This is my set of notes from listening to Episode 1378 of Mixergy with Andrew Warner. You can check out more notes from podcasts that I’ve compiled here.
Jason Nazar started DocStoc in 2007 with Alon Shwartz. They sold DocStoc to Intuit for $50 million in 2013, of which he ended up taking home around $10 million. Intuit eventually shut down DocStoc in 2015.
Jason is now running Comparably, a site that allows you to see ratings of companies you might want to work for and compare your salaries with folks just like you.
How Life Changed With $10mm
Jason feels like life didn’t change that much after getting around $10 million to himself after the deal. He says the most interesting learning from that experience was that “you’re still just as good looking, you’re still as out of shape. The people that love you, do and don’t love you.”
He felt like he got more time back and had more resources to do the things he wanted to do instead of just doing the things he had to do out of financial necessity.
He really tries to growth hack life to be able to do the things he loves doing and have other people do the rest. That way he can focus on his passions and enjoyable activities as opposed to doing everything.
While this might initially sound cocky and that he’s saying “oh just have those lower people do it”, I actually think he makes a stellar point. We should all be doing what we love. Some people I’m sure love going grocery shopping and so why not do it AND make a living by picking up items for other people who don’t love it as much?
On Fundraising & Pitching Investors
When pitching investors for fundraising, the most important things to cover are (in this order):
- Team – help them believe in the team you have and who you are, because if they don’t, you’ve lost them immediately.
- Market – “is this something that can be a massive opportunity?”
- Product – Is this different, special and unique than others like it
- Metrics – growth metrics
- Revenue – map how the revenue grows to a certain scale
Most people spend so much time talking about features and benefits, what they’re doing and not enough time about that list above. You’ll lose the investors interest right away if you talk about the stuff you’re excited about that they can’t relate with.
DocStoc started as a free service where you just had to give your email address to download the documents, but later they changed it to a subscription model. Jason says that at scale, you kind of have to understand that some people will join, download everything, and then cancel. It’s just the nature of the market.
Working Hours & Sustaining Relationships
Jason believes that entrepreneurship is a young person’s game. At 50, working til 12 and 1am every night and working weekends likely won’t be plausible. He already feels a lot less stamina at 38 than he did when he was 28 years old.
He maintains his relationships by working most of the weekdays and giving his spouse as much time as he can for her on the weekends. On a typical weekday he’ll go home at 11pm and give her an hour and then go back on the computer for an hour or two. He also says she’s an extremely supportive person who understands the lifestyle.
- Don’t overlook demand for the product. Jason says, “anyone can solve for supply, it’s hard to solve for demand.” People overlook demand, they only focus on the supply part of the business. But as a business, you need to generate demand for the product and make sure marketing and branding is up to par.If you don’t drive demand, you aren’t going to survive as a business.
- Make conversations about the other person. People are most interested in themselves – the mistake we make is we talk about the things we care about, but if you aren’t talking about the things they care about you’re going to lose them. The leaders who are respected the most are the people who make it about you, and turn the attention back to you right away.When you learn to talk to people about them and what they care about, you gain power and credibility right away. Comparably’s most successful ad is “See how much money people like you are making”, and Jason says it’s because people care about themselves and how your thing is going to provide value to them. Another wording of that ad wouldn’t work as well – for instance if they said “Compare salaries of real people” it doesn’t relate to the customer.
When people can make the association between what you do and a format they know is already solving a problem successfully, you get past some of the initial doubts they have about you.
While some might say it’s copying someone else to say “We’re going to be the Uber for grocery delivery”, you quickly help them make the association between what you do and how it’s going to work.
- The vast majority of things we do as business owners make no difference at all. He believes that 80% of what his company spends time on, was a waste of time. They would have grown the same if they had only done that 20% of core things. The challenge is how can you decide what that smaller 20% is that actually makes a difference and moves the needle – crush it with those and don’t worry about the other stuff.
- Success is not a zero sum game. I’ve heard Grant Cardone mention this as well pretty often. Just because one person ends up making $10 million on a company, doesn’t mean they are stealing from you. Success is not finite, or limited. You can still go out and make your own $10 million.
What I need to learn more about:
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – while I understand these needs on a basic level, I ALWAYS hear business owners talking about this concept and so I feel like I should dive deeper and figure out how I can relate this to my business and everyday life.
You can listen to this episode of Mixergy here and please leave your own comments about what you got out of the interview as well. I would love to connect and chat more because entrepreneurial journeys seem to get lonely – and I still have a full-time job!