Murphy’s LAUNCH Law

Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

by Ryan Sheffer, Co-Founder Momunt

The past few months have been amazing for Team Momunt. We were accepted as one of seven companies in Jason Calacanis’ inaugural LAUNCH Incubator, and this past Monday we announced Momunt on stage at LAUNCH Festival. The whole experience has been surreal, grueling, and AMAZING.

Masha and I getting our first professional photo taken! Courtesy of @jobportraits

The week leading up to the event, Masha and I were eerily confident in our presentation. The product had been in beta for months, we were having little to no crashes across all users, Apple had cleared our second iteration of the app prior to even releasing it to the world, and we’d even baked an offline version of Momunt for our presentation.

LAUNCH Day

We got to LAUNCH smiling from ear to ear, spending the first few hours feeling truly confident about what we were about to do. I even told Masha that I thought the event was less scary than the weekly dose of Shark Tank we got during the Incubator.

This all changed around 1pm.

The app just stopped working. Out of nowhere. For the first time in months. A full crash. And we had no idea why. We were supposed to get on stage at 3:30pm.

T-Minus 2.5 hrs to LAUNCH

We were having such a hard time getting on the internet at the Fort Mason Center that we couldn’t even debug the issue. We Ubered to the nearest Peet’s Coffee by 1:30pm and we were scared. We even told Sonny Mayugba from Requested that we might not be able to present and he may need to inform everyone at LAUNCH since we were offsite. This was literally the worst thing we could imagine happening on the day we’d worked so hard for.

Masha writes the code, so I was of very little help to her. All I could do was pray while she checked issues with our server, and pray I did. I may have been pacing back and forth on Chestnut Street and asking for any help we could get from the powers that be, but I was completely confident in my partner.

Where we coded, prayed, and paced

T-Minus 1 hr to LAUNCH

It was an issue with SSL requests. By changing the demo version of the app to http, we were able to get it back up and working — but that didn’t help fix the app for everyone else in the audience. This simply meant we would be able to go on stage and present something.

Masha sat in the back seat while we Ubered back to Fort Mason Center, deep in server and app code trying to finalize a fix that would mean we could not only present but that once we did, the audience could use Momunt.

When we got back, Masha sat down outside of the main hall with a look of terrified determination.

The only image of Masha in “CRUSH THIS BUG” mode

I ran backstage hoping to catch Brice from LAUNCH and figure out when we were officially going on. It turned out we had until 4pm. This gave us an extra 30 minutes we hadn’t expected. The prayers continued, partially answered thus far.

T-Minus 15 minutes to LAUNCH

Masha fixed the error and ensured that Momunt would be ready to go when we walked on stage.

We both breathed sighs of relief and moved quickly to the backstage area. We were shaken, but not beaten.

With 15 minutes to go, we decided to do one last run through and make sure that all the connections were ready to go. We opened up Keynote to check out the presentation...and my computer kernel panicked.

My computer’s first crash ever.

My computer is two years old, used daily, and this was the first time it had ever hard crashed.

At this point, we’re being told we have to go on stage and the team needs our computers immediately. Well — we needed a couple more minutes. The sweat and stress were back in full force! We could hear Recurrency wrapping up their Q&A. We were NEXT!

T-Minus 1 minute

We turned the computer back on and luckily the issue disappeared. We handed everything over and took brisk steps to the side of the stage. Somehow…someway…we’d pulled everything back together in the last few hours.

LAUNCH

We got on stage…and, well, everything still went wrong.

Picture courtesy of the awesome russlevi.com

Phones disconnected, incorrect computer screens were shown, and Masha and I walked off stage stressed and, quite honestly, unsure of what had just happened. Masha called her husband in Saudi Arabia, who was watching via live stream, terrified she has ruined Momunt’s launch (no one thought this but her). We went to hide in the corner, but as we did, other incubator-mates came running back and told us that multiple judges had chosen our pitch as the best of the batch.

We couldn’t believe it. But we smiled and hugged, truly proud of each other for surviving in the face of Murphy’s LAUNCH Law.

Now on to the hard part — making Momunt happen in a truly big way. We’re so appreciative for the opportunity to LAUNCH on that big stage. Now we’re back to work making the app better and better.

For anyone who missed the presentation — below is a link to the video of the on-stage portion of this story.

Us presenting on stage at LAUNCH Festival

Need a great photographer. We were lucky that www.russlevi.com was there to capture the day. Many thanks to him!