You’re just starting and everyone’s already started your start-up

Pres Nichols
Feb 16, 2016 · 3 min read

I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m that non-technical guy trying to convince technical guys of the wisdom of my ways. Sure — I can hold my own in a few basic web development tasks, but my energy would probably be better spent proofreading Medium posts than noobing out on CodeAcademy. The truth is that I started this project because I’m passionate about the end result — not because I know what I’m doing.

My soon-to-be-live site,, provides a forum for Brooklyn residents to exchange first-hand information about apartment buildings and landlords. It sounds like it exists, but it really doesn’t. I promise. Other sites provide a similar service on a national basis, but have failed miserably to adapt their models to function in a shady rental market like NYC’s.

“Thou shalt not judge a founder by his video-editing skills.”

Considering that people will share anything on social media these days (No, bro. Don’t Snapchat me your Rottweiler’s dookies), it’s stupid that you can’t just Google any address in the city and find user-generated content about it. I really want to change that.

My strategy for going about this is simple, but also novel enough to tip the scales in my favor. It’s not about creating demand — this is no moonshot. It’s about creating a product that’s capable of accommodating the glut of pre-existing demand.

It’s not about creating demand — this is no moonshot.

Up until now I’ve outsourced the bulk of the back-end tasks to a contract developer. I love this arrangement because I can do things exactly how I envisioned them from the start with minimal resistance.

Now that things are starting to come together, I’ve got to get serious about bringing someone on. As a non-technical student in a sea of computer engineers at NYU’s School of Engineering, this is easier said than done. I feel like I’ve heard it all:

Sure. I understand that someone wouldn’t want to invest their time and effort into building something they don’t think has a high chance of success. But in the same sense, it is starting to seem that some people in the “tech world” seem to forget that the rules are not set in stone … that disruption doesn’t come about by making negative assumptions.

Consumer behavior depends on a whole host of factors that simply cannot be summed up in one-liner tidbits of tried and true wisdom. I will not pay $12.99 a month for Tinder Premium (or whatever), but I will pay $4 a week for a NYT subscription so that I can read content that is written by actual professional writers.

Do I know it all? No way. Far from it. But if my dad’s success as an entrepreneur in the tumultuous 1980s taught me anything, it’s that you have to put your ass on the line if you want to be a creator. I’m hoping to find someone who agrees.

Interested? Send me a message. :)

They had a vision, too.

Pres Nichols

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