Ep. #1153 - First Principle Thinking
In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey and Paolo Tiramani, CEO of Boxabl talk about embracing first-principle thinking. Listen to them define and discuss first-principle thinking, why assumptions are dangerous, and why they institutionalize mistakes. The duo also share their thoughts on entrepreneurship, having the right people around them, and many more awesome insights for entrepreneurs.
Covered In This Episode
First principles refer to fundamentals; entrepreneurs should always use first-principle thinking to scale successfully.
Boxabl lowers the costs of home construction by using economies of scale. Listen to the discussion of Paolo’s backstory and the application of his first principles of entrepreneurship to Boxabl. Learn about unboxing assumptions, institutionalizing mistakes, and investors’ pitfalls.
Benefit from these startup founders’ insights on becoming a more successful entrepreneur. Join the conversation in this Startup Hustle episode.
- Paolo’s backstory (2:05)
- The pitfalls that investors usually face (6:55)
- First-principle thinking (11:42)
- Unboxing assumptions (16:27)
- Institutionalizing mistakes (26:02)
- Paolo’s first principles of entrepreneurship (36:29)
- Entrepreneurship does not occur from nine to five (39:19)
- You are who you hang out with (42:05)
- Join entrepreneurial support groups (44:17)
The currency that entrepreneurship trades in is execution. And there’s, I mean, how many million-dollar ideas do you want people like email me, ping me on social or whatever? I’ll give you a list. They’re everywhere. They don’t mean anything if you can’t execute it. Now you also mentioned getting in the ring with Mike Tyson, and Mike Tyson got a great quote that we love on the show love it. Everybody had a plan until they got punched in the face. Welcome to entrepreneurship listeners because that is what’s going to happen.– Matt DeCoursey
I’m very pleased and proud to say that our ever-expanding engineering and design teams are all very well trained in that sort of brutal, brutal truth. The thing, where we just get to the bottom line, there are no egos involved. Everybody’s got an ego. Everybody wants to have a good idea. But there’s a special joy, just being able to say you’re right. And it’s something I think all of us, as entrepreneurs, that have to be driven by the passion of our ideas to be able to say to themselves to try and mitigate failure.– Paolo Tiramani
So the reason we say to folks, it’s okay to make mistakes, just try not to kill us, is because we want them to speed through decisions. And if they make five decisions get two right, they’re 100% more successful than the person that took their time making one decision. So that’s the culture of mistakes here. Now, depends on where it is. Right? So, you know, in the factory, the safety, this OSHA, there are lots of things we can accidentally, you know, somebody can get hurt. On the office side, I think perhaps it is more pertinent. And on the design and engineering side, it’s absolutely critical to afford people the ability to make mistakes.– Paolo Tiramani
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Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!
Matt DeCoursey 00:01
And we’re back. Back for another episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey. Here to have another conversation, I’m hoping helps your business grow. So we’ve discussed so many types of thinking planning different types of approaches. And today we’re going to talk about first principle thinking. What is that? That’s a question I had to ask before I hit record, and I’m gonna save that answer for you. For just a moment, I want to remind everyone that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Hiring software developers is difficult and Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably and has the platform to help you manage that team visit full scale.io To learn more, if you aren’t aware, that’s my company. And we love talking to Startup Hustle listeners. So reach out, it only takes like two minutes to fill out the form at FullScale.io. And we can match you up with people that can help you solve problems.
Matt DeCoursey 00:53
With me today. I’ve got Paolo Tiramani, and Paolo is the CEO and founder of Boxabl. They’re in the modular construction industry and there’s a link for Boxabl, that’s Boxabl.com. It’s even easier than trying to remember how to spell that scroll down to the shownotes. Give it a click, click that Full Scale link while you’re down there, and you’re gonna end up where do you want to be? Boxabl develops a room module construction technology that enables scalable factory mass production? What does that mean? They’re gonna send you a house in a box and you unfold it and do a few other things. And I’m sitting here looking at these and I’m about to order one myself, I think because I’ve been shopping for foreign properties. And I’m like, I got all this raw land and I need like a tiny house or something to put on it. What I know is this space is hot. And this is really cool stuff straight out of Las Vegas, Paulo. Welcome to Startup Hustle.
Paolo Tiramani 01:45
Great, Matt. Love the show. Thanks for having me on. Fantastic.
Matt DeCoursey 01:48
Yeah, well, let’s let’s start our conversation with a little bit about your backstory. What What brought you to, we definitely want to talk about first principle thinking, but what on earth drove you to want to build and distribute on foldable homes?
Paolo Tiramani 02:05
Right. So my background is industrial design and mechanical engineering, I have a couple of degrees in those things. And just winding it back in the wake past. Yesterday machine. I graduated from college, I started a manufacturing company making barbed wire back then. And when we would attend trade shows and folks would say, can you design for us? Some people say no, we’re busy. And then I thought, well, what am I busy doing? So I started a company intellectual property licensing company decades ago, which is just a fancy way of saying that we invented stuff, and then licensed it out to industry and licensing. We license basically mechanical patents and designs, but no different than any other form of licensing that your audience might be more familiar with, like an author or a songwriter. And every time the book is bought, and the song is played, they get a couple of Benny’s. And we, we did that for a number of decades, just a team of probably in the total universe of the company, probably just a couple of dozen people. And we invented a lot of stuff, a lot of patterns. And the revenue really sort of became an annuity became a sort of recurring revenue, completely performance based, which sharpens your pencil, or maybe a mass these days very, very quickly, to be very, very focused not only on success, successful product in my world, but also longevity of that product. Because if you put energy into creating something for, let’s say, 24 months in ideation and tooling, and then it lasts one year, instead of 10 years, well, you didn’t do a very good job, you can 10x the success of that product, if you engineer for longevity. So we did that for a number of decades. And I think this is common with all of us, the grass always seems greener. What I mean by that is, you know, if you have an attorney, and you’re an entrepreneur and your your listeners are entrepreneurs, the attorney is like, man, you know, I wish I was free to start a company and I’ve got to read this contract, blah, blah. And so for me, I think, you know, I looked at our licensees who are operating by operating, I mean, manufacturing and distributing. And I said, wow, you know, and, you know, I think we could do that better in some instances. And so I sort of harbored ambition to be an operator in the space for several decades. And then I would say, if I continue with terrible analogies, you know, we’re inventors, right? So, you know, if I, my analogy is an accountant, you know, an accountant counts, he doesn’t he or she doesn’t care what they count, they just count. So if you’re, if your company is engineered to fix problems, you shouldn’t come up with the idea first, maybe you should come up with the problem first, right. So, so we looked around and said, If we’re going to be operators, let’s just let’s buy off something big Use the same amount of energy to do something big. So it is small, as long as you can pass it down into into segments and waypoints the big project for your entrepreneurs to take, you know, cherry sized bite at a time. So we said, okay, let’s, what’s the biggest problem that we’re that we’re the world is facing? And what, you know, in the physical space, I would say it’s a sort of atoms and bits, right? Who said that? But so, you know, is it digital or physical? So we’re not really digital people, I mean, fairly sophisticated. But we’re not digital people principally, were physical people in the physical world, in terms of our skill sets. So he said, What can we fix, and building construction just jumped out, you know, we were always always consumer product guys. And building construction jumped out as being completely pre industrial. And, and that sort of brought us to the doorstep of sort of the box double the box double project where we said, let’s find the biggest problem we can and fix it. You know, no hubris.
Matt DeCoursey 06:08
It’s a pretty big undertaking. I know that, you know, there’s, there’s other players in the space that are making it more competitive, which is probably good for humanity. Maybe maybe not as exciting for a business owner. But, you know, so. So I’ve Ron Paul, I’ve had this conversation with a lot of people that were in banner ads, and I have a big appreciation for the inventor, but they often do look at the you mentioned, the grass is greener on the other side, and they say, Well, if I build it, it’s kinda like the manufacturer that covets the margins that the retailer gets, oh, if we only if we only had those, we’d be better. There’s a lot of pitfalls that can come with that. What are some of the ones that you’ve experienced?
Paolo Tiramani 06:50
In terms of law specifically?
Matt DeCoursey 06:55
Okay, creating an idea, or an iteration or a plan or a print blueprint of something is a different part of the process than actually building it, having a distribution network, creating transactions, moving things across the country, you know, like, you know, yeah, you build, you have these amazing homes that that unfold and can be set up in an hour. But you got to get them to where they need to go and deal with a lot of other stuff. What is, you know, and that’s that, like I said, those are some of the pitfalls that, that I think the inventors I know, that I’ve run into, I know quite a few people that actually do invent stuff and sell the IP, because they’re not in the business of building like, one of my friends is a toy inventor. And you know, and he’s like, you know, I just don’t have the connections to talk to Walmart and all these other places and get these things out in mass. And that’s, that’s one of the things that’s a pitfall for him. So he doesn’t want to try to overcome that. He’s like, I just want to get you here.
Paolo Tiramani 07:51
Yeah, for sure. So I think before we even get to the execution, there’s a couple of things that I see over and over again, and I sort of probably feel cold and average once a month of folks that want to run an idea by me and get some, get some counsel on it. And I say, Well, okay, but you know, I’m gonna give it to you straight. Please don’t shoot the messenger. Hate me afterwards. I suspect sometimes they do. So
Matt DeCoursey 08:12
the first thing they do they hit me too. Yeah, I get the same thing.
Paolo Tiramani 08:16
I mean, the first first thing when you have an idea is that you sort of get you said, you sort of get romanced by your own idea. And you fall in love with your own idea. And you can’t look at it as third party and see whether it’s a good idea. That’s number one. So a lot of people actually proceed with an idea and don’t even do any due diligence, which today just means Googling, to see that. It’s probably been bid, it’s probably been invented already. So that’s not what
Matt DeCoursey 08:41
they say they don’t have any competition, but they haven’t checked.
Paolo Tiramani 08:44
Yeah, exactly. So put a kibosh on it and then, you know, the second thing is, if if it’s a space that already exists, and you have an idea in that space, they’re going to be they’re going to be you know, 1000 pound gorillas in that space, they’re going to crush you, and copy you. So can you protect it? So folks, the next step, folks, after people typically have not checked whether their idea already exists, they’ll go to the second step and say, Can we file a patent, not understanding what patents are. So patents fall into two broad categories in the physical world. There’s design and mechanical forget the design, that’s just shape anybody can do that make it pretty, that’s nothing fundamental. It’s not going to protect you. And then on the mechanical side, you can file a patent and the patent attorney probably get your pattern if he’s a good patent attorney. But what’s the value of the patent? What’s the value of by that? I mean, can it be worked around? Is it a defensible patent? You show me a patent. I probably work around and give you a solution, just as good that works right around the patent. And then the final thing when people think that the patent is the be all and end all is this a ticket to the fight. It’s a ticket to the fight doesn’t win the fight. It means it puts you in the ring with Mike Tyson. Probably not going to win And if it’s, if it’s a, you know, a big player, so there are a lot of things that you have to go through to realize whether and you have to really be very frank and honest with yourself. And then if you are the type of person that wants to come up with an idea and monetize it, you have to really look at yourself and say, Am I really an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur really means that you’re never gonna give up. And you’re going to do things that you don’t particularly enjoy doing. Because you have to have broad based skill set, you can’t just have an idea. And think somebody’s going to pick up the slack. Or don’t think you have to know something about law, business or economics or finance, or common sense. You know, how narrow what’s your, your skill stack? Is it narrow? Or is it broad? And if it’s narrow, like mine was just the designer at the end of the day? Are you willing to broaden it? Are you willing to do the things you don’t enjoy doing? And are you willing not to give up? So some of those things are things you have to think about? Before you sidle up to the edge of the cliff?
Matt DeCoursey 11:06
On the scales? Well, I’m gonna expand on the skill set thing, I think interest set, because you can be good at doing 10 different things. But if you’re not interested in doing them, you’re probably not going to do them. Well. Just because you can do it doesn’t mean you’re going to do it well, or you’ll put it off. And I think people inherently just don’t like to do shit that they don’t find interesting. And they’re not passionate about so. Okay, so as advertised, let’s discuss first principle thinking. And this is an approach that you have to business and everything else. Can you begin by? How do you define that? Follow?
Paolo Tiramani 11:42
Yeah, so you know, I suppose with my background, I look at everything through a lens of design, and innovation. And then there’s also an aesthetic component, but mostly, you know, design and innovation. So, so, if, if I had to just in a sentence, say, you know, what is first principle thinking you have to get to the core of the topic, you have to get to the kernel, ke R N E, L, thank, you know, what is the root cause? What is the, you know, the chromosome, what’s the single cell, you know, you know, peel away the layers of the onion, I’m going to keep going with horrible analogies. What is what is, what is the core of the question or the problem and get down to that? First of all, numero uno, this is really design principles, but I think it goes actually for life concepts, in general. And then in the design world, you say, Okay, what is what’s solving that today? So you, you look at what’s around and you look at a commodity might be a table, a table, or a paperclip or a chair or something like that. And you look at that, and you say, Well, that’s what exists in the market right now. And just because you’ve seen it a million times doesn’t mean familiarity breeds contempt. You just poopoo it and say, Well, my, my idea is better. The commodity, the commodity, the commodity, whatever it is, whether it’s, you know, lumber framing, or whatever it is, is what is what’s left after everything that doesn’t work has been thrown out. It’s what’s left after everything that doesn’t work has been thrown out. And that’s what’s left standing. And that’s the way things are done. So you have to say to yourself, well, they’ve been a lot of they’ve been a lot of contenders to dethrone this paperclip, whatever it is, why is my better? Why did those others fail? And why won’t my concept fail? So you really have to get to the root cause? And that’s your that’s your first step.
Matt DeCoursey 13:57
Yeah, I think that you said a few minutes ago, I say this a lot. The the currency that entrepreneur, entrepreneurship trades in is execution. And there’s, I mean, how many million dollar ideas do you want people like email me ping me on social or whatever, I’ll give you a list. They’re everywhere. They don’t mean anything if you can’t execute it. Now you also mentioned getting in the ring with Mike Tyson and Mike Tyson got a great quote that we love on the show love it. Everybody had a plan until they got punched in the face. Welcome to entrepreneurship listeners, because that is what’s going to happen. I mean, I I spend a lot of time talking about that. You mentioned that, that monthly or a couple times a month someone wants to bring an idea through and they want to talk about it. They say hey, I got this great idea for this. And I started those conversations you mentioned like, Okay, first off, like you say, don’t shoot the messenger. I have rules. I say, I’m not going to argue with you about whether I’m right or wrong. And if you want to and you can’t Don’t be Anatomy for what I’m going to tell you, because I’ll lay it right on. Yeah. But then the next thing is always, are you sure you’re ready to get into the world of entrepreneurship? Because it’s, it’s one thing to have a plan, then you can start getting punched in the face, you get punched in the face again, and how much of a fighter Are you? how resilient Are you? And I think that you’re gonna find that the most successful entrepreneurs are scrappy, they have scars, they’re resilient, they’re driven, sometimes stubborn, but not so stubborn that they drive the ship into the rocks. You know, it’s a pretty definable character set. With that now, in regards to, you know, first principle thinking, you talking about, I asked chat GPT because it’s the it makes me smarter when I talk to guys like you Paulo. So, so I like to preface that, but But yeah, it’s talking about you know, about how to practice it. And it talks about it says mentions, and you’re identifying and defining your assumptions. Because assumptions are not always usually our true kind of like the assumption that, hey, this great idea that I have, like, I get that one all the time. And I’m like, You got there’s a ton of competition. Oh, no, I don’t have any competition. Two seconds of Googling, and you’re like, here’s like, 50 pages of people that are doing this. But those are assumptions that that that can be difficult. Now, when it comes to Boxabl, would you be willing to share an assumption you made of made that you quickly unseated or or unboxed?
Paolo Tiramani 16:27
Oh, very nice, very nice. Yeah, absolutely. We are very, very transparent here at Boxabl. I think it’s one of our biggest assets, actually. We’re just being ourselves. Just easier that way. But yeah, absolutely. You know, yeah, absolutely. So you know, when it comes to back to first principles, and misplaced assumptions happens all the time, especially if I sort of revert to my stomping ground, you know, the design well, so in terms of our, you know, product, you know, step two, when you start to design an engineer, and, you know, prototypes, and big ideas are a dime a dozen ideas are, you know, easy, doing what we’re doing behind us, you know, replication by the 1000s, potentially hundreds of 1000s. And millions, that’s hard. That’s hard, you know, you need to have a lot of discipline. Yeah. And when, you know, when we look at a product, we immediately default to some some other core principles when it comes to any mechanical engineering or product design, you know, sort of demand for efficiency, things like that. The three sort of legs that we put down of our table of our store that makes it stable, that drives us and our engineering team is the highest throughput, the highest production volume, at the highest quality and the lowest cost. keeping those things in mind, those three first principles in mind are extraordinarily powerful, especially when they are sort of soaked into the DNA of our teams here. So what does that look like? It means, you know, everything from the big to the small, and always second guessing, revisiting those assumptions. So that means, you know, the fewest number of total components remove a component, you remove the process, you move to supply chain for that component, the maximum number of, of symmetrical components, the fewest number of unique components, the fewest number of fasteners, how can we simplify, simplify, simplify, and sometimes you can take it too far, you have to, you’ve simplified it so much that it’s theoretically simple, but then it becomes a little harder to make. So you know, maybe a fastener additional component, or you break the single component back into two, sort of, sort of creeps in. And it’s just a classic case, for your point about revisiting assumptions. And it’s, you know, one step back to take two steps forward. And the root, the root reason you can do that swiftly or an organization can do it swiftly, is that when the organization of the individual can admit when they are wrong, I’ll say that, again, when you can admit when you are wrong, and take joy in it. Actually put, put, just put your ego to one side. And I can I can describe to your listeners, you know, actually how to do that. So when we sit around the table, let’s say it’s an engineering meeting, the guys are gonna hear me say a lot, a lot. A lot of a lot of times say, I don’t know if I’m right, but blah, blah. I don’t know if this is a good idea. But blah, blah. So I’m prefacing it the same. I don’t know. I’m just throwing it out there. Sometimes. I’ll say this is not a good idea. But let me throw it out there. Why am I doing that because it ideas run around A table, let’s say in an engineering meeting. And oftentimes you just riff on it. And it turns into a good idea, it turns into a good idea. So this is very, very important just to air out, you know, you know, ideas. The nice part about being raw, is if you have a conviction, and you say, Okay, I’m not sure about this, but I think this is fantastic. And let me say, and you say, what the idea of the component is, the commander, the idea. And, you know, obviously, as the CEO, maybe folks are a little less adventurous, you know, saying no, to me, I’m, you know, I’m sensitive to that. So I really make it to say, Listen, you know, you are being asked to criticize here. And so I’ll say, I think this is a fantastic idea. And then somebody else will come up with a completely different idea. And the nicest thing that can happen to me is and the come and the business, is I look at their idea, as a third party, not as invested or interested party, because my idea, and I’ve got an ego, don’t care, I’ve been doing this too long, I look at it as a third party, who’s paulose idea. And here is John’s idea. And then makes it very easy to see which idea is better. And then the nicest thing that can happen, the fastest, most efficient thing that can happen is the other party’s idea is better. And if you have the maturity to realize that the two best words that can come out your mouth, you’re right. You’re right. So why is that helpful? Well, first of all, I don’t have to convince the other guy that I’m right, if my theory is better, that’s going to slow everything down, it’s going to take longer, and he may still not or she may not be as invested in pursuing that idea. Even if they’ve been technically convinced, they still feel that their idea is right. If their idea is better, I don’t have to deal with that. I don’t have to convince that person, I don’t have to worry about them, really not pursuing it was sort of maximum Gustaf they’re on it, they will so feel good, because they had a great idea. Everybody’s rocking and rolling. So being wrong, and being able to admit it is a massive, massive virtue. And in the world of ideas and innovation, you know, peep folks see the resident, tick the box for product, you know, they see the unboxing and say, oh, man, that’s a great idea. That idea is backed up by hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of smaller ideas, right down to the granular level. So we don’t get to make and sell that unless we can process in bulk. All those ideas. And I’m very pleased and proud to say that our ever expanding engineering and design teams are all very well trained in that sort of brutal, brutal truth, the thing, where we just get to the bottom line, there’s no egos involved, everybody’s got an ego, everybody wants to have a good idea. But there’s a special joy, just being able to say you’re right. And it’s something I think all of us as entrepreneurs, that have to be driven by the passion of their ideas, to be able to say to themselves to try and mitigate failure.
Matt DeCoursey 23:28
Yeah, I agree with you. I have a couple of comments about that. Before I lay those out, I want to remind everyone that finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit full scale.io where you can build a software team quickly and affordably use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers testers and leaders are ready to join your team go to full scale.io to learn more. You know, Paula, so much of what you’re talking about falls into the category of what we at Full Scale call critical thinking. And that’s, you know, getting that ego out of the way. And then, you know, a couple of things I wanted to unpack here is, you know, you were mentioning our as CEOs and founders, sometimes exercising our maybe good ideas, maybe bad ideas, I think it’s important for you, as the leader to also let other people’s possibly bad ideas, try to take flight. And the reason that that’s important is you want people to keep bringing new ideas to you. And if you shoot 100% of them down, you’re going to create a culture where people just he’s gonna say now, he says no, every time I want to do that now, now with that and fostering this culture of innovation, there’s a couple things you want to avoid. Don’t ever be the company that finds yourself saying this, but it’s always the way we’ve done it. That’s a bad thing. We’ll be looking like you mentioned always looking for a more streamlined approach or a simpler, the most efficient thing you can do at your business is often stopped doing something altogether. Now with that part of why getting the ego out of the mind Get getting your ego out of the way. But for you and your team, you know what, you’re gonna fail at a lot of stuff. But that also can generate a sense of peace of mind. And you’re sitting there thinking, why would failure give me peace of mind? Well, at least you know that that thing that’s been rattling around in your head and an entrepreneurs mind often sounds like a blender full of bottle caps on high. And you get these things out of your head, you’re like, Okay, well, we finally tried it. It didn’t really go the way I hoped it would. But but now we know. And knowing is, is an important part of that generates peace of mind, because you can sit there going, Oh, God, I’ve had this great idea for so long. And why don’t we do it? Why don’t we do this could change the game. And then sometimes you try it. And all you hear is wow. You gotta laugh at yourself about it. And it’s the CEO. And like, you know, you say, hey, and you can pull the CEO card, you say, hey, look, this may go horribly. And I’ll take the responsibility, if it does, but we need to try this. Yeah,
Paolo Tiramani 26:02
we’ve actually, we’ve actually institutionalized mistakes at Vauxhall. And I think it’s very uncommon, we actually have back to, you know, first principles, thinking, we have basically three things we train folks in, when they land when they land here, which is I think, rather uncommon, culturally. But if I can just focus on the mistakes part of your argument, and it’s very, very, very interesting. I’ve never heard another company say this. The first thing possible three things. First thing is you’re allowed to make mistakes. And that’s just not just platitudes and bullshit, you’re allowed to make mistakes. And if I may, let me tell you why. We want people to move quickly. With making decisions, we want people to move quickly with making decisions. So if they’re concerned, if that staffer is overly concerned about making mistake, looking back to his boss getting fired, they’re just going to freeze up and they’re going to take forever, for ever to make a decision or worse not make a decision at all. And then you got to catch bone going on, you’ve got overhead and decisions are not being made, or companies basically grow on major minor decisions. So we’ve got that individual at any level of the organization. And he’s got to say, or she’s got decisions to make, I want them to not be too concerned about making a mistake. But I do want them to process decisions faster. And let me put some numbers to that. If that person is concerned, I’ll make one decision over x period of time, if that person is less concerned, a little bit more freewheeling, more empowered, and in charge, make five of those decisions make five of those decisions. Now, let’s say that person makes five decisions, and they get two of them. Right? Not a very good batting average got two of them, right? And they got three of them wrong. And we also say, you know, try not to kill the company with the three bad decisions. And less, hopefully, hopefully, the remediation on the bad decisions isn’t too expensive. But you made two good ones. Now, if in the same period of time, you only make one decision, it’s digital, it is a good decision, or it’s a bad decision. If it’s a bad decision, you’re bad zero. If it’s a good decision, you make you made one good decision. Well done. Well, you know, Joe, Joe next door, he made five decisions. He got three of them wrong, but he made two, right. So he’s made two, two good decisions, and you’ve only made one. So the reason we say to folks, it’s okay to make mistakes, just try not to kill us is because we want them to speed through decisions. And if they make five decisions get to right, they’re 100% more successful than the person that took their time making one decision. So that’s the culture of mistakes here. Now, depends where it is. Right? So, you know, in the factory, the safety, this OSHA, there’s lots of things we can accidentally, you know, somebody can somebody can get hurt on the on the office side, I think perhaps is more pertinent. And in the design and engineering side, it’s absolutely critical to afford people the ability to make mistakes. So, you know, so I mean, you know, you know, that’s that that’s, that’s, that’s, that’s one of the main main things here. Is that, yeah, go ahead, make mistakes.
Matt DeCoursey 29:33
I created a principle at my company or to aid and the speed of decision making. I call it the rule of Yes. And the rule of Eos operates as follows. If you think I’m gonna say yes, 90% of the time, just do it. Don’t ask I’ll deal with the 10% of the time you’re wrong. And some of that isn’t you know, that’s that’s more protecting my own time and wanting to speed things up because you get people that want, you know, You have an office manager that wants to stop you and what you’re doing and say, you know, we’re out of envelopes and stamps, should I buy more? Coffee? Yeah, that you can die to death by 1000 tiny cuts as a CEO and an entrepreneur and a founder like that every day, especially when you have hundreds of employees, if you have 300 employees, and every single one of them waste one minute of your time, every day, your day is gone. And you know that some of that, yes, it also empowers them to just do stuff. And it also for me, it also prevents me from being snarky, because eventually I’ll answer that by going if you think we’re ever going to mail something again. Sure. You know, and that’s not really, I’m not really living my best life or being in my best to me when I say that, but depending on how that occurs, but yeah, the decision making is as important and yeah, I try to tell everyone right away, like, I’m like, You’re gonna fail at some point. And that’s okay, I don’t I’m gonna adopt that just don’t kill the company on the process. But yeah,
Paolo Tiramani 30:59
it’s actually a beautiful lead in to the second of three, the three things that you know, so I’m sort of, like threes and fives, three, it’s easy for make decisions, five, make decisions. When you get into the sevens more, it’s easier, it’s more, it’s more difficult to choose, and more difficult to remember. So we have these three principles that lead in the lead, and this is beautiful in terms of taking ownership. So you know, you see companies saying this, and it’s just kind of blather. But we really mean it for exactly the example you just made, which is if somebody is scattered around shadow scan and making a mistake, and they just they come to you, and they say we’re out of envelopes, can I get more envelopes, it’s just get the fucking envelopes. Forget snarky, let’s start with the swearing. And so we really encourage every everybody at every level of the organization to take charge. And it normally takes them only about 90 days, I would say, you know, we’ve got a couple of 100 people here. It takes about 90 days and people slowly sinks in and they see their peers, they see the boss, they see the way folks operate and talk to each other. And they I think it sinks in is that oh, well that they weren’t talking points, they actually want me to take charge. So when you take charge, when we’re doing something as big as boxwalla, growing it as quickly as we can, as you said it can’t, it can’t be topped down. You know, the top has to give a very long term vision. That’s that’s part of the job. And then the infill has to happen through leadership at every level of the organization. Because why? Oh, yeah, because they can, because they can make mistakes. And then the other thing is, the point you just made is when somebody doesn’t take a leadership position, because they know that they’re supposed to, and they’re allowed, and they will be rewarded, and they won’t get beaten up for mistakes too badly. It’s all good, just go for it, then they’re not going to become a sinkhole. For the boss, the envelopes are out, you’ve just become a sinkhole for your boss, because you’ve just taken up this time, instead of just taking leadership and, and fixing. And fixing problems, you know, in the subset of leadership is not saying, Oh, it was his fault. Now just accept it, you know, buck stops with you. And you’ll get a lot more credit here at the company. So leadership at every level of the organization, I think is kind of unique to our company, and I think is probably due to the background, cultural background of the individuals here in terms of entrepreneurship, and start up. So number one, make mistakes. Number two, lead both with subsets. And they lead to, they lead to the third thing, one of only three things that drive our entire organization is the only thing you cannot do here. The only thing you cannot do is forget something. And people conflate forgetting something with not getting to a task. They’re completely different things. You cannot get to a task, you’re allowed to do that. Because that’s resource driven. You don’t have resources, you need to hire somebody underneath you you need, you need other things. So they’re very different things, there is no reason and it is an unforgivable sin possible to forget something especially today, when you’ve got all these electronic tools and reminders, both written and oral, that you can just speak it to not not forget something because why? Because you become that sinkhole again. It’s a sub, it’s a different side of the coin to taking a leadership and responsibility. So make mistakes, lead. Don’t forget anything. These are the core principles coming back to our first principles thinking as we design the company, as well as the product and always keeping it simple. You know, those are the three principles of the company in terms of day to day management and personal growth of the individuals. And I think, you know, when I look around culturally, we have a happy team, we generally have a pretty happy team on both sides of the aisle, because nobody wants, what’s that classic thing nobody wants, you know, responsibility without authority. Nobody wants responsibility without a degree of autonomy to take to take care of the responsibilities. So, you know, we pay a lot of attention to those things. And I think it’s one part of our secret sauce that allows us to grow, grow and speed through the massive pile of stuff that we have to get through.
Matt DeCoursey 35:44
Sao Paulo, we’re almost out of time. And I don’t want to forget to remind everyone that if you need to hire software, engineers, testers, or laters, Full Scale can help. We have the people the platform and the processes to help you build a team of experts go to full scale.io, where our platform will match you up with fully vetted highly experienced software engineers, testers and leaders at Full Scale, we specialize in long term teams that work only for you learn more at full scale.io. As mentioned, we’re almost out of time. So Paul, I want to ask like, you’ve been very successful as an entrepreneur, you’ve done a lot of different things. What are some of the things that you would suggest to anybody that wants to follow in your footsteps? Like what are some of your, what are some of your first principles when it comes to entrepreneurship.
Paolo Tiramani 36:29
So some things we spoken about, you know, doing things you don’t want to do having a broad knowledge base wide skill stack, but before you do any of that, just look deep inside yourself. And if you are not wired for this, please don’t do it. And you’re just going to be miserable. If you’re not willing to wake up thinking about this, or go to sleep, thinking about this, thinking about it when your girlfriend or beautiful wife is talking to you. And they say, Honey, you’re not listening, because you’re not because you’re thinking about it. If you’re not willing to play with your kids, your children and be thinking about it, don’t do it, you have to be wired for it, you’re gonna have to give something up. If you’re not wired for stress, I strangely wired for stress, very little things, very few things. Stress me, if I wake up in the morning, I figure out I figure I’m ahead. So I’m not really going to worry too much about stress, I’m just going to roll with it. So if you’re nervous individual don’t do it. You know, if you like your extracurricular activities, if you like hiking, mountain biking, you can do those things. But they have to come second to your task. You know, if you like going to the gym, riding a motorcycle, in my, in my personal experience hanging out with my beautiful girlfriend, we’re going to come second. And if you’re not willing to put those things second doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it just means you really shouldn’t be an entrepreneur. And finally, I can’t stress this. I can’t stress this. Enough. You must never give up. You must be one stubborn son of a bitch, you have to be a really stubborn bastard. And you must not give up. And when I say not give up, it could take you decades. You know, what’s that saying? And it took me 20 years have an overnight success. More entrepreneurs, including myself, that is very true, you must not give up, you must not give up, give up. So if you’re gonna give up, don’t do it. So, you know, I don’t want to sort of focus on those negatives, but I just really do want to focus that you have to be excuse that noise and the jets flying and you have to be heart, mind and soul into this. So
Matt DeCoursey 38:49
are you next to the Air Force.
Paolo Tiramani 38:52
One of the really nice things here in North Las Vegas actually live on the Las Vegas Strip and driving drive 10 minutes, and you’re out in the middle of nowhere. And we’re next door to Nellis Air Force face. Base. And we have a lot of we have a lot of geeks here
Matt DeCoursey 39:11
we got to have they’re on their way to area 51 You know so
Paolo Tiramani 39:15
so when I see those jets flying, I love it.
Matt DeCoursey 39:19
You know, I wanted to I wanted to parlay Hopefully Hopefully they don’t drop anything on your production facility. A couple things here. One. You know, for those you listen, you can’t see what I see. I’m gonna put we’re gonna put some of these videos online because this is you can see the factory and unbox hobble behind Paulo right now which build houses with that. Now I wanted to I had a couple of comments on the way out of my own to parlay off what you said. So when I got married, I told my wife I said now I need you to know. I’m kind of old at this point. And I’m probably not going to do Ange and I’m an entrepreneur, which means you’re always going to have to shoot, you’re going to be married to me and the business, are you willing? Are you willing to accept that? And she was. And with that, you know, I think if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, a lot of that comes with getting people around you that except that kind of reality, you know, and I try to do my best to not point out the second place, or the spot in line. But you know, you got you like you said, if you want to be out doing things, you want to have a life, you want to have a hobby. Entrepreneurship does not occur from nine to five every day. In fact, the world will almost certainly find ways to make it not. You know, I have 300 employees in the Philippines right now I’m on a 13 hour time difference than them. So when shit goes wrong in my world, that’s it like I can to in the morning, man or three in the morning or six in the morning, which is still early for me. And so, you know, anyway, it’s not for the faint of heart. And but if you’re willing to accept that, I think that you know, I mean, here’s the thing, man, I dropped out of five colleges. I’m not like a high pedigree guy. I didn’t go to Harvard, I you know, any of that. And I figured it all out on Google and YouTube, and I’ve done really well for myself, which means you can too, you can get past all that if you want to be a driven Problem Solver that doesn’t quit. So Paolo, thank you so much for joining me. I love what you’re doing at Boxful. I love guests and businesses that are solving world problems. And you are and that, you know, you talk about, like I mentioned, I mean, I’m sitting here looking at the box of a website, I want to encourage everybody to go there too, because like I said, I’m trying to buy acreage in the middle of Kansas where I’m at, and I’m sitting there going, Oh, my God, I need a structure on this thing. Now if I can just unfold it, then that feels a lot easier than everything else. So I’m gonna get to work rethinking what how I’m gonna build on my, by the way, and I’m getting this farmland so I can go somewhere and just be left alone, because I need a little bit of that in my life too. So
Paolo Tiramani 42:05
definitely a token to sort of Full Scale, a constitutional loving, freedom loving American here, we want rewind, just very quickly to one point that you made, that I really like. And it just talks about the people around you. Yeah, you do have to find a good sort of partner in crime, you know, that understands what you’re doing, and that you can be sort of mutually supportive and all that. But also, and I think this goes perhaps for some of your younger entrepreneurs, is you really are who you hang out with. Oh, yeah. And I didn’t realize that for the longest time, it took me decades to realize that you really are who you hang out with. So you if you’re complaining about this guy, you know, drinking till two in the morning, or being a deadbeat or being lazy or not being responsible. That’s, that’s you, because you’re hanging out with him. So get that be very sensitive to that.
Matt DeCoursey 43:00
I’ve had a lot of lonely weekend nights over the last 15 years because of that, wanting to avoid the wrong people.
Paolo Tiramani 43:08
Yeah, yeah. Get them out of your life, even if they’re your best friend, get them out your life, you know, the friend that you had in middle school, it didn’t grow up with, with what your what you want to do with your life. Just get them out of your life. And just focus on positivity and positive people and surround yourself with people that are positive. I know that sounds like a truism, but…
Matt DeCoursey 43:30
It’s real. And it’s 100 What’s easier, climbing the mountain yourself or asking those on top to pull you up, find the people that you want to be and become friends with them. And you’ll find that entrepreneurs are very accepting of that. Because it’s a lonely existence I need to be around other people that are doing high performing things and the error stand up there man. So you know find a way to make it happen and it really does make a difference. There’s it does sound cliche to say these things but hey, these these sayings exist for a reason. And and it’s true. Coming back, man, we might unfold, unfold, unfold the unit man we need we need something to jump into.
Paolo Tiramani 44:17
We’re gonna make it bulletproof, you know. Just really good point you just made is on the support group side. You know, definitely join entrepreneurial support groups. That’s something I never really did, should have done. Join entrepreneurial support groups, because when everybody says aisle six, you’re nuts. Those folks won’t. Those folks won’t. It’s very, very positive. And they’re everywhere. They’re everywhere.
Matt DeCoursey 44:47
Yep, you can live it, eat it and breathe it if you want it Paulo, thank you so much for joining me. I really am gonna take cover I hear the jets coming and that’s making me wonder. Yeah, I’ll catch up with you down the road?
Paolo Tiramani 45:01
I’m gonna go under the table myself, Matt. It’s absolute pleasure. And if you’re in Las Vegas, where are you by the way?
Matt DeCoursey 45:07
We’re in Kansas City and we’re planning to be in Vegas. I was thinking I might need to stop by there. Yeah.
Paolo Tiramani 45:13
North Las Vegas Take my cell number offline if you like and, or, you know, through one of the guys and we’ll host you here. In fact, if you want if you’d like to do a podcast here, we have a full audio setup and you could just do an ad hoc one, then you can write it off as a business expense.
Matt DeCoursey 45:29
Well, yeah, I have a big client, that’s Urban Necessities that sell sneakers in the mall, they’re huge operation and I don’t know if you’ve been to their store, but that’s where I’m going to take you and get you some new kicks.
Paolo Tiramani 45:41
Get me a sneaker now. And again, if you want to do a podcast here, you’re very welcome to use our facilities.
Matt DeCoursey 45:47
I like the invite.
Paolo Tiramani 45:48