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Are We Silly Geese (or Badass Business Birds)?
Maybe the business world has changed just enough for us to slip in behind the broprenuers.
Running Chill Subs has felt like living a game of duck-duck-goose.
If you've never played, it's simple: you sit in a circle thinking, "I'm a duck, I'm a duck, I'm a duck," until someone whacks you on the head and labels you, "GOOSE!"
It's a garbage game for garbage children.
But that's life. And life is mostly games. Right now, we feel as though we're in some big dumb game, thinking, "We're business ducks. We're business ducks. We're business ducks!" and hoping no one comes around to shout, "Hey, no, you're not! You're a couple of asshole geese!"
Because, as much as we want to look like a duck, quack like a duck, be a duck, we can't help thinking: Being a duck is stupid.
If you’d asked me five years ago how to start a successful online business, I’d tell you to go back in time and convince one of your parents to fuck someone with a trust fund. And, while I don’t want to disregard the obvious opportunities afforded by time-travel-trust-fund-fuckery, working on Chill Subs for the past year has taught me that times have changed. (No, not because I went back in time and got one of my parents to fuck someone with a trust fund—let the joke go, okay?)
Today, when you look into the online business "leaders" (Bezos, who received $245,000 from his parents, Zuckerberg who got $100,000 from his, and Musk with his apartheid memorabilia collection1), it’s hard to believe you’ll make it without injecting cash into a family connection.
And no, we haven’t gotten a huge cash injection, and we haven’t made it, but we think we're on the right track. So, what gives?
When we gander around at other startups, we see a lot of generic missions, hidden funding, carefully disguised corporate language, and super impressive resumes.
Here we are with no MBAs, accelerators, investors, mentors, or automated LinkedIn outreach models, making jokes about time-traveling parent-fucking with a company whose name begins with the word "Chill." Like some kinda freakin' stoners.
Are the business police waiting around the bend to come out and shout, “GOOSE!”
Have we been reinventing a square peg in the same round hole by not being infallible geniuses with deep pockets and business connections out the wazoo?
Should we not be using words like wazoo?!
Maybe, maybe not. Credit where credit is due, the web 3.0 crypto boom of serial entrepreneurs, trying to decentralize everything but picking your nose, bullied their way into the business party, and now we're slinking in behind them hoping to be cute enough so that no one asks us to leave.
Of course, the day you hear us try to put anything on a "blockchain" is the day to start shopping for ice skates in hell, but a few things have happened as a result of this kick-in-the-door of the business world. Mainly, it increased the accessibility of resources normal people need to start a company.
For example, we used Stripe Atlas. For a $500 fee and $100 per year, we were able to set up Chill Subs as a C-Corp in Delaware. They gave us a ton of credits for things like Notion, Amazon Web Services, and a shit-load of other things we haven't explored yet. When we want to sell something, all we have to do is click and a product is created.
When we need our finances tracked, ta-da! QuickBooks. (Okay, and shouting “HELP!” at Business Daddy a lot) Point is, all told, we spend roughly $150 per month2 to keep the lights on. (None of us take a salary yet.) This will change as we grow, but now there are tools designed to grow with us.
These companies have seen the value of helping small businesses early on because, if we are successful, we'll continue using their paid services when we can afford it.
So, we don't have to brush the crumbs off our shirts, change into something other than PJs, scrub 'fuck' out of our vocabulary, and walk to the bank to beg for enough money to open up a business.
The other key factor is that the internet has allowed us to eke out a freelance living while building the company and meeting people around the globe we otherwise wouldn't have met (like me & Karina).
When I was a kid, the internet was super young. My brother and I would stay up late on AIM chats asking 'A/S/L' and flirting with people we thought were other teenagers, but later found out, thanks to our parents, were “probably pedophiles trying to get pictures of our wee-wees.”
When Karina and I met via email, we were then able to hop on Zoom to learn pretty quickly whether either of us was a wee-wee-hunting pedophile. Sure, I can't with 100% certainty tell you that Karina has feet, but I don't think that should matter.
So, we're now in a world where starting a business is accessible & affordable, talent can find each other across borders, and everyone has become disillusioned by the idea that people running a business have to be rich old dudes with god complexes. Maybe there's finally room for a couple of silly geese trying their best.
Let's all just admit it already. People are tired of ducks. Embrace the Age of the Goose!
I’m being snarky here (and showing my bias) but it is undeniable he grew up privileged in a brutally segregated society and was lent the 2023 equivalent of roughly $50,000 by his dad to start his first company.
This has increased now because we’re paying our writers more & have a freelancer to help with our database. But that’s only in the past 2 months & not necessary to keep the site running.