Nov 12, 2015 · 1 minute

This may be cold comfort for any founders staring at a dwindling bank account, unable to raise more money at anything close to the price they’d recently closed, or— worse— about to go full Quirky.

But for what it’s worth, Crossfit founder and CEO Greg Glassman remembers his aborted attempt to build a dot com business in the last bubble the best thing that ever happened to him.

Like a lot of people in the late 1990s, the economics and the plan never quite made sense to Glassman. He was talked into it by his high-end Silicon Valley clientele who saw everything as an Internet startup back in those days. “We had met with bankers and attorneys and had a brick-and-mortar CEO established and then the whole thing went to shit,” he said at our recent PandoMonthly. “That was the best thing that ever happened to me.”

And for those thinking current customer acquisition schemes are crazy, Glassman remembers one particularly strange idea: To give everyone who went to CrossFit.com to register a free $800 rower. Glassman was stunned. Those machines were expensive! Said the investors: Then we’ll just buy the rower company.

He recounts the entire story – including condescending chuckles from those crafting the strategy – in the short video clip below.

Once it all exploded, Glassman’s goals became much more modest: “Feed my kid. Make the rent. Keep my head above water.” Eventually, he built a company currently doing $125 million in revenues, and he owns 100% of it.