[TL;DR: I’m starting something awesome, go and sign up for our mailing list to be the first to find out about it]
On August 1st 2010, I was an Engineering Manager with Slide. On September 17th 2010, I am leaving my role as Member of Technical Staff at Google to co-found my own startup.
What a difference a month can make!
First, an important statement that I can’t emphasize enough: This is not a reaction to the Slide acquisition. No-one should attempt to spin this as “Rod didn’t want to work for Google, so quit.” If anything, the opportunities presented by being part of Google made the decision to leave considerably harder.
I’m leaving behind an incredible team who I know are going to kick 41 shades of ass, and I’ll be standing in the crowds cheering them all the way.
So two questions that need answering: 1) What are we going to build? and 2) Why now? Let’s answer the latter first.
For years, I’ve stated that my goal in life was to find someone with great ideas, then be their technical co-founder. I know my limits — I am not someone who can come up with blue-sky ideas out of thin air — but also my strengths — I can take someone else’s great concept and nitpick, tweak, enhance, argue and generally make it much more awesomer.
I’ve worked with Rishi for close to two years and we have a great working relationship. He’s the product guy, I’m the engineer-with-product-guy-tendencies. When we started chatting over coffee one day about ideas for potential startups, one in particular immediately clicked with me. I got excited and hand-wavey about ways it could expand; ways to shift the focus to make it more powerful to solve problems I know that my friends and I have faced.
Initially, I said I’d be happy to be an advisor to Rishi if he decided to work further on it. But as I described the idea to Joy one evening, she called my bluff. I kept saying things like “Our idea is…”, or “What we would do is…” She pointed out that I was more bought in than I was letting on to myself. So I emailed Rishi and said I was in.
So why now? Because we have a great idea, a killer team, and it’s so easy these days. Starting a web software firm is practically free — Between open-source software platforms, dirt-cheap virtual server “cloud” hosting, and a squillion online services that handle the tricky parts for $25/month, not to mention being in a city surrounded by entrepreneurial sorts who are happy to give advice, it’s almost harder not to start your own thing!
What are we going to build?
So we have an idea, a team, a company name, a two-month bootstrapping plan, and sheer damned determination; but what are we building?
At this point, I have to turn a tad coy in such a public venue since we’re still at an early stage, but the crux of it: Building online tools that make it easier for people to find things to do, find friends to do them with, and keep track of the memories after the fact.
Social software like Twitter and Facebook has made it vastly more easy to keep track of our friends online. We want to flip this on its head and use everyone’s newly-formed online connections to make it simpler to find things to do, in the real world. Y’know… “offline”.
Sounds intriguing, non? You’re left desperately wanting to know more details, oui? Then hop over post-haste to our exclusive limited-time friends-and-family mailing list signup page. That’ll be the first place we share our plans, thoughts, and prototypes, and just giving us your email address will be a hugely-appreciated show of support.
And if you want more details sooner, offer to buy me coffee or a beer. I’m a poor bootstrapping type now, and will excitedly bend the ear and pick the brain of anyone who offers me liquid refreshment.
So here I go, putting my money where my mouth is, jumping in feet first, dropping the english muffin into the start-up toaster and seeing if it pops up hot & buttered… Wish me luck!