In 2006, I had been self-employed for less than a year. I knew a decent amount about business and a whole lot about technology, but wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to do. I had been involved in a startup called “Pedestal Software” for the previous few years and it was sold to Altiris to the tune of $75 million in March of 2005. I thought it was something that I wanted to be part of again, but having spoken with other founders who’d received angel and venture capital investment, the politics of it all made me queasy. I wanted to build software. Not cater to people who’d never actually done it before.
Then along came game Paul Graham, a former software founder who was offering people a chance at building their own startup via Y Combinator. Initially, it seemed like a great deal for an entrepreneurial founder but as I read the fine print, I realized that Y Combinator was not designed for someone like me in mind. It spawned a blog post called “Startups for the Rest of Us” that has since gone viral twice.
My biggest problem with Y Combinator wasn’t so much that you had to move, give up part of your company, or that you had to be selected. It was the fact that they were offering a paltry $2,000/month for three months to build a product and for that “privilege”, they would charge you 6% of your company.
Umm… This is Massachusetts. My mortgage alone is more than that. And their expectation would be that I would move to Cambridge, rent a house, and build something reasonably good in 3 months that people would be willing to pay for. In addition to paying my mortgage of course. Again, I don’t have a problem with the timetable, but the money is a deal breaker. For someone like me who is married with kids, a mortgage and the sole breadwinner for the family couldn’t possibly make ends meet for three months to do that. My only hope would be to use personal savings to help bridge the gap and if I’m taking that kind of risk, why should I bother giving up part of my company to do it? Feel free to read what I wrote back then, as I’m not going to rehash it here.
A tiny bit more background…
About 9 months ago, I reconnected with Rob Walling, who runs a blog called Software by Rob. Together, the two of us have been building a community of developers as part of the Micropreneur Academy to help people who want to be self employed but don’t know where to start. We came to the realization that we wanted to take things a step further. We wanted to provide even more information to developers who were interested in building and launching their own products. Not everyone who comes to our site is going to join the community, but that’s no reason to deny them valuable information to help them on their way.
The Actual Announcement
So today, it is with great fanfare and gusto that Rob and I are launching our new podcast, named “Startups for the Rest of Us“. If you’re looking for practical advice from experienced entrepreneurs who have been in your shoes, then our podcast is the place to get it.
We will release a new episode every Tuesday. The first episode is live at the podcast website and you can listen to it in your browser or download the MP3. We’re also providing full written transcripts of each episode in the show notes.
Episodes will be concise and run 20-30 minutes so you can listen to them during a jog, a short commute or part of a lunch hour.
We think that this is something you’ll want to check out. We’ve never done a podcast before and the first couple of episodes are a little bit rough, but we get better at it pretty quickly. Tune in and subscribe using any of the links below. Enjoy!