This is a tongue in cheek post. And because I want this post to cater not just to those who may be IN the startup industry and already understand how the industry works, but also to the everyday people who know nothing more about it than what they saw of it in the movie “The Social Network“, I will be writing for that audience. Have I mentioned that I like hyperbole too?
Ok. So this young rich nerdy guy living in California goes for breakfast with another rich guy who invests in companies for a living.
He tells him about this idea that he has in his head for a service/website. The investor guy replies “Great idea! Here’s 15 million dollars. We can get you a few more million for this idea later this week. Go build it.” To which the young rich nerdy guy says “Ok, I guess I will. I’ll have something for you soon.”
Gosh. Isn’t THAT nice? Surely that can’t be a true story right?
Well it is.
So what’s his amazing idea?
Well it’s a website service to pair senior citizens with caregivers that will make $15/hour to help them with their special needs. I’ll add another sentence here so it at least looks like there might be a bit more to this amazing idea than there is, but really, that’s about the extent of it at the moment.
The idea came to him when he was visiting his mom and thought “[Jeez. My mom is a crappy driver. It’s probably going to get worse as she gets older. There needs to be a way to get a nurse as a chauffeur for old people. For cheap.]”
Ok, ok. Those were my words and not his.
But close enough.
The investor guy was really excited. There’s a LOT of old people in the world. Ka-ching! Is it an original idea? Pfht! No! But that’s not a problem. We’ll do it better and with more money behind it to make it that way.
So how’d he do it?
Well first off, he knows people. Second, He’s got a track record. He’s been successful before and got a ton of money for it. (He invented Meebo and then Google bought it off him for $100 million dollars.) Naturally everyone wants to be his friend, partner, or investor now. People like Jeremy Stoppelman who founded Yelp and Max Levchin who founded PayPal. These are people that have SERIOUS bucks in their pockets and like to throw money at things that will make them even richer. Good people to know when you want to borrow money for an idea you have.
When it comes to startup ideas people usually work for a couple years trying to build a product or service that will gain enough momentum and customers (aka traction) to convince investors their company is a wise investment.
Want to see what young rich nerdy guy has got beyond just the having idea in his head? What’s available to wow all the investors so far?
That’s the whole site. And it may not even have existed yet when the rich guys had breakfast. So how’s THAT for an MVP? Oops, sorry laymen. For those of you at home, an MVP stands for Minimum Viable Product. It’s both a startup term and what you build to attract investors into funding your startup. Something functional, but the bare minimum required to operate and get some momentum going for your startup. And this is as MVP as things can get. You’re looking at a webpage that a professional web designer could get up and running in about 15-30 minutes. (Disclaimer: This info may be inaccurate. There may be more to there service than the public can see but I CAN say that the domain name was only registered on Jan 12th 2015 and just for 1 year.) That’s 4 months ago as of this writing.
So how can you do it?
Seriously? Ok well, if you want stuff like that to happen in your life, Learn to code. I don’t care if you’re 40 years old right now. Coders make lots of money and can DO stuff mere mortals can’t. Learn to solve problems. Learn how to build something bad that you thought was good and then learn lessons from what went wrong there. Learn to build something good and find some time to learn about business. Learn how to network! Learn learn learn.
Oh and it definitely helps to live in San Fransisco.
A more serious article about all this: