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About The Guest
Spencer Rascoff is an entrepreneur who co-founded Zillow, Hotwire, and dot.LA, Pacaso, Recon Food, Queue, and Supernova, and who served as Zillow’s CEO for a decade. Spencer is an active angel investor and is starting new companies through his Los Angeles startup studio “75 & Sunny.” Spencer is co-chair of Supernova, a family of Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) which have raised over $1 billion in capital. He is also on the Board of Directors of Varo Money. In spring 2022, Spencer was a Visiting Professor. He taught Harvard College’s first-ever startup class “Startups from Ideation to Exit,” and in the Fall of 2019, co-created and co-taught the Harvard Business School course, “Managing Tech Ventures. Spencer is the host of “Office Hours,” a podcast featuring candid conversations between prominent executives on leadership, diversity and inclusion, and startups.
Sophia Rascoff is co-founder and CEO of Recon Food, the vertical social media app where people can reconnect over a shared love of food. Sophia is a student at Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles, where she is a leader in the entrepreneurship and creative problem-solving organization; a leader in the Latin American/Hispanic Student Organization; a recipient of the presidential volunteer service award.
- 00:00 – Intro
- 04:16 – Sophia Rascoff’s origin story
- 07:45 – Spencer Rascoff’s origin story & his starting a company with his daughter
- 11:23 – Starting up a social media app
- 13:52 – Vertical-driven social media
- 20:23 – Some ways of growing and building up a community
- 23:06 – Turning a community into a successful business model
- 25:24 – What are the benefits and drawbacks of working in a family?
- 30:16 – Managing her studies and her business at the same time
- 33:16 – Sophia’s future education plans & Spencer’s thoughts on them
- 36:17 – Learning to code at such a young age & Sophia’s role at the company
- 38:49 – The most important traits to be a successful entrepreneur
- 41:37 – How did the Rascoffs find the founder-product fit?
- 45:28 – How did Sophia accomplish all that she did at a young age and how did social media affect it?
- 54:16 – Where can people connect with Sophia Rascoff and Spencer Rascoff?
- 55:08 – The biggest challenges faced by Spencer and Sophia Rascoff
- 57:08 – The most impactful person in Sophia’s and Spencer’s lives
- 59:44 – Sophia and Spencer’s book or podcast recommendations
- 1:01:04 – What would Spencer and Sophia tell their younger selves?
- 1:02:47 – What does success mean to Sophia and Spencer Rascoff?
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What is the Success Story Podcast?
On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.
The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.
Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.
He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.
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Machine Generated Transcript
recon, people, social media, food, founder, Sophia, app, community, vertical, Instagram, friends, founded, spencer, HubSpot, building, working, build, post, company, years
Scott D Clary, Sophia Rascoff, Spencer Rascoff
Welcome to spinsters a basketball podcast about basketball. I’m Haley O’Shaughnessy, and I’m Jordan Mulligan. Each week we bring in guests that range from our very best friends to former general managers to actors and directors to current and former players, or the girlies as we
were talking about trade rumors and game breakdowns, yes. But also this doesn’t really care about like how crews my bleaching his hair, actually derail his time with the Lakers.
Listen every Tuesday and Thursday to spinsters wherever you get your podcast.
Scott D Clary 00:36
Welcome to success story, the most useful podcast in the world. I’m your host, Scott D. Clary. This success story podcast is part of the HubSpot Podcast Network. The HubSpot Podcast Network has other great podcasts like marketing Made Simple, hosted by Dr. JJ Peterson. Marketing made simple brings you practical tips to make your marketing easy, and more importantly, make it work. Now if any of these topics sound interesting to you, you’re going to love his show, how to write and deliver captivating speeches, how to market yourself into a new job, how design can help and potentially hurt your revenue, and how to create a social media ad strategy that works. If these topics hit home and they’re things that you want to learn about. Go listen to marketing made simple wherever you get your podcasts. Today, my guest is Spencer Rascoff and Sophia Rascoff. Spencer and Sophie Rascoff. father daughter, they’re the co founders of the app recon food, which is a new vertical social media app that brings people together through a shared love of food. Now if you’ve heard Spencer’s name before, it’s because he has had an incredible career. he co founded Picasso with Austin Allison to democratize access to second home ownership. He is a serial entrepreneur. He also co founded Zillow and hotwire. He was CEO of Zillow for over a decade. He is passionate about company culture and that Zillow he created and maintained a culture that frequently won awards from places like fortunes, best places to work, Glassdoor, and the Seattle Times. He is on the board of advisors for Pledge la a coalition working to increase diversity, equity and community engagement in LA’s tech community. He is also an angel investor and advisor to venture capital firms. He is on the board of Palantir he founded and as chairman of.la, a new site focused on LA’s startup scene. Previous to all of his tech and web career experience. He worked as an investment banker at Goldman Sachs and in private equity at TPG. Capital. Now, his daughter is equally as impressive. She is the co founder of recon food. She is a software engineer. She is 16 years old, she leads all the product iterations, the PR marketing software development of recon food, which she’s built from the ground up while attending high school full time. And now they have active users, they have community and they’re scaling incredibly fast. This is something that they’ve put together over the course of that pandemic. So I spoke with Spencer and Sophie. We spoke about the origin story of recon food, as well as some of their experiences. Obviously Sophie’s going through high school, but all the different entrepreneurial activities, communities and clubs she’s formed and champion in high school all the way through to her starting her own app with her father. We also spoke about Spencer’s background, some lessons that he’s learned building, hotwire Zillow, co founding Picasso, co founding.la, and then, of course, co founding recon foods. We speak about social media, what social media 1.0 is with the Twitter’s and the Facebook’s and the Instagrams, why social media is so negative, the current state of social media and what problem recon food is looking to solve as a vertical specific social media application. We spoke about entrepreneurial traits, habits, lessons for new founders, we spoke about the family dynamic, then working together, the benefits of working with somebody as close as your daughter or father, maybe some of the drawbacks of working with somebody who’s that close to you. And then we spoke about the future of social media and how vertically driven positive social media with the right optimization. So optimizing for community optimizing for positive engagement is going to be what social media looks like in the future and how Sophie and Spencer hope to accomplish that. So some great entrepreneurial lessons, we spoke a little bit on social media, some just great business building lessons from the ground up. And then of course, the dynamic between the two of them is incredible. So let’s jump right into it. This is Spencer and Sophia Rascoff. They are the co founders of recon food.
Sophia Rascoff 04:51
So I’m currently a student. I’m a junior at a high school in Los Angeles. I grew up in Seattle, and we moved to Los Angeles when I was coming into this sixth grade. So I really spent a lot of years growing up in both cities. And that was super interesting to me because Seattle is such a techie community, and there’s Amazon, Microsoft, all these large software companies and large businesses, us that created a really interesting environment grew up in. And then of course, LA is this center of media, and now also tech and business and entrepreneurship. So sort of getting to see both sides of the story. Throughout the founding years of my life has been super interesting. I got involved with entrepreneurship, probably my time, mostly through my school, obviously, it’s been a huge part of my life forever, for as long as I can remember. And sort of the first steps I took in that direction were joining and helping to found my middle school, the high school is equivalent of our entrepreneurship organizations. So I run that program now. But at the middle school, they didn’t have a branch. So I essentially started at there, I brought in speakers to inspire myself and my peers, helped coordinate a club program where we could all meet together. So that was sort of my first experience in entrepreneurship, I’d saved myself. And that was an awesome experience. I lead that program now. And then, obviously, now, I founded recon food, which is a vertical social media network for food. So that’s my first big entrepreneurial venture myself, but I’ve had I’ve had a few lemonade stands for a few businesses back in the day as well, of course,
Scott D Clary 06:30
I’m curious because you’ve lived in a household where I was, you know, listening to a few podcasts before if I’m not mistaken, your your mom is a doctor, right? Spencer, your wife is a doctor and then you’ve obviously you know, your your the typical entrepreneur turn investor or venture capitalist. So what prompted you to move in one direction, versus maybe something that seems like to most people a more traditional or stable or, or less chaotic career path, because if you’ve been around your, if you’ve been around your dad, obviously, it’s not all like butterflies and sunshine and rainbows, when you’re building these companies. And it’s, it’s a lot of hard work to.
Sophia Rascoff 07:07
Yeah, I mean, I think that’s one of the thing that draws me, one of the things that draws me in, honestly, is just that chaotic, but enjoyable lifestyle. I’m a big problem solver. I love tackling challenges working with teams, I do a lot of activities at my school that sort of give me the same skill set, or that I like to think give me the same skill set where I’m leading a team working with others trying to solve problems often working under a deadline. So that’s been another great part of my school experience is getting to trial these things and balance all these different balls up in the air, and I really enjoy it. So I think that’s one thing that draws me in is just exactly what you described as that chaotic, unstable Highness.
Spencer Rascoff 07:53
I think you’re also very creative. I mean, there’s an important side of entrepreneurship that sometimes gets missed, which is the creativity and the, you know, the building the creating something new from whole cloth. And you’ve always been interested in art, you’ve always been a builder. And, you know, medicine has a lot of other attributes. As you know, my wife and many other doctors would tell you, but I think entrepreneurship tends to be a little bit more of a creative pursuit.
Scott D Clary 08:20
And Spencer for yourself. So walk me through, and maybe you can even tee up a little bit of your origin story. Because if people don’t know who you are, they definitely know the companies that you’ve built. But the IP your origin story, and then also helped me understand where you’re at in your career, and why you wanted to start this with your daughter, because you could have just pointed her down the right path. And I’m sure there’s a lot of people in your network that could have helped her out and you didn’t have to be actively involved. But this is a very conscious decision, obviously. So walk me through that.
Spencer Rascoff 08:48
Yeah. Well, I mean, I’m passionate about what we’re doing at recon food as well. So, you know, it’s very much something that I’m excited about working on to not just about helping Sophia with an entrepreneurial endeavor. But to back up my origin story. Like Sophia, I started I grew up the first portion of my young life in a different city. I grew up in New York, and then I moved to LA at about the same time that Sophia moved to LA so I grew up in it with a foot on both coasts, and then started my career in investment banking. at Goldman Sachs. I learned a lot about finance and Wall Street, but decided it wasn’t for me, I moved to San Francisco in 1999 at the beginning of the first internet boom, and tried my hand at private equity doing leveraged buyouts and didn’t find that inspiring and so my first startup was a company called hotwire, which I helped co found in 1999. It was an early online travel company. And as you as you say, there are a lot of ups and downs. And you know, that company was no exception. We almost went out of business several times, but we managed to survive through the travel recession of 2001 and 2003. We sold the company to Expedia for about 700 million. dollars. And I moved up to Seattle to work at Expedia, the new parent company. I was at Expedia for a year or two and got that entrepreneurial itch again, wanted to do another startup. And so I left Expedia to start Zillow, in 2005 took Zillow public in 2011, ran it for about 10 or 12 years. And about three years ago, Zillow had become a very big company, 1000s of employees, and it felt like it was time to leave and do something more entrepreneurial again. And I also wanted to be in Atlanta, I wanted to move my family to LA where my wife and I are from. So we moved to Los Angeles, and I started something called 75, and sunny and 75. And Sunny is my family office. So it’s my personal venture capital firm. And I’ve made hundreds of investments through 75 and sunny. And I’ve started a number of companies there, including Picasa, which lets you buy a portion of a second home, and several other startups.la, which is a news website that covers la tech. And then most notably, recon food, which is Sophia and I co founded together, which is a vertical social network for people to reconnect over a shared love of food. So what I’m doing at this stage of my career is I’m investing I’m advising mentoring, I’m involved in dozens of different companies, and I’m not CEO of any of them. You know, I’m in the coaching stage of my career, rather than the playing stage of my career, being on the field every day and suiting up for a game every day. And getting booed, you know, beaten up and bruised on the field is is, is is in my past, it’s that is all consuming and that’s still you know, that’s Sofia’s present and future but it’s it’s sort of a young person’s endeavor versus game endeavor. Yeah, I’m coaching is a different skill set. And you know, and what I’m gravitating towards
Scott D Clary 11:46
you don’t you never stop you never you never stopped being an operator to some extent like I mean, like you still you still love obviously love figuring it out love playing the game.
Spencer Rascoff 11:55
Yes, that’s that is true that for sure. For sure.
Scott D Clary 11:59
Now, okay, so then you made a good point there. So you you co founded this company. With Sofia, Sofia, you co founded with your your dad, but obviously, you it’s not just because it’s like a father daughter, I wanted to help my daughter out, like you are passionate about recon food. You both are obviously. So walk me through the origin story of the actual concept. Because outside of everything else, just starting another social media app is no small feat in and of itself. So walk me through that.
Spencer Rascoff 12:27
Yeah, so I’ll sort of describe the first half sort of where we started and Sophie will describe where we ended. So I’ve always been interested in the intersection of social media and individual verticals, sort of the unbundling of social media. And I was on the board of directors of TripAdvisor for many years, and like many people have used TripAdvisor through my whole life. And I’ve always wished that there was a social version of TripAdvisor so that if, you know if you were coming to Los Angeles, of course you can you have to figure out where to eat, you can look at it review site like TripAdvisor. But better than that would be to see where are your couple friends that you know and trust, where they enjoy to eat and hotels to stay at and activities to do in a given city. So I started during early COVID brainstorming on business ideas in and around that space, I have a social version of a trip discovery product. And Sofia improve the the idea immeasurably because of her expertise as a teenager in social media. So you can describe where we where we got to.
Sophia Rascoff 13:32
Yeah, so we wanted to bring the idea a little bit more from that social TripAdvisor into, I’d say, better social media is the new category. So doing a lot around, trying to make social media less stressful, because especially during the pandemic, there was a lot of bad news online, there’s a lot of really stressful topics and a lot of politics and noise and people yelling at each other. And it wasn’t really a release, it wasn’t an escape, it was just a really stressful environment. And so we brought the idea a little bit more towards trying to be a positive social media site, where you can just go on to recon food and scroll for hours and just look at pictures of food and get to see what your friends are cooking, see what they’re doing, where they’re going to restaurants. And it’s just so much more fun. It’s so much less stressful than seeing whatever noise is happening on the broader social media networks.
Scott D Clary 14:30
That makes sense. I think that it’s an it’s a smart idea. It’s a novel, it’s a good idea to have more positive social media experiences. Now it seems like I don’t think there’s many will maybe correct me if I’m wrong. The other people that have tried to do this successfully would be like a Yelp Correct. That would probably be the closest thing I can think of that’s sort of like a non like like a what’s what is the word use use use like a vertical a vertical focus social network. Basically that’s That’s probably the main one that I can think of.
Spencer Rascoff 15:02
Well, so I mean, we’re building is is more of a food community than a review site. So about half of the posts on recon food are home cooking. And about half are people that have eaten out at restaurants. And so video and photos of people that love food and just want to kind of relax and think about food and talk about food. So think more of a food community.
Sophia Rascoff 15:24
Yeah, sorry, as we were sort of bonding over food as our family. So we were home cooking a lot, we were all missing our favorite restaurants, we definitely brought the app more towards just food in general, because we wanted to share as well what we were cooking. And honestly, Instagram didn’t really feel like the right place for that. Because it can feel a little awkward to post what you’re cooking every single night on Instagram, especially if you feel like there are more important things going on or if your food isn’t good enough. So we also just personally wanted to create that space where we could share what we’re cooking, and what’s in our kitchen with our friends. So that’s sort of how the app switched from being about travel to eating out food overall and in general. And that’s where we sit right now.
Scott D Clary 16:04
What actually so I agree with that. So actually, what I meant, what I meant was not the you are emulating Yelp, I was just trying to draw a parallel. And I guess it wasn’t a great parallel. But I guess my point was, Has anybody ever done something like this before, like vertical driven social media that’s done been done very well.
Spencer Rascoff 16:19
In other verticals? Yes. So alltrails, for example, is a vertical social network for hiking. Strava is a vertical social network for running. Fitbit or peloton are vertical social networks for other types of exercise. LinkedIn is vertical social network for your career. But you know, Strava is a perfect example. Like you could post your run, like on Instagram, but it would be odd, you know, especially if your feed and Instagram is all about, you know, you see news about climate change, and the war in Ukraine, and social justice and all these things that are in the news, which is what a lot of our social feeds are on an Instagram, or Tiktok. Now, it will be strange for you to be boasting about your five mile run, you know, in the midst of that on Instagram, for example, but on Strava, where there is a community of people that are there to cheer you on about your exercise. It makes perfect sense. And so you know, that’s a really good analogy for we’re trying to do a recon food. You know, I’ll post a, you know, bake cupcakes or you make cupcakes this weekend, right? And you post them on recon food. But Instagram was pretty heavy on Sunday, you know, when you were making those cupcakes, because there were a lot of terrible things happening in the world. And Rican food is meant to be a respite from all that a place where you can just bring social media back to where it was 15 years ago, when it was just people sharing baby pictures on Facebook and times were simpler and social media wasn’t, you know, it wasn’t the noisy, scary place that that it is today.
Scott D Clary 17:53
And do you think that do you think that this is the future of social media, these vertically driven communities?
Spencer Rascoff 18:00
I do. I’m investing in that thesis. Regarding other companies in and around that space, I think that there will only be a handful of categories that are big enough and vibrant enough to support this athletics is clearly one of them. You know, there are a number of companies, as we mentioned, already succeeding in that space. I think food is another space that’s big enough, clearly your career is the space that’s big enough. So you know, there are other categories where there’s so much content already in that category on Tik Tok or Instagram, that, you know, it might not justify a separate, dedicated vertical for it. Why don’t you describe also one of the other advantages of vertical social networks is building features specific to the category totally.
Sophia Rascoff 18:45
So with vertical social media networks, you can build features that are specific to that, that app that topic. So for example, Strava is an excellent DOER of this, where you they build features where you can track your run inside the app. So instead of just posting a picture of you on your run, like you would on Instagram, you can track the run in Strava, it gives you all those stats, and then you can post that to share with friends. So Instagrams never going to build a run tracking feature, because that’s not what their app is for. But that is what Strava is for. So with recon food, we’ve managed to do the same and build similar features. A few features we’ve built have been a recipe feature. So you can link a recipe directly to a post either a link to an external website or a picture of your recipe. Additionally, we built a map feature so you can look at the map and see every restaurant that your friends have posted in a given area, wherever you are. So that’s a really interesting feature to me, because I love looking at restaurants that are wherever I am, especially if I’m traveling. And that’s something I hope to do more in the future as we get back to travel. But that’s another fun feature that I love that we’ve built. And then lastly I’d say collections so you can save posts into a collection which will save on your profile. It’s sort of a combination of highlights and save put notes on other platforms, where you can add it to a public collection on your profile of, for example, recipes you want to make or your favorite restaurants so that your friends can see those. But you can also store those in a location.
Spencer Rascoff 20:13
So yesterday, somebody posted, the ribs that they made in there a pressure cooker, I don’t know this person, but I know them on recon. And I thought that was that was super cool, and it looked delicious. And so I saved it into a collection that I have of things I will, things I intend to make things I will try to make, they got a notification that I just posted there, or I put their post into my collection, everyone can see publicly my collection of things that I intend to make, you know, meanwhile, over on Instagram, people were, you know, upset about all of the all the challenges in Europe, and, you know, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And it would be a very strange place for me to be talking about the ribs that I’m excited to cook.
Scott D Clary 20:57
I love it and but do the so I love I love the I love the concept, it makes a lot of sense. Obviously, you’re building this community now that is food focused, very positive community, it’s hyper focused on one particular on one particular topic, how do you what are some of the best ways that you found to grow that community because I think some of the lessons that you’ve learned building out a vertical social media app and building that community around around recon. I feel like that’s something that a lot of people should learn from, because I’ve always found that building community is the best way to build a business, whether or not it’s, it’s actually in the app, or it’s around the product. If you can build a strong community, you can build any company. So I think that you’ve probably had to hyper focus on that, because community is really the core of what you do. That’s what will make the app successful.
Spencer Rascoff 21:49
Well, this is the hardest part of any startup. You know, the the easy part actually is building the product, building the feature set, getting people to use it, that’s that’s a whole other thing entirely. So the way that the ways in which we’re growing recon food are first of all iterating on the product, so that the people that use it today love it, and hopefully tell others about it. So you know, we’ve been heads down since we launched six or more months ago, adding features, you know, we added video, we added a mapping feature, we added collections, we’ve been building out the feature sets so that we just improve the user retention and hopefully the virality. We’ve been doing a lot of PR podcasts like this and news articles, writing about vertical social media and recon food. We’ve been doing in person food events, where we are, you know, at farmer’s markets and at food courts and telling people about the app and why they should check it out. We’re doing partnerships with food influencers on social media.
Sophia Rascoff 22:49
I think my favorite way that we’ve grown, though, has been through people inviting their friends. And we’ve seen that happen a little less often than we’d like just because some people actually prefer the anonymity of the Recon food community over having their friends there, actually, because they feel like the feedback that they get is more genuine, your friends are obligated to tell you that your food looks good, but random strangers you meet on the internet typically aren’t obligated to that. So that’s something great about the community that we’ve built, that is actually prohibiting people from inviting their friends. So another thing that we have found is that many people are inviting their friends, because they’re in a friend group chat, where they all share their meals, or they’re in a work Slack channel where they all share what they cook. So there’s been ways like that, where we’ve been able to tap into people who are sharing their food just with friends, because they don’t have a better solution to do it on a social media network and try to convert those users.
Scott D Clary 23:41
Okay, that makes sense. And then with as you as you grow this community, from a business perspective, if you’re building up this community, what’s what’s your version of turning this into a into a successful business model? How do you monetize this is this because I think that if people hear another social media network or another social media app, people are already concerned about how existing social media apps, technically, you know, monetize all their data and whatnot. So to introduce the same concept, is that concerning to people? Or have you figured out another way to monetize it? Is it something that may be anyway, I’m just curious, because that would be the main concern for me launching something new that people are so adverse to, to, you know, seeing more ads or whatnot.
Spencer Rascoff 24:31
So we don’t have monetization in the service today. But one of the other benefits of vertical social media is that you can monetize in ways other than simple advertising, which is how most social media advertise most social media apps monetize, because you’re closer to a vertical specific transaction. So when we monetize a Rican food, for example, I think the two most logical ways to monetize will be charging for booking charging the restaurant for a reservation booking so integrating with reservation services like a resume or an Open Table, and charging an affiliate fee on that booking, because if you’re looking at a restaurant and with all your which all your friends had posted photos from, and you now want to make a booking there, that’s a logical place to build. And in app, restaurant booking service. Likewise, food delivery, again, integrating directly with the transaction providing value to the user. So they can do in app connectivity to food delivery services, also benefiting the restaurant by driving them more business. You know, those are two commerce related ways to build the monetization in the app. So I think that’s where the direction will go. The first order of business is getting 10s of millions of people to use the app first. You know, once we have and that’s, that’s the playbook that we followed at Zillow as well, like, you know, we didn’t focus on monetization for the first couple of years. That’s if that’s generally I think the best way to build a consumer consumer service is to build audience first and then ad monetization decision later.
Scott D Clary 25:56
And speak to me about the dynamic, the family dynamic and building this out because all the you know, all the all the business lessons that you that you hear about, like the radical candor that you have to have, and all that all the difficult times that you would have in an early stage startup. I’m assuming that there’s some benefits to working with family. But there’s also some drawbacks, because there’s a lot of emotion involved there. Yeah,
Sophia Rascoff 26:19
yeah. So the biggest benefit has been obviously living in the same house. Quite clearly, we both have incredibly busy schedules, busy lives. So we’re able to often meet quite late at night or after the day ends or in the morning, like it is now. So that gives us a little extra time to really collaborate and catch up at the end of the night with new ideas with new developments, anything else that we’re working on.
Spencer Rascoff 26:48
I think another benefit, and yes, we will get to the disadvantages as well. I think another benefit is, you know, it’s it’s obviously a fun way to be working with my daughter and seeing this other side of her and, and bring out you know, and she sees another side of me, I think so that’s valuable. I’ve also really enjoyed the diversity of our experiences and how I think that makes the product better. You know, we talk a lot in tech about the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion. And obviously, Sophia and I live under the same roof, but we’re actually very diverse in age and, and interest and experience. And so the perspective that almost 17 year old brings from her worldview, as it relates to social media, like the way she uses Tik Tok Instagram, Snapchat is very, very different than someone in their late 40s And how I use social media and so it’s a good reminder for me about the importance of diversity on teams, and, and how they bring different perspectives that can make products better. Some of the challenges of I was gonna
Scott D Clary 27:53
I was just wondering, like, if, like, Sofia, do you ever have like issues like telling you’re like telling Spencer telling your dad when he’s wrong? Like is that like, it’s because I can see that could be a blocker? Right? You know, Spencer, do you have an incredible amount of views? I’d be, I’d be scared to tell you that you’re wrong. If you had an idea. And I didn’t like
Sophia Rascoff 28:12
I feel like I’m generally pretty alright, with telling you. We’ll have some like that, where we disagree on something, but we’re always able to come to sort of a reasonable conclusion somewhere in the middle.
Spencer Rascoff 28:25
Yeah. Yeah, no, you push back plenty. I think the right amount, I think actually, it’s, you know, and maybe it’s it’s her personality or our personalities together. But I think it’s a pretty functional co founder relationship on that regard. You know, similar to the CO founding relationship I have with with other startups where the CEO ultimately calls the shots, and I’m providing a lot of advice and feedback and mentorship. But you know, but it’s a it’s a relationship and a partnership that works. Well.
Scott D Clary 28:55
Very good. So what are some what are some disadvantages to working together?
Sophia Rascoff 29:03
I think it’s hard for me to take feedback sometimes because I really want to be doing my best and I want to be doing everything I can. But also I don’t have enough time in the day to do everything I want to as a busy high school student as well. So there are definitely some things that fall off my plate where I’m have to push it to a weekend or push it to after school when I have something big coming up. And I think that’s hard for me sometimes, because I feel like I’m not doing 120% I’m doing like 100% Maybe. And I so it’s hard for me sometimes to take that feedback and hear that, because I tend to agree with it, honestly. But if there’s not really anything I can do about that in the moment.
Spencer Rascoff 29:47
Yeah, I mean, that’s I think that’s that’s something that probably most startup founders feel at some point during their journey is this sense of, I guess inadequacy just sort of a sense that like I Um, you know, it’s like pushing a boulder up a hill. I mean, startups are hard startups are really, really, really hard. And most of them fail. And we talk about that a lot. And, you know, that is, especially for a high achiever, whether it’s a high achieving high school student like Sophia, or a high achieving, you know, 20 something or 30 something year old. That takes guts, and it’s difficult to, to absorb that. So I, you know, I’m not sure if that’s a challenge of working with family members, but it’s, you know, it’s certainly a challenge of, of doing your first startup and and of any startup, I guess, is just a difficult this sense of like, paralyzing almost like I can’t, you know, I can’t find enough oxygen to fully take a deep breath. Because, you know, why isn’t this thing succeeding the way I want it to start
Scott D Clary 30:52
moving as quick as you want it to end? And it’s difficult now? I would say that I actually, I think, Sophie, I think you’re actually incredible, because most of the founders that I speak with do not have a full time school schedule to stick to while they’re building a startup. So how did you, I probably think there’s lessons here that, that you have figured out in your life that allows you to operate at the level that you’re operating at that I don’t even know, Spencer, if you were doing that, when you started your first companies, because I don’t think I’ve ever met a founder who’s a software engineer, coding something. You do have active users, you are scaling it out, you’re still in high school. That’s incredible. That’s insane. I really don’t know anyone who’s ever done that at your age. So speak to me about, you know, turning, turning this side side hustle this after hours project into something that’s tangible. How do you manage your schedule? How do you manage your energy? How do you? How do you? How do you build this after putting in eight hours at school?
Sophia Rascoff 31:51
Well, last year, when we started, we were still a year and a half ago when we started, I guess. Now it’s been a while. We founded this well, COVID was still going on, and our schools were still in quarantine. So I was working or working from home doing school from home on Zoom classes all day. So I had a bit more time flexibility, no travel time, much, significantly less after school activities. That gave me the time to really start working on this. So I was definitely working nights and weekends and after school during whatever school breaks I could at the beginning. And then over last summer, I was obviously full time on recon food. So I was able to put in a lot more time a lot more hours during the day. And that’s obviously what we launched. So that was an incredible experience for me getting to finally give it my all and I felt really good about that. And then obviously going back to school this year, I’ve had to cut back a little bit, but I’m still putting in work after school when I can during school, I’ll often take meetings from school during my lunch period in a corner somewhere on campus. So it’s definitely been a bit of a balancing act. But I think just because I’m so passionate about Rijkaard food and everything else that I do, I don’t want to drop any one of those activities and I don’t want to give anything less than my altar recon food. So because I’m so passionate about all of those things, it’s much easier for me to balance because nothing feels like a chore or a hassle.
Scott D Clary 33:12
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Sophia Rascoff 34:22
I think for me, well, I’ll definitely finish high school and graduating next year. Obviously, senior year I’ll do college applications. I’m would like to complete an undergraduate degree of four year college is my current plan. I don’t think I’ll immediately pursue a a grad or graduate degree or masters or masters or anything like that. That’s not my current plan immediately though. Something might change between now and then obviously five years away. I’m not really sure yet. I don’t have a super solid plan. I think it definitely depends on where stuff goes. Yeah,
Spencer Rascoff 35:01
I mean, I think my wife and I would like you to finish college.
Scott D Clary 35:06
I just asked because a lot of conversation about like traditional education, and is it even worth it? And like what she’s doing right now is incredible, too.
Spencer Rascoff 35:12
It is it is. I mean, I. I mean, I think what you learn in college is, you know, is, is really important in life. And it’s not just the academics, it’s not just what you learn in the classroom, it certainly in my case, I feel like what I learned from my peers was even more important than what I learned from my classrooms. And so that the problem solving the public speaking, the critical thinking that you learn in a liberal arts education, I think is really will be really important throughout her career, it has been important throughout my career. In the other important skill, I think that you’ve learned that you’re amazing at is time management, which is so important for any startup founder, their most important, the company’s most important asset is the CEOs time. And you because you’re so involved in in academics, extracurriculars, and recon food, you’ve acquired the ability to do incredibly effective time management at a young age, which is an important skill for any founder. And the other reason that I feel you’ve been able to balance all of this is we have a great team. I mean, to be clear, you know, Sophie and I are co founders, but we have a team of 10. And it’s an all remote team, we’re able to do a lot of asynchronous work. And so you know, you’re on Slack, you’re on GitHub, you’re using different you’re on Canva and other collaboration services, with these folks, usually asynchronously, and obviously, Slack all the time as well. And so through those tools, and through our team, you’re able to balance it all. Okay,
Scott D Clary 36:54
that makes sense. And Sophia, for you. How did you learn to how did you learn to code at such a young age? That’s really my question that that that allowed you to so So walk me through. So right now you’re obviously co founders, you do have a team? So if you’re what are you actually doing in the company? You’re your software engineer, you’re coding? Did you build the MVP of the app? Or what’s your what’s your sort of? What’s your skill set? And how did you? How do you master that so young?
Sophia Rascoff 37:22
Yeah, so I’ve taken programming classes at my school, for Oh, since probably eighth grade. So I’ve taken four years of programming now. And, of course, all of the kids scratch coding I’ve done since even younger age. So that gave me a foundation of knowledge, I’d say to build off of, I don’t consider myself an expert, professional level software engineer. But I feel like I have enough of an understanding to understand the basic building blocks of how stuff works. We’re working with the development team to help code the app itself. But as far as when we were starting, I didn’t end up coding an MVP of the app. But I definitely was involved in the initial product creation of drawing out page by page exactly what I imagined the app to look like. So definitely more product design, and then working with our initial engineers to help give them that vision and help them work through what we want. And obviously, that’s changed a lot since then. But I’ve been incredibly involved in that stage working with them. And then you ask sort of more broadly, what I do a lot of product design, working with the development team coming up with new features, working a lot with our PR team to try to spread the word and see how we can spread the Recon food name, and working with our social media and marketing teams to try to come up with new social initiatives and new ways to get people interested in the app and continue engaging our community. We’re doing lots of fun challenges. We just finished one up at the end of December called festive foods, where if you posted something with that hashtag, you could be entered to win a sweepstakes. So lots of stuff like that, where we’re trying to build the community and connect everyone, even if they don’t know each other because it’s an online community.
Spencer Rascoff 39:14
We’ve also done a lot of user research which informs the product development. So just just speaking with our users and other prospective users about what they’re looking for, from social media and from from a Food Network.
Scott D Clary 39:25
And, and I know that obviously Spencer, you, obviously through the companies that you’ve built your own experience. The entrepreneurs, you’ve worked with the people you’ve interviewed on your show, you’ve had a lot of incredible, a lot of incredible, I would say mentors, people that you’ve learned from people that have probably learned from you. So when you’re starting a company from the ground up, which obviously you’re doing, what are the most important traits to be a successful entrepreneur? What what are the what are the personality items that really sort of allow somebody to be successful that you’ve tried to teach deliver to your daughter or that you’ve seen other people you’ve seen other people have.
Spencer Rascoff 40:05
The things I look for in a founder are, first of all grit. So a sense of kind of a chip on your shoulder, like the fact that you really want to succeed and you’re willing to go through overcome adversity and challenges. And so that’s probably the most important thing and a founder, founder product fit so the founders connectivity to the specific company. Yeah, there’s no such thing as just a great founder, there’s only a great founder specific to a startup idea, Sophia is the exact perfect founder for recon food. My co founder at Picasso is the exact perfect founder for Picasso. My co founder.la is the founder for.la. So you know, some connectivity between that founder and the problem that they’re solving is critical. Usually, the ability to raise money is very important so that this is kind of an underappreciated attribute of entrepreneurship. But people need to be good at selling it being a founder is always selling the company, whether you’re selling it to a prospective candidate, or pitching it to your existing employees to try to reengage them, or discussing it with the media or pitching the company to potential investors. You know, in technology, we tend to lionize software engineers, and there’s no question that a 10x software engineer is worth their weight in gold. But sales abilities are also very important in proselytizing one’s company. And so that’s something that I look for in a founder. History of success, it can be in anything. And if it’s a first time founder, like Sophia, it can be academic success or extracurricular success. If it’s a third or fourth time founder, you know, just want to see some pattern recognition around them taking a problem and kicking the crap out of it. And solving it and winning some track record of winning in anything that they’ve done. Those are some of the things I look for in a founder that I’m investing in or starting a company with
Scott D Clary 42:14
the one that that those are all great. Those are all great things to look for the one that I think that I want to understand a little bit more, which is something that you mentioned, was Sophia particular, is that founder product fit. How do you find that? Because you can I can I can, I can understand grit and you can take in you can sort of see if somebody has a chip on their shoulder, you can definitely gauge somebody’s selling ability for sure. But how do you find that product founder fit? How do you know if that’s the right person for that particular industry or vertical or category?
Spencer Rascoff 42:45
I usually ask the question, what would happen if I told you you couldn’t pursue this startup idea for one reason or another? And, you know, one person said to me, for the founder of queue, which is a way to discover streaming content, it’s a social, vertical social network for discovery of TV and film on streaming services. I said, What if you couldn’t pursue this idea, and he looked at me as like, I couldn’t live with myself, like, I wake up every morning, and I go to sleep every night, completely obsessed with the fact that it’s hard to figure out what to watch on TV. And I was put on this earth to solve that problem. And I will not rest until that problem is solved. And like, Okay, well, that that’s literally as with his startup idea, you know, it’s just something
Scott D Clary 43:35
but that’s, that’s, I want to challenge on that, because that’s passionate. He’s definitely passionate about it. Okay, so
Spencer Rascoff 43:40
you’re, you’re right, so then what skill set? Do they have that you layer on top of that passion, right? So in his case, he worked at Kwibi, and Snapchat, and bird, and his prior experience has this combination of, of growth hacking and, and building viral products, which is what he did at Byrd Kwibi, where he helped build a streaming service at Snapchat, where he helped build the social media service. So you’re right. It’s the combination, I guess, a passion plus experience or qualifications, let’s call it doesn’t even have to be experience. That is the right combination. And again, you know, I feel like Sophia has that because of her passion for both cooking, which she’s always done since she was three years old, cooking and baking. And, you know, you’ll find her in the kitchen every weekend, messing around and experimenting and, you know, trying to make things and kind of food hacking, and her passion and interest in social media. And so, you know, and then her qualifications, despite being a first time founder are a track record of of academic and extracurricular success. So, you’re right, it’s a combination of passionate qualifications more
Sophia Rascoff 44:41
on the experience rather than qualifications. I sort of liked when you said experience because I feel like that also doesn’t just mean professional experience, but definitely applies to lived experience. For me, part of the reason I feel so fit to tackle this problem is my experience with social media. It’s been something that I’ve grown up on for the past, what five, six years in my life now I didn’t really have a teenage life without social media. So that’s pretty unique to me as a young founder, especially where I’ve seen the problems on social media, I’ve seen the fatigue that social media can cause I’ve seen the stress that it can cause my friends, and also that it causes me honestly, the barrier of entry that it feels like where it feels like everything on social media has to be absolutely perfect. So because I understood those problems so deeply, because that’s something that resonates with me quite strongly, I can then turn around and use those experiences for recon food to try to improve upon it.
Scott D Clary 45:34
Is that something that? Is that something that increases the the the the success rate of a founder, when you’re building products for yourself? Is that something that you’ve seen like to work very well?
Spencer Rascoff 45:46
It doesn’t have to always be that way. But, you know, a deep understanding of the user persona is critical. And certainly one understands oneself really well. But But yeah, it’s it’s definitely a commonality. If you’re building for yourself, you know, you know, that user better than anybody.
Scott D Clary 46:04
And that’s basically that’s what you’re doing right now, like Sophia, like, that’s 100%, what you’re doing like that, as you speak through it, it makes a lot of sense. And actually, I’ve always found that the most successful entrepreneurs, and I don’t have data points to back this, but I found the most successful entrepreneurs are the people that, you know, work in an industry for, you know, 1020 years, and they build a product that solves a problem in the industry, they were just coming out of, and you just done that at a much earlier stage. You’ve seen all the problems of social you probably like you have a perspective that many people don’t have. Of course, we see it all but I think that you’ve you’ve lived like social was evolving as I was growing up. So I social was you were not, like thrown into it and saw and you see all the negative stuff ever since you first created your first Instagram account. And you see all the bad that comes with it, right?
Sophia Rascoff 46:49
Yeah, there’s so many elements of this product that we really built for ourselves, or that something that I wanted to see in the world, right, the idea of a positive social media network where people are building each other up, and you can scroll for hours on end, and only see pictures of food sounds so pleasant to me. And the reason that are one of the reasons that this started or that I was so pushed to want to build something like this is that experience of social media being such a stressful and negative place, I can scroll through social media for hours, but I’ll see a lot of stuff that makes me really stressed out a lot of stuff that makes me feel bad about myself. And it’s just not a pleasant place anymore. When I open Instagram at the end of the night. It’s not fun, happy stuff, it’s just clicking through because I feel like I have to click through every story. So because of that negativity associated with social media and the lack of positivity and stress relief, it sort of feels like it’s gone away from its roots. And so sort of back to the thesis of the future of social media, which we kind of touched on earlier, I definitely see two things, I see the vertical social media networks for vertical specific verticals, where you can dive so deep into that vertical without having to have stuff get crowded, and also personal connection. I love Snapchat, it’s a social media tool that I use quite often. And this isn’t to say that I don’t use Instagram, I definitely do. But I definitely prefer Snapchat for communicating with my friends. Because at least the way that I use it, I’m DMing or chatting my friends directly I’m sending them individual things and pictures, it feels much more personal. And it allows me to feel much more connected with them where Instagram is just such a large audience. I have what 800 600 Something followers, but I don’t feel connected with any one of them. They’re just people I know or sometimes people I don’t know.
Scott D Clary 48:33
So you’re there, you’re you’re like slimming down that community. So that it just hyper focus hyper targeted, you feel comfortable, you feel like it’s like just a group of friends at the end of the day, which is what social was originally supposed to accomplish anyways, so obviously straight from that,
Spencer Rascoff 48:46
and just on a single topic. So it’s it’s kind of stripped down to the bare essentials, you know, there’s something generational that is interesting. Like, if I’m looking at my Instagram, and there are posts about climate change, or the war in Ukraine, or gun violence in schools, it depresses me. But it it sort of stops there. When you talk to Sophia or her friends, they have this overwhelming sense that they need to do something about these things that this this sort of, it’s something around the activism and of somebody at that age and, you know, the sense that like, if your generation doesn’t fix climate change, we’re all doomed as a planet. And you know, I see it I’m like, Yeah, that sucks like that. You know, that’s, that’s terrible. But I sort of move on to the next photo but for you, it puts you and I think your generation into this deep funk that is you know is stress is much greater. Yeah, and
Sophia Rascoff 49:50
it is like more of a stressor than a depressor is. It makes me sad i guess but it makes me way more stressed than it does sad because it’s about the future. And that’s definitely something that weighs on me is this idea of having to fix these problems, or at least having my generation fix these problems, when it’s stuff that we don’t even fully understand, because we’re not out of high school yet. So I’d say that’s definitely something that weighs on me with social media. And it’s something that makes this environment so much more stressful.
Spencer Rascoff 50:17
You remember a couple of months ago when that that whistleblower leaked those documents on Facebook and right, and I went to you and I was like, you know, get there’s this internal research at Facebook that says that, you know, Facebook and Instagram are stressful, and I didn’t need a whistleblower to tell me that I’m gonna tell you that.
Scott D Clary 50:36
I think you’re in I think, I don’t know, if you thought thought through this. But you’re in a unique position. Because Spencer, you have an incredible track record, Sophia, you’re building an awesome app, and you’re in a unique position to re create what social media should be, if you do this, if you do this properly, and you do this at scale, I really believe that social can be positively positive. And I think that you could be in a unique position to we can start with this one, obviously. But you can do more than this, you can create other vertical specific communities on social. And I think that this could, you mentioned a few other names of I can’t remember all of them out, the ones that are already out there. But this could be, this could be an incredible, like new wave of, or new age of social media, which is actually accomplishing what it was meant to accomplish, because I don’t think when you know, social media 1.0 came out, so to speak, people could really understand that opening up wide communities and these algorithms that sort of promote certain types of content and these echo chambers that people fall into and social. I don’t think people could ever understand that. That’s where it would end up going. So I think that you’re almost like, let’s try this again. Let’s redo this. And let’s do it right this time, because we’re very cognizant of, of what these like wide open communities with no guardrails, we know where that could go. So let’s like rope it in a little bit. And then we’re going to sort of like optimize for positivity and community and true social versus just optimized for reach and and almost like, like, what’s the word like, like an addictive behavior, which is what the first social optimized for
Sophia Rascoff 52:18
exactly. And I see such AI social media is such a powerful tool, I see such a bright future for it, it’s had a great past, if you look at the entirety of social media, it’s such a powerful tool, because you can connect with friends, family, people who you haven’t connected with in such a long time, you get to share accomplishments, achievements that you’re proud of, it gives you such a sense of pride. And it’s such a powerful tool to connect people across borders, across countries across worlds. There’s such a, there’s such potential there. It’s such a powerful tool, but the way that it’s currently being implemented and executed is not. It’s not maximized for user success and enjoyment. It’s maximized for clicks, likes, views, time spent on app. And so that’s something that we really want to address. Because, at least personally, I believe that social media is a powerful tool. And when people say social media is bad, my the little voice in the back of my head isn’t saying, then get off of it. It’s saying, well then do something about it. Because I don’t like people telling me to get off social media, because that’s not a vital part of my like, I don’t think I could not because I’m addicted to it, because my life it’s everywhere. Exactly. So I really hope that the future of social media is something in which we can all enjoy it and continue to use it. And it’s a positive thing and not a negative thing.
Spencer Rascoff 53:40
I mean, the algorithms and horizontal social media are designed to maximize outrage, because outrage is what drives engagement and usage and virality. And so they surface content that is outrageous. And a good litmus test. By contrast, when thinking about recon food is your 10 year old sister who loves recon food, and we don’t let her on Instagram or Tiktok or Snapchat yet because she’s too young. But recon food is very popular among young people, 1011 12 year olds and their friends because it is just pictures of food. And you know, they don’t have to worry about how they look, when they take snap a picture of something that they’ve baked, they don’t have to worry about if they’re on a fancy enough vacation. You know, which is something that people feel a lot of stress about on Instagram, and they don’t have to worry about reading the news that Instagram or Facebook surfaces to them, you know with in these horizontal social media networks so if it’s if it can make a 10 year old happy then it can probably make a 46 year old, happier 16 year old happy and it will hopefully be a you know a place that people can come and enjoy one another’s company and reconnect over.
Scott D Clary 54:53
Amazing. I want to do a couple rapid fire questions for both of you just to pull it some last insights For the audience, but before I pivot, where should people go? Where are the socials that you want to send people? So you can drop your own socials, recon food? Where did they get that website, App Store, whatever.
Sophia Rascoff 55:13
So you can download recon food in the Apple iOS App Store. It’s currently iOS only we’re working on expanding to Android hopefully sometime soon. Ish. My social media accounts are also via Rascoff. You can follow me there or follow me on LinkedIn. I guess if you want to get professional updates and Twitter to stay posted to stay tuned for new features new developments?
Spencer Rascoff 55:39
Yeah, recon food in the iPhone app store. And I’m at Spencer Rascoff on all socials.
Scott D Clary 55:43
Okay, perfect. Okay, let’s do a couple rapid fire to pull out some some last insights from you. You can both take these or you can you can bounce them back and forth, whatever you want. So biggest challenge that you’ve overcome in your personal or professional life? What was it? How did you overcome it? What did it teach you?
Spencer Rascoff 56:02
Biggest challenge in my personal life was the loss of my brother when I was 15. And he was 17. And he was killed in a car accident. And how did I overcome it? Probably still working on that on some level. But you know, stay very close with my family and recommitted to work which was an outlet for me in high school in college. And then in my career. Top that one? Yeah.
Scott D Clary 56:34
You can’t you can’t drop your your your childhood trauma. I don’t.
Sophia Rascoff 56:46
I don’t want to be like, I don’t think I have any because I definitely have had challenges. But I don’t think there’s been anything about moving to New City. I Yeah. Okay, I guess that’s the challenge. Okay, I can use that one. I’m definitely moving coming out of fifth grade going into sixth grade in Los Angeles. It was challenging to leave my friends behind, especially at a time before we had social media, before we had phones. So I couldn’t really stay connected with anyone, or at least I didn’t end up staying connected closely with them. Difficult coming into New School in sixth grade, it was a K through sixth grade school. And I was a new sixth grader. So I’m not an incredibly outgoing or social person. So that was a bit of a struggle for me. And how I overcame it or solved it, I guess, definitely throwing myself into school activities. It’s something I still do to this day. I love using school activities and resources and extracurriculars to get to know my peers get involved in the school community. That’s something that I’ve always loved. And it’s definitely something that I started done.
Scott D Clary 57:43
Very good. Obviously, there’s been many people in both of your lives that have had a huge impact mentors, peers, variety people. So who was one person, you have to pick one one person that’s had an incredible impact? Who was that person? What did they teach you?
Spencer Rascoff 58:00
I’ll go first. That’s that way I can grab your mom first. So my wife I’ve been with for almost 30 years since we were 17. Definitely the most important person in my life and impactful. What I’ve learned from her is the importance of hard work. I’ve seen her had lots of successes and failures and challenges through a long medical career. And I’ve also learned from her the importance of empathy and communication. Her patients constantly are awed by her communication skills and her bedside manner. And that’s something that both Sophia and I learn from because we both tend to be a little bit robotic. And we both benefit from having her in our lives and teaching us the importance of EQ. Not just IQ.
Scott D Clary 58:45
Sophia Rascoff 58:48
Well, you took that one, I guess I have to take you then.
Scott D Clary 58:51
What did you learn from your dad? And maybe you got Spencer, like, cover your years?
Sophia Rascoff 58:57
Well, I’ve been learning from him for definitely my whole life. That’s how I first got exposed to entrepreneurship, the entrepreneurial world, of course, tech news at the breakfast table when I was like eight years old, I think started learning about stuff early quite early right then. I think it was I hear you, I’ll tell you, I think you’re such a like legendary figure almost even in my high school. So we went to the same high school. I go to the same high school that he went to. There are plaques on the walls of the schools with his name on it from when he was the past president. So it feels like I live with a bit of a ghost at school, every activity I do. There’s definitely a presence there, especially something that you were involved in. But I think that’s something that’s a positive for me. It gives me something to live up to. I feel like I take a lot of skills from you in the we have very similar mannerisms and personalities, especially in the business way We’re we’re very much get stuff done, like
Scott D Clary 1:00:06
dive into stuff. I know you dive into stuff because you’re doing this now. So like you dive into stuff.
Sophia Rascoff 1:00:13
And I think I just I’ve learned so much about that. And I think that’s definitely where I’ve gotten a lot of my personality and I become so inspired.
Scott D Clary 1:00:20
Amazing. And that’s not a bad thing, I think that you’ll definitely you’ll definitely have a couple plaques on walls yourself if you keep. Okay, next question, a book or podcast or audible, something you’d recommend people go check out.
Sophia Rascoff 1:00:38
A book that I would recommend is the Instagram nofilter book. I read that maybe two years ago. And it was super interesting to me reading this was before I actually started reconfigure, or maybe maybe at the early days, so I was an early founder reading about Instagrams founding was super interesting to me getting to read through their process their story. And I’m definitely looking for similar books that are about the founding story, because I find that so interesting. And trying to see what I can learn from their tactics and their founding ideas is something that I was definitely on the lookout for. Very good.
Spencer Rascoff 1:01:12
I’m almost done with Eric Schmidt, the former CEO of Google his book about with Henry Kissinger about AI. And it’s a really fascinating book about the history of AI and the present and more importantly, the future of artificial intelligence and where it’s taking us as a society. And it has some pretty concerning and scary applications. So
Scott D Clary 1:01:35
those are, those are actually two books that haven’t been recommended on this show yet. So there’s a good recommendation. Thank you. If you Okay, so this is this, this question is going to, you’re throwing a wrench in this question for me, Sophia. So the question is, what would you tell your 20 year old self? But you’re not there yet? So Spencer, a question applies to you. But then Sophia, what would you tell? What would you tell yourself? Knowing what you know now, versus when you first started your entrepreneurial journey?
Spencer Rascoff 1:02:04
It’s gonna be hard. Surround yourself with people that can make you better and can complement your skill set with their skill set, that usually means diverse people. And it’s going to be worth it. Because the struggle and the challenge is what it’s all about. It’s the journey, not the destination.
Sophia Rascoff 1:02:29
For me, I’d say, yeah, definitely on that hard work piece. It takes a lot of work and a lot of hours. And so I guess a piece of advice that I give myself is to put in even more time because with a startup, there’s just an unlimited amount of work that you could do to make it successful. There’s never a stopping point. There’s never a like it checked all the boxes for today. Guess I’ll see you tomorrow. So I think that’s been the most unique experience for me starting this is getting to experience that which isn’t something that you learn in school, because with school, it’s typically you did this assignment check, you’re done next class. So I think the piece of advice that I’d give myself, or what I would tell myself is just to try to better understand that experience and make the most of the time that you have to put even more time into the experience
Scott D Clary 1:03:24
and growth incredible advice. And then the last question is, what does success mean to you?
Spencer Rascoff 1:03:32
Success means being proud of the effort that I put in, and the team that I accomplished, whatever we accomplished with together and learning along the way, so that you know out the other end, I’m an improved person, and the people that are around me are improved from the journey that we were on together.
Sophia Rascoff 1:03:58
To me, I’d say getting to make an impact on others or create a positive change in some way. I love creating positive outcomes and helping people achieve the best the very best thing that we can for my team and for the audience itself. And so I guess I’d say that sort of moment of success is at the end of that journey where you feel like you created a positive, positive experience or positive change in some way.