During my 4th year of graphic design studies, I started getting the “entrepreneurship itch”. I wanted to create my app, sell it for millions of dollars, and tell everyone how I made it big. Silicon Valley was thriving like never before, and startups like Snapchat, Uber, or Airbnb were all on their way to becoming Unicorns (startups valued at $1B+). I remember looking up the founders online and thinking to myself: “If these guys can do it, why not me?”
I’m not sure how I got the idea of a news app, but that’s what I went with. I got one of my friends on the project with me and we started brainstorming. Once we figured out a concept and a design, we even registered a few components and elements as intellectual property, to avoid getting copied. This still makes me laugh to this day because I since then learned that it’s never about having the best idea, it’s about being the best at executing it.
I was the only member of the team who knew how to code, and when we asked for help from an external coder who sent us a quote for $10,000, we laughed and said “No thanks”. I spent months coding a prototype using Html/CSS and Ajax, so the whole thing ended up being more of a web app than an actual app.
Why I quit
I actually don’t remember why or how we stopped. I don’t remember if it was a sudden stop, or something more progressive. Back then, my vision of success was fairly simple: create an app, make a company out of it, become CEO, sell it for millions a few years later. These days, I believe in a healthier and more sustainable approach. Creating a small business from scratch, putting in the work, and choosing what direction to take from there.
The classic Silicon Valley approach of pumping cash into an idea and burning through millions of dollars without even considering if it will be profitable one day is finally losing steam. Companies like Basecamp, Zapier, or Product Hunt favour a funding model without external investors (bootstrapping) and minimise their operational costs by being 100% remote.
10 years ago, you could start a company from your room, and go see investors soon after. In 2021 and beyond, you can keep running the same company from your house instead of asking for millions to keep the engine going, and you can hire a 100% remote team all over the globe.