Today it is exactly 365 days since the idea for Coinalytics came up at a Startup Weekend in Berlin, Germany. That day, I would have never imagined that a year later I would be departing from San Francisco International Airport after a 6 month roller-coaster ride, and this ride really is only getting started.
1. Take Action, Get Lucky
According to Google, luck is the “success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions”. That means it is your job to take the right actions in order to increase your chances for success.
An example: On February 3rd 2014 500 Startups announced that Sean Percival, former VP at MySpace would join as a Venture Partner and focus on recruiting Bitcoin startups.
After the first few weeks researching Bitcoin and evaluating Coinalytics as an idea, I decided to travel to the heart of technology startup culture and figure out what people think in Silicon Valley.
Long story short: The first day I got here I went to the Silicon Valley Bitcoin Meetup in Sunnyvale and met Sean Percival. Just 5 months later Coinalytics would present in front of over 200 investors at 500 Startups Demo Day.
If I had not stayed on top of the industry news I would not have recognized Sean that day. If I hadn’t decided to fly to San Francisco I could not have attended the Meetup. The chain goes on and on, but the point is: I was lucky that the dots connected in that way, but you can take actions to increase your chances for success.
2. It’s All About Relationships
I get asked a lot what the most valuable thing is I got from 500 Startups and the time I have been in the Bay Area. And the answer is simple: friends. It’s amazing how many smart people you can meet, that are incredibly smart, talented and inspiring.
With some of them you will only have a casual chat, but others you will meet on those rare occasions you go out and new friendships will emerge. And in the long-term that’s all that matters.
It is easy to get lost in the shiny startup world, where everyone is “crushing it”. The truth is running a startup is hard, and friends will be there to back you when something is going wrong.
This lesson comes to my mind every time I talk to somebody we are interviewing for joining the team or a potential investor. The emotional part of hiring someone or entering a business deal is at least as important as you product, idea or office.
3. Embrace the Pain
One of the hardest lessons to learn is that it is not always fun to run a startup. Things can go wrong — and they will. Elon Musk would say “Being an entrepreneur is like eating glass and staring into the abyss of death.”
The thing is, if you don’t like that, you might find yourself in a position you don’t want to be in or don’t enjoy.
I think being in the Bitcoin industry has helped me learn this lesson faster. With Coinalytics, we deal with very interesting startup challenges – like trying to explain what we do in this still-nascent yet promising future that Bitcoin presents.
Even though after every victory there’s a challenge right away, you should celebrate the small wins. That helps to keep the motivation high and makes tackling the next challenge easier.
The Journey Goes On…
I hope some of the insights will help you whatever challenge you are currently facing.
I’d like to thank my friends and family at home as well as all the amazing people I’ve met during this past year, and all their support and inspiration.
It has been a crazy ride and we are very excited about the future of our journey at Coinalytics.