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May 01, 2019 18:15:36

My first startup attempt

by @basilesamel PATRON | 369 words | 433🔥 | 484💌

Basile Samel

Current day streak: 433🔥
Total posts: 484💌
Total words: 222763 (891 pages 📄)

I was about to start an internship in Geneva when a friend of mine contacted me to join his team on a new exciting startup project: Justinien, a conversational bot aiming at easing the access to justice.

It was not my first entrepreneurial project, but this time it was the real deal: we wanted to reach and raise millions, our idea was too good to fail.

We made all the classic mistakes.

We were four co-founders, which was too many.

We didn't distribute the shares equally between each co-founder, which resulted in one co-founder feeling left out, not putting in the work, and ending up forced to leave the legal structure.

We did not communicate enough, all the work was done remotely but all of our organizational tools were under-used.

We weren't iterating fast enough. It took us six months to launch our first minimum-viable product, nine months to operate our first pivot, and another three months to make our first revenues.

Our marketing efforts were too sporadic: we would try out a channel for one or two weeks before giving up and jumping on the next one.

We weren't clear about our vision and our aspirations. My cofounders wanted to build a traditional startup based in Paris, with a building, VCs, and many employees. I was hungry for an international experience based on remote work.

The last months were hard, I was tired of working on this project. It really felt like "chewing glass while staring at the abyss". I tried doing new things to reignite the flame, so I opened a new indie business to try making my own things.

At some point we started generating revenues, about $1000 in two months of launch, customers were coming in, it was time to grow fast or die. I started writing 200 words every day in public on Twitter and Medium. We couldn't come to an agreement on how we wanted to develop the startup so we decided to dissolve the business after working on it for more than a year.

I needed to cheer up, so I joined Product Hunt's Makers Festival. 200 Words a Day was born. It took me eight failed products to launch one people were actually liking.

From Basile Samel's collection:

  • 1

    @basilesamel well done and it helps lots of others to start writing!

    Knight avatar Knight | May 03, 2019 21:56:03
  • 1

    @basilesamel for once, a rebound 'love' story that ended well and gave us all 200wad! Cheers to that! 🥂

    Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | May 02, 2019 22:48:55
  • 1

    @basilesamel At least glass doesn't have any carbs (I don't think). Great story about the journey, and I'm glad you didn't give up after 8 tries.

    Brandon Wilson avatar Brandon Wilson | May 01, 2019 11:27:50
    • 1

      @brandonwilson never! I'll keep going no matter what

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | May 01, 2019 20:43:13
  • 1

    @basilesamel - not liking. Loving!

    Brian Ball avatar Brian Ball | May 01, 2019 09:23:06
    • 1

      @brianball Haaaaaaa thank you, I hope so! :)

      Basile Samel avatar Basile Samel | May 01, 2019 18:29:46
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