The Story

At the end of the last episode, co-founders Justin, Emmett, Michael, and Kyle had a big problem on their hands. Streaming Justin’s life 24/7—the very idea their company was founded on—turned out to be kind of boring. Pretty soon people stopped watching.

In this episode, the four friends try desperately to extend the life of their company by making some risky but important decisions. In the process, their scrappy startup catches the eye of some very powerful people who challenge everything they’ve built.

The road of a startup is a bumpy one and, as Justin and his team are finding out, they have only just gotten started.       

(This is the second part of a two-part story. Listen to Part 1 here.)

 

The Facts

Matthew Boll mixed the episode.

Our theme song was written and performed by Mark Phillips.

The special ad music, Microliters, was written and performed by Build Buildings.

Additional music by Kevin Sparks and the band hotmoms.gov

Our logo was designed by Elias Stein.

 

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Show transcript

LISA: From Gimlet, you’re listening to Startup. I’m Lisa Chow. This is Season 3. And today, I’m going to pick up where we left off in the last episode, so if you haven’t heard the first half of the story, go back and listen. This episode will make a lot more sense that way.  

 

One more thing, there is some swearing in this episode.

 

-music-

 

LISA: Here’s where we were: One of the co-founders we’re following, Justin, was running around San Francisco with a camera clipped to his hat, livestreaming his life 24/7. The rest of his team was working behind the scenes, running the website and the business. Their dream was to create a reality show on the internet, something so cool that it would eventually replace television. But instead, Justin said, people would come to the site—

 

JUSTIN: —and then very quickly, they’d be, like, this is the most boring thing I’ve ever seen, and they’d just leave. 99 percent of them would just, like, close it.

 

LISA: But occasionally, buried in all the emails begging Justin to go talk to some girls or get off the couch, Justin and his team would see this one question: :

 

JUSTIN: How do I create my own live video stream of some kind?

 

-music-

 

LISA: People didn’t want to watch Justin. They wanted to be Justin. They wanted to be stars of their own live streaming shows, which gave the team an idea—let’s let other people stream their lives on our site. We could become the YouTube for live videos, where anyone can create a channel, share it, comment on it.

 

-music-

 

Investors loved this idea, because, just a year earlier, Youtube had sold to Google for over a billion dollars. So saying you were the Youtube of something back then was sort of like saying you’re the Uber of something today. Michael raised 2 million dollars. And boom, the company that had been on rocky footing had new life again.  

 

And this is the point in the typical narrative where things take off—the company pivots, raises new money and they never look back. But that was not the case for these co-founders.

 

The next four years were not a straight line to the top. Instead, it was up, then down, then back up. And the whole time, Justin, Emmett, Michael and Kyle were plagued by this thought in the back of their minds—are we on to something or are we total failures?  

 

Today on the show, we find out how it all ended for them, and why sometimes, slacking off and playing videos games can change your life forever.

 

-music-

 

LISA: So after this pivot, with their new investment money, Justin and his cofounders moved into their first real office. They hired some employees and then, in October, 2007, they officially relaunched as the YouTube of live video.

 

There wasn’t as much press this time, but there were a lot more users. That first week, more than half a million people visited the site. They live-streamed their pets or themselves sitting at home at their computer, playing video games. Occasionally, you’d catch couples arguing or silly dares between friends.

 

But with more people came more problems. The site broke all the time. Bandwidth costs were out of control. And the same things happening today were happening back then. Men harassed women with gross sexual comments. People livestreamed horrible things. One person livestreamed his suicide. Justin and his team could not control what was happening on the site.  

 

But oddly, the biggest threat they couldn’t control were sports fans.

 

People would point their camera at their TV and stream whatever was on—basketball games, soccer matches. In some cases, users were streaming Pay Per View events, allowing anyone with an internet connection to watch for free. Needless to say, the companies that owned the rights to those sporting events, and the networks that paid billions of dollars to air those events, were not pleased.

 

REP. JOHN CONYERS: The Judiciary Committee has convened today’s hearings to discuss an emerging form of piracy.

 

LISA: In 2009, the company was summoned to Capitol Hill. The team sent Michael, the CEO, to represent them.

 

MICHAEL: Thank you for allowing me to testify today.

 

LISA: There’s this video of the hearing. Michael’s 27, wearing a stiff black suit. He’s seated at a table surrounded by gray haired executives from ESPN, Major League Baseball, and Ultimate Fighting Championship. Michael is the only person from a live streaming site, and it is clear what his role is meant to be. He is the punching bag.

REP. HENRY JOHNSON: I have got to ask you, do you think it’s morally right for your firm to continue to engage in the use of copyrighted material without the owner’s consent. From a moral standpoint, I’d like for you to answer that. Is it right? Is it fair?


MICHAEL: I think that when we…when we look at this issue, it’s not the point nor is it the goal to distribute copyrighten [sic] content.

 

LISA: Justin watched Michael get grilled. He was back at home in his apartment in California.

 

-music-

 

JUSTIN: That morning I remember I felt horrible. I didn’t want to get out of bed. I was, like, watching it on C-SPAN like, while I was lying there, like oh my god, this is awful.

 

We were the scapegoat for, like, internet piracy, even though we were completely compliant with the law, right? And also cooperating above and beyond it. So it was more like a negative PR cluster bomb dropped on our head and we were like, this is completely unjust but also, like, makes us look completely toxic.

 

LISA: No laws were rewritten, no rules were changed, but the message was clear: we don’t like what you’re doing.

 

And this period of the company’s life—when they were hauled before Congress, their users were doing scary things, and their site kept breaking—it stretched out a lot longer than they’d ever imagine. Four years of slog. Sure, they’d raised some money, gotten some users, managed to pay themselves—but they were each earning a lot less money than what a mid-level employee at Google would make, or what their friends working in finance were making. Three of the four co-founders were still sharing an apartment. And for Justin, it was starting to feel like, what’s the goal here?

 

JUSTIN: I had a lot of times when I was like I don’t want to do this. I hate doing this. I would wake up and I’d be like not excited to go to work. Like, I remember every summer, basically, because of a bunch of things, but usually something bad would happen or it wasn’t working as well as we thought, and I’d see all those people like, friends of mine from college posting about what an awesome time they were having. And I’d be like working on my computer in the dark. It’s like “Why am I doing this? I could be doing anything else.”

 

MICHAEL: I lost a lot of friends from college.  

 

LISA: This is Michael, the CEO.  

 

MICHAEL: I distinctly remember, like, friends coming to San Francisco and, like, not seeing them. Maybe I didn’t want to see people who didn’t have this burden. Maybe I felt guilty, a little bit, hanging out with them instead of working. But definitely, like, I mean, I don’t even think that was healthy. I just kind of think it was how my young, kind of, brain dealt with the stress. It was just like, “Oh, I can just shut these other parts of my life down, and I don’t need them for right now, and I just need to be, like, making sure this thing doesn’t die.” Actually it felt that way. It didn’t even feel like it was, “Make sure this thing gets big.” It felt more, like, make sure this thing doesn’t die.

 

JUSTIN: I think all my ego is wrapped up in being an entrepreneur.

 

LISA: Again, Justin.

 

JUSTIN: And I was like, I want to be successful at it. I want to make it work. And also, like, what else would I do at the end of the day? I think I didn’t, like, actually conceive of any options of what I could or should be doing. Cause you don’t really have any skills as an entrepreneur. You know, I’m not a computer scientist. It’s hard to describe, like, the skill set. It’s like, I can get people excited about something new. Does that translate to another job? Maybe I’d be like a good, like, you know, carnival host or something.

 

-music-

 

LISA: By the summer of 2010, after years of slogging and never turning a profit, the company was on its last legs. They had just a couple months left in the bank.  

 

And then a big name company swooped in to try to save them. A company that had, in fact, killed Justin and Emmett’s first startup. I’m talking about Google.

 

-music-

 

LISA: They wanted to buy Justin’s company and the number on the table was 30 million dollars—enough money for Justin and his cofounders to pay back investors and each earn a nice chunk of money. But, there was just one thing they’d have to do first—take a test.

This test is well-known. It’s called the Google technical interview. And people spend weeks preparing for it. There are online forums, Reddit threads with tips on how to pass, and horror stories of people who got so far along the process, only to botch it in the final round. Here’s Michael.

 

MICHAEL: They were like: the bar you have to get over is 75 percent of your technical people have to pass a Google tech interview. And I knew this was one of the hardest interviews and I remember being extremely nervous. We sent everyone into these interviews. Everyone at the company knows that we’re talking about being acquired by Google. And we had extremely smart people.

 

I remember having this conversation with the guy who was sponsoring the deal inside of Google, who was like: we liked these people in your company, but you guys didn’t as a group pass this bar.  Conversation over.

 

LISA: It was humiliating.

 

And even worse, they needed Google’s money. Or someone’s money. And Michael, the man in charge of fundraising, could not raise any more.

 

MICHAEL: We had just been pitching the same people for years. Nobody was getting…no. There were points when we were growing, but there was a long time where we weren’t growing. So it’s like, you’re pitching this thing, it’s not growing. It’s got some size, I mean, I remember it was like 30 million monthly uniques and 300 million page views. But it wasn’t growing. So—

 

LISA: Right

 

MICHAEL: No, yeah. Makes me feel bad just talking about it.  

 

LISA: Michael didn’t know what to do next, so he convened the core team. They sat around a table in a crappy conference room.

 

MICHAEL: I can say for me, it was probably the most important meeting I was ever in. Yeah. Definitely. And I remember thinking to myself, like, I don’t think I was a very traditional CEO. I wasn’t, like, the emotional center of the company. I was like a, like a steward type CEO. But I remember thinking to myself like, I got to step up here. This is like, this is really death moment.

 

LISA: Michael laid out the problem. To survive, they had to start making money now and stop waiting for an investor to come in and save them.

 

Here’s Justin.

 

JUSTIN: We literally made a list of all the places that we could make money. Like, we can put another ad unit on the homepage. And we estimate that’s going to be 5,000 dollars a month. We can put autoplay video ads on the, like, on the directory page. That’s going to be 10,000 dollars a month. We had one column that was like, make money, one column that was like, cut costs. Cut costs. We can, like, stop paying for x, y, z. We just brainstormed. And I remember we had that every month for a couple months.  

 

LISA: And it worked. They crammed ads on every possible surface of the website, they laid off employees, and they renegotiated terms with suppliers. And within three months, they were break even. A couple of weeks later, they were profitable. It was a huge rush, turning the company around like that. Once again, they’d come back from the brink.

 

MICHAEL: I can’t explain to you how, like, this is the moment where everyone dies. And like, we didn’t just not die, we, like, homerunned it. And so we were actually pretty proud of ourselves, to be completely honest.

 

JUSTIN: We’re making a million dollars this year. We’re a profitable company. Like, that had never been the case. And, most of our friends’ companies weren’t profitable or anything, right? Like, we had—it’s a milestone that like—people in Silicon Valley don’t even talk about it or think about it, right? They’re thinking, “How can I even make something, like—” Step 1 is make something that people actually use. Step, like, 10 is, like, become profitable.

 

LISA: But that high the team was experiencing, that pride, would not last very long.

 

Coming up, how a group of college kids, a classical pianist, and a former video store manager catapulted these four friends back into the media spotlight once again. That’s after these words from our sponsors.

 

-ad break-

 

LISA: Welcome back to StartUp. I’m Lisa Chow. When we left off, the founders were on a high. They’d just turned profitable. And Michael told me, around this time, a guy who’d worked in the top ranks at Facebook and YouTube, stopped by to say hello.  

 

MICHAEL: He came over to the office, and we were talking about how—I don’t wanna say bragging, but we were proud. And he said, “Everything you’ve done so far is insignificant. Within 3 years, you’ll be forgotten, and the money that you’re making now is going to go away. You’ve done nothing.”

 

LISA: This guy, he basically made them realize, despite all their changes, all their new focus and the way they’d turned their cash flow around, in the end, what were they holding? They were the owners of a crappy looking website crammed full of display ads and pretty boring content. They could probably keep their momentum for another couple of years, but it was not gonna last.

 

MICHAEL: We realized that we had done nothing. We realized that we weren’t going to be able to raise more money, we weren’t going to be able to build more demand. There weren’t going to be acquirers. This was kind of a dead end for working on that product.

 

Emmett, the CTO, could already feel it. In trying to become profitable, they had stopped dreaming big.  

 

EMMETT: We were profitable, but not super profitable. And you suddenly have this, sort of, vision of this thing could just live, kind of, indefinitely in this state, and it wasn’t ever going to be huge, but I’d keep working on it. And like, was that something exciting? And I didn’t really know what to build that was going to change that trajectory. And I kind of lost faith that I could figure out something to build to change that trajectory.

 

I didn’t work very hard for a couple months. I kind of treated it like a

9-5. I played a lot of video games. I hung out with my friends. And one of the benefits from sort of taking a step back at that point was, you come back with a little bit of perspective, and I think the biggest perspective that I came back with was, “Well, if this dies, that’s no big deal.” Because, like I, whatever. I’ll go get a job somewhere else. This is fine. Which, paradoxically meant we were allowed to take chances with it again.  

 

LISA: Emmett’s new slacker attitude allowed him to ask a very simple question: how do I use the site?

 

EMMETT: So the only content that I really liked watching was the gaming content. I would just watch StarCraft streams.

 

LISA:  And it’s just you watching other people playing the game?

 

EMMETT: Yeah, it’s me watching either a pro or a semi pro play the game.

 

LISA: And he wasn’t the only person who did this. A bunch of their users came to the site to watch other people play. World of Warcraft, StarCraft 2, Minecraft…all the crafts.

 

And by a bunch of users, I mean 2 percent. But Emmett thought, it’s a passionate 2 percent. So he went to his cofounders and asked them—instead of being a live streaming site for everyone, what if we focus exclusively on live streaming people playing video games?

 

EMMETT: I think for Kyle and Michael, it was kind of like, that seems stupid. Like nobody—no one wants to watch people play videogames on the internet. Which, to be fair, was a perfectly reasonable and widely held point of view. And to be honest, I don’t know that I saw it as a huge opportunity either. I just thought it was like a promising short-term opportunity.

LISA: Emmett decided to do some digging. He talked to 40 gamers—there were these college kids from Texas, a classical pianist-slash-banker who livestreamed from his apartment, a former Blockbuster manager from Staten Island who specialized in beating notoriously difficult video games.

 

And he asked them a bunch of questions: why did they live stream themselves playing video games? What did they enjoy about it? And what would make it better?

 

These conversations inspired Emmett and his team to change a bunch of things. They improved the video quality and they created a way for these gamers to make money off their livestreams. Every month, more and more people showed up to the site. And the numbers kept growing.  

 

EMMETT: We’d wandered into something bigger than we were. It wasn’t just us

creating this opportunity out of nothing and trying to force it. We’d found a hole in the market. We found a hole in the world and we were being pulled into it.

 

-music-

 

EMMETT: As we made progress, I got more and more confirmation that it was going to work. And it started feeling more like, you were chasing a boulder down a hill than you were pushing a boulder up a hill. And they’re both hard work but we really started getting this sense this sense of pull where the market was pulling us along. It was, it was saying, “Come over here, come over here,” and all we had to do was chase it.

LISA: Did it suddenly feel like everything clicked?

 

EMMETT: I think it didn’t suddenly click on a, like, day. There wasn’t, like, a day where all of a sudden, oh my god, it’s totally changed. But there was a period of maybe four months of pivoting towards gaming, the feeling of the business shifted a great deal.

 

It got better every month we were working on it. There was suddenly this, sort of, palpable sense of excitement about the product that I think we hadn’t had really before. We’d found our destiny, sort of. And it’s a really good feeling when you finally get there. And I think, like, sort of like being in love you know it when you see it. It’s hard to describe to someone who hasn’t experienced it.

 

LISA: And here’s where I’m going to tell you the name of the company I’ve been talking about this whole time. The company started by Justin Kan, Emmett Shear, Michael Seibel, and Kyle Vogt, for most of its life, it was called Justin.tv.  When they pivoted to video games, they renamed it Twitch. A name that might be familiar.  

 

 

NEWS CLIP: It is official: Amazon is buying Twitch.

 

NEWS CLIP: Amazon announced that it is spending nearly 1 billion dollars to buy the game-streaming service Twitch.

 

NEWS CLIP. Amazon stepped in. They wanted the flow, they wanted the audience. As it turns out a stunning 1.35 percent of all internet traffic is devoted to nothing but watching people play video games.

 

NEWS CLIP: The CEO of Twitch Emmett Shear, wrote in a statement, “We chose Amazon because they believe in our community, they share our values and long-term vision and they want to help us get there faster.”

 

JUSTIN: When Emmett called me—

 

LISA: Here’s Justin.

 

JUSTIN: —and told me what the latest price that he had negotiated was, I was actually in a conference room somewhere else, and I like dropped down on my knees and was just laughing my ass off. I was like, I cannot believe that. You built a company and it’s worth a billion dollars? That’s pretty amazing.

 

And we were all at Kyle’s wedding the day the actual wires hit, and I remember opening up my Bank of America app, and being like, I didn’t even know you could put that much money in Bank of America. It was actually, like, disconcerting ‘cause I was like, I don’t even know if this is, like, a safe way to store this much money. You know, all the co-founders were there, and we were, like, holy shit. That’s, like, incredible.

 

LISA: A lot of people were shocked by the sales price, including the founders. In fact, nine months before the Amazon sale, Justin was trying to sell some of his shares to investors in the private market at a fifth the price Amazon paid. Every single investor turned him down.  

 

-buzzer ringing-

 

LISA: A couple of months ago, I met Justin at his home in San Francisco, which he bought after the Amazon sale.

 

-knock-

 

JUSTIN: What’s up?

 

LISA: His home is three floors, and as we walk through it, Justin opens up the door to his garage. He wants to show me something.

 

Inside, there’s a 10 foot long taxidermied alligator. It’s on a huge rock, jumping up in the air to eat a racoon.

 

JUSTIN: It actually only fits in my garage. It doesn’t fit through any doors, so—

LISA: Can I ask how much you paid for this alligator jumping up to eat a raccoon?

 

JUSTIN: It was a lot. It was the price of of like a…it was the price of ba—of a, of a low end car. So, yeah. It’s uh—I’m not really proud of that. But, you know, I like having it. I want to start a whole natural history museum in here.

 

LISA: We walk down the hall, and he opens another door. This is where his two younger brothers live.

 

JUSTIN: Daniel works at a self-driving car startup. He founded a self-driving car startup called Cruise with my former co-founder Kyle. And then my other brother is an engineer at a startup.

 

LISA: Wow, so everyone—everyone’s in startups.

 

JUSTIN: Yeah, everyone’s in startups.

 

LISA: Is that because of you, do you think?

 

JUSTIN: Yeah.  

LISA: Up the stairs, on the second floor, a bunch of guys are hunched over laptops at a marble table. Justin opens up his house to friends who are working on their startups. There are big bay windows in the living room, but all the blinds are drawn to prevent computer glare. A poster on the wall reads, “Make Something People Want.”

 

One of the main things I’m here to ask him is, what lessons can we draw from his story? Because things could have turned out so differently. There were so many times they could have died.

 

JUSTIN: I really think the lesson from our story is that anyone can be successful building a company on the internet.

 

LISA: Really?

 

JUSTIN: Yeah, I actually—I mean, I believe that. I don’t think we were anything special. I still am—don’t think—I’m not like a genius. I’m not, like, people are like, “Oh, you must be, like, super smart.” I’m like, smart-ish, right? I didn’t start off with any skills. I wasn’t a good programmer. Definitely wasn’t a good manager. Wasn’t a great communicator. I was decent at like convincing people to do stuff, you know. That’s basically it. So like, I really, really, really do believe, and I think there’s countless examples, of, you know, people who have figured it out over time. And the unifying factor to me is that they all continued learning. And they like, continued working. And they eventually started talking to their customers.

 

LISA: But okay, so how much, how much do you think luck plays into it?

 

JUSTIN: Well, I mean, there’s like, luck can be infinity in a way. But I don’t really consider luck, because luck you can’t control, right? Like, by definition you can’t control luck. You have to just make the opportunities for you to be in the right place at the right time. So I mean, I have been at the right place at the right time in many ways, right? One: the internet, right? Like, we were, like, have programming skills, or I knew someone with programming skills at the time when the internet is, like, undergoing this massive Cambrian explosion, right? Turns out the same for gaming, right? Gaming was this massive explosion. It was lucky that I was like, you know, went to school with Emmett, right? I was lucky I went to school with Michael. I was lucky that Kyle saw our job ad, and like, decided to respond to that. So I mean it’s, like, infinite. There’s countless, countless luck. But like, I don’t think it’s relevant to startups because everyone is, like, lucky in some way. I mean, if you’re in America, almost by default, right?

 

LISA: I guess, I just like—I don’t know. We did a callout a while back, you know, for people to tell us stories of their startups where they feel, like, they’re failing, okay? And a lot of people, like, wrote their stories, and I actually got on the phone and talked to a lot of these people. And, you know, I mean, it was scary. Like, you hear all these people giving up so much to, like, do their startup. And, it felt a little painful to, kind of, listen to these stories, you know, quite frankly. And like, there is a part of me that almost wanted to say, like, may it’s not worth it?

 

JUSTIN: Well, so that’s a different question. If it’s worth it or not is a different question than can anyone do it. Right? For most people it’s not worth it for everyone to do a startup. I think a lot of people trade off—especially now, you trade off a lot to do a startup. There’s a lot of ha—sleepless nights and there’s a lot of anxiety and stress and worry. And for many people it might not be worth it. I don’t know, I’m not a judge of that. That’s, that’s for people to decide for themselves.

 

LISA: But it doesn’t feel like a lottery ticket to you, like, in the sense of—you’re kind of—that the chances of success are so small and—

 

JUSTIN: I think it feels—it’s like you are—it’s definitely, it’s like you’re accruing lottery tickets, right? The more you work, the more you iterate, the smarter you are, the more you increase your chances of being successful. And does that chance ever get up to a hundred percent? I don’t know, I don’t think so. But I think it gets pretty high. I don’t think, like, I think it gets far beyond 1 percent right? Or 10 percent.  

 

LISA: Of course, you can get pretty far past 10 percent and the odds will still be bad. At a certain point in our conversation, I told Justin, he sounded a little bit like Michael Jordan, saying, anyone can play in the NBA if they just work hard enough. And Justin said, without irony, I basically believe anyone can play in the NBA.

 

To me, and I think to most people, that sounds insane. To be a professional athlete means winning a genetic lottery. If you don’t have that as a baseline, no amount of hard work is going to get you there. But from where Justin sits, I can see why he feels like success is just about trying hard enough. Because, so many people around him have made it big—Justin’s brother, the one who lives downstairs, his startup just sold to General Motors for a reported billion dollars. Steve, his friend whose couch Justin and Emmett played video games on after the failure of their first company, he started a company I’m sure you’ve heard of—Reddit. And that sold for 10 to 20 million dollars when he was just a year out of college.

 

Justin’s co-founder Michael, though—he sees it a little bit differently.

 

MICHAEL: We can’t confuse the idea that anyone can do it from the idea that everyone will be successful. Everyone won’t be successful, but anyone can do it. I don’t think we want to say everyone should do it, I don’t think we wanna say everyone’s going to be successful at it. But what we do want to say is that the bar is probably a lot lower than you think. But no, like, we were not special. No one chose us at the end of high school or end of college and said, “Those guys are going to be something.”

 

LISA:  Right, right. I guess the big thing is just given, given that you have been successful, you know, like, whether you’re speaking from a position where—like, if you hadn’t—you know, if you were still kind of doing the slog, would you be saying the same thing, I guess? It’s like, does that come from a position of, like, that kind of advice, does it come from a position of being successful?

 

MICHAEL: You know, there are some people who do not function well when they’re working for others. That might be the most fun definition of an entrepreneur. And for those people telling them to start a company is, I feel, my responsibility because it’s the only way that an hour of their work is going to extract the maximum amount of results. Regardless of whether they’re successful or not, it’s the only way that they can feel fulfilled. And like, I got to tell you that like, even in the bad times, it was the only thing we wanted to be doing. Even if Jsutin.tv was still going right now and you asked me, you know, would I want to be doing this or working for, you know, a bank or a law firm, or a—I’d be saying I want to be doing this.  

 

-music-

 

LISA: The story of how twitch became a billion dollar company is now part of Silicon Valley mythology. It’s a story that can give you hope when nothing you’re doing working and you’re running out of money. It’s also a story that can motivate you to be bold and to take risks.

 

But sometimes, stories like this one can be an unreliable guide. Because, after all, hope can also make you sink your entire life savings into a plan that just won’t work. And that’s when these stories are more like sirens, luring you further into danger.

 

A lot of the founders we’ll be hearing from this season will have to decide for themselves—when do I trust the story of hope? When do I trust that my hard work and sacrifice will eventually pay off? And when do I realize it’s time to let this thing go?

 

-music-

 

LISA: We’ll have scenes from the next episode of StartUp in a minute. That’s after these words from our sponsors.

 

-ad break-

 

LISA: Next week on StartUp, we meet an entrepreneur who has such an odd way of making a living, he has to remind people he’s running a company.

 

MIKE: We’re actually here on business.  

 

MAN: Oh yeah? What are you doing?

 

MIKE: You want the truth?

 

MAN: Yeah! Come on.

 

MIKE: Do we all want the truth? Can you keep a secret?

 

MAN: Yeah! Of course.

 

MIKE: Okay.

 

LISA: How one entrepreneur’s secret business had been both a blessing and a curse, next week on StartUp.

 

This episode was edited by Alex Blumberg, Peter Clowney, Kaitlin Roberts, Molly Messick, Bruce Wallace, and Luke Malone. Additional research by Simone Polanen.

 

Mark Phillips wrote and performed our theme song. Build Buildings wrote and performed our special ad music. Additional music by Kevin Sparks and hotmoms.gov. Matthew Boll mixed the episode.   


To subscribe to the podcast, go to iTunes or check out the Gimlet Media website: gimletprod.staging.wpengine.com. You can follow us on twitter @podcaststartup. Thanks for listening. We’ll see you next week.

 

We do our best to make sure these transcripts are accurate. If you would like to quote from an episode of StartUp, please check the transcript with the corresponding audio.

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Without the subject of our next episode, this piece of late-2000s TV perfection simply would not exist. https://t.co/agcBsY7jWl