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It takes 3 years.

The end of 2013 marks roughly the three-year mark for my company. As I reflect on where we are today, from initial product, to an advisory round, to seed funding and then to raising our Series A in December 2013, one thing that I’ve always perceived from came true: it takes roughly 3 years for you to truly figure out if what you’re working on can be a business.

Once you hit that 3-year mark, and you’ve figured out a way to stay alive, some magical things do happen. Now, just to be clear, after the first 3, it’ll take you 2 to 7 more years after that to make it a wildly successful business;..

20

This is great. But I’m not coming back to your awesome web-app after signing up.

Almost every other day in Hacker News, I find the announcement about an awesome new web-app that potentially solves a critical problem in my day to day life. When it comes to the web, we’ve gotten very good about landing pages that clearly communicate values and absolutely frictionless signups that lets me get into the app with the click of a button.

I’ll Sign Up. I Probably Won’t Be Back

I sign up, go through their new user experience, take a look at their snazzy and beautiful interface and then I move on. Regardless of how many new applications I try, in reality, the actual applications I..

1

20 Years

Today marks the 20th Anniversary of when my parents decided to immigrate to the United States of America.

I was 9.89 at the time. My brother was 7.

My Mom and Dad were in their early 40s and they embarked on a journey of not only reinventing their own lives, but their entire livelihood and the trajectory of how my little brother and I would grow up.

Today as I reflect on the past 20 years here, I can’t help but be thankful for all the benefits, advantages and opportunities that this great country has provided for me. My parents changed every aspect of their lives so I could live in a city..

0

Rule #1: Show Up

Say you want to start your own company. Or perhaps make a career change. Maybe you want to approach your boss about that that manager position thats open in your department.

These days, there are countless resources available at your disposal to help you think through this process and take the leap. There are user groups and weekend events entirely dedicated to jumpstarting your entrepreneurial career, tons of career coaches, and countless books and classes on the subject. Conferences are particularly great to get the right vibe going and get riled up to take that leap.

However, most..

4

You can do that? Why you should be a contrarian on the small things for getting big results.

I went to Bikram Yoga today. Yes, thats the one where you sit in an 80 degree room and do Yoga. As I set up my mat, lay down my towel, and sat awkwardly for the instructor to start the class, I looked over to my right and saw someone laying on their mat in deep slumber completely relaxed, completely calm, waiting for the class to begin.

“You can do that?” I thought.

Quickly I realized, why of course. Why couldn’t you lay comfortably and wait instead of doing what most of us were doing –  sitting in some awkward uneasy position awaiting instructions.

Unfortunately, unless you’re constantly..

0

Reflecting on 3-Years as a Startup Founder: Strength, Persistence and Fear

About 3 years ago (2010), I made a decision to quit my hedge fund job and start upon a journey to build my own company: Tout. This blog entry reflects on the past three years and gives you an update on where I stand today.

2010

By the end of 2010, I had already quit my job. Shipped 2 products. Launched a Services business with clients. Now what!?.

As 2010 came to an end, Tout the most promising of the ideas I had been working on had acquired nearly a thousand users and even started generating revenues from day 2 of launching. Seems tiny in retrospect but for back then it was amazing. All I..

11

Jab, Punch, Jab — the Startup Mantra

Recently, I took up Boxing. Not the Taebo Cardio punch in the air boxing, also not the get into a ring and fight someone boxing; a middle ground crazy workout three times a week for an hour including a punching bag and spar in the ring boxing.

One of the biggest things I like to do is to look for patterns in life and draw them to core principles that weave together everything you do in your life. Core principes are powerful that way because no matter the situation, you can still apply them to solve problems.

My boxing instructor told me, if there is one thing I want you to learn in this..

3

Bumbling and Awareness During Heads Down Mode

My last blog entry about heads down mode for Startup Founders seems to have struck a bit of a chord. So, in spirit of continuing the topic, I decided to write out some thoughts around how I bumbled around at first and then eventually got into a cadence of effectively staying organized through a seemingly endless and dark period that I call “heads down mode.”

 

Although this now pretty-standard graph outlines different stages that your company goes through, I don’t think it quite captures the stages that you yourself as the founder go through in your own head. As I reflected on the past..

1

Heads Down Mode

There has been two distinct stages to my life so far: 1) The stage where I started ToutApp and become a Startup Founder and 2) The stage where I dreamt of starting my own from scratch and lived vicariously through other startup founder blogs, TechCrunch and the 37Signals blog.

The one thing I always promised myself I wouldn’t do was go into the abyss once I actually started my company. I hated it when Founders made a ton of noise, shared a ton of insights, get a ton of PR, passionately talk about their startups but then went into complete silent mode shortly after they raised funding or..

How to Interview an Engineer for your Startup

There has been some concerns about putting our hiring process “out in the open” while we’re still interviewing for our Lead Engineer position, don’t fret — we’ve got plenty more fun case studies like these! If you are looking for your next adventure and want to join an awesome team, shoot me an email: tk@toutapp.com.

Also, there is a great discussion thread going on over at Reddit.

Over the past week, I’ve been interviewing for the Lead Engineer position here at ToutApp. I’ve never been a fan of interviewing. No matter how elaborate the process, we all know it often comes down to that team..