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With Scott Orn

A Startup Podcast by Kruze Consulting

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Scott Orn

Scott Orn, CFA

Ryan Shaening Pokrasso of SPZ Legal on Startup Legal Best Practices

Posted on: 06/27/2018

Ryan Shaening Pokrasso

Ryan Shaening Pokrasso

Founder - SPZ Legal

Ryan Shaening Pokrasso of SPZ Legal - Podcast Summary

Ryan Shaening Pokrasso of SPZ Legal stops by to walk us through Startup Legal Best Practices. Ryan talks about how to get your fundraising documents set up correctly, how to review contracts and how to comply with some of the new privacy requirements. Ryan also tells the story of founding his own firm SPZ Legal.

Ryan Shaening Pokrasso of SPZ Legal - Podcast Transcript

Scott: Welcome to the Founders and Friends Podcast with Scott Orn at Kruze Consulting, and before we get to an awesome podcast with Ryan Shaening Pokrasso of SPZ Legal, I want to give a quick shout out to kruzetax.com. We are rolling through the tax returns, and rolling through the RND tax credit, so if you are a startup and haven’t done your taxes yet for 2017, now’s the time, go to kruzetax.com, sign up. We’ll do your RND tax credit. We’ll do your federal and state income tax. All very nice and easy in our very simple … It’s kind of like Turbo Tax for startups is how people describe it to us. It’s very exciting. Check out kruzetax.com. Now, to an awesome podcast with Ryan. Thanks. Welcome to Founders and Friends podcast with Scott Orn at Kruze Consulting, and my very special guest is Ryan Shaening Pokrasso of SPZ legal. Welcome, Ryan.
Ryan: Hi, Scott. How you doing?
Scott: We were joking before I turned on the mic that you are two of those letters in SPZ legal.
Ryan: That’s right.
Scott: Which ones are you?
Ryan: I’m S and P. It’s the advantage of having a hyphenated name. It never fit on a scan tron when I was in school, but I get two letters in the name of the company, so I’m good.
Scott: Your partner probably lies in bed awake every night wondering. Like maybe they need to hyphenate their name or get married again or something.
Ryan: That’s right. Yeah, I’m sure it keeps him up a lot.
Scott: So we’ve been friends for a long time. We’ve actually worked together. You’ve done some legal work for Kruze Consulting. Were we introduced by Adam Sternling at Berkeley?
Ryan: Yeah, that’s right. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Scott: Okay, so Adam’s a good friend of ours.
Ryan: Maybe in 2015 or something like that. Maybe even earlier. 2014.
Scott: Maybe you can kind of tell the audience about your background and how you ended up starting your own firm.
Ryan: Yeah, sounds good. So my route to the law was a little different than most lawyers. I think a lot of lawyers know that they want to be lawyers when they’re, like, 10. I wanted to be in the NBA. That wasn’t happening because I didn’t get tall enough. I do have a jumper, but I’m not tall enough. So I actually went to undergrad in Santa Cruz, and I studied biology, and after that I was doing some field biology work, which eventually led me to policy work around environmental topics, so climate change solutions and things like that. I promise this leads somewhere. From there, I led an internship for a summer where we went around the state of New Mexico where I’m from organizing with the business community to understand what the priorities were for businesses in New Mexico around environmental issues and really got good exposure to business through that. Then, at one point my boss suggested that I go off to law school to get some good tools, so I did so and remained really interested in the business community and specifically the idea that business can be a major driver for change in society, and so our law practice is really focused on working with entrepreneurs who want to use business as a tool for social change or environmental impact. We work with, you know, a wide range of both for profit and non-profit companies. I’d say the vast majority are for profit, and the vast majorities are tech companies, but they tend to have more of a bend towards social impact or environmental impact. It’s really been a fun journey for us, and basically we started the firm. It was me and my partner, Hash Zahed, and we were both coming out of a fellowship after law school, separate fellowships, and both kind of looking for work, and I texted him and said, “Hey, why don’t we just start our own practice?” He, by text, said, “Yeah, that sounds good.” Then, we met at a Panera Bread in Richmond and chatted about the goals for it and what the vision looked like, and here we are.
Scott: That’s amazing. I love the founder stories. That’s very exciting, so you guys were just like, “Hey, no one’s hiring us. We better just start our own firm?”
Ryan: Well, we both had opportunities.
Scott: I’m joking by the way.
Ryan: I mean, it was kind of that stage, and it was like, you know, I actually talked to a very wise person, my mother, who started her own business, and she said, “You know …” When I talk to a lot of people about starting my own firm, especially lawyers, they’re so risk averse. They’re like, “That’s just so risky. Why would you do that? It’s so risky, and my mom really put it in perspective. She said, “You know, if it doesn’t work out, then you just have to find a job, which is where you’re at now anyway.” I was kind of like, “Okay. Yeah, that’s right, and I’ll get insurance in case anything messes up, and that’s great.” Thankfully we haven’t had to dip into our insurance, and I haven’t had to find a job either, so it’s going .
Scott: That’s awesome. Now, how long has SPZ Legal been doing?
Ryan: We originally started under a different name in October of 2014, and then eventually shifted names to SPZ I believe at the beginning of 2016, so we’ve been going under the firm since 2014 basically.
Scott: Yeah, because then we got introduced like in the early days of your practice.
Ryan: Yeah.
Scott: I think we got introduced in early 2015, right? .
Ryan: Yeah, that’s right. Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Scott: Wow. Well, you put on a good facade. You seem so professional. You knew how to do everything, so I was like, “This guy really knows his stuff.” I thought you had like 10 years of experience. That’s a little bit of it too. You got to fake it before you make it.
Ryan: That’s it, you know? It’s like … I mean, the thing is in the legal industry to be a good lawyer you just have to be a good listener and be able to look things up. Then, communicate, you know? Obviously there’s areas of just knowing what to look up in different situations, but I mean, that’s what lawyering is just being able to listen and hear your client’s goals and then come up with solutions and communicate them.
Scott: That’s really cool. You just said that really well. You said you work on social impact type of companies, but we’ve also referred a bunch of startups over to you. You actually do kind of pure venture capital backed startups and things like that, right?
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. A lot of our impact focus companies are also VC backed companies. So I think there’s the traditional mindset around impact is like non-profit or small business and then there’s make money companies, and now I think that that barrier is kind of breaking down in some ways, so yeah. I mean, we work with traditional tech companies all the time, and we work with social impact oriented tech companies. By all means, they’re scaling and seeking money and making money and all of those sort of things while also seeking out the impact.
Scott: When do you start working with a company? What’s your perfect situation?
Ryan: That’s a really good question. I would say our ideal situation is that we get brought in before when it’s a couple of people and an idea, because we can really help to be part of the team from a strategic standpoint doing the legal stuff, but really a strategy oriented sort of approach to it. We do work with folks who have already had lawyers before or we work alongside other attorneys, so I was mentioning before we got on the call that we work with some larger tech companies that work with larger firms because that’s where they started, and they continue to do financing work and things like that through their larger firms. Then, we do all of their commercial agreements. For example, things that need quicker turnaround. We also do the financing work, and we like to be involved in that, but also understand that sometimes folks already have those relationships, and we fit in in a different niche.
Scott: Yeah.
Ryan: I would say the one situation that we come across a lot, which is less than ideal for the client, it’s fine for us. We do it. It works, but the situation where people DIY their incorporation and then come to us when it’s time to do something with their company, like raise a round or something like that. I mean, we inevitably end up having to charge them a lot more than if they just started with us.
Scott: Yeah. I was actually going to say that, because we prefer our clients to get involved with a great lawyer like you right when they have the idea and incorporate correctly and set everything up correctly, because actually creates a ton of headache on the tax side too when they’re not set up correctly. You have all these people’s uncles running around and aunts saying, “You should incorporate as an LLC for your first couple of years. Then, you can switch over to Delaware C-corporation.” Just the cliff notes are if you’re going to raise a bunch of capital just do Delaware C-corporation right away, but it’s like there’s so much bad legal advice out there for early stage founders, and you’re right. It costs like $10,000 or $20,000 to fix this stuff when it would have been so much easier to do it right away.
Ryan: Yeah, that’s absolutely right, and I think there’s also a misconception about an LLC being so much more simple and easier to run or something like that than a corporation, which-
Scott: Totally. It’s actually worse.
Ryan: There’s-
Scott: You have to do the K1s.
Ryan: Yeah, exactly. I mean, yeah, especially from a tax perspective it’s much more complicated, but from a legal perspective too, I mean, operating agreements come in every shape and size that you can imagine, and there’s nothing standard about them, whereas corporations are pretty standardized by design. So I mean, an LLC fits when it fits, but it’s like yeah, I mean, that’s the exact advice we give people. If you’re looking to raise money from institutional investors, just set up the company how you ultimately want it to be. Don’t do something in the interim, which is just going to cause headaches and have to do other phases of legal work. By all means, we’ll do the legal work, but you don’t need to do a conversion six months from now from an LLC to a corporation. Just set it up as a corporation.
Scott: It’s such a mess. Yeah.
Ryan: And that’s also-
Scott: It’s one of those things where it’s kind of like well, it has to be done, and you’re not going to turn away that work even though it’s actually not that exciting work. It’s actually … We find it like there’s so much minutia involved in those conversions on the tax side. We actually hate it ourselves. It’s not fun for us to do even though it is expensive or lucrative I guess.
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I always say we think of ourselves as builders, not as the people that have to solve all of the mess ups that happen. We do that. Obviously, that’s part of building is finding mistakes and building, but if we can just continue to move in the direction that the client wants to go it’s a better experience for them as well as us. I mean, we don’t really do litigation work for that exact reason, you know? Like we want to be the attorneys that people go to and they’re excited to work with to build towards their goal as opposed to, you know, having to figure out everything that they did wrong.
Scott: Yeah.
Ryan: Of course, that’s part of it too, but-
Scott: Are there any other frequent early stage mistakes that you see when clients come to you, like you know, maybe it’s the commercial agreements or something like that, but what other things do you see?
Ryan: Well, at an early stage I think there’s setting up as the wrong entity type or the wrong entity location. You know, similar to the misconception that an LLC is so much easier than a corporation, people think that a California corporation is so much cheaper than a Delaware corporation or something like that. That’s just not the case. If you incorporate in Delaware you pay Delaware’s franchise tax and have to do their annual report. Otherwise, it’s basically the same.
Scott: Which is like $400 for early stage companies. It’s nothing.
Ryan: Exactly.
Scott: I’m so glad you brought that up, because I’ve seen that mistake made a bunch too. You’re totally right.
Ryan: Yeah, and that becomes a real legal blunder, because in California if you’re set up as an LLC in California at least there’s a statutory mechanism to convert to a Delaware corporation. There’s a statute in California’s code and there’s a statute in Delaware’s code that match up that allow you to convert in a statutory manner. If you’re a California corporation there’s no statute to convert into a foreign corporation, into a Delaware corporation. You actually have to set up a Delaware corporation and then do a merger or an acquisition of the prior company, so it’s like that’s even worse than setting up as an LLC in California, and California’s corporations, I mean, you know, sure, there are examples of California corporations that have raised money, not going to act like that’s not the case, but that’s not the preferred mechanism. You know, if I’m an investor it’s like I’m taking a risk on your business model. I don’t need to take a risk on all your legal documents and stuff too, you know?
Scott: That’s exactly the reason why not to do that. That’s a really good one. Well, one of the things we talked about before we hit record is how much work you do with clients on their commercial agreements and contracts, which makes a ton of sense to me. Maybe you can kind of outline that part of your practice.
Ryan: Yeah, it’s actually an area that I really enjoy. Incorporations are great, and they’re a foot in the door, and it helps us to start building relationships which ultimately lead to other aspects of building, but the commercial agreements are fun because there’s a little bit more creativity involved, and we’re really able to get to know and by necessity need to know what our clients are working on. So if you are one type of company doing x project versus y project, it doesn’t matter for a new corporation. We’re doing the same thing either way. I like to ask, because I’m interested, but it really doesn’t matter. With a commercial agreement it really matters, because you have to get on our thinking cap and think about the risks that are unique to the product or software service whatever that your client is offering. In addition, there’s a lot of opportunity to get to know your clients beyond what they’re doing but to get to know them as individuals and understand how risk averse or willing to take risk they are. With some clients for example, they really don’t want to take on any risk, and they want you to lawyer every aspect of their agreement that you can. Maybe it’s because their product is riskier, or maybe they’re just risk averse. With others, it’s like, “Protect my IP, and other than that I want a fair shake, but that’s it,” you know?
Scott: Yeah.
Ryan: So really getting to know clients in that way is great, and we have some clients that we’ve worked with, one in particular, that works with a larger firm on their financings and everything. They’ve been around for a while, and we do all of their commercial agreements. Basically whenever they have a new agreement in the pipeline … They’re a SAS company that’s enterprise-facing. Whenever they have a new contract that comes into them they send it to us, and we give them what we call the traffic light analysis, which is basically annotating the agreement. I know what their priorities are in terms of IP, indemnification, issues around data protection, like those sort of things. I’ll give them comments throughout the document that say red, yellow, or green. Red being you can’t agree to this. We have to make a change. Yellow being this is a judgment call. Here are some options, but up to you whether you want to push back. Green being this is kind of a weird, unique thing in this contract. Just be aware of it as you administer it.
Scott: Yeah.
Ryan: Then, from there they can give me an idea of which areas they actually want to make changes on. That’s worked out really well with that client, and you know, with them we’ve negotiated contracts for them with fortune 500 companies all over the country and all over the world. It’s been a really fun experience with that, because it’s like I’ll be on the call with six attorneys for the counter party, and I’m there telling them what to do on different things. It’s just a fun back and forth. Some of these customers are all over the world, so for this client I’ve negotiated clients in Singapore and Australia and Mexico and Europe.
Scott: That’s awesome.
Ryan: Right now doing one in Hong Kong. Basically, you know, we can work, and even though we’re a small firm we obviously don’t have offices in Hong Kong, so I can identify an attorney who is licensed in Hong Kong and loop them in, contract with them, and you know, get a sense of their specific legal requirements locally there and kind of tag team it. The commercial agreement thing has been a really good one.
Scott: I love how you take the kind of risk tolerance of your clients. I think that’s so smart. I reminded me of kind of the betterment, these auto-robo advisors, how they make you go through an investing questionnaire to figure out-
Ryan: Yeah.
Scott: -how risk averse you are.
Ryan: Yeah, exactly.
Scott: I think that’s brilliant. I love how you do that, because you’re exactly right. There’s different people have different risk tolerances, especially for legal stuff.
Ryan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Scott: And you know, sometimes the more advanced and bigger you get the less tolerance you have for risk.
Ryan: Yeah.
Scott: So as your clients also change you’re probably sitting there doing, like, a re-up every couple of years and doing a quick meeting and seeing, “Hey, now that you raised $50 million in capital are you guys okay with the old shoot from the hip way of doing these contracts or do you want to button it down a little bit more?”
Ryan: Yeah, that’s exactly right. You know, it’s something that takes time with clients too, you know? It’s like when I first started with this client that I mentioned they had just fired two different rounds of commercial agreement attorneys because they weren’t listening to them in terms of their risk tolerance. They’re like, “Our software’s not risky. It’s not going to cause physical injury or death, so if we have to agree to indemnify the customer for physical injuries that are caused by our software that’s fine, because it’s just never going to arise.” The attorneys they had worked with before just wouldn’t listen to them on that, and just wouldn’t stop lawyering.
Scott: How do you deal with … Okay, this is something we have where we’ll have … Often times a CEO in the early days is not super organized and doesn’t give us kind of all the information or makes judgment calls based on costs, maybe versus thoroughness, things like that. Then, we have people coming into the organization when they’re like a 20 or 30 or 40 person company who are like, “Why did you do it this way? You should have done it x, y, and z.” It doesn’t happen all the time, but like we’ll be like, “Well, let me show you some emails. This is what the CEO wanted us to do,” right? You know? Of course we’re always going to do on a gap basis and all that kind of stuff, but how do you deal with the changing risk tolerances of not just the CEO but like new entrants into your … I’m assuming eventually they hire a general council or something like that or maybe a VP of sales that you’re interacting with on these contracts, and you have a different bar higher or lower than previously with the CEO.
Ryan: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s exactly … It’s what you said earlier. It’s checking in with them over time, and with this client they did hire … There’s been changes in the head of sales over time, and they’ve also had new executives come in at different times, and when there’s potential for acquisitions or something like that you tend to get a real tightening up of what’s going on. I mean, yeah, it’s just about communication. I think that that’s the key to everything that we do, and probably beyond what we do it’s any professional services, but really any sort of business is just communication and making sure that you understand the goals of whoever you’re working with, in our case with our clients and that you’re tailoring your work to what they’re doing and how they want to approach it and not just being like, “Okay, you aren’t risk averse. You’re willing to have a high tolerance for risk,” so that doesn’t mean that I’m just going to skip over everything in the contract. I’ll still mention it and just make sure that you’re informed about it, but I know that this one’s a red instead of a yellow for you just based on our past interactions. So yeah. I think it’s just checking in a lot and communicating a lot.
Scott: The other thing we’ve kind of learned is through experience we push back on anything on the board are super hard now because we’ve had a bunch of companies that for better or worse you probably see this too. They hope someday to be acquired, and it’s never sunk in that will actually happen. Then, all the sudden it starts happening, and some of their shortcut calls come back to bite them in the forms of extended due diligence or duhduhduhduh. So now we’re able to really push back hard on the founders in the early stage and be like, “No, we have to do it this way. We’re mandating we do it this way. We only do it the right way, because we’re protecting you. We just don’t want you to find yourself in a position where you regret this two years from now or three years from now.
Ryan: Right, and even when you do that they go renegade sometimes, right? They’ll do their own thing, like all you can do is provide information and say, “No, this is how we need to do it.” Then, they may just go do it on their own, you know?
Scott: We actually have a secret tool, which is the audit tools in QuickBooks, bill.com, Expensify, so we actually can see when they’re in the books doing stuff like exactly what you’re talking about. Then, we have these very pathetic chastising emails that we send them that say, “Please don’t make any changes without telling us.” Then, it’s like hand in the cookie jar, but you’re totally right.
Ryan: Right.
Scott: So in the commercial agreement stuff for your practice it seems like there’s a huge opportunity for you guys, because I’m assuming your price points are very attractive relative to some of the bigger Silicon Valley firms.
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely, and beyond the price point I think that the ability to turn things around quickly. I mean, that’s something-
Scott: That’s a great point.
Ryan: -you hear about a lot, and commercial agreements in these sort of things come and go. I mean, opportunities, the door opens and then it closes, you know? So you really have to get things done quickly. We actually just onboarded a new company today that had been working with another attorney for a few weeks but they just weren’t getting the turnaround that they needed, and like they just had a Kickstarter campaign where they raised about 1000 times what they planned to raise.
Scott: Wow.
Ryan: They’re blowing up, you know? They’re like, “We need this now,” so it’s like you know, we’ll make time. We’ll make it work and bring on the personnel to make it work and yeah. I think the price point combined with the communication, you know, making sure that you’re understanding what your clients are actually looking for and the timing issues make us a good fit for commercial agreements for sure.
Scott: I think you’re right. Emphasizing the time and turnaround is so important, because you do see deals go away, or in the case of fundraising the VCs get … It just gets a little weird or you drag it out of the partnership because deals aren’t done and people are wondering what’s going on, so yeah. You’re totally right. It’s not just about cost. It’s about how responsive you are. Also, just like people like working with responsive people. It just makes the flow. It allows you to get stuff done. It’s not about necessarily losing deals sometimes. It’s more about just getting stuff done so that you can clear it off your plate.
Ryan: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I couldn’t agree more.
Scott: Are you doing a lot of SAS contracts, or what kinds of stuff do you do?
Ryan: Yeah, it’s a lot of SAS contracts. It’s a lot of SAS contracts. It’s also kind of related, like API licensing type things. There’s other contracts that we do that are really unique too. For example, a platform that we work with has a … They kind of work with three different constituents. They work with non-profits that benefit from all of the revenue that comes in on the platform. They work with corporate partners, and then they also work with end users who use the app. So we do the contracts that go into all those different directions and kind of figure out how they all relate to each other. There’s also combination of hardware and software licensing, or hardware purchase with software licensing built in, so like IOT type things. Yeah, it’s kind of the full range. Then, it’s also like employment agreements and independent contractor agreements and settlement agreements and all those sort of things as well. Those are less of recurring things generally. It tends to be more on the commercial agreements.
Scott: Yeah, that’s awesome.
Ryan: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Scott: Good for you. Then, you know, we were talking about other things before we got on the call, and it sounds like you’re doing a ton of work on the GDPR stuff.
Ryan: Yeah, yeah. So it’s a whole new set of regulations coming out of Europe, and it’s really interesting the timing of it with everything that’s going on in the media around data protection and privacy in the U.S. You hear Mark Zuckerberg testing before Congress saying, “I wouldn’t be surprised if you guys start passing privacy legislation,” and for the first time he sounded like he may actually support that, you know, which is a PR thing maybe. It’s just interesting, you know? It’s a really interesting area of the law, and Europe cares about it a lot more than the U.S. Does, so it’s this whole new set of regulations around data protection, and it applies to anybody that’s collecting personal data, which is defined broader than how we define personally identifiable information, personal data from individuals in the European economic area. It’s a really broad set of regulations, and we’re working with a bunch of our clients to get in compliance with GDPR. The date for when it becomes live is May 25th, but there’s been a lot of media saying that the regulators are not ready to enforce it.
Scott: I have a feeling it’s going to get postponed like six months.
Ryan: Yeah.
Scott: You want to postpone it really close to the date if you’re the regulators so everyone takes it seriously.
Ryan: Right, exactly.
Scott: Yeah.
Ryan: And I mean, they’re not going to have capacity to enforce against all of our clients, you know? It’s like they’re going to be going out to larger clients to start, and larger companies to start and maybe a few small ones to kind of make a point, but I mean, it doesn’t take away from the requirement that all of our clients get in compliance with it, especially when they have commercial agreements where they represent and warrant that they’re in compliance with data protection laws, you know?
Scott: Yeah, that’s the big one, right?
Ryan: Yeah.
Scott: All those contracts are going to start requiring that.
Ryan: Yeah.
Scott: You’re totally right.
Ryan: It’s this really complex sort of analysis. I mean, it’s just different than how the U.S. Does privacy. The U.S. Has kind of a hodge podge of different regulations but no centralized regulatory regime for privacy. There’s child protection data issues. There’s HIPAA for health data, and then there’s financial privacy regulations, but there’s no overarching privacy laws. Then, there’s also California has some, and other states have some, but it’s really this hodge podge. In Europe it’s this whole analysis around whether you’re the controller of the data or the processor of the data.
Scott: Oh, interesting.
Ryan: A lot of our companies are kind of can serve both roles, you know? They’re processing data on the behalf of their enterprise customers, but then they also use the data for some of their own purposes like improving their service or doing marketing or whatever, and that makes them also a controller, so then it’s figuring out the requirements for each of them. It’s an interesting area.
Scott: That’s awesome. Good for you. Well, and we got a few more minutes here. What’s it like starting your own professional services firm, good and bad? Like if you had to do it all over agreement would you do it? What have you learned? What’s fun, what’s tough about it?
Ryan: I would definitely do it all agreement. I was actually out to lunch with a client of mine today and talking about it. You know, in the legal industry there’s this idea that you either make money or you have an impact, and in either case you’re going to be miserable because I work too much, and for us, you know, we just kind of aren’t accepting that dichotomy. It’s kind of like I think we have the opportunity to do really well for ourselves while also having a big impact and balancing a lifestyle. I mean, I have a one year old son, and I spend a lot of time with him, and it’s great. You know, running my own company is awesome, and I really enjoy it. I think it helps a lot when we’re servicing our clients, because they look across the table or look across the video chat or whatever it is and see somebody else who started a company. They see an entrepreneur there as opposed to just another lawyer who has no real context of what it’s like to actually start a company. So I’ve really enjoyed it, and I mean, I think that what we do really well is communicate. I keep emphasizing that, but I think it’s just really, really important. I think that that’s the biggest thing for a professional services company is just being able to communicate in a very clear and also friendly manner.
Scott: Your point about kind of … You didn’t use this word, but empathy is a really important one. I get the same vibe from you as you do where we’re taking to founder and you can kind of look them in the eye and they look you in the eye and you each know how hard it is what you’re doing where all the late nights and headaches and all that kind of stuff, but you still enjoy it and still do it. It does form this really cool bond, you know, especially when times are tough for them. I find that that’s actually really valuable, because I can trod out some stories from our 2015 or 2016 years that were really challenging, that were tough, you know? It helps pick them up a little bit, because they see … They’re like, “Oh, you’re actually successful now. You actually know what you’re doing and are bigger, so you got through those tough times. I’m going to get through those tough times too,” and it gives them a little bit of a pickup.
Ryan: Yeah.
Scott: I totally agree with what you’re saying.
Ryan: Yeah, I’d say the big difference between starting a professional services company and the startup companies that we work with that our clients are doing is the pace of scaling. I mean, it’s just different, you know? It’s like they are seeking outside capital to really push their product to go, you know? We are slowly building, and I think that there’s lessons that go in both directions there, you know? Actually, I think that we probably do a lot more productizing of our work than most law firms do, because we work with companies that do that, you know?
Scott: We do the same thing. That’s a great observation. We try to do that for everything.
Ryan: Yeah, exactly.
Scott: Yeah, and also I think the other thing is not having a board of directors to answer to. There’s probably some ways where it’s detrimental, like we probably could get some good advice for things like that, but I do find that it helps you prioritize and do things the right way and do the things you want to do versus doing it for the board’s sake or doing it for appearances sake that some of our companies have to do. So I am with you. Not having that overhead is actually really nice.
Ryan: Yeah, absolutely, and I mean, by all means we seek out mentorship from others, but it’s like non-binding mentorship.
Scott: Yeah. Non-binding. You can’t fire me .
Ryan: Exactly. Exactly.
Scott: I love it. Well, Ryan, this has been awesome. So maybe you can tell everyone where they can find you and SPZ Legal.
Ryan: Great, yeah. Thanks for the opportunity, Scott. I really appreciate it.
Scott: Oh, my pleasure.
Ryan: And appreciate all the work that you’ve sent our way as well.
Scott: Of course.
Ryan: You can find us at spzlegal.com. We have a big startup FAQ page which has a lot of articles on common issues that startups find, so feel free to poke around there. You can also reach out to us at info@spzlegal.com or you can reach out to me directly, Ryan@spzlegal.com. Yeah, we do the full range of kind of general counsel services for startups, incorporations, financings, commercial agreements, trademark, you name it.
Scott: You guys are awesome. I refer you constantly, you’re great people. The clients all love you, so all you got to do is keep doing what you’re doing.
Ryan: Cool.
Scott: It’s kind of that simple.
Ryan: Thanks, Scott. Really appreciate it.
Scott: All right, man. Thanks for coming on, Ryan.
Ryan: Okay, bye.
Scott: Appreciate it.

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