Graduate Theory

Robby Wade | On The Importance of Perspective

June 14, 2022 James Fricker Episode 34
Graduate Theory
Robby Wade | On The Importance of Perspective
Show Notes Transcript

Robby Wade is a former banking manager, who is on a mission to revolutionise the industry of chat.
He’s a former COO of Vid, and Founding Partner at asset investment group, Nebula Partners, and now CEO and Co-Founder of ThisApp.

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Content
00:00 Robby Wade
00:18 Intro
00:51 Robby's Journey from NAB to Silicon Valley
06:01 What Robby learnt from Crypto Advisory
08:24 Robby's ThisApp story
16:11 What keeps Robby going
27:38 Robby's Learning Journey and Engineering
34:41 Failures that turned out to be a success
45:22 Robby's Advice for Graduates
47:24 Contact Robby
48:22 Outro

Robby Wade:

I run a startup now where you're like, oh man, how do you take on all these stress? And. Running a shift on Friday night and like running, trying to keep the drive-through clear it's like the most intense shit you could ever go through in your entire life.

James:

Hello, and welcome to graduate theory. Today's guest is a former banking manager. Who's on a mission to revolutionize the industry of chat. He's a former CEO of vid and a founding partner at asset management group at Nebula ventures. He's now the CEO and co-founder of this app, an all in one chat platform that makes it easy to connect with anyone and organize anything. Please welcome to the show today, Robbie.

Robby Wade:

Uh, James, thanks for the kind intro, uh, in preparing that I really appreciate it. Uh, but.

James:

sure. Well, yeah, I'd love to sort of wind back the clock back to when you sort of left university and started working and you actually used to work at NAB and I'd be interested to hear kind of this whole journey of, you know, now the two CEO in Silicon valley, it's quite a unique trajectory that you're on. Um, but yeah, w w what was kind of the, the story there in terms of. Leaving NAB. And then going into some of these other things where you sort of ESOPs and trying a bunch of things, um, how did that story kind of stop? Keep.

Robby Wade:

Absolutely. I, um, I'll go back a little bit just to offer some more context. Uh, my parents, uh, basically had a small business while we were growing up. And so. We kind of grew up in the factory where they work to driving around in forklifts and whatnot. They sort of sold gas, heaters and wood heaters in the winter and, uh, solar hot water and, and whatnot in the summer. And I kind of quickly realized that I never wanted to run a business. Um, in that sense we would be there seven days a week and, um, we're working with them and helping them unload trucks and whatnot. So I, uh, I, I decided to go to uni and, um, I studied economics and finance and I went to. Three years, but I didn't end up graduating. Um, I had about four or five subjects to go and I was working as a teller at NAB at the time and actually got a. Um, I got offered a job in the private bank and that required a degree to get into that job. And so I ended up in this weird position where I had a job that required a degree, but I didn't have a degree yet. And then I just sort of kept getting promoted and going through my, my career. And it just got to a point where I was like, I don't really know what I need the degree for, because I'd gotten. That the degree is to call to get you your first job, but then you get a job that requires a degree and no one ever asks you for it ever again. And so, um, I spent a lot of money and didn't end up with the piece of paper and I did a lot of work. I wasn't kind of like one of those romantic, uh, uni dropouts. I worked incredibly hard over three years to try to finish that off and. I mean, I got the job, which is the good part. And I went back to uni to ask them if I could, you know, do a test or something and just get my certificate. But unfortunately that wasn't the case. Um, but Yeah. to answer your question more directly, I, um, I'd been working at NAB for quite some time and I had been investing in cryptocurrency, a good friend, uh, got me into cryptocurrency quite early. And, uh, this was around, I think maybe it'd either have to be late 20, 15 or early 20, 60. And, uh, in the bank back then, you know, if you think cryptocurrency is controversial now, Back then it was even more for like drug, uh, you know, people who were buying drugs and then all of those kinds of things. Uh, so that was, you know, there was very few people in the bank that actually were involved in crypto and whatnot. And so my business partner that I founded ended up founding Nebula ventures with James coziness, um, actually started an advisory firm. He got an opportunity with a few clients, uh, overseas, and because I was the only other person. He knew that was new, something about crypto. He sort of invited me to join him in starting this advisory business. And what that meant was we were essentially advising cryptocurrency companies. Like making pitch decks and financial models and all of these kinds of things. And so, you know, one day I was working in the bank having the time of my life and living in Sydney. And, you know, I worked in at NAB, it was kind of the glory days of banking. They sort of caught her. My, one of my old bosses said it wasn't a job. It was a lifestyle. I was like, oh, we sort of went to lunch with clients and built really good friendships with them. And it was an incredible experience for me. Leading that, that experience there led to fundraising later as a startup, because my, I worked in the private bank and NAB, so I got to be around a lot of high net worth individuals. And I learnt how to interact with them and speak to them and build relationships with them. And, you know, you kind of realize that rich and successful people that just like you, they have the same problems as you, and you just kind of have to be normal around them and whatnot. So that, that was an incredibly important part of my journey. But all of a sudden, I. Quit my job. And, uh, we, we, we were on a plane to the first client we had where we met them in Europe and we flew all around Europe and then went to Asia and, uh, you know, ended up in the states and did various different speaking gigs and worked with different clients who are launching tokens. And Yeah. it was an absolute whirlwind. Like I didn't grow up as an, your typical entrepreneur. I was kind of the opposite. It's not like, uh, I started selling Tisha or whatever it was like on my. We're very entrepreneurial and I was sort of adverse to it because I grew up in an environment where you had just constantly, uh, working in the, in the business and, and whatnot. But I, you know, it's kind of like a, they have a saying, you know, um, mirror mirror on the wall. I'm like my father off the road or whatever, it may be in some capacity, uh, so that it was in my blood and they, once I sort of took that dive, I, it just never stopped. It just kept going. Um, and I can go. Do you want me to keep going through to how this app came to be?

James:

Yeah. Well, I think maybe it was we'll pause and ask you to go into some of that in a bit more detail. What, like traveling around and saying is saying that most people and stuff does that, like, do you still use like those kinds of skills and the things. Like you'd, like you said, now you learn a lot from like how to sort of operate around certain individuals. And then I guess like the pitching and stuff that you, that you saw when you were doing crypto's rail as well, there's a lot of that, that parallels to Aiden, what you do now as well. So it's interesting how, like, you know, all the

Robby Wade:

Absolutely. Like, I mean, it's actually not that different, like in terms of when you're. Uh, like when you're in the bank and you're trying to get a high net worth individual to invest in one of the banks products, or you're trying to get them to refinance their loans across to your business or restructure their family portfolio, or build a relationship with them. It's exactly the same set of skillsets that like I needed to use in order to get investors to invest in this app, for example, and you know, very recently we weren't originally, we weren't going to have. Um, we, weren't going to introduce the concept of the token as early as we did in, uh, in this app. And then sort of web three had sort of accelerated over the last sort of like year or two in, in the venture funding space. And all of a sudden had. You know, ride some token economics and write a token paper and whatnot, but like, I'd done that in my advisory business. That's what we used to do for companies. And we used to build their burn burn rates and their cap tables. And so bringing that into like a comp our company now, uh, like all of those skills have like, definitely transcended over. And, but the funny thing is like, along the way, you don't really realize that that's actually happening in that sense. It's, it's just sort of like slowly manifesting. Yeah, I have, I take a lot of pride in building very deep relationships with, uh, our investor base. And it's kind of like an uncommon experience for them where I've gone out of my way to build very deep friendships. And I don't do that. Um, I don't do. For any other reason, then that's just what I've always done. Like in the bank, our job was to maintain the relationships with these sort of high, high net worth individuals. And a lot of them have remained friends to this day. Uh, just because of the depth that you go to. So it's, it's sort of just continued in the same process, uh, throughout that.

James:

Yeah, that's super cool. Super cool. And then, yeah, tell me, I want to hear the story now of like starting this out. Cause you know, crypto and all that stuff. Really cool. But yeah. What was kind of the thing that happened to get you

Robby Wade:

Yeah. I mean, there's a little, uh, I guess I'll keep going in the story I was telling before, because it sort of leads into this app and there's a, there's a fair bit of context that needs to happen there.

James:

Yeah.

Robby Wade:

So we, we did the advisory stuff for about a year and a bit and a year and a half. And then we met Adam um, who you've interviewed on the podcast before. And Adam Kajara is an incredible person who has changed my life and my business partner's life in a number of different ways. Um, and basically what Adam did was he kind of said to him, I think you two are great, like come and work for me. And we were like, look, man, like we just quit our jobs and traveled the world and did all these amazing things. Like, we don't really want to work for anyone. And he was like, well, how about we partner with you? Um, and so we ended up partnering with Adam and Adam. What's the most humbling thing in the world is Adam essentially invested in James and I, instead of investing in an idea. Um, so he basically just said, look, I really like you guys. I want you guys to go and find a business that you really like. And, um, and so we, we worked with Adam, um, and went around and worked with a lot of interesting projects during that phase. And, you know, in the end we didn't end up partnering with Adam on a business. Um, and you know, He said he backed us for a couple of years and that's an investment that I'll sort of never forget. He sort of invested in me as a human and I feel incredibly lucky to have had that opportunity because the experiences I had in that time, uh, you know, Unbelievable, uh, in, in many different aspects and you've met Adam, he's an incredibly deep person and there's a lot to learn from him. Um, and so we did that and then I ended up going into a startup that I'd known from the crypto time. It was, that was beard. Um, I went into vid when there was only like, I guess, four or five people there. And we grew that team to over 50 people. And, um, we launched, uh, our token on a couple of exchanges around the world, but that was such a remarkable experience. I was a banker and then I went into advisory and then I, I was always sort of like on the other side of the table to the builders where vid was the first time I actually went in deep into a company and was involved in the product. And I was lucky enough to get the like, COO. Like chief operating officer, which, I mean, in an early stage startup is basically just like the operations dude. Like it's a fancy title for somebody who does all the stuff no one wants to do. Um, but the it's a glorified admin role essentially. But the good thing about being COO is my job was operations. So I had to be involved in marketing, legal, product engineering and all these things. And because I didn't have a preconceived notion or any sort of ego around what I already knew about. Immerse myself and learn to immensely and loved every second of it. Um, and the, the funny thing with vid was it was kind of like one of those Silicon valley experiences that you see, um, on TV. Like, I mean, we were in LA, but we had this kind of a big house where there was about 11 team members that live in. And we lived and worked in that house every single day, you know, 12 hours a day. And it was just an insane experience. There was influences coming to the house and, you know, people in the living room, making videos and coding and like doing all those kinds of things. And so those are really, really cool experience to actually live and work in a house with like all the people around you. The CEO lived in the house and all those sorts of things, and it was the best and worst experience of my entire life. Like, I mean, we, we didn't start working ever, uh, because you're around your work. Um, if you think remote works bad, you know, live in work is a whole different thing when you all live in the same house. Um, but Yeah. it was, it was great. And then it came to COVID, uh, the COVID bear market in crypto happened and that sort of, Um, the DCO decided to end up selling the company to a private equity firm. And I, it was like, LA was a weird place when COVID was going down because like, you know, People were loading up on ammunition and doing, you know, that kind of like American things. And I was like, you know, um, I just go back to Australia for like two weeks. Um, and I ended up staying there for like 11 months, but I went home to Australia and I had a lot of time to sort of recover. Uh, on everything, all the journeys I'd kind of been on in the last few years and being locked down. Wasn't that bad for me, because like I just spent the last year and a half in the feed house, uh, basically locked in the house every single day working. So he wasn't really that unfamiliar. And I took a few friends and we, uh, uh, like my family have a farm house, five hours south of Sydney in a place called mystery. Um, and so for my friends, we just went down there and lived down there. The population's like 60 people. And so we kind of just got to enjoy our lives for a little bit. Uh, during that phase, we weren't in like big cities, uh, where you had a lot of these like much tighter lockdowns and, um, the beaches were pretty empty down there and, and whatnot. Um, anyways, so Yeah. during that trip, Uh, during that phase, I wanted to start something new and something that I'd noticed in the startup world is you have all these incredible tools in terms of like how you actually communicate. And it's actually oftentimes easier to communicate with your work colleagues that are. Two people in your real life and you end up just tending to spend more time at work, just cause it's like easier. Um, you know, it's easier for people to you and I to organize a podcast together in different times zones. And we've never met than it is for my mum to organize a call with me. Like, if you just think about that, like she should just be able to press my icon at the top of my, at the top of WhatsApp. See what times entities for me put time in my calendar and catch up. And you know, people say like, oh, Your, your mom or your friends should just be able to call you out of the blue. Like, yes, that's true. But if you call me and I'm, I'm in the middle of work or something, I'm not present, like, I, I focus to such an extent that it takes a little bit of unwinding to come out and focus on what someone's saying. And I don't know if you have a similar experience in that way. Like when someone calls you and you're like in the middle of like coding something or. You're not there. You're like, Yeah. Anyway, like what's up, but if someone's with you, you stop all you're doing to, to go and take that call. Right? Like I've been working all day. I saw that I have a call with you. I stopped what I'm doing so that I can be present with you and have a, have a proper conversation. I think that's where scheduled conversations are kind of undervalued. Um, but we, we took that a little bit further. We were like, how do people organize events? How do people organize trips? How do people actually get together? How do people communicate? And I was like, how do we bring some of these lessons? from the business world about how to run a really coherent team and then bring that into your sort of social and family lives. Like the, the depth of relationships you build in startups and, and, and work and stuff like that. The reason is because you work on these projects together, you organize things together, you communicate efficiently together. And so was like, how can we take these lessons and sort of bring them down into this sort of consumer social world, not make it feel worky, but take these principles and distill them down into, into a. Um, and then, Yeah. I'd also spend a bit of time. Uh, we had, uh, a team in China at vid. So I'd used, we-chat a number of different times and I sort of saw how inferior the chat products were in the west camp compared to how we chat worked and took a lot of lessons from that. And then sort of brought that over. So I know that was a long-winded answer, but I wanted to offer you the sort of like full context of how we ended up.

James:

thanks for listening to this episode of graduate theory. If you haven't already subscribed to the graduate theory newsletter you can do so by at the links in the show notes, the graduate theory newsletter comes out every single Tuesday morning with my thoughts and lessons from each episode. But without further ado, let's get back into it. Yeah, definitely. That's, it's, it's pretty interesting and suddenly like a really cool journey that you're on and, um, you know, seeking to change chat is like, uh, no easy fate, right? It's, it's, it's kind of a thing to take on and I'm curious to ask, you know, how. So stay the course when you are taking on, like, I mean, what, from my perspective, this is like quite a big thing. Or I was trying to like, sort of become like, you know, like the best, um, chat app in the west, essentially, you know, how do you, like what drives you to sort of persist with this goal and, and, you know, in case.

Robby Wade:

Yeah, it's, it's a really interesting question because we're sort of. Going against the grain of what you should do in a startup. Like everyone will always tell you, like, you know, um, pick one small thing and monopolize on that target audience. And then, you know, do it, pick one little niche and go into that niche. And we're kind of doing the opposite to that. I kind of have a contrarian view. I think that's an old idea, like in the sense, and there's sort of also like lean startup methodology. Um, it's like an old idea in the sense that, uh, if you think about. Well, there's like hundreds of thousands of apps on the app store and you probably use five or six on a daily or weekly basis. Right. And if you look at the five or six that you use every single day, they probably do more than one thing. Um, in, in that sense, they, they usually multifunctional apps like. Whether it's Instagram or Facebook or whatever, like they, they, they do two or three things or four things or whatever. And, you know, what's tending to happen is their people are building these sort of smaller products. And then these bigger companies are just buying them. And I found like a lot of our products that were being built. They weren't really businesses. They were features like it's it's, you know, for example, like I don't see split payments is something that should be a whole app. It's a feature to me. Um, I don't see like a, uh, for example, Something like Calendly is weird to me. Like it's a feature that should just be inside Google calendar. Like it's a, I don't understand how that's a standalone product. It doesn't make any sense. Um, and so I sort of had that methodology initially. Uh, I also, I don't know. The size of it's exciting. It's like, what makes you want to wake up and do it every day? And you're just like, it's so incredible now that we've sort of designed the product out and I see it and I just know that it needs to exist. And you, you sort of, the core thing is it's not like we've just picked these features out of thin air. And I'm like, oh, I want to have this balloon there. And this balloon there and whatever, like each of these features is kind of like in sync with the other. And like it's the sum of their parts makes them all greater. It's. The iPhone, isn't just, um, the iPhone, isn't just like a compass internet, an iPod and a phone, right? Like it's, when you combine all of those feature sets, you sort of unlock these experiences that people have sort of never been able to, uh, produce before, because you didn't have these like connections now, how do we stay on track? It's very, very difficult. Like, I I'll be direct with you. Like there's a benefit where it's exciting enough to wake up every day and do it where you're like, yes, this is interesting. And you can tell people about the vision and investors get excited and whatever. And then it's another thing to. Start to product, manage this beast and go, how are we actually going to get this done with our smaller team? And now, you know, tiny amount of funding that we've got compared to these juggernauts, like, you know, we've raised a decent amount of funding from my perspective, but some of these companies that are going up against have more money than, you know, the U S government. Um, and so that's like a, that's a, that's an incredibly daunting task, but I don't think that's an excuse to, uh, shy away from that. And. You know, at the S you just keep going over these hurdles where you have that sort of Dunning Kruger effect right. At the start, you're like, yes, this is a brilliant idea. And then you go down into the valley of despair and you're like, oh my God, like, what have I got myself into? But you just hit milestone after milestone, you raise your first check, you get your first product out, you get your first user, you raise more money. You, you hire more team members, you build more feature sets and you, you just keep solving problems to the extent where you're like, wow, You, you, you generate so much momentum that it's, you get to a stage where it's harder to not do it than to do it. And that's like a cool framework to get to where you're in a position where it would right now would be harder for me to stop then to keep going in, in that sense, like we've built up so much momentum, uh, in terms of where we need to be, that I would have to work hard to go the other way, which is kind of a, a strange. Uh, thing that you sort of ended up.

James:

Yeah, no, it's, it's cool that you're excited about what you're doing and like that the passion is definitely there, which I think is so important. I think like often young people today, and I think it's maybe a trend that's, um, you know, starting to, to come off is like people. And now I think if they're more concerned about, um, having a mission and having sort of having that positive impact on the world, uh, you know, rather than. You know, being, uh, you know, managerial to bank, for example, you know, where, like, it's not super clear, like what your, like, what do you actually, like, what benefit are you providing? You know what I mean?

Robby Wade:

my business partner and I used to call NAB the pit. Um, have you, like, you've obviously seen Batman, like the, I can't remember which one it is, but the one with. and, uh, you know, where like Batman goes into the pit and like, he has to like get out of like the well or whatever. Um, like we, we can, like, you have to go and work at some of these big companies, because even though they suck. You learn so many lessons, like in terms of how to interact, how to read, how to write emails, how to raise money, how to interact with high net worth individuals. And, and you actually become the type of person that can, like, it's one thing to have a mission, right. But it's another thing to be the type of person that can actually fulfill that mission. Right. The mission is useless unless you're the, unless you're somebody who has the skills to actually be able to go and make that mission possible. And I think. Uh, you know, a lot of people have different views on Gary V I don't follow him that closely, but one thing I do like about Gary V is his understanding of how long life is. And I always have to remind myself of this in the sense of like, sometimes when you're young, you're in such a rush to fulfill your mission in that sense where you don't realize how long, 10 years. Like if I think about 10 years ago I was working at McDonald's and like, like at uni and trying to like get by. And I was a manager at McDonald's and, you know, going clubbing every second weekend or whatever it was. Um, and so you think about what happened over the next 10 years? And I'm like, man, like when I'm like 38, 39, that's like another, that's like that whole period, except I have all these lessons and skills. So it's like, you know, the compound interest of that is like an order of magnitude higher. Um, but at the time it's, it's so hard to see those things and to be able to think long-term in that aspect. And so, you know, I, I've been lucky to have really great mentors and work around people who have like supported me and backed me and taught me. And the problem is like, when you're sometimes when you're younger and you have a mission, you don't know what you don't know. Like you don't actually realize in some capacities how. Sort of naive you out, how long life can be in some capacity and how hard certain things are and, and whatever it may be. And so I think a copy understated in terms of going and doing a shitty job sometimes like working at McDonald's is literally like, and like, you're doing like $10,000 hours or something like that with 14 year olds is your staff member who like, you know, are telling you to go. I don't know if you're allowed to swear on here, but like they're telling you to go out basically. And, and they don't, they don't want to do anything. And you're, you're trying to like rally them up and they're getting paid like 10 bucks an hour or something like that, cheeseburgers. And you're trying to get them excited about their job. Um, that's hard, right? Like the end you have, you have people complaining to you that it's taking you too long to like make orders and stuff. Excuse me, like, can you feed a family? I dare you to go home and try and feed your family of four and three minutes a day to do it and get yours your 12 year old son to do the cooking. like it's, it's remarkable. And so I think these, I do like, I, every time I go into a McDonald's store, I'm like solar that's my job today is so easy, like compared to that. Um, so I think those things offer you a lot of perspective. Like a lot of people say, how do you deal with the stress? And like all that kind of. This isn't stressful to a Friday night compared to a Friday night shift. And McDonald's, I think those kinds of perspectives are important and you only learn them from like, I always think about, you know, I've, I've an engineering, my team, who I hired basically straight out of here. And I think about Nolan a lot, like Nolan grinds, and he works his ass off, which is the most beautiful thing. But like sometimes people get into these working for a startup is epic. Like, you know, you get these really good work-life balances and epic perks and like all these kinds of things that incredibly exciting and fun. You don't, you don't get that at McDonald's so Napa whatever. And so you kind of, it's sort of nice to know what sucks, like, you know, those people. Uh, DRO up in like low socioeconomic environments and they, they they're incredibly hard and that they appreciate what they have and, and whatever. Like, I think you can kind of artificially create that by having a shitty job at some point in your life. It's kind of important to give you perspective later on when you, when you're working in different environments by.

James:

Yeah, that's it. That was really funny and really interesting to hear.

Robby Wade:

I've never said that out loud. So thank you for drawing that out, but it's important.

James:

Yeah, no, definitely not. I think, yeah. I liked the point there, like you said about, you know, sometimes like doing things that aren't so good gives you perspective and it allows you to kind of almost enjoy the good things more. Um, if you, if you've seen kind of, um, you know, things that aren't so good, like working at a magazine or Friday night or whatever it is, I think

Robby Wade:

It's so important, right? Like my job at McDonald's was to make sure that like the back area. Enough mate and nuggets for the like enough meat and chicken and stuff. So that when we went into a rush that, you know, we, we wouldn't run out and the order-taker had enough cash in her drawer and that they ought to take taker, had somebody taking orders as well. And we had enough people at the front and everyone was positioned. It's not that different to a startup. Like I have to make sure that the engineers have all of their designs and the designers have all of their product specs. And the marketing team is interacting with the designers and engineers. And because like at McDonald's you have to make sure all of those jobs come together. So that you can produce a quality product at the end. It's kind of just like a microorganism of like what you're doing at a grand scale and a startup, except the end result is like a cheeseburger in a bag that you hand to somebody instead of, um, you know, producing an app in

James:

Yeah, that's really cool. Yeah. I'd love to talk about your engineering experience at work and kind of the, and not only that, the kind of the learning that goes along with, you know, going from now to where you are now and all the things you've had to learn in that, in that time, I know like one thing we spoke about before this was like learning your engineering stuff and kind of how you don't come from, like, you didn't study computer science at uni, but like having to learn that has been really beneficial and it had a really great part of what you do. Um, I'd love to just, yeah. Talk about. All the things you've had to learn over this period and kind of, um, you know, what has been some of the, like, looking back now, some of the really important things that you have learned on your journey to where you are now and, and kind of what those are and, uh, yeah.

Robby Wade:

yeah. I'll try to be specific in the engineering environment to start with. Um, my engineers would probably roll over laughing, um, that people would say that I'm, uh, I have some sort of an engineering base, but I, uh, the, I, I take it as an incredible compliment. I've spent a lot of time to try and have a deep enough understanding of that environment and, you know, I didn't study as an engineer. I wasn't trained as an engineer and, and all these kinds of things that I wouldn't even call myself an engineer. But what I would say proudly is like, I've spent a lot of time to understand engineering. I've also done that in design as well. Um, that's kind of the benefit of being a COO, as I mentioned before, you actually get to spend a lot of time in different environments, but I think a lot of us who don't design or aren't engineers, or don't have those sorts of. Um, skill sets or backgrounds, or if you're a designer and or if you're an engineer, you might, we tend to have this kind of like imposter syndrome that we're not smart enough to sort of understand what they do. And like sometimes people, uh, oftentimes you'll find if you speak to people, they'll doubt you and they kind of make it sound like more complicated than it might be. Um, I heard Jacqueline Novogratz talk about this and it really made a difference in my career is like she made a career out of asking like stupid questions. And you sort of like continue to pull the string, like in that sense, um, you know, I'm a pretty intelligent person. I wouldn't say like I'm the smartest person in the world, but like if I read something or someone explain something to me, I can generally understand it. And so what I've learned in my life is if somebody can explain something to me, Then they either don't understand it or they're lying, right? The best people in the world who care and, uh, who are doing the right thing by you. If they know what they're talking about, the definition of basically knowing what you're talking about is that you could explain it to somebody else, right? Like if you know what you're talking about, you can teach somebody. And so if somebody is not willing to teach you, you probably shouldn't be around them anyway, or they're lying to you or they don't know what they're talking about. And so it's been like an interesting thing for me. Like, because the first principles are. Design and engineering and all of these kinds of things. They have a lot of similarities and like, you don't actually have to understand each line of code or whatever it is, but I'm taking a lot of taking a lot of time to understand why things are hard. What's like, and then you, you start to draw these parallels when you've been doing it enough. You're like, Yeah. but we did that speech bubble thing the other day that had meatier. And you said it was hard for this. So why would video be hard? Cause isn't video just like moving pictures, I'm just giving like a dumb example. But my point, like you start to get your own understanding and you can challenge people on what they're saying, because you're like, hang on a second. I understood what you were saying before. Which means that if I understood that, the thing that you're saying now doesn't make any sense. Right? So, and you, you start to, the more questions you ask and the more inquisitive you become, you build up this knowledge base where you can actually be somebody who can have. Like bring an intelligent perspective to the conversation. And I think that's, I think CEOs and people who would consider themselves non-creative or non-technical, they're lazy when they don't spend the time with their team and ask them why they're making the decisions they're making. Right? Like our whole product is design and engineering. If I don't spend time learning what it means to be a designer and an engineer, like how can I do my job? And also, how can I get my team to respect me, like, and not respect me in the sense that like I'm the later and you need to do what I say, but why, why should they care about what I think if I don't understand what they do. Um, and so I think, I think that's the really, really undervalued piece of the job. I think the other thing as well is like, if you're not technical and oh, you're not a designer and you don't understand how hard things are, you can be that like, Ignorance CEO, where you like, get that done in two weeks. And I want to, Donald you're fired. It's like you have like, where, like you just pulled that timeframe out of your ass. Like you actually have no idea how hard that is, what that person's skill set is. What's possible how many resources they need. You couldn't have an intelligent conversation with them. Like you're just being like a Titanic dictator and just throwing a random timeframe out, which is incredibly dangerous because. I, I, you, you have this sort of like romanticism in startups where everyone's like you have that you say in the movies where they, they make their team work. Like, um, they make their team work like nine hours a day, seven days a week to like push out a feature set or something like that. You can think of that, about that romantically. Right. And I think about this, like I do a bit of long distance running. Okay. So like, if you say you're training for a marathon, right. You might be able to do one marathon a month. Okay. So you burn your, and then you need a rest after that marathon so that you can recover, whatever you burn your team out, then you need to let them rest. Okay. Or they say, they say they do, they can do a marathon a month or they can do. Um, five Ks a day for 25 days, right. And marathons 42 kilometers, five Ks a day for 25 days, a hundred kilometers. I like in terms of, if you think about that is like the product evolution. I would rather them do a hundred kilometers worth of, um, product development. You know, smash them to, to work aggressively for that, to push out that marathon effort. It's more that consistent cadence, but in order to build a consistent cadence, you have to actually understand their job and be able to step out your product roadmap in a really sophisticated way. So I would never ever say that I'm an engineer or a designer or anything like that, but I can't. Proudly say that I've spent a lot of time understanding these sort of areas of the business so that I can be a good leader and work reasonably with my team without, you know, it's offensive. Like when you question them on things that you have no idea what you're talking about. You're like, how is this done yet? Why haven't you done this in this timeframe? Like, what do you know? You don't know anything like, you know, in that sense it's like it, and you don't want to be that guy is, is, is something to sort of think about. So I hope that answers your.

James:

Yeah, no, absolutely. It does. Definitely. Yeah, I think that's a great, great point. I think one question I have for you is around. Like failures and things like that. And I wonder if, if there's been any particular failures that you can think of that turned out to be a success later. So is there anything that comes to mind? Yeah. Any, any times where you've failed at something, but it ended up out well, or it was

Robby Wade:

I think there's so many, right? I mean, there's values in everything that you do. Like I would say in previous relationships, like, you know, like, uh, romantic partners and stuff, I've failed certain romantic partners, but then became a better partner for every subsequent partner after that. And it's assignment business. Well, you know, we've, we've done well in each business and my peers and family and friends and stuff like that would consider that we achieved things and we succeeded in whatever. And, but there were essences and elements of that, that I failed that we failed at. Um, uh, you, you fail in micro ways all the time. And I think those elements of, uh, that you keep them as a reminder to, to, to keep yourself on track in terms of huge, huge kind of like. Failures. I don't, I don't, I can't think of anything specific, um, where it's been a failure that has really crushed me as a person and, and, you know, send me into like a, a dark place that I've had to like recover from or where I've dramatically let people down or whatever it might be. Failure is a perspective, um, in, in, in many different ways, it depends on what your goal was. Right? Like, um, I always, um, one of my favorite quotes that I kind of live by is like, you're entitled to the action and never it's fruits. Um, and so like for me, if I wake up every day and. I live by my values and sort of like my, I guess you call it like code of ethics. And I do what I say that I'm going to do to the people that I, I, I promised that I would do those things by it's a very difficult to fail. Like I was talking to a VC yesterday and this would be a good example. Um, for a lot of the entrepreneurs out there. I don't know if you guys heard of fast. Um, it was an Australian startup that, you know, uh, ended up closing down very recently. They raised a lot of money and then. And this where this particular investor had invested in fast, he was one of the early investors. And he said that Dom, the founder of fast is working on something soon. Um, and he was like, he's going to show me. And I was like, would you invest again? And he was like, yeah. absolutely. Like he was like the way that Dom had himself as the CEO during that time. Um, was incredibly impressive and he was respectful of his investors and he did what he said he was going to do at the board meetings. And it just didn't work out like, you know, and like he, he didn't lie and he end, you know, he was like, have you seen Rocky? Like Rocky doesn't win the title in the first one. He wins it in the second one. And so it's a, it's an interesting dynamic, I would say one of it's hard to say as a failure. One sort of segway that I could say where I've sort of brought myself up from the ashes was when I was in my early twenties, I suffered really bad anxiety. And it was incredibly difficult time for me, where I was a social person leading into that. And then I went into this place where like, I couldn't even go out for dinner with my girlfriend and I couldn't go to parties. And I found it incredibly difficult, um, to go outside the house. And I was somebody who had already been in the bank and I was having a lot of early stage success. And like, everybody was like, you know, you're going to have a big career and you're going to succeed heaps. And then, you know, I went into this bout of anxiety where like, I. Found it hard just to do like the meaning, just the day-to-day meaningless tasks in that sense. And so coming out of that has kind of, that was, I would, I guess I could call that a failure in some capacity, but it was a really important, it wasn't a failure. I don't know how to explain it. It just kind of ended up there. And I was saying to you before we, uh, it just came on randomly, but before we had this party, I always used to think that people had anxiety and depression just needed to kind of like get over it and whatever. And I I'd studied a bit of psychology in uni and I didn't really, but going through, it was an incredibly experience, a potent experience for me, because I can empathize with people now who have like different mental issues, because I would have never anticipated. I'd be the type of person that would have something like that. Um, but how I sort of came out of that was building a really strong relationship with fear and risk. A lot of my anxiety was around fear and I just started doing stuff that. Um, like I would feel like I was going to have a heart attack when I would go to the gym and different things like that. And so I started to just challenge myself where I was like, okay, I'm just going to go and run like 10 or 20 Ks. And you know, if we're gonna have a heart attack, we'll have a heart attack. We haven't had it to now. I would, I used to have this concept of like me versus my mind. And I would like, my body would be scared about something and I would just go and do it. Like I would do the thing that I was terrified to do. Um, to the extent when I was in my early twenties. If you asked me to go like tandem skydiving, you couldn't pay me a million dollars to do it. And like the epitome of that journey for me was during. I learned how to skydive solo and, you know, I have a parachute in my, in my closet now and go skydiving from time to time. And it's one of my favorite activities, but that was kind of like the pinnacle of that journey with fear for me. Um, but it told me a really important lesson, uh, in startups in the sense that our bodies have fee for a reason to keep us alive. Right. So we have to fear something. And so if you don't build a good relationship with fear, it's going to hold you back in many different capacities. And so for some people what's, what's scary is people seeing them wearing the wrong Taisha ant or posting a photo on Instagram that doesn't get any likes or whatever it is, but I've trained my body that what's scary is being in 40,000 feet, jumping out of an airplane or, you know, being deep into like a really long raw marathon or a triathlon. Like it's scary when you're at, you know, 38 30. K's and you feel like you're going to die and like all these kinds of things. And so you, you teach your body what is actually scary, like in that sense. And I think it's a, it's an undervalued thing in terms of putting yourself in environments that are genuinely fearful. Now I don't give a shit what people think about what I'm wearing or what I'm doing, or like the, you know, like people say, oh, like how, how you're, you're going on that investor call? Like, are you nervous? How do you. It's not scary for me because like, I don't even get that anxious, leading into an investigation because my body, like the level of anxiety that I felt sitting in a plane of 40,000 feet and seeing the door open and you have to jump out of an airplane, like getting on a zoom call with somebody is easy. Like, oh, you know, like thinking about doing a triathlon, you got to swim like three kilometers in, in a swim, two kilometers in like freezing water or whatever. When you do these things that are incredibly difficult and incredibly scary, these trivial things that people think is stereo no longer scary anymore. So I think that's important. Um, I I'll just end on that and it's not an answer to your question of value, but I thought this was a funny thing that Jesse had said the other day, when, when you're, uh, when you're young, you tend to. Compare what other people are doing and worry about what other people think. And that's an, that's an important thing about doing a startup is everyone will tell you you're wrong and everyone will tell you a stupid, right? So you have to be able to get through that. Um, but Jesse, so was talking about how like, like how much people don't think about you and everyone says this, right? Everyone's like, no, one's thinking about you, but he put it into perspective. I've never heard of before. I use my iPhone every single day. Right. Like I use it six hours a day, whatever he's like, do you know how often I think about Steve jobs? Right. Like, think about that for a second. Like you use his product 24 7 and like he's changed your entire life. How often do you think about Steve jobs? Like Neveah and, and, you know, the Wright brothers invented the airplane, right. And that you think about legacy and all these kinds of things. Whenever you're on an airplane. And you thinking about how amazing the Wright brothers are and how they created this airplane for, you know, you're like sitting there like worried about, you know, whenever they're going to bring a glass of water or I don't know, whatever stupid movies on like, as men in black on, on the, on the TV or whatever. And so I think that's an incredibly important mindset to get. Like in that sense, like, it's easy to think about, like everyone always says no one cares about what you think, but think about the pink blue that you actually think about. Like, and these people who have like fundamentally changed the world in its entire capacity, you don't even think about them. Like, you know, it's just like a, it's like the last time you thought about Winston Churchill, right? Winston Churchill saved the world. Like. Disaster, like JFK saved the world from like nuclear disaster. What was the last time you were like, man, JFK, such a good dude. Never. So you, you, it's, it's really important to not take yourself that seriously, because no, one's going to think about you, regardless of you're going to, if I build this up and I get a billion users and do all these things, no one gives a shit like in reality. So that's, that's kind of like a relationship that you kind of have to.

James:

yeah, no, that's a really good way to put it in. Yeah. Thanks for sharing that. I liked, um, I think there's like a bit of a thread there between like, you know, the hard things. You know, leading to good, um, or better experiences like you said, but they're running and things like that, putting yourself in difficult situations. So it's easier. What, what's not easy about, you know, it puts it in perspective, you know, these other situations similar to like the MCAS, you know, having that hard experience makes like, you know, the,

Robby Wade:

Well, if you think about it, most things, most things, aren't that hard, right? Your perception of what it's going to take. Like in theory, when you're talking to a venture capitalist, you're just having a conversation, right? You have conversations every single day. Like it's just a conversation, but you've created a story around that conversation that makes it hard. So in some capacity, most things are easier than you think it's the, Anxiousness and procrastination and all that kind of stuff that you apply to it that adds the white in, in, in that capacity. I mean, there's hard things, but like it's, it's T it tends to be funny, like the things that you obsess over usually on, on worth it in that capacity,

James:

So I've got one question. Um, Lyft flee. Uh, and that is a, it's a question. I ask all the guests that come on the show and it is, if you were looking at the Robbie, that's just finished university and he's about to sort of guide into the world and, and tackle his job, uh, you know, what advice would you give him sort of knowing what you know now and all the experiences that you've had.

Robby Wade:

So easy. I would just say rate and run every day. Like if you, if you read books every day and run every day, I guarantee you. Your life will change forever. Like if you just do those two things, even if you started like a kilometer and a page, um, there just those two things are so unique, uh, in their capacity. And I'll be very brief on this. Like rating allows you to get mentors and knowledge and understanding, and you sort of level up your education and whatever. Um, running is cool because running gets you outside. Getting outside every single day is really, really important. Yeah. Yes, Acadian rhythm and just your mental wellbeing. Uh, when you run and you run through space and your eyes move, it relaxes you and it makes you incredibly calm. Um, and then also, uh, when you do like cardiovascular exercise, uh, it can actually form like a, you get like neurogenesis in your hippocampus and allows you to have like a fluffy hippocampus, which increases and improves your memory. Um, so if you're running every day, your memory is going to be better. If your memory is better, you're going to be learning more. If you learning. Very likely you're going to be fit and educated. Like I, it's pretty hard to go. It's pretty hard for your life to go south. If you just focus on those two things, uh, I think everyone can give you all these like weird anecdotes and statements and, and all those kinds of things, but practically, like try to read and run at least once a day. And, uh, I, I, I think your life would just transform from there. You learn what you need to do next, just by doing those two.

James:

No. That's really cool. Absolutely agree with that. Thanks for coming on the show today, Robbie, and where can people go to find out more about this app, the app you're fielding, you know, your life in general, like where's the best place for them to find out more?

Robby Wade:

Yeah. absolutely. Um, so they can go to this app.com. Uh, so at the moment we're in beta, so you kind of should download the app. We are looking to release it all. Uh, but if you go to this app.com, you can claim you use the name now. Um, so that way you can keep that forever. And it's a good way to, to lock that down. So jump over there. Um, you know, we, we were on all the, so she was like Twitter and tic talking, Instagram and, and all those kinds of wonderful things. Um, if you, if you do have any questions, feel free to reach out to me on any social platform. I'll get back to you. Um, and, uh, yeah, look forward to seeing you all on board. Thanks for taking the time James it's.

James:

Oh, no problem, man. Yeah, no, it's been, it's been really cool having you on and yeah. Hearing your background and your story. Uh, yeah. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

Robby Wade:

Thanks man.

James:

Thanks for listening to this episode I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. If you want to get my takeaways, the things that I learned from this episode, please go to graduate theory.com/subscribe, where you can get my takeaways and all the information about each episode, straight to your inbox. Thanks so much for listening again today, and we're looking forward to seeing you next week.