Posts by: Antonio Evans
…at the end of the day we didn’t get in because a combination of things. Paul Buchheit was a tough interviewer which we needed better answers. Also we didn’t get enough time with Jessica Livingston (I read her book 6 years ago and it changed my life).
Socialdraft hit 3x milestones (3x revenue as per our targets of 1k paying signups) since our YC interview and not sure getting rejected was a blessing or an opportunity.
Some notes that were weird to me. The interview class was about 50+ people for the day we went. Blanca and I were maybe the only 6 people not “Caucasian Americans”. Blanca was maybe one of 3 not male(total sausagefest). Age wise it was 20ish so we were 15 years older.
Also from conversation lots of kids were in a frat. I know I’ll get hate for but it’s true. I talked to at least 3 kids who “heard” about YC via their fraternity. To me it was a big number. This is definitely not cause of our rejection (because it was our own fuckup not conveying our business properly) but interesting to see.
The summer class of YC today just did demo day and I wish them luck.
PS. Blanca wore same outfit in video to the interview. Do not do this. They harped on it
I was graciously invited to do a one hour talk at the NYC Meeting of MBA students from CEU (Central European University). These students came from a multitude of countries and spent 2 year in a rigorious program to learn both business and the concept of entrepreneurship.
Here is an except from our talk:
Here is a Transcription for some of it:
Antonio Evans: Over promise, over deliver. If they ask you for something that’s easy to do, do it in quick time, this can work in any business. It’s so simple. Humans are the greatest procrastinators. We are just like, “Oh,” right? A lot of people, we’re just like, “Oh, I got a test on Monday, I’ll study on Sunday.” Then it’s a test and you don’t want to do much on Sunday, and you’re like, “Oh, I could’ve had a 90 or 100 if I had studied longer.” Over deliver on stuff. If you over deliver, people can feel that.
Why do I see iPads everywhere and Apple products? Because they over deliver on the feeling, on the **** they over deliver. If you do that in your business or in your firm or even in middle management, people just get this feeling like, “I want what you **** everything is done. ****
Next slide, don’t be greedy. So what happens with a lot of outsourcing companies that you deal with, is once you’ve been working with them for a couple years, or even if you’re working with a developer, or even if you’re working with anyone who is off shore, there are weaknesses people have. It really happens this way, they’ll go, “You know what? The boss isn’t messaging every week, he’s messaging like every couple days. He can’t see, I’ll just go take another nap.” You’ve just stolen time from the company. Flip it on the other side, I’m an off shore company and I got a project but someone comes up that has another project, so I don’t have a problem working both, even though I’m dedicated to the other one. You’re that **** that’s not their **** business. Greed leaks into every other part of your life.
Now I’m not saying don’t try to make more money, I’m not trying to say don’t grow your company or grow your business, but don’t do it at the expense of someone who has an agency relationship. I don’t know if you guys understand what an agency relationship is, so an agency is this: There are two people or businesses that are working together in tandem. This guy’s goals and this guy’s goals are aligned. I’ll give you an example: I’ve got a body guard, but **** the body guard walking. He wants money, he doesn’t want me dead. That’s an agency relationship. We both benefit from our relationship. I die, no money; he gone, I die.
In outsourcing, in dealing with other companies from around the world, you want to make sure your things align. They grow, you grow. So even the contracts, I like to throw in little opportunities in the contract saying like, “Well, if you guys reach this milestone, we’ll bump up a bonus.” My guys who all work on our team, they get bonuses every month, like the top three people get bonuses. So it keeps you guys together, but once you start seeing a company that starts to be greedy or a person starts to be greedy, that’s when you two will totally break apart. Don’t do that for yourself. Personally, I don’t like it. Make a little sense? Greed is good for money but not good for two people in business.
Tools, if you want to know what I like to use for dealing with my off shore team and a tool that you guys should be using, is **** Snagit for videos, great **** tool. Like if I was to say this guy, spend the $30 a year, even if you do videos of your conversation, so it’s awesome. If you want to tell a developer or you want to tell somebody who lives halfway across the world what’s going on and report what’s on your screen, that’s what Snagit does. There’s a couple other tools that do the same thing, but it’s ****
For sales use Hatchbuck or any other CRM
For marketing, we like buzzstream for blogger out reach but for social media, we’ve got our product, Socialdraft.
We have a couple more slides, I guess. So, a couple minutes and I’m going to **** Travel, I think that’s what you want to do, right? Lovely. Aloha. Travel, why? What happens is you see the world and you understand how to do business with the world.
Next, when you do travel, connect with people who are from that location and/or people from a different culture, stuff that’s not like you, because your world is interesting, I don’t know about it, teach it to me. That’s something, you want to do, you want to connect with people and you can do that in corporations, too, if you work in a large corporation, as you’re sitting for lunch, don’t sit with the same four people every day at lunch. There’s that guy from marketing, go sit with him, call him over. He’s going to teach you something or you’re going to make a connection with him and you’re going to be like, “Oh, man, now I’ve got a company guy I can call when I have a problem.” Very important.
Dedicate yourself to something. You’ve got to focus on something in your life. It could be family, it could be work, it could be a dream to do something, but dedicate yourself to get to that dream. Find that point in the future and see yourself there because from here to there is not that far. If your desire is to make $5 million in the next 5 years, put that $5 million there, take a dollar, mark it up, and then you start thinking about how do I get that? I have to change this and I have to change that. Let me see if I can call this guy. But do yourself a favor, even if that is insurmountable, because almost nothing is insurmountable, on a [cheating scale. Yes, you never give it the marks, I’m sorry, it’s the one thing done] [phonetic]. But other things, dedicate yourself.
Two final data points and then we’re done. These two charts, so this internet market, this year, growth, so we’ve got, China has a population of 12.35 billion people. Only 46% of them use the internet, 46%. The United States, only 316 million, not that big—great, but not that big—and 83%. But look at our growth rate and look at their growth rate. Sure, one of your countries might be on here, the other one that I thought was interesting was Russia, look how low the penetration is. So the opportunity to get into that growth and future of technology, of the world, the top countries of the world, only 58% have internet. Internet. That’s ridiculous.
Last slide, these are the ones below that. Countries that are coming up, at the top 15, look at the growth rate of these guys. India, 1.2, 13%.
Where would you start a company if you could? India might be interesting if you were going to get into it because you have that opportunity, you can create that slide up.
Indonesia **** 100 million, 36% have internet. That is **** cheapness of goods, because people look at **** poverty and also delivery of these new devices that we’re all going to have, a smart phone that have internet connectivity drop below $100 and we’re close, we’re very close.
These are the opportunities right here. So as you guys start planning your future **** in New York City. In your own countries, there might be this opportunity, too, or in countries that are ancillary to us. **** here, they have a great tax system. We protect businesses and we have a lot of people, a lot of new entrepreneurship, with these great opportunities.
We are hiring. We’re actually looking for a **** person. We are hiring, just wanted to throw that out. Jobs@SocialGraph.com and somebody will contact you from management. I appreciate your time. Do you guys have any questions, comments, or yelling?
Audience Member: I have a question, do you have any offices in Central Europe or are you expanding your **** your Social Graph, to Hungary or Romania and the division in general?
Antonio Evans: Is your second bedroom available, by any chance?
Audience Member: Yes.
Antonio Evans: Perfect.[Laughter]
We’ve been doing a lot of business with France, France has been a monster with us. That’s where we’ve been out all the time. We’re very curious, we have a couple users actually in Bulgaria, which is interesting. It seems to be in Central Europe is that a lot of, because we do a lot of enterprise, there is the scope from enterprise to understand this is a lot slower in the developing countries, but I think Central Europe would be really, really interesting for it. I was shocked when I was in Hungary, it’s incredibly modern, people are amazing, food is good—a little heavy—they put flowers out on every table. I mean, you were the only guys that **** but it was something ****
Any other questions?
Audience Member: So you talked about **** about going out and taking vacations. Having said that, you’re importing things that come up **** vacations so that you have your business license and this **** how would you propose for a person who is dedicating a new start-up, how do they plan it, how do they ****
Antonio Evans: Great question. So when I travel, I take my Macbook and sit on a beach somewhere on holiday and I’m working whatever time I need to work and then I take my six hours when the sun is out and catch up. If you’re going to start, you don’t always have to be in an office. If that’s what you need for success, some people need that motivation, I don’t need that motivation. That’s how I kind of balance it by doing a lot of traveling. How I’ve seen other entrepreneurs do it is what they do is they make a **** plan or something. Jack Dorsey, who is CEO of Twitter and also CEO of Square, what he does is he plans his day out, on Monday I’m doing marketing, on Tuesday I’m doing sales, on Wednesday I’m developing product, and that allows him to kind of put his mind so that he has time and then he takes his weeks and weeks. So there’s a planning involved, if you want to do it that way, or if you want to do it more jumbled up like I do. I’ve been traveling for eight, nine years. It’s got me **** but every once in a while a project is due and you’re very close and you have to see it yourself. It’s good to have a partner who can come back and tell you, “Be on time.”
Audience Member: Like I want to start up my own start-up, but I need a day job in the meantime. Would you suggest going the route of finding a day job that’s going to bring me into the world with my start-up as much as possible and make the connections, or finding one that’s going to leave me enough for a balance, leave me enough time, to let me leave work at the office and go home and focus on that in the evenings. Which **** or do you think there’s a mix there?
Antonio Evans: Do you have a cofounder?
Audience Member: Yeah.
Antonio Evans: There is a cofounder?
Audience Member: Yeah, we’re also partners in life and hopefully business.
Antonio Evans: Okay. Does he need a job?
Audience Member: He’s working on his PhD.
Antonio Evans: So what we were able to do with our lives, is that, and I had some money from before, so we were able to fund ourselves. What I’d like to do if you’re dealing as a couple, you need to have one—and you don’t have a stack of cash you can burn through if this takes a year or whatever and you want to take a risk—is you need to have what they call a patron. This was our situation, like I was her patron while she was doing her stuff. So it would be good if one of you guys could be able to afford to pay the other one to work on this stuff. I like MVP, which is movable, viable products [phonetic], take it, throw it out there onto the web, or I’m not sure if you are mobile or doing whatever, doing tech. Do a small test that’s cheap, on the cheap-o. I spent a couple hundred thousand dollars building **** if I were to build it today, it would probably cost me five G’s because the technology out there is so much more than it was in the year 2000. So MVP it quick and then test it.
Audience Member: Food is very important.
Audience Member: Yeah.
Antonio Evans: Yeah, food is very important. In order to get there, you’re going to need some money.
Audience Member: Yeah. So I mean, for the day job, would you suggest like, I don’t know if you ever had to do this or were just able to move into it, but do you suggest finding a day job that builds up to what you want to do or finding one that lets you leave it at home and not work too hard or **** with it?
Antonio Evans: I don’t know your background, but I always have to give them all into my job, unless I’m like bartending or doing whatever I did to go through school. I like to be focused specifically on one thing. If you can afford to do it at night or you can afford to do unlimited hours or if you just want part time, to test it out, I would test it out. But it’s really hard to do two things at once unless you have, unless you’re really focused on your stuff. If you want to go home at 5:00 and work from 5:00 to 2:00 AM—
Audience Member: I don’t have that choice.
Antonio Evans: That’s **** yeah, that’s the hustle. So I wish you luck.
Audience Member: Thanks.
Audience Member: I have two questions. My first is, so we’ve been listening to so many presentations and a lot of start-ups and one of the people asked us what the definition of a start-up is, and I happened to raise my hand and tell them what I think and I think it’s one that has a sustained growth opportunity and that’s going to continue to grow. What I’m starting to see now is near the end of the second week here is that every time people mention start-up, there is this very, very heavy tech connotation to it. Is that true because I know Janie and Mark and myself as well, we know how to start this business, or as my parents say—my parents are entrepreneurs—and they say they started this business. So we don’t know, I don’t know whether I should tell people I’m in a start-up, in a small business, and it’s nothing really tech related. Obviously it’s going to have a social media platform because that’s absolutely necessary, but am I going to get funding? Like I get **** messages with angels and VC’s or a patron or something if I have my **** nothing at all centered around technology.
Antonio Evans: Tell me a little bit about it first.
Audience Member: It’s an incubator for all things music. Musicians, rehearsal studios, storage spaces, so cutting down the transaction costs between what it takes to be in—
Antonio Evans: Well, until you start it, okay, **** it’s a start-up. Until you get to the point where you’re actually earning, outside investors in your hard work, like on a real growth path, you’re still a start-up because if you fail, the majority of any small business fails in the first five years. **** so if I were you in **** talking to an angel or a seed, tell them, “I have a start-up, in case they need it. We’re not in the tech realm, we’re in the **** but I’m in this realm and I’m looking for investment. If you’re curious in seeing what we’re doing,” and you can show them ****
Audience Member: That’s what I mean, I just don’t want to sound archaic, because when you’re in a band, there is just some things that the internet is not a substitute for.
Antonio Evans: Spotify…
Audience Member: No, but I mean, making music together, like bands and we definitely know our market and my partner is actually a professional musician, very heavily involved in our customer base. Bands don’t want to, I’m in **** send it over to Australia, they just, part of the beauty of being in a band is being able to sit in a room and jam in real time, even teleprompters and things like that, it just doesn’t, it’s not there anymore.
Antonio Evans: Don’t be afraid of, there are different markets—