Project Trellis

I had purchased a welder last year (2019) with the intention to begin learning how to use it – starting with small projects – and working my way towards a level of competence. The first project was a welding table – from Essentially followed the instructions and it was nearly impossible to mess up.

My second project was dubbed “Project Trellis” and it started with some drawings as all good projects do. This was right around the beginning of the Covid lockdown and I was going a bit stir crazy and really needed something to do. The goal was to fabricate some simple yet good looking trellis for the various vines we have around the house. A little Adobe illustrator and the iPhone camera allowed me to put something together for my wife Sally to sign off on before got I started. The cut list is in the image below.

I first cut all the main frame pieces. Simple 45-degree cuts on the saw. Lined up and squared the corners with clamps before tack welding them.

In hindsight, I think I should have used 1″ square tube instead of 1×1/2. I was just really trying to keep the weight down. However the 1″ square would have made for a cleaner finished product as the 3/8in rod mesh would have been completely contained within the frame and hidden from the side view.

The 3/8in square rod had a lot of grease and mill scale so I hit it all with a flapper disk after cutting.

I made a pretty major rookie move and failed to primer the trellis before painting – so the latex paint (Left over from when they painted the house) just scratched off with a finger nail. Such failure. Wire wheeled it all off, hit it with primer, and then repainted.

The welder is a Miller Multimatic 255, using 0.30 wire and C25 gas. I used the auto settings more the most part tuned to the gauge of steel I was welding at the time.

The thin walled 1×1/2 tube was really easy to burn through and I had to be quiet careful.

The first 3 are done and I am quite happy with the finished project – and it’s 100% wife approved. Video Below.

During the Covid lockdown.. I spent a few days learning to weld on this DIY project.

40 Orbits Around The Sun

I remember when I was little and my aunt turned 40, the decorations all made jokes about being “over the hill”. I remember being 14/15 and thinking 16 and driving was an eternity away. I remember in college, as a 21yr old working a summer construction job – my supervisor was 28 – and I verbally teased him about being so old. I could not even fathom what 28 was like. Most of my late twenties and thirties seem to be a blur – getting married, building a company, and then starting a family. I never felt any age during the last 15yrs or so.. So I could not tell you what 28 feels like, or 36 for that matter.

40 does feel older though, my joints are beginning to relive the trauma of my early 20s spent playing rugby and snowboarding like I was invincible. Besides gray slowly winning ground in the battle of my winter beard and staving off a beer belly it’s not too bad.

Invincible – that word captures the essence of what I think has changed over the last year leading up to turning 40 this month. Like a boss fight in a video game – I’ve discovered a few weaknesses in my world view. My entire life I have marveled at the pace of change and the advancement of culture and society. In school we learned about the Romans, the dark ages, the enlightenment, the industrial revolution, the great wars, the information age. I held a belief that it (sans dark ages) always gets better, that humanity is evolving beyond tribal sects and scarcity politics.  Lol.. not so much. The idealism of my youth is being hardened by the wisdom of.. experiences lived.

There was also a time when people thought the sun orbited the earth and some wanker in Congress likely still believes that and many more ignorant things.

I contemplated what it means to grow old and die for what I think was the very first time a few months back. Nothing morbid, but the reality finally became known to my brain that at some point it just ends. Took me 39years to even entertain the thought experiment and I came to the realization I won’t live forever. At some point I guess we will all see the day come ing closer and either make peace with it and begin to live our best life, or don’t. I also realized – it’s a scary thought “not being here”.

End existential musings.

At 40, I am living a pretty close approximation to what would likely be my best life. After 15yrs of entrepreneuring our business is successful by any measure, providing Sally and I with the safety net and retirement nest egg responsible adults are encouraged to have, and the additional means to do anything or be anywhere we want. I’ve racked up “instagram stories” and passport stamps with increasing regularity as we’ve set off on what I like to call adventures – which are made possible by a glitch in the matrix I’ve stumbled on… when you arrive at a place financially where you can afford 1st class travel for your family anywhere in the world.. turns out you just don’t have to.  It’s true – the game is rigged.

A favorite reframe between a friend and myself is “Can you believe this shit!?” as we giggle like kids questioning how we got to this place where money is not an everyday a concern. Starting from zero – with a bit of drive, lots of luck, and a massive early advantage of white hetro normative cis male privledge – It just worked out.

Our kids are most certainly the best kids on the planet, way better than any other pair of kids ever conceived, then, now, or ever. 2 boys, that are unique and special, yet seem to have pulled much from Sally and I into their little bursting spirits. I need to get better at slowing down with them and being more present, but I do marvel, daily, at the wonderment, joy, and fascination they live in. I love you boys – I am and will always be proud of you.

My partner of 17 and wife of 15years, my queen – I am often told how she was the best thing to ever happen to me. In the tussles of marriage I may forget that truth from time to time, but it is my truth. At 20 I was a beer-swilling, average college student, spinning compass in hand – man-child. At 40.. I do still act childish at times and I LOVE beer.. but I think I now know what I want out of this life and how to get it, and I also know what I want to give back to it. Thanks Sally.

40 – Over the hill my ass.

I am grateful for much in this life thus far. My family, all of them, yes even the wierd ones. The ability to adventure and explore, and to give. The last 20years seemed to have been all about putting the work in, to earn a place here now, that we like. Delayed gratification, the persistent execution of an business idea, the slow climb to the top of this hill. We created a life and we created 2 humans in doing so. (we’re expected and trying to raise them right too)

I’ll take a pass on strolling down the other side of this hill cynically into old age. What about drifting down the S curves in a 1000RWHP 6speed monster, maybe rally up to the next peak as well? That sounds fun, I think I’ll do that instead. Hello 40.

One of the kids took this one

The Authority should reside with the Responsibility.

A take-away from this great book.

A year ago my long time friend Sean Tierney joined our company as our Dir. of Sales. After a few weeks he hands me a book and said something to the effect of “whether you know it or not, this is how you run the company”. I read most of it quickly, then finished it a few months later (the last few chapters are gold). Highly recommend, buy it.

Of late, we have been growing at a good clip at Pagely, new faces at the weekly standup’s. A focus of mine as we have grown is to reinforce the culture that has made us successful.

A core tenant of that culture is that our team members are responsible for managing themselves on a day to day basis and are fully accountable to the team as whole. They are also given our complete trust to make and execute decisions within their universe of responsibility. Our team(s) excel within this framework.

Do less of this.

In a typical company structure you have a strict hierarchy of top down leadership. The Authority (and mission planning) resides in the C Suite and carved up among VP’s and various Directors. However the responsibility of executing against the mission goals resides at the department, team, and individual which collectively are held accountable for the success of the mission.

Employees are responsible and accountable for the success of the mission, but often times given zero of the authority to decide or determine how that mission goal should be achieved, or even given a say in if the mission is a valid one.

In a sense, leadership does not trust the workforce. Have you ever talked to a customer support rep somewhere to be told they had to send this up to a manager or that they did not have the authority needed to make that change?

Would you want to work at a place like that? Would you give 110% for someone who does not trust you?

Do more of this.

What Sean was telling me when he gave me that book, was in a sense we run a bottom up organization. We assign responsibility to our team members along with the authority necessary to make decisions and take action to accomplish the mission, then hold them accountable for the results.

But How?

Well first and foremost we attempt to hire for culture first: Is this person someone likely to consider the possible consequences before taking action  (mindfulness). Is this someone who has worked remote before and has solid references from peers to attest to their ability to self-manage (accountability).

Obviously then we look for the following: expertise in their field (competency) and what I call the ‘no sheeps’ personality traits of critical thinking and willingness to act.

If we did our screening right we are hiring people that we can trust with the fate of our company. The formula does not always work perfectly, we’ve made bad hires too.

Each potential hire is screened in the above manner. The final interview before they are hired is with me where we discuss almost exclusively our culture, the expectations we (as a team) have for them, and those they may have for us. We talk about the current mission(s) (globally and for their respective role) and if they have any suggestions at that time to improve the mission. Later on at our weekly standup’s everyone is encouraged to discuss and refine it. The mission is owned by everyone and is malleable.

On their first day a Pagely Support Engineer is granted SSH key based access to every single Amazon server we manage and tasked with solving any and all customer issues that come up (responsibility). They are expected to solve these issues to the betterment of the client relying on their skill set, the joint expertise of their team, and their ability to research and learn (accountability).

As they get up to speed: They should never ask for permission, they already have it. They should never fear making a mistake the first time as new mistakes are a valid part of the learning process.

Most importantly they should always default to a state of mindful action: using reasoned intelligence to process the current mission goals (whether that is a specific customer support task or a global task such as documentation or product improvement), share their intent (sanity check the action plan), and finally execute the action plan (authority).

This is not authority in the sense of Boss > Employee. It is the authority to take action. Trust is the mechanism the authority flows through.

Ultimately we place complete trust in our team. We hired them for a reason, why second-guess them at every step. They can refund a client, they can reward a client, they can go to any length to serve a client. Very little happens in their support universe that they personally do not have direct authority or influence over.

It works across teams as well. They can reach over to InfoSec, or DevOps, or Engineering or elsewhere for resources, guidance, or to lodge feature requests and request feedback.

We push the authority down to the level of the responsibility and accountability so they are one and the same. 

In the book they call this Leader-Leader (the opposite of leader-follower). It is not the elimination of corporate hierarchy but it has the effect of turning everyone into a leader that makes decisions and is expected to act on those decisions in accordance with the mission goals. The ‘subordinate’ decides how to accomplish their specific mission goal and simply state’s their intent to do so (with context) to their ‘superior’ for confirmation.

“If all you need to do is what you are told, then you don’t need to understand your craft.

However, as your ability to make decisions increases, then you need intimate technical knowledge on which to base those decisions.

Control without competence is chaos.”

Excerpt From: L. David Marquet. “Turn the Ship Around”

A real support case at Pagely.

Mission Goal: Return clients server to functional state after an automated alert from our DevOps channel.

A to Support Team: “I’m going to restart the php process on server x as it appears to be in a stuck state after the client’s latest code deploy. It seems to have created a bunch of runaway processes, likely a slow query. I will confirm the cause and remedy as needed, informing the client as I progress”

B to A: “Yes. We patched that once before, appears they did not commit our patch, the patch is at [github link].”

A to B: “Yeah I saw that in the account notes. Thanks for confirming”

… a few minutes later

A to Support Team: “Applied our patch again, and confirmed the client has commit to their repo for the future. Their wp-admin is back to < 1 second page loads.. Closing case.”

This scenario, not the client caused failure, but the demonstration of how our support team works together happens every minute of every day. The same in DevOps, Sales, Engineering, etc. We are a team of teams (another great book) that work cohesively to accomplish our mission goals and to set new goals.

Would we be as effective if say; the support agent notified their ‘superior’ of the issue, the superior being the gate-keeper of authority and knowledge either then has to clearly instruct the agent how to solve it and follow the resolution, or maybe has to escalate to someone else with authority to access the servers who fixes the issue and reports back, which is then reported back to the originating agent, who then reports back to the customer. Um, no.

A long story short.

  1. Craft and communicate your mission goals.
  2. Trust those responsible and accountable for the mission’s success with the authority to act.
  3. Reinforce good outcomes.

It’s working for us, YMMV.

To catch a predator

It is pretty telling what sort of business most PE and VC’s are in when they send out blanket lead gen emails. It’s a business for them and startup founders are the customer. Shared this with some friends privately and of course a few got the same blanket email.

Hi Joshua,
I believe you’ve connected with my colleague [redacted] in the past, but I wanted to reach out to introduce myself. As a refresher, I’m part of [redacted], a $30 billion private equity firm based in [redacted], which makes minority, non-controlling investments in a broad range of tech and tech-enabled service industries.
I’d love to reconnect with you and learn more about Pagely and how the business is performing, as well as provide you with an update of what we’ve been working on at [redacted]. Are you available next week for a quick intro chat?

Speak to you soon.
Senior Associate at [redacted] firm

> “Have you seen our investors page?”

I did not notice one on your website – did I miss it? I also checked Crunchbase before reaching out, which is typically very reliable for funding information, and I did not notice any prior funding.

> “ :)”

Got it – if you don’t mind me asking, what are your reservations with partnering with an investment firm?

> “Just not my cup of tea. Also

Also, good friend of mine runs a PE firm, so I have a close contact should I need it.

Please do a little more research next time.
Happy Holidays. ”


Appreciate your candor and you’re right, I should have been more thorough in my due diligence before reaching out.

Candidly speaking, I understand your concern with the private equity model. At [redacted], we truly believe that we have a differentiated approach relative to most investment firms. We’ve played an integral role in helping our partners by assisting with the build out of their management, sales, and dev teams, making customer introductions, and serving as an outsourced M&A group (amongst other things). Capital is only a part of what we bring to the table, and I think that’s a fairly consistent message that you would receive from CEOs that we’ve partnered with in the past.

Thanks again for the conversation and best of luck closing out this year.

Looking through the looking glass

Let’s play a game: You have two lenses on the table in front of you. If you pick up the lens on the right and examine a random business you see it from the techpress/VC/SV point of view. If you pick up the lens on the left you see it through, I’d argue, a more realistic point of view reflecting that of the vast majority of entrepreneurial businesses out there.

With the right lens, the unicorn lens, you may see things like:

  • Latest $ valuation
  • Amount of money raised
  • Steep hockey stick growth curves (or not, surprisingly)
  • Customer acquisition pace, churn and ARPU, MRR, ARR, etc.
  • A Culture “statement”

With the left lens, the everyday business lens, you may see things like:

  • Growth of any kind (sustainability)
  • Employee engagement/satisfaction/turnover
  • Founder engagement, happiness level
  • Customer acquisition pace, churn and ARPU, MRR, ARR, etc.
  • A cultural vibe that shapes the tone, voice, and operations of the co.

So now that you know the parameters of the game we can look at our business through each lens.

I was chatting with a long time friend of mine this evening and we traded a few bits about cars, the Phoenix Suns, and work. I gave him an update on our progress at Pagely.

Pagely is a revenue-funded, founder owned and controlled, SaaS technology company that offers high scale, high performance, even bespoke at times, managed hosting solutions for WordPress.

This is our 18mo MRR graph.

  • We are clearly growing, but at an even pace vs. a dramatic hockey stick
  • We’ve passed on acquisition offers in the tens of millions, so we can use that as a valuation.
  • We have raised $0 in funding
  • We have next to zero turnover as a % of our headcount. And by all feedback our staff is happy and healthy.
  • Founder engagement is high, and very happy
  • The other business metrics are pointed in the right direction. CAC is falling, churn is falling, Acquisition pace is slightly accelerating after our target market change, ARPU is way up as we go up-market, MRR and ARR of course are growing steadily.
  • Culture. Found in spades that reflect’s and re-enforces our core values.

With those basic details in mind.

The viewer with the right hand lens, may look at our co. and see a ‘lifestyle’ business, or label it some other term, and move on. Techcrunch won’t even notice it, and by most measures in that world it’s not even a conversation.

The viewer with the left hand lens will see ~285% MRR growth in the last 18months, an engaged and active founding team, an engaged and growing diverse group of employees, and when peering deeper a solid business unit going in the right direction on all KPI’s.

Mind you, it’s the same business. Only the vantage point (lens) has changed.

Confession: I’m a left hand viewer. And so is my friend I was talking to. As we were dialoging about building our businesses and sharing status updates he offered up to me:

What’s more impressive to me than the trajectory is the way you are going about it- family first, take time for yourself, focus and dedication.

Which from my POV is a ringing endorsement as I replied:

…goal was to build something, even if it was not a unicorn, that we owned 100% of, spun off cash, and still had residual value come exit time.  Basically we win in every outcome.

We win in (nearly) every outcome. 

We built something from nothing, it has real value unto itself that we may realize at some point in the future upon an exit. Our team is energetic and committed. The business spins off cash. And the best part: My co-founder wife and I became parents, 2x, while building this co. and spend the day, every day, with our 2 young boys in the house with us giving them the love and attention they need and deserve.

Not every co. needs to shoot for the moon in an attempt to deliver 10x-100x returns for the money guys. Not every co. should be run as a personally held sustainable ‘small’ business.

Pick the lens that works for you when evaluating your next opportunity.

More, and likely better reading on this topic:

Employee compensation is more than just salary

Or healthcare, or stock options, or anything else listed in an employment contract.

At Pagely we are a distributed team spread all over the world, working different shifts in different timezones. They are some of the most passionate and dedicated people I know and I am fortunate to work with them.

As a business owner have you ever thought about what a conversation would look like between your employee and his/her best friend? Are they going to gush about how awesome their job is and how smart and talented their co-workers are? Are they going to share with their spouse that the CEO is a honest person, doing their best to build a company and making every effort to take care of customers and employees. Are they going to say the company they work for is grounded in integrity?

Now do the real mental exercise and ask yourself: What do your employees say about your company when in private among their family and friends?

How you conduct yourself as a CEO or manager, the words you choose and the tactics you employ in your marketing, how your company culture talks about the customers and the competition in private. All these things, these intangibles that are not listed on your offer sheets, are informing your employees on how they feel about the company and the people they work for.

Money makes the world go around, and rewarding employees financially is just the first step. Making it easy for them to tell other’s about the great place they work is a form of compensation that we at Pagely place a priority on.

Most people would be very uncomfortable saying:

My boss is a crook, and treats us like shit. Our support team is forced to upsell every ticket or lose their job, and the our marketing dept. are bunch of lying jerk off’s. But I need the job so I deal with it.

So don’t be that company.


Acquisition terms you may see when considering an offer.

Over the life of our business Pagely  we’ve seen a few term sheets from potential acquirers (None that we’ve accepted). There are few things I’ve seen in all of them that as a founder stuck out to me.

Cash is not really Cash until it is in your hand.

We’ll use some made up number’s here that make for easy math. 

You are minding your business and someone comes along and ask’s to buy your company. You choose to entertain them and see what they are offering. You got a number in mind, let’s see how how it all shakes out.

The term sheet has this nice big number acquisition price that get’s your attention: $30 million. Hey $30million, that’s a lot of cheddar and in line with what you were thinking is a good price for your company. Okay, so you keep reading and the terms go on to spell out something like this.

  • $8m cash at closing
  • $2m at milestone 1
  • $5m at milestone 2
  • $5m at milestone 3
  • 500,000 stock options

You think to yourself, hey that looks like only $20m, WTF? You keep reading and more details emerge.

  • $8m cash at closing
    • $3m of which will be held in escrow for 24 months
    • $1m of which is written in as a clawback you repay if you or any important staff leaves prior to 24 months
  • $2m at milestone 1
    • This is a simple time-based milestone, after 24months it’s yours.
  • $5m at milestone 2
    • This is a performance milestone, you only get it if your business unit they just acquired and integrated achieves some revenue goal
  • $5m at milestone 3
    • This is another performance milestone like above, but with a higher threshold
  • 500,000 stock options
    • 250k are granted at closing of deal, but on a 4year vesting schedule
    • 250k are actually part of the employment package for your team, but for some reason included in the total consideration of $30m they put in front of you. They don’t include the salary of your team, just the stock allocation. Odd right. And it’s on a 4year vesting schedule. So this doesn’t count as part of the acquisition price.
    • Option strike price is unknown, but for the math to work they assign an illustrative value of $20 per option. 500k * $20 = $10m.

Okay, so you have a better idea now of what you are looking at. Roughly $20m in cash, and $5m in stock options. Hey’s it’s still $25million right, and employement packages for your team. Well…

  • Of the $8m at closing, $3m is locked up in an escrow account you can’t touch for 24 months. This is essentially insurance for the buyer as if any legal trouble or anything pop’s up you did not disclose, they have easy recourse to just deduct what they want from the escrow account.
    • Of the $5m in cash you actually get in your hand at closing, you have to keep $1m of it liquid for the clawback provision in case you or a key team member quits early and you have to pay some of it back.
  • The $2m on the first milestone is essentially yours if you stick it out in 24 months. Cool.
  • The $10m tied up in milestone’s 2 and 3 are only yours if you hit those milestones, this is typically called an earn-out. Now more than likely the term sheet says something along the lines of “buyer will not intentionally make it hard for you to achieve these milestones, but will not put any covenant’s or assurances in writing to such effect”. What this means is that $10m is open to the whims of the acquirer; what if they decide to change tact and pull your team off your business unit to go work on another project for 9 months making it impossible to hit that milestone. Or the acquirer was acquired themselves and the new owner just decides to drop the business unit all together making your milestones not even feasible. So let’s say you only have a 50/50 chance of ever seeing a dime of this $10m.
  • The 250k stock options that are part of the business acquisition are on a 4 year vest. The acquirer is doing well from what you can see so these may be worth something in the future. Is it $1 or $100/share? Who knows. Most likely the default contract language will see you forfeiting any non-vested options if you leave the company prior to 4 years.

So after all that, you figure on the DAY you close this $30million deal (remember it’s really only $20m in cash, and 250k options they are telling you should be worth $20/share someday), you get.

  • $5m in cash, in your hand.
  • 250k stock options (not really yours yet as they have to vest over 4years).

Say it all goes well and a year later you get:

  • 1/4 of your 250k options are vested. It’s a private company, and there is no secondary market demand for these shares, so no realized value.

It’s still going well, and so at the 2 year mark you get:

  • $3m back from the escrow account
  • $2m for hitting milestone 1
  • 1/2 of your 250k options are now vested, still cant sell them as there is no secondary market.
  • You made it this far, so the clawback is void.. so you are not at risk of having to pay back the $1m (of the $5m you actually got at closing)

Yes! It’s now around the end of Year 3, things are still going good and you hit milestone 2. You get:

  • $5m sweet cold hard cash
  • 3/4 of your stock is now vested

Sometime later around the end of your fourth year you hit milestone 3 and you get the last chunk of change.

  • $5M in sweet cold hard cash
  • All 250k options are vested and maybe there is a secondary market or the company when public and you can actually sell these now for profit. WIN! (don’t forget to pay the taxes from your profit)
  • During your employment you likely got a nice 6 figure salary and some additional option’s along the way. Not a bad life really.

But wait, there’s more.

So it all went perfect, no hiccups, everyone is happy.

Let’s assume you have a fairly clean cap table when you sold your company. You own’d 80% of the shares of your business, and 20% is allocated to your employees, and for the sake of argument the 20% is fully vested.

So every  number up there you only get 80% of. 20% of the cash and 20% of the stock is spread around your former employees who had vested shares.

And DO NOT forget taxes at around 30% (of your 80%).

So your net, as the founder looks something more like this.

  • $2.8m at closing, of which $800k still needs to be liquid for for 12mos as your pro-rata share of the clawback
  • $1.6m from escrow at 24 months
  • $1.1m for milestone 1 at 24 months
  • $2.8m for milestone 2 at ~30 months
  • $2.8m for milestone 3 at ~40 months
  • 200k (80% of 250k) stock options
  • – deduct 1-2% in legal fees
  • – deduct whatever debt your company carried when purchased as this is cleared by funds at closing

Best Case:

Your $30million deal netted you ~$11m cash after taxes and dilution and 200k stock options that may be worth a little, or a lot. Not a bad deal at all really.

But, and this is a big but.

Every single acquaintance, advisor, attorney, entrepreneur, financial planner, and even private equity/VC friend I’ve ever talked to about an acquisition deal says the same thing: “You can’t count on ever seeing a dime after closing as hitting those milestones are out of your hands, so you need to be okay with the fact the cash at closing may be all the value you ever realize.” Sure you can negotiate a few things like double-triggers on the options, or reduced escrow amounts, or whatever have you. These changes around the edges of the deal structure can help but may not have an impact on the above statement.

Worst Case:

You go into it with good intentions, ready to work hard, but hit a cultural wall and offer your resignation after 6 months, your $30million deal nets you something around $2.2m after taxes, dilution, and clawbacks.

Average case:

For whatever reason (the acquiring company up and decides to change direction putting the other milestones out of reach, or you become disenfranchised and decided to go start a new project) you walk after 2 years, your $30m deal netted you around $5.5m and some stock (hopefully may be worth something).


So assume your company was generating $10m a year in revenue, you sold it for 3x topline or $30m in cash and stock. In the average scenario above you work hard at your new company, and decide after 2 years to move on. You net $5.5m cash + 2yrs of salary, and some stock. Would you still sell it?

Maybe you rode it a little longer, maybe you didn’t. The moral of the story here is between dilution, taxes, and the whims of the acquirer, you may do better off just continuing to grow the company and optimize it a bit more for profit and pay yourself a fatter dividend. Over time you may, or may not, pocket well over the $5.5m, and still own the asset that was valued at $30m a couple years prior (Maybe it’s worth $35m or $45m now).

So in order to net more cash in a deal like this:

  • Get a higher sales price (get competing offers/build your revenues)
  • Negotiate hard for better structured earn-outs, or no earns-out at all. (Maybe the total deal is only $18m+ stock, but $16m upfront)
  • Negotiate every other part of the deal to your advantage

The buyer is looking to reduce their risk, it’s a large sum of money they are agreeing to hand over to you and your team and they want to make sure they get an ROI on the investment. These deal terms are not bad or evil, they are just the acquirer’s way of reducing their risk.

As a founder it is your job to reduce your risk as well, it’s your company you are giving up. You are able to reduce some risk by selling (realizing some gains on your asset), but if the deal terms are not in your favor you are taking on even more risk that you’ll never see the full value you earned.

As a final note: I’m no expert in any of this. These are just my thoughts and point of view I’ve built over the years going through the motion’s a few times. In the end we have chosen to keep betting on ourselves and our company. This is not legal advice, consult your attorney.. blah blah blah.


Sauce will thicken

You followed the directions measuring and adding the proper amount of water to your sauce pan. You gently stir for the prescribed amount of time waiting in anticipation of your pending meal. After a few minutes you begin to think maybe you ruined it as the sauce seems to be overly runny and won’t stick to your noodles.

You refer back to the recipe and there it is on the bottom, nearly hidden is the last step. “Remove from heat, let stand 1 minute. Sauce will thicken“.

Is it not the same in business?

Sometimes a strategy just needs a little time to simmer for the flavors to blend. We get impatient and wonder why it is not working as well or as soon as we thought it should. So we set it aside for a moment wondering if we should scrap it and change direction or tact. And then it happens, the sauce thickens and it all comes together and you look like a genius.

We are in our 6th year now as Pagely having recently celebrated our 5th birthday in September. It’s been a long road filled with highs and lows, missteps and wins.

These last few months, it has really come together for us in a big way. Our topline is on fire as we are on pace to double revenues within a 3 quarter time-frame. We are augmenting our support and engineering teams with new hires. PressNomics 3 was a smashing success by all accounts and the goodwill that flows from that will only accelerate our upward trajectory.

Bootstrapping is not easy and takes a heaping dose of luck. Just remember to let the sauce thicken a bit before tossing it out and starting over.

How I made my older brother cry on April 1st

jayMeet Jeremy,

He is my older brother and is a good guy. He has a few big passions in his life: His kids, Snowboarding, Tie-Dye, and the band TOOL

When I say he loves TOOL, he really really loves TOOL, like went to 5-6 TOOL shows this year alone, and maybe 20, 30 in his life. He’s a superfan, period.

Quick backstory

Sally and I were out to dinner the other day with some friends, coincidentally it was the day after I attended the TOOL concert here in Phoenix (I’m a fan too). The FnB restaurant/bodega sells wine from the Caduceus Winery owned/operated by Maynard Keenen (TOOL vocalist). The co-owner of the restaurant secured me a hard to find bottle of Caduceus wine as a gift for my brother Jeremy who as you now know is a rabid TOOL fan. What a nice guy I am right?

Make him super happy

So I shoot off a txt message to Jay showing him what I got for him. (screenshots stitched in photoshop)


Notice that he said he got goose bumps. Jay is not a super outwardly emotional person. I am pretty sure this was a big deal for him.

Kick him in the junk.

Then a couple days later, on April 1.


Yeah, I did give away his Iron Maiden piece of mind tapestry to his friend when I was like 8, and I did shoot the neighbors chickens with his BB gun and let him take the blame when I was 9.  Meh.

So, pretty sure in the few minutes before I told him April Fools, my older brother was most definitely tearing up. I do have the bottle, and yes I will send it to him soon.. Ha.