Austin Rief

Austin Rief is a co-founder and the CEO of Morning Brew, a leading daily business newsletter known for its witty, informative, and accessible content. Born and raised in Michigan, Austin Rief attended the University of Michigan, where he studied Business Administration. Alongside his co-founder, Alex Lieberman, Austin Rief started Morning Brew in 2015 to provide concise and engaging business news for young professionals. Under his leadership, Morning Brew has grown exponentially, reaching millions of subscribers and becoming a prominent source of business information for the millennial and Gen Z demographic.

Austin Rief Business Building Tech Stack

Here’s the complete list of Austin Rief’s tech stack recommendations:

  • CRM: HubSpot
  • Email:
  • Corporate Cards:
  • Payroll:
  • Legal set-up:
  • Overseas talent:
  • Email platform: beehiiv
  • Accounting:
  • Copywriting:
  • Cap Table Management:
  • Banking:

Austin Rief Book Recommendations

Check out Austin Rief’s book recommendations:

Austin Rief: How To Grow A $75M Newsletter Business

Austin Rief Morning Brew Co-Founder interview:


all right so we have Austin here Austin Reef founder of uh morning Brew uh I I I I know how big you guys are I don’t know what the public numbers are so I’ll let you kind of say like how big is the company now yeah 70 75 million of Revenue this year uh double digit profit uh margin 250 people or so [Music] and it’s kind of crazy kind of a crazy story you guys started this you guys were at college right you’re you’re at uh is it Michigan where you guys went to school yeah so so we’re at the University of Michigan uh I applied to Duke didn’t get in though unfortunately sorry and so I went to Michigan yeah I went to a small private condolences uh so I no Michigan worked out well it was a little cold a little bit colder than Duke but I I mean my goal was to go to the biggest school I could get into other than you know Ivy or Duke so I got to Michigan had no idea what I wanted to do uh and everyone went to finance of Michigan so I was like oh I gotta I gotta follow the herd I was a sheep following the herd straight into the world of corporate finance or Investment Banking uh and then stumbled upon this guy Alex Lieberman who was like I wouldn’t even call a newsletter it was a PDF attached to an email he actually took a he made a Word document he would PDF it and put it to an email and that was the first newsletter so he was all he was already doing it was it called morning Brew no it was called market corner it was way more Market space way more Finance oriented was he in college as well or was he had he graduated yeah so he was two years older than I was and that’s a big part of our success to be honest uh if I was his age we probably would have went out and raised Venture Capital so you know 20 2015 you have BuzzFeed raising money Vice raising money and the only reason we didn’t follow that path was because I was in college and no one’s going to fund a sophomore in college and so Alex went to work at Morgan Stanley for 14 months I spent the summer in Investment Banking and was like holy [ __ ] this is miserable get me out of here and so I was like all right well I got this morning Brew thing I might as well do it for a couple years and what’s the worst thing that happens I come back here and that was the that was the start of going full time what did your nice Jewish parents think about you not becoming a banker and instead working on a newsletter so my parents were actually okay with it except I told them after my junior year I said I have one more year of college what if I I just don’t go back what if I don’t finish and the idea of them spending a hundred and fifty thousand dollars on three years of college and not finishing my senior year drove them nuts so the deal we made is if I graduate and they were cool with me doing morning Brew for a year or two after and then fast forward you guys so it was funny uh right when we were in the process of selling you announced that you had sold like months or two months uh and it before us and so you guys sold a portion of the business I think the majority of the business for at something like a 70 million dollar valuation in that ballpark right yeah right around there I think we were actually we were doing M A at the same time we were even talking to some similar Partners I I think we were and the reason why like Sean and I wanted to have you on because we want to talk about newsletters which every all three of us have a newsletter business but you and I have an interesting background we’re like on paper we kind of hated each other like the whole time I hated you dude I hated you so I didn’t entirely hate you I just it was it was like I uh it was like Just Sports a posting sports teams where I was like I have a lot of respect for this person I don’t know anything about their character but I’m gonna make up the story in my head to like motivate me and the reason why I wanted to do that was because we so I launched we technically launched the hustle in April April 2016 were you before us or after us we were 25th teen when we launched the first newsletter but it wasn’t it was a very small thing though so we were going like back and forth it was like the skin was like the thing and then it was you and I morning Bruno and the hustle and you guys were this like a New York kind of buttoned up crew I was like a little bit of a crazier person it was Tech San Francisco but it was like everyone kept comparing us and I remember like wanting to like Crush you guys and then after we built sold Alex called me and uh you and I became buddies and I was like oh no I actually love these guys and now at this point you and I are great friends and I have a ton of respect but uh yeah like I wanted to crush you I didn’t I didn’t really hate you what did you feel yeah look I think it’s always good for a business to have an enemy I think in the early days our enemy was the skim very quickly though we were like you know what they’re not our enemy we realized I think we both realized pretty quickly that you can’t raise 25 million dollars for a newsletter and have a good exit and so I think it was you and us and so I turned you into that enemy and I was so immature at the time right this was my first thing out of college I knew nothing so I was like here’s this guy he’s so abrasive he’s so aggressive like what the [ __ ] like I was so I I wasn’t principled I didn’t have real values at the time and so I just saw you who are super valued right you have strong principles very strong principles which some people love tons of people I’m sure don’t like uh and I was like this guy is just so abrasive and I’ve learned to love that about you but the time it just it rubbed me the wrong way and I was like we’re gonna make this guy our enemy and we’re gonna crush this guy dude I used to get mad because everything that I was bad at you were good at and everything that I was good at I thought you guys were bad at and I’m like [ __ ] they’re just stealing all my ideas from my ads and them Runner they’re stealing all my content ideas and then I would see how you guys operate and I’d be like no we gotta have all these sales people just like the like I remember I was at your office and uh I and you were talking about morning brew and you were like I thought you would just hate them and be like they suck because uh I feel like that’s how we used to just talk about most people at most startups was just like oh my God they suck and especially one that’s doing what you’re doing then it’s like oh I already want you to suck so I’m gonna say that and instead you were like God why is this email look better than ours and you would just like show it to the whole team and you’re like look at this why does this look so much better than our email look at what they do at the top like God they’re so like they’re just like they’re so much better at that you know like the the formatting or the cleanliness or like the brand that they’re doing at the I remember at the top of the email and I was like wow he just respects the actual like craft so much that he can’t even hate him fully he’s like ah they’re doing good at these three things Sam I’ll give you a story I think I’ve ever told you which is you know there was a time where I thought our copy was much better than yours our editorial and then there was a time where I thought you guys passed us right and Alex in particular was maniacal about this he would print out morning Brew in the hustle every single morning by line we’d sit down line by line and we’d be like that Line’s better no our Line’s better no that and we go line by line some of the early morning Brew employees they really hated you because when you wrote a story that we wrote and when yours was better and Alex thought yours was better people I mean people were pissed they’re like a Revolt in the morning room office one morning because people were like no ours is better and I think ultimately it wasn’t better or worse right it was just catered towards different people but I mean yeah we printed out your newsletter every day and read through it through it for I don’t know six months nine months like we were just so focused like I’ve never been as hyper focused as I was in 2018 on us writing the best newsletter growing the best newsletter and selling it like I woke up every day right Gross cell right gross out like we wrote it in the wall and at 11 A.M every single day we had the Great Wall of opens and we track our open rate and right down the wall and we had that for probably two years running every day what was our open rate and your strategy was to our our strategies were they diverged and they were different so we were going to launch we’re gonna stay in this space and verticalize and launch subscription services and all this other stuff you guys launched multiple different newsletters which met from my eyes you grew your Revenue quicker I personally hate that business because I don’t like advertising that much but you grew your Revenue way faster than us um well I think you did like we if we were one year behind you I think we were tracking one year behind so the year we sold I think we could have done 18 or 20 million in Revenue which is around you were I think the same year so we’re like tracking perfectly which is really interesting but you went this horizontal route where you launched multiple multiple newsletters which route do you like looking back look I mean it’s tough to say we took the round the wrong route uh but I also think it’s what we had to do right we didn’t have the choice you had because our content was more General business right you wrote with an edge with a tone you were targeting uh entrepreneurs or maybe like account Executives who want to become entrepreneurs and so you had way more opportunity to launch a Trends or to launch a hustle con uh for us we thought you know a general morning Brew subscription wasn’t going to work a general morning Brew event wasn’t going to work the the tone wasn’t specific enough the the Target customer wasn’t specific enough but we fell in love with this B2B business which I know both of you gotten a little bit of a Twitter [ __ ] when you when you spoke about the B2B world and you know industry dive but we I fell in love with that business and I’m like wow if you can get in front of retail professionals and HR professionals and we have them in our newsletter and it was the craziest business where we’d launch a newsletter and it’d be break even before we even hired the writers because we pre-sell uh you know Advertiser like let’s call it like a B2B SAS company into one of these newsletters and so I don’t think there’s better or worse I think your our opportunity was easier to get to 100 million of Revenue yours was easier to get to let’s call it like a a billion dollar uh company right because you could have subscription multi-revenue stream much easier it just was going to take another you know eight to ten years that’s great I’m happy I’m learning that now after I sold it I’m happy I got to see it because I just got to copy both your playbooks and do that do it for the milk Road like all three of us were able to win with the same Playbook mine was the easiest path of all because I could just text you guys and be like hey uh thinking about doing uh your thing but for crypto uh what do you think it was like yeah I think it’s gonna work let’s do it they did the Playbook work perfectly Sean you think it has so far right we basically less than a year we built the number one like the biggest daily crypto email it’s profitable it’s you know seven Figures it’s I don’t know like it worked as well as one could expect bootstrapped it you know in our spare time like that’s like as good as I could have expected that to go dude that’s why these businesses are awesome is people don’t realize that’s why I always hate when people say if you’re going to start it over again what would you do I’m like do the same thing like it works it consistently works I know uh Austin you’re way more like pessimistic you got you’re like I’m pretty paranoid you’re way more paranoid and I know you say like oh it can’t work again and I’m like no man I think I forget awesome you have like a framework around you have like a lot of opinions around email newsletters give us that and put it in the context of milk Road like when I told you I was gonna do that or you saw I was gonna do that what’d you think and did that fit your framework for what you thought might work or was that a maybe an outlier what what was it yeah so it perfectly fits the framework so I’m pessimistic on relaunching the next morning brew a general business four million person email uh but basically I split up newsletters into three categories one are the editorial newsletters right you have your sub stackers your your packing McCormick’s full newsletter maybe 2000 words maybe 10 000 if you’re some of these writers uh that’s like category one right category two is what we did aggregation right and Sam and I kind of went more General General business went for scale and then uh after that you kind of have like the let’s call it morning Brew for X right where you you still have that aggregation of summaries but you’re more Niche right and maybe the tab is smaller but you think because of your tone and because the way you cover it you can have a larger percent of that Tam reading your product which Sean I think is what you’re doing and the third is more of like your classic hey I’m gonna give you five links your five bullet Friday or things like that I think the biggest opportunity is Sean what you did which is morning Brew for X you find a growing industry and you just ride that tail wave and you just own that and build a brand something really distinct in one of these you know if x is finance or X’s something that’s more B2B or like you know a professional you know something that’s a job title uh then X works better than if x is you know fly fishing or or or you know basketball or something like that yeah so I think if you’re gonna go consumer route right target consumers it’s got to be high dollar it’s got to be you know the newsletter for Ferrari owners or the newsletter for Rolex owners right something where people spend you know hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on this B2B is great as well that’s the other place I would go and so you were kind of like I call it maybe Pro summary right that was the best of both worlds you could hit them both worlds you got the consumer oriented uh readers and then also the people who work in the crypto industry did you agree with our I know that I and we actually did or I’ll say it myself I did sound like a douchebag when I was talking about Industry Drive I didn’t mean to like phrase it that the way that I did but when we were talking about Industry Drive you know they’re a 600 million dollar a company that mostly is a newsletter business and our criticism towards the B2B industry was like the content’s pretty whack do you agree with that uh that assessment like do you still think there’s a lot of opportunity to build really big B2B media companies yeah I just think you have to do it the way Sean did it right which is go the complete opposite route right so they’re they’re pretty dry they have a standardized process they go in every single vertical look I think their business model is simple but it’s not easy I don’t think what they did was easy at all but I think it’s very simple The Playbook is very well defined there’s no crazy Tech they’re not you know building some AI machine learning thing it’s they create great content they resonate they sell ads into it uh but the way to compete I think is to treat B2B like consumer right to treat them like people like you know the milk row does why is it not you’re saying it’s simple but not easy why is it not what do you mean it’s not easy I mean I I think to scale across all those verticals right to your point added businesses are pretty tough right and so you take on a lot of costs and you can’t you can’t mess up right because if you you go wrong in verticals you have a bunch of writers and sales people and and the thing about media business is even when they’re profitable the difference between 20 uh profit margins and losing 20 is way is way like it’s easier to flip that uh because of all your fixed costs it’s not SAS you don’t have locked in you know you’re a B2B SAS company you’ve locked in a hundred or a hundred ten percent of your Revenue the next year because of renewals every day with ads it’s another grind you got to go sell more ads and so it’s not easy you know ad business is an absolute grind we found this guy um I’m gonna give a shout out here his name’s I don’t know I think you pronounce it Walter and he’s from the Netherlands and he uh I think he’s at school right now I don’t know what happened but I I did a video I thought okay maybe maybe we’ll start doing YouTube content I did this video when Luna collapsed and I did this video like oh I lost a bunch of money on Luna and I did this video I thought it was gonna be like I remember buddy I was like a viral whatever we came out late we came out like three weeks after the news so that was kind of stupid so it didn’t go super viral but one good thing came of it which was this this kid on Twitter was like hey your thumbnail sucks for for your YouTube thing like it should be like this or like this or like this he did this thread and I was like yo you’re great um I don’t know if I’m gonna do any more YouTube videos but like you want to just come in our slack because I just want I like what you just did that was like helpful and it was quick and like you know he’s like sure yeah let me be amazing I love the milk Road and so he joins our slack first we’re like What do we do with this guy like what the [ __ ] is this guy like imagine like a two-person meeting and I just invite this third guy from the Netherlands to a meeting you’d be like uh like it’s gonna talk what’s why is he here and for two months no one knew why he was there but then something amazing happened we were like ah we need to sell ads like for the next month or whatever and it was like nobody wanted to do it it was just like uh do we have to like it’s gonna be a pain in the ass it sucks it just sucks to sell ads like oh we should hire a sales guy it’s like uh even hiring a sales guy is kind of a shitty task okay let’s procrastinate a little bit and uh along the way this guy had been wanting all right this guy had been always just messaging us ideas like because he’s like I don’t know he’s like in the slack so he’s like trying to be productive so he would just non-stop message ideas of things we could do and uh it got to the point where Ben was just sort of like dude this guy is like you know incessant like he won’t stop messaging it’s like you know at first it’s a good but like nobody can handle this volume of ideas like this is crazy and then he’s like he’s like you got to do something about this and I was like okay I’ll I don’t know I’ll talk to him or I’ll kick him out of slack and I was like Hey what if we just point the machine gun like outwards instead of like right now the machine gun’s shooting us with ideas what if we just made him like sell the ads and he just bothered the hell out of everybody else and so that’s what we did and this guy is the single-handedly crushing milk Road ad sales through the crypto bear market like we are fully sold out for months on end just one guy just one kid who’s not even 20 years old just absolutely pillaging the market and the advertisers will privately DM me and be like yo I shared this guy’s name with our sales team because I was like this is how you sell like this guy is Relentless and I was like wow that was just like an incredible I don’t know like incredible thing he is so impressive dude let’s talk about that real quick ad sales ad sales suck Austin they suck and what I learned getting into the hustle I I did you sell I sold our first ads I think I got us I sold like the first maybe hundred thousand dollars worth of ads and then in order to scale we had to hire a sales team and they would show me like the conversations that they are gonna have I’m like there’s this conversation will never work like you’re using all this jargon and you’re wearing like these like buttoned up plaid shirts and like these brown leather shoes like you guys look like dweebs like this is never gonna work and it worked perfectly nobody wants to go skateboarding with you right now yeah you’re not ready you look like your name’s Todd or Kyle like this is not gonna work and uh it’s like my name is it [ __ ] works yeah yeah it works perfectly you’re you’re not cut out your personal is not cut out for the the media buying world did you do it you’re uh well no so yeah in the early days we bought right but we we sold all direct response ads right it was Casper mattress it was a way luggage it was saying no hey buy your placement here you’re gonna get 300 clicks and three percent of them convert and you’re gonna make a thousand dollars and we’ll charge you 800. as we’ve grown though I think there’s another difference between us we were in New York City and it opened up this whole world that I had no idea about which was the world of of media buying and these big ad agencies and they have huge budgets right we’re not talking about a hundred grand for Casper we’re talking about five million dollars from the biggest brands in the entire world and it really is a black box of people who aren’t in it and I think it’s one of those things where it’s a black box intentionally so people can’t get in right Finance is the same thing every year there’s a new term within the ad industry or Finance just to keep people on the Internet it’s crazy it’s crazy and it’s like not based in logic or fact it’s based on relationships and like it’s so weird it’s like oh wait I have to realize that this person this lady I’m trying to get to buy ads she just has to spend this 20 million dollars this quarter and she just wants to find somewhere to place it where she won’t get fired that was such a weird feeling yeah I mean the idea of like media budgets right hey they if they if they don’t use it they lose it and so you’re incentivized to spend money it’s it’s interesting and it’s uh something that we learned Again by hiring people in New York which I think was a big difference between us and you you had a lower cost more like inside sales team a really efficient one right you took that route we didn’t take that route we went for these Big Brand dollars and and I think both routes work it depends what you’re what you’re looking to sell um we just took the route and say hey we’re gonna we’re gonna Dive Right In this black box and we’re gonna learn all about it we’re gonna get a million I mean one of our first advertisers discover gave us a million bucks I was in college I’m a senior in college living in my frat house right like beer cans everywhere and I get an email from the CMO discover like here’s an RFP I’m like what in the [ __ ] is an RFP like what are you talking about no clue I open it up and it’s like hey give us media plans for like half a million a million bucks right for a million dollars she could own the company seven times over the company was not worth 100 grand and and here’s this woman asking for a million dollar RFP and we just we learned it but it really is a relationship driven game how did you how did you justify that like how do you like if if if AMX says we’re going to spend five million dollars this year be real do you actually think that’s going to help them like sell more [ __ ] yeah so I I do right we do a lot of brand lift studies and things like that right it’s different right it’s not we’re not no one’s trying to uh you know like Lexus for example or car company studies did you do we used to do that but I’d be like what the [ __ ] is a brand live study like I’m like are you kidding me Todd what the hell is a brand live study I don’t know what the hell this is or we would do all this other stuff like an RFP like we had been doing it for like six months and I was like Hey guys like at this point I’m a little bit too afraid to ask but what the hell is it RFP I don’t know what this stuff means I didn’t know what any of this stuff it’s so challenging if you don’t work in the industry and then they like they talk about agencies and I’m like wait what the hell it is an agency why don’t we just go straight to the brand like this stuff from it from a small business owner’s perspective all of this stuff is crazy inefficient and stupid now that I’ve been at a big company HubSpot I understand I’m like okay I get like these guys are having to like give out a billion dollars of marketing like now I I understand a lot more but when you’re just a 10 person company you’re like do you guys realize this Market study [ __ ] doesn’t work like this brand study that’s [ __ ] right or like you’re gonna give me twenty thousand dollars to write this article it took me like 20 minutes to do it uh like so it doesn’t make sense when you’re small yeah but you know people are people are buying the audience they’re buying the the relationship with with you they’re not buying you know purchase or things like that and so you know I think at scale when you get to four million subscribers if you can change the perception of half a million or a million people and have make them because of a marketing campaign have a you know 10 of people have a higher perception of of credit card X’s programs like that is really valuable when your Visa or your master or your American Express and you spend a billion dollars like that’s so much money how do you deploy a billion dollars of marketing spend you go through agencies and that’s how it all happens Sean and I are really good I think at starting stuff we’ve got pretty good Vision where we can spin things up and get them to like a million in Revenue pretty quickly the thing that I was always envious of you because it’s my it’s a it’s a fairly big shortcoming I think I have is you are just so good at I don’t know exactly how to explain it you’ve got this like almost private Equity like ability to like look at numbers and be like oh the margin here is shitty and I’m like I’ve never used that word margin in my life but you’ll like talk about like the margin here and like well if you just change that by like 10 probably by doing this your outcome is going to be like this this and this like you just have this really good operational ability you’re also really good at saying like well if you just improve this this and this and only focus on that then in six months I think your outcome will be this you’re really good at that and you’re really good at that at a very young age how did you figure out how to do that how did you learn how to do that and and have that insight and have that ability and also have that faith in like well if you just do this this and this the outcome might be this this and this in eight months yeah I mean so I got an undergraduate business degree and I always used to [ __ ] on undergraduate business degrees I’m like what a complete waste of time like those four years were so dumb but as I look back it really did give me a pretty good overview of what it takes to to run a business not actually the day-to-day of running a business but like what is accounting I took like seven accounting classes or I don’t know maybe five those were actually really valuable to be able to really dive deep into a p l to real and my summer expensive Investment Banking to understand what’s a financial model what drives the model those things that within the context of Finance like yeah you know they’re okay when the context of running a business was super helpful to understand what levers you need to pull but the other the flip side is I looked at you three years ago and I before we knew each other maybe even two years ago and I was like both of you I was like I hate these guys because they’re so good at going zero to one they’re so good at coming up with ideas like I’m the opposite right I’m not an ideas guy I can’t come up with ideas but I do think it is there cooler and sexier to do what we do do you know listen there’s no doubt about that it’s definitely yeah like dude what would you I mean you know we don’t we need to like partner because zero to one is cool but then like one to 100 million years is pretty [ __ ] cool too yeah how about you guys take things you get them off the ground you take them to three employees and a million dollars of Revenue and I’ll take it from one to a hundred and we can just pair up in just everything about his margin and he thought I said margarine he brought me some butter dude like like I didn’t understand what we know for all we know the the hustle was either a billion dollar company or worthless um Sam says no idea yeah well I like I remember um when we were negotiating to sell and like there was just all these things that people were giving me advice on and I’m like man I just didn’t even think about that like it’s just and I actually know a lot of people that are really successful like we’re talking billion dollars successful and they know so little about operations and there’s a lot of people like that like who are just they’re good at hiring Like Richard Branson I think he famously said he’s like dude I didn’t know what a p l was until we hit like hundreds of millions of Revenue like I didn’t know how to read it um which is super cool uh so awesome you what I like uh that you said on the operation side like Sam’s saying is um like you when you were talking earlier you were like you know right gross sell we wrote that on the wall we woke up every day and said right gross sell we had the greatest so good at that those are the things that like uh we I used to do this such like similar like literally we had the wall but not with milk Road actually but this is like kind of my earlier startups and at Monkey Alfredo I remember Sam you probably remember this when people used to come in like we would always have like all this [ __ ] on the walls and like these sayings and these posters indoctrination things the indoctrination and and I always felt like whenever I would meet Founders one of the highest predictors of success was do they even know what the main thing is and it sounds like a stupid question but for a lot of Founders they didn’t really understand what the main thing was for their business they didn’t know their business’s version of right grossell okay and even if they understood like that that’s gonna generic okay what are you gonna do with that they didn’t understand to translate that into the Great Wall of opens is the number we’re gonna write down every day we’re going to look at it and if it’s bad we’re gonna do something about it and if it’s good we’re gonna like double down on that and that’s what daily work is is around this one number and so it was like I remember we had these Founders in in the office and they would be like I’d be like all right what’s the you know how many new customers you guys get today like what’s the revenue and they have to like oh yeah let me check and they would like at first they didn’t have a dashboard they’re like going into the database like bro you haven’t built an easy way to know this number and then then finally they built that and they always had to check and I was like how do you not know why am I asking this question like it’s 3 P.M one of y’all two should have asked this question by 3 P.M like every day this is crazy and they just didn’t do it and I was like these guys are gonna fail because they don’t have to keep the main thing the main thing is that something that you see or like did consciously like where’d you get that because that wasn’t uh obvious to be right out of college but it sounds like you got it right right away I can’t find this client info have you heard of HubSpot HubSpot is a CRM platform so it shares its data across every application every team can stay aligned no out of sync spreadsheets or dueling databases HubSpot grow better yeah that I mean for us I I mean it’s almost an insult right we were we people like why didn’t you do this why don’t you do that why don’t you go into video we were too dumb to do that like we had no we’re like video how the hell do you make a video we can barely get our newsletter out I mean there were days where we’d we’d finish the newsletter like 2 A.M we’d be coding the thing ourselves and so I think it was partially you know a little bit of foresight but also partially a forcing function uh you know we just looked at we’re like if we do these things we will get here and we looked at the math and we’re like everyone’s telling us we’re crazy but if we grow Subs fifty thousand dollars every or 50 000 subscribers every single month and our costs don’t change we’re gonna go from 50 000 monthly Revenue to 75 to 100 to 125 and by end of this year we’re gonna be at a million Subs doing a million dollars of Revenue a month and I tell that to investors and people they’d be like that doesn’t make any sense I’m like I don’t know what to tell you like I’m just looking at the Excel and people could I mean we spoke to investors and they were like what do you mean your business only has a hundred thousand dollars of costs I’m like it’s people it’s growth marketing and it’s an ESP that’s it that’s all we spend money on what was that last line I don’t even know what that last line is email it’s like provider email service provider will you sail through oh ESP yeah okay I think I said yeah I was like SP I was like what the hell is sp okay yeah but it’s it’s one of those things where like it was just when you boil it down to numbers and run it in an Excel model it’s like it’s so simple and people these investors were like well like you’re not accounting for this and that I’m like it’s all [ __ ] like none of that means anything I’m just trying to make money like I’m just trying to also did some Scrappy stuff I remember like uh didn’t you get your first I don’t know a few thousand emails just by like standing in a classroom I I think we may have we may have broken a couple laws to get our first couple thousand people want to walk out you’d have a piece of paper and be like hey just write your email now we we wouldn’t let him walk out so we go in the beginning of a lecture these econ 101 lectures like a thousand people and I hated Publix I still do but I hated public speaking and I was like look if I’m going to this lecture hall and I’ve been talking from a thousand people I better get every damn email and so what I would do is I’d speak in front of these people and I’d walk around like the teacher would let you speak or you would just stand up yeah no no the teacher would let us speak because there’s a thing called Michigan times you actually had 10 minutes in between each class so if the class started at 10 it actually started at 10 10. and so at 1005 I get up there I pitch on Pitch them one morning brew and then I basically print out an Excel document and I’d walk around I would just stand in front of people and just stare them in the eyes until they gave me their email and I sit in the back of the class and type every email in and I’d be like [ __ ] Alex that an A or a c or an e he’d be like who cares put them all in and we’ve had like every like six permutations of every single email and that’s how we got to like 10 or 15 000 at Michigan and then we’re like do you have a friend of Penn State I have a friend at Penn State let’s do this at Penn State let’s do it at Miami let’s do it at NYU and next thing you know we like 50 000 people across the the country college students reading morning Brew are your parents wealthy did you grow up wealthy uh I’d say middle class upper middle class but what’s interesting so I grew up in the suburbs of Baltimore and like I didn’t know I thought I knew wealth and then I moved to I went to Michigan and I met people from LA and New York and I moved to New York and I saw people from New York and I never saw that kind of wealth and to me that was inspiring that was exciting uh because I came from again there’s like a very well-off I had everything I needed but you know I know people I met people at school who were flying private planes I know what a private plane was you got rich pretty young right like when did you guys sell you’re you’re pretty young right now I think you guys sold it what 26 or something yeah I need 25. well the reason but hold on real quick the reason I asked was because like you’ve got this like this immigrant hustle and before I knew you I stereotyped you as this like uh everything’s been given to this rich kid like and and hearing this story I’m like oh no these guys were like just as gritty as I was for sure sometimes more um yeah I mean Alex has his own story about you know his family and and his dad passed away and so he was I mean I learned so much from Alex about Hunger like Alex again he broke things down the same way I did Alex would be like hey you know I’d be like Alex we need a hundred advertisers this year I’d be like I don’t know how we’re gonna do it we have zero he goes I know exactly how we’ll do it I’m gonna go on LinkedIn and I’m not gonna sleep until I message a thousand companies and we’ll get a 10 reply rate I’ll be like you’re gonna message a thousand companies he’s like well isn’t that what you need to do to get to 100 100 advertisers I’d be like yeah but that sounds crazy he goes well let’s start working and we just like you know sit there drink beer and we work and just you know crank out cold DMS the head of I mean I must know the head of growth at every New York City direct to Consumer company because Alex incessantly emailed them and we would like we would laugh at the response like we would get excited when someone respond to be like hey Alex this is your ninth email like you gotta stop following up like number eight was good but nine you you passed it so yeah I think we both had that hustle what did it feel like the back to what Sean was saying you’re 25 and you I don’t know how much one you made but let’s just say eight figures what’s that feel like when you’re 25 um [ __ ] dope it was very cool it’s great so so it’s so it’s interesting right um I I got the wire this is what the the sum of money I was it was during covid so I get this like listen to this juxtaposition on one hand I just made a boatload of money more money than you know I thought I’d ever make right on the other hand I’m living in my childhood bedroom sitting next to my parents as the wire hits my account and everyone’s like what are you gonna do now I was like I don’t know my mom’s cooking like meatloaf yeah mom make me breakfast yeah it was the most anti-climactic thing ever it was unbelievably anticlimactic you should have just moved into the master bedroom I think uh getting a quick win early or a win early in life is so important right just having that Swagger that confidence that brand allows me to do so much that I wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise but get into any room I can get in touch with anyone right what other opportunities do you think you get I mean again like get into any room right so meetings uh investing what are some what are some cool rooms you got into I mean again like it’s the same things that I think you guys are you guys also have wins right I don’t think anything is is that well I don’t like to leave my house and then Sam’s only interested in like people that are like this guy’s the best ax thrower in you know the country and he’s like super pumped about it I’m like I don’t think you needed to like you know pull your your you know rich guy card to get in touch with him but I feel like you I don’t know like like have you met Leo DiCaprio I feel like he might have just bumped into Leo DiCaprio somewhere that I feel like that’s more Europe in New York well so so I I bumped into Justin Bieber in the Bahamas um which was pretty cool um but no I mean like the weekend we had with with uh uh what’s his name Mr Beast and and uh hosted was cool I spent the weekend with Kid Rock on his Ranch yeah tell me about it was pretty sick what was that like I mean he is a a unique unique character again this is all according to him so I haven’t even fact checked this but I’ll assume he’s telling the truth he told me he’s the only person to play at both President Obama and president Trump’s inaugurations he played it both and he knows both super well he’s close to both and he has this this he lives in this huge Ranch outside of Nashville right I went there it was uh my friend his name’s Shane uh he works in Tech he’s good friends with Kid Rock Kid Rock obviously music guy and Shane put together 10 people in Tech Kid Rock 10 people in music we go to his Ranch and I mean you get there and it’s like out of a movie right you walk in and Kid Rock’s bats is to me he’s got a cigar sticking out of his mouth he’s got a shotgun and he’s just shooting clay pigeons and the whole weekend was out of a movie right his Studio unbelievable we pull no lighter together just telling stories about Eminem uh I mean he’s uh it is really really cool he’s a lot of people don’t realize this but Kid Rock got famous right before CDs went down and he’s one of the best-selling artists of all time and I I it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s probably worth two or three hundred million dollars because he was famous when CDs were 18 and 21 and so like it’s wild yeah so now though I think he’s a new source of wealth so he owns uh again this is what I’ve been told he owns the most popular bar in all of Nashville and whereas most of the other ones like Luke Bryant has one and a bunch of other country singers they just license their name to the bar right and they make a couple percent I think Kid Rock’s like a 50 50 owner probably makes two million bucks a month no I’ve heard more really like it’s a project I’ve heard again I’ve heard it’s big big money you know high high uh tens of millions you know it’s just crazy dude the one of the best things uh about our companies and um like the culture that us three have kind of built with our friends because we kind of like got into this media game a little bit early and I don’t know about you Austin but when the hustle was starting there wasn’t that many people who we could look at and be like well let’s just do what they do but different they’re like I remember I told this one media guy who I’ll tell you afterwards he’s the founder of a multi-billion dollar Media company now I was like here’s what I’m doing he goes bro this will never make more than two million dollars a year in revenue and this other person who I’m now good friends with was like dude what are you talking about this I’m like it doesn’t matter it’s just a small screen who cares like if you’re an email or on a website it doesn’t matter the math shows X Y and Z and so we had to hire like 24 year olds who like were promising but like and then we had to learn about it as we grew and be but because of that both morning Brew the hustle and the and the crew that now I mean Sean’s great at this as well we’ve we’ve done a really cool job of like finding smart inexperienced people who now have gone on to do a lot of really cool stuff and that makes me really really proud to like see like this crew that we’ve all built and so there’s like the hustle crew the morning Brew Crew and then uh Sean was like the hustle thing now he’s got his own thing have you noticed that like we all have this little like Army of people who have like been through like this like self-created like training camp it’s kind of neat right yeah 100 I mean it’s it’s we in the early days we could not get people to work with us who didn’t want to be entrepreneurs and the pitch was simply like Hey we’re starting a business you’ll be in on the ground floor right you’ll see what it’s like and that’s that’s all you get like you know we didn’t have for the first year and a half I was so cheap for the first year and a half of morning Brew you didn’t get a company computer you had to bring your own computer to work dude I was famous because on Facebook I would put hey I’m buying I’m buying laptops does anyone have a Mac for sale for 500 no dude we were not dropping any money on company we didn’t have health care in the early days you got nothing you got I mean and we we couldn’t afford it because I was so against taking venture capital I was like we’re gonna make every penny count One More Story Fridays at three o’clock we’d all go pencils down work would stop because we had a referral program we’d send out stickers and t-shirts and that whole thing that you know I’m sure we’ve all seen but yeah we had no we know packing and so we’d sit down we’d like wheel in that we were keg into our office and we’d conveyor you know we do like assembly line the first person would would like open the envelope the next person would stick the sticker in there the next person would lick them the next person would put the the label on and for like three or four hours from like 3 P.M till 7 pm on Fridays that’s all we did was just pack envelopes of [ __ ] well you’re one of your early Guys Tyler dank has gone on to start beehive which is a really cool company he seemed like a really good entrepreneur he’s pivoting or um iterating really quickly and then I’ve got a couple people have done that and then um like it’s just cool to see like these people who were young and not dumb but like just young and like inexperienced go on to like build cool [ __ ] and then like your ex people are now at other newsletter companies and then Sean has hired a couple of my ex people or and probably it seems like a couple of your ex people and it’s like this incestuous thing which at first I would be jealous I’m like whoa what the hell why are they working with this person but now I’m like oh this is awesome man like we’ve created this like tiny little industry of of newsletter nerds and it’s actually quite cool yeah I love it yeah I think it’s really cool and I think there’s gonna be so much more value create I think what Tyler’s doing at beehive is amazing I think what I’ve been so impressed with him is like the the maturation from the morning Brew days of you know it’s like six of us and he’s doing a little bit of everything so the way he’s been able to scale himself and scale that team is amazing and so it’s really and I mean Trung is the same way like what Trung’s done is incredible and there’s I mean there’s a ton of examples it’s really cool to see do you regret selling no that’s that’s you answered that quickly even though like not even so you sold part of the business what do you think the the entire business is going to sell for in the future hundreds of millions I think many multiples of what we sold the first uh half four but we structured the deal in a way that I thought was great right I mean the ability to have life-changing money if anyone has the option like I always think it’s good to take half your chips off the table right and maybe I’m biased because I did that and and it’s worked I thought that was really important but I still have enough upside where I’m excited right it’s not like a tiny earn out that people sign where it’s like 10 of the deal it can you know it can be really really meaningful and that drives me that keeps me excited it keeps me on the hunt I love the company I love the people we work with I love the executive team but I would I I mean during covet or during I wouldn’t have slept at night and I just I sleep very well at night knowing that like I have my my nest egg and so what’d you do with money do you think cool with it or do you uh did you touch it right away what that money hits the bank you’re at your parents house what it what happened to that money over the next I don’t know how long it’s been like a year or two yeah so I haven’t ideally in terms of everyone’s like oh yeah like make a Splurge purchase there was nothing out there that I was that excited about buying so I ended up buying a car on which expensive I didn’t buy like a Mercedes I bought an Acura right nothing crazy yeah a pre-owned Acura it wasn’t Frio and brand new 2022. sports mode sports edition Air Conditioning that’s air conditioning what why dude you really do have that immigrant mentality but I think we need to get you like a 23andMe test I I feel like uh there’s something going on here you got too much immigrant energy I love it no but I mean I I I increased my rent four to five times right I live in a great apartment um I went on an amazing vacation last summer um you know I I actually love I know you guys know ramit’s uh States here sethia I’m not sure I pronounced last name but like that idea of like your rich life and your spending on because I mean uh lifestyle creep is real totally that is real and so like look I spend money on the things that I find interesting and that I like and I love traveling and staying at really nice hotels and spending a ton of money on business class flights and things like that I like living a nice apartment but like I live in New York City what am I going to do drop another 50k on a car that sits in a parking lot 361 days a year it’s a complete waste of money it’s just stupid and you know I Morgan Howells will actually tweeted this um and I read this too it Will Smith’s book he has a great quote he was talking about Fame and becoming famous and the quote was something like becoming famous is awesome being famous is cool and losing any Fame is horrible and I feel the same exact way about money right I feel the same way and so I have no desire to like spend money on things I don’t actually care about I don’t wanna I don’t want to lose my money because I can you know change the a to a you know an M or whatever on a Mercedes so I spend money that I on things I actually care about so I can make sure I maintain my wealth or what do you invested or do you just are you conservative are you aggressive like what’s the pie chart of like of the hundred percent where did it where did the money go yeah so I probably took like 85 90 of it and put it into very very boring stuff right S P 500 or Vanguard like Target date funds like uh 20 65 or something like that you did this yourself or you hired like a well personally no I hired a team it’s a good thing I did because if not I would have went off the rails right um and then I put you know five maybe seven percent in crypto right and I put another five percent in Venture investing right uh but the vast vast majority is in really boring real estate S P 500 uh and uh like bonds right but like really boring [ __ ] nice and let’s talk about some non-newsletter stuff so you got a bunch of ideas uh when we were hanging out at Camp MFM uh you were telling me about like this thing you’re doing and this thing you’re doing I was like oh this guy’s like way more Dynamic uh and interested in a whole bunch of different things what are some ideas that you think would be cool to share yeah um so I’ll throw out a bunch of ideas I have but one General framework I think people should think about is when you’re in shitty Economic Times like we’re going into now I think the the framework you should use is you should look to save companies money or earn individuals side income right before companies money didn’t matter right Capital was abundant so companies they were all about just grow grow right how can you help me grow it’s a 180 now you know people were trading their money for others people other people’s time right now they’re trading time for money and so all you know if you can help companies preserve money you can I think build really really great side hustles so a few ideas right I think it’s like what’s old is new and then there’s a bunch of agencies I think it’d be really interesting to start right now one is outsourced Talent I knew nothing about the outsourced Talent game I recently became a co-owner in a business uh it’s a really interesting business called oceans they found talent in Sri Lanka right really cool talent in Sri Lanka where they’ve U.S graduates uh come to Tech startups work there uh really interesting and I think there are ways right they have a unique Advantage going to Sri Lanka which we don’t really have to talk about but I think there are companies who were hiring a full-time copywriter let’s call it or a full-time uh you know marketer and they probably only need them for 25 30 hours a week 2021 screw it right we’ll need them at some point I think now companies are really questioning ftes right do you need a full-time hire and so you can create these Niche marketplaces and I’m getting investment opportunities for them all the time and they’re just not Venture scaled but you bootstrap a Marketplace let’s call it like a Content marketing uh agency or content marketing Marketplace for B2B companies right these stocks are down 90 95 they’re trying to drop ftes but they still want content right we all know how valuable only audience and content is and building that Marketplace helping them find people I think simple services like that are going to come back and to Vogue and be very very profitable what’s that company um where the founder got in trouble for not converting the the stock uh converting the convertible notes but it was a Marketplace for uh developers and it like bootstrapped its way uptown practically it was a top towel so top towel um they got in trouble because they only raised like 800 000 or a million dollars but they didn’t convert the the the the the note or whatever so it was controversial but they basically have bootstrapped it to this point to like north of a 100 million in net revenue um and so these marketplaces are like can be they can be pretty freaking powerful it seem they seemed hard to get off the ground but they don’t seem that hard if you already working in in the industry and it’s a super Niche a niche topic because people ask me all the time they go hey I want to hire writers who should I hire and I’m like I don’t know man it’s hard I don’t know who you should hire yeah yeah I mean the one I the one I’m now a co-owner and has gone from zero to seven figures of ARR in like eight months right you pick a very specific Target customer that’s a gross unique talent gross or is that just yeah margins are no no well now both right both are seven figures of ARR that’s crazy yeah and then uh what’s his name Marshall from uh Marshall Haas he did Shepard what’s the URL that’s the same thing right it’s the same same business and I I it seems like he’s scaled that to high seven figures in like less than a year it seems from the outside yeah yeah I think they’re a bit different right ours is I think they’re just more like strictly EAS the one we have is more you you know you have people in finance people in operations what’s interesting about Sri Lanka is they have big four accounting firms right so you can poach people not just from local businesses but from people who’ve been trained by Ernst young and and Deloitte and so it’s an interesting an interesting demographic to go into yeah I love that one I think that’s a great one what are uh what are some other like you know help businesses save money help you the other one you said is help individuals earn side money what’s a what’s an example of that yeah so here’s one I think is interesting right so you built morning Brew for crypto right I know a lot of people spoken about this but I don’t think anyone’s really built the brand yet I think morning Brew or the hustle for AI is gonna be huge but how’s that feel by the way a thing you’re just like calling Sean the morning Brew of blank it’s okay it’s okay we did kick your ass to crypto I mean it’s okay it’s okay that that happened no you we can test Let It Go though we could tell we could take a collective deep breath and just let it go if you if that would help no no again you guys did a really great job I thought that was awesome um and I think someone’s gonna do the same thing in AI right and so the bootstrap version of this is to do what you did right the AI newsletter right down the Fairway have a unique tone integrate yourself into the audience the way I think is take it to the next level is the last three months thousands of entrepreneurs have all started tinkering on little AI side projects right and they all have 50 100K of ARR and I’ve been reaching out to all these Founders like you know um different little tools right these aren’t real big businesses they’re all side hustles right I went home for Thanksgiving I asked all my friends from home my family Haley have you guys been playing around with the chat GPT have you been playing around and they’re like what in the hell are you talking about right and so clearly it’s the same customer for all of these different things right and so I think there’s this opportunity for the AI for morning Brew to start a little tiny capital or a little holding company where you can start to invest and buy these businesses right give a an off ramp these Founders who built these 50 or 100 or 150k Arrow businesses and start cross-promoting them bundling marketing them you write reviews for your little AI tool and then you promote it and instead of having advertising which Again Sam has spoken about how it’s difficult you’re just promoting all your products you have this portfolio of 10 20 30 little AI tools and maybe each one is half a million or a million of ARR but all together you can get you get pretty big pretty quickly that one seems harder to me um I I feel like like I like the idea but with Mike okay realistically if I did that I feel like I would uh I like ideas where the idea is so good my execution can be like a seven out of ten and I still win um because yeah but this is his thing man this is his thing he he executes some of these things really well yeah yeah I don’t think it’d be that hard I’m telling you I I’ve been talking to a bunch of these like these Founders these little AI SCI projects and I’ve been I’m like what are you doing with it and they’re like well at least I think it’s hard is not because you can’t roll them up you can’t buy them I think it’s hard because uh all it’s like the Lindy effect right so when something’s been around for three months is that 50k mrr and it seems great like you don’t know if that thing’s gonna be around three months from now because the next model will come out or the next chat like for example uh you know your stable diffusion comes out then and then uh you know chat GPT comes out well people were you know I’ve invested in a couple of these that you know the AI writing tools they’re getting better and they’re pouring Millions into marketing to get to get customers for their you know AI writing tool but everybody’s building on the same foundations the same models and they’re trying to say how they’re going to be differentiated and the reality is they could differentiate it on I don’t know customer acquisition and so I think that like it is you know I think about when I buy something like you know the tiny Capital model works because he buys stuff that’s like kind of been like around and forgotten and ignored for like a long period of time but he buys like you know dribble um you know it’s like oh it’s been around for years and I could buy it and I can it’s gonna be around for years and I can improve it over that time uh versus buying the things that are really new and quick I think you have a challenge with the durability um of those businesses because what happens as you know the AI just keeps improving but you know either these things become obsolete or it starts to consolidate into like one app that can do four of these things and so you don’t need one for posting on social media and one for writing emails it’s like ah it’s the same Chrome extension that’s just gonna do both and so I think there’s a good chance you can kind of get like you know um you know just sort of Blown Away by by the rate of change that’s going on in the industry so that’s the thing I would be worried about with that similar to I remember telling Andrew Wilkinson about frazio I was like oh this is super smart like these FBA stores are super cheap and there’s you know like each one of them is small but you could go and just like scoop up all these and look at this they’re buying them on this like crazy little multiple agos yeah it’s like picking pennies up in front of a steamroller and um is his first reaction and I was like yeah I can see what you mean what like if the platform changes he goes if anything happens he’s like you know these aren’t real durable Brands I haven’t been around for a while maybe it’s that Amazon changes the algorithm maybe it’s that there’s you know more competition maybe it’s not the multiples go up there’s there’s four or five different ways where you just get steamrolled and that’s actually what how it played out pretty much in the in the Amazon aggregator space was for a while the getting was good and then those companies went all in on it and then they kind of got steamrolled that you know they’re getting steamrolled as we speak yeah I think you bring up a great point about AI right and that’s why well I think the technology is great I’ve been very skeptical of investing in these companies that just really build on top of uh you know open AI because it’s like you have a nice wrapper right it’s nice marketing it’s great but what do you have long term what do you actually can all do that what are you gonna do who doesn’t do that nobody’s doing their own AI everybody’s everybody’s building off open AI or stable diffusion and that’s why I’m skeptical investing in that right I I think there’s so many popping up right it’s the next crypto wave right there’s gonna be a huge huge bubble and you know and they’re raising not at crypto prices but I’m seeing hey two guys left some you know Andrew recent back company we’re raising 5 on 25 like what do you have they’re like oh well we have a deck but since we created the deck we’ve already changed our mind it was this and now it’s this it’s like guys you can’t he can’t be serious we’ve seen this playoffs while you say that they’re like we just got another offer for 35 the price is gone you uh you know like I always I I always felt this way about you and as I’ve got to know you I feel this way even more the way that you know someone’s an interesting founder is when you talk to them and you’re like a little fearful of them where you’re like I don’t want to have to go against this person because they’re going to be very very challenging to kill and you totally have that Vibe you’ve got this like weird mixture of neuroticism where you’re like no I have to go like I have to win we’re gonna lose like this everything’s over if I don’t win this thing but then you also have this like really good work ethic I remember I asked you the other day I’m like hey at what point at morning Brew did you quit grinding and you’re like what never I’m still grinding and uh I think that’s just a really that’s really fascinating um are you weirdly good at like some random thing did you like channel that Obsession towards some other thing yeah like growing up we like we tennis or some [ __ ] yeah I mean I was obsessed with video games right Sports video games uh but nothing nothing specific right I wasn’t like Travis kalanick like number two we tennis in the world um no it was that and now I’m like into that for cooking right I’m I’ve thought about like when I go to culinary school and take night classes because now I’m obsessed with cooking I love to go out did not see that coming do you gotta come over for a meal you gotta come to me I know you don’t leave San Francisco but when you do yeah so what what do you uh what’s you said something about where me in like your rich life what do you think your rich life how old are you now 28 what’s your rich life gonna be at 35 and 40. like what are you working towards yeah I I think for me uh it’s all about time right like to me wealth is all about having time and spending that time how you want to right now I want to spend that time building this company because I constantly see more growth and more opportunity and not just like 2x but 10x But ultimately what I wouldn’t be able to do at 35 is spend my time how I want to spend it on any given day right and and that means a lot of travel I love traveling like I I want to go at some point uh in the not too distant future hopefully don’t want a six-month trip three months to Europe three months of Southeast Asia I never got to do that a lot of my friends in college when they graduated they went to Thailand and wherever else I drove from Michigan to New York and started working the next day and so for me it’s a lot of traveling you know nothing crazy spend time with family doing fun stuff right like being able just to say hey like today I’m gonna you know drop 500 bucks and go you know do something you know the thousand dollars and go do some fun activity right adventurous activities but it’ll all comes back just waking up and say hey here’s how I want to spend my day and then doing that thing are you able to do that now I can right but I choose to spend that time on Maureen Brew like I am maniacally focused on growing morning Brew I think there’s a ton of opportunity but as soon as I don’t think that like I’ll change I’ll say Hey you know today I want to do something else do you like having 200 plus employees it sounds like [ __ ] hell particularly New York Manhattan like woke employees that like in the New York media scene like everyone’s talking about unionizing like when I think about that I’m like this sounds miserable blink if Blake if it’s miserable because I know you can’t say anything what are you gonna say um no no I I mean look and there’s a couple things one uh we have a lot of remote employees so we do have a really good distribution of employees across the country which I think does help right I think having employees everywhere gives different perspectives right our engineering team lives uh you know in the midwest then and we have people all across the country which I think is cool uh but to be honest as a CEO of a 250 person company I’m not interacting with that many people on a daily basis but what I love is like the one of the reasons I Stay is because we built this team of people who are reporting to me who are just a plus All-Stars like absolute rock stars and that’s what makes me so happy is when I can just come to work and say Hey you know Chief content officer hey you know person X like what are you doing like tell me more about it how can I help you but also I’m like a vacuum right I’ll hire someone new a chief content officer a COO I’ll be like I’m gonna learn as much as humanly possible and my goal is to catch up to you and knowledge as fast as possible so if you’re 38 you’re 40 you know you’re you’re 10 years older than me I want to just vacuum up those 10 years of knowledge you’ve gained working in these four or five places in the next like two months and I’m just gonna pester you and sit with you and just learn as much as humanly possible so I can you know be better than you and know more than you and it’s like this competitive nature that’s exactly what I’m saying about being like someone that you’re you’re you’d be really hard to compete with you were hard to compete with uh that’s a really fascinating mindset it’s very intriguing I saw Sean smirk that’s always a good sign you’re like yeah I wouldn’t want to compete with you it’s like oh you did for like five years I did yeah and like uh I mean it was fun I I think that I think maybe I’m the same way where someone’s like I don’t know if I want to compete to consume but but like you know I think it’s um it’s it’s it’s you’re you’re intriguing you’re interesting I think you have got a really good mindset I think you got that good inner game yeah I I think I think I I can’t refresh this before but I think the thing that really I I’ve changed my thinking about you so much is I used to think you were like rude and now yeah we’ve been working together on like a few side projects and what I’ve learned is that your style is not for everyone but you are what I would call like admirably abrasive right and we wrote a call I don’t know if I’m supposed to tell a story I won’t say names we’re on a call and this guy gives us like a three minute pitch and I just see the look on Sam’s face I go oh no this guy’s Spiel is not good and the guy goes Sam what do you think and Sam no smile straight face goes I don’t know why I’m even on this call what are you talking about well I just start dying but but I’m not trying to be rude I’m not trying to be rude exactly exactly and it’s not for everyone right that style is not for everyone but I can see how you so quickly grow things with the right people because that type of radical Candor that like hey I’m just gonna tell you what I think and we’re not gonna have an ego and we’re gonna work together to solve problems is so much better than sitting in the corporate media being like Oh yeah no that was that was great and then sending an email later you should look this guy straight in the eyes and you’re like I don’t know why I’m here yeah I mean and the person who we’re speaking with I think they’re great and I was just like you’re you’re great this is stupid though you you know be different and uh be better than you are right now and achieve your potential I think you’re I think you’re great that’s typically the way that I work with people and I don’t like hearing when people say that I’m rude that kind of hurts my feelings because I’m like oh [ __ ] I don’t want to be like I don’t want to be known as a jerk I I’m a pretty kind guy I thought so I hate hearing that but it is the truth [Laughter] yeah I think Sam’s intimidating to work with uh you know I think that I’ve seen a bunch of people around the podcast that are intimidating but it’s a good thing it’s a standard like the people who have really high standards for how they want things to go they’re intimidating to work with like for me we come on here something’s messed up the camera the audio whatever I’m hey don’t worry it’s gonna be a great show I’m trying to put that person at ease and I’m like they probably feel like [ __ ] I know they didn’t want this to happen uh you know like and a lot of these things are I know like that’s not you intentionally messing something up that’s like something is going wrong somebody’s late so something out of your control is happening or as Sam gets frustrated I could see that person start to sweat and I don’t think that’s rude I just think that’s like I think you’re focused and I think you uh you know you’re just like you’re like a blunt object it’s like what are you gonna say say like this Hammer is not very soft no it’s a [ __ ] Hammer we that we that’s why we like it that’s why it has that’s why it gets the best spot on the tool side because it’s this like really like heavy blunt object and that’s what you need and like for the podcast the podcast would not be successful without Sam like that’s just he brings that to the Pod and so I love that now with that comes well I you know sometimes it’s not gonna be you know not everyone’s gonna get treated with soft gloves and that’s okay like you know if you know the guy’s intent is good then you you don’t really worry about it so I don’t know that’s that’s my uh I don’t know my feedback that’s good yeah no that that’s on brand and then Sean let me I I know I’m here for you guys to ask me questions but I want to ask you a question uh which is you know like you obviously are a great Storyteller you’re very good on camera how much of that do you think is is natural like you’re just born with it let me ask it keep going keep going keep going let me let me answer it first part about the camera enter I was gonna say how much do you think you’re born with and how much are you have you studied like are you and what are you doing to get better at it because I’ve listened to the podcast for three years and you just increasingly upped your game and gotten better and I mean it’s pretty it’s pretty incredible so let me give my perspective and then he should answer but so from the time I knew Sean he was always pretty good he would we would we would do these like the the podcast stemmed because me him and sieve and a few other guys would meet weekly or monthly and like do kind of what we’re doing now and Sean was always good at at like I I would explain something and be like well so what you’re really saying is this so here’s how you should look at it and he would like storytell in such a way where I’m like oh wow you’ve got this like inspirational like thing about you that’s really good and then so he always had that I think that was like a I think he was born with that and then we started the Pod and he was a little rough where I actually think early on I was better than him at like capturing attention and then he started learning about copywriting I think I was like you should learn about this copy or anything and then he got really good at copywriting and then he got really good at storytelling like on a more refined basis and basically what happened was because he was born with this I think this innate ability as well as he wanted to learn about it and then he actually studied it his trajectory and his growth was quicker than mine and I think he actually surpassed it in terms of like storytelling and ability to capture attention and if you won’t listen to like the first couple of episodes you could clearly see like because of his tone of voice and everything like all right this person’s intriguing but then it was like he studied it over a year and you could see that there was a huge change and I think it was in part of him studying copywriting and I do think he like actually went and studied like Hassan uh Hassan and like all these other comedians he like figured out we both like comedians but I think he studies it and we’ll like tweet it or message each other like hey let’s look at how they like told this joke it was really interesting and so he actually studied that and truly learned it and so I think it was a combination of being born and studying over like two years is that is that accurate uh I think some things you said they were accurate sure um my and nobody knows right like it’s a possible question to answer but like I’ll give it my best shot here’s my honest opinion my honest opinion is I I don’t actually think I’m that good at it in at Absolute terms I just think it’s relative to Tech business and like podcasts when I’ve seen you with like professionals and they like Comedians and I saw that they were like coming to you for advice I’ve seen it yeah okay that happens but I think the I don’t know I grew up in Houston and Houston’s just got like a very high swag factor and like they’re like I play basketball in the locker room there were dudes that like should have been on stage at the Apollo or something like that like just the natural Charisma of people who were just uh and you know that I grew up with were was just really really high so I think that actually has a lot to do with it would you hang out with people who naturally have a lot of Swag and Charisma and tell funny jokes or stories are able to to just quickly jump in and have quick wit that just becomes your normal so I think part of it was that some environment stuff my sister for example is way funnier way better Storyteller than me and growing up it was always Sean’s the smart nice one but he’s quiet he’s shy she’s the funny one charismatic if something happened to me they’d be like Nisha tell the story about like Sean like let Nisha tell the story everyone will love it so at every family party it was her doing and you know so imagine that like the person you admire your your older sibling is really great at this thing and you just constantly see your family and friends are like everybody loves that about them so to me it became like an important thing in my life I was like not in a negative way not like a jealousy but I was like it was a thing I valued I was like oh that’s a really cool skill I value that I had no idea how to do it and when I was younger I was just super super quiet so I didn’t talk that much in my friends group I was just the I was the laugh track I wasn’t the guy making the jokes I was the crowd noise and um but I started to I got a couple lucky breaks my cousin was in town and was like Hey you know there’s a movie audition going on like you want to come with me and I just like I guess so I don’t know and so I went with him and I ended up getting cast in the movie um and that like showed me that exposed me to a different thing and the the guy in the movie who was my brother was uh Cal Penn who was the guy from Harold and Kumar and stuff like that so I got to hang out with him for like weeks at a time so now I’m around somebody else who’s very charismatic very good Storyteller but he’s like a professional actor right so he was somebody I admired that I was hanging out with for weeks he’s the only guy I talked to on set because I was intimidated by everybody else and he was super nice to me and so we just hung out every day for like you know six weeks so that’s like kind of a boot camp in like just being around somebody who’s got that Charisma okay then fast forward uh I moved to San Francisco and I’m like okay um I want to be like you know I don’t know in my mind I was like a CEO should be the leader the leader should be inspiring charismatic clear I’m none of those things so how am I gonna do all that and so I like tried to do things I took you know I went to the SF improv I took classes there all the time right because I was like I don’t know it’s fun I might meet some people but also I think this I think improv is just like a crazy skill set to have like to be able to on your feet be able to think of something and you know make a crowd laugh that that to me is a actual superpower and it’s a superpower I wanted to have same thing with comedians like I like that content but I don’t just watch it and let’s just let drool come out of my mouth that oh wow these people are funny I’m like I want to be funny I love how funny they are and like what do they do when they tell stories um to you know that makes it work and I’ll go re-watch it and I’ll sort of break it down sometimes I’ll I’ll try it myself uh like for example when I did that Luna video I did it in the style of like there’s John Oliver or hustle Minaj like skits and mine is like you know 10 times worse and I texted it to husband he was like cool change these 95 things and I was like ah dude that’s a lot to change I’m just gonna ship it like you know I I don’t have time to do all that but like now that you’ve told me this I now know what I should have done but it’s just those reps like it’s Talent helps but then there’s reps and people don’t really see the Reps and I would say like that combination of the three things I mentioned like being around people who are who are better at it than you and you admire them that plants a little seed inside you right like also you were talking about that with money like when you’ve met people with more money it was inspiring and you’re like oh wow my World opened up I now have like people I can sort of like you know I could try to embody a blueprint that that maybe they have uh to something I want that’s how it was with storytelling and sort of like I don’t know Charisma or something like that for me and so that you know being around people who admire uh putting yourself in unusual situations that are like kind of intensives like improv or acting in movies stuff like that most people in business don’t have that experience so they shouldn’t be as good at it right like if you’ve never gone through these intense experiences and then you know how would you have developed those skills why are you asking that Austin are you trying to like get better at talking or what yeah I want to get better at public speaking so 2023 goal I guess I’m going to uh New York Improv dude I I you’re gonna probably I think some people are born better but I think everyone can get at least good but I do think Sean has this like something that will make him great and uh it is it’s very uh well let me just put it this way Austin have you ever watched back a video of you speaking publicly in order to take notes on yourself of how you did yeah super uncomfortable feeling but an obvious thing to do if you wanted to get better yeah right like I just had that moment where I was like oh I’m saying I want to get better at this I’ve never done any of the obvious things you would do right I’ve never like went and watched myself and said what the hell am I doing with my hands and why am I fidgeting so much am I oh man I keep saying um at the start of these sentences I should just say the sentence but like I had to go review the game film okay then the second thing was like I had to take it seriously like did I just walk up there unprepared and not warm or do I warm up or do I prepare okay that that added to the game and then the third one is like who’s the best at this and I went to a Tony Robbins event I was like this guy’s like the best public speaker I’ve ever seen and even if I don’t listen to any of his content if I just literally listen to the rhythm of his words and the gestures and then the the hooks and how he’s getting everyone’s attention that’s a master class right there like okay I’ll take that and so that’s how I started stacking up some of these things and I don’t consider myself a good public speaker because I don’t do a lot of speeches or anything like that anymore but um it’s definitely something at a time I try to build up and it accommodated in an epic wedding speech I gotta say the best speech I ever gave was at my wedding unrehearsed off the Dome and just like it was I don’t know the perfect the perfect speech I just retired from the game right there at your own wedding at my own way yeah is there a is there anything else you want to talk about Austin it’s pretty cool you should come on More by the way we should talk about newsletter [ __ ] because you’re like the only person or us three or some of the very few people that like I actually want to ask newsletter advice from um and like yeah I’m trying to get out of the the newsletter guy branding but just keep on bringing me on to be the newsletter guy dude but it’s not it is so fun it’s a love-hate relationship it’s really they’re really fun to do but also they’re painful and whatever yeah no I think that’s it I think we we cover most of it what do you think you’re gonna be doing like 10 years from now you’re gonna you think you’d be running businesses you’re gonna be just investing or a big business or something what he wants or what so to me it’s it’s barbell right I either wanna you know have some passive income and you know work 20 25 hours a week more casual or I want to go all in but if I go all in it’s got to be huge right the potential has to be multiple billions I don’t think I’m going to want to run a business where it’s like it’s nice and it’s like a double right if I win it’s a double I don’t want doubles right I either want a home run or I want to you know sit in the Dugout and just you know be be part of the the peanut gallery I don’t want to play in that middle game I’m going to look in the future and I’m gonna tell you it’s probably not going to be you sitting in the Dugout that is not going to be this is I think maybe you will for a couple years but if I have to make a bet and I would put my money where my mouth is it’s not going to be that one that’s not what you’re gonna do we’ll see well thanks for coming on dude this is awesome yeah thanks for having me let’s do it again soon [Music]

Austin Rief Suggested Products

Here is the complete Austin Rief list of suggested products he uses and loves!

Austin Rief FAQ

Here are answers to frequently asked questions about Austin Rief:

What is Austin Rief’s favorite piece of advice?

His favorite piece of advice is to increase your “luck surface area”.

  • Outwork everyone
  • Grow your network
  • Learn something new every day

If you do those 3 things, you will get “lucky” at some point in your life.

What is Austin Rief net worth?

Morning Brew was acquired for $75M, but it wasn’t disclosed how much the founders earned.

More Expert Recs & Routines

Continue to discover expert recommendations and routines at:

zauty LOGO - Best Search Engine for
Affiliate Disclaimer

We are paid affiliate commissions, referral fees, or we may receive other considerations, any time you purchase any third-party products or services through this Website.

Similar Posts