10 Oct Pitch Deck – From Business Concept to Fully Funded in 72 Days with Austin Distel and Tim Palladino
Austin Distel, CMO of Proof, a Y-Combinator backed company and Tim Palladino, a successful businessman with a 7 figure business exit, both serial entrepreneurs talk about coming up with many ideas and being able to bring one to life. Pitch Deck is a game by entrepreneurs made for everybody. Think Apples to Apples meets Shark Tank, come up with fun, funny, and fundable business ideas with prompts. Play with your friends and family and they’ll see why entrepreneurs are always coming up with some of the whackiest Ideas. They dive into their background, the struggles, and how they were able to work together on launching this as new found partners through respect.
Eric: [00:00:00] hey everybody. This is Eric White Chan host of the y-factor. Thank you guys so much for tuning in today. I have two special guests here on the show today. I have Tim Palladino and Austin Distel who have launched a Kickstarter product? And before I go any further, I would love for them to introduce themselves and really what this entire Kickstarter project is about for you guys.
Tim Palladino: Yes, I’ll go ahead and go first. My name is Tim Palladino, and I’m a Serial entrepreneur recent seven-figure exit recent author. I’ve just finishing up my first book and proud partner of Austin Bissell.
Austin Distel: Yeah, my name is Austin distal CMO at a software company called proof where we now have been in business for about three years went through a accelerator called y combinator race a couple million in Silicon Valley classic like living seven guys in a house coding every day.
And now the day we live in Austin, Texas, and we’re good friends and decided to turn. A [00:01:00] silly game that we played the bars into a Kickstarter game for entrepreneurs.
Eric: Yeah. So what is the the kickstarter and the product that you guys started? What is it called? What is it about?
Tim Palladino: Right, so it’s called pitch deck. It’s the party game for entrepreneurs and it basically Bridges the gap between the duality of the entrepreneurs life and their family life, but their family friends co-workers, you know, sometimes our families our friends our co-workers don’t really understand what we do and why we get so excited about our creative Endeavors.
This is a really good way to like Hannah bombed us and bring us all together. So I would say like the foundation of this is community and creative expression.
Austin Distel: And from a gameplay standpoint many of related it to Apples to Apples meet sharktank. And so the concept is that you pitch hilarious business ideas to your friends and some are funny some are fundable and you get rewarded for both.
So we used to you know, kind of just screw around at the [00:02:00] bar and you know after two ipas and we have some hilarious ideas where we are. In fact, we have a trend of buying ridiculous domain names. There’s some really good ones. Later in the episode. But I this has been Yeah, just something fun that our friend group is kind of already done.
We’re like What if this could be a game that anyone could play and eventually after you know the next morning, I think it was Fourth of July. We are playing and this when idea called stable table come up and we’re like, this is freaking hilarious everybody. The table is cracking up. And then the next day we’re like guys this should absolutely be a game and we started going over the game mechanics and like understanding the market and we started doing tests for like 2 months this summer different gameplays we can get into.
A little bit of that story. It’s really interesting. Actually the way that we’ve approached product development, but it’s gone [00:03:00] from being this fun. Hobby. We play with friends to an actual funded Kickstarter campaign.
Eric: Yeah. So before we get into the business, I mean some people they get drunk and they just by random stuff on Amazon you guys get drunk and decide to come up with a business idea and just go buy a bunch of domains and then see if something comes to fruition, right?
I mean, yeah, that’s I was just having a conversation with with this IT guy and he’s just. He was talking about like how many domains he’s purchased in like that’s just what he does what he likes to do. And it’s like it’s very interesting because you know, I was just working corporate before I jump to entrepreneurship didn’t realize that that was even a thing where people just like trying to collect all these domains.
Some are worth a lot of money. Some are not some some people are sitting on some crazy domain names that could be generating a lot of money, but they don’t know what to do with it. Right? So, I mean you guys decided to go in. I guess what it’s only been a few months so I know when I talked to Tim about this he was super excited, is just from concept to idea to launching just super super fast, [00:04:00] right?
So what is it that you guys did to really just. That get that spark going right like you guys were sitting down at okay, let’s let’s try to get this proof of concept going like what really started it right? Because for a lot of people out there who are just trying to come up with a business idea or project.
You know, I’m sure a lot of people who listen they have a lot of good ideas and they just start talking with their friends and at that point they may get to you know, a few conversations and then. Decide like okay. Well, I’ll just put it on the back burner or something in life comes up and they just forget about it.
Right and that’s where ideas just go die. So like how did you guys keep the momentum going to get this even even started?
Tim Palladino: Yeah. Well, I’ll take this one. so I think what really allowed it to have legs in a foundation is that we both have our successes separately, but we had a friendship together and the exact same reason that were building this.
For people is the exact same reason that we could have built it so fast with each other [00:05:00] because it was fun. It was excited. We were able to express ourselves creatively and really act as how should I say. Of scaffolding for each other as we’re building this because we both have separate talents plus our third partner Darby Rollins.
We all have separate talents and it was super enjoyable like the people talk about the journey. This was one of the first businesses that I actually started with the journey was way more excited than getting funded in 12 hours on Kickstarter it was a really awesome 60 days. I just moved to a new city and meeting 60 entrepreneurs we tested this with.
Getting to meet all these excellent people that were now super bonded with I think that’s what made it so easy to have this business flourished the way it did.
Austin Distel: Yeah, as Tim said we have our own things going on outside of pitch deck. So the interesting thing is we look at this business as not one that we need it to be an income generator yet, right.
This is something that we thought. [00:06:00] Hey, let’s spin our nights and weekends together as friends building a project together and I’ll be honest as a kid entrepreneur when I was starting my first companies as a child companies is a very loose word. I was just mowing Lawns and selling lemonade and doing things like that little hustles.
But yeah at the end of the day it was like. I never felt understood by my other friends who want to go and work at Publix and wanted to go like just do a normal path and I never related to that. I’ve never had a real job. I’ve never really felt like that was my path yet 99% of the world has and does so.
I’ve always wanted a friend group that I could go create things with but it very often felt and it was a dichotomy in my life between work and play. And I had my school. I had my businesses. I had just like this like hustle mentality from nine to five and then [00:07:00] actually way later than that, but then at you know night we go party with my friends and I couldn’t really merge those two worlds together.
You know, my mom thinks I just do computers right like and. You know, and I know nobody in when I went to University of Georgia, nobody understood, you know, they just wanted to go to the SEC games and I had my friends, you know on a Tuesday night, they’d be you know up till 2:00 a.m. Partying as I was trying to do my webinars and like it was just.
It was just a really tough separation, you know, the girls that I would date like never really understood they not constantly. I close my computer and let’s watch Netflix. I’m like, no, I don’t want to watch that. Like I got dreams here. Okay. Yeah, and so it wasn’t until I moved here to Austin Texas the mecca of Entrepreneurship right now.
We’re sort of the curate this friend group where everybody is super hustling at the same time [00:08:00] as they’re like balancing, you know play and going to music and getting you know beers during a happy hour and then doing another. Three hour session at night from like six to nine PM of more work and like we all work here in my office together all the time on the weekends.
Like it’s just this mentality that we work together we play together. We really just live a singular life. in the past. It was not singular in the past. It was this dichotomy. And so I think pitch deck is just a reflection. Of where we are right now where the method I should say. The ethos of pitch deck is be both funny and fundable and really what that means is play and Hustle.
Yeah, and that’s what we’ve done with our friend group we play and we hustle and for the first time ever my friends and girls I date that normally would never really understand me when they play this game with me. [00:09:00] They see some version. This light of me that they’ve never really would have seen outside the game and I think Tim can be a testament to that
Tim Palladino: a hundred percent.
And what’s on the other side too, you know, some of the people that we introduced this game to that aren’t entrepreneurs. They see a light in them self. Hmm when they’re able to express themselves creatively because this is the party game for entrepreneurs, but it’s not necessarily for entrepreneurs, you know, this is from young kids to build the confidence and creativity.
To anybody so when we play with a lot of our friends that the little bit nervous because I know you guys are entrepreneurs. This is a practice skills.
Eric: They oh, yeah, you guys are going to be experts you guys are just gonna win you’re like no it’s not really like that. It’s just being able to be creative and having fun all at the same time. Right?
Tim Palladino: And I’ll be honest. I’ve got my ass kicked but not entrepreneurs in this game. It’s just the way it is. Yeah the beauties of the funny and fundable, you know, it’s a real balance game because. One is a really cool mechanic because you can go anyway, so it adds to the to [00:10:00] the variability of what you can offer creatively but it also allows everybody to play on equal playing field.
Eric: Yeah, and it just goes to show like it’s not about just like sitting at home with the family and just the watch Shark Tank. Now you can actually participate in coming up with ideas because I mean all the three of us sitting in this room. We’re always working on different projects coming up with different ideas.
I mean, me and you Tim and we’ve already come up with a few projects that we tried working together. That’s why the question that came up was like well, okay technically none of them really like, you know move forward. So like what was the difference right but just being able to have that community.
Group, I think a lot of people who want to just you know, jump into even, you know exploring the entrepreneurship world. This just goes to show like there is an opportunity to have that fine balance, right and and I think you know two years ago. When I started this journey, it was about finding a community of like-minded people who you can also be friends.
And having that fun, right and I can kind of tell you know at this stage of my life the separation of [00:11:00] friends. You don’t understand. You know, what I do or the lifestyle or me, you know not going clubbing with them for their birthdays or something. Like I’ll take you guys out to dinner, but I’m not going to go out and be super hungover the next day and be unproductive right?
But I mean, it’s just it’s really cool to see. You know something like this come together and you guys being able to bridge a gap like this and I can just see like a family who wants to teach their kids entrepreneurship that this could be a great exercise for them to even come up with ideas and just seeing how this entire world Works to right.
So it’s super exciting idea. I mean once when you pitch to me, I was like, oh that’s a really neat idea. I wish I was part of it. But it’s a little hard since I’m not in Austin and I’m pretty sure I would have fought my way into getting a share of that too. But I just backed it.
So I’ll still get a piece of the fun. anyways, right? Yeah, so I know Austin you talked about kind of going through this entire journey. I think this is what your guys is first Kickstarter project you [00:12:00] guys have ever done. So I mean a lot of people I mean, we work on Kickstarter projects all the time with clients, so.
For you guys just being completely fresh just jumping straight into it. Like what was that? Like, I’m pretty sure a lot of people, you know, if they’re looking to start a business. Kickstarter is always a route that they’ll probably explore. So what was it like for you guys to decide? Yeah, let’s do a Kickstarter.
Let’s try to figure out how it works and let me let’s make sure you know, as you know business people that you guys go through the motions and make sure this is an actual product or idea that you guys can bring to life.
Tim Palladino: Yeah. first two things that I want to say is when I approach something and I think something is a good idea.
It’s never a good idea unless it’s compared to something else, right? So it’s like is this good? Well compared to this. Let’s find out. So you have to compare it to other options funding putting things like traditional funding. I should say bank loans VC like all these different things. We had to kind of compare them.
And then once we realize that this was the most appropriate, Method because of you [00:13:00] know, the social dynamics that are involved in Kickstarter campaigns and how they work and how this is social game. I think that lent us for this to make more sense and then we just triage what is most important.
To us as a company to face our community and face our people. So this is a more fun way to really Express what’s going on, you know gives us a really nice wide 30 30 30 one day range to celebrate with everybody that’s happening. So I think that was one of the main reasons that we chose we chose this direction.
Austin Distel: Yeah, and that’s certainly the reason for the community aspect and the marketing of it. It’s great to have a launch dependent. You know where you have some scarcity. It’s only for 30 days, you know, you want to be in early you have this early adoption mentality and you know, there’s traffic that comes directly through Kickstarter and there’s like other channels that happen.
You can get Affiliates rallying around it and press wants to talk about new invention. So there is certainly a lot of novelty [00:14:00] to being on Kickstarter on a more. Pragmatic scale we can look at like we can actually fund this business without bank loans that you know, you’ll pay interest rates on or having to give up Equity to Angels or VCS and not pulling it out of our savings account or having to liquidate other of our assets really what this comes down to is we’re funding the business with pre-sales.
And so, you know, you can imagine that China has a pretty large minimum order for you know, buying a printed manufactured game that has many pieces and its intricate right? So how do we afford to buy 60 to 80 thousand dollars worth of inventory to supply not only the kickstarter but also to make sure that our holiday season goes well, and we enter 2020 with.
An inventory now that could have come out of our pockets, you know, but I’d [00:15:00] rather have the market validate that this is a good idea rather than us putting the liability and to shelfing this and and then it just being sitting in inventory in a warehouse somewhere collecting dust, you know, we don’t we don’t know if anything is good.
We have assumptions that it is. Yeah, but we need the market to prove with their dollars and vote. Yeah, I like your idea and this sounds exciting and so far they have we got fully funded in 12 hours. It’s now been I think we’re on day four of the kickstarter. Yes and already surpassed 10,000 in funding.
So it’s climbing up people seem to like it and you know, I will say the game is very different from the one that we. Row on a napkin at the bar. I we had assumptions we test those assumptions we get feedback and we plan do and review the iterations of the game. And we even ab tested in that’s a conversation itself.
Eric: Yeah. Did you guys I don’t remember [00:16:00] seeing it on the Kickstart itself. Did you guys post a picture of the napkin or at least like concepts of the start of it.
Austin Distel: Yeah. I just have a framed in my room. I think it is the most pure version of product creation. It’s a framed picture of my very first idea of what the directions of the game should be and scribbled all over these directions
it is scratched out scribbled on little notes in the margins all of these things that we were testing during our first like playtest. We’re here at my office we had. We’ve done this several times, but in total we’ve had about 60 entrepreneurs play different versions of the game different social dynamics different ways to win different cards different like just so many different variables and testing to make sure is this what you like is this.
Actually how the game should be played and this is what I do in [00:17:00] software It’s how we do product development we have you know, now over 20,000 sites that use our software company of software product proof and it didn’t come from us having assumptions and then saying hey do you like this and you know, we just spent four months on building a feature that there’s crickets for.
No, that’s not how we build software products. That’s very expensive if you pay developers. Now what we do is we. Test wireframes and we you know do beta test and then we know Alpha test and beta test then we go to market with a soft launch and we you know, see if people like that respond iterate plan do and review.
Eric: Yeah, it’s almost it’s almost like the the same thing as if I wanted to, you know, try to create a granola bar, right? You’re not going to just go out and just start making your own recipe and then just like pitching to you know, Whole Foods or something, right? And then yeah, maybe you’re lucky enough to get a deal but then all of a sudden no one knows about it.
No one no one ends up liking it but rather you want to you know, share with your friends and family and then just being will make sure you’re testing that recipe over and over again until [00:18:00] there’s a widely adopted Market before you even you know, go all in .
Austin Distel: Yeah, Eric, you nail that on the head actually uses sending in a lot with recipes.
Let’s say that you know for the analogy of it that you want to become the best wedding cake designer in the world. Yeah, your wedding cake is so good that every bride must have your wedding cake. Well, it doesn’t start with the wedding cake. It actually probably starts with the cupcake. And you have to nail that really well the smallest version that represents what it could be one day.
And so, you know, you don’t want to spend all of this time creating, you know, getting all of the raw materials and then. Buying the kitchen hiring the staff doing all of that to create a wedding cake that when you go to market you think that everybody likes this new carrot wedding cake that you bought you’re like. No, that’s disgusting. And in fact, this frosting is a little too hard and you didn’t get the colors right and all of these [00:19:00] things the packaging of it the taste of it. So before making the biggest version that you can. Make the smallest version make the cupcake version of whatever that is and in SAS, we call that the MVP the minimal viable product and from there.
Once you get a couple people to pay for your cupcake, then you make the birthday cake. The little bit larger version of that and you go to a larger market you try and test a couple more channels you test different audiences to see hey who’s actually the the right buyer for this product and we call that product Market fit.
So if you look at yes, you might have the right product but the wrong Market or you write might have the wrong Market but the right products right? So there’s two sides to every Marketplace whether or not you’re actually a Marketplace and you must test both. By the time that you nail the product and the market, it’s time to scale and Lily that now means that you’re able to make your wedding cake.
Eric: Okay, guys, you guys just basically [00:20:00] launched a wedding cake company right there. So I know, it’s hilarious
Austin Distel: same framework to anything in your life. I’ll be honest you can do this for. Birthday gifts you can do this for companies. You can do this for travel. You can do this same concept but make the minimum viable product.
We call this the 80/20 principle Pareto principle. What’s the 20% that makes the 80% of the results and begin there?
Eric: Yeah, . And for those people who are listening. I mean Austin you can tell he’s definitely had a little bit of Silicon Valley and him with the verbiage that we definitely use out here, right?
So, you know a lot of people. I think they get overwhelmed with needing to have a grand idea and just making sure everything’s perfect. But like you said you just have to start small and just start somewhere and then going through that framework that Austin just you know went through those are all good tips that you know, if you guys are trying to come up with a business idea.
Like that’s really the way to go and [00:21:00] it can apply to anything in your life.
Tim Palladino: Yeah, and I would like to add one more thing never underestimate the beauty of each ingredient. You know, there was a couple things in this game during the process that I didn’t think we’re a good idea because of what I had a preconceived notion on and they had a different idea and then when I actually saw in play, I only saw it we’re having the conversation.
I saw it as the ingredients. But I didn’t see it mixed with the rest to become the whole. Yeah, and then once I saw it as the whole I was like, okay now it makes sense.
Eric: Were you like only super serious business ideas only allowed?
Austin Distel: There’s, you know finding out how to win a game is like the most important because if there’s no destination and they have very little incentive to continue playing and so you have to give them a Finish Line and uncovering in game mechanics what that finish line is actually pretty difficult in a way that entrepreneurs and their friends [00:22:00] family coworkers anybody else playing the game?
That’s maybe not directly identified as an entrepreneur. How do you give them? You know the right track to maybe win this game and maybe even weigh in their favor that like the girlfriend, you know, who isn’t an entrepreneur what kind of puts up with her boyfriend can actually kick his ass, that’s cool.
And so, you know, I’ll give you an example here. We used to come up with a point system where like. You know how funny on it was a scale of 1 to 10 and then how fundable was it on the scale of 1 to 10 and then you add those two together and so out of 20, you know, you now had a proxy you could figure out.
Hey if Tim’s you know idea was a 14 and mine was a 16 then I’ll win but you know if it just switches out like there’s a lot of problems with that kind of game mechanic that we came to find out. If you kind of water down both because it’s the addition of two things. So you get you want to get a level seven and a seven instead of [00:23:00] being hilarious number 10, but like a chew on the fundable or super fundable.
But so serious that it’s not funny. You can’t ever win the game with that kind of dynamic. So with that in mind and you know adding you know, what as soon as you start to add math to it, you have to have a scorecard and then you have to have pencils and so. Actually Simplicity while it’s the hardest thing is actually like you can make a game cheaper and more fun by removing stuff.
So very often just this is actually a life principle removing things. One of the most effective things that you can do. And so now the game mechanic is you have two cards a funny card in a fundable card that the investor says well entrepreneur your idea was the most funny so you get a point. But yo, your idea was the most fundable you get a point and so or in the best case scenario you get the funny and fundable card.
You just got double points and the first of five of either card or a [00:24:00] combination of cards wins the game and we found that that Simplicity Awards all people. In the game and it has just like that is that one ingredient completely changed the social dynamics?
Tim Palladino: Yeah connectivity of the players is the most valuable game mechanic that we have in this game and and full circle, right?
That’s Community. That’s bonding. That’s how you bridge these gaps between who you think your friend with is and who they really are when they play these games with you.
Eric: Because you you basically get like a sneak peek into their mind if I like they are just in in the seat to be an investor. Like are they a really good investor like?
Oh, yeah, they know that’s a good idea or they just don’t care. They just want to you know have a they like the funny idea like what’s going to resonate more with that? Right. So I mean you guys basically talked about like testing everything right? And I know you kind of hit it on or mentioned it about a/b testing right what are other examples that you guys had to go through in order to just [00:25:00] A/B test this entire game.
Tim Palladino: Yeah. So we did it with a bunch of different groups. We did it with entrepreneurs we did it with. Not entrepreneurs, you know family friends loved ones of entrepreneurs other things we did was the point system that Austin was just talking about the timer like how long do we give someone like when does it become obnoxious?
Why does it become because you have to you have to keep a pace, right? Yeah, but natural Rhythm that and what is a natural Rhythm right? So we had a kind of we did 30 seconds. We did two minutes. I think we did at least one minute. Then a couple twice and then when you’re coming up with the idea, how long do you have versus how long do you have to pitch and then are you allowed to ask questions?
You know and it’s like what kind of questions because questions can be on forever. And so it was all these little different things that we had. We had the most points. We had a game playing in one side [00:26:00] and then I was running a game in the other side and we were running back and forth between each other saying Hey, what how does your timer working and hey.
So one of the one of the most interesting ones than me is and I thought this would this goes to show how little you actually know until you prove something out is the die that we use we use you start with a six-sided die. I’m like plenty works perfectly and then we added a 12-sided die with more Industries and more options for investors choice.
As the industry number and that right there made it so so much more fun because it was so much more wild of an option. Yeah, and I just didn’t expect that to be the case, but the 12 unanimously one out unanimously one out because there was more and more particular different things and it was a variability that was necessary.
Eric: Yeah, [00:27:00] that’s awesome. you know Austin he just whipped out some of the components of the game on video. And yeah, unfortunately for those who are listening to this as a podcast, I’ll probably try to get a snippet of this later on but are you going to just kind of walk through or just showcasing the ingredients that you guys
Austin Distel: Sure, so we can walk through the current gameplay this here’s the first edition of our.
Soon to come influencer pack we call it the heroes deck. We thought a really cool so that the very first version is just business names that Tim Darby and I have come up with where this one here for example is photo Fizz. All right, and then we roll the industry dice. It’s a 12-sided die. And so if it rolls on a to that’s Tech and apps so you now have to pitch photo Fizz Tim photo Fizz.
It’s a tech and app company [00:28:00] you now have one minute to think about your idea. I have my investor notepad that I can take notes as he pitches his idea and Tim.
Eric: Since Tim is an expert entrepreneur. We’re going to give him only 10 seconds to come up with the idea. So the audience doesn’t have to wait for 1 minute.
Tim Palladino: Can you wait like two minutes we can do like a like a montage so I can apps so photo Fizz in Tech and apps is a way that you can take a photo with your cell phone and then automatically put it to a say, okay. It’s a. Take a photo with your cell phone. Then you upload it to a company that then sends you a tablet that you put into a tub of water that displays the photo of the landscape picture of hmm.
Austin Distel: I’m thinking I think this is actually a photo Fizz is. It’s a little camera that you can put in the bottom of your drinking it that really cool, you know GoPro view where you’re [00:29:00] chugging beer and it’s just like going straight down in your mouth. And that’s photo Fizz, right?
Eric: Oh, man. I think you’re gonna have to put like a light so you can capture in the mouth.
I’m going to take a stab at it. Just yeah add it as well. I mean the idea would be to have take a picture of your photo and then you send it to the company they’ll upload it and send you a sort of Fizz with that picture. Around the label perfect. Be my idea
Tim Palladino: love it could well be good for birthdays holidays. You name it weddings
Austin Distel: So that’s in short what the game is and you award that now with the most funny and the fundable card first to five wins
Eric: will leave it to the audience to decide who who they thought was the most funny. And for the most fundable I think mine is most wonderful. So yeah, so there you guys have I mean that’s that’s the idea of the game very simple.
I think it’s a rotation of the investors right who gets it. Give out the points. I mean that’s it’s such a great and neat concept when I when I heard it and it’s [00:30:00] super cool to have you guys as entrepreneurs who’ve just been growing different types of businesses who have come from different walks of life to then come together and come up with such a neat idea to give out to the community.
I mean a lot of the the people that who I believe are my audience are just you know, people who are still either working, you know, they’re nine-to-five jobs. Maybe they’re thinking about you know, Just not even becoming full on our entrepreneurs but you know even creating a side hustle. I mean something like this like you guys you guys are all working your own full-time jobs running your own business.
I mean, how long did it really take you guys, you know, the extra hours to even you know work on this and I mean from from my perspective doing something like this with a bunch of friends just doesn’t even become a matter if I it being a time-consuming thing and it being a very stressful project.
It just becomes something fun, right? So how long how would you say like, it takes you guys or what it took you guys to, you know, [00:31:00] put a lot of effort and resources into this especially for someone who wants to start their own business or their own side hustle or side project.
Tim Palladino: Yeah. So it was a lot of nights and weekends.
It was definitely an all the time wasn’t together, you know separate and then presenting it to each other but it’s a different qualification of time. You know you could be doing you could be watching opera or you could be going to see another rad movie. You don’t say like totally different things one out away prefer doing but you know what the time still takes the same way so it the weight of the work if you will that we put into this even though it was six weeks, you know, solid of weekends and working just about every night was a lot lighter of a workload because it was able to do it.
Big smiles to be honest
Austin Distel: and I can’t stress how important it is to find a co-founder at least one. So I went through Y combinator and only about one in five thousand companies that applied get into YC [00:32:00] and out of them 95% have at least one co-founder. If not more so proof. There’s three co-founders here at pitch deck.
There’s three of us and. I think that there’s so much value that is way more worth the equity that you would give up, you know in thirds or whatever it is because of several things. So first you’re splitting time. That’s of course helpful, right like your you’re able to still have a life and actually move a Hut like it’s not just three times faster with three co-founders.
It is actually exponential it is. The reason why that is is because we each have our own unique skill sets and experience. We bring the table connections and other things that are kind of at back door hack right like marketing is my life for a long time. I know Tim has a very different. Background in procurement and being able to
Tim Palladino: [00:33:00] organize things be able to kind of like reverse-engineer them and yeah, a lot with like software and stuff like that when we did automations for homes and construction companies.
I was in the gold and silver business. I did a reverse e-commerce business. So I have a lot of these little silly skills that I have acquired from there and the combination of all those working together to be able to kind of complement and. My understandings on certain things when we go through this
Austin Distel: and there’s the classic adage that you’ll hear in the very early days of Entrepreneurship that your network is your net worth and by having co-founders, you’ve tripled your network.
Therefore your net worth is tripled as well if not more, you know, I bring a lot of connections from the internet marketing world and the is Silicon Valley world where Tim has the Maverick scene and the author seen in other scenes Darby is deep in the e-commerce world the Amazon and the Shopify [00:34:00] world and so not only is that like our friendship Network that’s also our console like consultations and you know right now I have here.
The very first time anybody’s heard that of this outside of our little test group. I have our heroes deck and so not all of these are confirmed yet. But here we have 50. It’s an expansion pack of 50 cards that are submitted by famous entrepreneurs. I have here Robert Kiyosaki of Rich, Dad Poor Dad.
I have Sara Blakely of Spanx. I have Tim Ferriss author and you know big entrepreneur Rob dial and many others here in the deck that have submitted names to the deck that will be played, you know here Tim Ferriss. And by the way, this is not confirmed yet. We’re still in conversation working things out but Tim Ferriss Titan, so now you have to pitch Titan the food and beverage right?
So. This is pretty interesting [00:35:00] getting you know, 50 people have had a huge impact in the world like the global pop culture of Entrepreneurship through their books through their businesses through their media and you know having them contribute getting to these people is not easy. No I bet but with three times the network it has it is way easier and.
Yeah, I would say there’s just so much value in having a co-founder for the also for the vetting of ideas. You know, if I went alone into this business the game would not be as good The Branding would not be as good the everything. We just not be as good because there was no bouncing it off of other people and just to have.
The idea is spin take us to another level and it also filters out some of the crap ideas.
Tim Palladino: Well, so one point that I want to make on top of that working with a group of other [00:36:00] intelligent invigorated entrepreneurs versus doing it yourself doing it yourself, you will get things done, but they will never be finished.
The difference between the two is light years and I think it’s an exponential increase in the possibilities of what you’re creating and what you’re putting your effort into, you know, a lot of people when they’re when they’re pulling on Partners is saying oh no, that’s a division in my stock.
Absolutely. Not that is an increase that is a force multiplier to have these people to watch your swing, you know where each batting coaches to each other. We’re all correcting each other a degree. So we can hit things more accurately and with unbelievable precision and that’s the reason we can move so fast.
So without the force multiplier of honest and authentic Partners, you can’t move this fast and you won’t be able to hit to the absolute the absolute Peaks.
Austin Distel: I mean from a headline perspective. How [00:37:00] did we go from, you know idea to bar to 100% funded on Kickstarter in 72 days. And like that’s that’s insane.
Absolutely. It would have taken me personally a year to do that. We’re literally took 72 days for me and two friends to do this together.
Eric: Yeah, would you say that three is the perfect number or you think even two is fine having a co-founder and split of opportunity just based on I mean sounds like threes your favorite number to launch a business.
Austin Distel: I like three. I like three a lot because you. Have when you have delegation and deliberation on you know, what should happen next and priorities and all this stuff. You have a third party perspective that out is watching and listening to the conversation at the table and is able to see points of view and then [00:38:00] recognize.
Okay, where is egos getting away? Where is you know missed opportunity being over sought it’s you know, it’s an oversight of one person. Maybe they’re bringing something unique to the table maybe to have a third perspective. That’s a medium between the two other perspectives. And so, you know between Tim Darby and I like we have sometimes we agree and often we don’t agree, but it’s from Total and you know absolute respect for each other and we often look to the third to say well.
You know, what’s your opinion? And what do you what’s your unique perspective that you bring to you know this conversation and so to have that like last say instead of it’s like me versus you. It’s like okay we’re going to do a two to three and then we also have a heavier weight on things that we are individually experts on.
So for example, like when it comes to branding. You know my opinion will be awaited a little bit more when it comes to you know procurement and you know getting [00:39:00] Supply Chain management. That’s not my area of expertise. And so Eileen heavy on Tim and Darby’s perspective and you know, I’ll give my input but it’s not it’s not as strongly suited.
So just having these weighted differences certainly helps create a better product in the end.
Eric: Yeah, absolutely.
Tim Palladino: So what’s really cool about having being a non-expert and having a partner is there is a the Golden Nugget of the novice question is someone asks you something from an angle. You can’t even see anymore because you’re so elbows deep in something and you are the expert.
So when they ask you that question it reframes how you’re looking at things. And giving you this Observer benefit. So I think that’s also another one but I would also say if there are people out there that have 50/50 Partnerships and they’re like, you know, we don’t really want to take on a third one.
I [00:40:00] would explore taking the option of getting Council for 2% 59 59 and then had I’m sorry for yeah, my bad. Let’s try that again 49 49 with a two percent split. You know so there for you you’re getting the the intellectual benefit of a third party and they’re allowing you to stop being the the participant and more acts as the observer in the conversation for any tiebreaker.
So there’s not a tension is when you’re building a business there. It’s tense times sometimes if you want to be and I think that’s what’s why the love is still great and all of our relationships is because it’s not 1 vs 1. You know, there’s there’s a there’s a Synergy that we’re all bouncing off each other and going up.
Eric: Yeah, I’ll I’ll be your fourth guy for that extra 18% You just calculated. Yeah. I know it sounds like you know Partnerships are the way to go right and having a co-founder. I mean a lot of people, you know, they always [00:41:00] talk about just having a nightmare Business Partnership falling out just things going awry just because you know delegation and test just aren’t met.
Or over time that you know a lack of respect, you know just just happens sometimes right? Have you guys experienced that before in your lifetime? And what did you guys do to either help prevent that or learn from that experience?
Tim Palladino: I definitely have oh, I’ve definitely have. I can’t get into too many details out of respect for the other person, but it’s never the people it’s the agreement that’s the problem.
Eric: Like agreement on paper that you guys have discussed prior.
Tim Palladino: Yeah, and even if it’s a handshake agreement, it’s as long as it’s out there at the end of the day, you know, we all have UPS fuel have Downs, you know, we all want to be more capable than sometimes we are and we have to be compassionate when things don’t go right, you know, we can’t be angry with the other party because things don’t go right and we have to approach them.
[00:42:00] Or they have to approach us, you know, if we’re on the other end with a layer of understanding and let’s get to the other side of this. So the two things that I would say based on my hundreds of thousands of dollars lost based on poor agreements is that one be compassionate to be completely understanding and three get to work with them to get to the other side.
It doesn’t matter who’s right because there is no right. It’s my side your side in the middle, you know? So that’s how I would express my opinions on Partnerships like that.
Austin Distel: Yeah and tactically you can and not what I would recommend is getting all founders or vesting schedule. So let’s just say it’s between three Partners 10% ownership up front with another 20% you know, 21% vested over the course of three years, right?
So you end up at 33%. And you know, that’s [00:43:00] after three years you have course you get money up front for being a founder and you know, you have equal say equal vesting schedules and all of that at the end of a year. Maybe one of you guys like has another product that launches and it crushes and you just don’t have it’s an opportunity cost for you know you to be focused on this thing you started with your friends.
So at that point is it fair to the other co-founders to for you to leave and still have the same equal Equity. You know, what do you do in these kind of situations and you know, It’s we actually went into business knowing each other for only
Tim Palladino: not long not long middle of February
Austin Distel: anyways, so it’s right now.
three months maybe and maybe only a month or two before we actually started and so like there is risk there and the way you can mitigate the risk is to you know keep each other on track with the vesting schedule and have the right expectations.
So, you know, we’re of course in the midst of that like we [00:44:00] don’t each own 33% yet. We will it’s kind of like a shadow Equity. Yeah, but you’ll earn your way into the business and you know we figure it out like sometimes you know one person will deliver more cash into the business and inject more cash than others.
Some will work more than others. Some will supply other resources such as you know hiring or such as you know more tasks or whatever is on their plate, right, you know, you can bring your own version of what Equity means to the business and so I would just say like make sure. That you protect yourself and equally protect your partners and it’s all coming down to expectations
Tim Palladino: some the Austin just says super important is look out for them too, because you know, it goes right back to the participant Observer.
Sometimes I’ve been in exactly may have had with this partnership, but I’ve actually been in other Partnerships where someone said they won something but it [00:45:00] was like that’s actually not good for you. I’m like there was a conversation hadn’t it was like, okay cool my camera to was part of this but with other things it was like, oh, I never really even saw it that way.
I just saw at the one way. So you have to be looking out for each other too because that’s your whole relationship. It’s not just working with each other. It’s working to make sure everybody satisfied and going in the right direction for a purpose. . Yeah. We gotta look out for each other. I mean it does boil down to kind of a tribe.
Right, we’re all here to make sure that we’re all we all have a warm bed to sleep in food in our belly and smiles on our faces at the end if you can’t provide that as a partner. Someone shouldn’t be part of it.
Austin Distel: I think there’s power and the mindset you enter a business with so we came into this business with an abundance mindset.
We don’t need to withdraw cash from the business if. One of us three had to end up, you know, we let go or sold one of our other [00:46:00] businesses then you know, we might need to start withdrawing some salary from the business, but currently we’re not doing that. We’re just reinvesting everything right back into the business all revenue.
And in fact, we each put in five grand to just as Play money to see what can we do with this thing from you know, Kickstart. We said kind of gave us. Or is it maybe six months or something like that, you know give ourselves like a runway. Yeah runway and at the end of the runway we kind of like do a reflection and say is this what we want is this still fun is this still whatever
Tim Palladino: it was lots of questions and it doesn’t hurt to ask those questions all the time, you know, I do in all my relationships whether it be romantic business or friendship.
I do check-ins what’s going on, you know, what’s happening and it’s never a wrong time to do. If you’re thinking that you’re feeling it as well just a little quick conversation about it.
Austin Distel: Yeah, and we are friends first. Yes. We’re business partners. Yes. We’ll make a lot of money together. Yes, we’ll [00:47:00] have long careers and it might continue through this or might be that.
Hey, I remember when we work together on that one thing Once Upon a Time and decade later, you know, you start another thing like just know that you know, we’re all young entrepreneurs. We’re going to be old entrepreneurs one day with many businesses under our belts and. Many of them won’t work.
Eric: Yeah Tim faster than us. But yeah,
Austin Distel: I think just understanding the expectations that. You know make sure it’s fun. Make sure that you enjoy the process because there is no destination. You always raise the bar, you know, it’s like yesterday. We hit 10K on Kickstarter. We celebrate for one night and today it’s okay.
What’s next bar? Yeah, and that. Happens always this is not just this business. This is coming from a seven-figure exit. Now, what do you do? You have an eighth of your ex a that’s the only way to top it like no like you have to make sure that the journey [00:48:00] is enjoyable because entrepreneurship isn’t a flag.
It’s not a Finish Line. It is only a way of life. And so if you live your life just dreading the moment and you’re pushing it back one day so that hopefully you have a Payday. You know those golden handcuffs aren’t fun to be in.
Eric: Yeah, very well said absolutely well said I mean a lot of people who are listening out there, I mean both Jim and Austin have covered so much about just launching a business in general having the framework around it having the mindset, especially with working with a partner co-founders even new partners as well.
Right and it’s always absolutely amazing to see I can tell by the energy and this synergy that you guys have working together already and. Hopefully being able to see this, you know in thousands and thousands of households Across America, right and maybe hopefully in the shelves of a target for instance next to all the big-name the board games what’s you know, one thing you’d like to share or actually before we sign off if I [00:49:00] remember correctly on the kickstarter.
There’s a like a 10 dollar buying that what would allow people to come up with something in Pitch deck to am I correct?
Tim Palladino: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So for a $10 backing you get to submit your own business names that we have to obviously take into consideration because it has to fit brand guidelines at all and be clean for anywhere from kids to co-workers, but you can have an opportunity to get your name that you submitted into either the launch game or a future deck.
Eric: Yeah expansion pack. Yeah, you maybe you guys can do it an adult version later on like after midnight kind of thing as well . I absolutely love the idea. Is there anything else you guys want to share with the audience before we sign off?
Tim Palladino: Yeah, just respect your partner’s love them as you love yourself.
Yeah do this because you want to enrich your community. Whoever you’re serving in your business, you know, do it not for the money or the [00:50:00] fame or anything like that. But because you’re a servant to making these people’s lives better. That’s what gets me up in the morning.
That’s what gets me fighting harder than ever. So that that’s what I would
Austin Distel: yeah, and I I’m just going to re-emphasize the point of this game is to be fun and fundable and continue that singularity in your life because the biggest Achievers in the world have one identity. They understand who they are and here they’re not and they own both very well.
And I think that the life I lived for most of my life was a dichotomy, you know, and you know, I just didn’t ever have those deep Connections in my life and I felt misunderstood and I felt that I just, you know was Cut From a Different Cloth when in fact as soon as I began to combine my. You know fun life and then my work life and made sure that they were one in the same and I enjoy the people I hung out with every day and worked with [00:51:00] and you know, it’s just around like you’re the people that you hang around most will impact you the most you are the sum of your five closest friends the five people you hang around most and so if you want to be a well-rounded character that makes money has fun travels or do whatever your dreams are as a person.
You know, you have to make sure that everybody around you is on the same path as that if you look at their trajectory and your trajectory at the same time, why are they aligned? And if they’re not aligned then maybe renegotiate with yourself? Who do you allow in your life and when you play Pitch deck?
It should be a mixture of all different, you know types of people that come from different backgrounds and I think that to be a well-rounded person. Like if all my friends were just one type of Entrepreneurship, we’d be in this Think Tank, you know, I love playing this game with my mom who actually like kicked my butt because she is she has some dirty humor and [00:52:00] thought that you know, there’s a couple cards in here that like out of left field.
She just thought was hilarious and I got so much. She found respect for me. I found respect for her. There’s just like this like understanding that happens when you know, you’re in your light so live your light every day surround yourself with people that recognize that and support that and be sure that you’re all on the same path together.
Eric: Jim and Austin. Yeah, I know. It’s been an absolute pleasure having you guys on the show sharing your guys knowledge and launching this product out to Market. I think there’s a lot more value, you know that people will be able to get from even having a game like this bring it into their home’s playing with their friends and to sharing in that experience and hopefully they all become future entrepreneurs as well and then be able to join our community.
And then we can all play together. Yeah, so thank you guys so much for jumping on for those of you out there. I’m going to provide the information and the links [00:53:00] on my website about Pitch deck the game definitely go in and check it out. They shot a very fun and cool commercial for it as well explaining the game a little bit of a history about the co-founders and just overall, you know what it’s about.
So go on over and check it out and make sure you back the project. I will see you guys soon.