The cavnessHR podcast – A talk with Joe Wallin of Carney Badley Spellman
The cavnessHR Podcast can be found at the following places or you can just type in cavnessHR on the respective app.
Google Play: https://cavnesshr.co/aa449
Pocket Casts: https://pca.st/8Jr8
Social Media links for Joe Below!!
Joe’s email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joe’s Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/wallin/
Joe’s Twitter: @joewallin
Joe’s Book Recommendation!!!
"How to Change Your Mind" by Michael Pollan
Link to purchase is below.
Joe’s Resources Below!!!
If anyone has any questions of general applicability to the startup community as a whole. You can e-mail me these questions at email@example.com.. So if you have general questions or questions of general applicability to the community at large. I am happy to answer them for you.
Jason: Hello and welcome to the cavnessHR Podcast. I am your host Jason Cavness. Today's podcast is brought to you by Audible. Get a free download and 30 day free trial at www.audible.com/cavnessHR. Our guest today is Joe Wallin. Joe are you ready to be great today?
Joe: Oh yeah, thanks for having me on the show. It's great.
Jason: Joe Wallin focuses his practice on emerging high growth startup companies. Joe frequently represents companies in Angel and Venture financing mergers and acquisitions and other significant business transactions. Joe also provides general counsel services for companies from startups to public. Joe thank you very much for being here. We appreciate it.
Joe: Happy to be on the show.
Jason: Joe what led you to a career in law?
Joe: It was kind of a not very well planned out thing. But I just basically enjoyed going to school. After I'd gotten enough credits at the University of Washington. I was trying to figure out if I should graduate or keep going to school. I was thinking about just continuing to accumulate maybe another undergraduate degree or something. I thought I should probably get a graduate degree of some kind. I looked at both the economics department and then law school. I had brother-in- law who was in law school. He's older than me. I just sort of concluded that could be more practical than a Master's Degree in Economics. I enjoy writing and I enjoy reading. I enjoy the things lawyers tend to do and that seem like a good idea at the time you.
Jason: What advice do you have for someone that just now starting a career in law.
Joe: Well, I mean I think the career advice for a young attorney is probably comparable to the career advice to any young professional in any field. I mean work hard and do your best work at all times. Try to always be educating yourself and get more educated and the more knowledgeable about particular things, particular industries and fields. Have fun, make good friends. But you know as far as in particular for lawyering. I think working on your writing is really a good idea. Writing as much as possible. So I would recommend that as something that helps.
Jason: So from your point of view. What do most startup founders get wrong.? What do they consistently get wrong over and over again?
Joe: I mean there is s a number of different things that happen along the way. If you have a growing company, there's a bunch of things that happen. What's really important along the way is you just make sure you document everything correctly. Documenting things correctly isn't really an expensive thing to do. It does cost a little money in lawyer fees. But if you fail to get somebody to sign the right kind of paperwork when they come to work for your company for example. That could hold up a financing. It could hold up a sell. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is you don't get people on the right paper. If you have somebody working for your company. You got to have them to have sign a document in which they list all IP and confidentiality provisions into the company. If you fail to get your workers on the right paper, that's a big mistake. Another mistake I see people make is they'll enter into agreements, found a company with other people and they won't put vesting on shares or they'll issue a big chunk of shares.
Joe: So there is no vesting and that person quits and owns big chunk of the company and basically you have to buy them out. So these are sort of kind of mistakes I've seen made.
Jason: Joe why do you enjoy working in the startup community so much?
Joe: You know it's a chance to spend time with people who are doing fun things. Usually your working with a group that's building something that's really interesting. It's a fun way to be able to sort of participate in something very exciting. Which is the building of a new business.
Jason: So how long have you been involved with startups?
Joe: I've been doing this since the late 90s.
Jason: Have you see your any kind of patterns either good or bad in the startup community?
Joe: I think if you go back to 1998 99, obviously, the 2000 and 2001 period. I think that the community in Seattle has gotten a lot stronger, a lot more robust. We have a lot more talent in town. A lot of great minds have moved here from all over the world to work here. We're really fortunate to have such a great community. I mean Seattle is just going through a boom. A good and positive thing.
Jason: Everyone talks about how San Francisco and the Silicon Valley are the Mecca of startups and VC. How does Seattle get to that level or does Seattle even want to get to that level?
Joe: It's a good question. If you hear a complaint, it is we don't have enough money in this town funding companies. Although if you talk to investors. Investors usually say they've never seen a company that deserves to get funded not funded. But I still think prevailing sentiment is we need more venture funds in town, more investors in town. More money being invested in early stage companies. I don't know how we get there. It takes a long time. It takes a long time to accumulate a community of people who do invest in companies.
Jason: Using your fortune teller skills how do you see the future of Seattle startups in the future for 10 years?
Joe: I think it's a really positive future. Because we have so many talented people working and living in Seattle. I know lots of them are locked up in big companies with very nice compensation packages So if you're making a lot of money at a big company, you've got challenging work and you enjoy what you are doing. The idea of leaving that and going to start a startup that might be hard to fund and making less money for some time. I mean that's a hard thing to do. I think sometimes we don't have as many founders of companies as we'd like because they are happy where they're at. But I think the fact that Seattle has some really smart people workings at so many different things. Just bodes really well and all that human capital is going to is going to generate companies.
Jason: Joe, next talk about a time you were successful in the past. What you learned from this success and what we can learn from this.
Jason: I think just hard work and thoughtful work planning. I think trying to surround yourself and be amongst the smartest people you can find. I believe in a lot of serendipity. I think a lot of really amazing things happen without planning.
Jason: Yes, I believe that you when you set something in motion. Later down like ten steps down the payoff will come.
Joe: I think you just work really hard. You try to be the best person you can be, try and have fun and then good things happen. I think that's kind of the way it works.
Jason: Joe, talk about a time you failed in the past. What you learned from this and what we can learn from this.
Joe: I mean when I think about things I've failed at. Usually when I'm thinking about things I fail at. I think about things I have not finished yet. If you've got a big boulder in your life. Say you've got a couple of big boulders. What I mean by that is a couple of big things that are long term things you're working on. That you really want to accomplish. I think you just got to keep going and not quit. So I suppose I would just say don't Quit.
Jason: Tell us about someone you has helped you in the past and how they helped you.
Joe: So many people have helped have helped me out. In billions of different ways. Probably everyone I know has done something nice for me. I always try and just help people as well. Because I think that's how you make the world a better place. So anyway be helpful try to be helpful.
Jason: Next tell us something about your yourself that most people you don't know. Of course your family knows, close friends know. But people that see you day to day, they might not know this about you.
Joe: I like reading all sorts of different types of books. I like playing golf with my family and friends. I like getting outside, hiking, riding around. I use to run quite a bit. I guess those are some things that maybe you wouldn't know if you just worked with me.
Jason: I understanding you have a book to recommend for listeners.
Jason: I have bunch of books I am reading right now. A book called "How to Change Your Mind" by Michael Pollan. That's a really interesting and fun book to read if you're looking for a good book. It's about psychedelics in America. It's a fun read and really well written.
Joe: I understand you have something for our listeners.
Joe: If anyone has any questions of general applicability to the startup community as a whole. You can e-mail me these questions. I've written a lot of blog posts. I've tried to write as many blog posts as I can to discreetly answer basic questions that come up in the course of trying to build a startup company. So if you have general questions or questions of general applicability to the community at large. I am happy to answer them for you.
Jason: I am sure you get lot of e-mails or phone calls asking for advice on different things. How do you find time to answer all those or do you even have time to answer all of them. How does that work. You have to get a lot.
Joe: It's a good question. I mean it's hard, because you're right my email inbox just fills up with hundreds of emails. I just try my best to sort of make my way through the email inbox and keep track of the projects I'm doing for people. Making sure I am paying attention to people. The sort of email inbox nightmare it is real. I mean there's just too many emails and the way the emails are organized in our email inboxes. Keeping on top of emails is a hard task.
Jason: Joe can you share your social media links for yourself and your firm.
Joe: I'm on Twitter. I'm at Joe Wallin. I'm on LinkedIn at Joe Wallin. If you have questions in general about legal things related to early stage companies. Feel free to shoot me to reach out to me.
Jason: For our listeners, we will have the links to his book recommendation and his social media on our show notes. You can find the show notes at www.cavnessHRblog.com
Jason: Joe, we are coming to the end of our talk. Can you provide any last minute wisdom or advice on any subject you would like to cover.
Joe: Maybe a parting thought would be hey if you're going to do a startup think about the fact that it's going to be a multi a maybe a 7 or 10 or 12 or 15 year project. So when you think about things in terms of the value of your time it makes sense that if you're going to start a company. Do it right from a legal perspective it doesn't cost much money.
Jason: I thought of one more question for you. Everyone says when you do a startup don't quit, keep going, be resilient and those types of things. But when should a founder say, you know what this is not working. I am not able to validate this idea. When should someone stop?
Jason: That's a really good question. I have seen this happen. Sometimes it's hard to quit, even if the answer is you should quit. Maybe because you spent a whole heck of a lot of years working on something. It's never gotten to the place where you hoped it would be. Maybe it's because you already dumped a lot of money into something and you don't want to see that money vanish. You can keep going, but that involves putting more money into a company. I mean it is really hard and actually there is an author and I've forgotten who. But there's someone who's written about this very idea like when do you just call it quits on something. How do you do it. Now a refusal to quit and stubbornness are both ingredients for success. Because if you're easily led to a place where you going to give up on something you're probably not going to succeed in building a startup company.
Jason: I can see where it will be very hard for someone to stop. Because you get involved and it consumes you 24/7. You wake up thinking about it. You go to sleep thinking about it. You wake up in the night. I can see where it would be very hard to stop.
Joe: I mean this is going to be something that's going to be different for each founder. But I think there are circumstances where you just need to pull the plug on something and it's hard to do. It's hard to do if you've devoted a lot of intensity and love and care to something for a number of years. To just basically say hey it's not going to work. This didn't work. Like our ideas aren't going to work. We are not going to be able translate all this into a business which is going to be a profitable business. So you just got to quit and do something else, find something else.
Jason: Joe great advice. Joe thank you for your time on the podcast today.
Joe: Thank you so much for having me.
Jason: To our listeners thanks for your time as well.