Episode III: In the Beginning… [2000-2001]
What I’m gonna take you through here, is the very beginnings of how OneMethod came to be, or how I grew from a kid to a kid with a company.
While working my first real job out of school at the big international conglomerate Siemens, I stumbled across a young start-up dot com that caught my attention – EquityEngine.com. Before I get into what the company did, you need to know that I searched out the CEO and harassed him on end for about four months til he gave me a job – at a $10,000 pay cut mind you, but I was happy to take it. I knew it was gonna be a killer opportunity, so I was pretty much willing to work for nothing just to get in!
EquityEngine.com was an interesting concept at the time – it was a socially driven, online business incubator (wow, that’s a mouthful). In a nutshell, this is how it worked – people would submit business ideas to the site; the community would vet the ideas and the best ones would filter to the top; individuals could then offer up their services/time for an equity stake in the venture; then we would step in and pull the final team together, build the business plan to a point where we could toss the idea in front of our roster of investors/VCs. Cool idea, but if you look at the timeframe of this chapter, you’ll also understand what the problem was.
My time at EquityEngine.com proved to be my real world MBA. I credit this place with teaching me how to get a business off the ground on a boot-strapped start-up budget .The trick, put on a good show and people will typically not even question what’s behind the velvet curtain (a similar lesson we all learned very early on from the Wizard of OZ). Don’t get me wrong, I was working with some of the most talented people I’d ever come across, but the whole operation was based on smoke & mirrors.
So let’s pause for the cause and take a quick little stroll down memory lane – trust me, it’s relevant to the story. I’ve always had a fetish for nice stuff (clothes, kicks, cars, and so on). And in my experience, ‘nice stuff’ typically works out to be ‘big bucks’ – not sure why that is, but it IS what it is. And growing up, we weren’t poor, but we definitely were not ballin’ in any way shape or form. I pretty much knew not to ask for shit from my folks, cuz I learned early on that a backhand was an acceptable answer for asking for shit that I probably should’ve known not to ask for in the first place – love’ya dad! So I had a list (YES, another one!) near the end of high school that went something like this (I was really into my hip hop at this time, so true heads might recognize some of my inspirations):
- AIN’T NO BODY GONNA HOLD YOU DOWN – Basically, if I wanted something, I was gonna have to go get it myself – there were no hook-ups or handouts in my neck of the woods
- GO BIG OR GO HOME – Pretty self-explanatory, don’t waste yours or anyone else’s time with half-assed shit – if you’re gonna play the game, play HARD, or get the fuck off the court!
- MAKE MUNEE, MUNEE, MUNEE – We weren’t poor, but it sure felt that way, and over the years, I came to despise that feeling with ALL of my being
Simple rules to live by really. So, back to reality – I had this experience in marketing and getting start-ups off the ground, plus this passion for design and technology… AND my list. So, what was I to do? I pulled in a couple of partners, borrowed a partnership agreement template from work, tossed out a bunch of names for the company, went with OneMethod cuz the URL was available (ya…not as glamorous as you might’ve thought), scrounged up some money to register the business, got a cheap (and I mean CHEAP) accountant, setup a bank account, designed a logo, printed some business cards, threw up a website, got a phone line, and opened our virtual doors to the world for business. It was as easy as that ;-)
Moral of the story: Make a list!