439: Why You Should Spend Decades on a Problem with Gusto Co-founder Josh Reeves


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Josh Reeves and his fellow co-founders wanted to tackle a problem they could spend decades fixing. But they didn’t want to solve something for Silicon Valley–it had to affect the masses. In Reeves’ experience, the hassle of setting up payroll and benefits was the problem to tackle. So, in 2011, the three Ph.D. dropouts spent a year building a payroll system that eventually became Gusto, a modern, online people platform that helps small businesses take care of their teams. On top of full-service payroll, Gusto offers health insurance, 401(k)s, expert HR, and team management tools. Today, Gusto has offices across the U.S and serves over 200,000 businesses.

Nathan and Josh discuss:

  • How his parents influenced his entrepreneurial mindset
  • Studying at Stanford and falling in love with problem-solving
  • Why his first business didn’t have a purpose
  • Learning how to write code and building a payroll platform
  • The experience of the Y Combinator accelerator
  • How word of mouth and referrals drove Gusto’s initial sales
  • Investing in content marketing and partnerships
  • The network effects of Gusto’s growth
  • Why fundraising is like hiring
  • And much more problem-solving advice…

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