OK, so it was only three months at Pinger.
Here’s the story: About a year ago, I had an idea for a web application that was different from any other web application. In short, it allows its user to view information from the future, present, and past in a new and different way. It can help to bring people together, as well as bring more understanding to where we came from.
Sounds like a big idea right? Well I think it is.
So I worked on this idea for about a month. I took some time off of work and built a prototype. I also had long conversations with some trusted friends – Derek in particular. He saw the value in this idea, and helped to develop a more engaging product around the core concept. Unfortunately, he and I had both started new jobs fairly recently and the idea kind of fizzled out. It stayed in the back of my mind though.
At the beginning of the year, Derek got in touch with me. Apparently, our common friend BJ had the same idea (roughly). BJ was dead serious about building a company around the idea, and called Derek to talk about it. I’m pretty sure Derek’s mind was blown at that point. He got on board with BJ, and then they called me.
Well, I had just started at Pinger, and was just finishing up a savings-account-tapping remodel on our new house. I was not in a position to take a financial risk (meaning: work without a steady income). I regrettably declined Derek and BJ’s invitation to join them in their venture – but with the stipulation that I would be on board as soon as I could make a living and have health insurance for my family.
Only a couple of weeks later, they called back with excellent news. Apparently the few investors that they had talked with got really excited about the product idea, and had made funding commitments. They were halfway to their initial funding target, and were ready to get me on board.
It was a difficult moment when I told my boss at Pinger that I’d be leaving. I knew that joining Derek and BJ was what I was going to do – I never agonized over the decision – but, it was hard to tell the folks at Pinger that I was going after such a short time.
However, I feel that I was able to contribute to Pinger’s product during my time there. I redid the signup process, incorporating an almost-live connection between the web and a new user’s phone call, which was pretty cool. Hopefully I made an impact in other, more subtle ways. I met some great people there, and wish them good success. I still feel that Pinger’s time of success will come soon.
Right now, I have my head down writing code to improve my year-old prototype to make it look much better for other prospective investors. BJ is a kick-ass designer and artist, so he has laid down some great designs for me to follow. Derek amazes me with his business savvy and his long list of very influential contacts in the technology business. Even though BJ is in Austin and Derek is in San Francisco, we’re able to work together as a tight team. We have a 3-way video conference every morning (thank you Apple iChat AV!) to give each other an update. We’re chatting on the phone or instant messenger throughout the day as necessary. This technology works.
I’m really enjoying working on a product that is so dear to my heart, and with great friends. Speaking of friends, a friend back from the My Yahoo days is on board halftime as of week after next. Ben is an excellent software engineer and product designer, and will be a huge asset for the company.
I can’t really say much about the product now, but will definitely put links up here when we have a release that is fit for public consumption.