Everyone else is having babies and I’m over here like, bugs…
Through an extended series of coincidences (to be explained in a later post, no doubt), in May of 2016 I ended up at a young entrepreneurs’ event called Start Up Weekend.
And, as the oft-told story now goes, a cute boy pitched the idea of eating bugs. He got up on that stage full of youthful balls and bluster and, with a million dollar smile, told a whole room full of people earnestly that he was going to save the world by convincing people to eat insects instead of factory-farmed meat.
I, like every sensible western woman I can imagine, thought he was completely insane. But as teams formed around the various ideas, I got talking to this crazy bug boy. And I thought: “Fuck it. It’s just a bit of fun for a weekend. Why not.”
After 54 sleepless hours of work and research, we pitched against 15 other teams, most of whom presented very practical mobile apps and web-based services. And then we walked in. Me and 6 boys and a box full of crickets. Like a bunch of chucklehead cowboys.
Suffice to say, we did not win Start Up Weekend…
But then the oddest things started happening. Everyone else went back to their “real” lives. For most, the weekend slowly faded into a happy, hazy memory. But the crazy bug boy and I just couldn’t let it go. We’d learned too much and come too far and were shocked to realise how many people really supported what we were doing. They wanted to buy our products. Because, actually, insects really might help save the planet and, believe it or not, they also taste really damn delicious.
3 weeks ago, I cashed in my very comfortable and unfulfilling full-time day job for a business which still costs me money. 1 week ago, our business baby Anteater won one of the most prestigious startup competitions in New Zealand. And this weekend, with the unexpected comfort of all that very hard-earned prize money cushioning our pockets, my now business partner, Peter, and I are going to South East Asia to chase tarantulas and scorpions in the Cambodian jungle with some of the most established entomophagists (insect-eaters) in the world.
This blog is the diary of a disruptive startup. It is designed to help me document the immeasurable lessons and experiences I am living in this entrepreneurial whirlwind. I also hope it might just help others who are thinking about starting businesses or changing careers to realise that it is bloody difficult but it really can be done.
My life is completely unrecognisable compared to the life I had 5 months ago. And it is absolutely full of possibility.