How learning to is fail impacted Arvid Kahl - The Bootstrapped Founder

In this episode, we have Arvid Kahl, who is one of the loveliest people I know. You might know him from selling his company, Feedback Panda, and writing for his blog and podcast, The Bootstrapped Founder. Arvid is super thoughtful and has been developing those thoughts in his books, Zero to Sold and the Embedded Entrepreneur.

James: Hello and welcome to impactful.

The show where I speak to one
of my friends about what has

impacted them most in their life.

This could be a book that
changed their perspective, a

tool that made their life better.

Just a small thing that brings them joy.

Hopefully you'll come away from
this conversation feeling inspired

or with new things to explore.

In this episode, we have Arvid Carl,
who is genuinely one of the new.

I know you might know him from selling his
company feedback, pander, or for writing

for his blog and podcasts that beached
strap founder art is super thoughtful and

is, have been developing those thoughts
in his book, zero to sold and the embedded

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Arvid welcome to the podcast.

How are you?

Arvid: thanks so much for having me.

I'm super happy to be here.

And it is actually a really good tool.

Just going to say that, like,
that's a, that's a good sponsor,

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I really, really liked what they're doing.

James: Well, that's a double sponsor.

I appreciate your

Arvid: Well, you know, Twitter user,
you got to use these things and.

James: so avid, let's talk about your
first thing that's impacted you, which

is learning that failing is fine.

Arvid: Yeah.

Like I've, I've done a lot of
experimentation in my life and I'm glad

I'm doing more of that because at some
point early in my life, I was quite

afraid of failing and just a couple
of years ago the trial and error is

needed to grow as a person And errors
are a part of trial and error, right?

It's not just trial and success And
to understand that era's a part of

this and therefore to learn and grow.

You have to make

James: have to make

Arvid: makes it so much easier to
reframe failure into a growth mindset.

And I still have doubts and I still
have second thoughts in my life,

but I still do things and I do them
anyway because of and experimentation.

is just at the forefront of this.

And what really helps me
with this is trying to get

From my experiments And just turned
them into notes and reflect on

those notes and then write about it.

And that's why I use notion and just
like regular markdown files to write

down anything that comes to my mind.

I even have pen and paper always
next to me, either on my desk

or in the car or wherever I am,

When something comes, some reflection
happens, then I know that I'm growing.

And even if it's a reflection
On failure this doesn't work.

I still write it down

because there's value in
failure and reframing.

This makes anything that I do a
potential success and then therefore

I'm not disappointed if it doesn't
work out because I'm always

James: out because I'm always

Arvid: and that's, why learning
to that failing is fine.

as One of the biggest things
that really changed my life

because I'm not afraid anymore.

And I know that if I fail,
yay, learn something.

James: Hundred percent.

And I learned that lesson from reading
the obstacle is the way by Ryan holiday.

After I read that, and there was a
chapter on failure and the worst outcome

of failure is that you learn something
or that you can move forward from it.

So reframing failure is a
fantastic way to impact your life.

Let's move on to the next one Arvid which
is learning to be financially literate.

Arvid: Yeah, I was raised in Germany.

And for some reason, German,
the German education system

does not really teach you.

In terms of individual financial
literacy, you get economics classes

about like the bigger grander scale
of things, but they don't really teach

you what saving is or what investing
is, or what compound interest is.

I was never taught that by school.

And also my parents

didn't teach me because they also had
no idea they were working class people.

They were shying away from financial
instruments because people had been

burned, like going to that local,
tiny bank and giving them money.

And that was invested into the wrong fund.

And then it was lost.


Nobody ever really talked to me
about this and told me about this.

and it wasn't until I was
in my thirties, reading Tony

Robbins money master the game.

Like that book just made a difference
in introducing me to the concept.

I know that Tony is still selling stuff.

through those books.

So obviously it's not The
most objective guide, but just

being exposed to the concept.

In A form that is also empowering
and supportive and that's

most of Tony Robbins' work.

And in many ways that's just

flip that switch.

And that turned me into somebody
who researched financial

independence, financial
literacy, the, the fire movement.

The idea that early retirement
is an option that you don't have

to work for six until you're 60
and then live all of that stuff.

And how to get there was a
strong, strong revelation.

to me Because you make
decisions differently.

If you know, where this financial
decision might lead you 20, 30 years

down the road, if you don't understand
compound interest and making.

money work for you instead
of just working for money,

James: It's absolutely something that
needs to be added to curriculums or around

the world to, to be able to learn that
because I am really bad with money of it.

I'm really bandwidth buying things
and not living within my means.

And it's taken me a lot of
reading and educating myself

to try and get better at it.

And I just wish that that had
been ingrained into me like

a base level while I was.

And let's go and get their
bond, which I absolutely love.

And this has impacted my life a lot.

So tell me how learning, how to
cook has changed your life of it.

Arvid: Well, I always like to eat this.

That's not a secret in my life
and I've I've never been like

a picky eater or anything.

I, just enjoy lots of things.

And I at some point I figured out
that if I want to be able to eat

as many different, interesting
things as possible, well, I'll need.

to be able to prepare them.

And in some sense,

now, in retrospect, after going through
my whole entrepreneurial career, I

understand that my desire to be able
to cook and to learn how to cook is

very much an expression of my desire.

to be independent.

Self-determined as like, there is
a reason why there's so many people

who sell and exit their businesses
then buy a farm in the middle of.

nowhere And

do woodwork it.

Like I've seen this three or four times.

And just in the, in the, in the
hacker entrepreneurial space, just

a couple of big names out there too.

People want to live a self-sustained

and a self-controlled life.

They want to.

The wealth that they built themselves
and key, and that sustains their life

without any outside independence.

And that is a, is a, is a big
driver in, in most entrepreneurs

that lives obviously,

and learning how to cook is a
non-entrepreneurial facet of that.

To me, I learned through YouTube

really YouTube taught me everything
and a couple of cookbooks here.

and a lot of experimentation, which
kind of harks back to what I first

said with the being happy to fail
cooking, you can fail quite easily.

Try baking.

That's just chemistry.

Like you do some tiny bit wrong.

everything's ruined, but at some
point you'll get it more, right?

Not perfectly fine, but
you, you get it right there.

And then over time you develop
through this experimentation and a

really solid skill in preparing this.

meal, same goes for
almost any other activity.

And for me, that has made.

For example, I've made like dozens,
hundreds of different kinds of risotto.

And now nobody else

in the family makes risotto because
they know I just do it best.

And that is a skill.

Like I obviously like being the person
in the family to do a thing, just project

that into the marketplace out there,
be the person that is the best person.

at that thing.

And then your work is valuable.

So it's a kind of life lesson.

really to be So self determined and
independent, that you're good at.

More than anybody else.

James: what's your favorite
cookbook out of ones here?

We're looking at

Arvid: funny enough.

I inherited one from the nineties.

James: from the

Arvid: Twenties or something from
my grandmother, a German cookbook.

and I, what I love about this.

it is that it completely skipped
all modern technology because

There wasn't that technology that
was no like food processors, that

there was no microwave there.

was no like, you know, like battery
operated potato masher, anything

you had to physically apply.

For food to change its shape or form.


the reading, those recipes just
really gives you the insight into how.

Happened to turn into the meals we
have now and what the point was.

So I, I don't really even know the
cookbooks name because it just says

cookbook, you know, in Germany, in
the twenties, they didn't have that

many books but I really, really enjoy.

reading super old books.

To understand the origin of the
meals and to the intentionality

of those meals as well.

It's super exciting.

There is one out there.

and I think it's the unofficial Harry
Potter cookbook I really liked that

cause I'm a big Harry Potter fan
and there's all the recipes from all

the things they have in the movie.


actual recipes, like mostly
British recipes, obviously.

And we've been cooking a couple of
those and it's, it's quite enjoyable.

you can do a little Harry Potter.

themed evening or anything, and you make
like trickle tarts and some, some Yeah.

Black pudding or whatever
it's, it's really enjoyable.

So if you are.

I'm a Harry Potter fan, I recommend that.

But most, any, any book will do as
long as you act, as long as you do it.

James: And the, the final thing
that impacts you, I think,

is a great one to end on.

And you, you touched upon this in the
previous previous thing, but talk to me

about why freedom is so important to you.

Arvid: Everybody defines
freedom differently, right?

To me, it means being able to do what
I want to do whenever I want to do it.

And that's something I learned when I
was younger, I thought freedom means just

having lots of money and playing games.

I over the last couple of days have
actually tried to play some games.

Cause I'm, I was just In a, in
a state where I had a lot of

time and I wanted to play games.

I just figured I didn't enjoy it anymore.

They used to be a time

where playing video games was
the, the height of all activities.

Not that case for me anymore.

For me right now,

it's being able to do my work, which
is writing, which is communicating

with founders whenever I want to do.

And not doing my work when
I don't want to do it,

that is my.

understanding of freedom.

And to me, it's just really removing
All distractions and all interruptions

from what my focus is having an
empty calendar, having a schedule

that only I get to fill nobody else.

There's a book out there called
life profitability by RDP.

He wrote an amazing book on balancing.

That's like having a profitable
life, but also living a life.

And this ties back into financial literacy
because it's about What can I do today?

that will sustain my life.

So I don't have to work until my sixties
To be able to enjoy Which at that point

is mostly over or at least dominated by.

other things like physical health
problems and stuff like that.

So to me that is what freedom really is

It's to enjoy my life
right now, right here.

do the things that matter to me
and have, control over my schedule.

and that kind of yeah, it does
tie in all these other things,

because it's about determination
and, you know, financial choices.

and in the end, yeah.

Doing the experiments.

James: Well way.

Thank you so much for the four
things that have impacted your life.

I appreciate you coming onto the
podcast into the recap you had

that learning that failing is fine.

Financial literacy, learning
how to Kirk, and then finally

understanding what your freedom
is, and then defining that freedom.

Thank you for coming on.

Arvid: Absolute pleasure.

Thanks so much.

James: Thank you for listening
to this episode of impactful.

What I hope you've coming away,
feeling inspired and with new things

to explore all the recommendations
discussed in this episode will be

listed and linked in the show notes.

© 2021 James McKinven