Chapter 1: A brief history and the lightbulb moment
When I was a kid, there were always three very different things I wanted to be when I grew up: a lawyer, a TV advertiser, a pop-star.
Then, as I went through my teen years I grew a strong interest in the world of business to go along with my love of music. Not in a real social sense, I didn’t have any friends or family who were embedded with an entrepreneurial flair — at least not in relation to starting up a new business from scratch.
This was aside from my dad, who did admittedly supplement and then eventually surpass his day job salary by being a part time property developer and building his portfolio, something I really admired as I was lucky enough to experience the fruits of his labour.
But for me my interest in business came from TV. Say what you want about shows like Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice from misrepresenting the realities of business, I personally believe it’s a massive positive that business being represented through these formats have encouraged my generation to be more entrepreneurial in spirit than any other.
Whilst my interest in business grew, I found myself going through the traditional path of education to be a lawyer. But during my teen years I dropped the ball, and I became dangerously depressed in part because of the expectations I had on my shoulders from myself, my loved ones, and my extended network. Those years were damaging, not least because they ripped the rug of academia from under my feet and made my path to being a lawyer that much harder. Luckily, I managed to make it into university through a scholarship that was based on some tests and an interview with the dean and faculty staff.
Fast forward a few years, and I was suddenly a 3rd a year law student hurtling towards graduation without a clue what I’d end up doing. My academic history was OK but unexceptional, my work experience was uninteresting, my legal connections were non-existent, my prospects were pessimistic. To take my mind of this black hole I was travelling towards, I continued consuming those aforementioned TV shows like a junkie and naturally started brainstorming whether there was something else I could make money off after graduation to give me hope and avoid the pitfall of idleness.
For one idea, I thought maybe if I could find a way to buy a nice apartment in a beautiful location, I could rent it out a few hours at a time with a fully stocked kitchen to guys wanting to do something really different for a first date — so that they could cook a memorable “home made” meal. I thought a premium version of the service would be to have a really talented chef come in and cook the meal whilst teaching the lovebirds how to make something delicious.
I shelved that idea and many others over a period spanning several weeks, with reasons ranging from unsustainable business models to things that could potentially make money but I had no passion for.
But then I had the lightbulb moment. I hear people say that they have lightbulb moments when they’re either off their face or having a shower, and for me it was the latter.
One of my greatest passions was music, and during the course of this shower I was reflecting on my favourite artists from Youtube and wondering what the next tech innovation would be to change how it was consumed and result in new careers for fresh talent, and just like a dripping wet Buddha I reached my enlightenment.
I also was super excited to be able to listen to music and find new artists in a different way, and so I rushed to my computer to find a website using this tech to give me my fix. But alas, this website didn’t exist — and so, I started to imagine what it could look like if I built it…
Note: In future chapters, I’ll refer to this idea as Project C.