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Interview: John deBary
On the Building and Killing of Alcohol Brands
John deBary is a semi-retired bartender, author and hospitality consultant. He founded Proteau, a line of non-alcoholic botanical aperitifs, in 2019. He is the author of two cocktail books: Drink What You Want and Saved by the Bellini. He is also the co-founder and board president of Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.
John’s work has been featured in Bloomberg, Bon Appetit, Eater, Epicurious, The Guardian, The New York Times, Thrillist, and more, and in 2020 he was named in Wine Enthusiast’s 40 under 40.
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Hello John! All right. So where do I want to start with you?
I discovered you in 2019, I think. I'd just launched Haus and you had just launched Proteau, and it was beautiful. And I remember reading about it and I wanted to try it. I ordered it, and I thought it was amazing. And so I think I just reached out to you.
I think you just literally emailed me.
And so that started our friendship. You've always fascinated me because you do so much and, and it's all genuinely good and interesting work. You're very polymathic and so I'd love for you to share a bit about your career path.
I mean, I've always felt that being a polymath, jumping from one interest to another, was maybe... a character flaw? I've wondered if I might have some undiagnosed ADHD, especially since it's a thing in my family. But I've never gotten a formal diagnosis. I've often found myself getting nearly done with something—like, say, 79% done—and then just moving on. It's led to a lot of self-doubt and negative self-talk.
I recently had this realization that maybe it's not a flaw. Maybe I'm just rebellious. I don't want to be pigeonholed into one thing because I want to be my own person. It's led me to reframe how I've thought about myself in the past. I'm glad we're talking about this because my journey to where I am now feels winding and at times nonsensical. But looking back, it all seems inevitable.
My journey really began as I was entering high school. I come from this unique family—I can trace my lineage back a thousand years to a guy named Odon Barry.
Yes, I would like to talk more about that.
Yeah, it’s a whole thing. I have this long illustrious lineage, and one of the most notable people in it is my grandfather, Theodore W. deBary. His father came from Germany around 1912, and my grandfather went on to pioneer the field of East Asian Studies in America. He translated major works, wrote foundational textbooks. I even had an artist friend, who's half-Japanese, half-Korean, tell me meeting me was “like meeting Merriam-Webster's son” because of my grandfather's impact. His passion for East Asia, especially Japan and to some degree China, influenced my dad and my family. My aunt, for example, is a professor of Japanese literature. And that love for the culture caught on with me too. I became deeply interested in learning Japanese when I was around 13.
This made me beeline straight to Columbia, where my grandfather had been a professor. So yeah, full on nepo baby here. I enrolled in Columbia with the aim to study Japanese history and language, essentially to become a scholar in the field. However, after some time, academia just didn't really do it for me. So I shifted gears and set my sights on Columbia law school.
While at Columbia, I crossed paths with someone named Don Lee. If you're familiar with the bar scene, he's almost legendary. He was the opening bartender at PDT, and he's truly one of the sharpest minds in the business. Donnelly and I shared a place and even worked together at Murray's Cheese, a renowned cheese shop in New York's West Village. So after college, I drifted away from my Japanese studies and leaned towards law school. I spent two years working for a city agency that investigated misconduct complaints against the NYPD, thinking it'd be a good prelude to my legal studies. After that, I had an opportunity to visit Japan with a friend. There was a moment when I considered moving there, but life had other plans. I'd met the man who's now my husband, and I wanted to be close to him.
After returning from that trip to Japan, I found myself in a bit of a bind: jobless and unsure of the next step, though I was registered for the LSATs. I reached out Don and asked if his bar was hiring. To my surprise, he said yes. That's how I unexpectedly found myself at PDT, one of the premier bars in the country. Back then, there were only a handful of top-tier bars in the city, and PDT was among the elite. Within my first month, I was featured in the New York Times, complete with my name and a quote. It dawned on me that not only was I lucky, but perhaps I had a knack for this.
It might be surprising to hear, but I used to be quite shy and reserved. But when I was behind the bar, it was like flipping a switch. I felt alive. I had a real talent for this stuff. My journey continued at Momofuku. I started part-time, but I quickly climbed the ranks and ended up as the bar director for the entire company. I opened ten restaurants with them. Over time, I had trained countless bartenders, delved into every mixology book, crafted unique recipes — I immersed myself fully. That deep involvement segued into writing about the craft and publishing books, a shift from being front-and-center to a slightly behind-the-scenes role, yet still integral to the industry. And then launching a product of my own. And, well, that's a snapshot of my journey so far.
I mean, I have to zero in on something. You abandoned a prestigious family path in academia to bartend. What did your family think?
It's interesting when I think about my relationship with my grandfather. We didn't have a strained bond, but it was more of a distant one. We were just... there, around each other without much individual connection.
I recall a moment after I began working at Momofuku. Oddly enough, with Dave being heavily influenced by Japanese cuisine, my proficiency in the Japanese language and understanding of East Asian culture and cuisine really played to my advantage. So, in a way, my past studies really gave me a leg up with my job.
I chatted with my grandfather once, telling him about my role at this restaurant group run by a Korean-American but with a lot of Japanese culinary inspiration. And he just deadpanned, "I see you're putting your Columbia education to good use." It was classic him, a bit sarcastic and on the grumpy side, at least with me. I found myself replying, "Well, yeah, kind of actually."
What's kind of ironic about Columbia is their core curriculum. They make every student dive into humanities, music, and all that. And many aren’t fans. You'd hear people go, "Why do I need to know about art if I want to be an engineer?" So, there's always been this friction, with instructors sometimes almost apologizing for the curriculum, saying things like, "Well, even if you don't use this in your career, you'll be the star at cocktail parties." Turns out, my life's basically one big cocktail party. So in a roundabout way, and even if he was being a bit cheeky, my grandfather wasn't entirely wrong. As for my folks, my mom thought it was pretty cool—she’s very epicurean. My dad? He was more laid-back about it. I think he was just glad I found something I loved.
That's really good, all things considered. Something else that stuck out to me was that you brought up almost like a split personality kind of situation, where you got behind the bar and all of a sudden you were like, “Who is this guy?”
My friends would come in, They'd be like, “Who are you?”
I can really relate to this. Growing up, I was painfully shy. Some probably thought I was aloof or stuck-up, but honestly, I was just scared of everything and everyone.
But during college, something kind of unexpected happened. Out of the blue, an old high school buddy asked me to help him with his website. And in our first meeting, I had this confidence and energy I’d never seen myself have before. I remember thinking, "Where on earth is this coming from?" One side of me had this crazy confidence, while the other side had none at all. It’s an issue I still deal with.
Did you find that, over time, those divergent parts of your personality started to merge?
I don't know. It's a little bit of both actually. Back in my early bartending days, things were more black and white. I was either at work bartending or I wasn’t. There was this clear line. The way I presented myself felt neatly boxed in, depending on where I was. But around that same time, I dove deep into Bikram yoga, and I mean really deep. I'm talking a daily practice, even after those long bartending nights. Wake up at 10 a.m., hit a class, rinse and repeat. But the transformative thing about it? You're pushing your limits in this super intense environment, and the key is to remain chill, to not lose your cool.
The thing is, bartending, just like service roles in general, sometimes feels like a high-wire act. So much can be falling apart behind the scenes, but in front of guests, you've got to keep the facade of "all's well." Now, I'm not talking about going full-on American Psycho and adopting a fake persona. It's more about figuring out how to present yourself – being genuine, but also intentional and strategic in how you come across. This mindset kind of started to seep into my daily life. I realized that part of the reason I put on this act is because interacting with people can be draining for me. It's not that I dislike socializing; it just wears me out quicker than most.
You know, now that I'm in my 40s, my social battery runs out way faster. If I'm at a party, I've got like 2-3 hours max. After that, I need to duck out and literally just stare at a wall for a couple of hours. I genuinely treasure alone time. It's like I initially had this split in my personality, then sort of underwent a reassembly. While parts of me have meshed together, there are still distinct, defined sections.
Yeah. Makes sense to me.
Do you want to talk at all about your journey launching an alcohol product?
I thought that was the idea.
Well, I didn't know for sure. When someone has a project that doesn't go as they wanted it to go, they might not want to talk about that for a while. Also you still work in the alcohol industry, and there's a bit of a “hush-hush”—like, you’ve got to be careful what you say or you’ll get blacklisted. So I want to be mindful of that.
But we can talk about it.
Yeah. Let’s do it.
You know, we've had conversations about the industry privately. You put a gorgeous product out there. The brand was beautiful. The product itself was beautiful. And for god’s sake, look at the trends and how much non-alc has grown. You were spot on. And you encountered impossible challenges, in part because this industry is impossible. Let's talk about that.
Yeah, on paper, everything seemed in order. I managed to raise $1.5 million from a single institutional investor. With that came their team, who are supposed to be the top experts in the industry. Each of them, individually, had good intentions and were quite competent. But when it came to the collective, it didn't quite gel. There were these underlying conflicts of interest everywhere. Questions like "Who are we really working for?" and "How is success defined here?" kept popping up. Everything seemed conditional, no matter which direction you looked.
I was fortunate to have that backing, but here's the thing: You can stretch a $20,000 investment over five years if you're savvy and understand the lay of the land, or you could squander half a billion in a short span—like what happened with Quibi, that streaming service that flopped. It's not so much about the amount of money, but how you use it and truly understanding your direction.
In my situation, the structure was clear: the investor is going to acquire you in five years. That’s part of the deal. The only question is whether you'll make a hefty sum or just a little. My lawyers kept pointing out how the investment contracts basically made me a glorified employee under this investor. They emphasized that I wouldn't have much freedom to seek outside investments or have much control over my direction. I couldn’t sell to anyone else. But to be honest, I was like, "I just want this product to see the light of day." If that meant selling it to them in five years and moving on, that was okay by me. Whether I ended up with $10 million or half a million or even just a stable job for those years, it seemed good to me. I was genuinely okay with that setup, and it didn't stress me out.
Given the seemingly locked-in plan, I spent the cash assuming more funds would come, because that’s what they said I should do. I was splurging on things like custom bottles, top-notch artwork, PR campaigns—expenses that make total sense if you have a steady influx of capital for the next five years. And that’s what I was expecting, and what they implied was happening. But if that flow was suddenly halted, those expenses would be a major misstep. At the time, I didn't realize how close to reality that scenario might be.
I remember asking them directly, "Would you ever present me to the board for funding if it wasn't a sure thing?" And they were firm in saying, "No, that won't happen. We'd know ahead of time." Yet, as it turned out, I went before the board once, right on the cusp of the COVID outbreak, around March 2020. To my surprise, they told me, "Your brand doesn't align with our portfolio, so we're letting it go. Best of luck."
I didn’t even know that was possible. All the while, I had been spending like the investments would keep coming. I mean, I'd spent hundreds of thousands on a custom bottle design alone. Just a week prior, I had flown to Mexico to oversee a production of bottles that cost around $60,000, not even including the $30,000 for the design and mold. Instead of that, I could have opted for a basic, low-cost bottle that would have set me back maybe $5,000 for a large batch. When you're essentially hitched to a major player—like those fish that tag along with sharks—your financial strategy shifts to align with that player’s expectations.
Looking back, had I known there was even a remote chance the funds could dry up, I would've approached things differently. The real gripe I have is not being forewarned about the potential instability. After I wrote about my experience in my newsletter, others reached out, sharing eerily similar stories with the same folks. It became clear that my experience wasn’t an isolated incident.
The silver lining? Despite the setbacks and the unforeseen challenges of COVID, along with the impracticalities of our heavy bottle design for direct-to-consumer sales, the brand persevered for another two years beyond expectations. Many assumed we'd fold within six months, but we defied those odds. To me, that's a win.
I’m so sorry you went through that, and I also agree with you, that it is a win, no matter what.
I think it’s important to take a moment and lay out for readers how the alcohol VC system works. Because I’m talking to founder after founder in alcohol who got screwed by this model, in part because there seems to be no transparency about how the model really works.
So when you're an upstart alcohol brand and you need funding, you have very few options. And to “succeed” in the alcohol world, you need a lot of funding. The rule of thumb I heard by folks on the inside is about $9-10 million to “get established.” This means building the brand, establishing national distribution networks, funding inventory, all of that stuff. That’s if you’re lucky. Then many, many more millions to really compete on a national level.
There are alcohol brands that operate successfully on a local level—tasting rooms, that sort of thing. But if you want to have a chance as a nationally distributed brand, you need a lot of money. Alcohol conglomerates will spend $50m on a campaign. Those are the kinds of budgets you are ultimately competing with. That’s why Haus getting to where it did so quickly was such an anomaly. I don’t think people on the outside understand that.
Anyway. There are a few big alcohol conglomerates that control everything, and they have venture arms. Traditionally, if you are a brand that stands out and has real potential, you get funding from one of the big alcohol conglomerates, like you did with Proteau. That is basically your one path to becoming a national brand.
But these investment structures are very unique to the alcohol industry. With traditional VC, you generally have the freedom to raise from and sell to whoever you want, from start to finish. That allows for competitive rounds and competitive sale processes, which is why you can see such massive exits in VC.
With alcohol, you are locked in with the conglomerate you signed with—from that point forward you can only raise money from them and you can only sell to them. And if you hit their performance expectations, then your prize is they buy you at terms that they set. And you cannot counter because you have no leverage and you are already locked in. It’s basically a bad record deal, but if you want your brand to have national distribution there is historically no other way to do it.
And as an alcohol brand raising money, you obviously want to have an outcome. You want to be bought by a big alcohol conglomerate, because that is the only option there is. But the thing that isn't talked about is they not only can control every aspect of your exit, but they can also decide to kill you at any time. Because you’re locked in. And when they’ve only given you $1-2 million, you aren’t set up for success in the first place because of how the game works and how much money is actually required. So over and over again, you see these incredible upstart brands with all of this potential get funded, and get killed, because they “just weren’t getting traction.” But every single one is set up to fail.
I guess I’m on my soapbox now.
I'm like… You're just nailing it. Yeah.
And if you had known that $1.5m was the only check you were going to get, you would have spent that money very differently. You could have built a sustainable, profitable business. But VC doesn’t want you to do that, because that’s not how VC works. You are supposed to spend it all in 12-18 months, and if it doesn’t work out in that time, then you’re done. That’s the game. So for those reading who don’t know, that’s how it works.
Yes. I genuinely believed I could've made that $1.5 million work, if I had spent it like it was the only money I’d ever get. Almost right after securing my initial investment, the wheels were already in motion for another round of funding. That was their rhythm: request funding, receive it, ask for more, rinse and repeat. Essentially, it's a loan system against the eventual payout from the exit. I was all on board, thinking, "Sure, let's roll with it."
We shelled out something like $20,000 for a branding firm just to spruce up our deck. When I think about it, I could've stretched that $20,000 so much further. The funds were being channeled into areas that, in hindsight, weren't the most impactful. Then, once I was cut loose, I was navigating a landscape filled with more traditional VC folks who had a whole different mindset.
It's curious, the psychology of most investors. It seems they're not genuinely drawn to genuine risk. They're captivated by one of two things: either massive, massive returns from something that's essentially theoretical – just a PowerPoint without any tangible product backing it, allowing them to conjure grand visions unfettered by reality – or they approach with, "Come to us when you're raking in $1,000,000 annually." And I'm sitting here thinking, if I'm already earning that much annually, I'm likely not searching for more funding unless I'm in acquisition talks. So, what's the deal?
Yeah. And so, I don't know. When alcohol founders come to me and ask me about fundraising. I'm like... I don't know what to say. Maybe take some money from individuals if you're lucky and can find it, I guess. But do not expect to go on the same track that Haus did. And you shouldn't want to go on the same track because the track doesn’t actually exist like you think it does.
Anyway. Clearly I needed to get that out of my system. I hope that you don't think that any of it was your fault because you were part of this greater failed system. And here's the thing. Like, I still remember you for making something awesome, right? In the same way that I'm still so proud that we launched what we did.
You didn't cut corners. Like, I think going for the custom bottle and all that—you wanted to make the best thing. I don't think there should be any regret there. Just like I don’t regret putting so much into making the best thing we could possibly launch with Haus. That in itself is something founders should continue to strive for.
How has this whole experience influenced the way you think about your work now? I mean, what really struck me in your recent newsletter was this strong feeling of... you know, if you're going to dive into something, it should have real meaning, it should bring joy. You mentioned a book, Pleasure Activism, that had a big impact on you. I just bought it, actually.
It's amazing. I want to be Adrienne Maree Brown’s best friend.
It kind of sounds a little nihilistic, but… for me like… I did everything right. You know, the brand was good. The product was delicious. I got the top institutional investor. And I had the background, you know, I had the fancy Ivy League college. I grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. Like I had every single fucking thing on paper that you should need to have to succeed. And it still wasn't enough.
And so it's kind of like… everything we were taught is wrong. It doesn't actually make any sense. So you might as well do whatever the hell you want. And so it's kind of liberating in a way. Like, it helps to work hard at whatever you do. But there are all these things that you can't control, and a lot of good things are just luck.
I've actually been working on my next newsletter, kind of a sneak peek for you. The spotlight this time is on this musician I absolutely adore, Bonnie McKee. She's around our age, and you might not recognize her by name immediately, but she wrote some of Katy Perry's biggest hits. Bonnie's story is wild. She moved to L.A. when she was just 16, got wrapped up in drugs, alcohol, the whole scene. Managed to record an album, but it got shelved by her label. And here's the twist: she bumped into Katy Perry at a secondhand store in L.A. Both of them were selling clothes because they were, well, broke. That random encounter led her to songwriting for Katy. And now Bonnie's a huge name in the industry.
You know, it's wild to think about how one seemingly random moment can change the entire trajectory of someone's life. If that encounter hadn't happened, who knows where Bonnie would be? These chance occurrences remind me that, in many ways, so much is outside our control. So, why not just pursue what genuinely resonates with us? Dive into what genuinely makes us happy or what we believe can have a positive impact on others. Whether that lands you in the spotlight or pads your bank account, well, a lot of it's up to fate. At the end of the day, you've just got to follow your heart and, well, the rest? You've just got to let it go and say “fuck it.”
I mean I'm married to a person, I own a home. We bought it a long time ago and it was still very cheap, and we had a great mortgage rate that we locked in in 2016. So it's it's there is like, like the survival element of working is not there for me. Which is like a huge a huge relief. But you know, I think even even taking survival out of it, the idea that there's one path to success, or that there's no “right” way to do something can apply no matter what.
Totally. I think there's an understated courage in pursuing the unconventional path, in making choices that don't necessarily align with societal norms. Sure, a lot of discourse revolves around money and survival, but there's an ancient, deeply rooted anxiety in being ostracized from one's community or society. It's subtle, but it's there. And in a world where that kind of societal pressure persists, to see someone like you carve out such a distinct identity and path for themselves is really cool. The authenticity in your work, the way you articulate and express. It's unique, and I deeply respect that.
It was very comforting to pick up a bottle of Proteau and say, “I made this. This is real.” Like, people are drinking this. And now that that's gone, there's a bit of like… a bereft feeling in terms of just like, “Well, what am I? What am I doing?”
But I am also the kind of person who continually downplays everything that I do. So it's like… maybe it's okay for a little while to not have something like that. And I literally published a book in April, and that's, you know, that's my second book. I should feel like that could be enough for a while.
From reading your newsletter, it sounds like maybe you're weighing an internal journey as more important now as well versus all the things that you're doing and sharing externally.
Can we talk a bit more about the experience of shutting down Proteau? When did you know it was time?
It was simple math. I decided to shut down the company when I ran out of viable inventory and didn’t have the capital to make any more. Due to the custom nature of a lot of the recipe and packaging, my minimums were huge. The second factor in shutting it down was the fact that all the side hustles that I set up while I waited for Proteau to take off ended up being a whole career, so I wanted to be able to focus on that, since that was actually making me money: writing, consulting, and so on.
Shutting down a company can be just an awful experience. Did you feel like you were emotionally prepared for it?
Honestly it was a huge relief. I was really excited to not have to work for free for a doomed brand.
Did anything surprising come up for you in this experience?
I was really touched by how many people reached out to say how emotionally connected they were to Proteau and how it was literally the most delicious non-alcoholic drink they’ve ever tried. But I think that just goes to show that having great liquid and a compelling founder story is only a small part of the success equation.
I'm curious, you recently brought up healing in your newsletter. Can you talk about what that means for you?
Yeah. I mean, I think that largely because of Pleasure Activism, but I think that there is more to it. When I first started out as a bartender and reflected on my time as an investigator for the city, I'd describe it like stepping into some bleak French play about bureaucratic purgatory. Our agency was supposed to be keeping an eye on the police, but the catch was, we really didn't have any genuine power. Picture this: you're diligently collecting reports, interviewing people, and diving deep into constitutional law. You craft these extensive reports, believing in the importance of your work, only for them to seemingly just evaporate into thin air. The police department? More often than not, they'd simply shrug off our findings, as if to say, 'We don't really care what you think.' It was like tirelessly building something, only to watch it crumble time and time again.
When I transitioned into bartending, there was this immediate, tangible satisfaction. People would come in, sit in front of me, share their stories or their day, and I’d craft something special with my hands. Almost every time, they'd exclaim, "This is one of the best things I've ever had!" and it would instantly uplift their spirits. It was incredible to witness that real-time transformation, how a simple drink could alter someone's mood so drastically. And, yeah, as I mentioned in my newsletter, there's the aspect that it's alcohol, which can have its downsides. Sure, it may not always be the healthiest choice, and I sometimes ponder over the hangovers I might have inadvertently caused. After all, I had a knack for encouraging one more drink. But at the end of the day, it was about the connection and the experience.
It’s one of the reasons I started a non-alcoholic brand. There's something deeply rewarding about offering something that not only provides pleasure but does so in a way that's genuinely healthful and doesn't come with negative repercussions. When I think about the early days of bartending, as much as I loved the art and craft of it, there was always that nagging understanding of the downsides of excessive alcohol consumption. With my own brand, it felt like there was a responsibility to consume and showcase my product – which, inevitably, meant drinking a lot of it. So, the move towards a non-alcoholic beverage brand was, in many ways, me prioritizing health and wellness both for myself and my audience. I wanted to provide an experience, a taste, a connection, without the aftermath of alcohol. It's a way to make amends, in a sense, after years of advocating for potent cocktails.
I know people who are yoga teachers and people who provide that kind physical healing for people. I have this new reverence for them where I'm like, wow, you've really just decided to help people feel better. That’s what you do.
And that's so amazing. It makes me ask, “what can I do?” What is healing and how can I provide that to people through what I already do? I know that one way is providing entertainment and deliciousness and fun for people. I’m not giving someone chemotherapy, but there's this emotional healing that can happen from feeling good and feeling inspired and tasting something delicious.
So yeah. I've started to reframe my existing projects and evaluate them through a lens of healing. With all the chaos in the world, I'm using healing as a guiding principle for every decision I make. This isn't a completely new mindset for me; hints of it have always been there, especially when thinking about my grandfather's influence. However, reading Pleasure Activism helped clarify and solidify these feelings. It offered a structured framework that resonated with my evolving understanding. Now, my challenge is to determine how I can provide healing in a way that's authentic to me. Everyone has their unique mode of healing, and it's crucial to find mine.
I love that so much and I resonate with it. So much of the conversation around impact is the vastness of the problems of the world and how everybody needs to mobilize together to tackle these problems. But it can also be a really singular, individual journey. And if we all ended up adopting this mindset of like… “how can we, in our own way, make as much of what we do on a daily basis about being good to others?” If everyone just focused on having that mindset in their day-to-day interactions, the world would change.
Yeah. And it doesn't have to be big and loud and public. It can be very small and personal and private and unseen. And that's okay. Just because you're not doing it in front of a million people, doesn't take away from the impact of it.
Absolutely, these decisions and actions inherently feel good.
Yeah, absolutely. I've been talking with my therapist a lot about this topic, and I have this internal tension. It's not that I'm envious of people's fame for the recognition or desire to be noticed on the street. What draws me in is their ability to connect deeply with so many people, to make a significant impact, whether through a song, a movie, or a book. The fame itself seems secondary to me. While I understand that having a public profile, like many Instagram followers or being big on TikTok, can open doors, what truly interests me is the “why” behind their fame. People generally become famous for a reason, and I want to discover that. So for me, it's not about them knowing me personally, but I'd love for them to recognize and connect with what I produce or create.
Yeah, I can relate to that. But the irony is, like you and I also both have platforms. They're not celebrity level, but we both have an audience.
And it's something I've pondered a lot. I sometimes find myself envious of those with larger platforms, but at the same time, I'm hesitant to use the one I currently possess. It's ironic.
Part of my motivation for this project is to get accustomed to producing for an audience again, even if I'm uncertain about if they will like it or even care. If I can't find the courage to share work that's true to myself with my current audience, then maybe I'm not ready for a bigger one.
And so, yeah, this is like literally me dipping my toe into the pool of like… I don't even know what I'm doing, but this is what I want to make right now, and that’s all I know.
No one really knows what they’re doing.
And I'm very much in support of you dipping your toes in as well. And hopefully this conversation was helpful in some way.
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