A couple months ago my friend Jacob and I started kicking the tires on a couple of ideas for a startup.
We had been shopping one particular idea around town to see what people thought, and while the response was good, there were a couple nagging issues that we couldn’t get past. Having just read and watched everything Eric Ries had ever done, we decided that swimming upstream on this one wasn’t the approach we wanted to take. We were intent on listening to every bit of customer feedback possible to avoid wasting any unnecessary time and money.
At the time, I was living in Vancouver and Jacob was living in Portland, so we decided that if we were going to make something work, we should lock ourselves in the same room and figure out a couple important details. Could we work together? Did we even like each other? Having only really hung out a couple times it was a legitimate concern. So Jacob got on a train and headed north.
After four long, caffeine and alcohol infused days we emerged victorious. We had a great idea, a clear way of executing that idea, and we knew we were the ones to do it. Jacob had a great product design background and I got a real kick out of building and running the business. It was the best Monday we had had in a long time.
Armed with crazy enthusiasm, Jacob headed back to Portland to get to work.
That Thursday was Facebook’s big F8 event. I thought, what the hell? I’ll tune in and listen in the background. After listening to geek techno for about an hour the event kicked off. Mark on stage, making funnies with Andy Sandberg, swooping cameras, big screens and loud music…..it was better than the Oscars! Then came the big announcement. Timeline. Hmmmm, where have I seen that before? Ohhhhhh shit! It was the worst Wednesday we had had in a long time.
By now I am sure you have guessed that it was about as close to our idea as anything could have come. We were about a year too late.
So, we did what any self respecting entrepreneurs would have done. We wept a little. Then we nervously tried to tell ourselves that it would all be ok. But it wasn’t. We had nothing. We went back our wall filled with giant post it notes. Nothing.
For a brief moment we even considered “Instagram for Nurses. The easiest way for nurses to communicate with their patients that they have gangrene, through a series of photos - with a cool 70’s retro filters!” We were clearly losing our shit! At this point our wives were starting to get nervous.
We had a couple options:
- Pull ourselves together, dust ourselves off and start over.
- Call it a day.
And there was no way we were calling it a day!
So back to the drawing board we went. We had learned a lot through our original process so this time we had a whole bunch of stuff already worked out and a bunch of stuff we wanted to avoid. Namely, don’t work on an idea that Facebook is already working on.
After a couple days of coming up with nothing, we went back to basics. We asked ourselves the simple question: What do we wish didn’t suck? What do we think could be done better!
And that’s where we found our answer.
So today we are super proud to announce that we will be launching Skyscrpr in the coming weeks. At Skyscrpr, we have built a super easy to use interface that allows anyone with a website to run, evaluate and optimize the ads to make sure that they are getting the most out of their website.
Last thing: We have decided that we want to build this company in San Francisco, so we will be heading that way in the next few weeks. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Hit us up in the comments with any suggestions, tips or stories….we’re all ears!