About The Guest
From online banking to digital payment processing, the fintech industry has evolved and continues to evolve tremendously.
In this episode, I have an open and honest conversation about finances and lack of financial literacy in schools/in general with FinTech entrepreneur, Co-Founder and CEO of Ostrich, William Glass.
His mission is to improve financial well-being globally. As founder & CEO of his company, Ostrich, William’s mobile app addresses financial literacy deficits by creating social community and accountability around money – think saving & investing with friends.
In addition, William hosts the Silicon Alley Podcast providing a platform for entrepreneurs from all industries and backgrounds to tell their stories. William owns rental property and was a successful tech sales rep before starting his own business. He was also a Fulbright Scholar in Thailand. William is originally from Alabama and now resides in New York City.
Financial Literacy Book Recommendation: Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Highlights Of The Discussion
What William’s Experience As a Child Actor Taught Him
2: 42 – But, you know, my dad and my mom were saying, Do you realize like, not many people can make $2700 (USD) and, you know, in a day and a half of work, and so I think understanding that, you know, there’s something to this time versus money and working hourly versus finding ways to leverage your time to make money that kind of stood out to me. And I think that’s what I learned through acting as a child and actually having money in retirement accounts and things like that at a really young age and having the opportunity to kind of pick stocks and things like that, that, you know, not many of my peers were able to do. And that was as I got a little bit older, not when I was 11. But yeah, no, I’m not not a savant or anything like that. Just you know, curious. So, but yeah, I think that’s really what I what I took away is just sort of that you don’t have to equate an hourly wage to your earning potential.
Learning The Concept of Delayed Gratification At A Young Age
3: 51 – It was interesting because my mom was was very frugal and so she you know, we she was very much focused on talking about saving and that aspect of it. So I learned a lot from her and sort of the concept of delay of gratification, I remember in the car as a kid, she would we’d stop at like a gas station or something. We were on like a long drive or something and she would get, like peanut M & M’s. And she would put them in front of me. And if you’re familiar, not familiar with delay of gratification, but it’s, it’s exactly what it sounds like. It’s, it’s this sort of thing where, where she would put these M & M’s in front of me say, Okay, if you want to have two M & M’s, you can have two now. Or if you wait five minutes, I’ll give you five, you know, and so I was like, of course, I’m gonna wait like, I want more M & M’s like, and that was kind of kind of my mindset. And so I didn’t realize it at the time, but the delay of gratification, especially when it comes to, to money and in the sort of the culture that we’re in, which is the insta generation of buy this, buy this now you need this. You deserve it now, being able to like delay that impulse decision and think about it and realize, well, maybe I don’t need these things.
We Overcomplicate Finances When In Reality, It’s Pretty Simple
5: 43 –And it’s, it’s something that it started from that sort of idea of like, there’s got to be a better way to do this. And then over the next whatever, 10-15 years of just like exploring all the different apps and ways that you can invest real estate and stocks and like all these different things and making plenty of mistakes along the way. It was kind of like alright there’s there’s something missing in the market and that’s sort of where Ostrich came from. And yeah you cued in on the the sort of visual of head in the sand that were that were that we’re going for of trying to help, help pull people’s heads out of the sand when it comes to money and finances because I think that’s one of the things that we just overcomplicated and in reality, you know, as a kid it using going back to the M &M’s if if something cost six M &M’s and only had five like I wouldn’t be able to buy that, you know, like we can conceptually understand those things at a young age but we complicate it when we add in credit and all kinds of other stuff that I think just we we overcomplicate finances, when in reality it’s pretty, it’s pretty simple if you boil it down to the basics.
Automation Tools Are Great, But It Doesn’t Change The Habits of How People Handle Their Finances
11: 18 – And, you know, some of the automation tools are great, but it doesn’t change the habits. And the, the emotional side of money is the is the thing that was missing. So like, we make emotional choices for logical reasons. And we rationalize those through all these different things. But at the end of the day, we’re emotional creatures, we’re emotional beings, and nothing was sort of addressing that underlying habitual decision making process. And so that’s where the idea for ostrich came from.
Walking Away From A $60,000 Angel Investment
13: 15 – Yes, and no, there’s, there’s the site called Co Founders Lab. And there’s a couple of these out there like AngelList is similar to but co founders is where you can try to find CoFounders. And, you know, I’m not inherently technical by nature and Andrew’s more focused on the financial world specifically. And so we were looking for someone that had that strong tech backbone that we needed. And we ended up connecting with this investor on there. And he was based in the UK. And you know, it was really exciting, you know, he wanted to invest in us. And, you know, at this point we, we hadn’t left, I hadn’t left my job yet. Andrew still hadn’t. He actually left about six months after I did in November of 2019.
So at this point, we had been working on the idea And all that stuff, but we actually hadn’t even left full time. So it was definitely really hard to walk away from it. But there were some red flags and the terms of the deal, were really what stuck out to us. And then also the fact that this investor was based in the UK and we were both in New York City. And so, you know, being first time founders, we wanted more of a partner that we could kind of connect with in person or just have more access to, you know, this, this investor as well was, was sort of early on, you know, he’d been at angel investing for a couple years and had had a couple successes, but nothing had been, hasn’t had investments long enough to say, you know, hey, here’s some wildly successful companies.
And a couple other terms of the deal was that, you know, there were some things like we had to use his development company to lower his risk because he’s like, you know, I’m investing in you guys and there’s some risk for me, so to, you know, limit my downside is rather than you guys build it or hire someone else, we’re going to use my development firm and we’re going to use my marketing company, which is You know, makes sense if you look at it from his lens, but for us, we just didn’t want to give away that amount of control. And, you know, I think that’s that. That’s why we ended up walking away. It just wasn’t, it just wasn’t a fit. And we didn’t get we weren’t super excited about the offer. Initially, we we were someone was interested. But when we took a step back to like, really think about what we needed, and what would move us forward. It just wasn’t a fit. So yeah, it was it was tough, but it it definitely, I think was the right decision for us at the time.
Becoming More Technical As The Non-Technical Founder of a FinTech Company
And actually, you know, we were looking at no code platforms. So there’s no code platforms that are very similar to sort of like website builders that most people use today like a Wix or a Squarespace or even WordPress now with some of the plugins that they have. So you can build websites and web and mobile apps visually. Now the downside is that you’re not able to, you know, do as much of the customization and you’re kind of limited to the the features that are that are out of the box, so to speak. So we looked at some of those. And recently, we actually have gone with a no code platform that we found that just was been enterprise only for the last 10 years and just rolled out like two months ago when we were about to make a decision on hiring a dev shop and I’ve actually been able to build the platform. To the degree that we want, because they’ve they’ve done some different innovations where it’s flexible enough, but also simple enough that, that as long as you understand some computer science terms, and things like that, and how stuff should work, you, you can build stuff without coding. And so definitely have felt a push to get more technical and have gotten a lot more technical over this last couple years.
Best Financial Advice Ever Received
23: 45 – So I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and I think that got me into into taking, thinking about how to get on the sort of owner, business owner and investor side of the quadrant.
So Robert Kiyosaki talks about there’s this kind of like quadrant and most folks spend their time on the employee side where they are, they are giving away time for money, right? You are working an hourly job, even a salaried job. But you have a set amount of money that you can make. And then some folks move into the self employed where they you know, own their job, they’re still the ones that are at the bakery making, you know, all the loaves of bread, if they’re a baker, that sort of thing. But if you can get onto the other side of that, that quadrant, where you’re in the investor side where money is working for you, or where you own businesses that you don’t have to spend the time in and other people are growing the company. That’s where you really get leverage. And so I think understanding that concept that time doesn’t equal money in terms of how you earn it. I think that’s the best, the best advice because if you conceptually understand that, that opens up so many opportunities to you. And I think that’s the key.
Why Now Is A Good Time To Start A Business
26: 05 – Coming out of out of this people are going to be looking for change open to new opportunities and new ways of doing things. So if you have an idea or you see a problem that no one’s no one’s really solved at this point, I think it’s a great opportunity to create businesses. And the thing is there’s a ton of money still in the economy. Yes, we see that, like, certain industries are, are hit really hard. And things are, you know, are definitely tough financially, especially for folks that have lost jobs.
But when you look at the folks that have money, and financial institutions and things like that, the way that we are stimulating the economy is giving those investors those banks, those institutions, the money to lend out when in previous recessions and a con and downturns, you know, everyone has stopped giving money to startups or to businesses in general. And I think those that combination have the opportunity with folks wanting to change the way things are being done, as well as the fact that there’s still actually a ton of a ton of dry powder, you know, money in the economy, to be invested in innovative businesses now is an absolutely wonderful time to do that. So yeah, I agree. I think it’s just, it’s just a great time, just like in 2008. There’s a ton of opportunity there as well.
The Collaborative and Competitive Nature of The Ostrich App
34: 15- Yeah, bringing in a collaborative competitive nature is exactly exactly what we’re going for. And you know, we still understand that some people are going to be hesitant and like it’s a taboo topic like you know, some some folks are really comfortable sharing and have no issues talking about money and others it’s like the worst thing in the entire world to think about. So we’ve we put some stuff in place as well like not disclosing actual dollar figures but using like percent the goals so that way like if you have a friend that is in finance and makes you know, a ton of money, six, six plus figures or whatever, and then someone who’s a teacher, they can still, you know, work towards their goals because their goals are personal to you. But if you’re comfortable sharing those feel free but the app is set up so that that everyone no matter, you know, where you kind of fall on the earning scale are where you are in your, in your financial journey, so to speak, you can all work together.