11 Things I Learned After 11 Minutes as a Startup Founder

On the occasion of launching our first app today (Download Volley), I decided to reflect back on my earliest moments as a startup founder. I hope you can learn from these hard-won insights as you embark on your own journey.

Here are 11 things I learned after 11 minutes as a startup founder:

1. Oh, wow, I didn’t realize anyone would notice so quickly! Who checks LinkedIn that often? People are so supportive. Thank you, everyone!

2. Obviously I can’t really start coding without a couple of those organic Açai juices... Got pretty hooked on those at the Googleplex… Better set up an Instacart order for tomor—holy shit these are expensive! Was I really consuming like… six… times... $58 in juice everyday?

3. Bitcoin went from $822.08 to $832.67 since I started this company!

4. Oh interesting… someone else on GitHub is already working on my exact idea. Not a problem. May the best hacker win, my friend! I’d love to have you join us someday, once we start hiring.

5. …and here’s another team that seems to have been working on… pretty much the same idea since early 2011... “Comprised of six ex-NASA systems engineers...” For a social news app? Seems a bit overkill but that’s just… Damn! They got 3 million users in their first week after launch! Wow, they were written up in the New York Times… twice! And they raised $3.4 million from Google Ventures! Oh my god, they must be KILLING it!!

6. Actually wait… this is odd… I guess they pivoted to enterprise last spring? Must be why I’ve never heard of them… Oh, and ok, looks like they shut down the app in June.

7. My co-founder is breathing sort of funny right now. It’s kind of a bit like short, punctuated gasping… Dude, I’m pretty sure this apartment came with oxygen, if I remember reading the lease correctly.

8. What! Seriously, Facebook? You’re going to build my thing, now? Like, literally right after I started working on it was the exact time you chose to announce that you would be doing the same thing? What were the odds that TechCrunch posts this precisely seven minutes after I started working? I’m not even mad, it’s just actually a shocking coincidence when you think about—wait, who did I tell that works at Facebook?

9. Please god no more. Just breathe like a normal human being! How did I not notice this before over the course of seven goddamn years of friendship?

10. Sam Altman just tweeted “bubble”. Yeah. Just one word. Just “bubble”. Are you KIDDING me, Sam? I thought you said it wasn't a bubble like three weeks ago. I’ve made the worst decision of my life.

11. Hmm. Rap Genius is hiring.


James Wilsterman is a co-founder of Volley (available for download). You can follow him on Twitter.