Little over 2 years ago an unexpected phone call from a Techcrunch reporter called Josh Constine disrupted my daily routine. He had just picked up a tip we submitted to TC about our Kickstarter Campaign for Pota-Toss, the first startup I was involved in. He loved the game, the video for the campaign and wrote an article called “Kickstart The Next Angry Birds: Pota-Toss, With Gorgeous GPS-Based Levels”.
I remember holding my head baffled as I read the article, I knew that just that comparison for Angry Birds was going to be huge for our game, but little did I know what it was going to mean for me. Even more than the Kickstarter Campaign itself, that article roundhouse kickstarted our startup and got us a spot on the entrepreneurship map.
Let me put things in perspective; when the article was published I was 23, Pota-Toss was only my first startup, I hadn’t finished college and was working as a tech support agent in a call canter in my home country of Costa Rica. Two years later I’m writing this from the couch of my apartment in Santiago, where I just moved to participate in Startup Chile with my new project, Slidebean, a super-easy presentation tool, sort of like an Instagram for your slides… (check it out at slidebean.com). In the course of two years I’ve lived in both Santiago and New York, traveled across Americas, spoken at a number of conferences including TNW and TEDx and I’ve been interviewed by CNN and Forbes.
It’s not all champagne bottles, of course. These milestones are the ones that keep you going, while the rest of your days probably mean bootstrapping your way through the week, working late and having no idea where you’re going to be next month. And this latter one is probably the single most important thing a person needs to change in his or her mindset to be able to become an entrepreneur.
Again let’s go back to the call center. I worked there since I was 17, therefore since I was young I got used to knowing how much money I was going to have by the end of the year and could easily plan on how to spend it. That is a luxury few entrepreneurs have and it’s critical for anyone planning to be an entrepreneur to realise that this is not going to be the case.
I remember in June 12’ I was living in NYC as part of the DreamIt Ventures accelerator and I was in the process of raising a seed round for Pota-Toss. I could hardy sleep at night, thinking about the fact that our cash reserves would only last till the end of the summer and that after that it was all over for us.
A combination of events made me wake up one morning and come to the simple realisation that I was living in fucking New York!!! First time in the big city, who knew when (and if) I’d have that chance again, and there I was just caring about where I was going to be 6 months later.
That day the future became irrelevant for me. All I care about now is making the most out of today, because most the time, today is all I have. Other entrepreneurs will probably know what that means and how critical it is to understand it. An entrepreneur can only be in an early-stage startup as long as he or she is able to live with this mindset; the moment you need to have a plan for your future is the moment you startup life is over.
And don’t get me wrong, we are all headed down that path. I expect that at some point in the next 10 years I’ll feel the need to settle down and have that stability that a startup cannot provide; but for now I’m enjoying what this chapter of my life is giving me.
Being part of a startup is like a roller coaster; and although there are plenty of tough days I can still go back to each one of the milestones we’ve reached and remember that exact feeling of ‘we’re gonna make it; this is going to be huge’.
Still, none of them means as much to me as that evening reading Josh’s review of Pota-Toss. Only a few hours after the article got posted we reached the goal on our Kickstarter Campaign, and I literally quit my job one week after that. It might not be here if Josh hadn’t published for us, and being reviewed in Techcrunch was certainly my first milestone as a entrepreneur, making me and my team believe that we were good enough to stand along the rest of the startups in the ecosystem. I haven’t had the chance to meet and thank Josh personally, and I would expect he’d say that I’m making a bigger deal out of it than what it really is.
Anyway you see it this was an important yellow brick on this road that I am walking. I don’t know or care where it’s going, but I sure am enjoying the journey.