Starting a business: Let the games begin -
  • @undefined- Sep 1

    Starting a business: Let the games begin

    Re-visiting the idea of  “starting a business”

    Starting a business is everyone’s dream and it sure hell is mine. I’ve been wanting to have my own since 2 years ago but something always happen where I leave my projects in the back burner. They probably get toasty and I forget how I even built them in the first place. Since Fall of 2017, I’ve gone in a rampage mode of building product prototypes and showcasing it to to folks who I think might benefit from the product. During Spring of 2018 I had to be more practical about my choices and focus on my career as a Software Engineer to support my new family and any new bills coming along my way. Even though my career skyrocketed and I’m living more than comfortable, I’m ready to re-visit the idea of building my own product and seeing what I can come up with.

    The birth of Braum – [bra – hmm]

    As 2018 was beginning, I got hit hard with a lot of work. I had 2 part-time jobs and 1 client work. Now, right off the bat you might think that is a lot! And it is, but I’ve been programming for more than 7+ years now. I can handle the workload, not stress about it, and still have time to watch a couple movies.

    What was stressful was the managing all the work. Each company has their own task management system. Juggling multiple accounts and prioritizing is a whole another skill set that I do not posses. That’s why most companies have project managers, I’m just a lil itty bitty developer.

    Braum came into play when I needed to unify all my tasks into 1 screen. I’ve happen to built the prototype, but it only works for one task management system, Jira. I think I wrote about the task merger back in June.

    I’ll eat it later

    As work was winding down, I got hired to be a full-time software engineer at another company and was able to replace both of my part-time jobs. I personally didn’t need Braum anymore, so I left it in the back burner.

    Let the games begin

    The 2018 World Cup began and the entire world was watching. A friend I met at the gym, by the name of Ahmed, told me about his friend whose making a team for the longevity. Nostalgia ran through my mind. Without hesitation I said, “Yea, count me in!” As I met the team organizer (a friend of a friend)  he got the entire team psyched to build this brotherhood. So psyched that we’ve been practicing a month before the league has even started.

    During one of the practice sessions, Amir mentioned to the team, that him and another team manager were going to tally up player stats. Each position will have a stat score, and the stats will vary depending on the position. For example, if you’re a left striker, your stats might be total shots, shots on target, accuracy, etc.

    Right away I asked, “Hey Amir, where are you keeping this info?”

    Amir replied, “Oh, I was just planning on saving the data in an Google spreadsheet.”

    I than said, “Na muh dude, I’ll build a mobile app that let’s you insert data for each player and show some interactive charts.”

    Amir replied, “Yo that’s dope!”

    In that split second a few things went into my head:

    • Business
    • Opportunity
    • Will he pay?

    So I asked him, “Would you pay $15 per month?”

    Without thinking about it Amir said, “hell yea!”

    Idea validation completed

    Right then and there I got my idea validated and it was clear to me that I can build this product that will help him out and our team improve. So I got to building. I’m a big fan of the theory of building lean startups and this was by far the leanest way to start. I did not build anything, no code, and no landing page or insane marketing. All I did was ask a friend.

    Now some might say,

    “Talk is cheap, prove it!”

    And you’re right, talk is cheap until action has been taken but Amir has proven over the last couple weeks that he’s eager for the prototype to be finished. I’ve given him sneak peak access to strategically get him excited and see that it’s coming along, and because he’s my home boy.

    Accepted to rejected to accepted

    A month or two ago, Startup School made an announcement that it was doing a 10 week course again and I said,

    “Fuck it, what do I have to lose”

    And I filled out the application form with the intent of working on Braum as my startup. Now for those who don’t know Startup School is an startup online course from the famous Silicon Valley startup incubator, Y Combinator. About a week ago (from the time this article has been posted), I got an email from the team at Startup School saying

    Y Combinator Startup School acceptance email

    Y Combinator Startup School acceptance email

    To be honest, I was excited but not overly excited. I was more in shock that I got accepted out the 10’s of thousands of applications. I even told my fiance about the news. Two hours, later I see this email subject:

    “Apologies – Startup School Acceptance Error”

    I said out loud, “not surprised.”

    Startup School rejection apologies email

    Startup School rejection apologies email

    I told my fiance about the news and she was upset for me. The whole Hacker News community was tripping. 4 hours have past by and I get another buzz in my pocket. I see an email notification with the subject,

    “Startup School: All Applicants are Now Accepted”

    Hurray, I’m in! I probably sound more excited in this article than what I was in real life. Nonetheless, I’m in and I have access to the features, the network, and that’s an opportunity that I cannot let go to waste.

    What now

    So now I’m stuck, I applied with the idea of Braum and help the freelancers & part-timers of the world and I also have this soccer app idea that has been validated. I decided to run with the soccer app. I took a long look at the current state of freelancers & part-timers versus the growth of Soccer. I think the Soccer market is a much bigger pond at the moment, and it’s not one to slow down anytime soon. I really believe the freelancing market will grow bigger 5 years down the line.

    Week 1 of Startup School is coming to an end soon and I’ll make sure to keep you guys/ladies updated.