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Startup Equity Efficiency and Outsourcing

Hosted by Jason Atkins
President & Co-founder, Cake Equity
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In the latest episode of Startup Equity Matters, join Adam Spector, founder of Levy as he discusses being efficient with your equity and the importance of outsourcing operations for startup success. Here are things you don’t want to miss:

Adam emphasized the importance of being efficient with your startup and funding to raise less rounds and achieve better valuations. By outsourcing operations, founders can focus more on product development, go-to-market strategies, and other things that ultimately create more value from their equity.

He also shared insights on implementing multi-grant vesting schedules for co-founders and senior hires to align equity distribution with the company's growth stage, reducing short-term risks and ensuring long-term success.

Listen to the full episode with Adam Spector on Startup Equity Matters to learn more about equity management and entrepreneurship on your favorite streaming platform!

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Jason Atkins: Hi, everyone, and welcome to today's Startup Equity Matters. Today, I have the amazing Adam Spector from Levy, and we're running with the theme of being really efficient with your equity, so if you're efficient with your startup and you're efficient with your funding, you're going to be able to raise less rounds and raise a better valuations and therefore, dilute yourself less. We're all here to create value from our equity, and one great way you can do that is by outsourcing your operations, your back end. Levy is awesome at that. I mean, I know as a founder, I don't want to be getting bogged down with lots of little bits and pieces, compliance matters, and to be able to have that taken off your hands as a founder gives you more time and more energy to focus on what differentiates you and how to build a great company. Adam's also had a tremendous entrepreneurial journey, founding multiple businesses, mentoring, advising, investing, and he has a podcast as well, so this should be a great one. Welcome, Adam.


Adam Spector: Jason, thank you. No promises, but I'll do my best. As you were saying for Levy, I mean, the whole thesis of Levy is basically that no founder should be their own plumber, just like I would imagine you probably don't want to be your own plumber at your own house. Plumbing is a very important, critical job, but it's not your skill set, and it's the same thing as a founder. You are world-class, hopefully, at whatever you do, in your case, equity, right? Cake Equity. You're one class at equity and understanding it. That means you probably shouldn't be spending time, so that means your time should be focused exclusively on product and go-to-market and should not be spending time on, “Hey, how do I manage HR, compliance, finance, and frankly, equity?” Right? I mean, even for founders, as easy as Cake Equity is to use, they still shouldn't be the one learning all the nuances of the Cake Equity system. They should be using Levy to go manage their equity for them. Oh, and by the way, they definitely shouldn't be having their lawyers do it. You might have lawyers you work with all the time and you're partners with them. No offense, but you should absolutely not let your lawyers manage your equity for you. It is a great way for a first year associate to hit their billables for the year. It is not legal work. They should write your board agreements and do legal work. They should not be managing your equity on Cake Equity or any other platform. Please, please, please don't waste your money that way.

Jason Atkins: Totally, totally. I completely agree. I mean, why we built Cake was to take the complexity of equity away from founders. I saw them, you know, reading legal agreements or going backwards and forwards from their accountant and their lawyer and getting super confused and frustrated and then probably still getting it wrong anyway. And so, we're huge believers in ‘let's get that complexity away from you’, but there comes a point where it's too much. I mean, you can't just run it only with software, especially once you start to scale. So, you absolutely need someone to be doing it. It shouldn't be a lawyer because what are they like? 800 an hour? I don't know. I went to law school.

Adam Spector: It's not why you go to law school. You don't go to law school to muck around in cap table software. That is literally not why you do it. But if you're a first year associate and your job is to hit your billables for the year and you have an unsuspecting startup founder who's like, “I just, I don't understand equity. I need somebody to take care of it for me.” Okay, that sounds like a good pitch. My lawyers are going to do it right. I'm going to have them do it. It's a great way to waste money and have to raise more money and give up your equity or reduce, essentially diluting yourself, which as you talked about when you started, a terrible idea.

Jason Atkins: Totally. So tell us about what's on for 2024 for Levy.


Adam Spector: I mean, look, 2024 is about how we become the default platform for every single founder. As you mentioned, look, I'm a four-time founder. I've had the privilege of investing in about 150 different companies. And the single thing that all of them share, besides, I guess, me as an investor, is the fact that a large majority of them have wasted a lot of time and money on back office tasks, and I'm a huge believer in the startup ecosystem, the value it provides by having new people with new ideas deciding to create startups. That is how we stay fresh. It's how the economy creates new things. And yes, things die too, but that is part of moving forward and progress. Losing that ability because you are dragged down to this sort of anchor weight of operations is a terrible thing. We ran all the numbers across, I've probably seen a few hundred different customers over the past four years of doing this with operations. On average, every startup of about, let's say 10 to 20 people, is spending 20 to 40 hours a month. So close to 500 hours a year, or essentially three months of time, work time on back office operations. That's insane. If I could tell you right now, Jason, I can give you an extra three months a year to do your job, you'd be like, I assume you'd say, “Yeah, sign me up.”


Jason Atkins: It's the most senior people doing this. It's like the founder or you've got one or two really expensive people and they're the ones quite often with their hands all over this work and it's just such a drag.

Adam Spector: It's not just that it's a drag, it's also not your core competence, your skill set. So you have to think, “Where is my time better spent?”, “Is my time better spent on go to market?” “Is my time better spent on product?” And yes, of course, the answer is ‘Of course’, because you're not going to get your next round of funding at Cake, or for any of the companies listening to this because you have a really well-organized back office. Like, give me a break. Like, no, I've never heard of VC, myself included, who says, “Well, tell me about how good you're running your payroll right now.” Because that's what I'm going to ask.

Jason Atkins: I haven't had that question asked, but if it's in super bad shape, that is going to cause you a problem once they have it.


Adam Spector: No, no, well, it would be embarrassing if people say, “You don't know how to do your job.” Like, you're not a good leader and founder, so you need to get it right. But to answer your question, what's the goal for 2024? Every company should know that we exist because this is stuff you don't need to do anymore, and one of the things that pains me the most is when founders come to me and say, “Man, I wish I had known about you 12 or 18, 24 months ago, because you would have been the obvious solution.” And I've now decided to hire someone, which is a huge waste of money. Or I've spent hours and hours and hours automating things, which by the way, still won't solve your problem. I've tried to automate all these things and you still can't automate it, but they think they have. And it's like, I don't know, so I just want the world to know we exist. Yes, that's good for our business, no doubt. But I think it's really good for the startup ecosystem, which is a win for the United States and for frankly, anyone who cares about building fantastic, wonderful startups.

Jason Atkins: How did you get into this? You've done a bunch of things before. I'm sensing there's a little bit of first hand experience here. What set you on the path of Levy these days?

Adam Spector: Yeah, I know. The journey started four years ago, actually, with my last company called Abstract Ops. We raised about $10 million for that company. It actually started because I started playing around with just being an outsourced operator. It's like, hey, I know startups need help. I have all this experience from the previous companies I founded. I have a JD. I have an MBA. I have all the right ‘credentials’. Can I go help companies do this? And the truth was, yeah, I actually found a bunch who wanted to pay me a lot of money to be their outsourced person to run operations, back office operations for them, and it turned out that there were a lot more companies who wanted that and said, hey, let's go build a product for this. We had some trouble building a product because it's really hard to deal with all the edge cases that come up. And AI, maybe we'll solve this someday, but it's nowhere close to doing that. And the API kind of hanging APIs, which is what we were kind of trying to do, didn't work out either, so we moved into more of a consulting model, and that's what Levy is today saying, “Hey, look, we just need to go help”. We need to basically give every single founder a fractionalized chief of staff or chief operating officer to go run their back office because you don't need one until you hit like 100 people. You don't need a full time operator on your team. And the other thing that really bothers me, and this is, I guess, comes from experience, although I meet some founders who are smart about this, and you probably get this, Jason, you've done enough startup stuff, which is recruiting, hiring, training, and managing a person is incredibly time consuming. And 50% of the people you probably hire aren't going to work out, even if it's in an area that you know well. So let's say it's a space you know super well. You're going to hire someone for equity. You can ask them all the right questions, and they're still probably going to fail. It's not going to work out forever. So then imagine trying to do that for operations as a founder. Essentially guaranteed failure, or if it doesn't fail, it's still going to be a massive waste of cash. Once again, still just a terrible decision. By the way, I learned this through Abstract Ops, but also all the companies I founded previous to that, and once again, all my investments.


Jason Atkins: Yeah. Awesome. Great insights there for everyone to save runway on full-time ops as long as you can and have that outsource, which is then going to, you know, extend your runway and give you more resources and more capital forproduct development and go to market, which is super tricky. We love that.


Adam Spector: We love that here. I'll add one more thing. Sorry, Jason. I actually am a big believer in the world where we're going to have companies that have hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue and almost no employees, where you're going to have a lot of consultants doing a lot of different things or using different platforms to do this. So, you know, you probably come across this with Cake. There are a lot of companies that still run their cap table on a spreadsheet, which I'm sure you'd say was totally insane. Why would you do that? There's great platforms that do this now. It's the same sort of idea with operations, but also marketing and sales. You can hire consultants for almost anything and they can do a great job, but why would you bring it in-house? The headache and cost, it feels like a savings when you bring something in-house, but people are terrible about understanding true costs, like the value and cost of your time, the value and cost of hiring and training and managing someone. All those things add up. So are we more expensive as Levy, more expensive on an hourly basis than the in-house person you'd hire? Yeah, we are a little bit more expensive, but we don't get sick. We don't go on vacation. You don't have to rehire us. You don't have to train us. So all those things add up. And you can fire us and not pay us a severance, too, so there's all the upside and none of the downside.


Jason Atkins: I love it. Thanks for sharing that. We're Australian still, but anyway, one day maybe, one day. Get your US entity going, give us a call. Now let's dig into your equity story a little bit as well. When we were catching up, there's so much there. How did you get started as an entrepreneur? What gave you the bug to get out and start companies?

Adam Spector: Oh man, I mean, I was that guy reading Wired magazine in paper form every single month that it came out. This was like almost pre-internet days, basically. Every single day. I also read for those gamers out there, I used to read Next Gen magazine. I literally kept them in mint condition and put them in plastic sleeves was how much I was into it.

Jason Atkins: For me, it was Rolling Stone and whatnot, but anyway.


Adam Spector: That's because you're cooler than I am, Jason. But still, same idea, right? What do you get into? So I was reading Wired Magazine all the time. I wanted to be out West. I took the traditional route and got a JD MBA instead. I should have just moved out to Silicon Valley right away. I didn't, but I moved out here in 2008. I worked for a startup. The startup, 18 months after I started there, got acquired, obviously because of me. I'm joking, by the way. I played a very small, small role at best in helping that acquisition happen, but it still was great. It was like “Welcome to Silicon Valley.” I made some real money on my equity. I was like, hell yeah, this is what it's all about. The company was acquired for 400 million. It was a good exit. I was like, “Welcome to Silicon Valley.” This is amazing. Awesome. What a great start. Are you telling them that well? Great start. Yeah. It was awesome. It was so fun. It was great. Almost everything was perfect about it. Just such a smart team and interesting people and have continued to do great stuff. I'm still in touch with many of those people. After we got acquired, I stayed at the acquiring company for at least a year. After the year was over, I went and started my first startup. We ended up failing, but we gave the biggest lesson there. However, we had an opportunity to be acquired by a pretty well-known company now, but at that time, they were not well-known. It was gonna be mostly an Aqua hire. They wanted myself and the team, really the engineers probably more than me, but they wanted all three of us. We had a few other people on the team, but it was the three sort of founders they wanted, and they would have wiped out all the equity holders, all of our investors. And we had cash left. And we said, “We think it's better to give”, “Do we really want to work at this company?” Like if we had to go look for jobs ourselves, should we go work at this company? Or give money back and go get normal jobs or do whatever we want to do next instead of having to be golden handcuffs to this new company? We said no to the opportunity. That was a huge mistake. And so for all new founders out there, what I would say is, if you have an opportunity, if your company's failing, and you have an opportunity to get acquired, even if it is just an acquirer, say yes. Just take the win. Even if you leave the week after you start, you take the win, you sell your company, you leave the next day after you get started, you still have a win on your background and resume that resonates for a long time and will help you in all the subsequent things you do. It worked out okay for me, even though we said no, but I should have said yes, because one, the company ended up becoming massively successful. So we would have actually caught up with the founder a little while ago and he took us out to lunch. He literally was sitting down with me at a cafe, having lunch, and this well-known founder now, chatting about why he was going to acquire us, what he wanted to do, where he wanted me to work with them. At the time, he was like, “Oh yeah, we could have gotten equity in their company.” And they were going to give us good equity packages, actually, for $2 a share. Their most recent publicly traded share price is about $98 a share, and I think that's after it split a few times.


Jason Atkins: That could have been nice.


Adam Spector: A great ride because they were still pretty small at the time, so it had been on like a rocket ship. I also would have made a lot of money from it. That was the first thing. So I can keep going on, but I'll pause there.


Jason Atkins: No, it's cool. I mean, they're not always going to work out these stories, but you know, I think momentum is important in business and taking opportunities when they come. I suppose that's a real world example of that. I mean, what was going through your mind when you decided not to retain control? Or what was it about the deal that sort of sent you away?


Adam Spector: Yeah. I mean, look, there's actually two things about that. One was we thought it would be the right thing to do to give money back to investors instead of wiping them out because essentially, the cash would have gone to the acquiring company, whatever cash we left would go to the acquiring company to take on a few other debts exactly, but the investors would have all been wiped out. That was one. And then my co-founders, they were kind of like, one of them had been really successful at Google, and another one had done well at something else, and they were sort of like, I really want to go work for this company. If I were just in the market for getting a new job, which is what we were offered, sort of jobs, instead of being entrepreneurs, would I want to work there? And they were sort of like, “Nah, not that exciting for me”, because they were amazing engineers. I can go get a great engineering job at really cool engineering companies, and this one didn't seem like it was. And so it was, once again, what we should have said is, “Yeah, we'll do this acquisition.” And fine, co-founders, you want to leave, or if I want to leave, right after you start, walk away. You'll obviously lose your earnings, but “Okay, fine”. So we should have done that. The other lesson we learned at that company was this company was called Virtru. We were Virtru.us, so we were virtuous. And because we were doing basically essentially verification as a service. This is the early days of like Uber, Airbnb, sort of how do I trust? Nowadays, it's super normal for people. But back then, it was like, how do I trust to get in some random person's car? like an Uber and let them drive me around? How do I go rent some random person's house and stay at their house while they're living there? And I don't know these people. Like it's a crazy idea. It was at least at the time.

Jason Atkins: It was crazy for sure. First time I rented my house out, my parents were like, you're doing what?

Adam Spector: My parents still think it's crazy. I keep telling them they should rent their place out and they won't do it. They just make extra money. But anyway, that was the point, right? And that was why it was so crazy. So anyways, we're trying to verify people, but we also had a side business where we were doing background checks, and it turned out, it started to take off, this background check business, but we lost steam. So our second lesson that I learned from that was we kind of lost steam. We were kind of tired of doing this stuff. We should have stuck with it because we shut the company down. And I don't know, six months later, I then had the opportunity to invest in the seed round of Checkr, which is a really well-known, pretty big background check company, and we could have been Checkr. We were doing Checkr before Checkr was doing Checkr, and we just ran out of energy for it. We could have built the API for background checking. That was an idea we had, all this other stuff, and we just didn't do it. And they went and got into YC, built it, boom, boom, boom, boom. Now they're a multi-billion dollar YC company, so it's a good investment. I'm an investor, but I would have rather have been the founder.

Jason Atkins: Totally. So, across all yourexperiences, what equity insights would you like to share with the crew, whether it be around employee equity or capital raising? I mean, obviously, we've got a really awesome insight into the Acquihire-style exit. I don't know where to start with the questions. There's so much there, but I'm sure you've got a couple of bits of gold you could share.


Adam Spector: I'll do my best. Maybe they're silver, but I'll do my best. Probably the biggest piece of advice I would give to people is anyone who's seen you on your team in the early days, so co-founder, any senior hire who you're thinking of giving, so any founder, I'd say anyone over 10% of equity, and any senior hire who has between one to 10% of equity, you should put those people on a multi-grant vesting schedule. So what I mean by that is the following. Let's pretend Jason, you're my co-founder. We each have 50% of the company when we start. Now, normally what people do is say, “Okay, great, I have a four-year vest, one-year cliff.” Pretty standard. That is crazy and idiotic for startups and founders. They should not do that. Here's the reason why. It takes a long time to get a startup going and make it successful, and probably by year two, if you're lucky, things have started to really start to happen and take off, like you're starting to see real traction by like year two. Guess what? By year two, you might also have a co-founder who's a little bit burnt out and tired or not pulling their weight. Like you thought they'd be a great co-founder, they're not as good as you expected and they're not getting it done the same way you want them to and all these other pieces that just aren't going well. Or they just might be burnt out. But now they vested 50% of their 50% grants. They vested 25% of your company that this person's dead weight is gonna walk away with, and now, you have to dilute them, give equity out to other team members, all these other things, and they're going to end up saying, “Hey, if you want me out of the company, buy me out.” And guess what? Now you're going to take your new investor money that you're hopefully raising by year two, 18 months to two years in, and give some of that to your former co-founder who's dead weight to get them off your cap table and off your back. And they haven't really helped you get to that point, but the company's really just getting started by year two. You're just starting to hit your stride by year two. So what I recommend people do, using once again this example of you and me being co-founders, give everybody a founder who is once again 10% or more, give them three grants that start vesting one year after the other. Year one, one-third of my 50% grant starts the four-year grant. When you're on a cliff, standard, pretty standard, but it's only one-third, right? So that's like 18% or something like that, right? Of that amount, so one-third of your 50%. Year two, so when year two starts, my second grant starts vesting. There's no cliff, but it's a standard four-year. So now, by year two, month 13, two grants are vesting together concurrently. But that's only by the beginning of year two, right? First year, then beginning of year two. Now, by year three, I think my third grant starts vesting, so now, I have three grants. And once again, third grant, no cliff, just starts right away. So now that's by month 25 in. So 25 months into the company, a little over two years, you don't have three grants vesting all at the same time. Now you're getting the big portion of your equity, and it's like this nice distribution curve, and you're getting it all when hopefully you're about to be doing the most work, and if it's not working out, all that equity goes back to the company that the person's going to walk away from. Instead of them walking away with 25% of the company, they're going to walk away with like 10%. Much better numbers. That's my biggest piece of advice. By the way, same thing for people with one to 10%, but I'd only do two grants instead of three.

Jason Atkins: Okay. Awesome. So I guess the concept there is reducing the shorter term risk when you just haven't really achieved too much in those first couple of years and like back waiting for the bulk of the equity earned, like pushing that bit further down the line into years like three, four, five, six, seven. Cool. Okay. Interesting. Yeah. I mean, I always say that founding a company is like a seven to ten year journey. I regularly say that, but you're right. Quite often it's a four-year vesting on the equity, and so I guess from your insights, that's a bit of a mismatch.


Adam Spector: It's a complete mismatch. You put it exactly right. It's a complete mismatch if the equity grant schedule doesn't align with the amount of time it's really going to take to get the company going, and it might not. By the way, it's totally okay if your co-founder has to leave and they're not in it. That happens all the time. But if they have 50% of the company or a really big amount, that can completely mess up the future for your company, so you want to be able to get them out in the right way. The less equity they have, the easier it is to get them out and the lower cost it will be for you. So just align things the right way for your long-term future, and put yourself, like every founder should be on that. It should be equal–CEO, it doesn't matter what title you have.


Jason Atkins: Totally. I always say the biggest red flag on your cap table is just having like a big, big piece of dead weight on there, and it's almost always like an exited founder and founders should own equity for their effort. But it does need to be balanced to where the stage of the company is and how much progress has been made. And if it's too big and it's too early, you're trying to do a Series A. Investors are not going to want to see that. It can be expensive to get that equity amount down, and it can also be impossible, which then can stop you getting funded and really put the handbrake on your whole venture. So, it's important to get this stuff right. Great to hear some real world insights there on how to mitigate those risks. Thanks, man. Cool. I also wanted to dig into a bit about your investing journey. I think you said earlier about 150 companies? Congrats. That's pretty dope. What are you investing in currently? Are you doing angel stuff or fund or how's it all happening?

Adam Spector: Yeah, the large majority of my investments are angel stage or seed stage, so they're smaller. In most cases, we've done a few later stage deals. I've done sort of three different funds that I've had, but the current one is sort of the most public. The others have been really pretty private and small. I mean, investing has always been a side gig. It's almost a function of being a founder, and because I'm a founder, you end up seeing a lot. The call I had today with the founder, they're in the middle of finishing up a massive round that's oversubscribed, and now that I know about it, I'd be like, “Hey, maybe I should get in.” And that's a really cool deal flow to have in a bunch of other ways like that. And so that's made it pretty unique and valuable to be an investor, but it's part of my day-to-day. But my current fund is a fund called the Autopilot Fund. We focus on sort of underlying data layers as our main focus, but we've done a lot of different investing too, in a variety of ways. So it varies. Cool. Yeah.


Jason Atkins: Yeah, I get similar insights and deal flow at Cake. You know, we're just working with founders all day, every day. Lots of different ways for us to interact.


Adam Spector: I mean, you guys have really good insights. I don't know if you can use that data, but you should be like, “Hey, we're, so you're spinning things up. We should talk about investing.”

Jason Atkins: I know you probably can't use that data, but unfortunately I'm not getting into the weeds of the keg data, but I mentor and advise and I'm a part of accelerators and I'm constantly just involved with founders and I mean it must be at least four or five times a week someone will say they're raising at least and if I happen to notice that there's a top VC in there or it's a particularly interesting problem that they're solving. I think it is kind of cool then it's nice to be able to sometimes get involved. So, yeah, I totally get that.

Adam Spector: Set some of those deals my way and vice versa, of course.


Jason Atkins: Totally. Let's do that. Yeah. Tell us a bit about your podcast as well. Always like to learn what's going on with other pods. And yeah, how's it been going?


Adam Spector: Well, one of the fun things with the podcast is, you've obviously got me talking today and I don't mind talking. But instead, when you're a podcast host, you have to ask a lot of questions and be just super deep on that and learning. And I think that's one of the most important skill sets for a founder in general, is asking a lot, a lot, a lot of questions. Just a leader, a good leader, I believe has a deep curiosity. and a wide ranging knowledge. And so for me, it really expanded my mind to talk to great founders, the whole idea of my podcast, by the way, it's called Entrepreneurial Excellence. And the thesis of Entrepreneurial Excellence is like, “What makes for an excellent entrepreneur?” What does that look like? What is success equal? Why is it relevant? How do you get there? How do you achieve it? What are the steps that the best ones take? And so that's the real focus.

Jason Atkins: Cool, man. Yeah, you must get to learn some incredible things from other successful entrepreneurs. So yeah, I'll have to check it out. Part of the reason why I do this pod, honestly, is just to continue to learn about equity and the founder journey. And while I'm learning, then I can hopefully help others learn and create some interesting insights into equity, which is kind of an opaque space. It's hard to see what other companies are doing with their ESOP or with their raising or or how they're being efficient with their capital, so it's good to be able to unpack some of those stories and help people learn.

Adam Spector: I would say, by the way, probably the biggest lesson learned so far, I've done about 50 episodes, is being just incredibly obsessed with your problem to the point where it's all you probably can think about and just truly being obsessed. And being willing to keep going too, right? So a lot of founders stop or fail or give up, and it's okay to give up, frankly. In some cases, you should give up. But if you still feel like there's one more thing you can do to get out there and have another shot, if you still have more ideas for what to do, keep going. Because the other big insight is sticking around. A lot of founders and companies fail because the founders just give up. Again, there's really good times and places to do that because you might have a dead zombie company and you're just wasting your life and time. However, if you feel like you have something that's working and you just have ideas for how to continue to solve it, you should do that, right? I learned that with my first company. We just talked about their story. Background checks were working for us. Had we just stuck with it, we would have built what Checkr became before Checkr. We still might have failed, but we had the right idea in the right place, but we just ran out of energy. And Steve, we had money in the bank, too, and it's the same thing that I've learned from all these other founders, is just being obsessed with the problem is one of the surest ways to achieve entrepreneurial excellence.


Jason Atkins: Amazing. How are you going to take those learnings into Levy into 2030? So what's going to happen, man? Are you a solo founder these days? How's the obsession going?


Adam Spector: I am a solo founder, and it's tough. It's the first time I've been a solo founder. For the first three companies, I had a co-founder. This is the first one where I don't. I would also add, by the way, Levy's bootstrapped. So the first three companies all raised venture capital dollars. We are bootstrapped. So we're doing things differently. But it has its own set of challenges, like there are real challenges there. And for us in 2030, I mean, our goal is to become the default platform and tool and product that every single entrepreneur in the world, and I don't just mean tech startups, every single entrepreneur in the world uses to have a world-class back office. Every single founder, entrepreneur, I don't care what country you're in, what race, religion, background, You name it, you deserve world-class operations so you can be the best founder you can be or your product and what you care about in the market. And our goal is to become the default that you choose.

Jason Atkins: Awesome, man. Well, I hope that the outsourcing trend continues. It sounds like, you know, the timing's quite good. You know, if your vision comes to light that, we can have these hundreds of millions, companies turning over hundreds of millions with very few FTEs and having products and services outsourced. It seems to be an ongoing trend. So fingers crossed that continues for you, mate.

Adam Spector: Thank you. Fingers crossed to you. The joys and challenges of startup is you never know. Nothing's guaranteed. But I do feel like this is another key insight, I suppose, from the podcast is you need to be reading in general. You need to surf a wave. If you're in Europe being Australian, of course, you get this, right? I assume everyone in Australia surfs, so I could be wrong there. But it's really hard to go surfing if the tide's going out, right? Or there's no waves today. It's really hard to surf. So, if you want to go surfing, you need a wave that you can surf. And that's a rule for any successful business, right? If you try to build something in a market that just doesn't exist or that's dying, you're going to be running, using another analogy, running uphill, which is a lot harder than going downhill.


Jason Atkins: Totally. It's perhaps a good opportunity to pivot. So getting back to energy, we've really got to bring a lot of energy over a long period. I think perseverance, as you said, it's one of the big lessons that I've had in creating a successful company as well. And in my opinion, at Cake, we believe that a lot of this great energy comes from inside, from your health and your mental health and tapping into what motivates and drives you. We call it a creative, healthy lifestyle. I know you're massive into health as well. Yeah. Any insights into your routines or focus on health to help motivate our listeners?


Adam Spector: Yeah, look, a few things. I mean, one, I have the general belief that you can only do two things in life really well at any given time. So you kind of have to choose what you want to focus on. So for me, I made the choice that is essentially like Levy, my company, and family. I have two young kids, so family and Levy. And that's kind of it. I don't have a lot of time for other things. Now, within that, there's a few things I can modify on a regular basis and try to be really disciplined about. Because I need to be disciplined to do well at those tasks. If I show up in a tired way for my team, in low energy for my team, or for my family, that is a disservice to them, to my teammates, and to my family. And so I need to try to optimize that element as well. And so what that means, look, I don't have nearly as much time to kind of work out and get in shape as I'd like, but I can tie all those things together. So I try really hard to get a good amount of sleep. I try really hard to eat well. I have cut basically all alcohol out of my day to day. I have low sugar in all the things that I eat. And I can even be better on that one because I do love dessert. But like, those are things you… Bit of balance. Yeah, you know, you got to enjoy yourself still. Like, don't be a total teetotaler and not enjoy yourself.


Jason Atkins: I think that's true. It's an interesting insight. And look, I don't want to criticize anyone who is extreme in anything, but if you take everything out, then perhaps you're still not showing up for that founding role and for that family role because you're probably a bit edgy and needing a little bit of fun or relaxation.

Adam Spector: I mean, look, if if I went to bed, if I have an event I have to go to tomorrow night and I go to a variety of events, I live in San Francisco, which, by the way, you're wearing a good SF Giants hat, and everyone should come to San Francisco at some point if you want to be in tech, at least. It's a good place to be. But there are events all the time. And if I was like, no, I need to go to bed at 8 p.m., and I only eat dinner before 3 p.m. every day, and I don't drink anything, it actually takes you out of the other things that you care about. So for me, I will go out to dinners, and I won't eat as healthy as I might eat at home, but I'll eat and maybe I'll at least like some kind of drink partially like a glass of wine and be social and not a lot of it. I usually get non-alcoholic drinks around a lot of menus nowadays, that makes it easier. But I just, I enjoy being, working with smart founders like yourself and thinking through the strategic issues and challenges that my own company has every day. And that's what I derive joy from. And so I'm gonna optimize for those things. So really trying to have a healthy life balance, but also I think another key part to longevity and also just health and frankly being a good business person is a high level of curiosity, right? What's changing the world? Why is it changing? How is it changing? And what can I learn from all the people who I talk with every day? And so I don't know, those things I hope are putting me in a good place to be a good person, good human, and one who is leaving at least a teeny tiny but valuable mark on the planet for my short time that I have here.


Jason Atkins: Very cool. Very balanced. Quite similar to me in a lot of ways. It's interesting to hear. Thanks very much, Adam. It's been great to get to know you recently. I think your insights have been very valuable. Congrats on the awesome entrepreneurial journey and the creation of Levy. I look forward to working with you in partnership with Cake, but also for being part of your ongoing entrepreneurial mission, mate. So yeah, thanks for joining.

Adam Spector: Jason, thank you so much for having me on. Let me know when you make it to San Francisco again. We'll go on a walk and drink a healthy, non-caffeinated, zero-sugar drink and enjoy ourselves. But I appreciate it.

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