A thought on entrepreneurship, startup updates, cool links, and pics from the last 3 months.
The first quarter of 2023 has gone by so ridiculously fast, I’m half in a state of shock each time I think about it. The other half of me is disappointed in myself for joining the legions of people talking about the insane evaporation of time. In the end, isn’t time elastic? Despite starting this newsletter exactly a year ago, it feels like I started it four years ago some days, and just a couple of months ago, others.
Looking back at the four newsletter posts from 2022, I noticed a pattern. My first year of building communities and startups felt a lot like being a surfer, riding waves.
To me, riding that wave from the trough to the crest, keeping my head down building, and then, launching, is what makes the process so rewarding. Creating something out of nothing that provides value, and then being socially validated via Twitter and Product Hunt, is as addictive as it is draining.
The part of this process that founders (including myself) don’t usually like to showcase is what happens post-launch day. We don’t often talk about what’s on the other side of that crest: the ride back down to the trough. This is the moment, where either by choice or necessity, you take downtime and reflect on the past weeks or months, not to mention, what’s next. Oftentimes during this period, there’s a sense of deflation, an ebbing of energy and it can feel as if you lose all the momentum you worked so hard to build.
Compounding this effect is that there aren’t as many people talking about this aspect of a cycle that most of us in the startup community can certainly relate to. That’s why the “build in public” trend resonates with so many people and why those one-sided 16-paragraph success stories on LinkedIn are so made fun of.
Of course it’s inspiring to see the people we root for, succeed. But whether we’re conscious of it or not, it can leave a sour taste in our mouths when we read post after post of people describing the view exclusively from the crest of the wave. As for the troughs, beginners don’t often get to see examples of how their heroes ride these too, normalizing the journey.
You’ll see why I’m writing about this in the next section 👇🏼
In February I met up with Dexter, my friend and mentor.
One of the many wise suggestions he’s given me over the past year has been to start logging all of my wins and all of my setbacks. Emphasis on setbacks. Keeping a record of these landmarks, large and small, not only helps when looking back for nostalgia’s sake but can be a huge asset in keeping you grounded going forward.
Introducing our latest project at Buildergroop 🥁🥁:
“Part of what's difficult when starting out so young building projects and products is how isolating it is: alone in your room, coding or designing or brainstorming. People outside of your rabbit hole don't understand what you're building or why; they don't see the vision. They don't see all the work going into it, all the progress (and setbacks). Changelog is a solution to this very problem. Users are given a beautiful, easily shareable profile that houses their socials, their progress map, project updates, wins and losses, and resources shared.
Friends, parents, cousins, random people online, can now get a crystal clear picture of all your hard work and what it's producing. Makes ya feel good, documents your progress over time, makes other people impressed with you.
What an awesome thing this is.” - me pitching Changelog to my mom
Changelog will start rolling out in the next month. It integrates directly with Buildergroop’s community forum, allowing people already posting their wins, setbacks, project showcases, and resources to have an automatically updated profile on Changelog. Huge shoutout to Neesh, my go-to dev at Buildergroop for helping build Changelog from the ground up. Neesh and I will kick things off in the community by sharing some of our most recent setbacks. We’ll work on a BuilderBook article on how to navigate “the trough” in the next few months.
In other news…
At TKS, I worked on my second challenge project of the year. My team and I chose to focus on a real problem faced by Switch Health, a Canadian healthcare startup. Our prompt was to pitch a new product that uses biomarkers at home so you can diagnose and manage your conditions to dramatically reduce healthcare costs. You can check out our deck here - we’re waiting to hear back on whether or not we made it into the finals (wish us luck 🤞🏼).
Oh & also - the first community I started when I was 15, hit 10 THOUSAND members! I feel so lucky for everyone who helped me build Photography Lounge into what it is today.
4.5k+ members (12.5% increase)
1.3M+ messages (30% increase)
Photography Lounge 📸
10.5k+ members (12.9% increase)
5M+ messages (16% increase)
300k+ images sent (11.5% increase)
Must-watch shows and movies 🎞️
Minari, Amazon Prime Video
You People, Netflix
Poker Face, Peacock
The Friendship Recession, YouTube
Top-notch links and resources 🔥
The Age of the App is Over, Keeping Tabs
Why I Love Fermi Problems, Niraj Pant
UX University without the Fees, Built For Mars
I spent the last 3 months living on the Connecticut coast. It has been freezing and humid (mmmm great combo), but beautiful nonetheless.
see you next quarter 👋🏼