Big Rocks, which is double down focus on one thing, getting one big thing done a day, and if you do anything else, whatever, that's cool.

Noah Kagan: Did you read Ascensionism?

David Cancel: No.

Noah Kagan: The one thing, the author's from here in Austin, so I am loyal to my Austin people. I think I enjoyed Ascensionism more.

David Cancel: Oh really?

Noah Kagan: Yeah. Way more than that. One Thing was good, not knocking it, but go check out Ascensionism, because it's even like... Here's the thing, everyone's heard... A lot of the advice we talk about and we were just sharing, everyone's heard it, but for some reason it's not internalizing, it's not... They're like, " Oh, the light went off, I've got to go do..." Maybe hearing from us will. But I think with Ascensionism, in that book it's more of... I think we do a lot of things in our day. Comes back to that one thing, in your business you know you're doing four marketing channels? If you cut two of them, how much would that really impact the business, and what if you could do two of the ones that you're doing that are working even twice as much? And I think we're not willing to do the things that are painful, or recognize, maybe go and be aware of, those are the two that matter. And I'm not saying we're prefect at it.

David Cancel: No.

Noah Kagan: And I think that's one thing when you're saying stuff, you're like, "I want to make sure I'm to a T, and I have to be 100% consistency."

David Cancel: No. I think, if anything, being comfortable in not being perfect at stuff, which I'm comfortable, I know Noah's comfortable.

Noah Kagan: I don't know, man, I just never want to be a hypocrite or... It's hard. Yes, I used to have a lot of mornings off. I won't read, I don't do... I won't check my email, I'll go eat, I'll cook breakfast, I'll go have coffee, and then I'll check my email at 10: 30. But I don't do that every day. There's some days where I'm looking forward to something in my email or I'm just bored, and I think just trying to-

David Cancel: That's true, you're human.

Noah Kagan: I am a human. And as much as we want to be robots, we're not computers yet. They're trying to be human and we're trying to be computers, and I think that's the irony of the situation.

David Cancel: Yeah, that's right.

Noah Kagan: But I think what you said is true too, it's like have you come back to some core principles or core aspect, or some reminder maybe? Maybe it's a Buddhist statue on your kitchen table that brings you back to that, " Oh yeah, I remembered to do this in the morning. I remembered to... These are the things that matter to me."

David Cancel: Totally. That's why I just repeat the same shit all the time, which I... Dave hears all the time, most of it. But it's in person and also when I do blog and when I do send out a tweet, they're almost 100% to myself, I'm only talking to myself.

Noah Kagan: Interesting.

David Cancel: Whatever it is; a quote or this or that, I'm just talking to myself, just trying to remind myself about, " Just remember this. Don't fuck this up again. Don't make that mistake again." And we talk about double down, double down, double down.

Noah Kagan: Do you write that out? I guess that's why you do the podcast, to kind of share that stuff, so you kind of want it... It reinforces it but you're also getting it out there so that... I don't know, sometimes... I know, for me, I'll do a blog post on OkDork just because I'm like... I don't want to forget this stuff. I just want to put it out there. inaudible the answer to everything, it helps me kind of clarify the systems and ways I'm living.

David Cancel: Yeah. I think that's why we do it and I think one thing you mentioned before is the way that you learn. Everyone learns differently, like with your note taking, and you just have to figure out how you learn. Some people are note takers and then read. By the act of reading their notes, they learn. You might be learning by just writing it helps you learn it. Some people learn by saying it, right, and then... So, it's like are you a kinesthetic learner or are you... do you have to act through it to do it, or are you... Can you be cerebral and just read it and then you've internalized this thing? I have to repeat it, maybe because I'm...

Speaker 2: Slower?

David Cancel: Yeah, yeah.

Noah Kagan: Your vocabulary is great. You had cerebral?

David Cancel: Yeah.

Noah Kagan: And, what was it, parable?

David Cancel: Parable.

Noah Kagan: What's kinesthetic?

David Cancel: Kinesthetic means motion, like the study of kinesio... I can't even pronounce it.

Speaker 2: Kinesiology?

David Cancel: Kinesiology, right? So it's like movement. Some people are kinesthetic learners, like those people who are natural athletes. " I've never played golf before, never swung at that before," and then they pick it up and just boom, instantly, and it's because they're a kinesthetic learner. They might not be great at reading, they might not be great at business, but they learn through movement. So, anyway, that's kinesthetic. Yeah.

Noah Kagan: Cool.

David Cancel: Thank you, man.

Speaker 2: Yeah.

David Cancel: Thank you, Noah.

Noah Kagan: Yeah. We'll just end with my favorite phrase. You guys can use this one.

David Cancel: All right.

Noah Kagan: I just inaudible my buddy. We're too blessed to be stressed.

David Cancel: I love that. We're too blessed to be... that's mantra.

Noah Kagan: Bro, that's the thing. My buddy, Ben, was telling me that. I don't know how he came up with it but we're going to start spreading the word, bro.

Speaker 2: I thought you were going to say, " My buddy, DJ Khaled, said..."

David Cancel: Bless up.

Noah Kagan: Bless up is one thing, but if you think about it all, sometimes I'll just say that phrase. It's only been a few weeks but I'm like, " Yeah, I'm too blessed to be stressed," and I'm like, bro...

David Cancel: I'm going to use that. I'm going to use that.

Noah Kagan: Spread the word. Everyone listening, go spread that word, tweet that stuff.

David Cancel: Too blessed to be stressed. All right. Now, Noah's going to punish us with a workout.

Noah Kagan: Oh.

David Cancel: Do you have time?

Noah Kagan: I have got... Yeah, we'll check it out after inaudible.

David Cancel: All right. Thank you.


If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. --- A few weeks ago, the Drift team went down to Austin, TX for some team bonding and tacos. While we were there, David and I stopped by AppSumo to catch up with Noah Kagan and thought it would be fun to record a podcast. We talked about everything from the biggest mistake startups make, to morning routines, favorite books, and the importance of surrounding yourself with better people. Tweet about this episode right now by clicking this link: http://ctt.ec/7B0RG Every now and then, we send an email exclusively for Seeking Wisdom listeners. You can get on the email list here: http://go.drift.com/seeking-wisdom David on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dcancel Noah on Twitter: https://twitter.com/noahkagan Dave on Twitter: https://twitter.com/davegerhardt stay #seekingwisdom