MicroConf On Air
Viewer/Listener Q+A Episode with Rob Walling
A Solo Rob Adventure!
During this episode, we are answering listener questions live from our MicroConf Connect members.
Rob answers questions about:
- Early Stage Validation
- Competitive Markets
- Youth Entrepreneurship
- Key Insights Around the TinySeed Portfolio
- Retirement Planning
MicroConf 2020 Headline Partners
Twitter ➡️ https://twitter.com/Stripe
MicroConf On Air Question and Answer Episode
Rob Walling: [00:00:00] Welcome to today's episode of MicroConf On Air. I'm your host, Rob walling live streaming direct from my bunker library here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. So every Wednesday at 1:00 PM Eastern and producers, Andrew and I stream for 30 minutes and we cover topics related to building and growing ambitious SaaS startups that bring us freedom and purpose and allow us to value and maintain healthy relationships.
We believe that showing up every day and shipping that next feature, that next piece of marketing copy closing that next sale is the way to build a sustainable company. Thanks so much for, for joining me today. Today is an all ask Rob episode. We're going to be doing a live Q and a, we have some good questions coming in on Twitter and in the MicroConf on air channel in MicroConf connect.
If you're not part of MicroConf connect already should into Microsoft connect.com. We have more than I believe it's over 1600. Founders of bootstrappers and mostly bootstrapped founders in there hanging out and having conversations like this every day. And what I love is when I get into connect and there's a solid thread where I see a question and I go to, I know the answer to this, or I have a thought on this and I go in and there's already five amazing answers from other experienced founders who have done.
Exactly this and I don't even need to weigh in, because the answers are, are good and they're all, and they're all legit. So I am checking out some questions. So today, yeah, I normally intro my guest here, but you'll know me as the co founder of drip and MicroConf and tiny seed. Startups for the rest of us host and author starts small, stay small.
So I'm going to be answering a bunch of questions today. what are the, Oh, what are those books behind me? Yes. So it is definitely, a, a really nice book case here. I'll just show you a poll one book off the shelf, just so you can see. So here we are with the, this tome of no title, that actually, holds some silver age comic books for those who, are in the now missing Spider-Man number two there from 19, 63.
I think so. Yes. All questions today can be startup related, silver age comic book collecting related, and of course, Dungeons and dragons related. we really do, in all seriousness have some really good questions coming in and, It's nice that we have a producer, Sandra says so smooth. It's nice that we have such a, it's a really good audience.
It's a really great group creators that are here in microcuff connect and participating on Twitter. And just in this MicroConf averse. and I did an interview last week. If you haven't checked this out on indie hackers, Courtland Allen and I had a conversation for, yeah, it was about an hour and 10 minutes, really solid stuff.
Good questions from Portland. Good thoughts from him. And I was just weighing, and we were just talking about frameworks and advanced, and opportunities for launching SaaS in October of 2020. It was very specific to now, not five years ago, not 10 years ago. And that's actually spring on a few of the questions that we have today.
So I'm going to dive in there, but first I've had a request already for, tell a joke. So in true MicroConf dad joke, A tradition, this Fibonacci, Joe, coming to tell you it's as bad as the last two you've heard combined. So with no laugh track, it just normally, so at MicroConf there's all these groans and that there's groans and laughs and some people, clap, slow clapping, golf clapping me.
But without that, it loses a little bit. So my first question today is from no, we're BRAC. Thank you producers. And they're only a little bit. It's about 20 seconds late. So Noah Bragg from MicroConf connect asks. If you were starting a business today, I'm gonna assume it's a SaaS company and you were earlier on in your career.
Would you try multiple business ideas at once or go all in on one? This is a good question. So personally I would go all in is a. Is a deceptive phrase because I wouldn't just dive in and say, Oh, I have this idea. Oh, I've done some validation. Now I'm going to spend the next six months going all in on this idea.
That's not what I would do, but I would focus on launching and, validating. One idea at a time personally, I have a huge belief in focus, and I'm not saying you can't own multiple products at a time because I was the King of these micro portfolios back in the day where I had 10 different products generating revenue for me, but I didn't launch and grow 10 at once I launched or acquired and grew one at a time.
And then I figured out a way to make it sustainable and more, say more autopilot's at a misnomer, but. Mostly on autopilot for now is how I'll phrase it. It's on autopilot for the next three to six months until something happens that I have to circle back. But focusing on one thing, you get into the head space of it, all the information and content that you're consuming, you can adapt or think through how you can apply it to that one thing.
And I would be doing a ton of validation at every step. And so when I first come up with an idea, I always think 90%, this thing's going to work. And then with my 24 to 48 hour cooling off period, before I register any domain, which is what I do these days, I wind up falling down to 10 or 20%, certainty that this thing's going to work.
Then typically I say, okay, what's my next step to validate, how can I get myself to 25 or 30%? Oftentimes, it's sending a few emails to people. I know it's putting something on Twitter, asking opinions, it's having, face to face or in this case, these days zoom conversations might be putting up a landing page, driving traffic to it, whether it's from my podcast, whether it's from Twitter, whether it's from running cold ads, which I did back in the day when we were validating drip.
And I would just try to get that validation one step further, one step further. Now that's if I'm going to build. Maybe a larger, more novel product that doesn't exist in the space today. And I'm trying to validate the idea itself, but what if I know that there's a gap in the WordPress plugin market or that all the plugins that do polls on WordPress is just an example that they aren't very good or that I know that I can rank, it's not that hard to rank high in the WordPress repository is just a little bit of WordPress SEO.
The algorithm is not, it's not as complex as Google. It's not actually that smart. So maybe I don't want to validate that everybody needs a Poland plugin. Maybe I want to validate that I can just rank higher. So I get something in there or I email the top 10 poll plugins, especially the ones that haven't had been updated in two or three years.
And I say, can I adopt your plug in or can I buy your plugin? So these are ways that I would be going about, you don't always have to build the thing from scratch. but I think the question of multiple or one, which should you focus on, in my opinion, Unless you're stair-stepping. And even with stair-stepping I would focus on that.
I was going to do an info product that the bottom end or I would do, or that WordPress plugin or something, as step one. And then I would build on it from there. All right. How do you get your hair looking so good during a pandemic from Pat Foley will. Thank you, sir. I did wear a mask and I get haircuts.
That's the honest answer. So I didn't have, I had pandemic hair for the first four months because everything was shut down here, but we are still in, I don't even know what it's like stage one lockdown where you can go to places. Like I went to the gym the other day and we were a lot of face masks, but, knock on wood.
Minneapolis is not in, It's not doing as poorly as many of the States around us. And so I appreciate the joking question, but that is the honest answer. All right. Question number two, also from Noah brag and Microsoft connect, he's following up on the above question. He says, if building your first tiny product, like a WordPress plugin, Hey, that was my example.
And I often say info-product to WordPress plugin. There are Shopify ad-ons. There are Photoshop ad-ons. There are Google. App store Google Chrome store things you can build. There are, there's a myriad of them and I they're Magento ad-ons that, we can go on and on. anytime there's an app store, anytime there's an ecosystem that has something that you're not just battling to rank in Google for.
These are the types of step, one ideas that come up where, I would encourage people to look at. Okay. So if you're building a first tiny product, like a WordPress plugin, what level of customer research should you do? Is it more, you see a problem in ship something? Or should you take a more cautious approach and try to validate further before shipping?
I appreciate someone handing over money is the only real value to validation, but I'm trying to get an idea of how quickly you should move and whether it's a case of trying lots of small bats. Oh, that makes sense. It does make sense. I would tend to act pretty quickly and do. I wouldn't tend to do a bunch of customer validation calls or a bunch of customer development calls.
if I was going to do a small step, one thing I would validate almost in the start, small stay small approach. So you gotta to start small.com is my first book and while the exact tools and exact numbers that I use there may not be accurate today because it's 10 years old. The tactic, there was you find a small niche or you find, even, not a small niche, but with an underserved corner that you can somehow measure the interest.
And whether that's looking at a WordPress plugin and the repo and saying, Oh, it has this many downloads. So it's must be a popular search term. Or you go to the Google keyword tool or you go to H rafts or SEM rush, or Moz today. And you say, Oh, there are 5,000 searches a month for this thing. And there are a couple of tools, but they're not that great.
Or they've been abandoned. Or, there's ways to validate just using free or lightly paid, keyword tools and trying to find, Gaps in these market markets, or even these days, there's fewer gaps, but it's places where people have launched in abandoned, or they're really not doing a good job and you see an angle.
And then I would try to write some code quickly and move there. Now having a few customer development conversations or trying to figure out, Hey, where do these people hang out? That would use a plugin like this? Oh, they're in a Facebook. They're in a couple of Facebook groups become a part of those Facebook groups and participating they're in these Slack groups.
They're in these forums, these, discourse or discuss groups. There are ways to get this up to, I would say 20, 30, 40% validation, and to be able to write code and ship something in two weeks, three weeks for my bet, for my money, I'm probably going to write a little bit of code, and get it out there.
And the learning starts with every bit of validation and frankly, getting something out there quickly in this, if it's a small, small niche is not the right word, but if it is a micro idea, I would lean towards action more than trying to validate for months and months. Next question from Twitter, it's from Rami, he is King rum star on Twitter.
What advice would you give to someone entering a somewhat competitive market? Let's say five to 10 direct competitors, which is. Sounds ugly, but it's actually less ugly than CRM. Project management, software ESPs, marketing automation providers, where there are literally hundreds of players. So five to 10 direct competitors while that's a thing, not the end of the world.
More specifically, what would you do to out muscle? The competition when the resources are fairly equal, but the company, the competition has social proof and social capital. I would not try to out muscle the competition. If I did not have a lot of money or social capital or social proof that you're not going to muscle them.
So it's, there's this move in jujitsu or just the whole premise of jujitsu is you don't. If someone, you have a bigger opponent than you, you don't go head on with them and try to out strength them or out muscle them because they will win. What you do is you try to find that you tried to take their momentum when they punch or when they lunge at you and you actually.
Perry and you use their momentum against them to get them on the ground. And then you've grappled. Similarly, I would use my opponent's strengths against them. So an example is you have five to 10 direct competitors. They have social proof and social capital. What are they doing wrong? Are you in their forums?
Are there private Facebook groups? What are their customers complaining about? Where are they dropping the ball? Because customers are, or companies that get to. A million dollars in ARR, 10 million in ARR, they tend to be leaving out sections of the market that they just have to ignore. And they may be making people, disappointing a certain subset of their customer base or of their prospect base.
It's even better. If you get really big customers, these are the I'm sorry, really big competitors, because these are way easier to compete against companies like QuickBooks and. PayPal, think of Stripe launching as PayPal. I think of zero launching at quince, QuickBooks, think of drip, launching against Marchetto Pardot and infusion soft.
They're these big lumbering companies that aren't shipping very often and they aren't, they don't have the amazing UX that you can build from the ground up. And they aren't just doing hand holding with their customers and they aren't building the features that a subset or a vertical, of the customer set might want.
So I would start at the grassroots and I would start by trying to find five or 10. Unhappy customers that I could interact with and say, what are you unhappy with? And if you'll get someone on the phone and they'll just complain about everything, Oh, the app's impossible to use and it's too expensive.
And no one listens to my phone calls and I sent him 10 meals a week and they don't respond. Okay. That's a toxic customer. They're angry with everything all the time. They're going to be unhappy with you too goodbye. But then you'll get people who are they're pretty reasonable. And they're like, you know what?
They have ignored this corner of the market where photographers have special, I'm making this up, but photographers have special bookkeeping needs and their tax is calculated differently. And QuickBooks has just not listened suddenly. It's Oh really? who else could support photographers?
tax bookkeeping, accounting needs, who, what other things have you tried to fix this? And it's I've looked and there's not. An app that does this and will then it's okay, can I find 10 more photographers or, salon owners or whoever it may be startup founders.
And that's where I would start is how do you find that subset, if you have all this competition that is being left out. The other thing I would think about if you're already in the space and you try to look for the hated competitor and do the become the opposite of them, you, if you can't figure out a unique positioning where it's we are like, QuickBooks, but not, we're the opposite of QuickBooks because we suck last or we like QuickBooks, but we're for this particular vertical.
So think of like savvy cow, right? So there's Calendly and there's all these big competitors. But look at what Derek Graham is doing with savvy Cal, you got a savvy, cal.com to check it out. He's basically saying. It's for, busy startup founders and executives who have some pretty specific needs and want to maybe guard maker time and want to eliminate the awkwardness of sending a calendar invite.
And he's taken a pretty specific tack there. He's taking a unique position in the space. So that's one way, another way in these competitive spaces is to have a unique traffic channel. So that is you look at that. Yeah. What someone like maybe Ruben Gomez is doing with a doc sketch, which is e-signature doc sketch.com.
That's a, it's a terribly crowded space with bill, literally billions and billions of dollars in market cap are in that space. And yet he has figured out a way to do amazing content marketing, amazing SEO, and just channel some of that traffic to where he is being highly successful in a competitive space.
If I was going to go in to summarize, if I was going to go into a competitive space like this, I would look for a hated competitor. I would look for areas where that competitor is dropping the ball with either a specific audience or specific for people. I would look to position myself uniquely, or I would look for a unique traffic channel or all of the, if you had all of the above, that's where we actually would.
Drip. We had, I think, three of those four. Every one of those you have is better. If you only have one, you can still make it work. It's just more of an uphill battle. So thanks for the question, Rami. I hope that was helpful. All right. I'm checking in on Slack here. All right. Producers. Zander is going to keep, alright, Chris producers and keep popping the questions in here.
It looks like there's a lot coming into Slack and I will keep moving. I'm checking my time. Okay. I'm about 15 minutes in. next question is from Garrett Lancaster. From Microsoft connect. He said, if you had a slow growing 12 K MRR, self-funded B2B SaaS. I love the specificity of this. So doing about 150 K a year, self-funded B2B, SaaS.
What questions would you be asking yourself? And I think he's implying it's slow growing. So what questions would you be asking yourself to get it growing faster? How much do you think about retention versus conversion in this position? Okay. I would be well. So I would look at if I, if my retention was not high, I have a problem because if I remember tension is not high, then I'm going to use this phrase that is it's product market fit.
And I know that's just big muddy amorphous thing, but all it means is are people sticking around? Do people love your product? Do they, do you know, do they stick around? Is your turn below six, 7%, your aggregate churn below that number? It depends on price point. Depends on a bunch of stuff, but yeah. If you're below 5%, then I would not be worrying about retention now.
And I would be looking about, at increasing traffic and increasing conversion. The big question to ask is where. Where's the metrics gap. If you're churning out 10, 12, 15% a month, that's the number one problem. That's what you have to fix before you do anything else. That's where I found myself when we were building drip, eh, we were about, I'm trying to think.
We were a few months after launch and we had grown to eight, 10 K a month and we just were turning everybody out. So that was a big retention problem. You can watch my Microsoft talk. The inside story of self-funded. SaaS growth. I believe it's called and it's from, whatever 2014, 2015, if your retention is fine and people get on and then turn, goes to, goes really low for people.
then of course it's how much traffic, what's your visitor to trial, signup rate or visitor trial should be, I'd like around 1%. If I'm asking for credit card and I'd like about. 15% give or take maybe 20% if I'm not asking for credit card. And if I'm substantially below those, then of course you have a.
Trial conversion problem. If I'm asking for credit card upfront trial to paid, I want to be between 40 and 60%. If I'm below 40%, I have a problem. you can look in the state of independent SaaS from 2020 and look at what other people, what other conversion rates are, or you can look at, Craig Hewitt's talk from microcopy Europe in what was just last year in 20, it feels five years ago.
It was this last October. And it's something about, viewing your metrics, maybe producers and or composts that in the Microsoft connect Slack. But he basically walked through, walks through rules of thumb rules of, And then says, these are the things to pay attention to. If you're outside, if you're below these rules of thumb, otherwise move on to the next thing.
And at a certain point you get towards my whole funnel is actually pretty solid. Now I'm just going to drive more traffic. I need to spend money on ads. I need to spend money on content. I need to do integrations. I need to go on podcasts, whatever it is, then let's just see as you get more traffic, your conversion rates and almost inevitably drop.
And then you have to figure out how to then cater to those new folks. Next question is still from Garrett. He says, how would you go about offloading tier one customer support, meaning frontline, let's say it's, Intercom chat or it is, user list, messaging or it's email. How would you go about offloading it when quality support slash training, he's an integral part of your business model.
Everyone who has this question says when quality support slash training is it's an integral part of your business model. It's an integral part of every early startups business model. It always feels like the founder much. if I'm a developer, I write the best code in the world. I always feel like I can give the best support.
And in many cases that's relatively accurate, but how would you go about it? You find someone who's really fucking good. That's what you do. You don't settle for someone who isn't going to learn your tool and who isn't going to be ravenous about, really wanting to make people happy and learning your tool.
obviously on his client side, he wouldn't hack their website. He learned, I taught him how to use FTP. He learned how to edit HTML. Like he was just teaching him this stuff. In self this stuff. And he would sometimes ask me for a loom, a quick screen cast about stuff, but for the most part, he went out and educated himself.
And so was he in the early days? Was he the fastest responder to tickets ever will know cause he was teaching himself stuff. But by the time he was, working on drip for a year or two, he knew the product. He knew how to answer support way better than any of us, way better than me, way better than the developers.
And that's the kind of person you're looking for. And how did I find them? I went on Upwork. And I went through two or three support people until I found a guy who was really good. He was working for a bunch of companies at once. He was doing three hours for me and five hours a week, then 10. And eventually I said, I just want to hire you.
Full-time I was good to work with. He really, we got along, we never did video chat. We never actually met in person. You lived in Mexico. And that was it. Many of you, if you email drip and you, Andy responded to every support request for the first like three and a half years of drip, I think it was three and a half.
Maybe it's two and a half. Every single frontline support was just one guy, Andy. And that's what you do. That's what I would do today. Hire good people. Next question from Pablo and Microsoft connect. How do you feel about entrepreneurship being taught to children? Do you think it should be taught? Have you witnessed good execution of teaching children?
Entrepreneurship? I. I feel good about it with a caveat. my son had course in eighth grade, or maybe it was freshmen in high school and it was teaching him stuff about intellectual property. It was trademarks and it was logos and he had to design a logo and, so were they teaching him everything we learned in MicroConf of course not.
But did he learn some basics that he didn't know the difference between trademark and copyright and some basic fundamentals? I thought that was good. I do think. Every, I think all of us in high school slash college should learn something about entrepreneurship, something about, how businesses work, something about personal finance, to be honest, that's not, why is that not taught in school?
Why do none of us know what, like really how the stock market works? You have to go educate yourself. You have to go seek that out. And that to me, or how to just simply, find a budget and stick to it. That to me, it's a real problem that is not taught to, or whether it's, again, whether it's our children, our probably our high schoolers and we have civics and economics right.
Where we learn about the economy and nobody pays attention about the, the three branches of government. I'm only joking. Of course people pay attention, but I think a personal finance and something about entrepreneurship, I think they should be exposed to it. To know, this is what entrepreneurship might look like and are examples of people who are making caramels or cookies in a local kitchen.
And you could do a tech startup and raise funding or not, or you could start an online business. I do think just being exposed to that would be super helpful for children. yes, I do think it should be taught. I can't think of an amazing example of anyone who's done it. I will give a spoiler that I don't know, she's announced this, but dr.
Sherry walling, my wife is writing a book called. it's like raising entrepreneurial children or something like to that effect. That's the working title. So go to the Zen, founder.com and sign up for her email list. If you wanna hear about it, of course, I'll be talking about in the future. I may even contribute a chapter or two Sherry and I had his in founder episode awhile back that, or is it in front of episode, in the first maybe 30 episodes?
That was all about raising entrepreneurial kids. If you want to check that out, next question. What are things you notice about bootstrap that bootstrappers commonly overlook that are preventing them from achieving their goals? I think a lot of bootstrappers overlook the fact that you have to market that it's not about building products.
I think bootstrappers, don't pay enough attention to their metrics. We see their analytics or their metrics, and they just want to go through and it's Hey, they don't even know what's working. And you ask someone a question and they say, what's working is. Word of mouth and it's yeah, I know.
I th I have slacks coming in. Word of mouth is, usually the wrong answer. So there, I think there's a lot of mistakes that people make. And I think if they pay attention to. a lot to MicroConf talks point this out and a lot of the teachings from, I would say listening to startups for the rest of us, even nugget.one, which is a pretty interesting website, just in a Vincent has a pretty interesting course there.
So yeah, I think there's. There are definitely the common mistakes building before finding an audience building before validate not an audience, but a customer based building before Valley. And I think these are a lot of things that right. People do. And I think people give up too easily. I think they build something, it goes to a plateau and they give up instead of actually doing the hard work.
I think it's a lot more hard work, than people I realize I'm zipping through these questions. Cause there's three minutes left.
Another question. This is from vagi. Go out from Cheflytics. He says, what are some of the biggest takeaways you can see across your portfolio of early stage SaaS companies? Is it one winner, a one or two winners generating most returns, VC style. Is it steady progress by most? Will the majority be default alive businesses? The answer is yes. The vast majority are already default to live businesses, I think, Oh, I think every one of the 13 companies, a batch two is default alive, pretty sure.
And if I were to put a number in at 70% of batch one - maybe 80%- are default alive. All of them are making steady progress. All of them. of 23 companies, there's maybe two or three that are still. not growing two or three, four, it's a small number. So what is that?
I don't know. Maybe 10, 10, 15% are still trying to find that repeatable channel is still trying to find that, repeatable customer base. But, it is definitely steady progress. I don't know yet on the winner. I don't think it's going to be one to take all.
Einar did analysis of a bunch of SaaS apps. He got a bunch of anonymized data and he looked backwards over the last five years. And it, if you do look at returns that it was not winner take all, but it was definitely a power law and power law just means there are a small amount who get 10 or a hundred times larger than the others.
And so in that case, yes, that, in that sense, yes, we may get there. But we are still, we want to, I've been doing for 15 years. There's a reason MicroConf, Startups for the Rest of Us, my books and TinySeed exists and it's not to help the winner-take-all. It's to help everyone.
I want to raise the tide. so all the boats go up. And yes, even if the returns are generated in that VC style winner, take all, I will still be around. And still be here to help everyone involved.
Question from Patrick Foley, have you ever built a business that got a fairly large portion of its revenue from services instead of products, but not just you consulting?
Yes. One. I think one, I can think of it. It's called CMS femur. It was a productized service before that term existed. It was @ cmsthema.com. I don't even know if there's a website there anymore. I ran it for about 18 months, two years. I acquired it from someone who wanted to shut it down. I knew how to rank it in Google.
I got it to the top, top page at the top page, the first page of Google for WordPress theming and some other things were present Drupal and Joomla. And then I just had an agency. I believe they were in. India. There was somewhere that source two for cheap. I marked them up a hundred percent.
So I would try to $500 for you. Send me a PSD. I would send it to my agency in India. They charged me 250 bucks to turn it into a theme. I would send it back. And make 500 bucks. And so it wasn't a productized subscription service, but it was these one off themes. And then as custom stuff happened, we would increase the price.
if you needed a bunch of, if you needed mobile responsive back in 2009, then it was obviously more money. So yes, I have, It was fine. It was quite a bit of hassle, more hassle than I, I had that along with a bunch of software products and e-commerce and stuff. And it was okay.
I wound up selling it for CMS Themer, still, not still live, not quite the same as its original iteration producers, Andrew posted that micro co-founder. So it looks like, there's all kinds of funky stuff going on. Yeah, I'm trying to think if there's any takeaways I have from that. I like, okay.
Services are a great way to get started quick. These days, especially subscription services, like you look at audience ops from Brian castle, or you look at podcast motor from Craig Hewitt and there's other examples. And they get thinking up to, whatever 20, 30, 40,000 a month in no time.
And then yes, you have to have process in place. You have to have people to manage. There. There is, it's not a software product, but you learn a lot. It's probably 70, 80% the same. As building a SaaSs and then Craig Hewitt levered it up, To then acquire a PO was plugged into then build cast dos.
And now, everything's combined. Yeah, no one it's like a match made in heaven, but it's like a chef's kiss to the store. Your step approach in a way is building these businesses and building on top of each other. All right. We are two minutes over onto one more question from Christophe Engelhart.
How do you prepare financially or otherwise for your retirement? It's a good question. I like personal finance. I'm a bit of a nerd with this stuff. So before I had sold drip, we, I was contributing to retirement for most years, for both sharing. I putting them in the U S their IRAs or 401ks. I did stop.
I will admit when at the worst times of drip, when it was growing fast and we had cash crunches, I stopped contributing to retirement. My bet was that drip would make enough money in the end, whether through an acquisition or whether through throwing off cash, that it would make up for that. The bet worked out for me.
It's not gonna work out for everyone, but by the time we sold drip, I believe between sharing my retirement accounts, we had about $300,000, which I was late thirties. Is that right? And it might've been early forties. I would prefer to have more by then. But I did, when I looked at compounding and how it was growing, we would have had, I'd say a couple million bucks when we retired, but I also counted on having a lot more earnings and being able to put money in.
So for me, it's about saving early. I started contributing right out of college. In fact, if you can do anything for your kids or nephews or whatever, especially, a comment on the U S cause I know the retirement system here, but if there is a retired, attack shielded retirement account, like an individual retirement account called an IRA here, as soon as your kids get any income.
Match what they make, give and put the money you can put up to $5,500 as of this taping into a retirement account. If you can put it in when they're 15 or 16 compound interest. Is the eighth wonder of the world. I believe Albert Einstein said that. And so the earlier you get, if you invest at 15 versus 30, you get two more doublings of that.
If you invest in the stock market. So put it all in high risk stuff. I would be a hundred percent in stocks and if you're making 8% per year, then it's going to double every nine years. If you make 9% per year, it's gonna double every eight years. So from 15 to 30, you get almost two doubles of that. if you put in five grand, it becomes 10 grand, then 20 grand, by the time they're 30.
So if you don't contribute, if they don't contribute till the third, they have to contribute $20,000 to have the same impact that you do. when they're that young earlier you can contribute. that's, I started putting money in when I was 22 and just a little bit, I didn't have much money.
I wasn't making much, I make 15, 17 bucks out of college per hour. And that, but I started putting 50 bucks, a hundred bucks a month away as early as it possibly could so that you man, thanks so much joining me today that is going to wrap us up for hanging out with me a little longer.
Last joke: Can you imagine if one day Microsoft acquired WeWork and named it Microsoft office.
We do have some special podcasting stuff coming up soon. We're going to have some voting and some nominations I'm teasing that. So keep your eye out MicroConf.com and thank you as always to hae and Stripe for supporting microphone, the headlines partners for the year.
Love working with them. Thanks for joining me. I'll see you next week.
Brought to you by Rob Walling of MicroConf On Air