Human beings learn from experiences and not from listening. It took me a journey to understand what a Venture Capital CEO at the SV Links event said: «When you design your product, first make it out of cardboard to check if it flies.» Here I share the start & stumbling of a Startup: KarmaPoint.
Road Epiphany: What happens when you share your idea with the right person?
A while ago, stuck in traffic with a beautiful girl (lucky for me, now my wife), trying to impress her, I told her about my experience in Silicon Valley; and talked about the use of technology to help us to be better human beings we came up with the idea for our startup KarmaPoint. We believed we invented a unique rocket, capable of going around the moon throwing rainbows: A system to reward people for their good deeds with digital tokens giving them a reputation for it.
Convinced that it was a unique idea, I worked on it with secrecy; a few knew about the concept, I even used a fake name of the app to quote the software development. The wrong concept is that someone can steal our idea; when it is the opposite, sharing with the right person can improve your idea, find the team to collaborate with, o even an investor.
There are millions of Ideas; only the ones executed are the winners.
As I was working on designing our amazing idea to change the world, a friend showed me a website. «Doesn’t it look like your idea?» said. Indeed It was a similar company, without Blockchain features, but with hundreds of clients. A rocket that was already flying. Also means there is a market for it. I felt overwhelmed and upset, but we had work to do.
Taking a deep dive into the market, I found a similar App. This time with a digital currency. My first thought was, “That’s all; let’s burn our rocket.” But then I realized that there was a lot to learn. They had the money to build it, but unfortunately, they couldn’t fly it.
Find your singularity among the rest of the rockets and astronauts
Having our pitch deck almost ready for the Web Summit event, I browsed through our fellow participant Startups. And guess what: I found another quite similar idea. The same concept of rewards, but without our concept of digital reputation (based on KarmaPoints awarded for their good deeds) that, is our singularity.
This rocket was already launched and is driven by super cool astronauts. Again back to redesign and sweat. Now without panic, just ranting at the universe.
And when I thought nothing else could happen, I went to create a profile in Crunchbase, but I never finished it because, although it was a different concept, there was a company called «Karmapoints» (with s) and of course, with a resembling logo. Thankfully for us, it was a failed mission and was shut down years ago. We had to redesign our logo. The name is an «s” of difference, so we leave it. This time, it just made me laugh at my ingenuousness.
What the journey left us, lessons from launching a Startup
Besides crying and laughing, this aerospace journey left us with some conclusions to share:
- The cardboard rocket should be able to fail fast and cheap; otherwise, you will die trying.
- Ideas float in the air, reaching us all. Everyone can think of them, but ideas only belong to those who develop them, and often it’s more than one person.
- If you think your rocket is unique, you are probably wrong. Somewhere in the world, someone has already thought about it. But this isn’t what matters; what matters is not to lose the ambition to fly because that drive will give you the tenacity to redesign your rocket as many times as possible.
- The startup world is vast and complex. Depending on your point of view, it is an opportunity to explore and understand an unknown planet.
¿How did the Web Summit go?
Bottom line: I screwed up an investor interview for talking like a parrot, but our ¡ pitch deck was a hit! We got many contacts and opportunities for our idea of improving the world—the learning is excellent. However, the best was realizing that we have a great network of friends whose comments from all over the world helped us improve our pitch.
All about the Web Summit, trends in AI, Fintech, virtual reality gives for another article. Stay tuned!.
Failures & learnings from a Startup
Sharing your idea with the right people can lead you to find partners, allies, even investors to help you develop your idea or improve it.
Analyze and observe what they have and find your singularity. Continue designing and improving your startup and idea.
1. The cardboard rocket should be able to fail fast and cheap; otherwise, you will die trying.
2. Ideas float in the air, reaching us all. Everyone can think of them, but ideas only belong to those who develop them, and often it’s more than one person.
3. You are probably wrong if you think your rocket is unique. Somewhere in the world, someone has already thought about it. But this isn’t what matters; what matters is not to lose the ambition to fly because that drive will give you the tenacity to redraw your rocket as many times as possible.
4. The startup world is vast and complex. Yo never stops learning.
KarmaPoint is an application to raise human consciousness, recognizing people who are a positive impact on society based on blockchain technology.