1K Blog Marathon: Day 16
So you have watched the “Pirates of the Silicon Valley”.
Then “The Man in the Machine”.
And “The Social Network”.
You thought to yourself, “I can start my own company in our garage too!”
But the problem is…
You don’t have a garage!
It Started with a Dream
During college, this is my dream. This is the dream of 5 young man, composing of 3 programmers, 1 hardware tech and 1 graphic designer. We wanted to start our own startup company.
Fast forward, 4 years after graduation, here we are: 2 working as programmer and 1 tech in the same company in Manila, 1 graphic designer-turned-Facebook ad specialist, and me, App Developer aspiring to be a blogger. We had so much to learn in our own fields.
But sometimes, this idea hits my mind: what if we started our company back then? What is the best recipe for success? And most of all, how can we start a startup?
The Word “Startup”
I first heard the word startup when I joined one startup training in my college. At the first round of topic, the speaker noticed my active participation. She asks couple of people in the seminar room, including me, with the question: “If you will be given 1 Million Pesos, what would you do to the money?”
I didn’t think, maybe because it’s in my brain already. Maybe because I’m thinking of it every night before I sleep. I spoke with confidence: “I want to go to Silicon Valley, meet Mark Zuckerberg (as if it was easy), learn from him (as if he will tell me the secret recipe of success), and go back to the Philippines to start my own company.
The crowd murmured. I can’t understand what they were saying. Then the speaker said: “We have a CEO in this room!” pointing at me. Yeah, I was flattered. I just smile and shout inside my brain “you got it man!”
I was inspired. I lead the team I’m on. I suggested ideas. I draw graphs in paper. The first topic revolves around the target market.
We had a target market model. A boy, his name is Juan. He is 10 years old. He is skinny, coming from a poor family, with no digital device owned, aside from a Television. He goes to school at 7 am and go home at 4 pm. He then watch television.
Our next model is Willy. A boy, 10 years old. He comes from a wealthy family and is fat. He loves junk foods, and loves to play mobile games. He goes to school at 7 am and go home at 4 pm.
With this 2 models, we created our proposed product: a public E-learning platform.
The plan is we will create series of learning materials. Mostly videos and software, and publish it publicly. We will partner with the local government, they will provide large LCD monitors in public places like parks and plazas, where we will show the learning materials. The target of this approach are the scattered children in the streets, so they will go in one place to learn.
It will have a timeslot viewing, wherein basic and practical videos will be shown during class hours and after class, subject videos will be shown.
It also offers subscription for “wealthy” parents. Just like a cable subscription, parents can choose subjects to be viewed in their television. This way, their child can learn school subjects parallel to the subjects taught in school.
I drafted our presentation in my laptop. I get vocabulary words from the teacher on our team. We come up with a name: Horizon E – Learning System. Then the time comes.
I went to the stage, with full confidence. I can see my team is cheering, and my adrenalin rushes.
I talked. I glance at the audience. I look at the judges. I tell stories. I present gracefully. Then a bell rang – I forgot the time limit! I was so confident I nailed it, but dreaded because I didn’t execute the last second well because I was halted by the bell. In short, I didn’t finish my presentation.
Our teacher told me – it’s okay, you still nail it ‘chan! Chan, that’s how they call me. Chan, short for Christian. Other team members congratulate me for a job well done, and a sure win for this presentation. We watched as other team presents. Then the moment of truth comes…
Everyone is clapping.
The crowds are cheering.
We hugged each other.
We take pictures before going home.
We exchanged contact numbers for future business matters.
We thank the event organizers and the speakers.
But we lost the game.
Not even 2nd place. Not even 3rd place. We didn’t get any award.
You know, it happens. But I still thank the organizers. I still thank my teammates. And mostly, I thank myself, because I lose the game, but I win the learning. I learned many things.
What I learned
Its cliché to say that I learn from my mistake. That I should have shorten my presentation. That I should have think of a better idea. Or that I should have include my teammates in conceiving the idea. That I should not do it all. But still, the best lesson I learned in that room is that I should start a startup.
A startup is a small team, mostly composed of students, building better solutions to a problem, with minimal capital and fuelled by coffee.
It has to be a team, with a common idea, creating a product, and solving real world problems. Most startups didn’t really launch as a full blown business. Others were kick started when funded by investors – demon or angel investors (pun intended).
I learned many strategy in building a startup.
The problem is, I didn’t start my startup.
I hope someday, I will.
Someday, I can.
But for now, this is my 16th blog post. I still have 984 days in my 1K Blog Marathon. Hopefully, at the end of the line, I can launch my chopper to the moon. I’m just a Curbside Coder with a Cheese in my burger and I’m waiting for my chopper to come.
“And that’s one blog, stay hungry!”
“I knew that if I failed I wouldn’t regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying.”–Jeff Bezos