A beginning

I plan on sharing the story of how we built our product, started our business, gained traction, and our biggest successes and failures along the way.  I hope you are able to learn from our mistakes, understand our successes, and enjoy dipping into my journal entries to see our business and idea morph over time through this blog.  I won’t bore you with my life before this startup except to give you a little background about me that will prove helpful as you read about my entrepreneurial endeavors with my current company.

Bio: I married early at the age of 22 and am so glad I did.  My wife is awesome and she’s brilliant.  I graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Statistics in 2012.  Before taking the entrepreneurial plunge as a co-founder I was involved as a product manager at NextPage which was acquired by Proofpoint in December of 2011.  In the photo above I am the taller one, coming in at a not so impressive 5'9".  Now you know me at least a little bit.

The beginning… In the summer of 2012 I was dragging myself through my last two classes to get a BS in Statistics from Brigham Young University and working full-time at Proofpoint as a Product Manager.  I had tossed around a number of ideas for starting my own business but my wife hadn’t passed any of them off yet, and with the possibility of a ton more time on my hands once I graduated I was getting pretty excited.  At the time I regularly listened to the Harvard Business Review podcast that releases every Friday.  One day I heard an interview between Sarah Green and Doc Searls that got me thinking.  Here is a link to the podcast and text of the interview (http://blogs.hbr.org/2012/04/winning-in-the-intention-econo/).  The “aha" moment for me happened when he said “So what we’re talking about, or seems likely to happen, is you or I being able to say– to the whole marketplace, in an RFP kind of way, a request for proposal– hey, I need to stroller for twins, in Harvard Square in the next four hours. Who’s coming through? I’ve got $200. And see what happens. In other words, we’ll do the advertising and will specify exactly what we’re looking for, or, approximately what we’re looking for. But not have to go inside of Amazon or inside of Ebay to do it. Or go on the web and do a search on Google and go like a bee from one flower to another looking around for shopping, as it were.”

I thought Doc Searls was spot on and that the technologies of the future would allow for this sort of interaction between buyers and sellers.  Doc Searls went on to describe how consumers today are in a calf-cow relationship where they are at the mercy of the websites they visit.  Consumers are becoming more powerful and more educated than ever in the buying process.  Current models simply wouldn’t work in a world growing more and more connected.

I mulled these thoughts over for a few weeks, got my wife’s approval to move forward, and finally found a potential business partner that I wanted to discuss them with.  Scott and I ran around in some of the same social circles and I knew he had a background as a fantastic web developer. He had a reputation for being a talented and a great guy.  Our wives were in the same program at school and knew each other as well.

We talked once or twice about my thoughts and were both interested in pursuing something together.

LOOKING BACK: I have done many foolish things, and a few smart things.  Having a technically competent co-founder was one of the best decisions I have made thus far.  I have talked with so many people that didn’t have a technically competent co-founder and their businesses struggled immensely because of it.  One person I know even raised a round of financing only to find out the product they had pitched couldn’t be built.  Bummer.  A technical co-founder is a must-have in my book!  I will try to give one of these "LOOKING BACK" points in each article.

My first journal entry mentioning this business idea is on June 28th, 2012 after a brainstorm session with Scott.  I wrote, “Our idea is to allow people to make requests for products or services (we plan on getting started with the rental and automotive industry), then vendors respond to those requests, and we filter the responses and score them for the user so they can easily find the best fit for an apartment or car.”  Honestly, it is very fun for me to look back on these journal entries knowing where we are today.  I hope you enjoy watching this idea take shape over time.

In my next post I’ll discuss the initial market research we did as well as some things I wish we had done better.  I will also begin the product market fit conversation.