The Dion Guagliardo Podcast

#52 Nick Humphreys - Co-Founder of Linktree

October 05, 2023 Nick Humphreys Season 1 Episode 52
The Dion Guagliardo Podcast
#52 Nick Humphreys - Co-Founder of Linktree
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Linktree is a tool allows you to create a directory to multiple websites from one URL link. Starting in 2016, Nick and his co-founders have grown the company tremendously to now have over 40 million users and was valued last year at $1.3 billion dollars.

Throughout the episode, Nick talks about the difficulty of trying to control a rapidly growing business. He discusses the importance of clearly defining what your business does and how that leads translates to a more aligned effective team and culture. If you enjoy this episode feel free to leave a 5 star review and share with family and friends.

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Highlight Clip


Nick: There was sort of a pivotal moment actually was costing us. any profit

that we had coming in was going, out the door the next day. So it was actually becoming quite, expensive to run. there was the choice, do we 

shut it down? Is this thing a viable business?

Should we keep, investing it? Do we go get a bank loan? And then we started to peer our heads into this new world of 

VC and tech and started to meet other founders just to get a sense of what changes, how do investments sort of transform your business. a lot of them spoke to the money was obviously amazing, but just the strategic doors.

That the investors could open you want to get connected to the CEO of 

Figma. No worries. that level of access was kind of unbelievable. that was what excited us most. we assumed the vision would take us X amount of years to execute. We had to these features and build all these like foundational structures. It just sort of like reduced the time scale in. which we could actually achieve that. So I guess the founders that are rather impatient, it just felt like fuel injection to get to the future faster. 


(Generic Introduction)

Dion: Welcome to the Dion Guagliardo Podcast, where I interview [00:01:00] business people who run or have sold businesses worth a few million dollars all the way through to billions of dollars. While most of my time is spent to managing investment portfolios for people after they've had a successful exit. I've always been fascinated by the entire process and hearing the insights that successful entrepreneurs and business people have learned along their.

At Fortress Family Office, we're an investment portfolio manager and we manage portfolios for ultra high net worth families. If you'd like to know more about not only the way we approach investment markets by our philosophy on life and business, feel free to subscribe to my weekly insights note. Go to and hit subscribe.

(Episode Introduction)

Dion: In this episode I interview Nick Humphreys, co-founder of Linktree. Linktree is a tool that allows you to create a directory to multiple websites from one URL Link. Starting in 2016, Nick and his co-founders have grown the company tremendously, to now have over 40 million users and was most recently valued last year at $1.3 [00:02:00] billion.

Throughout the episode, Nick talks about the difficulty of trying to control a rapidly growing business. He discusses the importance of clearly defining what your business does and how that translates into more aligned and effective teams and culture. If you enjoyed this episode, feel free to leave a five star review and share it with your family and friends.

Guest Background and Introduction

Dion: All right, Nick, welcome to the show. 

Thanks for joining us. 

Nick: A pleasure. Thank you for inviting me.

Dion: Do you want

to start by telling us a little bit about 

the early days 

of the business? And I know it's It's growing quickly in the last few years. But you want to just go back a few years and 

tell us about 

the early days and how it all 


Nick: Yeah, let me just rewind. it's been a long time, 

but a short time as well. I've lived 

kind of 



I suppose 

you could say. 

But yeah, 


was born out 

of an 

agency. So 

my co 

founders, Alex and Anthony. We've been working together for the 

better part 


almost a decade, 

maybe longer. 


that working relationship 

started in

Independent record labels 

where I was 


of the 

in house [00:03:00] designer that then grew into 

a digital marketing agency. 

We were servicing. all the festivals around Australia, 

doing data strategy, audience 


helping them 

Craft a 

brand and reduce ad span, but 


a brand that they could really 


and communicate to, 

This audience is rather small audience we have for music.

Yeah, that 


was going crazy,

scaling like all hell. and 

then we thought we'd try our

hand at, 

building digital products to 


also add on to 


agency offering. One of those tools was 

a little thing 

called Linktree.


comes in 

after a 

meeting with 


a harebrained idea. we had hundreds

of clients 

on the go at any moment. 


we were trafficking sort of ads 

across all of their 

socials, And 

this monotonous behavior of 

every day 

having to swap out this link in bio was, 

do that 10 


a hundred times, a 



can be 

video1567376689: kind of infuriating. Alex, 

Nick: Runs 

over. He's what if 


just make this


that links to other links? And this would be how

it could be 

how it 

could function. Six hours later, we had a prototype and 

the rest is kind 


history. I It's a 

long piece of [00:04:00] string, but 

yeah, that's the 

the genesis of Linktree. 

Dion: And it was that simple. it was, 

like, here's the idea 


you built 

it straight away. So within a few hours, 


a day, you've got this product. And how quickly after you had the product, did you go, 

actually, we've really got 

something here Well, did you know straight away? Or was it, 

there's always that you've come up with something you think is going to work, but then 

there's the proof in the pudding type thing.

So how long 

after you. 

Built that first phase. Did you go, Oh, hang on, we really 

When did Nick Humphreys Realise Linktree Would Be Huge

Dion: have something.

Nick: Yeah. This answer, I don't know how impressive this answer is. we honestly 


realize like what we'd had, 

what we had built. 

And I 

think that's not because 

we were ignorant. I think at the time, like 

I said,

this agency 

that we were building, 

We, we started with two, like one employee and then another, and 

every single 

step is like

this incremental milestone. We get 

this new client, we can hire this 

new person. So it was, yeah. we weren't paying ourselves as


by the way.

So everything was just like focusing 

on building this fledgling agency 

and getting it on its feet. And every sort of dollar in meant, meant, 

another step towards this sort 

of milestone.

So [00:05:00] frankly,

we built this little 

link tree thing, 

in, in a matter of hours. We're like 

great. This 

is a little tool that we 

can sell to our clients, 

make our lives and their lives better. 

but we basically 

shipped it, gave 

it to a bunch of clients, 

and then just went back to focusing on the agency. 

or who we gotta hire. I've 

got to go clean the toilets later. 

We need to you 

know, figure out 

like employment 

contracts. Like it

was just

Every single hat 

we were wearing all


once. So I don't think we 



We weren't so deep in 


detail, but very surely, you 

know, after a number 


weeks, sort 

of. giving it 


these clients.

So we're 

talking Flume, I think was one of


first sign ups, 

so it's a

musician you 

may be aware of 



we were working to

make some digital strat,

like audience 

strategy for 


Gave that to them, gave it to Splinter in the Grass, a whole 


of these clients. And they were sort 

of loving 

this thing, But yeah, 

again, at the time, we were

just like 

hanging on for dear life 

as the 

agency just scaled out from under us.

Dion: yeah, 

So you've come up with 

this great, what you think is a 

product, not realizing you've got a business 

and effectively a billion 




how does that 

transition go and how many 

days, weeks, [00:06:00] months 

did it take To go from get a 

product. Yeah, this product is doing really well and people love it to 

Hang on 

we've put a business. this 

is, this is the focus now.

Nick: Yeah. 

I suppose, 

maybe was it so we did 

this six hour, 

like back of the napkin, 

prototype. I was working, sat next


Mike, one of our developers, still with us to this day, beautiful man. 

So We sat there 

figuring this 

thing out. We sketch 

something like 

really awful. 

I've got 


initial sketches and I'm quite embarrassed by them. but in 

truth, the sort of Those initial

sketches, you can still see the

echoes of 

those design paradigms 

today, which I don't 


if it's a good

thing or a bad

thing. Who 

knows? Anyway, two 



decided, let's spend two 


get this thing productized.


we need

a brand, 

some content, 

like how do 

we position this thing? 

it was all really centered around just 

this solution for Instagram, shipped it to the 



put it 

on somebody.


us on product time, 


is this sort of

like emerging products. That's where people 

having all of their wares And we just saw this massive inflection point. So I suppose we realized

after about 

a month, we had Alicia Keys sign up.

We were [00:07:00] curiously checking if this 

was actually real or just somebody sort 


spamming us. Found out 

it was 


that it was,

This entire music, agency wanting to like portal 

it over 

their entire roster. So I think pretty quickly we were like, okay, 


could be something really big. 

But I 

think the 


of it 

it was 

just to solve this problem

really simply.

So there was this 


lovely organic nature to, Okay, let's just solve this 



overthink it, not 


over to manipulate it and trying to

make it something 

that it


We just 

let it organically 

float for 

about 12 months,

which is probably not 

good advice to be honest.

wish we, 



on it 

a little bit earlier, but. Yeah, We

next minute,

12 months happens. 

We were 

slowly incrementally building it 


improving it. And we 

had about 

a million 


and because of 

our background 

in music, 

being in the 


soaked sort 

of music

scene, we had no sense of 

was a 

million users a lot.

was this 

a viable business? So yeah, probably a year and

we're like, okay, it's 

time to

commit and 

put some money where 


mouth is.

Dion: Yeah, okay. So what

year did the business start? 


Nick: Yeah.

2016, April 

2016, we of created Linktree. 

Dion: Fast forward 


years it's now a business worth 

more than 

a billion

dollars. And you've raised a lot of money. 

Is that public information, 

the amounts you've 

raised through VCs


that sort of stuff? 

Nick: Yes. it's pretty astounding. It's 

north of 

video1567376689: 000. 

Nick: 110, 

120 US dollars, which I still


to grapple 

video1567376689: with. 

Dion: Yeah. So seven years ago, you come up with this 


And now you've got 

a business 

worth over a billion 


You've raised over a hundred million dollars.

At what 

point during that journey, did you think this is where we're going to be? 

Or has this just been 

a surprise in terms of how quickly things have 



mean, I'm always 

maybe not surprised. 

I'm more thankful 

and kind 


amazed. I 


really had a sense of where my 

life was going. I'm just, happy to be 

here. it's 

like the 

baseline. I'm just a puppy dog 

happy to 

be around. I

guess there was just 

this organic 

sense of like

constantly wanting


continue to chase, to solve the problem, 

to, have 

delivered some level of impact to the 


I'm the more, I'm the more 

idealistic of 


three [00:09:00] founders, 

not to say Alex 

and Anthony aren't, but 

I'm definitely the more, 

sort of 

hippie one. 

but I just, 

yeah, It was 

really sort 

of astounding, like

the impact that

we were having, 

millions of people 

using this 

tool. and if we're making their 


a fraction better, 

we're saving 

them five 


of time times that by eight, 10 




the most astounding 

thing to me. 


I guess I'm more proud of that 

I never 

really stopped 

to think, okay, in five years

time, I want 

to have this And 

I want to be


It's more about I 

want to continue 

to deliver to deliver 


impact and just 

It's also really fun to work 


these two, Italian 

brothers that 

video1567376689: met 

12 years ago.

And I'm more thankful 

that our working relationship has continued to become stronger. And we have this like lovely intersection of our, the Venn diagram. We all sort of compliment and overlap in really nice ways. So yeah, I don't know. I 

never really sat down and had a five year plan. I'm just, it was kind of live to find another day,

continue to stay true to the mission.

And. it was 

Nick: was never something I just thought that was way too But then I met Alex and he was, 

he's a few 

years younger than I am. And I remember meeting [00:10:00] this kid going, Like, how did it happen? There's no commission. He just didn't ask for permission. He just did it. You want it to go 

into a, to a Europe.

So you 

start, he was managing these two DJs 

at the time and He just figured out how to run a 

European tour. So 

all expenses paid, got these two guys 

playing gigs and like 

amazing places. 

And I, just. I 

was sort of 

astounded that He didn't need that permission. He 

was just so confident. So I 

guess like working with him 

and seeing that, 


are no 

barriers, I kind 

of started this reluctant entrepreneur 

started to realize like 

it is actually attainable.

you just, 

have this sense that it's so 

incredibly difficult to like get started, but 

Alex has 

this, to his credit, 


this fearlessness 

and there's no

The relationship of the Linktree co-founders

Nick: glass or barrier. He's just well, I'm just going to keep pushing until I get through. 

Yeah. For 

me now, I guess I find I'm, I'm 

an entrepreneur, 

but I yeah, still sort of pitch myself as to where I've 


video1567376689: yeah, it's, I'm just 

Dion: an interesting journey, right 


you talk about your 


founders, they're brothers, right? 

video1567376689: Yep. 

Nick: Italian telling Beautiful brothers. 

Dion: Yeah. And I'm also 

Italian, I've got brothers. So

I know [00:11:00] drill 


I'm interested in, how, that goes from your perspective as the non 


founder in the


Nick: It's an interesting one. 

I always say that marinara


is thicker than blood. 

like the Italian 

bond is just

so incredibly strong, 

but it's 


it's really, what's 

worked in my 

favor is I've felt.

video1567376689: into 

Nick: that 



early on. So 10 years ago,

11 years ago, 

when I started working with them, 

you know, I was invited around to their house 

and I just 


like art of furniture, they're incredibly welcoming. 

And I've got this question a 

lot where people are 

like, you've got two brothers, 


always outvoted. But 

what's actually 

happened is 

we have such high 

alignment. We definitely have 

disagreements and sort 

of opinions. But 

we, it's always a task conflict and 

never relationship conflict. And I've never 

at once felt like, getting me up.

So I sort of see myself as 

almost the 

mediator, like the piece of white bread between the 

two meatballs is the analogy 

that I've 

used before. 

yeah. And so 

far so good. 

It's just been the most. 

fulfilling, enriching relationship of 

my life, which is.

but there it is. 

video1567376689: yeah, quite sentimental. 

Dion: I think people might be making some assumptions [00:12:00] there about 


outvoted by 

the two brothers. I


again, knowing what Italian 

brothers are like, I 

don't imagine they necessarily always see eye to eye on stuff So I 

don't, I don't 

think the voting stuff's the foregone 


Nick: Yeah, 

I've definitely been more of a mediator, and I think that's, I sit somewhere between the 

eternal empath, 

so I 

can see both sides, and then I 

can help be 

that communicative bridge. But a lot of the times we 

have, where we're going. 

video1567376689: may disagree in sort of certain areas, we have like 

really high alignment on where we're going.

Nick: And 

it's never been a question of

like ulterior motives or Alex wants something that I don't, It's always, I don't know, we're just so 


that naturally we're sort of oriented in the same direction. So I thank my lucky 

video1567376689: is ours. 

Nick: for 

Dion: A disagreement doesn't 

necessarily matter, does it? In terms 



robust conversations, even sometimes arguments. 

Within family or


business, as long as, like you say, everyone's got 


same, all aligned 

in where they're trying to get 


those things are 


in terms of 

trying to 

get to the bottom of an 

issue. We'll work where you're going 

to go,

whatever it 

might be. That's 



there's [00:13:00] differences 

between healthy 

conflict and unhealthy conflict, right?

Nick: Yeah, I, I definitely it's 

similar advice

to never let the sun set on an argument in your relationship. I think a business

relationship is

Exactly akin to 

a marriage in many ways, if

you're not working on that relationship, if you're not 

trying to be empathetic point of view, or just, 

yeah, be 

really committed to making 

this marriage work because you're spending 

almost more time with these people then.

your partner in many ways, you're often facing way 

more challenges and sort of a frequency of difficult challenges

with your working partners, 

then your relationship, hopefully, hopefully homes 

calm. us, we could really go head to head 

and have these like very heartfelt and intense debates.


maybe come out of 

it quite flustered, but at that 

The biggest learning curve that Nick Humphrey had to go through when building Linktree

Nick: meeting 

ends and we 

would be joking, 

10 minutes later. And 

think that's like super important to just 

recognize that you're in this for the long haul. And 

it's really important to monitor to 

yeah, that relationship and make sure that 

it's healthy on 

both sides. So, 

Dion: that stuff, if 

you're all pulling in the same direction, 

there's no agendas.


really just, it's not personal, it's 


It's just [00:14:00] trying to 

get to the 




work out the best

solution you can. In terms of your. 

Leadership style or 

your role in that 

business from


till now. What 

was the curve? 

No doubt there's been a few

different learning curves along the way with the rapid

growth you've had. But what's 

been the 

biggest learning curve

video1567376689: Yeah, for

Nick: mean, from

my perspective, Alex and Anthony, I'm sure have different sort of learning arcs.


me, tricky one, I've thought 

about this. Sometimes you're, it's scaling so 

quickly. You

don't really know 

what you've 

learned until

you stop

to reflect. And 

it's, it's very rare you 

video1567376689: that 


Dion: you? don't get a chance, 


Nick: Yeah. 

not, not often.

I think for 


Nick: have relatively 

good pattern 

recognition where I can 

get a sense, 

I think this is, this is something that 

you tend to develop in 

a production role. So 

I'm a designer by trade. I used to 

do the 

end to end production of, 

started in print, 

then into 

web and 

content and all 

these sorts of things.

So I sort of 

understand the individual steps of 

producing And 

knowing how long 

things take or how [00:15:00] difficult 

it is to like align people. 

and one of those sort of 

crucial structures that 



to align and to align a team. So I think in the early 

days, the biggest learning curve, or 


it's a 

mistake that 

felt I had counted was as we rapidly scaled, I don't think we had a lot of these like fundamental 

structures in 

place to help 

the team 


and understand 

exactly what we're building.


it's classic things like. Guiding principles, clarity vision, you know, it's really, really tangible and 

clear artifacts. So 

a new person this week can get really quickly up to speed, understand the context 

and sort of like build this thing. 

we instead, what we did was we scaled so quickly, hiring 


video1567376689: people a week. 

Nick: or 15 

video1567376689: positive sense that self organization would just happen 

Nick: a week.

Um, and an 

equal agreement

would just occur. 

not exactly what happened. And I guess the biggest learning curve was. There are just certain 

things fundamentally you 

should have in place before you before you scale And before you bring anyone into the business, make sure like, 

they're able to 

build in, in that, within that vision.

Yeah, that's that was a hard hard lesson.

video1567376689: lesson. that, 

Dion: I was going to 

say, Is that, 

[00:16:00] something that you could have known ahead of time or do you have 

to experience 


video1567376689: Yeah, 

Nick: it's funny. 

you kind 

of get, the same 

repeat advice

over and over again, get, 

get your vision really clear, get some guiding principles. And to an 

extent, you 

question the real value of this It's like a lot 

of time that You're spending 

not on the business, but sort 


sitting in this higher, more theoretical, 

ethereal layer. You're not 

giving people absolute clarity or build 

the thing. Build it in this way. Here's all the context you need. You're trying to sort of like 

Distill and communicate this whole 


vision into 

like a single sentence It's it's actually some of the 

most difficult work 

and I think we 

spent months.

up the project trying to 

clarify what 

exactly it is. We're building struggling 

getting frustrated and just going All right, we're going back to just 

being you 

know in the 


and to this day, it evolves 

every few years where, you know, you're still heading in the general direction, market factors change, team composition changes, 

when we treat this and all the sort of pro we 

orbit around that change. So we're having to constantly [00:17:00] reshape and reorient and re 

clarify the vision. 

but yeah, to answer your question fully, think there's a little element of maybe listening to the 

advice, but also knowing 

that, yeah, it's sage advice, but it's 


I think us seeing 

how it didn't work really 

clarified to the it.

It's a tricky 

one, man. It was a it was a wild couple 

of years. 

Dion: yeah, some of that's... yeah, 

video1567376689: yeah, some of 

that stuff is, like, you can see the advice, 

but until you live it, 

it doesn't make as much sense, right? And then suddenly, oh, okay, now I 

get it, type of thing.

It's like that with a lot of things. Until you actually experience it, you can hear the 

advice, but 

it doesn't 

mean the same until you've gone through whatever it was that that advice 

was intended for.

At what point did Linktree raise money? Why they bootstrapped for the first few years

Dion: But what was that like Going from starting a business, rapidly growing. Firstly, I guess, 

asking yourselves, at what 

point do you need capital to come into the business, or even do you need capital. So that's the first thing. Because no doubt at a certain point, people are starting to knock on your door if you're not knocking on theirs. trying to work through that process and work out who you 

should work with, who not to work. because that's a big [00:18:00] decision, right? And especially when you're dealing in tens or hundreds of millions of dollars from a cap raise. What was that 



video1567376689: Yeah, it 

Nick: it 

was. It was an 

interesting time, I suppose, Because of our background in music. 

We really weren't immersed in the tech world. So we would, 

we would go to music conferences, we would speak to music clients, we would build products specifically for our music audiences. Alex definitely had this, this urge to create some kind of digital products, but it was generally music focused. So, and because we were sort of centered in 

Australia, we didn't really look out and, you know, out into the, to the realm of BC and we had always been bootstrapped since day one. So we've never taken a loan, never had any sort of loans from our parents. It was always just whatever was in our pockets. Um, and, you focusing on like incremental building a business.

So that bootstrap mindset was you know, we'd scaled this agency to like 30 or 40 Just our small meagre, you know, um, meagre life saving. So, we had seen that we could, we were capable of building a sustainable [00:19:00] business just through like sweat and grit. Uh, but what happened sort of a few years, or maybe two years in, Linktree's scale was pretty significant, you know, a few million users. 

video1567376689: and 

Nick: And also we had so much traffic that there's an Alexa ranking, which sort of maps highest visited we were sort of climbing that pretty significantly, like the 


Dion: people are seeing this, right? 

video1567376689: Yeah.



Nick: So you've got, you know, VCs around the world monitoring sort of certain areas definitely one of those places.

And they were seemingly tree sort of climbing the ranks. and 

So yeah, we started to get phone calls and it was mostly felt like tire kicking for the big, you know, VC firms that I had never heard of And Nora And Alex were like, what is this whole VC thing? Like, do we even need capital?

What would we even spend the money on, 

You know, coming from a bootstrap mindset where you earn money and then you make an incremental step towards another milestone. It's like having all of this money. How would you even. How do you prioritize what to spend it on? So yeah, early on, it of tie kicking people sort of wanting to understand what our vision for [00:20:00] the product was just to see if like these, you know, three knuckleheads in Melbourne hadn't had a brain between them.

and so yeah, then 2020 comes around and we got a lot of, um, we're getting a lot of lot of requesting time with us and Alex was like, let's just go. We'll talk some big cities in Australia. Let's fly to America and just sort of see, no, like, we're going to come home with hundreds of millions.

It was really just to 

say, you know, what the vibe was 

talk to these, 

people, understand what the relationship might look like. and then, yeah, so that was March, 2020, Alex and I on a plane, there was a cough 

video1567376689: around the 


I was going 

Dion: I was going to say, this is 

COVID just starting, right?

Nick: we, we were like, we weren't the last plane, we were the second last plane to leave the States. So it was a bit of a 

Catching the Last Flight to the US To Raise Capital Before Covid

Nick: risk to go, but we just thought. It seems pretty 

got a bunch of advice for people. They're like, crazy not to go, just go and see, see what can happen over there. First discussions were, you know, kind of 

video1567376689: astounding. In 


Nick: In my mind, I was sort of talking about valuations and I never really imagined this world.

And then it started to become, okay, who is the right [00:21:00] strategic partner? There seemed to be a lot of money that we could have access, but It was really about finding the right people that understood what We were building and could kind of give up the greatest And Strategic leverage and advice Um, yeah. So that's kind of the beginning of the, of the BC story. It's quite a long one, but

How raising money changed the mindsets of the Linktree foundersz

Dion: How was that from the perspective of it's just the, three of you at that point, I assume. And now you bring in, you're raising money and you've got another, 

video1567376689: it 

Dion: it changes the whole way you go about things in some respects, right? But how did that impact your mindset and the 

way you 

go about business?

Or did it? Did you say, we just want to keep doing what we're doing or 

how did that impact you having that responsibility? 

Nick: Yeah. So at the time we had 

around or nine employees at Linktree. Some, 

some were sort of split across 

half on the agency, half 

on Linktree, a few full timers. and at the time we were receiving significant scale, so

our, our AWS servers were getting, like, our fees were getting super expensive. So there was sort of a 

How raising money changed the mindsets of the Linktree founders 

( )

Nick: pivotal moment actually where Linktree was costing us. Essentially, any [00:22:00] profit

that we had coming in was going, out the door the next day. So it was actually becoming quite, expensive to run. So there was the choice, you do we 

shut it down? Is this thing a viable business?

Should we keep, you know, investing it? Do we go get a bank loan? And even, even sort of stepping towards that, trying to get a loan in Australia and convince the banks that just seemed harder. So it's decided to fly overseas. 

we started to sort of imagine what like with investment to sort of fuel. get us closer to the vision faster. and then we started to like, peer our heads into this new world of 

VC and tech and started to meet other founders just to get a sense of what changes, how do investments sort of transform your business. a lot of them money was obviously amazing, but just the doors, the strategic doors.

That the investors could open you get connected to the CEO of 

Figma. No worries. that level of access was kind of unbelievable. And that was what excited us most. I think the money coming in. we, we assumed the vision would take us X amount execute. We had to these features and build all these like foundational structures. It just sort of like reduced the time scale in. which we [00:23:00] could actually achieve that. So I guess the founders that are impatient, it just felt like an fuel injection to get to the future faster. So I think like It was pretty quick for us to move from this.

bootstrap mindset into, okay, how do we sort of strategically use this money wisely? I actually happened is we probably got a little bit too excited and tried to 

do everything all at once in every direction. and that's a lesson that we learned to be more sort of thoughtful and really sequence out how we're spending, where we're spending, who we're hiring.

but yeah, unfortunately we learned 


lesson along the hard ways. 

Dion: I was going to say, that's probably easy. To say in hindsight, but it's one of those things where in the last three years have been straddled over a year and a half of tech boom and a year and a half of

tech struggle a little bit more. So it's a different mindset, right? So that, path of the last three years has changed the way tech 

businesses build in many respects, or the different, a year and 

a half ago to now.

video1567376689: So 

Dion: So that's part of the learning curve, I guess. in terms of your strengths and weaknesses, what would you say that strengths and or weaknesses are 

Nick: [00:24:00] Yeah, I don't know if this is going to be sage 

advice or helpful, but, I'm quite self reflective maybe to a fault. I think my biggest strength is

also my weakness, which might be like the cliche answer, but I really do believe it. So as a designer, I think you're just inherently empathetic because you're designing something for somebody else to either an action or to an audience. Trying to imagine how are they going to 

receive this? How do I design this flow so they can simply move through this product? All these sorts of things. So you're constantly always thinking about the other, the person you're building for. Not to say others don't, but designers are intrinsically empathetic, I believe.

And because think I'm able 

The biggest strengths and weaknesses of Linktree founder Nick Humphreys

Nick: to really deeply understand the 


and the problem and sort of advocate for them. Celebrate them, bring their sort of perspectives and voices into the rooms where we're getting a little caught up and excited over this feature. I'll try and remind the team what the problem is that we're trying to solve.


also advocating for just simplicity, within the product development process. but on the negative side, I think the empathy, if you don't channel [00:25:00] it in the right way, it can be very, it can be a lot of weight to carry, and it can also mean you're rather incisive. So sometimes because I can see both sides of an argument, I find it difficult to have a really distinct opinion.

I have a preference, but I can, because I can sort of see both sides. I can sometimes feel a little bit wish washing on the fence. I'm still trying to perfect that. and then the other, the other downside of empathy can be the emotional toil and strain that it can, take to work in a business with, you know, as a rapidly dynamically shifting business scaling, and then, you know, making reductions in the team, having to wear that. And sort of be the business minded person, but also be the recognizes the impact it has when, you know, you make a reduction in the team, how that person must feel. So, yeah, it's an interesting one. I'm, I'm trying to like tune, fine tune how to use

video1567376689: uh, 

Dion: Yeah. And that's easier said than done, right?

Because some of that stuff does where you've got that, the business decisions that have to be made versus being human and, and understanding people, that sort of stuff. so I can say that that would be 

from time to time, quite. quite confronting, Where you've got to look at those [00:26:00] things and, but you still have to make the business decision at the day, but you can handle it in a 

different way because sometimes 

you, people can be ruthless in that way, 


you can also handle it in a more, empathetic way.

Nick: I definitely use that as a power to, I'll even, you know, go and talk to the team. Exit interviews are some of the greatest uh, resources for me. Well, it can be seen as kind of a negative sentiment. I actually really love to understand. You know, where did this go wrong or how can we have done a better job and then really taking that insight and applying it to like, how are we on board the next 100 people?

How do we make this business more empathetic to the, to the needs? Like, how do you find that balance between being a human being a business person? I think those two things can coexist, but you really need that feedback and making the, sort of process as you go.

video1567376689: Yeah. 

And it's something 

Dion: And it's something you get better at, I think get, as you get more and more experience, and as you get older. I think those things, once you've things a few times, then it

starts to become, not simpler, it's probably the wrong word, you've 

video1567376689: better 

Dion: better 

versed in seeing how it plays out, And if something [00:27:00] you handle things differently next time, then you've got that next time, and so on and 

so one of those sorts of things, I think. 

The best advice that Nick Humphreys has ever received and how it helped him build Linktree

Dion: In terms of advice that you've been given along the 


what's the best advice you'd say? 

You've been given Nick along the way.

video1567376689: Yeah, 

Nick: Yeah, this may be sentimental. Um, and a little naff, but my very early on in my life, my grandfather gave me I'm not sure how robust this framework is, but he would always talk about the too hard basket. um, and I don't really know what that meant for a little while, but always sort of repeat it whenever I'd come to him and ask me what I was struggling with at school, It's like, this is hard or when, when I was sort of In the first few

years in the business really struggling with just like how much time I was spending. And yeah, he basically presented this framework of there's certain things that you just cannot control and you only have so much of bandwidth to, to sort of spend.

And yeah, it's very decisive with how you're spending. your energy and attention. Um, and there's just some things that you really can't control so yeah, ultimately it's about me helping me understanding what my locus of control Um, And, just not pushing [00:28:00] against immovable objects and, and if somebody didn't see the world that I, you know, the way that I saw, just like not trying to spin my wheels, trying to change them.

And yeah, so it was interesting. I'm sure it's probably, there's like a more business savvy way of saying it, but too hard basket for all the things in there. He never gave me, he never gave me the follow up, which is what do I do gets full, but he, he passed away before I could get the answer.

So that's fine.

Dion: So 

he, he's. 

video1567376689: Use 

Dion: used the words too hard basket.

You've reinterpreted that. I'm guessing to be about what you can and can't control. is that what

did words control or did he just say 

put that in a too hard basket? but you've interpreted that to 

be, that really is about When, when you can't control? it, it goes in there because I can't do anything about it. Is that what, you're getting at?

Nick: Yeah. It's honestly just You have so much time that you can spend so much energy and effort and there's things 

that sort of like you spend your energy and it's a 

video1567376689: cycle. 


Nick: You're spending the energy and you're actually

getting traction and impact. And then there's other things like trying to convince somebody to see the world in another way, [00:29:00] We're trying to change broader structures or whatever it is 

you can spend a lot of your energy pushing

against these inevitable objects and exhausting yourself and you burn yourself out. So it's really just about being mindful of, yeah, there's certain things I can immediately control and anything else that I can't, I can do my best to sort of shape it, but I'm not just going to throw good energy after bad. Um, so yeah, it's a 

bit of a fluffy kind of thought, 


Dion: it makes sense. And I think it's probably more prevalent. 

video1567376689: In 


Dion: sports psychology, actually, because if you ever listen to athletes talk after something they would have been having bad games or they've been in bad form, but

they snap out of it or 

whatever it might be. And it's oh, you had a great game today. How did you do that? And they'll just say something along the lines of. 


and they've obviously sat down with the sports 


around how they're being coached on that side. Yeah. Yeah, I just worry about what I can control and nothing else matters. So I just do the things that matter that I can control and then anything else that falls outside of that, Um, I about it. So what the media say, what this, what happens here, what 

that, you know, whether I'm [00:30:00] kicking straight or 

whatever it might be, whatever the thought, but I think that's where that sort of is more prevalent rather than in business, but I think it easily,

transfers across. But, 

Nick: Yeah, it's interesting. You mentioned that just because, something that I was never prepared for was, you know, Linktree, the success story, this And then you hit sort of a level of success and notoriety. And then sometimes you'll, You know, you'll see precedent maybe isn't as positive as it once was more critical.

And that's totally And I think that was where I really utilized this too hard basket.

I was 

like, I can't control how people perceive or what story they want to tell. I know what's true. Um, and sort of I focus on what I can control within the business. And I think those things, if you can just sort of like focus your aperture to the You know, way easier than carrying all this sort of negative baggage. 

Dion: Yeah, 100%. A lot of times sport is an easier analogy to look at in how to approach things in life or, uh, or even business. And it does transfer across some of those simple type 

things that make sense there and you can, can [00:31:00] use it for exactly that same thing. I mean, you got that classic tall poppy syndrome in Australia.

We all want everyone to do well, but you go, don't go too well, because then we want to drag you down a little bit. And that's what happens, right? It happens in the media, it happens with people in the industry, all those sorts of things. But you can only do what you, you can do get on with it. And if you're going to let yourself worry about what they're all saying, you're never going to get anywhere

video1567376689: Absolutely.

Nick Humphrey's Biggest Business Inspirations and How They Inspire Him to Succeed with Linktree

Dion: what about business people that you, admire? 

video1567376689: mind either 

Dion: either or in overseas? 

Nick: I don't have one. I think it's, 

video1567376689: it's, 

Nick: it's not 


not saying it's a fool's error to to sort of like idolize one person. I do think, you know, individuals can be, tricky to, to follow and sort of use them as this oracle sort of thing. But I, I am obviously Steve Jobs from a design perspective.

The way that he leveraged design and viewed about and sort of like Turn the ship as the ship to be more design oriented so I think like there's there's certain things that leaders have done that I admire, but I think Idolizing individuals or saying this person hasn't has it covered I think that's kind of tricky or a bit of a challenge, this [00:32:00] is this may be incredibly natural and cliche But I'm actually inspired by anybody doing any kind of business, you know, going out on their own, taking some of a risk. doing things independently. I, actually get motivated just by speaking to, the local vintage store and there's a woman in there sort of starting this little journey. I got this, I got the shop and I started to build a brand about expanding or the guy who has like a sandwich shop is thinking about expanding.

I actually get so motivated and yes, it's super cliche to, say it, but. constantly being exposed to Linktree users that, you know, they've had this little dream and they've acted upon it. And I think the bravery that that takes, and I'm learning from them every day. These like tiny brand new fledgling companies that are figuring out content strategy and they're gaining hundreds of thousands of followers And building these businesses back. So yeah, sometimes I look at the big dogs and but I also get sort of motivated and pushed along by just people chasing a dream 

video1567376689: taking the risk. Yeah, 

Dion: yeah, no, I don't think that's cliche at all. And I don't think people think of things. Along [00:33:00] that line, probably enough. I mean, anywhere you look at what you're talking about is it's, you admire

people that have a go that's And you've got to respect you know, it's easy for people Well, not easy. that's, it's 

easy for people to admire the people. who are successful, because that's sort of like the low hanging fruit in terms of looking at, oh, well, they've done it well, but there's all sorts of nuance that goes into. These guys are at point, but you don't know where they came from, right?

They might have come from a really tough background and having their own little business where they employ five people is actually like, you know, they're the first because everyone else in their family were alcoholics, unemployed or you know, like, and they've, they've actually excelled and they've created something.

The nuance to that sort of thing, I think is really worthwhile and is actually really interesting. so I wouldn't say it's cliche at all.

Nick: Yeah, I think just ideas are very cheap. it's really easy to generate a bunch of ideas. I 

think acting upon them is, is a different thing and it takes a different muscle, resilience and grit and, and sort of trust in yourself. And there's this like. I can't remember the exact framework, but there's a bell curve [00:34:00] of effort.

It feels really, really easy at the start of great. Here's the logo. We're going to sort of do this thing. And then you get into the really, really depths and, and you can only really draw upon your own instinct and, will to push through. And I think people that have made that made it through that sort of path and onto the other side.

Like, I just find that it's incredible. I share a kindred spirit. You know, it's not easy unless you have some, unending bank account, you can draw upon the people for most of us, like being able to through it and start this idea And foster a business into life. I just think there's something quite astounding and yeah, so we should be celebrated to do it too.

video1567376689: think 

Dion: I think that goes back to the core of being Australian, right? Because that's the Aussie pat line that you're describing really in some respect. business books? Do you ever read business books? Are you, do you, 

would you say that you were entrepreneurial in any way when you were younger? Is that Or were you just more creative? 


Nick: I think I 

was always, I am always fascinated with sort of psychology or there's something 

about designing something to, to create [00:35:00] an action. So whether it's like a poster on the 

street, I always, found it quite powerful to, to 

The best business books that Nick Humphreys recommends reading to build a successful business like Linktree

Nick: be able to design a bunch of stuff, text letters, photography to communicate a message to someone I would never meet.

And then we it's like a puzzle that you're building and I find that really satisfying. So I started designing posters, for gigs and Okay, I'm driving past this poster at speed. I've designed a terrible poster No one could read this because I was too focused on like the little details.

So I was always like really trying to understand I have this message I need to send. I have an audience that I, that needs to receive it, how to sort of communicate, It was never about wanting to start my own business. It was always wanting to like understand how do I communicate messages So I, was often less entrepreneurial, More interested in understanding the mechanics of the mind, understanding advertising. I was always so drawn to those compelling ads that you're like, that is just so transfixing. And I, it's not even about buying a product. It's about 

so anything I was consuming was sort of to that end. And in terms of the business books now, that's like 95 percent of the consumption. non nonfiction for me. [00:36:00] sorry. Yeah. books and But I sort of dabbled between trying to understand, you know, business teams, building cultures, but also trying to understand just the world at large.

So I might read something by 

Simon Sinek one week, And something about, what's the other, the book, there's Legacy by James Kerr, which is actually. it's about the All Blacks team. It's incredible for sort of principles and team culture and just sort of, it's like business, but kind of adjacent through sport.

but then I'll also read a book, that comes to mind. It's Your Profile, which is more about the psychology of, you know, it's about profile building, which to my world, I would imagine. Link trees are essentially this intersection of Your sort of all the slivers of yourself, all the little shades of, yourself across the internet link trees where it's like unified.

And this, this book that I've read is really about, you know, your craft crafting and profile, how you want the world to interact and how you want the world to see you. So I sort of move along the spectrum between business books that I can apply tomorrow and also just trying to understand human condition and psychology, all that sort of a bit of a weird bookshelf, I think.

video1567376689: Yeah, 


Dion: Yeah, but that human [00:37:00] condition and 

psychology is at the 

core of, 

business and what makes it all tick, right?

video1567376689: Yeah, 

Dion: That's the thing that people 

forget because often people have a business mindset, but that where you come from in terms of wanting 

to get 


how the mind ticks and what, what solving 

this problem and what 

makes it work.

Well, that's actually right at the core of. You know, what makes everything work.

You look at someone like 

Johnny Ives or somebody like that from Apple, you know, from a design perspective, those guys are really getting into the ins and outs of that sort of stuff. and that's, that's what makes it work in the 


Nick: Yeah, 


video1567376689: Any, 


Dion: any particular, before we wrap up, any particular quotes or mantras or things that you might live by that have held you in good stead? 



Nick: I don't really have any quotes. you know what 

though, I found myself wanting or longing to have more and more sort of quotes around me. So I don't have any like off the top of my head, but I've found want to have these like physical artifacts to just remind me, put me into this mindset. nothing really outside of, there's a, there's a quote by 

Walt Whitman, an American poet. And [00:38:00] again, I haven't read

much of his work, but this notion of I contain multitudes was a big sort of unlocking point for Linktree when we created this thing, didn't really know what it was or how to describe it. But now that 

The quotes that Nick Humphreys lives by to succeed

Nick: it's evolved, it's sort of become a little mantra that I say to 

myself where Linktree sort of allows you to present your entire self.

So I'm just constantly thinking about how do I represent that in the product? How do I help somebody? Within the product,

compile this, like

whole self.

this holistic vision of who I am because on Instagram, I'm one LinkedIn. I'm another link tree is a place where you can sort of be that whole self.

So yeah, it's 

it's more of 

like, it's something that I practically apply, but there's nothing that I sit and ponder and read. from a business quote. So yeah, sorry, that's not the most satisfying answer, but I'm probably not the most like atypical, uh, you know, business guy.

video1567376689: No, 

Dion: no, No, no, that's perfectly fine. I mean, All of your insights are interesting, and, 

video1567376689: So 

Dion: so that's totally fine.

What's next for Linktree and Nick Humphreys

Dion: What, what's next for you guys? For Linktree, and for you, what's 


Nick: I'm probably, I'm not great at predicting the future, I'm not sure how 

[00:39:00] many humans are. 

(clip) So I think there's some things that I can predict, which is, you

know, more of the same. Really trying to get that impact that I desperately want. I I, I often do just a little in my head. If we make, we have 35, 40 million users.

If I can life just one percentage point better in some degree, saving them time, making them feel more empowered, that is, that's what drives me. That's what, why I get up out of bed every morning and go. we're actually shipping tangible value to millions of people I've never seen.

So it's understanding how do we solve more of those problems. but for the business, I think probably the last few years of rapid scale of missing some of those like foundational structures of clarity of what we're exactly building, you know, onboarding the team and making sure that they know what they're here to do and what, good looks like. I 

think we're sort of 

focusing on that. but it's really about clarifying to the team. What are the expectations? Exactly what a link tree is and defining that and providing principles so people can filter decisions through it. I think, historically, a lot of the context lived within my head or Alex's head [00:40:00] or Anthony's head. and that's just really challenging when you're scaling a team. and people don't have the answers and you can't scale yourself. I think now we've sort of 

video1567376689: learnt

Nick: learnt that, that pain. So a big part of it is like, this is sort of the new clarity era. and then yeah, more of the same, just like scaling the business, not so much in terms of


but just scaling our offering.

we've been doing a lot of foundational work. In the background, it's not, not super visible from a product perspective, but we, one of the best parts of being able to scale at the we did was to focus on 

some of the bigger initiatives, such as a trust and safety and moderation because of link trees traffic.

We sort of have a lot of scrutiny from, you know, governments and platforms. So it's great that we've been able to build a very safe and compliant product. So now we've got this foundation. It's you know, keep more of the same, really, you know, just have a good time. Be good to people.


video1567376689: Get, get bigger without growing headcount.


Nick: I think so. Yeah. Being very strategic with how sort of sequencing

video1567376689: um, 

Nick: the 

prioritization thing is like probably the biggest challenge for most businesses 

and [00:41:00] really looking for people, new people to come into the team to help us really be super with our prioritization as well. So yeah, lots of fun stuff.

I'm excited.

video1567376689: I'm really excited to see where you guys go in the next few years. It's been a rapid growth story and it's uh, fascinating to see. 

Nick: Yeah. 

video1567376689: the years ahead. you 

Nick: Thank you

so much. Appreciate it. 

video1567376689: Thanks very much, mate. 


Dion: Thanks for listening to this episode. I hope you enjoyed the show. If you did, we would really appreciate if you would leave a five star review and share with family and friends. Thanks.

Highlight Clip
Guest Background and Introduction
When did Nick Humphreys Realise Linktree Would Be Huge
The relationship of the Linktree co-founders
The biggest learning curve that Nick Humphrey had to go through when building Linktree
At what point did Linktree raise money? Why they bootstrapped for the first few years
Catching the Last Flight to the US To Raise Capital Before Covid
How raising money changed the mindsets of the Linktree foundersz
How raising money changed the mindsets of the Linktree founders
The biggest strengths and weaknesses of Linktree founder Nick Humphreys
The best advice that Nick Humphreys has ever received and how it helped him build Linktree
Nick Humphrey's Biggest Business Inspirations and How They Inspire Him to Succeed with Linktree
The best business books that Nick Humphreys recommends reading to build a successful business like Linktree
The quotes that Nick Humphreys lives by to succeed
What's next for Linktree and Nick Humphreys