Richard White
Founder, CEO
An Entrepreneurship Tale
Richard White
Founder, CEO
An Entrepreneurship Tale
If I Can Do It You Can Do It
Limited Life Experience
+
Overgeneralization
=
Advice
Paul Bucheit
Creator of Gmail, Co-founder of FriendFeed
my story
Market leading customer feedback & support solution
21 strong in San Francisco & Raleigh
90,000+ organizations have used u...
Had graduated from State school
Toiling as a developer at a local dev shop
Had never even visited Silicon Valley
Writing J...
3,000 miles
3 failed startups
Too many failed investor pitches to count
2 ex-cofounders
1 ex-girlfriend
2 months of homele...
the start
ACT I
I see you’ve built a
calendar. Cool!
It has a lot of functionality.
But it’s really ugly and
hard to use.
I’ll fix that fo...
Oh, Shit!
4 ideas
ACT II
AjaxScaffold
Open Source Project
Simple Record UI
One line of Code
36K Downloads
725K Visitors
AjaxScaffold
Open Source
Simple Record UI
One line of Code
36K Downloads
725K Visitors
The Team
AjaxScaffold
SlimTimer
Time tracking for freelancers
AjaxScaffold
SlimTimer
Time track for freelancers
I really hate timesheets
AjaxScaffold
SlimTimer
???
AjaxScaffold
SlimTimer
???
UserVoice
Prototype
6 weeks - December 2007
Prototype
December 2007
Initial Test
1 week - December 2007
Prototype
December 2007
Initial Test
December 2007
Angel Funding
$35K - February 2008
Prototype
December 2007
Initial Test
December 2007
Fool Funding
$35K - February 2008
Prototype
December 2007
Initial Test
December 2007
Fool Funding
February 2008
Launch
April 2008
Oh, Shit!
the mistress
ACT III
Stealth Startup
Stealth Startup
Amazing Team
Stealth Startup
Amazing Team
Raised $1MM
Stealth Startup
Amazing Team
Raised $1MM
Stealth Startup
Amazing Team
Raised $1MM
Starstruck
picture of Ron Conway / Mitch Kapor
Yes We Can
ACT IV
Cofounder Quits
Cofounder Quits
Girlfriend Too
Cofounder Quits
Girlfriend Too
Kinda Homeless
Cofounder Quits
Girlfriend Too
Homeless
Cofounder Quits
Girlfriend Too
Homeless
Market Not So
Great
Cofounder Quits
Girlfriend Too
Homeless
Market Blows
Ahhhhh!!
ACT V
I <3 Dad
I <3 Dad
Relocation
I <3 Dad
Relocation
Three’s
Company
I <3 Dad
Relocation
Three’s
Company
Momentum
0
0
0
0
0
April May June July August September October November
Accounts - 20...
I <3 Dad
Relocation
Three’s
Company
Momentum
April May June July August September October November
Accounts - 2008
Breakthrough! Funded!
$800K Seed Round - May 2009 - uservoice.com/blog/founders
the (re)start
ACT VI
Hiring Sucks
Founder Drama
We’re Spending
What?!?
Now What?
lessons
Beware of people with all the answers
To a first-time entreprenuer everyone seems to have more experience
than you but tha...
Start learning to go with your gut
Most successful people I know have never been afraid of making
decisions about things t...
Don't expect anyone to answer the hard
questions for you
No MBA or expert advisor is going to drop of the sky and answer
t...
Be sure to check what domains you already
own
I’m a dumb ass.
Market then Team then Product
You’re a creator so your tendency will be to rush into building
something. Don’t **.
** but ...
Be sure you love the
problem you’re solving
My test: Am I helping people have
more time to waste or wasting more of
people...
Passionate people can
love all sorts of
problems
More important than what you already
love is finding new problems, even u...
When it comes to investors
often no data is better than
some data
Easier to craft a big story and not get bogged
down with...
Getting funded is a lot like losing your
virginity
Except the TechCrunch article. Don’t get caught up with who’s
(funding)...
Be sure to have a sense of urgency.
Create one if necessary. Getting outside investment, of any kind, keeps
you “honest” a...
Don’t be so fucking
clever
In your product and in how you setup
your company. Cleverness is the
enemy of maintainability.
Be a joiner not a loner.
Going it alone is HARD. Check your ego and your “great” idea and find
a good group of people to w...
Richard
White
@rrwhite
richard@uservoice.com
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way
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An entrepreneurship tale - From lowly dev to funded founder and the missteps and lessons along the way

  1. 1. Richard White Founder, CEO An Entrepreneurship Tale
  2. 2. Richard White Founder, CEO An Entrepreneurship Tale If I Can Do It You Can Do It
  3. 3. Limited Life Experience + Overgeneralization = Advice Paul Bucheit Creator of Gmail, Co-founder of FriendFeed
  4. 4. my story
  5. 5. Market leading customer feedback & support solution 21 strong in San Francisco & Raleigh 90,000+ organizations have used us $2M+ raised over 2 funding rounds Tens of millions of registered users 182 people/sec see our product Learning stuff. Having fun.
  6. 6. Had graduated from State school Toiling as a developer at a local dev shop Had never even visited Silicon Valley Writing Java... ... to generate reports ... ... for companies that inspect urinals Meh. in 2005
  7. 7. 3,000 miles 3 failed startups Too many failed investor pitches to count 2 ex-cofounders 1 ex-girlfriend 2 months of homelessness A lot of good stories in between...
  8. 8. the start ACT I
  9. 9. I see you’ve built a calendar. Cool! It has a lot of functionality. But it’s really ugly and hard to use. I’ll fix that for you
  10. 10. Oh, Shit!
  11. 11. 4 ideas ACT II
  12. 12. AjaxScaffold Open Source Project Simple Record UI One line of Code 36K Downloads 725K Visitors
  13. 13. AjaxScaffold Open Source Simple Record UI One line of Code 36K Downloads 725K Visitors The Team
  14. 14. AjaxScaffold SlimTimer Time tracking for freelancers
  15. 15. AjaxScaffold SlimTimer Time track for freelancers I really hate timesheets
  16. 16. AjaxScaffold SlimTimer ???
  17. 17. AjaxScaffold SlimTimer ??? UserVoice
  18. 18. Prototype 6 weeks - December 2007
  19. 19. Prototype December 2007 Initial Test 1 week - December 2007
  20. 20. Prototype December 2007 Initial Test December 2007 Angel Funding $35K - February 2008
  21. 21. Prototype December 2007 Initial Test December 2007 Fool Funding $35K - February 2008
  22. 22. Prototype December 2007 Initial Test December 2007 Fool Funding February 2008 Launch April 2008
  23. 23. Oh, Shit!
  24. 24. the mistress ACT III
  25. 25. Stealth Startup
  26. 26. Stealth Startup Amazing Team
  27. 27. Stealth Startup Amazing Team Raised $1MM
  28. 28. Stealth Startup Amazing Team Raised $1MM
  29. 29. Stealth Startup Amazing Team Raised $1MM Starstruck
  30. 30. picture of Ron Conway / Mitch Kapor
  31. 31. Yes We Can ACT IV
  32. 32. Cofounder Quits
  33. 33. Cofounder Quits Girlfriend Too
  34. 34. Cofounder Quits Girlfriend Too Kinda Homeless
  35. 35. Cofounder Quits Girlfriend Too Homeless
  36. 36. Cofounder Quits Girlfriend Too Homeless Market Not So Great
  37. 37. Cofounder Quits Girlfriend Too Homeless Market Blows
  38. 38. Ahhhhh!! ACT V
  39. 39. I <3 Dad
  40. 40. I <3 Dad Relocation
  41. 41. I <3 Dad Relocation Three’s Company
  42. 42. I <3 Dad Relocation Three’s Company Momentum 0 0 0 0 0 April May June July August September October November Accounts - 2008
  43. 43. I <3 Dad Relocation Three’s Company Momentum April May June July August September October November Accounts - 2008
  44. 44. Breakthrough! Funded! $800K Seed Round - May 2009 - uservoice.com/blog/founders
  45. 45. the (re)start ACT VI
  46. 46. Hiring Sucks Founder Drama We’re Spending What?!? Now What?
  47. 47. lessons
  48. 48. Beware of people with all the answers To a first-time entreprenuer everyone seems to have more experience than you but that doesn’t mean you should listen to them.
  49. 49. Start learning to go with your gut Most successful people I know have never been afraid of making decisions about things they had absolutely no prior experience to prepare them for :)
  50. 50. Don't expect anyone to answer the hard questions for you No MBA or expert advisor is going to drop of the sky and answer that difficult business model question for you. Make a decision. Build on it. Don’t wait for a white knight.
  51. 51. Be sure to check what domains you already own I’m a dumb ass.
  52. 52. Market then Team then Product You’re a creator so your tendency will be to rush into building something. Don’t **. ** but don’t write a 30 page business plan either
  53. 53. Be sure you love the problem you’re solving My test: Am I helping people have more time to waste or wasting more of people’s time? YMMV
  54. 54. Passionate people can love all sorts of problems More important than what you already love is finding new problems, even un- sexy problems like customer service, that you can pour yourself into.
  55. 55. When it comes to investors often no data is better than some data Easier to craft a big story and not get bogged down with projections
  56. 56. Getting funded is a lot like losing your virginity Except the TechCrunch article. Don’t get caught up with who’s (funding) whom. You’ll get yours.
  57. 57. Be sure to have a sense of urgency. Create one if necessary. Getting outside investment, of any kind, keeps you “honest” and ensures you’ll take it things seriously.
  58. 58. Don’t be so fucking clever In your product and in how you setup your company. Cleverness is the enemy of maintainability.
  59. 59. Be a joiner not a loner. Going it alone is HARD. Check your ego and your “great” idea and find a good group of people to work with.
  60. 60. Richard White @rrwhite richard@uservoice.com

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