Pioneer Community Discussion – Early startup stories?
Shared by jackson · 30d ago · 18 comments

We are a tight community of founders, most of us in our earliest days. Validating a product, gathering a team, maybe a bit of seed funding.

These are often thought of as the most exciting, challenging and unpredictable days in the lifetime of a company. I'd love to read any interesting stories you've gathered from your earliest days.

Could be anything. Think Amazon and its wooden door desks to Gates selling BASIC without anything built.

manojranaweera · 8d ago

Not sure I will ever build a large company. But I have been trying to build tech companies since 2004 with two Exits and many failures. This time around, I am taking a completely different approach of going for a 10 to 20 year plan which includes building a number of pieces (right now, a community and three products). I often wish I wrote everything I did down. Not really to brag, but to look back and remember.

jackson · 8d ago

2 exits! You must have some good stories. :)

danielgetman · 30d ago

Going through TSA with kilos of white powder, pink powder, and thousands of silver packets when visiting home is always exciting. IDK what is worse the thought of how I'd explain myself or the thought of losing $1k worth of product that I spent weeks making by hand.

zachwadzinski · 27d ago

this is funny af

Sal · 30d ago

Oh wow haha. This is incredible. Didn't immediately know what you were were working, so hilarious first impression.

danielgetman · 30d ago

I was actually on product hunt yesteday so I'll let that do the explaining XD

https://www.producthunt.com/posts/wozi

But yeah idk how to explain "It makes food taste better but I swear it is not a narcotic"

andrew-miit.co · 27d ago

Congrats on hitting #2 product of the day. Awesome job my man!

danielgetman · 26d ago

Thanks!

sole-fields · 28d ago

Not my story per se, but a great one nonetheless.

Great Airtable story: https://usefyi.com/airtable-history/.

david-honeycoin.app · 30d ago

First time I had to pay taxes for my Delaware Co, I procrastinated until the last minute. Panic-hired a legal company for $500 on *the filing day*, ended up paying them myself with a little help from Google & Twitter. In total, lost $950 for being a procrastinator. Luckily the folks at the legal consultancy were kind enough to refund. Learnt my lesson!

zachwadzinski · 27d ago

We went down to Florida to give a demo of our drone boat product for a city customer and needless to say it was a disaster. The Remora was designed to clean waste from waterways (https://remorarobotics.com). We spoke to some city officials over the phone and they told us they had trash issues. So we get down there and are speaking to the city officials again and they tell us that they have trash covered- they point us to this gigantic piece of machinery that can eat anything, weeds, trash, whatever. So this was about to be a pointless trip. I pivot my sales pitch while we are standing there next to the waterway and I notice they had a lot of surface weeds. I asked them how big an issue it was and they said very. I turn the drone on and basically target it to eat these weeds and next thing I know the drone captures them yay but sucks half of them up into its thrusters before crapping out :'-). Thus our presentation went up in flames but we learned a lot about redundancy with our product as well as validating and making sure the buyer actually really NEEDS the product BADLY. Qualify your leads before you pursue them with more vigor.

kendsouza · 25d ago

Wow! That is a amazing product u have there. I am sure you will find a product market fit in many other niche areas. I was just looking at my backyard today and all the weeds that pop up in the spring. I do not put any weed killers or fertilizers on my grass. I was thinking it would be nice to have some kind of drone which I can control with a remote and pick those weeds. If you build something like that, let me know. I will be your first buyer:)

jerico · 28d ago

Suhail's most recent thread seems relevant!

https://twitter.com/Suhail/status/1382351985584721926

ptmn · 30d ago

I send a text to someone "Hey, I come to visit you!". She invites me to visit her workplace. I go there, see people and finally end up in an office of CIO. No plan ahead.

AndyDent-Touchgram · 30d ago

That's the classic always have an elevator pitch ready which I learned the hard way, very early in my startup, had about 15 seconds on a stairway with Bill Tai, the KiteVC. Blew it.

ptmn · 30d ago

I also blow several opportunities with celebs, VCs and top executives. Just get one right without knowing that. It's all about serendipity.

AndyDent-Touchgram · 27d ago

I only just remembered one from 2000 - I was working at a local startup on realtime 3D stereoscopic movies. I wrote most of the tech used to play them in Apple's QuickTime movie platform, decoding the depth track along with a standard movie and rendering it as 3D for different outputs of the time (mostly either LCD shutter glasses or the classic cardboard-framed different colour lensed glasses).

We were attending Apple's WorldWide Developer Conference down in San Jose (this was the era where it was easy to get tickets) and got an invite out to a meeting at Apple HQ. I'd already spoken to a few people from the QuickTime team - they were fairly surprised by how well our tech worked & that it did so using only public APIs, no hacks or reverse-engineering.

My boss and I went there expecting to meet a bunch of people for tech discussions. Instead, he found himself talking to management about 4 levels higher than the expected group. Utterly unprepared.

Mind you, he must have done something right because 5 years later he joined Apple and has risen steadily now an "Engineering Director" there!

ptmn · 27d ago

That's great. This just reminds me of an anecdote happens in a AI conference in 2018.

I was standing at Disney Research Booth and trying to collect a hat. Someone approached me from behind and asked whether if I wanted another. I said why not (I need more cloths to survive minus two digits temperature) Then, he walked me to the booth just opposite to Disney's. It was Apple. The hat was hidden in a secret cabin in a pristine clean design of an area.

I also tried to ask if I could visit the new HQ of a company. (Only try to have a free lunch plus a museum visit) It did not succeed, probably because it was in Canada. Anyway, soon quickly that I moved to the Bay and made a free-lunch-trip to most companies there, but still wondering how it would taste and feel like in Apple's kitchen :)