The importance of “why, what, and how” with Braden Weinstock of Paxful

The importance of “why, what, and how” with Braden Weinstock of Paxful

What makes a high performance culture? Today’s guest, Braden Weinstock, COO of Paxful, talks about good leadership, aligning values to actions, and other tips for successful company culture.

Photo of Braden Weinstock
Braden Weinstock

The COO of Paxful, which is is a global marketplace to securely trade Bitcoin with millions of users.

Braden Weinstock 0:04
Hi.

Maren Kate 0:05

So I am here today with Braden. I'm very excited to have you on the show. Braden is the COO at paxful a peer to peer Bitcoin exchange platform. And previously he was an operating executive at the unicorn startup knotel. And before that was at Bridgewater, which is a hedge fund that I am personally obsessed with the founder Ray Dalio wrote a book that I have read over and over called principles. And that was actually how Braden and I got connected early on. So in addition to that, he also has blogged about how to build high performance culture, which is why he's on the show today. So Braden, welcome.

Braden Weinstock 0:43

Thanks, man. It's great to be here with you.

Maren Kate 0:45

Good to be here with you too. So first up, what was your very first job?

Braden Weinstock 0:51

A very first job was Burger King. 15 years old. Yes, I work the cash register and Oftentimes the the Closeout of the of the store. What was your first?

Maren Kate 1:06

Like, white collar or professional job? Like, was it outside of college? Was it during college?

Braden Weinstock 1:14

That's a good question. I don't know if it qualifies as like a, quote white collar job, but when I was in college, I was also doing sales for ink and toner for MFC printers. Okay, so I was like calling law offices and being like, Oh, do you want cheaper toner, I can save you $1 on your black ink. And I was also in the background, setting up the CRM and the sales process and all that stuff. I was all going through college. My first, I guess, professional job you would think of was as a management consultant at Deloitte when I graduated from college.

Maren Kate 1:52

Got it and from there you went to Bridgewater.

Braden Weinstock 1:56

No, actually quite a journey. I would Say I was a consultant for five years. I did Deloitte for a couple of years financial crisis cane. I lost my job. I did a little Eat Pray Love journey going, backpacking through mid India for about five or six months, came back. And then I joined a small consulting firm. I went from big company to small company that got quickly bought by PwC. So I switched and went to another consulting firm that was all in Chicago, so five years in consulting, and then I started my hair salon. E Fox hair in LA. It's one of the top luxury boutique salons and that was really my chance to apply the consulting skills to how do I build something, something that you know actually works, and you don't just make slides for but you have to do something about and that I started about five or six years into my career.

Maren Kate 2:50

How did you go from management consulting to a hair salon?

Braden Weinstock 2:57

I get this question a lot. So my Best friend is a hairstylist. We, you know, we knew each other from since I was 17 years old, he was doing my hair. Then we went traveling together, we became good friends went to concerts together, we're always you know, this is I grew up in LA. So we're going to see the killers. And we're going out to shows all the time. And I would talk to him about doing celebrity hair. And you'd be like, Oh, yeah, this is really fun. And I was like, What do you really want to do one day, and he's like, Oh, I think I might want to have a hair salon. So fast forward. a management consultant, I work for, you know, a dozen fortune 100 companies that you've all heard of and know about. And I'm like, Well, if I've got these skills for solving problems, maybe I can help my friend build a hair salon, and he wanted to have a family, he's going to get married, his wife is getting pregnant. And he's like, I want to be able to cut hair, you know, but eventually run a business and so I was like, Hey, I'll help you, you know, and I started asking him questions like, How much money do you want to make? And like, what are your unit economics? And what is the business model? Like what software you're gonna have? And I sent him a spreadsheet. And he called me back and he said, What is this? How do I use this? Only to find out he didn't have Microsoft Office? Of course, okay. I think I can really help you with this. So I ended up just building entire business model and teaching myself how to build a website and go into hair shows and learning about hair and sitting down with all his materials and basically learning everything I could about the hair business and, you know, bodybuilding, that thing going, has that been going for? We started a we started at 10 years ago, and a couple days ago, we had our nine year anniversary of being open so.

Maren Kate 4:50

And you're amazing, especially considering with COVID and everything that's amazing that you guys are still in business and we're able to, you know, get through that which I'm sure Actually a lot has to do with thinking in terms of that financial planning early on.

Braden Weinstock 5:05

Yes, very much around the business model structure, which we took a relatively unique approach to, and provide a lot of flexibility in the business model. So when COVID came in March, we ended up getting shut down for almost three months. That was okay. Not good, but we were able to handle it. We were open again for six weeks closed down, and we just opened up again about a week or two ago, so it's proved resilient as a business model. That's amazing.

Maren Kate 5:34

Yeah, I like it's always fun when you're able to kind of saddle to Worlds like you're, you know, you've had management consulting, you've worked at Bridgewater, you worked at knotel and now you're at paxful. But then also having that boots on the ground hairstylist, like understanding like how much you know, toner cost and the difference between you know, I just think that's a it's Jealous of that eight ability to kind of dig your hands into like real physical goods?

Braden Weinstock 6:05

Well, I mean, I think you're touching on a really important point though, like, as a consultant, I learned a lot about how to, I'll learn a lot about thinking frameworks for how to make decisions and the way large organizations function. The process that we're building a company is very different. It's a different set of skills. So how do you learn to apply those thinking skills to the actual doing? And the hair salon was a wonderful experience for me probably the greatest learning experience I've ever had, which, given my experience at Bridgewater, a lot of people might say, I'm surprised to hear that but the hair salon Yeah, we had a spiral like we had a spot a location and we had to go to the bank and get a loan to buy the building. We had to sit down and build a business model. Think about hiring and managing talent. It's very different than hiring somebody you know, fresh out of Harvard to go do research in Bridgewater than it is to hire a hairstylist. manage them to produce revenue, marketing to your customers very different and learning about SEO and building a website and running Google ads, and not having a marketing team to turn to and just say, Oh, I want you to generate a good ROI on my leads, dropped the funnel and show me what the channel effectiveness is. So we can plan for, you know, a marketing budget, but having to sit down myself and take like a Udemy course and learn it gives me the kind of experience and practical like you said, getting your hands dirty, that I think really goes into building something. And that allows you to better understand how to operate at that higher level of running a large organization.
Maren Kate 7:46
Yeah, I've talked to a bunch of entrepreneurs over the years and some super successful ones have said that some of the best hires I've ever met, ever made are people that had really Really like, hands on or low paying jobs or service industry or whatever, and I agree I've that's how I cut my teeth. I started my first job at 15 too. And I feel like getting to do everything from like I have, you know, wash dishes I have I do all the way to like building businesses but being able to kind of go up and down in the way you're thinking allows, it just allows for a better almost like systems but also like pattern recognition to you start to see things and I mean, so let's talk about Bridgewater a little bit. I one of the reasons I've always been obsessed with Ray Dalio is because he would publish his principles. And I remember reading those years ago when it was a PDF printout on that he made publicly accessible and I think I started doing that when I was 2425. And every year I read it from back to front and then in the last few years, it's become a book. He's gotten become like a lot more. I'm doing more talks about like the way he thinks. And it's really from a framework and kind of systems and like a, like a first principles thinking.

Braden Weinstock 9:11

Yeah, very much. I think that's spot on. I mean, his real specialty inside principles is the framework oriented thinking or systematic view of how to run an organization and make good decisions. I was attracted to that, as well. I would say there's kind of two things that really attracted me to Bridgewater. The first was the view of all the principles and how he thought through the decision making processes the other was actually the radical transparency and radical truth aspect where it centers around having a real fundamental comfort with facing yourself and facing a conversation. with somebody else and being able to get through your ego to get deep it like what is an accurate assessment of the facts? And what that really does to transform a culture as well as me working in it. And I think, for me, that goes back to kind of an interesting experience through consulting. I worked at so many different companies and saw different cultures that I started to notice that some people were really good at their jobs, or really not good get good at their jobs, just simply based off the culture. They were unhappy, they weren't willing to put in extra work. Why should I do that? Who's gonna care? Or they're spiteful and it's taking away from their time and or they're not working on deliverables because they're dealing with the politics of the people of the organization. And so just to cover another gap. After starting a business, I saw I wanted to fill out some new content areas. I went back to school, I did two master's degrees. I did an MBA and I did masters in international affairs and they both focus on finance and leave I literally like when I was crossdresser cross registered at Harvard taking classes on the art and science of persuasion, and studying leadership, but I was also knee deep into finance. And so that's how I actually found Bridgewater was being in that world and trying to think about both leadership and finance as you know, it came to the forefront. And so Bridgewater is experience gave me that real deep view of how human beings tick, and what that means for how you design an organizational culture. And that was what attracted to me to it is because at the end of the day, great individuals do not necessarily collectively make a great team. There's something about culture and the norms for how we interact with each other and how the group makes decisions. That being culture that shapes how even a great player performs. And so, you know, I think Jocko Willink. He's a former navy seal. He's got a book and his first chapter is about leadership matters. And he gives this story of Navy SEAL training. There's a bunch of people who are running relays, like six teams, and they're all led by someone. And he takes that leader from the best team and the leader from the worst team and he swaps them. And the performance of the worst team goes all the way up to second place. And the team that was in first place with the worst leader stays there, and then after a few more relays drops to the middle of the pack. And the takeaway is leadership matters. He even goes to the point to say, there are no bad teams, only bad leaders. And so if you if you think about it this way, then what we do, how we lead can really shape how our company operates and that's kind of the same thesis as radar. principles is how we operate, what our culture is, will shape the capabilities of the organization. And his view of that is that we're hindered by our magdala and our ego, getting in the way of having a, you know, what you would call maybe an overly emotional, self protective, reactive reaction to understanding whether or not from a just procedural process oriented aspect if like how we're operating together is actually the most effective way to move the business forward the company forward. And I just saw that so many times and other organizations that I wanted to be a part of that community and see what that was like and put myself to the test to really get an accurate self assessment on what it is I do well, where I'm where I have things to watch out for. I have my like, either weaknesses that I need to improve or how I can learn to adapt to solve for those and contribute the most to the whole, by utilizing what my strengths are. And that environment of radical transparency, which is live feedback all the time will really give that to you in detail.

Maren Kate 14:15

And the thing is to it's like, I think what people what we sometimes forget when we're like, maybe in an early earlier stage in a startup or a company, is that you're always forming the culture, whether you realize it or not. And then it's also you shouldn't be copying like Bridgewater is culture works for Bridgewater and it works for that leader and those goals in those types of people. It's a totally different culture than Zappos, or than, you know, Ernst and Young. And in each culture should be different like it it I see people kind of trying to just like, slap on like, Alright, we're gonna follow these, what they do, and it's like, No, you actually have to, it takes time to think of and figure out like, what culture Do you want to like, achieve your goals, but also the founders and the leaders impact that like what culture also vibes with your personal core values. And that's something that like in the the book we just launched and going remote, we talked about, like, what are your career drivers? What are your personal core values and then looking for companies that match with that. So ideally, you can take your strengths and understand your weakness and you can apply it in a culture that, you know where it's mutually beneficial.

Braden Weinstock 15:29

Yeah, yeah, I mean, I can't agree with you more. I think values are the number one thing that need to be used as a guidance, force in both choosing your job but also how you lead a company. I mean, that if there's one thing I learned at Bridgewater more than anything, it's the importance, the non negotiable, what your knowing what your values are and how to live by them. values, the rate A good definition of describing values. Decide or guide how you make your decisions. Mm hmm. So they don't really change much over time. You know, and that means that I can teach you how to write code or make a, you know, Excel model. You might have abilities like great public speaking abilities, or maybe you're you're great at analytical thinking, or maybe you're a great empath, and can read other people in the room well, and those things you can learn to adapt and apply them to different things. You can even level up some of them over time. Mm hmm. values, though, are just deep seated beliefs about how you think the world should work. And yeah, your roles in them and that guides your decisions. And so, if your values are misaligned, with your actions in your if your values are here and your actions are here, that's a lack of integrity. And people will sense that. And that will undermine trust in the organization. And you won't have an organization or culture that has psychological safety for trust. And so ultimately, it'll undermine your performance. The other is if you just have a different set of values, like you and your manager, or you and your company, then the way they conduct themselves going from concept to tactic will probably grade against you. You'll oftentimes hear things in a company that has that misalignment of values. You'll hear things like employee say, it's not what you did. It's how you did it. I'm interesting, and that really is a signal of like, that like misalignment.

Maren Kate 17:42

Yeah, I think I mean, I honestly think it's, it's one of the the biggest takeaways I've noticed is we spend a lot of time especially like an entrepreneurial world thinking about culture and thinking about how you know how to get to It's working effectively together. But we don't really think about we don't go back to the the building blocks, which is like what are the personal core values? Like I like asking people that now whenever we when I'm in an interview, like Hey, what are your What are your personal core values? You know, what matters to you? Just to get an understanding like, is this a fit or not? Um, you know, do we do our values fit with what you're looking for? So to taking what you learned from Bridgewater, you were at knotel for for three years. And you guys during that time went from 25 to like 500 people? How did what what did you learn? What did you apply to blitzscale? The culture at knotel? And maybe also just tell everyone what knotel is for those who don't know?

Braden Weinstock 18:44

Sure, sure. So knotel is a unicorn startup it's by and large, weworks biggest competitor its full floor office space. So when you're graduating from being 10 people in a we work and you want to be, you know, 25 to 500, and a full floor office custom designed built costs. efficient, flexible and fast. You got to know Tom has about 4 million square feet of space across about a dozen different cities around the world and can put somebody in an office in less than 90 days. Okay. So with lessons from Bridgewater, the first thing I learned is I got a really rich picture of myself because the way the culture works, you get this unending feedback that is so explicit with what you did in a meeting and how it made others feel or how they perceived it that you really get a sense of like, where you're strong and where you're weak. Hmm, I also got that deep seated understanding of how other human beings behave. And something that I actually think Ray you pointed out not not all cultures can just be, you know, transposed on any other company culture and I agree with that. One thing I have noticed though, is if you look at great leaders are great company cultures 75 to 80% have like a lot of overlap. So if you read Danny Meyer's like setting the table book you read Andy groves high output if you read or listen to Jeff Weiner on compassionate management and you read Dalio like 75% of the principles, Richard Branson to all overlap Pinterest. And that part tells me a lot about critical aspects of culture. So going back to the Bridgewater experience, I learned a lot about how other people behave. And I think one thing that they miss is that human beings inherently want to feel good feel connection and have dignity. And the culture is really difficult to get that in. So I understood how people behave and was better able to understand how to deal with that effectively. You know, I can't put Bridgewater culture in my hair salon. The third was, I really became the kind of person who embraces failure like it It was all the rage to talk about failure and embracing failure for the last decade or two. But to get that deep seated feeling of like, it's part of the scientific process to trial and error and fail, and then learn from it. And so how do I put that rigorously into the way I operate on a daily basis to where the point is, I fail and I just look right at somebody and go, Oh, yeah, I failed. Here's what I did wrong. Here's how I should do differently. Now. Let's go without it being an inhibitor to my life, but being fueled to my life that completely transformed. The fourth was I got a very, very good set of frameworks to do that con, that conceptual analysis and tactical like execution. I feel like kind of like going to Navy SEAL training on like, I just kind of came down like I got downloaded in the matrix to like the jujitsu program and now I can run fast and do things and the thing I learned from Bridgewater was it's my responsibility to go out there and shape my life it is nobody else's, and that I have the capabilities just like any other human being to take responsibility for my life. So that's my big ownership.

Maren Kate 22:12

I like that a lot.

Braden Weinstock 22:14

Yeah, it is my responsibility to shape my life. And it should be my vision of what I think good looks like in my life, you know, if going to bed at night, for me, means, you know, not working and spending the day with my kid, I want to find a way to do that, if I'm going to bed at night feels like closing the biggest m&a deal in the world and reshaping industry that's a vision to one is not necessarily better than the other, it's better for that person given what they want, like actly. So taking those into knotel, it was 25 people, you know, his hacky version of CO working at time is just the New York. We're really trying to figure out things. I think the first thing that was really helpful was a conceptual framework. works, like orienting first around who owns what responsibility. Okay, let's look at the goals. And let's put tactics in front of goals. So one of the first things I did was revamped the sales team and we started with, okay, what are each of you responsible for? Can you tell me cool? Can you tell me at the end of 30 days, what it looks like to execute on those goals, and just being able to match up that measurement of here's my desired goal, and here's my outcome is a common framework. I know at Bridgewater that I took to knotel and I think helped. Second was that framework of values ability skills, to hiring, so building out the hiring process there, we started to really think and center around what are the values that we find are both important to be successful, but also the ones we wanted to cultivate. And so we took that into knotel. So we started hiring people, but we started screaming We'd never done this before, like, for a handful of values. And we had people who were in the hiring process, we had questions that we were specifically asking to suss out your values.

Maren Kate 24:13

And then we would so not what most hiring process look like.

Braden Weinstock 24:17

Right? It is typically not that and even if they think they're doing it, because the typical hiring process I've seen in the past has been, well, let's see if he's a fit, or something. And then someone comes back and says, oh, not fit. What does it mean? Not a fit? Why aren't they a fit? How are you wanting money that? Yeah. And then how are you? The person I should believe, to make the judgment that that person is not a fit. And so because a lot of times, it's not that person's values aren't a fit. It's, maybe you as an individual just don't have a good read or assessment on that person. Maybe they're not like you, maybe they think differently than you. Mm hmm. Maybe have different experience, maybe they're shyer, maybe they're more extroverted. So how you interpret that, as an interviewer can get conflated in a lot of different ways. So I think bringing those to the bear were really helpful. I think the other thing is just that importance of knowing, like how to sit and give feedback. That's transactable. So I remember you know, I built out several teams. And on one of my teams, I had someone who became a first time manager, and he didn't know how to manage and he came to me and he was like, I'm, I'm scared, I don't know how to manage, I don't want to mess it up. And I want this person to have a good experience. So we came up with a very specific plan for how to help him start to learn how to manage knowing that he shared something with me, that was a vulnerability. And I knew that that meant I had a chance to build trust with him and if I build trust with him, he would have a higher level of confidence, his own ability to do this and if he brought that mindset and a willingness to fail a willingness to share with me when he fails and to learn from it, he could learn to be a good manager. And if he learned to be a good manager, I was doing a good job by leading him and teaching him to manage and I was helping set an example, I was helping to pilot a process for the company that could be scaled later. So just by thinking in that systematic way, but thinking about him as a human being and understanding those elements, and making the time to help guide him, really allowed him to be a successful manager. And I think that that kind of emphasis on people came from Bridgewater because there's a lot of emphasis on upfront really get to know person, understand how they think, understand how they work together, build a working relationship with that person. Fight well together. And by doing so, you'll invest a little time upfront, but you'll build a lot of trust. You'll have a really long and effective relationship to build with that party. And so those were big parts of it. I also think on like just operating scale, knowing how to operate under a lot of intense pressure and being willing to adjust course quite rapidly. And being willing to, you know, of course get things wrong along the way. Yep. Our I wouldn't just say critical. These are like the lifeblood of being able to blitzscale with scale is actually at a different pace and has a slightly different strategy than high growth. high growth is like, hey, maybe you went from maybe you doubled revenue in a year, cool. Your high growth knotel was doubling every quarter. We were hiring 2050 people a week. So at that pace, you need to be willing to make trade offs in efficiency for speed. And if you're doing that, you have to know there's gonna be a higher degree of errors. And you have to make a call, point and go and then in the middle of seeing where you're going to be willing to readjust. And I think that that kind of flexibility, and the pressure that comes from operating under that speed was something that Bridgewater really helped me to be able to deal with, because of the intensity of the culture, but also because it gave me so many frameworks and and the comfort of operating with failure that I was able to adapt as we moved along.

Maren Kate 28:37

And I think a good point to mention to you is that blitzscaling there's only going to be a few companies that that a plot that that applies to but even more so it's not always the like, it's important to step back and be like, Is that the right call? I think with venture backed companies and just in general we Similar to everything else we're talking about, you almost have to go back to those first principles and be like, this is me. This is what I want to build these this is what I value is the venture um, you know, pony ride the right one do I want to go, you know, break net for 710 years and IPO or sale and sell Am I comfortable with the fact that nine out of 10 venture backed startups fail or don't hit that like, you know, escape velocity? I I'm very aware I'm even more aware, the more founders I talked to is that I think the there's a sexiness to the idea of venture. I know this, I've raised venture capital myself, but you forget I've met very few investors who actually sit down and say, Hey, what's important to you what's important in this company? What do you see your lives in two years, five years, 10 years, and then make sure that venture backing which they want you to hit That blitzscale they want you to be able to, you know, grow that fast to be a 10 to 100 x exit applies, which is interesting because now now you're you're at paxful, which seems like it's growing and you know, doing incredibly well. And they're, they have just grown off profits, which is another which a model I personally like better but like it just, it's a totally different ballgame to.

Braden Weinstock 30:25

Yeah, it is. Yeah, pexels got a different advantage, right. So one advantage can be you're just pumping tons of money and you're growing super, super fast. Pack souls in the like super high growth mode, not necessarily blitzscaling. But because of the bootstrapping, and kind of this is important. The founders can really live their values in the company. Yes. And I'll give you a great example of this. A couple years ago, the founders so a lot of business, Paxos businesses in Africa. So going down on the ground to Africa, the founders really got to see the nature of the problems down there. And they decided Paxil is going to do an initiative to build 100 schools using Bitcoin. They're going to use Bitcoin, to pay for installing schools in rural communities that didn't have access to education and really needed it. No venture capitalist would have supported that if a you're not profitable be you're not returning at the rate they want in order to get to that, you know, five year IPO 10 year IPO goal. But the founders said Well, hold on a second. Our values are around helping the underserved. Our is about bringing financial inclusion to the world and ours are about doing good. Yep, help. And so they made a conscious decision to do that. And you can do that when you're in that position and venture capital. I think to your point, often misaligned incentives in ways that don't necessarily always yield the best strategy for the business. And that's something that people don't take into enough consideration

Maren Kate 32:12

for the business for the founders for the long term too. Yeah, there's some founders that like, they want to do this, this business until they die. It's their purpose. It's their calling, which is amazing. And there are definitely some founders that are like, I want to build this, I want to get really rich, and you know, exit, and that's fine. That's another choice. But regardless, I mean, it's like you could kind of sum up just everything we're talking about in the idea of getting really, really clear on what your personal core values are. And then using them whether you're an employee at a company and using them to align with your peers and your managers and make an assessment is this right for me, or if you're in leadership, you know, being sure that that those values from the company Any level and that everyone you hire are, are living those same values. I think that's so important. Yep. So okay, fine.

Braden Weinstock 33:08

Final batch Can I share with you? Yeah, I have a framework for that. Okay. So my simple framework, and it's actually something that Simon Sinek does really well, why, what and how? I love that. So everything we're talking about here, for me, comes back to the goal. Right? Everything is oriented. The goal, it's good or bad, depending on what your goal is. Yeah. blitzscaling is a good strategy, depending what your goal is. People are operating in a way that you really like and your company culture, because of the kind of goal you have of what you want out of a job. Right. And I do the same thing, right? I have a triangle for jobs. Like, I want to look at it and say, yeah, that I look at the problem and say, yeah, that should be better than that because of the way it affects people's lives. Second is I look at the role and I say, am I a great fit. Can I be A lot of value, does it utilize my strengths? And does it produce outcomes that I see and are tangible? And the third is I look at the values of the people I work with. And I say, you know, can we fight well together? Because I want that alignment. And so everything starts with why so why, what and how, why is why are we doing this? What is the problem we're trying to solve? That's the why, what are your analytical decision tree of options? What tactics Should we take? What strategy should we pursue? What should be done? And then how is the actual execution of it? How should we get that done? Right. And as a leader, I try to think about, really, what is the clarity of why. And then I need to be able to give that and deliver that in a way that not only is valid but resonates with everybody, so they can see themselves and buy into that why and say, yeah, it's worth my time. The second is the what and it's like, I provide guide I provide analysis I push on the what strategy parts that others are building together. And that's key. And then the How is the thing you delegate to the people who are executing because they should have autonomy, they should have dignity, and they should actually hone their craft to grow as an individual to execute that, and they cannot do the how, if you haven't given them a very clear, concise and believable, what are why sorry, why.

Maren Kate 35:32

Yep. And no, I mean, that's the thing. It's like, it's everything comes down for that, from that, from that point. And across, you know, small decisions to large decisions. I like to create every document that I created my company, if it's like, you know, a point of truth document for somebody, I'm sharing it, I always start with the goal, but even above the goal is the y so the goal might be let's make 100 sales a day, but then the Y is because we want to have a you know, sustainable profitable company. And we want to help other people find, um, fulfilling remote employment opportunities. So it's like it. It ties it in, I think I mean, Simon Sinek book I love that book so much the start with why. And even though he's talking about companies, I think you can apply it to so like you're saying so many different things. I love that framework. I'm going to use that. test that out myself.

Braden Weinstock 36:27

So okay, thank you, Simon.

Maren Kate 36:29

Yeah, seriously shout out. Um, last few questions. What product or tool Do you rely on to do your best work?

Braden Weinstock 36:42

Okay, one of my favorites is Active Inbox. It turns Gmail into tasks that have follow up reminders and you can put little subtasks into them. Well, I really love it. It helps me stay on top of everything but also to priority ties things so that I can let stuff just fall by the wayside and I don't have 2000 unread emails in my inbox I typically have every night when I go to bed I probably less than 10, open unopened emails, everything else has been sorted because of Active Inbox.

Maren Kate 37:17

I love that. That reminds me of like getting things done that book by David Allen.

Braden Weinstock 37:21

Yeah, I got that book.

Maren Kate 37:23

Okay, cool. So then the follow up from that is actually what has been your favorite podcast or book from the last year?

Braden Weinstock 37:32

Uh, oh, man, I have to pick one.

Maren Kate 37:35

You can do one in each category. Okay.

Braden Weinstock 37:42

So I gotta say I was pretty head over heels for Sapiens this year. I guess I did like that. I'm really into Sapiens. It was that or a book called scarcity, which this book right here. So scarce is quite interesting. It's really Good because it looks at the the neurological science behind scarcity that affects how we think and process things. And I find it incredibly relevant to how we work. And it's incredibly irrelevant to our current circumstances. Because when you're in no time or a setting or a feeling of scarcity, you go into this like scarcity trap. It's like a spiral of only being able to do short term thinking, and you can't as effectively deal with emotion. So you miss sighs what's going on in the world? And so it leads to worse decision making, which is why oftentimes, in poverty, you see people make decisions that don't necessarily make sense or people under extreme duress or stress. Really, you're like, why are you doing that? That doesn't make sense. It's because of that, and this really helped me understand that.

Maren Kate 38:56

Oh, I am. I'm going to purchase that book as soon as we get off called because that is very, that resonates with me a lot. I feel like especially just even growing up in childhood, like there are a lot of, you know, some of the things that are in our brains because of the way we're raised or what we grew up with, I find myself sometimes making bad decisions and I'm like, why am I doing this? I'm like, Oh, it's because I'm stuck in this framework of scarcity or want. That's awesome. Okay, so Braden, how can people find out more about you? What's the blog that you're writing? You mentioned that you're writing about this stuff, like how can people find more about you and and just, you know, paxful?

Braden Weinstock 39:35

Yeah, so paxful, paxful.com. And then for myself, Braden WW, br a DN WW. I write about once a month and I'd take a thought piece on how to think about decision making, how to build and run aspects of an organization or look at some kind of case study going on the world and apply By frameworks of thinking to that case study to think through a topic. And so Bradenww.com.

Maren Kate 40:09

Sool and I will I will link in the show notes to all this to come to the books. Awesome. Thank you so much for being on.

Braden Weinstock 40:17

No problem. Thanks for having me.

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