It all starts off with me leaving AOL looking for a change. Don’t get me wrong - AOL was a great place to work, but I really wanted to give the startup life a try. I mean, this is The Valley after all.
So the hunt began.
I spent several weeks going on interviews, meeting with people, and each time, I’d come home telling my wife things like…
Eh, I don’t know. They don’t have a business model.
They swore their product had no problems, even though I called out half a dozen…
Wow. I should have walked out of that interview - that guy pretty much spent the interview talking about his awesome career path.
After awhile, I started to think, “Wait. Is it me? Am I being too picky?”
Then early one morning, Mimmie and I are stopped at a red light and I go into emo mode.
For some reason, this weather reminds me of this one day I was playing catch with Dad.
After my 3 second emo timeout, we started laughing. At this point, I probably shared 1000 random memories with her, as a result of passing by some street sign.
Then it hit me… Why not build something that would let people talk about their fondest memories, with their close friends and family, or with the world? Why not build a platform where I can send my daughter letters, and have them be sent to her as a gift when she’s 18?
And so it began.
The moment we stepped into the bookstore, I was Paper53’ing my ideas. My mind started racing around what I could technically do myself, and what I’d probably need help with. Can I front the server costs? Damn it, I knew I should have prototyped more than an iOS calculator app!
A drip later, my sketches were complete ( don’t go stealing my things designers! )
I quickly realized how fun this was going to be, but I had some interviews lined up for the coming days, so I figured I’d finish that “round”, and then look at devoting time to “Memories”.
Friday comes around and I’m grabbing a bite at the Delessio, ready for an interview. In comes an email from a “Matthew Johnson” talking about how he’s a co-founder for some startup called ThisLife, and how he heard about me from Sol and Mimmie.
I casually type in thislife.com on my iPad and hit Go…
Holy Geeze! (keeping it PG) I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as I skimmed through their website.
They were not only building a cohesive product that was in the realm of Memories, but they were all about the design, too!
My wife calls me 10 minutes later saying that I should be expecting an email from Matt and I’m all like “Seriously!? Did you see what they’re building!? It’s in the direction of Memories!” ( no, seriously, I was just as excited as my excessive use of “!” makes it seem )
To be honest, I went to my interview after lunch, but spent half the time my interview time wondering if ThisLife’s app was as good as their website.
I go home, play with it, and I’m sold. I email Matt and he responds back immediately checking to see if I could meet him the next morning.
He wants to meet on a Saturday morning! This guy takes his business seriously! ( i like )
Long story longer, we met a couple of times, I was given an offer, and I joined as their first/only product manager.
I’ve been working at ThisLife for half a year now, and without starting my own company, I’ve gotten to work on a steroidal version of Memories. What was going to be a text based product with a couple of photos per Memory, is now a photo based product with the ability to add text. And instead of working by myself, I work with a small team of passionate people that are experts at what they do, and are a blast to be around.
If my story bored you, I’m sorry! I thought it was worth the write if only to be something Mimmie and I can laugh at in the future… and because my blog has become stale. (half joke)
Morals of the story:
- You don’t have to build awesomeness on your own.
- It pays to be patient.
- Be thankful to those that support you - thanks Mimmie and Sol!