The Bootstrapped Founder

Ever found yourself stepping into a role that you never expected you'd be in? That’s what my guest, Brian Sierakowski, did when he took over as CEO of Bearmetrics, a company that he had not founded, but was handed over to him after an acquisition by a private equity firm. Entering an existing team, dealing with the weight of expectations, and managing an already functioning business with its own culture and values, Brian's journey is a roller coaster of challenges and learnings that he’s eager to share with you today.

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My book Zero to Sold:
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My course Find Your Following:

This episode is sponsored by
  • (00:00) - From Indie Hacking to Acquired Businesses
  • (06:39) - Taking Over an Acquired Business Challenges
  • (12:09) - Improvements and Changes in the Business
  • (26:14) - Cancelling Subscriptions and Learning From Feedback
  • (34:33) - Managing Expectations in Public Settings
  • (42:24) - Career Transition Options and Considerations
  • (53:27) - Dual Perspective in Building a Business
  • (01:05:23) - Selling Your Business

Creators & Guests

Arvid Kahl
Empowering founders with kindness. Building in Public. Sold my SaaS FeedbackPanda for life-changing $ in 2019, now sharing my journey & what I learned.
Brian Sierakowski
Brian is best known for his breezy, conversational style. Former CEO of TeamPassword (acq 2018) and Baremetrics.

What is The Bootstrapped Founder?

Arvid Kahl talks about starting and bootstrapping businesses, how to build an audience, and how to build in public.

Arvid Kahl: Welcome to The Bootstrapped
Founder. Today, I'm talking to Brian

Sierakowski. He until recently was the CEO
of Baremetrics, a pretty well known

bootstrap company that was acquired by a
private equity firm a few years ago. Brian

took over as the CEO after that and had
quite a few things to deal with. He was

building trust with an existing team and
he had to survive a few very intense shit

storms, dealing with the tanking economy,
there was a lot going on. Today, you'll

hear a rare perspective from the other
side of indie hacking, how acquired

businesses are ran, keep running and what
you can do to make that easy and make your

own business more sellable in the process,
and just how judgmental the founder

community can be. A quick thank you to our
sponsor here at this point,

More on that later. And now here's Brian.

Brian, you took over as the CEO of
Baremetrics after Josh Pigford sold the

business in 2020, I guess. You ran the
business, you made several significant

changes. And I guess we'll talk about a
couple of those too. And now you've left

your position as CEO a few weeks ago and
that's quite the journey. Can you give a

quick introduction into what Baremetrics
is, how you found your way into that

company and what you've been doing there
until just a few weeks ago?

Brian Sierakowski: Of course, yeah! And
thanks for having me, by the way.

Arvid Kahl: Of course!

Brian Sierakowski: So Baremetrics is a
SaaS analytics platform. It's where you go

to plug all of your data, all of your SaaS
data in. We have a or had because I'm not

there anymore. They have a number of
different integrations. Usually it's going

to be Stripe, so you can plug all your
Stripe data in. And the point of

Baremetrics is to give you an interface so
that you can make good inferences on

what's actually happening behind the
scenes of each of your individual

customers and what they're doing. I came
to Baremetrics, by way of actually, I'll

have to back up a little bit. So many or a
couple of companies prior, I founded a

company called TeamPassword, which was a
password manager for teams. I'm not

exactly a branding genius, but I got the
job done. And I ran that nights and

weekends for about two years, then I went,
they kind of grew to having enough

customers that I could go full time on it.
I did that for about five years. And I'm

happy to we can kind of reverse and talk
about this more. But kind of the short

story there is like, I thought that
running it part time, it was growing at a

certain speed. I assumed that going full
time on it was going to grow at that speed

times like probably times a million was
my, you know, subconscious expectation.

But it didn't. That wasn't the case. I
think it grew a little bit faster. But

really like everything that I tried to do
to grow the business didn't really work.

It just kind of slowly grew over time. And
if you zoomed out on my chart, my MRR

chart, you wouldn't have really been able
to tell what I was doing at all. So I made

the decision to sell the business. I
decided that and I don't remember what

year it was. We can go back and add years.
But you know, I was like basically like

January 1, I was like, alright, I'm going
to sell the business. I did that until

February 28th. I had sold the business. So
I actually went through a lightning fast

sales process, DD, everything finding the
buyer, which that was actually crazy. At

the time, I didn't think it was because I
was inexperienced. And I didn't know how

long this stuff takes. And so I'm like,
okay, cool, pretty normal stuff. I worked

at that acquiring company, the business at
the time was called Jungle Disk. They're

now called Cyber Fortress. I worked there
for two years as their director of

products. I went from running just my
business to running portfolio of products

and about five different products. They
sold my company, TeamPassword to a private

equity firm called Xenon, about six to
nine months before I joined them. So I

kind of got introduced to the team there.
And then I was chatting with them and

like, hey, we're buying this other
business. I didn't actually know what

business it was, like we're buying a
business, we think you'll be great for it.

And a time I was like, sure. Great. I
probably should have asked more questions.

But my goal going into that was, you know,
I had the experience running my own

business, then I had the experience
running a portfolio of products. And then

it was like, okay, cool. Well, I want to
sort of see what it's like with multiple

companies growing and that kind of, I'd
always kind of heard of the private equity

playbook. That was something that was very
interesting and mysterious and appealing

to me. And I want to just get like a
higher velocity experience of like, what

is it like to grow a business that's
larger? What is it to? I was at a director

position at the other company, what would
it be like to be in charge? And that was

kind of the thing that was promised to me
as I joined the business. They were like,

yeah, you're going to learn a lot. And at
that point of time what I thought learning

a lot was going to look like was like
somebody sitting me down and walking me

through like here's how you solve this
problem, here's how you solve this

problem. And in reality, it was more like,
alright, we're gonna put just a huge

number of intractable problems in front of
you and you're just gonna have to like

barrel through them, you know, headfirst
and so. So yeah, I learned a lot. So

that's kind of the quick arc from founding
my own business all the way through to at

least joining Baremetrics.

Arvid Kahl: Well, thanks for that. It's
funny because, you know, the

entrepreneurial approach is, you know, if
there's gonna be problems, they're gonna

have to face it, but thinking that you
will get some, like masterful guidance and

then people just kind of throw even more
problems at you, it sounds pretty much

like entrepreneurship, right?

Brian Sierakowski: Yes

Arvid Kahl: That's funny but very
interesting because to me honestly, as a

founder, it never crossed my mind to
escape, like, beyond running my own

business as a founder, right? It's the
path that you chose, I guess, being kind

of acquired into another business and then
figuring out that, oh, I can actually do

something else with my leadership skills
and with my CEO experience and going

through the portfolio. And then going to
the other side, this is something that I

think most people who are building
software businesses or generally indie

businesses, they don't have experience in
at all. Like they come mostly from a

technical background, not from managerial
background. And even if they come from

that background, they don't have like the
kind of overarching director of product

experience. So it's really nice to hear
from you here today about all of these

things. And I'm just going to ask you a
couple of questions about the journey with

Baremetrics, I guess and then you know,
where it ended and where it's going to go

in the future. But we'll get to that
later, you know, historically correct.

We're gonna go chronologically here, I
guess. I think it's just super exciting to

think because I cannot imagine what it is
like to come into a company that was just

acquired to replace the original founder.
How did that feel? Honestly, this is, I

know, this is a wishy washy kind of
question, but I wanna know because

entrepreneurship, to most of us, is such a
dear to our heart kind of thing. How did

it feel to come into a business that
somebody else has built?

Brian Sierakowski: For sure. Yes, it's
very strange. And I love talking about the

feelings too. I always joked if I ever
wrote like a business book, it'd be like,

"No One Told Me There Were Gonna Be
Feelings." That would be like, that was

like, because it's like, 90% feelings as
it turns out, but yeah, it's a very

strange experience on a multiple different
fronts. So yes, certainly. And it didn't

help that Josh is such a popular and well
loved member of the community. So, you

know, there was kind of like, there's
always pressure, right? Like, if you start

your own business or even just like, if
you're, I was gonna say working a regular

job and that sounds derogatory. You know,
if you're just like working at a tech

company or whatever. If you're like a
mechanic, there's always some aspect of

like, hey, you have to like you gotta fix
the cars good. Like, that's the pressure

that's on you. So, but it felt like in
this case, the pressure was heightened

from multiple different angles. So one,
yeah, it's like, you kind of fill in big

shoes, you know. And also, the person
whose shoes you're filling is an active

member of the community. So in some way,
it's like, you know, like dating

somebody's ex, you know, that's still in
your friend group. It's like, okay, like,

you know, I have a duty to myself and to
the team, to the private equity firm, you

know, kind of to the ownership. But you
also have a responsibility to the person

who spent their life building this thing,
which I kind of maybe had an increased

sense of because I built my business and I
had sold my business to somebody else and

I saw someone else making decisions for my
business. And I think I did a pretty good

job at that point of, you know, having a
sense of separation of like, that's not my

business anymore. But I still know what
that feels like to be like, it still

happens that I saw some. They changed the
feature in TeamPassword. I'm like, oh, I

don't know about that on fellas like it
was really like, I know that's gonna come

back to bite you for this following
reason. But that might be wrong. Anyway.

So yeah, so I think that that is like,
there's certainly a lot of pressure on you

from that perspective. And then I think
it's also it was also a novel experience

for me coming in as the leader of a
business that had been in motion for like

nine years previously. And so it's really
I found it to be quite challenging, quite

difficult to jump in, begin operating the
business while at the same time trying to

triage and understand where do we need to
spend our attention most? And how do we

need to kind of prioritize, you know,
rebuilding the team, focusing on the

product and on support and success and
marketing and sales and kind of all these

things together. What did our operations
look like? And also just, you know, again,

it's a operating business. It's a business
that's growing and you want to grow it

faster. So you can't, I wasn't like I
could just join for a year and kind of sit

and observe it and be like, okay, cool.
Now I know everything. The reality was, it

is like the first like, full time day that
I was at Baremetrics, I was on sales calls

and I was talking to customers and I was
getting out there. And I did not know the

product fantastically well at that point.
It was my first day. But I was able to

lean back on my experience of like, okay,
well, I know what it is to grow a SaaS

business and I know what it is to be in
the space. And so I guess in retrospect, I

feel pretty bad about whoever I took those
initial, I should actually probably go and

look at my calendar and see like, who did
I take those calls with? And like

apologize that I probably didn't give them
the most accurate information. I probably

gave them a lot of, you know, I'll look
into that and follow back up with you. But

I did lean on like, okay, well, what's
your goal? What are you trying to achieve?

And what are you doing today? Kind of the
traditional, you know, foundational

questions you can ask anybody about what
they're doing and how they might be a good

fit for your product. So yeah, it was a
lot of what's the phrase, you know, kind

of like building the plane while it's
flying or whatever, some phrase along

those lines. But also, everybody's
watching you do it. So yeah. So that's

kind of, yeah, I found to be quite
challenging. It was a pretty tough


Arvid Kahl: Certainly sounds quite
challenging. Like not only do you have to

understand the business, you also have to
kind of integrate into the existing team

and into a group of people that have known
each other and the guy who's now missing,

you know, like the founder that has never
been replaced for a while. How was that?

Was it a challenge in itself? Or did it
just add up to the other challenges that

were already going on around you?

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, I don't know, be
interesting to talk to some of the people

because most of the people that were at
the Baremetrics team at the time of

acquisition are like, basically all of
them are at other businesses now. They're

still in the community. So it'd be very
interesting to ask some of them what they

think. My thought is that that was one of
the easier parts. I kind of like I like

people. I'm interested in them. And it
also kind of comes from my background, too

of like, I don't, I was coming there to
learn as well. And I was coming to

experience that, you know and I was coming
to make improvements. And, you know, I'd

hope to think that my heart was in the
right place. And so joining the business,

it wasn't a mechanism of like, hey, I'm
this smart guy coming in to like, tell you

everything that you're doing wrong. It was
like, hey, like, I'm here now to learn and

to bring my wealth of experience. But I
very much respect everything that you've

done. I have a lot of appreciation for
everybody's here. I think that we've done,

you know, from my perspective, looking at
the outside, we've done like, 95% of

things right. So, you know, as I tried to
ramp up as quickly as possible, it was

important for me to be like, hey, like
you, everybody here is awesome. Like every

everybody here rules until we prove
otherwise. And that was like largely the

case. I would say like the vast majority
of people were, you know, at the top of

their class or whatever. That's not a
great analogy, but so I didn't find that

to be very difficult. And I think that
again, it'd be very funny for you to like

talk to, you know, reference check this
and talk to them. Oh, yeah. Brian, when he

came in, he was awful. I hated working
with him. But I would suspect more often

than not, they would probably say
something like, yeah, like I really

enjoyed working with Brian. I really
appreciate what he had to do. I just

didn't agree with you know, we went from
being a independently like a private tech

company into a private equity owned
business. And there's necessarily

differences because of the structure of
how that works. And so that's what I think

that most of them would say. But again,
it'd be very funny for you to be like, oh,

yeah, Brian is like totally delusional.
Like, he's like, nobody liked him. He was

very unpopular in his time there.

Arvid Kahl: Certainly what I remember the
process of the sale, I kind of followed

along as it happened. It was pretty much a
public thing anyway because, you know,

Josh blogged about it on the company blog
and it's still there. It's still the post

of him selling is still up there. And so
are many new posts that happened since and

I remember like he paid a lot of attention
to getting his employees compensated,

right? Getting the options paid out and I
think out of the 4 million that he sold it

for, 300k went to his employees. So he
took care and he wanted to take care of

people in the business. Of course, there
was always the Hacker News backlash of any

sale, any activity. There's something
happening on Hacker News, but from what I

knew he really wanted his employees to be
well treated. And I would assume that you

treated them all. But the thing that I
really want to know because you just

mentioned this, right? The alignment
between what a privately owned and private

equity owned business that kind of, yes,
slight difference in alignment there. What

were the things that you immediately
wanted to change about the business when

you went into it? Like what things that
other people hadn't thought about that you

immediately go for?

Brian Sierakowski: I don't know to what
degree that nobody had thought about some

of the things. Some of it and I don't know
to the degree that Josh talks about this

stuff. But I think he was kind of ready to
like move on by the end. And so I think

that some of the things that I'm about to
say, shouldn't be construed as like, these

are like, huge insights that Josh had no
idea about, but he might have been like,

yeah, I just don't want to deal with it.
So I'll give a couple of examples. So one

and I'm sure we'll talk a lot about
pricing and monetization and things like

that. But like, one thing is that when
Baremetrics operates off of MRR tiers. And

so the more money you make, the more money
we charge you. And that a lot of people

like that and probably more people hate
it. But most people hate anything where

they have to pay more money. For the
record, I think that's like a really great

model for the business because that allows
you to charge a very small amount to the

smaller businesses and then kind of if
you're doing your job at Baremetrics, we

should be helping you grow. And, you know,
you should feel like we're a part of that

journey for you. If you feel like you're
growing despite Baremetrics, then it feels

predatory. And I understand that. But one
of the things is that when you upgraded

from one plant here to the next you had to
kind of like go through a process to kind

of like, approve that change for it to be
like yes, I formally, like agree that I am

now in this new plant here, which is like
a very nice kind of thing to do. But the

fact of the matter is, like 30% of people
just never click the button that says

like, I accept. And so they just and there
was no, like, they just kept using the

product. So there's like a bunch of like
little things like that. It's like, well,

when we upgrade, we should upgrade. One
other thing and I'll kind of just drop

this as a quick note. I'm relatively
confident we'll circle back to that. But

we introduced called a cancel, which was
very unpopular. And everybody hated that.

Arvid Kahl: I tweeted about it, too.

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah

Brian Sierakowski: Yes. Yeah, I think
there were one or two tweets about that, I

Arvid Kahl: I remember

think. Maybe three, I don't maybe four? I
don't know. Maybe 5000? Maybe 5190. Maybe

we can circle back. That might be a longer
conversation, but even things like really

just kind of going across every team and
kind of figuring out like, what are the

opportunities here? How can we improve the
business operationally? So it's like, what

are we doing in marketing? And how can we
do like, what's working? What's not

working? How can we do more of what's
working? And obviously, do less of what's

not working. When we bought the business,
there was one person in marketing and they

were focused basically exclusively on
content. So okay, cool. And Baremetrics

has always had great content. So we did a
ton of experimentation there from things

like what if we did like a ton of content?
What if we like generated content, even

before the AI world? And then like, what
do we look like on social? What do we look

like in paid? What do we look like in all
these, so kind of just like, taking that

one team and then splitting that out.
Like, we were just in content. Let's kind

of branch out into everything else. Let's
get on Jeetu. Let's get on, you know, it's

kind of like, let's start to build out the
roadmap of how we can begin doing

experimentations to find additional growth
channels for the business. Baremetrics

never had anybody that was like a
dedicated salesperson. So we hired a sales

team. And we kind of went through that
process of like, what would it look like

if you had somebody who was dedicated to
you as you signed up to understand what

your goals were? And help you get the most
out of the tool? And how would that affect

your conversion rate? And how would that
improve retention of you know, if you came

in and we knew for a fact day one, that
your goal was to reduce your churn from 7%

to 4%? Well, that's something we can rally
around. And we can, you know, we can help

you work on that. And we can, in you know,
this team spare time, we can look at your

account and figure out ways to help you do
that or find insights for you. Then, you

know, technically, how are we doing, we
went through a couple of things like

replace the Stripe API that we were using.
We could no longer use for new customers

so we had to replace that. We also
migrated our hosting, which was kind of

like a much larger pain in the ass and I
think anybody anticipated it was going to

be in retrospect, we should have
anticipated that it was going to be a

gigantic pain in the ass. And we should
have planned for that accordingly. And

then we also just kind of overtime because
the team had focused in a lot of different

areas, we just kind of had like a backlog
of books that were like, you know. One of

the challenges with running a business
like Baremetrics is that like when I ran

TeamPassword, if you had a bug, the bug
would be like, if somebody tries to save a

password or a note with like a Unicode
character or whatever non Unicode

character, it would break. And the reason
that it would break is because of the way

the encryption works. And that character
wouldn't work. So we have to either

whatever. We had to figure out a solution
for that. We can write a test. I can write

a solution for that and then deploy it and
then it's fixed for everybody. Because

Baremetrics is so data driven, the problem
that you're experiencing, might literally

only exists in your account. So it's like,
because you are especially working with

Stripe, there's so many ways that you can
change your data. And you can have

discounts at the customer levels. You can
have discount at the invoice level at the

invoice item. You can have discounts at
the product level. You can have coupons.

You can have dollar off percent or
whatever. So you just kind of run into

this multifactorial situation where we
just accumulated this huge backlog of

like, issues that were really like only
one account specific and that bug backlog

was kind of like ever growing. So that was
like a huge thing of like, when you sign

up for Baremetrics, you need to trust us
for your data. And if the first thing that

happens is you see something that's wrong,
we have like, effectively, like 45 seconds

to fix that before you're like, no, I'm
not going to trust this, even if whatever,

even if we can explain it away. We need to
bring a resolution to that. So that was

another thing of like, hey, how do we put
ourselves in a spot where I don't think we

ever quite got to 45 second resolution
time, but how can we get to the point

where we're not in a spot where the bug
backlog is ever growing? And kind of all

these weird edge cases things are
happening? How do we make the big picture

improvements so that bugs are less edge
casey and when they can be kind of more

concentrated? And so we can make changes
that will improve a series of issues that

might happen. And then how do we just like
have like, we hired two engineers, who for

the past two years have just gotten
through the bug backlog and just have

fixed like everything to the point where
right as I was exiting, they're like,

yeah, they're like bugs are done. Like
what? Like, yeah, bugs are done. We're

through with bugs like, awesome. That's
really great. So I hope that answers the

question. I mean, it's a lot of different
things in a lot of different areas. But

it's kind of just, I think a lot of it's
just bringing a new set of energy in. And

then also, like I mentioned, kind of there
is like the kind of playbook approach of

like, hey, here are the characteristics of
high performing businesses. We are going

to deploy those practices here. And then
you need to see if they work or they don't

work or what changes you have to make in
order to have success with that for your

business that has your product, that has
your customers.

Arvid Kahl: Were there any existing
processes or strategic planning systems in

the business that were completely
incompatible with this new playbook that

you brought in? You know, coming from the
bootstrapping or you know, mostly

bootstrapped perspective into a more, you
know, growth oriented world.

Brian Sierakowski: I don't think I'm
trying to think back. I don't think there

was anything that was like, I mean, I
don't know, I guess it just depends on how

you think about it, right? Like the fact
that we want all of our customers to like

opt into an upgrade versus just being
moved to the new plan. Like, I mean, you

can make the argument that that's kind of
like two different worldviews. It's kind

of like some, I feel pretty good about
that change. But you know, it's like, it'd

be like, you know, like Slack doesn't
charge you for inactive members and things

like that. And that's kind of like a
product mentality. I think, certainly, the

call to cancel change was like, totally,
it's not like that. I guess that's like

very antithetical to the mentality of the
business previously and they want, you

know, signup should be super easy and
simple. And then exiting should be exactly

the same way. And in fact, we flipped both
of those. We turned signups so now that we

do have people that are hired to help you
do that and there is, you know, white

glove onboarding, if you want to do that
and we do have a success team that will

check to make sure that we're fulfilling
our promises. So we've added stuff to the

front end to make it more hands on to go
in and then we added things to make it

hands on when you left. So yeah, I would
say that's pretty not like it doesn't like

run against like a process. But I do think
it's like a mentality. Like there were

just mentality changes that happened from
when the business was run before to when

it was my era of the business.

Arvid Kahl: Okay, well, yeah, like Josh
had this whole no fuss thing going on,

right? He just wanted it to be as simple
as possible. And honestly, I think most

indie hackers who want to build products
that they can run a solopreneurs, they're

just going to have this default, no fuss
approach to anything because the moment

fuzz is involved, you cannot solopreneur
anymore, right?

Brian Sierakowski: Right, yup!

Arvid Kahl: You need other people. That
means you need a sales team. The moment

you need a dedicated customer service team
or anything like that, you don't have your

business anymore, your lifestyle business
that you want to build. So I think that

antithetical to that definitely is a more
hands on approach. But honestly, let's

maybe talk about call to cancel because if
I could go back in time than with what I

know today, I would probably think about
it less vitriolicly, you know. I would be

less aggressive about my perspective on
this. Because the moment you started

actually publicly talking about it, you
did a whole lot of, I guess, a couple of

videos where you talk both about your
price increase. That was a thing, right?

And the call to cancel thing and how you
tried it out, what data you got from it,

why you did it? I found in retrospect, it
made some sense, right? It was still maybe

not what I would have liked, particularly
as a customer at the time. But you know,

it was something that from a business
owners perspective, made a lot of sense,

which is why I would like you to share
your reasoning behind making your

customers call to cancel a product that
they didn't have to call to sign up for.

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, sounds like you
still might be a little bit frustrated

Arvid Kahl: I just want to describe the
actual, there's a European law about this

about that.

too, right? So there's this whole thing
with you cannot be more complicated in

canceling then in signing up. But there
was a good business reason for you to do

it. And I just want to hear about that.

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, yeah. No, I'm
just poking fun a little bit. Yeah. So

there was a couple of reasons for it. And
I think in just to kind of address like

the controversial aspect of it, I think
that's like, there's no way to look at

that not 100% on me, especially hearing
you say, well, hey, once you kind of got

into it more than I understood or it made
sense and like, you know, I understand you

don't have to agree with the outcome, but
you understood the path to get there. And

you kind of you could conceptually
understand and appreciate why we were

there. And so, you know, I think that
there's no way to kind of hear that

without being like, well, the deployment
of that was totally bungled, like

communication on that was like, could not
have been handled worse because it's like

it once it got down the road, then you're
like, okay, I understand it now. That

means that was understandable. And had I
handled it better in front, I suspect a

lot of the frustrations could have been
negated. So yeah, the real purpose for

doing call to cancel was there's two
things. So one, again, I'm coming in as

somebody who's jumping into the plane mid
flight. And every customer touchpoint is

like critical, especially people are
canceling. Like the most important thing

for me to know as a leading indicator of
like, where we're going. It's like, why

are people leaving? And so we used our own
product cancellation insights. And we

allowed people to say why they were
leaving. But I don't know. Maybe it's also

just a function of like, I don't know
enough about the business to be like, when

somebody says, like, oh, I had that one
bug. Like maybe the previous, maybe Josh

would have read that and be like, oh,
yeah, the one bug, like, I understand why

that is. I don't know what the one bug is.
So there's a big part of it for me to be

like, how can I learn as quickly as
possible? Like, what's going on? How can I

have conversations with people? And how
can we kind of like, that should be like

the biggest input for like, what do we
decide to do moving forward? I think there

was a perception that, you know, it's like
a wind back exercise. And that happened

literally once the whole time I was doing
it. I didn't even ask for it. It was

somebody was like, I think the person was
just so frustrated and so angry that after

he kind of like, yelled at me for 30
minutes about like, how much of an idiot I

was, he kind of like, he got it all out of
his system. And then he was like, okay,

well, we can try this again. Like, turn my
account back on and we can make it happen.

So, you know, that was really the primary
reason why we did it. And it was like a

crucial learning point. And we did learn a
lot. Surprisingly, most customers were so

nobody liked it. Nobody enjoyed having to
do it. But the majority of people would

have a conversation on the way out. And
the vast majority of those conversations

were very useful and very thoughtful and
very insightful. And again, it's kind of

like your mileage may vary depending on
the type of business that you're running.

But running a SaaS based analytics
platform for SaaS companies like for us to

get feedback from other SaaS businesses
on, you know, our customers are just very

articulate, be like, hey, well, here is
what I was expecting. And here's what I

saw. And then here is, from my
perspective, the delta between those two

things and here are three recommendations
of ways that I would have solved this and

if this was done by this date, I would
have stayed. It's like, great, just like

and that's more than anybody's ever gonna
type into a text box. But you know, so if

you're running a different type of
business, you might not get as good of

feedback as we got. But that was really
the major thing. We also kind of had this

minor track of like us detaching from your
Stripe account there were kind of like

technical things and turn off things and
exports and other kind of tactical things

that like made a lot of sense. Like we had
customers who still had web hooks

connected to us. Like their Stripe web
hooks were going through Baremetrics. And

then we had some sort of like, DNS issues
and then that caused non customers of ours

to have their payments fail, which I don't
really quite know the mechanism for that.

But I don't know why. Like, it's probably
a part of a flow anyway. So like, they

were like, super pissed at us. I'm like,
oh, well, we need to like, you have to go

into your account and click X. And then we
also, we have Baremetrics has an API. So

there was a period of time where we
looked, I think we got like, it's like 1.5

million API requests to all endpoints from
non customers, which is kind of a spooky

thing of like, oh, well, they're sending
us like customer data. We have no contract

with them. We have no business
relationship with them. We're paying to

like, return 200, okay, because we don't
want to return a non 200 status code in

case that breaks their software, that
this, you know, charge customer returned

non 200. So, they're all those kind of
like, it's kind of like a cornucopia of

technical issues. And I think at the time,
we were more upfront with those technical

things because that was more painful for
us because we had just gone through having

customers be or non customers be furious
with us that their payments aren't going

through because of us. And that felt very
raw. But I really think that the real

reason and I think the thing that to your
point, the thing that actually resonated

better with people, it's like, we have to
know, we need to have a conversation. And

we're not trying to save you, we're not
trying to keep you as a customer. In fact,

like, again, it's only I mean, maybe it's
happened more than once. And I think we've

had people come back after the fact. But
you know, the number of people that you

save, like transactionally, in that call
is like, one was actually numbers. I was

gonna say zero, but I just told you it's
one. So I don't think we were all right. I

don't think and I know that we were not
clear enough in the communication around

that. And I don't think I was honest with
myself. And I maybe, almost internally

thought like, well, the fact that I need
to learn like, is that really someone

else's issue? Is that our customers issue
that I need to learn and I need to build

our roadmap? And like, but I don't know, I
guess I'm at peace with it now. It's like,

yeah, you know, it's not the case that I'm
going to know everything coming in here. I

think it's important for everybody to do
it, do something like this or I saw on

tech Twitter. Someone was talking about
going white glove for their signup, like

you can't selfserve signup. You have to
talk to somebody. I think doing these

things periodically are like, super
useful. And so yeah, I don't know, I think

that that's kind of the whole situation in
a nutshell.

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, it sounds like you learn
two things or two kinds of things. First,

have you learned how not to communicate
something to your community

Brian Sierakowski: Learn what not to do

Arvid Kahl: And what not to do, but you
also learned the actual thing you set out

to learn, which is, I guess the price you
pay, right? The price you always pay as an

entrepreneur is extra learning. It just
depends on how painful it is or how useful

it is at the same time. I do wonder
because you were effectively competing

with several solutions in the same space.
And one of them, I had Patrick Campbell on

the show and we were talking about Profit
Well. And I think Profit Well was always

kind of the free alternative version to
Baremetrics that everybody used. I

remember personally from my own experience
building a SaaS, I had Baremetrics. We

paid $180 a month or something at some
point. And we used Profit Well at the same

time. And we used Profit Well for the
Profit Well stuff and we used Baremetrics

for the really good parametric stuff that
Profit Well didn't have and it was kind of

almost the same but it wasn't, right?
There was a clear distinction between the

two. So I guess what most people that were
in the industry and we're doing the exact

same thing using the free product,
obviously, why wouldn't you? And the

product that you pay for for the extra
things, they were like they were feeling,

oh, wow. They're really trying to keep us
paying customers there even though that

there is a free alternative.

Brian Sierakowski: Right

Arvid Kahl: I think it's just, you know,
these shrieks of sentiments and

expectations that you have in a community
and I would argue and I wonder if you

agree with that, that these experts
expectations are so, they're so subtle and

they're so noncommunicable by any
leadership that may be leaving the company

like Josh having it being acquired, like
that is something you have to learn by

just feeling it, right? Going back to
feelings here.

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, I think you're
right. I think it'd be very, when you go

through, like a due diligence process to
understand a business and as you're buying

it, there's like, you know, like 500 pages
of documentation. You know, there's a

whole Google Drive that's created to store
all of this stuff. And I think it will be

difficult to get like a customer sentiment
analysis. I mean, that's actually not a

terrible idea. But I think it'd be very
difficult because you can only cover so

much and you know, also just being founder
friendly, you need to be like at some

point, hey, this is our lesson to learn.
And I even think if Josh was like, hey,

Arvid Kahl: Armchair founders?

don't ever do self serve cancellations. We
might have been like, well, we're gonna

try anyway. You know, it's like, you know,
we're gonna give it a shot. I do think

that it's very interesting that there's
two different audiences as well. So I

think that there was the and I understand
the frustration all around and I also

received the frustrations. I think I do
have a really good understanding. But I

think from the Baremetrics customers,
people who are using the product, I

totally get that. Like, everybody's busy
and like having to do this extra thing for

this product that I no longer want to use,
it's like, hey, like, I'm moving away from

this because it doesn't meet my need or
it's buggy or because like, I just don't

feel like using it. Or it's like, we
thought it was going to be a good idea.

But we just don't whatever, like your to
do list as a founder or somebody that's in

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, it's like, may be
their founders that weren't Baremetrics

a leadership position with a tech company
is like, if a million things to do, like

talking with Brian for 15 minutes on a
Tuesday is not on the list. You know, this

is like investing time in something that
is not going to you don't think is going

to move your business forward. So, yeah,
absolutely. You know, asking for their

time is huge. There's also the community
of people who were not customers and who

are just like, conceptually mad like this
like, which is harder.

customers or people that just felt it was
morally incorrect to do. One of the things

that I found and this was like, a very,
it's not a piece of experience that I

expected to get, but being kind of what
Josh calls, you know, I was like, the main

character of the internet for the day,
especially with the consideration that

like our call to cancel thing. Like, we're
like, hey, like, I'll put like my picture

up there. It's like, you're going to talk
to me, this is not like, whatever. And so

like, my picture was, like, you know, like
4000 tweets of like, hey, look how dumb

this guy's face. But like, one of the
observations I had is that and this is, I

don't say this to minimize like anything.
But I realized that a lot of people were

just having fun. Like, they're just doing
the drama thing. They're just like, this

is like, whatever unpopular chain when
Coinbase is like, hey, like, whatever, no

politics here or whatever. Like, they were
like, I think that was actually around the

same time. I think that actually took the
heat off of me was Coinbase was like, hey,

no more politics. And people were like,
oh, these guys are idiots and I can't

believe it. And you know, whatever. I
would go through the replies, which, you

know or the messages, which I don't think
was actually a healthy thing to do at the

time. But then I realized something oh,
they're just having fun. Like, this is

just like

Arvid Kahl: Entertainment, right?

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, destroying me.
And like, this was like, one of the big

waves was over Christmas. So I'm, like,
sitting there, you know, Christmas Day,

watching the family open presents and
like, you know, it's like 85 new

notifications, I look again, you know, 300
new notifications. And, you know, I was

trying to learn from that. I was trying to
manage the emotions of that. But, you

know, I would follow some people. If I
thought somebody made a good point, like,

I'll follow them. And then it's like, you
saw just like, I saw it firsthand how

quickly they moved on to the next thing.
This was not a durable concern for them.

You know, for the first audience for our
customers like and the people that we

should actually care the most about, not
that you shouldn't care about other people

or whatever. But you know, for the people
who are actually legitimately affected by

it, I think that audience was much more
understanding. And you know, that was the

audience that like, in fact, it's like the
only group of people that I could actually

do something for. But yeah, we had the
secondary, much larger group, much angrier

group of people that, you know, it's kind
of like, I guess, it's probably something

you know a lot more about of kind of more,
you know, building with a community and

kind of like, it's not just about what you
do. It's kind of like not even necessarily

what you say about what you do, but
there's like, you kind of have to go to

the third level of like, what is the
perception of, you know, it's going to go

into somebody else's brain and then
they're going to process it. And so you

kind of almost need to, well, you can
choose not to worry about that, which is

probably the same thing to do. But you
know, that's also kind of another level of

complexity. That kind of goes back to your
initial question of like, hey, Josh was so

open, so in public that that was kind of
ingrained in the DNA of Baremetrics. So to

some extent, not a surprise at something
like this. It was probably going to happen

at some point in time, unfortunately.

Arvid Kahl: Yeah, when things happen in
public, reactions tend to be very public

too, right? And Josh was very public with
things leading up to this. And people

either expected it or they just happily
went after it. Because it was such a, I

mean, it was easy to rally against.
Because from a customer perspective, it's

a nuisance. Obviously, from a business
perspective, it makes perfect sense. And

the weird part is that most or if not all,
of Baremetrics customers are businesses or

at least, you know, like founders or
people that are close to the things that

matter in business. So there was, I think
that made it also so juicy for people

because they understood not only okay,
this is something that bothers this person

for some reason. But this is a behavior
that I might also in the future want to

take. And I'm gonna see somebody else
experiment with it, right? It's kind of an

observation of somebody else's experience.
It's kind of like watching people fail at

play video games on Twitch.

Brian Sierakowski: Right

Arvid Kahl: Like, you use these kind of
Dark Souls games where people die all the

time. And your joy is to watch them die in
many different ways.

Brian Sierakowski: Right

Arvid Kahl: I know what you experienced,

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, I gotta be one of
those deaths for a period of time. Yeah,

yeah, yeah.

Arvid Kahl: Here's the thing, building in
public, that's just going to happen. And

you're absolutely right. There are so many
layers that whenever you think about, what

did I do? How did I communicate it? How
was it perceived? How do I now react to

the perception of what I did and how I
communicated it? You can go into this

infinite kind of epi cycles of trying to
figure stuff out. In the end, the best way

to deal with it is really just to let it
pass through and wait for Coinbase or

Basecamp to do something

Brian Sierakowski: Whatever the next thing

Arvid Kahl: Whatever the next thing is. So
I guess you dealt with that pretty well.

And that brings me to the question that
pulls us more into the now or rather the a

couple of weeks ago because you did
something else in public. You communicated

very clearly that you were leaving
Baremetrics as a CEO and you did that on

Twitter, which is, I guess, it's not
unreasonable. But after what happened to

you before, it's an interesting way of
asking for it. So

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah

Arvid Kahl: Tell me about the maybe not
necessarily the Twitter thing, but just

tell me like what happened, like, why did
you leave the company? And maybe in the

end, what made you talk about it publicly?

Brian Sierakowski: It's a great question.
It's a thing that you say while you're

thinking about the response. So yeah, I
think that looking back, you know, my time

at Baremetrics was like, incredibly
successful. At least for me, personally, I

can say that, you know, the whole kind of
brief for me going there was to get a lot

of experience and be exposed to a lot of
new challenges and try new stuff. And

really, this part wasn't intentional. But
I really got to see multiple different

ends of the spectrum. So when I ran my
business TeamPassword, we spent, I spent

all my time I actually, like, became a
developer through building that product.

So like, all my time was spent building
the product. And I spent no time on sales

and marketing. And then I came to
Baremetrics. And most of the effort was in

sales and marketing. So I kind of got to
see like, what is that? What are the

opposite ends of the spectrum look like?
And then at TeamPassword, my pricing was

too low, like our cheapest plan was like
seven bucks a month. That's like, are you

going to trust your business's passwords
to something that's like less than your

Netflix account? And then, you know, over
in Baremetrics world, we got were like,

we're all the way up into premium pricing
territory. So we're like, all the way on

the far right hand side of like and, you
know, like what you mentioned before about

like, hey, it's like, super easy, super
transactional, you know, no fuss, that was

kind of the TeamPassword way. And I got to
see like, okay, what would the kind of

more white glove approach look like at the
Baremetrics side? So and you kind of like,

you go down the list for basically, what
does it look like when just I'm the

engineer? What does it look like when we
have 10 people writing software for a

product? What it looks like, when you have
technical leadership? What does it look

like when I do everything? What does it
look like when I have you know, a team of

directors and those directors have direct
reports under them? And like, what does

that structure look like? So that's all to
say that, you know, I kind of got not that

I wasn't like super diligent about this.
But and I think it's more luck than

anything else. But I got kind of the exact
experience that I was looking for. And

going over the course of three years,
eventually, you get to the point where

it's like, okay, cool. I'm kind of like,
doing the same thing over again. I'm

doing, you know, kind of not necessarily
repeating, but it's kind of like rhyming.

And we're kind of like, going through that
process. So I mean, that was really the

situation of like, I'm like, okay, cool.
You know, I've experienced. I've learned,

not necessarily all that I'm going to
learn, but we kind of just got to an

inflection point where it's like, okay, I
think it makes sense to move on the

private equity firm agreed, you know. So I
think it's like they also going back to

what's their structure and they have very
specific financial milestones and all the

governance and what they're expecting to
see. Like, they have very strong opinions

about what's going on with the company. I
have strong opinions, too. And so I think

it just became almost like as a confluence
of things. So okay, I think this is just

like the perfect time to be like, okay,
cool. I've gotten what I need to get. I

can make some room, which is like, I
guess, maybe an extremely polite way to

put it for saying, like, hey, let's, you
know, let me step out of the way. And then

let me kind of, for me, selfishly, to
figure out, like what's that next level up

going to be for me and then, you know, let
the company kind of go on to potentially a

new or different trajectory. Like, without
me there, the capability to have large

changes within the company or even just,
even from a culture perspective, like,

it's just way easier because I'm always
going to anchor Baremetrics to the Brian

way of doing Baremetrics. The same way
that Josh did, like with Josh, if Josh

decided to stay on post acquisition, like
that would have been way different because

like, the business is always going to be
Josh Baremetrics until Josh is no longer

there. So it's kind of not exactly the
same thing. Certainly, like my mark on the

business is not as nearly as large as
Josh's but, you know, that's kind of the

general idea of, okay, like, it's kind of
like, kind of time, I mean, there's no

perfect time to do stuff like this, right?
It's not like and this was not like how it

was exactly written up. But it felt good
enough and everybody was on board. And so

I'm like, okay, cool. Let me kind of step
aside and figure out what the next thing

is going to be moving forward.

Arvid Kahl: Well, that sounds like you're
leaving on good terms, which is that's

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, that's a great
question. And it may not surprise you to

fun. And that's the best way to leave. So
what is next for you? I mean, we can talk

know that I've thought about this too,
myself. I'm still kind of in the face of

about what would be next for Baremetrics
for hours, but I'm actually more

seeing what's out there. You know, I think
the kind of like, the big three paths,

interested in what's happening in your
life, CEO and acquisition and then CEO of

paths forward for me are one, you know, go
into PE again. That would be like the

another company or a director role. What
is gonna be the next thing that you want

easiest, most obvious thing of like,
joining another firm, being a CEO for one

to do?

of their businesses, you know, hopefully
with kind of material differences. So I

can continue to learn and kind of expand
my skill set and what I'm even just the

different looks that I'm getting. But you
know, the kind of the pro side there is

like, yeah, I will be able to step into
basically any CEO role at any tech

company, owned by PE firm, do a very good
job at that. The downside is that I might

just put myself back in the same exact
spot that I was before. So it's like, hey,

like, if I left that, you know, it's easy
to get to, probably extremely lucrative,

but like, you know, there's a higher than
average chance that you just put yourself

back in the same situation. And if you're
being honest with yourself and you're kind

of, you know, you're being a little bit
career add and you want to get new things,

you want to kind of move up to the next
level, putting yourself back in that same

situation may not be the best decision. Or
you know, PE is a class or even like, you

know, just capital allocators in general
is a class. So there are huge differences

between those. So I'm not saying there's
not an opportunity out there. Actually, I

am saying there's an opportunity out there
because I'm putting it on my list of

things that I might do. So that's kind of
like path one. Path two is like, maybe I

join another tech company, maybe I join a
big tech company, I thought. You know,

I've never worked at a company with more
than like, 100 people, 200 people before,

like, I could experience what that's like.
That would be a very different look. I

think that'd be extremely, extraordinarily
different. But, you know, again, that's

almost a downside too of like, it's so
different than what I've done before. The

likelihood that I find myself in the spot
where I'm like, oh, like, I don't get to

make all the calls here. I don't get to,
you know, do what I want to do. That might

be a little bit of a frustration, but it's
still kind of on my list to look around.

Number three, start something new. And I
think that is that's the one I think

that's like the biggest fit overall, you
know, long term. But I think that would

introduce the most stress to my wife where
I'm like, alright, we're doing it. We're

getting back on the road again. You know,
I think that also kind of looking back to

my previous experience, I ran you know,
TeamPassword on the side for two years and

let it kind of build up and kind of de
risked the process so, you know, I don't

know that I necessarily and I also,
selfishly, I kind of want to enjoy the

process. So, like, I don't want to like
build something and be like, okay, I have

two months to like, prove this out. So I
need to get to 10k MRR in two months, go.

Like, that seems like that'd be a very
stressful and high risk situation.

Arvid Kahl: Yup, particularly now, right?
Like, it's not the easiest time to start

anything and acquisition. Every business,
many SaaS businesses struggle. It's

probably something you've seen, both in
your customer metrics and in Baremetrics

own metrics that there's a lot of
struggle, actually.

Brian Sierakowski: Everybody is terrified.
And you know, even though Baremetrics does

not require you to call to cancel, we
still talk to people on the way out. And

you know, I had one call with somebody.
They were like, yeah, I need Baremetrics

to do my job. They use our recover product
for gunning. And so they're like, yeah,

you made us like $75,000 last month and
this is really, really great. But like the

CEO said, we absolutely have to cancel
everything. And so like, I must cancel

this. I don't know how I'm going to do my
job after we cancel it, but we just have

to. And so for me, that was like one of
the, you know, that's like the

conversation stands out in your mind of
like, it's not that we're not delivering

value. It's not that, you know, it's just
like, people are just very concerned right

now and very protective of cash flow. They
want to be in a very defensive posture. So

yeah, I mean, maybe now's not the right
time to build

Arvid Kahl: Or maybe it's the perfect time

Brian Sierakowski: Exactly! I think that's
exactly right, of like, hey, you know,

you're not going to build something silly
in this climate. You're going to build

something that's a real problem that
people really have a need for. And you're

probably going to go through some number
of months of validation and you know,

getting initial users and testing, you
know, and maybe you're comfortable giving

the product away for free until you have
something that, you know, people indicate

that this is not something that we could
live without before you start figuring out

what it's worth. So yeah, you know, kind
of, I don't know. Yeah, I think that your

turn there is kind of how I feel, too is
like, ya know, it's might be a good time.

But yeah, I certainly over this period of
time, I want to, you know, over the next

couple of weeks, I want to build a couple
of things and launch a couple of different

products just because I didn't do that
while I was at Baremetrics. So even just

to kind of knock the rust off, have a
little bit of fun. I've got a bunch of, I

have a Trello board full of ideas of
different things that have frustrated me

or things that weren't available. So and I
just want to play with, you know, the

technology world has changed. I'm a Rails
guy. So like Rails is like totally

different now than it was before. And I
played with a little bit. So yeah, I want

to do some of that.

Arvid Kahl: Sounds like, it sounds like
you still have that entrepreneurial bug

that builder bug that still seems to be
very active in you.

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, that's for sure.

Arvid Kahl: Well, I do wonder, I would
assume you have some sort of non compete

for a while leaving that company, but you
may or may not be able to talk about it.

But regardless of that, you can say if
that's the case or not, but are there any

fields outside of I would guess insight
driven actionable business advice, which

is what I would like to qualify
Baremetrics as a business around? Are

there any other fields regarding
technology or business that you're

interested in at this point?

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, I have no
noncompete, no non disparagement that they

were very, very kind to me. And very, you
know, well, I don't know if that's a

function of kindness. But, you know, it's
a very congenial exit. So they didn't

like, I'm not gonna get sued for talking
about anything or yeah, I think that I was

talking to somebody the other day,
actually, yesterday about this. And he

made a really good point of he was kind of
sharing his story and kind of like, how he

went through all these different angles.
And he realized that the thing that he

loved was, it wasn't about necessarily
about industry or like I don't know, he

kind of got to this point where he's like,
yeah, the thing I realized that I love is

like this whole field of like, sales
enablement because it's a real problem.

Nobody ever cancels these tools. I was
joking with him. It's like the thing of

like, oh, yeah, this thing, like, manages
the entire infrastructure for our entire

product. It's like $25 a month. This is a
sales tool that automatically adds note to

our CRM. It's $50 per user per month, paid
annually, you know. So I'm giving a pretty

poor rendition of what he talked through,
but that really got my mind spinning of

like, what are those kinds of fields of
like, you know, similar to sales

enablement. I've always run into problems
through just running the business and

being like, you know, what is a
frustrating thing to run into or that was

why I had TeamPassword. Like I worked at a
company where we had a bunch of interns.

Those interns would quit all the time.
They had access all these passwords. And

so basically, like, every third Friday,
the whole company was like going down on a

spreadsheet of passwords and changing it.
I'm like, man, this sucks. So that was

like the entry point there. So I mean,
that's kind of my general mentality of

like, as somebody who's run businesses and
is run into problems like what do I wish I

had? I'm a big fan of the product bento
and if you're familiar with. So like I

just love that mentality of like, well,
here's something that's available for a

lot of money. And it's like super up
market and has a ton of like extra

features that kind of makes these more
expensive things worth it, but kind of

like not really. So like, I'm going to
build like the 80% of the features or I'm

going to build whatever maybe the 20% of
the features that are going to give you

80% of the results. I think he probably
has more than 20% feature parity. But you

know, kind of like and I'm going to offer
that for like a reasonable price. So one

area that I've thought about is like, you
know, managing like customer success. I

think it's something that's especially
right now talking about building in this

climate, people are very concerned about
customers churning, being on top of that,

being on top of annual renewals, knowing
which customers are going stale, which

customers usage are falling off. And all
the tools that exist are either like using

like, a spreadsheet, which sucks for all
the reasons and it's great for all the

reasons that using a spreadsheet is.
People are trying to use like sales funnel

like pipeline, you know, management. But
success, it's not like a straight through

and then you're done. It's just like a
circular thing that with lots of you know,

inner loops or you have something like a
HubSpot or Gainsight, which kind of go

into that more premium price that you
know, a smaller company will be priced out

of. So that to me is something that is
like a good shaped problem of like, how do

we solve this? How do we, you know, build
the supercharger on the smaller teams that

are not going to get to hire anybody
anytime soon? And then how do we like

defend, like, can this product defend
itself from the perspective of like, hey,

this is valuable to your company? Here is
the turn that you were able to save, here

is the you know, here are the very active
users that you know or here's the people

that reactivated, basically. It's like a
pre reactivated of like, hey, don't let

them go dormant and try to win them back,
like do that while they're still paying

customer. That's kind of a good example of
like, something I've thought about a bit

and there'll be like a good like, category
of like problem to solve that I'm very

familiar with it. I wish I had it. And
it's kind of like, of the time right now.

And I could build that. I think anybody I
think, you know, but before this podcast

ends, half the people listening will have
built it. But you know, but that's kind of

like an example of like, the type of it's
not really a specific vertical or industry

or anything like that. It's kind of like,
I guess that's my thesis of like, what I

wish I had when I was doing previous
company X.

Arvid Kahl: It is so interesting to hear
you explain your thought process. Thank

you for sharing this in such amazing
detail because I can feel how you have the

perspective of a founder from looking at
it from I need this for my business. And

the perspective of a business like an
operator, a CEO, like how can I improve

these processes within a business, not
mine but a business. So you have like a

nice dual perspective, that's an unfair
advantage. And I certainly hope that you

can use that unfairly even more to your
advantage because it sounds like you've

given this a lot of thought. And if
there's one thing that is palpable in this

description is that you want to get going,
like it's so noticeable.

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah. Yeah, it's so
funny. I've instituted a rule where I'm

going to do one thing a day. And that for
me, when I was at Baremetrics. I mean, one

of the things that's another challenge of
running the business that's already in

motion is that I would frequently like if
I had five to seven meetings a day, that's

like a pretty standard day. Like it's just
kind of packed, you have a full team, you

have multiple things moving in. I think
that was frankly, a huge failing of mine

to try to do too much at once all the
time. So now this is my thing for today.

And then after this, you know, whatever
I'll do, I watch some TV or whatever I

want to get if I want to do a little, you
know, study or something like that. And

then you know, when somebody reaches out
to me, it's like, okay, when's the next

day and I've found that it's enough that I
don't feel like so I go to the gym every

morning as well. I do jujitsu. So I like
rolling around on the ground and I try to

choke people and they try to choke me and
somehow it's a very fun thing to do. And

then you know and then I do one thing and
then that doesn't allow my panic to set in

of like, hey, you're not moving forward.
But I'm also finding that I'm making such

quick progress on every it's like actually
like I've had, you know, a bunch of

different calls with people that have been
like, hey, well, let's you know, I'd love

to work together. What do you think about
have been open and that was another reason

to post publicly about it people like
well, have you thought about something

like this? I'd love to work with you on X.
I'm, you know, work Friday. I started on

Monday and I already had a great bunch of
great conversations. So I'm kind of like,

how do I keep this one thing a day? Yeah,
one of my friends from the gym gave me a

book, not this book. That's your book

Arvid Kahl: I like that one.

Brian Sierakowski: But gave me this book,
The One Thing.

Arvid Kahl: Oh, I like that one too.

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah,yeah

Arvid Kahl: They look so similar for some

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, it's funny. I was
like, yeah, I got this, like, cool new

idea. I'm just gonna do one thing a day.
He's like, you should read this book. I'm

like, oh, what's it called? He's like, The
One Thing. It's about doing one thing a

day. Like, you're not a genius, as someone
has thought of this before.

Arvid Kahl: Or maybe you are and you're
just in good company.

Brian Sierakowski: I like that. I like

Arvid Kahl: But yeah, it's focus is the
miracle drug, right? Like, if you can

focus on the thing

Brian Sierakowski: So hard, even and I've
overbooked myself already. On yesterday, I

had, I think, three or four calls.

Arvid Kahl: That's not one thing.

Brian Sierakowski: You are precisely
correct. And I said that. I'm like and

I'm, you know, I'm unemployed. I am, you
know, I under note that that was, I think

it's always easy, especially when you're
working under a board or whatever, like,

hey, this pressure is coming down on me
and I need to do this. But I have to

really look that, you know, square in the
face be like, you are under no obligation.

Like there's and in fact, you can't even
get fired for not doing it. You are not

employed right now, you know. So it's
like, so I really have to look at that.

And that's something that's coming from
inside that is, has that tendency to want

to fill up and go as fast as possible. But
I just told you how nice it feels and how

much better and in fact, even reaching out
to you, when I got that response to the

tweet of like, hey, well, why don't you
talk about some of the lessons that you've

learned? If I was slammed back to back, I
would have probably just answered in a

quick tweet and moved on. But actually,
I'm like, oh, let me spend some time to

think about it. And as I was thinking
about, I was like, oh, this might be a

great conversation. And so this
conversation is a direct result of not,

you know, having being back to back all

Arvid Kahl: I love that. That is really an
intentionality manifest, right? That's

what you did. You do the thing you
actually want to do not just for somebody

else or something else puts on your plate.
I really like that. Well, I certainly hope

that you get to do just one thing a day.
But if you do, I also hope that you talk

about it on Twitter more because it's just
an extreme joy to see you share these

things and see other people actually,
like, celebrate you. That was cool in the

tweet that you sent. Like people said, oh
cool, congrats. That's awesome.

Brian Sierakowski: Instead of last time,

Arvid Kahl: Exactly, right? Yeah, there's
a better way. And beyond the

congratulatory stuff that, there was also
people just being interested in what

you're doing. And for anybody else who's
listening to this right now and is

interested in getting more of this seeing
which one thing a day you do for the next

couple of weeks and months.

Brian Sierakowski: Sure

Arvid Kahl: Where should they go? Where
should they follow you?

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, you can follow me
on Twitter, @bsierakowski. I'm sure it'll

be linked. I won't spell it out for you.
It's exactly like it sounds. But I

understand that the last name is
intimidating. So but yeah, I'm on Twitter

still way too much. So if anybody has any
questions, my favorite thing at

Baremetrics was being able to chat with
customers and like doing like customer

development or sales or like really like
any functions, support, success was

ultimately came down to like helping
people improve their businesses, like they

wanted to grow more quickly or solve a
problem. It's always my favorite thing to

do to help people like what you mentioned
about, you know, kind of having that

external viewpoint of like trying to help,
I love doing that. So if anybody's

listening to this and if you'd like to be
my one thing for a day, I'd love to help

anybody out. It's just my, I always kind
of turn it and make it a little bit

cheeky. But it's like, it's my favorite
thing in the world to like, talk with

somebody, hear their problem, give them
you know, a solution or two or three

solutions and then send them off and they
have to do all the work. They have to do

all the effort and I get to feel great
that I helped them and then maybe they

come back in three weeks and like it
worked. And you know, I get to feel great

that it worked. And I didn't have to do
all of that work. So I'm always happy to

you know, even listen or provide a
shoulder to cry on and fight if I can

help. I love doing that. That'd be a great
use of my greatest of my time right now as

I'm in between having a full time gig
soaking up most of my time.

Arvid Kahl: What a kind offer. Thanks so
much for that. That is really sweet.

Brian Sierakowski: It's my pleasure.

Arvid Kahl: That's wonderful. Well, I feel
it from my heart. I do the same thing.

Helping people is the best way to just
enjoy your life, I guess. And you seeing

you do this makes me really happy. Thank
you so much for being on the show today.

That was a wonderful conversation. Thank
you so much.

Brian Sierakowski: Yeah, thanks for having

Arvid Kahl: Absolutely.

And that's it for today. Brian mentioned
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Thank you for listening to The
Bootstrapped Founder today. You can find

me on Twitter @arvidkahl. And you'll find
my books and my Twitter course there too.

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