New years bring new ideas and new desires. Last year, I felt I had dived into the startup world by creating the networking group London Startups. But, whilst spending Christmas with family in Malaysia, I read about Nick D’Aloisio – a 17 year-old who gained a million dollars investment for his startup, Summly (read my article about it on Huffington Post). Realising then that I knew depressingly little about startups and only knew of them, my resolution was/is to get behind the faces and figure it out: Who are these 17 year-olds having all the fun, and how are they doing it?
If you’re signed up to my newsletter, you’ll see I’ve begun asking startups and entrepreneurs for interviews. Already a dozen or so have come forward and I’m extremely grateful. To my surprise, they’re not all technology buffs like Nick, but a whole range of new companies and ideas: Bikini lines, pop-up camping, condoms, autographs… The nice thing is that they blend technology seamlessly within their companies. With no idea where this will go, the aim is really to discover the who, what, how and why of startups. It’s a journey that guides itself – people introduce me to others, and really, the story will be led by opportunity.
Through the interviews I’m discovering that the story may well have to be more than outsiders’ observations. Otherwise, it’d just be a series of interviews and that’d be a bit boring wouldn’t it? Somewhere along the line, I know I’ll have to get involved. And I am.
Ruby on Rails is a web application framework that I’ve committed to learning outside of work hours. You can follow my painstaking progress on Twitter (@tomchurch). I interviewed an incredible man called Ian, who realised after months of searching that sometimes you just won’t find a developer willing to build your idea for equity. So, despite having three kids and a full-time job, he taught himself Ruby on Rails and built the thing himself (you’ll soon learn what it was). That kind of determination and grit is what I’m looking for in the interviews – learning about the truth behind startups; it’s not all cosy ego-stroking.
The journey, the interviews, the lessons, the progress, will all be shared in the spirit of the internet world we live in. No, that doesn’t mean for free. It means truthfully. Communication Is The Key, the blog you’re reading now, was originally created with a how-to perspective in mind. That’s boring as hell to write, and more boring to read. How many times do you now see things like:
- 7 Steps to Social Media
- How to be amazing in no time at all
- Free everything: Simple tricks that work
I’m guilty of writing such headline diarrhoea - but no more! This blog is now fast, simple and honest. A second commitment to you and to myself is that I only have 20 minutes to write each post; Preventing over-contemplation and philosophical waffle that, let’s face it, is dry as a bone and not what you want to read when you’re short on time.
This is now set to move quite rapidly, so make sign up to the newsletter and learn when interviews become available.