Floobits Update: 10 Months Later

10 months ago, I started working on Floobits. Back then, Matt and I applied to Y Combinator. The result? We didn’t even get an interview.

…that time.

We applied again in the spring and got an interview for Y Combinator’s summer 2013 batch. I did not expect this. In fact I was so confident we wouldn’t get an interview that I had booked a vacation to Japan with Ed. As I cancelled my hotel reservation and plane tickets, I reconsidered on my decision. YC interviews only last 10 minutes, and maybe 20% of interviewees are accepted. After a little more deliberation, I went with my gut. And my gut told me to go with the expected value calculation, which greatly favored doing the interview.

Still, I planned on getting rejected.

Matt and I spent a couple of days preparing for the interview. We knew we weren’t good at selling stuff, so we focused on having a great demo. To make sure there were no problems with network access, I ran a local instance of Floobits and connected our laptops with an ethernet cable. I felt a little silly walking into the interview room with two laptops connected by a wire. Other candidates were working on all kinds of cool new mobile wireless things. Meanwhile, we were using a copper conductor to demo plugins for text editors that were created a quarter-century ago. A few minutes before the interview, I thought “How did I delude myself into thinking this idea could work?”

The interview went by absurdly quickly. We answered questions to varying degrees of satisfaction. Our demo went well. We drove back to San Francisco in rush hour traffic and discussed our chances. I put our odds at 50%.

Right after I walked into my apartment, I got the phone call. We celebrated that evening by going to Zeke’s. We started with beer, but the night ended with shots of tequila.

Since then Matt and I have spent almost every day writing code, talking to users, and exercising.

About a month ago, we turned on billing. In the last two weeks, we started publicizing ourselves. First, we showed Hacker News. The reaction was unexpectedly positive. Our poor Node.js server died under the immense load. This week, we launched on TechCrunch. And of course, Y Combinator posted about us. Since the TechCrunch launch, we’ve grown mainly through word of mouth. Apparently Floobits is useful enough that people tell their friends about it. Some of them even pay money!

This journey has been satisfying so far, but it hasn’t been easy. I’m working like crazy. In fact I’ve spent 2% of my life in an uninterrupted streak of writing code every day. Some might find such an existence pitiable, but I consider myself incredibly lucky. Lucky to have gotten into Y Combinator. Lucky to have met my co-founder, Matt. Lucky to have friends who give me good advice. Lucky to have been interested in computers at a young age. Lucky to live in a wealthy, stable country. Without these things, I wouldn’t have have had the opportunity to build Floobits.

Most of all, I’m lucky to have the genes and upbringing largely responsible for making me who I am today.

In other words, thanks Mom & Dad!

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