I’m not the only one to suggest that you shouldn’t start a company simply because you want to start a company, but because you have an idea that solves a problem that you’re passionate about. Below is my story, that showcases how I’ve been experimenting and analyzing opportunities while being true to my passion.
Since my childhood, I’ve been both coordinating events and toying with technology. I remember in middle school, I was calling my friends’ parents to coordinate weekly movies for a group of ten or so friends. It was about the same time that I started programming simple, yet original games on my TI-89. At Claremont McKenna College, where I studied entrepreneurship and finance, I coordinated over a hundred events ranging from small weekly gatherings to large concerts and tournaments. During this time, I also taught himself photoshop, HTML, and CSS to design and develop a website (without using WordPress!) for my tee shirt company at Yeiyo.com.
Immediately after graduating from college, I taught himself PHP and MySQL to design and develop a website and CMS for an event listing website where users could search through hundreds of events and venues in Los Angeles by category, type and location. I hand-picked and wrote an original description for every event and venue listed on the website.
I wanted to provide my visitors with the ability to add their own events as well, but noticed that other websites that did this simply had too many events. Understanding that events are a venue for friends to get together, I designed a social planning tool, a user-submitted event listing and venue review website where information sharing was only shared amongst friends. I worked with a developer who used Google Apps to create the website. For six months, I tested the website with a user base of three hundred people. While the website worked well for those who used it, it lacked a simplicity, addictiveness, and a solid business model. Wanting to learn more, I closed down the website and spent a year gaining experience.
During this year, I did social media consulting for some of the largest bars and events in Los Angeles, you may have heard of Happy Ending Bar or the Beverly Hills Wine Festival. In the fall of 2011, I was a speaker at Social Media Week LA. For three months, I interned with Bullfrog & Baum, a PR agency for high-end chefs and restaurants. I became very involved in the start up scene, including winning MVP at Startup Weekend LA in October 2010. In the Spring of 2011, I participated in the LA Founder Institute with an idea that involved events and mobile commerce, but unhappy with the complexity of my business model, decided it wasn’t the time to continue and voluntarily left the program three months in.
A serendipitous meeting at a cafe in early 2011 lead to a start up consulting gig, where I provided weekly consulting for the CEO of Bungalux.com. I’ve since then consulted for start ups in new media technology, transportation, and snack foods. In the summer of 2011, I joined the Hub LA team as their events director for a few months as they geared up to launch their shared workspace for social entrepreneurs. During this time I worked closely with event companies and community organizers throughout Los Angeles and tested a vast number of technologies available for events.
It was only recently that I randomly had a breakthrough with my idea, and now I find myself with the burning desire to tackle this with all my might. I’m significantly more prepared than when I was two years ago. It makes sense to me that I would create a solution for events that leverages technology and marketing.