If many of you don’t know, I was involved in a website for online video sharing. This was my first time working on a serious start-up with highly motivated people. I was thinking about positives and negatives and wanted to touch on ways I thought affected our failure.
The initial idea was to provide a way to create on demand video for the internet. This would mean anybody in the world could put up an amount of money for any type of video they desired. For example, I will pay $3 for a video of someone drinking Coca-Cola. Then someone will record themself drinking Coke, post the video and receive the $3. Sounds like a great idea but what went wrong?
1- Flexibility and change: When you are working with extremely bright people, (1 child prodigy and 1 Phd) people have set opinions and are not super willing to change them. A few were very stuck on using a bit torrent client that users would have to download (15 mb) to upload/download the files. Meanwhile, sites like youtube.com launched after us and we could have easily gone into that space with identical technology months before them.
2- Engineers versus business people: I realized in this company there is a difference on user experience when you are designer compared to a marketer. I feel the marketers are closer to the needs of the users and understand the functionality needed more than a developer. This leads to marketers should help more in creating the design/functionality of the website.
Despite the negatives are team faced I DEFINITELY learned more in the months working than the year I spent at Intel.
1- Razor Sharp Focus: The team I worked with was very focused on getting the product to market and sacrificing all else. This was something I definitely needed to learn and practice on choosing 1 thing and devoting myself to making it succeed.
I can’t say I focused too well but being around focused people helped me to develop that skill.
2- Leader being a leader: Being around a leader who took charge and made decisions was a nice experience. The person in charge of our site did a great job making sure the project was coordinated and that we were all on the right direction. He made sure our development plans were on track, metrics were being tracked and being aware of potential problems
3- Super Smart Guys: Outside of Intel and specific people, I have never worked on a team project with such great minds. They had great thoughts about how to develop a project and were up to date on everything in technology.
This was my first taste of a real startup and I must say it is quite addicting. After this experience and now working at Facebook I don’t think I can work at a company over 200 people. I got a chance to make some friends for life, thanks Andrew, Will and Mark!