I’m the Co-Founder of PubLoft

When I Was 13 I Decided That I Wanted to Be Psychic.

As long as I could remember, I’ve always loved movies starring a prodigious protagonist. Genius fascinates me to no ends. There’s just something about whimsical scripting, clever story writing, and an overall witty and intelligent main character that commands my attention.

I always wondered what it’d be like to be smart enough to be able to see the future. I’m not referring to a That’s-So-Raven-esque natural born anomaly. I’m thinking something akin to the way an Artificial Intelligence Bot can take large amounts of data, learn, and determine the best actions to take in order to reach a specific goal… but better.

Forget making decisions for the present. I wanted to be able to see the future. I made that my own secret little experiment. Can I train myself to recognize patterns well enough to see into the near future? I’ve always liked doing difficult things.

Fast-forward 6 years, my experiment has begun to reach its end.

What did I learn?

Steve Jobs was right.

Regardless how much I try to force my mind to reach out into the future and calculate the trajectory of my life, it’s proven to be damn-near impossible.

That’s why a vast majority of investments don’t bring back a return. That’s why insurance exists. It’s the same reason why I have no idea where I’ll be in 20 years.

Becoming a co-founder of PubLoft wasn’t much different. My friend Mat approached me a couple months ago telling me about his new startup and the basic dynamics behind it at that time (things are pretty different now).

PubLoft finds startups who need help with content production and people who are great at writing blog posts. Startups pay PubLoft money per post, PubLoft pays writers per post, and the rest goes to the company.

I had just started blogging at that time, and he recommended I apply to write for him.

Honestly, everything was pretty shaky during those super-early days of PubLoft, and I didn’t think much of it. I got paid $20+ to write a blog post. It paid more than writing English 102 essays so I really couldn’t complain. Plus, student loans aren’t cheap, and neither are late-night trips to Cane’s.

I was one of Mat’s writers for a little over a month. Since we were friends, we’d chat semi-regularly about startups and the Phoenix startup community.

Being an early solo-founder, Mat didn’t really have a specific person to help get the ball rolling and build PubLoft’s infrastructure. The idea was there, but the process and workflow wasn’t there yet. Sometimes he’d message me on Facebook and run some ideas by me or ask for my opinion on a couple things. Nothing serious at first.

Then Mat asked me to help him out and meet up with him at Galvanize around 10 PM one night so we could talk workflow. We worked until midnight and I stayed there till 1 AM to write a blog post and reflect on life for a minute.

After spending that night working with Mat, I knew I wanted to work with him. I wasn’t sure what that looked like, but I knew that PubLoft was something interesting, and Mat would be an awesome cofounder.

I was really interested in helping Mat because I believed in him as a founder. It’s hard to explain, but when I met Mat, I knew he had some form of his own “it” that made him noticeable and different from other founders.

I knew he worked hard, and I knew he understood startups the same way I did. Many people start startups but don’t grow startups. I felt his hustle. We also worked really well together.

From the middle of May to the middle of June we would chat more and more over Facebook. Mat would randomly vent to me about the life of a founder and we’d talk a lot about best practices, direction, etc. Unknowingly to both of us, I was gradually becoming a co-founder. I loved what I was doing.

At the time I expected to be his first employee, nothing much more. I received a couple job offers from other startups in Phoenix and I never thought I’d be running PubLoft with Mat.

Although a part of me thought that the other job offers would be an “amazing opportunity”, a mysterious magnet kept pulling me to PubLoft. Towards the end of June, Mat popped the question (romantically of course) and asked me to be his co-founder. I didn’t have to give it a second thought.

It’s only been a little over a week since I’ve been an official co-founder, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt this at-place in my entire life. Putting out fires, ideating, implementing, and iterating. The founder life.

I believe what we’re doing at PubLoft has the potential to become something really amazing. I’ve always sought out to use my skills to provide value to the world, and running PubLoft with Mat is where I’m starting.

I don’t plan on breaking down all the details of PubLoft in this post. PubLoft is a startup. There’s a lot of uncertainty. PubLoft could look really different in a month. It’ll be near unrecognizable in a couple years. I’ll explain PubLoft in detail sometime soon, but for now I think what matters most is our current mission.

Student debt shouldn’t exist.

As a student who’s taking out student loans, I understand what that’s like. Personally I don’t have it too bad, but I have friends who’ll be in debt $50,000 before they even buy their first car or house. It’s a flawed system. Our current goal is to end student debt. We’ll see where that takes us.

This doesn’t mean we’re exclusive to only hiring students or anything, but it’s one thing we believe shouldn’t exist anymore. Maybe PubLoft can make that happen. Maybe in the future we’ll focus on counteracting job shortages caused by the Artificial Intelligence revolution. Providing a million jobs would be ideal. 🙂

I’m excited to see what happens. Maybe PubLoft will die before 2017 ends. Maybe PubLoft will become the next unicorn. Maybe it’ll become a lifestyle business. Regardless of what happens, I’m just glad to make and watch it happen.

Unfortunately I didn’t gain the ability to see into the future during these past 6 years, but I did learn something: if you let life carry you sometimes, you’ll end up in places you never would’ve reached if you climbed towards it.

We’ll be applying to YC in a month. It’s my first time, Mat’s second. Hopefully we get in. I’ll keep you all posted.

Thanks for reading.

PLP

-Ethan

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