Quitting the Internet (for a while) with Nathan Powell

Quitting the internet (for a while) with Nathan Powell

Brian Casel : [00:00:00] Hey, it's Open Threads. It's my podcast. I'm Brian Casel. Welcome to it. Today I'm talking to my friend Nathan Powell. Nathan's gonna tell us the story not only of how he started and grew and co-founded a successful SaaS app, starting from about about 10 years ago, but also how he sort of lost interest in it and ultimately came to a point where he decided to exit that SaaS business by having his co-founder buy him out.

So we talked about that. And then an interesting thing hap happened after that Nathan essentially quit the internet all together for at least two years there. And we talked about his, his reasoning behind that and what he did with the time and where he's going next. He has since reemerged in, in the internet and in my [00:01:00] Twitter dms, and he's sharing all sorts of cool ideas on, on what he's starting.

We're gonna talk about that in the next episode with Nathan. But for this one, I wanted to really get that backstory because I think it's really interesting one and it's really interesting to hear how, you know, actually successful bootstrap startups can run their course.. And we really heard, heard Nathan's personal story on that.

I think it's a good one. I appreciate Nathan being so open about it. Today's episode is brought to you by my product, ZipMessage for asynchronous messaging with your clients or your coworkers. I'll tell you a bit more about that later on. For now, it's story time with Nathan Powell.

Nathan Powell. How's it going, buddy?

Nathan Powell : Hey, man. Pretty good.

Brian Casel : Yeah. It's great to connect with you again. We've we've known each other for several years now. And, you know, I just wanna say just right off the bat, I am like forever grateful [00:02:00] to you, and Nusii. I think that you guys were not the first but one in, definitely in the first batch of customers on Audience Ops back in the day. And you know, definitely like helped, that business get off the ground for sure.

Nathan Powell : That seems, it seems like a lifetime ago now . Yeah, that does.

Brian Casel : Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think you guys were. probably within like the first 5 or 10 early customers on that, so that, that was awesome. Yeah.

Nathan Powell : Yeah. man, that, that does seem like a really long time ago. I mean, how long ago was that? I mean, what are we talking?

Brian Casel : Well I launched that in 2015 and I think you signed on like somewhere right? at the beginning in 2015. So...

Nathan Powell : Funnily enough, somebody messaged me on LinkedIn two, three days ago saying they found the article that you'd done about Nusii, and I think I was mentioning the article on, on the blog, and they'd found me via the, Yeah, yeah, yeah. And they'd found me via there and they came to message me via LinkedIn. I was like, Wow, that was a long time ago. Yeah. Yeah. So it's still, it's still, you know, bearing fruit.

Brian Casel : Incredible. You've been around the block on, on [00:03:00] multiple things since then and before then, so, Yeah, I thought, why don't we talk about, talk about Nusii a little bit and then get into your, your new stuff. You know, for those who don't know, Nusii is like a, proposal software. I mean, why don't you tell the story of, of like, you know, you don't have to go through the whole life story here, but How do you describe it in your, in your time with it and, and uh, where did it go from there?

Nathan Powell : Yeah, so, uh, Nusii, Yeah. proposal software back in 2013. That was when I I first sort of started, I, I guess coming up with, with something. Basically, I was just desperate for a project. You know, it, it was gonna be first sort of, diving into a product You know, I'd, delved into sort of writing some books and things like that, and I was you know, you're a designer, you know the story. You're working on websites for the clients and products and, and I guess to that point where you want something for yourself. And to be honest, I kind of probably did it completely the wrong way around. I was just looking for the, I was looking for something to do without really delving [00:04:00] into the problem. Um, Think so.

Brian Casel : I feel like everyone does it the wrong way..

Nathan Powell : I think so. Yeah.

Brian Casel : But your background, you're a designer...,

Nathan Powell : Yeah. So yeah, I'm, so, I was a design, I'm a designer still. But I was a freelance designer for a good few years before I even started looking at Nusii. And one of the areas I was struggling with was creating client proposals. You know, I used to go the whole InDesign route and then create a PDF and then email it and then get them to sign it in some other system and stuff.

And, So I was looking around at the time, and to be honest, there was only really Ruben's, Bidsketch. Of course everyone knows Bidsketch, you know, the OG of proposal software, uh, at least in the creative side of things and very little else. So I thought, Okay, I'll have a stab at that. I'll see what, I'll see what I can do see if I can do something that fits my needs a little better. And yeah, so I started messing around with that. Came up with a, I'd been given a bonus by a client, which was very nice. I decided that I was willing to commit that bonus to [00:05:00] building an MVP. and it was very little money. I think, I think it was like three grand. I wanna say this mvp so you can imagine.

I mean, it was a long time ago, but still it was very little amount of money. But I thought that's what I'm willing to, to throw away. um, 2013, Yeah, 2013. So, um, just went and found a freelance developer. Got a really, really awful mvp done it, it was the buggiest thing you've ever seen. Didn't wanna breathe on it too hard cuz it would just fall apart.

But um, nice to get a couple of customers. I have no idea how really that happened. Yeah. Yeah. I think one thing I did well, and speaking of going back to content, one thing I did well from the very beginning was I started writing before I even had the product. I was writing about freelancing, I was writing about proposal, create some proposal, getting new clients and stuff.

So I think I was already able to draw some kind of attention before the product was [00:06:00] even... Certainly in it's infancy. The mvp, like I said, it was terrible. But I managed to get a couple of customers and I thought, okay, well that's validation enough for me because even the customer development interviews I'd done, and I did actually do a few, they all told me that they wouldn't switch from their current systems to, to something new.

You know, they all wanted to stay within design and PDF and email and all that because they wanted complete control. As designers always do, you know, they, they want, we want complete control over how it looks and everything. So,

Brian Casel : So how did you get it built and when did Michael, your partner on that, come into play?

Nathan Powell : Yeah so, I started doing some consulting work for a big startup. I think it Spain's only unicorn as michael very proudly states, every time we speak to him about it. I started doing some consulting work for them. And Michael hadn't happened to be the lead developer. And as I had so many bugs and it was such a terrible piece of software I had to keep paying a developer to fix this stuff.

The guy I'd used originally, I wasn't happy with. And so I [00:07:00] turned to Michael, who I'd recently met. and so he started freelancing on the project. And he came to me actually shortly afterwards and said, Nathan, I, you know, I think this is gonna end up costing you a fortune. It's terrible code. It's, you know, it's a terrible piece of software, right.

After he'd done a few small projects for me, he said, How would you feel about, you know, taking on a, a, you know, a co-founder? I Was like, Yeah, shit. Yeah, , I can't afford to keep paying this, you know? And knowing what I know now as well, it's, I think it was probably a kind of a good thing.

Brian Casel : That seems like a really cool turn of events there to like, find your partner. You know, I'm always sort of like fascinated with how business partners, partnerships start. Cause like there were a few times where I came close to partnering up with someone, but for one reason or another different reasons each time I, I've always ended up basically solo on all my stuff.

Nathan Powell : But have you looked in the past or is it...

Brian Casel : Well like in your case... Like for a developer to come on as a cofounder, usually it's the designer or the business guy or the marketing guy [00:08:00] trying to convince a developer that like it's worth like building for equity. Right? But in this case, it seems like Michael was like this, this has legs and I'm interested.

Nathan Powell : Yeah. I don't remember how many customers it had when Michael said, You know, you know, I'd be willing to come in on this with you. It would've been, probably not even a handful. I'd probably say two or three. I really don't remember, but it would not have been many. And of course, I was in the famous stage of charging $5 a month, you know, as like the typical charge

Brian Casel : That was high back then.

Nathan Powell : Charge nothing and get hundreds and hundreds of customers. And you know...

Brian Casel : Of course.

Nathan Powell : The more you get, you know, the lower you can price it. All that rubbish that people put into your head, you know, when you're just starting out. And that was what it was.

Yeah so, we quickly, we were quickly able to take it from the original MVP to what became sort of the one. And again, thanks to content and like I said, you know, later on you, you guys helped us out with that. But thanks to content that was how we were able to build a customer base. And to be honest, it went... It was a [00:09:00] SaaS, I wouldn't say it went quickly. It was definitely the, the slow ramp, but it, I think within, within two years we were both full time. And I think for two sort of co-founders to be able to live off it in such a short space of time, I think that was surprising and also incredibly pleasing as well.

There is one thing we should bear in mind as well, and whenever we speak to our, counterparts in the US is the cost of living in Spain is far, is far lower than the UK, than France, than the US I think, you know, certain things like health insurance and those are things we don't really have to worry about. So we can definitely...,

Brian Casel : Yeah. I mean I guess it's lower but it's not like you're in the third world. Right? It's not like...

Nathan Powell : No, and particularly we're in Madrid as well, and Madrid is, is expensive and it's the capital of Spain. So that, I mean, that was definitely one caveat that we were able to live off it, but it was great because it meant, you know, we could put all our time into it and we could, you know, I particularly could write more content. Back then I used to do more podcasts and ran a couple of podcasts and those kind of things. So it was great. But[00:10:00] I think after, I mean, we ended up having, we had customers in like 54 countries or something, about 60 countries by the time, by the -

Brian Casel : Do you think - I mean , aside from like content, you know, and sort of like, so there, there was like content in and SEO, but do you think that there, there was like the viral factor with Nusii, like people sending proposals and then seeing like "powered by Nusii"?

Nathan Powell : Do you know, we were terrible, terrible, terrible at tracking how we got customers, and so it was always far easier to say everything came from content. That is the honest answer. Because that was pretty much the only thing we ever really did. Don't get me wrong, we did experiment with a lot of things. We experimented it as marketing, you know, we built a couple of other products. We bought another product as well.

Tiny reminder from Jane who -,

Brian Casel : Oh wow.

Nathan Powell : I know you know.

Brian Casel : I didn't realise... I probably knew that and I forgot.... Awesome.

Nathan Powell : Yeah. That came, that came under the umbrella and became Nusii Reminder. And [00:11:00] so we, we did, we, we did do a lot of other things, but we were never really just that great on tracking where everything came from and where it went to and all that stuff. You should know and should, even if it takes you a long time to figure it out, there should be a point where you get there. And I don't feel that we ever really got there. So...

Brian Casel : Cuz you're no longer at Nusii we'll, we'll get to your, your exit and, and all that in a minute. But I'm curious like during the time that you were working on Nusii, aside from you and Michael, did the team grow?

Nathan Powell : No. We did experiment a couple of times. I was desperate to get another developer on board. Once things got to a certain level where, like I said, you know, we were both living quite well. I was desperate to take on another developer because being a designer, I want things to move more quickly. You know, I, I want to get these features out. Things that we can design in a, in a few hours or a day or a week, you know, obviously can take development, you know, potentially months. So I was, I was very impatient in that sense and was desperate to take [00:12:00] someone else on. We did dabble with taking on a junior developer. We dabbled with taking on, we even took on a summer intern, which felt very grownup.

Brian Casel : No customer support help or anything like that?

Nathan Powell : No, we just, we always handled customer support ourselves between the two of us because there was never, there was never that much. think we definitely could have done a lot better job with all of these things. We definitely could have and should have delegated a lot of this a lot earlier on. I know you're a big fan of that yourself and, and just getting that annoying crap out.

Brian Casel : I'm really interested in right now... I guess I'm always interested in is like the, how the, the nature of the work changes the business goes through different stages, Right? Cause like, you know, I'm, I'm in a SaaS business now with ZipMessage but it has never really grown... Like, I haven't really been able to grow a SaaS business to the size that I had Audience Ops before. And that was a very different [00:13:00] type of business that, like Audience Ops was a people service business. Like the team kept growing and we had a process and all that. But I find with a SaaS we're just constantly creating. We're always in creative projects. We're, we're creating features, we're creating new marketing projects. And it's much less about like the process and, and

Nathan Powell : I think, but I think you're in a particularly lucky position here, or in a you know, a good position to be in is that you're also, you're touching everything because you are the developer, or one of the developers. You are doing the design as well. You, you know, customer development...

Brian Casel : I do enjoy it because of that. I really like being like in the full stack but it's also like so much more work.

Nathan Powell : Yeah. But it keeps things interesting though, right? Because -

Brian Casel : Yeah.

Nathan Powell : And it is easy to keep the passion up as well, I think, because you are seeing all those different areas grow and then the areas that you don't want to be working on anymore, maybe for example customer support. Which to be honest, I was never a [00:14:00] huge fan of. Michael was always fantastic at it.

Brian Casel : That's what I wanted to ask you about. So during the years that you were working on Nusii, obviously you have like the days where it's the startup, like you're just get the mvp, get the very first customers. But then there's like this next phase where you've grown the customer base to where you and Michael can both pay yourselves a full salary. Right? That seems to me like a new phase of the business. What changes at that point?

Nathan Powell : Every, everything changes and. And kind of doesn't because you are expecting it to stay the same. You're expecting to still be the designer and he, Michael is still expecting to be the developer. Yes. We've taken on extra roles that perhaps, you know, we'd never done before. Support being one of them. I'd never done support ever. Uh, I'm not the most patient person either. So as you know, running support, sometimes you have to have infinite patience. And so everything changed in the sense that all of a sudden, designs I'd done, could perhaps be waiting for months, [00:15:00] before they saw the light of day. Or before the, you know, customers were able to get their hands on them.

So for me, there was a really big shift and I think it was almost, it's probably one of the things that took me to the end of, Do you know what, I'm not so sure that I'm so passionate about this anymore. Because I think maybe that whole initial excitement and passion and yes, this is, you know, we're growing this, we are both doing what we are great at, which is design and development. Once that did start to change, and I think, yeah, because I'm no longer a designer anymore, I'm a business owner and all the responsibilities that come with that, the, the taxes, taxes in Spain. Aah, they're horrendous. I mean, I know people who have left Europe and gone back to the States to run their businesses because Europe is a nightmare.

Brian Casel : Well there's plenty of nightmares on that front here in the US.

Nathan Powell : I can imagine. Yeah, I can imagine. But just everything that's, that I was never been a part of before, you know, brings those extra pressures and takes away from the joy I think of the reason that you started this, the reason that you wanted to build this business. And my [00:16:00] idea was always, was for it always to be a lifestyle business, you know? I, I never intended I never had the intention of this is gonna be something huge. We're gonna get funding, we're gonna, you know, we're gonna have a board. That wasn't something that interested me. I, I wanted to be on my bike riding in the mountains and making enough money to, to, to make a decent living and support my family.

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Okay, back to the show.

So yeah. I mean, I guess that's a good segue into like the beginning of the end for, for your time on, Nusii.

Nathan Powell : I think it was um, that we both pretty much sort of taken our own individual roles as far as we could, as far as developer and designer. . So we were doing the additional roles, obviously. [00:18:00] Sales, marketing, customer support, accounts, you know, every, everything else you can imagine. And we, we hit a plateau. And I think first time around, we were, we managed to sort of wiggle out of it and start seeing growth again. I can't remember now how we did this exactly. I'm gonna say content, but who knows? I'll just, I just, I just push it back to content because I have no idea. And then, and then we plateaued again.

But the interesting thing was between 2014, which is when Michael came on board and probably say 2017, there was an explosion of, of proposal software SaaS businesses. They literally did just come up out of the, out of the woodwork. Because initially there was Bidsketch, obviously um, and ourselves and maybe one or two others. And then all of a sudden we were, even had our, our, our website completely stolen and hijacked and somebody copied it in Brazil and the exact copy, and, you know, there, there were all these competitors

Brian Casel : Isn't that amazing [00:19:00] how that happens? You see that happen all time with popular SaaS products, right? And it's like, it always, I mean, obvious. These things happen, but I could never get my mind around like, there is somebody somewhere who is like, I am going to copy this line for line, design for design, and I think that's okay, and I can live with myself. I don't understand that at all,

Nathan Powell : No, I don't understand it either. And, you know, but as you say, these things do happen. And obviously we reached out and said, Hey, That better come down right now. and it

Brian Casel : Hmm. I remember one, back in the day when I was running Restaurant Engine , I saw a couple of ripoffs of Restaurant Engine and one of 'em was like French. And they created like a French version of Restaurant Engine, same exact logo and everything. But like, the word was like in in, in French. Like it was was incredible.

Nathan Powell : Yeah, they say it's the best for, you know, form of flattery, right. But, uh, imitation, but I dunno, you can take it to extremes and literally ripping off someone's work is the [00:20:00] extreme nobody wants to be taken to. Yeah, so everything changed. You know, there was suddenly, there was a lot more competition. And yeah, it, we just, we peaked we couldn't get past that plateau morale for me personally, started to take a dive. And I became more and more frustrated with the speed at which we were able to ship. We went through several, several meetings, not what phases of meetings where we would try and come up with, alternatives to current situation, you know. Whether it's taking on help, taking on development, doing this, doing that. Selling this piece of the business off and getting some finance, looking at funding, all these kinds of options that are on the table when you're a SaaS. And, uh..

Brian Casel : So those were all just the ideas that you were considering?

Nathan Powell : Those were just all the ideas we were considering to try in my mind, save the business,

Brian Casel : Mm-hmm.

Nathan Powell : Or save my passion for the business at least. Because I thought if we can't get past this, this plateau, then I'm just not interested anymore. You know, this isn't why I, [00:21:00] isn't why I created a, a lifestyle business.

Brian Casel : You know I have totally been there. Obviously I came to the end of a few different businesses and, and ended up selling, but the one where I really resonate with that is, is probably the end of Restaurant Engine. I owned that for probably like four and a half years, something like that. And that was one where I just remember like we hit some, some sort of plateau and I had tried a bunch of, And then it wasn't working, and then I just lost the creative energy to keep trying new ideas, you know? Cause it was like, I just, it's , especially as a, as a designer and a creative person, like there are only so many creative projects that you can really take on to, kind of create your way out of it. And, and I mean that includes marketing too, cuz like marketing is a creative... There's creativity involved in that too, but if you're just hammering and it's not working, it gets frustrating.

Nathan Powell : And I think Michael probably felt a bit trapped in, in the fact that, you know, he was the sole developer while [00:22:00] we could have potentially taken on maybe a part-time developer. We weren't rolling in money. And of course Michael didn't want to take on a junior developer because he didn't want to have to then dedicate the time to, you know, bring it him up to speed or her up to speed on everything. And it was kind of, well you might be gaining something, but then you're also sinking a lot of time and effort and all those things. So we we just couldn't get to this place where we were both in agreement on how to move forward.

And in the end I just said, Well, here's another option, . And that other option is you buy me out and I disappear into the mountains.

Brian Casel : Was there no... What about like just selling it outright? Like, he really wanted to stay?

Nathan Powell : No. That that was, yeah, that was one of the options. I, if I remember correctly, and funny enough, funny that this should stick in my mind. I came to the final meeting in air quotes with five, five potential outs, you know, five options to, to move forward one of them was to sell uh, one of them was for Michael to buy me out.

And to be honest, I can't remember the others because those were the [00:23:00] most... You know, those were the most poignant. And Michael was adamant that he wanted to continue. Michael was, was adamant that he wanted to continue to pound on Nusii and to, and you know, try, try and get it out of this and and to keep growing it. Because he was, he was completely the same as me looking for a lifestyle business. He wasn't interested in funding, wasn't interested in growing something huge. It was just something that he could live off and support. So we kind of said, Okay, then, uh you know, I'll sell you my half of the business and we can go from there. So we kind of spoke to some lawyers And and got that finished up and, and that was kind of that. And I didn't really feel any regret. I didn't feel any, any loss. I didn't, which is kind of strange cuz you know, Nusii had been my baby. It, it'd been, the original logos are still on Dribble, you know? If you go, you can see the original designs and they're terrible, but they're still there from 2013. And it was was something that grew from... I left in 2019. So it was, you know, it was, a fair few years.

Brian Casel : So I don't know, you know, what is actually okay for you to share, [00:24:00] or okay with Michael to share, but, how does that sort of thing work for folks who are not really familiar with, you know? If you bootstrap the business and you had a business partner and the partner buys you out, what are the options or the terms or logistics to make that work? I mean, I, I have a few, few friends who've done it and it, and it's like usually some like payment plan over, over some time.

Nathan Powell : Well, we only had one option, because like I said, you know, we had, we had X amount of revenue and it was fine for the both of us, but there was nothing in the bank that was sitting there saying, yeah you know, we've we've got a year's runway here or whatever.

Brian Casel : Mm.

Nathan Powell : So we had to, the only option available was, yeah, we're gonna have to sort out some kind of payment plan. And it wasn't ideal. Obviously, the ideal would've been, here's a lump sum for you. Because then with that, obviously I could have gone off, I could have, could have done so many things. You know, started a new business.

Brian Casel : I've never really been in this situation but could there be like just a bank loan where he gets the loan? He pays off the loan, but, but you get paid out immediately.

Nathan Powell : Why weren't you there [00:25:00] four years ago? Didn't even, didn't even occur to us that option. Uh, Or maybe it occurred to Michael silently. He never said anything. Yeah. That, that, that could have been at least an option to discuss, but it, the, uh, the option we came up with, and to be honest, I mean, I knew the situation Michael was in. we, we certainly never ended on, we still speak almost daily, so we, we still on great terms. So I didn't want to put him in any sort of, you know, situation that would be stressful here for him. He is got family, he's got a kids, et cetera, same as me. But, you know, I didn't want to, I didn't wanna do that.

So we kind of just agreed well, we'll do it over, I think it was, I dunno, it can me, how, how long a time period it was now with that monthly payment,

Brian Casel : And it seems like, from what I can tell, like outsider looking in, it seems like Michael's been doing a pretty good job with Nusii. these next few years. Yeah,

Nathan Powell : Yeah, I mean he's still keeping on, keeping on and I think, you know, obviously any information regarding Nusii since my departure would be up to him to to [00:26:00] share. But, it's still just him. It's still just him doing everything, and still doing his best. To grow and Yeah. And, and I know he's happy doing that.

You know, his, he said to me many times, you know, it's, it's pretty much his dream just to have, you know, a piece of software that can keep going and keep providing for him and his family and provide again, that lifestyle business. So it was, it was kind of a, probably a good end to, to what it was. It's just a shame that it got to where it did, you know, where, where I felt that, you know, I was just not into it anymore. But I guess this things' happen, you know, and, and who's, who's to say it might not happen again in the future, but it's kind of, it's shaped my thinking for the next projects and for the flawing projects.

Brian Casel : Before we dive into the next... Into the thing that you're excited about right now and we're gonna get into that in the next episode, I just wanna wrap up this one with, So what happened next? Like, you, you came to the agreement, you officially exit Nusii. Yeah. Like you sort of disappeared [00:27:00] from the internet there for a little while.

Nathan Powell : Yeah, I, I went, I went dark. I, um, I've always had a problem being in front of people. Even when I was playing in bands when I was a kid, I would stand with my back to the crowd. Just, this huge insecurity. And I think social media is terrible for anyone who feels like that. You know? We all know that. And so many people on social media say they're introverts. But for what I see published half the time, I think, Is that really true? Are you really introvert? there's something about this that doesn't sit right. But there was also other things about it as well that this whole...

Brian Casel : There is a truth to that though. I mean, like, I don't even think I'm that outspoken on social media, but I do podcasts and stuff, but really in, in real life. I'm extremely quiet, like in, in social situations, especially like, you know, groups and stuff, where I'm not as friendly with, with the people, but like a hundred percent like it, it's a thing. Yeah.

Nathan Powell : But I think as well, that's, if you are able to do the podcast and you are, which I, I was able to in the past, [00:28:00] you know, and I did, and you know, and I wrote a lot and all those kind of, all those good things. But it only, it only furthered this, thought that, well, you know, should I even be doing this?

You know, not that does anybody want to hear, but should I even be doing this? You know, what, what does it matter what I have to say? And, and I still have problems now with, Twitter and, things like that where people are their truth. You know, This is, this is what it is, This is how it is. and and even people that aren't aware...

Brian Casel : I have so many, so many rants on that. We can go off on a whole nother episode...

Nathan Powell : But half the time I don't think people are even aware that they're doing it. And it's just like, don't give me your truth. I don't care. I mean, and I know as well, so from looking that I must have done it as well and I do it as well. And I hate that and, and I hate that about my myself. And it makes me think it's not imposter syndrome, that's part of it, I think.

But it's also this, sense. do we need to be here? One of my biggest heroes years ago, before I started, in fact just before I [00:29:00] started Nusii, I interviewed for a design job for a, a company a SaaS in Australia, doing huge amounts of revenue. and the founder, I think he had like 52 followers on Twitter.

Uh, and they were, they were doing millions. And the guy just didn't care, is like, didn't give a shit. You know, why, why should I care about Twitter? I'm running a successful business. And I, and I almost felt envious, you know? And I probably did feel envious and I thought, I wanna be that guy. you know, Why the need?

Brian Casel : You know, you're really touching on something that I totally relate to, although I do like to share. First of all, I like to podcast and I do like to be active on Twitter. But I have been, I would say in the last, like three years or so, I have been like literally quieter on Twitter. Cuz I feel like I have sort of lost whatever voice I used to have on there. And I don't know if that's because of what Twitter has become around me. Like, cuz a lot of it is like, I, I too just get so frustrated with like [00:30:00] people like putting stuff out just to debate or just to, just to sound like they, They're an expert and they know, quote unquote, the right way to build a business or, or to not fuck up a business like...

You know, when I read that kind of stuff, like many times I've been affected by it. Like, Oh that person really knows what they're talking about, so what I'm doing over here must be wrong. And it makes me like second guess and, and question myself. And it makes literally my work on my business a lot harder because a lot of this BS that I hear and read on Twitter or wherever else like it just has an outsized impact on my actual work and, and it's not healthy, right? So, like now when I try to be more conscious about what I'm sharing, I'm, I'm really trying to not do that. I'm just trying to share real, like this is literally my work, what I'm creating, what I'm making, here's why I'm doing it. [00:31:00] Because it's what I'm doing every day. I want to kind of share my work with other folks, like, you, like, like, talented professional people in the industry who I trust their opinion and stuff. Like, I like to be able to share stuff publicly.

Nathan Powell : I think the problem with social media that it is too easy to be lazy. And you're lazy, you will just give that minimum, character response to somebody who's trying to ask something or trying to gauge something. And, and, and oftentimes that can come off, even if you don't mean it that way, it can come off as, it can be misinformation, or it can be misleading, or it can be, it can be defiant, or it can be whatever. It's very, very difficult to take the time to give a well thought out answer or reply to somebody. And I notice actually you do do that. I mean, when you give a thoughtful response, to people's tweets and to, you know, to mine as well in the past, but it's very hard to do that. And I just got sick and fucking tired of all of that. And so when I sold Nusii, cuz I was into my mountain biking, I ironically had my YouTube mountain biking. And I [00:32:00] just thought, Fuck it. I've had enough. So I just canceled everything. I canceled all, all my social media accounts and went completely dark. Except for, except for the mountain biking channel.

Brian Casel : I didn't even really notice that until recently that you actually have a YouTube channel about mountain biking.

Nathan Powell : Yeah, because I had to come back. Coming back from the dead is hard. Coming back from the dead is really hard, socially

Brian Casel : I bet, yeah. What were you doing professionally? Like did you -

Nathan Powell : well-

Brian Casel : - Literally take a break from all like design and, and web projects and everything?

Nathan Powell : I took a break from everything. For probably, in all honesty, two years. I took a break from everything and I just said, I'm gonna ride. I'm gonna take the motor home. I'm gonna travel around. I'm gonna, I'm gonna have a good time. . . And then I realized, well, at some point I'm gonna have to go back, you know, because I don't think I'd thought it through, you know, obviously I hadn't thought it through, cuz I realized, well, if I'm gonna go back to product at some point gonna have to be, you know, I'm gonna have to have some kind of presence.

Yeah. And network because I, [00:33:00] I'd lost touch with everyone. So how do you go back? You have to go back sometime..

Brian Casel : Did you do any sort of like consulting work or freelance in that time?

Nathan Powell : I did, Yeah, I, I had to go back into consulting work, as I realized the money was coming to an end. and if I want to build this, you know, these up next products and things, then obviously I need to get money coming back in. But even going back into that now and realizing that I'd burnt all my bridges, It's like, well now I have to rebuild all those bridges again and start reaching out to old networks and how am I gonna do that?

Well, okay, I've got emails here and can do it on LinkedIn. I think I kept LinkedIn because I literally saw no point in LinkedIn anyway, so I've thought, well, what's the point in canceling that? So I was able to find old contacts there. But it's, Yeah, I mean, back on Twitter from zero, and it's weird as well, but, and again, thanks to the perception that we have on social media and that, I think inherently it's a pretty poisonous environment. This image of people we have that when somebody comes in with zero followers that [00:34:00] you know, you're no one so it's, it's very hard to build back up again.

Brian Casel : I haven't like killed my Twitter account but I do think a lot about like, unfollowing everyone and just starting over like, I don't know, again, that's, that's another rant for another day. So,

Nathan Powell : The temptation is always there.

Brian Casel : Yeah. Well, we're gonna continue this in the next conversation because you've got something cooking. You've got a new product, uh, coming together. We're gonna get into that, good stuff, Nathan.

Nathan Powell : Cool.

Brian Casel : Well, that wraps up today's Open Thread. Hey, tell me what you think. I'm on Twitter @casjam, and right after that, head over to iTunes and give this show a five star review. Really helps it reach more folks like us. I appreciate it. Talk to you next week.

Quitting the Internet (for a while) with Nathan Powell
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