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The Oversharing Geek

The Oversharing Geek - 0001 - An Introduction

/ 7 min read

A week ago I started my journey towards creating my own tech startup. I’m scared, but also excited as hell, and I’d love to share this experience with all of you.

Introducing myself, kinda

I’ve been working as a software engineer for around 12 years, mostly on web backend development, and for around this same amount of time I also wanted to create my own company… but somehow I never made the leap.

To be frank, it’s not that I haven’t tried before today. None of my previous efforts resulted in the creation of a company because I made so many mistakes that I killed those projects even before they were born 🫣.

My biggest problem (and the main source of most of my mistakes) has always been the explosive combination of my lack of focus and impulsive behaviour. Yes, you guessed it right, I suffer from ADHD… but I didn’t know it back then, I was diagnosed when I was 34 years old. I’m 35.

As an example of what this entails: By the time I’m writing this line it’s already been 5 days since I started writing this post, and I already pivoted 4 times on my business idea. It’s a tough spot to be in.12

Ok, enough with the excuses. This time I’m starting from a much better position: I have more knowledge and experience, I enjoy greater financial security, and I’m finally aware about my greatest weakness.

You can learn more about me by visiting my personal page.

What is this newsletter about

This newsletter will be, above all, an effort to describe my journey as objectively as possible, without disregarding my subjective perceptions and opinions.

A good way to think about what I’ll be doing here is to understand it as a study or experiment pre-registration.

Post-hoc explanations are prone to hindsight bias, and they offer little help to understand the chain of events and decisions that lead to an outcome; a lot of information is lost along the way. I want to avoid that.

So, to summarise, I’ll try to write at least once per week, telling you about:

  • My forecasts, predictions and plans
  • What I’ve been working on during the previous week
  • Once I have relevant numbers and statistics I’ll be posting that as well

What this newsletter is NOT about

  • It is not my intention to write neither inspirational or motivational content. I understand that you might like that stuff, but I don’t.
  • I don’t want to give you any lessons about how to do things, or what to do, or what you should avoid doing. Given all my dysfunctions, it’s almost a miracle that I have a roof to live under, I’m in no position to give you any advice.
  • Although I’ll inevitably make mistakes and I’ll try to be open about them, I’m not here to write cautionary tales. These are funny to write and read, but writing them usually imposes a significant amount of risk on the authors if they do it under their real name.
  • While I love to talk about deeply technical topics, I won’t be doing that here. I already have my CoderSpirit blog for that.

This Past Week

The Start Point

I’m starting this project as a solo entrepreneur. I wish I had more people working alongside me, but being an introvert as I am, it is difficult for me to find someone who has enough time, energy, economic resources, and the necessary skills to engage in the creation of a tech company; let alone being compatible personality-wise.

Working alone gives you a lot of freedom and flexibility (which is really cool), but it also forces you to work on stuff that you don’t know enough about, and to spread thin across too many fronts. It is also too easy to forget taking time for yourself and to fall into self-inflicted burnout.

Having said that, I intend to incorporate more people to the project as soon as I can 🤞🏻, whether it is as “late” co-founders or as employees.

The Initial Funding

When it comes to the initial funding, a back of the envelope calculation tells me that this project can survive for around 16 months with my own resources and zero revenue.

I suspect that as soon I start refining my finance plans, this number will go down towards 12 months (but I’m not there yet, I’ll have the numbers soon).

Of course, it is naive to consider that this is the amount of time that I have to present something of value to the world. I should be generating some revenue by the 8th month (April of 2024), ideally much earlier than that.

Regarding incorporating external investors, I’m not opposed to the idea, but I’d prefer to grow organically.

The Ideas Battle: A Local-First Apps Studio

Now that we already set the stage (working alone, small initial funding, organic growth preferred over external investment steroids), you can see that I’m operating under a heavy set of constraints. We can revisit them at another time, but let’s skip ahead for now.

I’ll also spare you from reading about all the other discarded ideas, as this first newsletter issue is already long enough (maybe some other day).

After going through dozens of ideas, I decided to settle down with a small company focused on creating “local-first” applications. I know, this is not saying much, as it still leaves a lot of freedom to chose what are going to be those apps.

For the most part, local-first applications fit into two main categories: productivity apps, and apps for creatives. In both cases, we are talking about a highly competitive market (with apps that are cheap & high quality at the same time).

The local-first differentiation factor might not be enough to capture the attention of potential customers. We need to introduce an extra pinch of innovation.

This highly competitive environment (combined with my small amount of resources) is why I’ll have to wait a little bit before disclosing what I’m working on.

I know, I know, the idea means nothing, what counts is execution. Just to be clear, I’m not trying to be secretive. I’ve had lengthy discussions with other professionals about all the intricacies of what my project entails; but given that I’m a solo developer with the ADHD handicap, it would be very easy for people with more resources to beat me at my own game if I disclosed too much and too early.

Yeah, I won’t gain the trust of external investors by telling them that 🤷🏻‍♂️.

The Plan

As I was saying some lines above, the idea is not everything. Execution is key, and good plans are an essential ingredient for effective execution.

Business Model Canvas

Well, what can I say. I still didn’t finish writing my business plan. I’m on it.

As you can see, I already have a nice Business Model Canvas, and a Lean Canvas. Besides this, I’m also quite satisfied with the executive summary, and the marketing plan. What I haven’t done yet, though, is the market study and the financial plan.

I have to admit that (at first) I was a bit surprised that I still didn’t managed to close those tasks… But being fair to myself, there is a lot of overhead that I was not considering before I started.

The Overhead

As I was saying, there is a lot of overhead in trying to create a business. I’m sure that people who already created companies can skip some of it by reusing past work and relying on experience, but I’m not there yet.

These are the sources of overhead I had:

  • Learning about the local, regional and state-level entrepreneurial ecosystems (networking, incubators, accelerators, grants, funding sources…).
  • Learning about the regional laws, rules and procedures to legally constitute a company.
  • Choosing tools and setting up a clean & distraction-free work environment.
  • Analysing, tweaking, and discarding dozens of ideas.
  • Looking for good names (for the company, and for the first product).

Final Remarks

If you reached this point, thank you for reading me! 🙏🏼 I acknowledge that I tend to write excessively dense texts. I promise I’ll try to improve as I publish new issues.

I left many interesting things untold, but I hope that I’ll be able to talk about more interesting aspects of my endeavour in my next posts.

See you soon! 🖖🏼


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