I’ve been a total basket case lately. There wasn’t a single day that went by that I didn’t have the thought:
“What was I thinking? I can’t do this.”
…go through my head. But lucky for me (and Shwowp) the thought that would instantly follow that one was:
“I can DO this! WE can do this!”
On August 26, 2010, I applied for Shwowp to participate in the Startup Battlefield at TechCrunch Disrupt. I saw someone post the event to Facebook and my instant thought was, “I would love us to be launching there.” I thought it didn’t hurt to apply, so I did. I told Cassandra and Jerome that I applied and that we had a slim chance of getting in, but that we should start working towards launch on that day anyway.
To give you a sense of how crazy this move was, let me tell you where we were at almost exactly a month ago. We had no front end design and pretty much nil on the front end development. The back end was well on it’s way to being set up, but on a saner schedule, it was probably about 6-8 weeks out. Our core technology, which you will see on Tuesday if you tune in, was designed-ish, but not tested and definitely not implemented.
Basically, we were probably at around 20% towards a launch and, once again in a sane – but fast paced – schedule, we would be launching in about 3 months or so.
I asked my team to compress that to ONE MONTH.
I didn’t know this, but they’ve now told me they were having conversations when I wasn’t there asking one another, “Is she freakin’ nuts?”
I am. I have to agree with them.
But here we are. We are sitting in the audience of TechCrunch Disrupt, watching the proceedings. We are up tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm PT officially unveiling what we are doing with the world. I need to pinch myself. I’m excited and nervous all at once. We have a great demo, a great story and we believe strongly in what we are doing. It’s pretty awesome to be here.
I knew when I signed up with only a month to build, I was putting a huge amount of strain on the team. I didn’t know how we’d fare. I was concerned that we couldn’t manage it. We are a relatively new team. We’ve never worked together. Some of the members of the team, like William Hutter (designer in France), I *just* met. I’ve been part of stressful do-or-die startup launches before, but besides Cassandra, no one else in the team had the boiler room experience. When I mentioned long days, no sleep and high stress as being a necessary evil over the month, nobody looked like they were ready to sign up for such a task.
But they did. And wow. I’m blown away by this amazing (but small) team of fabulous people I work with. They pulled long hours. They went above and beyond taking this on. They made this dream their own. We worked like a real startup. Everyone was invested and committed. There were breakdowns, but when it was over, we’d pick ourselves up, exchange words of support (and sometimes hugs) and get right back on track.
I’m super proud of what we’ll be demo-ing tomorrow and launching in the next few weeks. I’m REALLY blown away that we are one of 25 startups presenting picked out of 1000+! And I feel super fortunate to work with Yanik (lead developer), William (designer/front end developer), Joy (Architect), Jerome (CTO & Co-founder) and Cassandra (COO & Co-founder). I could not think of a better, smarter, more talented, harder working group of people. Thank you for getting us here. :)