This is a picture of what my home office looks like at 6 AM on day one of the start up
11 years after graduating from my undergrad I have finally decided to take the path less taken. Yesterday was the last day of my dream job at Facebook. The last day felt pretty sad because I have made so many great friends and knowing that I was no longer going to see them on a daily basis to solve some really challenging problems fell pretty hard. In the almost 2 years I worked at Facebook I learned a lot, traveled around the world, worked with some of the smartest people but most importantly tried a lot of things that I would have done at my start up. The time at Facebook turned out to be an amazing and very forgiving learning ground. What I did at Facebook was a culmination of 11 years of training for this day, day one of my own startup.
So what do you do on your first day of a start up. Luckily a lot of the work has already been done that helps us figure out the answer to that question. As pre-work to the first day there are a lot of things that were already done. Here is a quick summary: The first most important task was to find a team, and not only find a team but one that is passionate about an idea, interested in working on it, and feel so compelled about it that they quit their day job to do this. What I did not want was to join forces with just anybody who did not have a job and wanted to figure out what to do next in their life. So finally I found two friends from business school Calvin and Nitya who both feel passionate about solving an unmet need that they have decided to jump in with me and lunch an idea. This process took me about four months, where we found the right team and figured out an unmet need in the world that we were going to dedicate at least the next few months of our life for. There were many people who helped me along this journey of finding the team and the problems. More about them later.
Great, so now I have a team, an interesting idea/hypothesis, and have the time to become incredibly focused. Now, let’s get back to the first day of the start up.
What do I do now? What should I spend my time on? What is the first thing you work on when you start a start up?
For me the answer to these questions seems pretty straightforward. We do not have a product or an idea, we just have a hypothesis about what we believe is an unmet need in the world and we have to set up an incredibly awesome experiment that helps us figure out if our hypothesis is correct or not within the next three months.
Everything we do now needs to be completely focused on solving this problem of setting up an experiment, collecting some reliable data, figuring out what all the data means and finally coming to a conclusion about our hypothesis.
In simplest terms, we will be talking to a lot of our customers probably spending more than 50 hours a week doing that. Rest of the time we will be building out a very low fidelity product that just has interfaces for our customers and everything in between we will try to accomplish with humans in the loop. For a person who has been thinking about scale for the last three years, we will be doing something that absolutely does not scale.
In summary, Day One of the start up we are really focused on talking to our customers and collecting feedback about what a product might look like. Lastly, but most importantly, will they pay any money for the product if it existed?
Six Month Update:
About the startup
First, let me share about where we are how you can help. The startup is called Xpertly, and yes, you should try it out.
Why: Professional networking is painful (finding people, attending events, etc) but very important for your career.
What we do: We make meeting other interesting professionals easy for you. Sign up, tell us the kind of professionals you like meeting and how often, and let us do the hard work of finding people and sending you warm introductions. Our algorithms make sure you continue to meet high-caliber professionals.
How you can help
You can help in multiple ways (even if you are not a big fan of serendipitous networking)
- If this is something you are interested in, please visit the relevant link and sign up: (a) Startup/Business Networking (General), (b) UCLA Anderson Alumni Networking, (c ) USC Marshall Alumni Networking , or (d) California Attorney Networking.
- If you don’t feel like signing up, not a problem. Just take a look at the main site (http://xpertly.co) and provide feedback on (1) idea (2) design (3) suggestion on how we can improve and reach more people. (only ask is that you are direct and honest, my team and I have really thick skin). You can email me or leave a comment below.
- Help share our the startup with your friends by re-sharing this post.