John Omar

@johnomarkid

I’m starting an internet company and detailing the entire process

I’m building something new! I think you’ll be interested in following along. A lot of you want to start internet businesses — well I’m starting a new internet business and documenting the entire process.

Here’s how it will work

Each week I’ll send out an email detailing my progress. That email will include things like: how much money I am spending on development, features I am working on for the minimal viable product, design mockups, technical challenges, launch strategies, usage stats, revenue and anything else you want to know. You’ll get to see how I am building the company, and you’ll also get to give me input so the product turns out to be something you’d like to use.

I only want people who are interested to receive this email.

Sign up here to get the weekly updates.

There are already three progress reports because I started building this new company a three weeks ago. If you sign up now you’ll get the updates. I’ll be responding to your questions and feedback there.

What am I building?

I still haven’t mentioned what I am building!

Here’s the problem: you’re building an online course like Bitfountain, or any kind of online community, and you want to engage your users. The common solution is to create a Slack group and send your users there. But that’s not good for your business! Why are you sending your users to another app? They should be engaged on your site, not spending time in another company’s app.

On the other hand, you don’t have the time and resources to build a full featured chat app into your website. You need to focus on growing your community! That’s where my app comes in.

The app is called Powwow. It’s as easy to integrate as Google Analytics (copying and pasting javascript snippet into your site), and it is built for organized community engagement like Zulip. You’ll get to know more about the product if you sign up for the updates.

Startup or Internet Company

According to Paul Graham: Startup = Growth.

A company that grows at 1% a week will grow 1.7x a year, whereas a company that grows at 5% a week will grow 12.6x. A company making $1000 a month (a typical number early in YC) and growing at 1% a week will 4 years later be making $7900 a month, which is less than a good programmer makes in salary in Silicon Valley. A startup that grows at 5% a week will in 4 years be making $25 million a month.

If Powwow grows at rates mentioned in the article, which we most certainly want it to, then it is by Graham’s definition a startup. The contradiction is that growth isn’t the only thing we want. We want to build a company that promotes remote work. We want to try new ways to motivate employees that don’t revolve around stock options with unknown value. And we want the ability to not grow when circumstances call for it.

We’re an internet company that aims for sustainability and flexibility.

My Background

I started a company called Bitfountain in 2012. We began as an iOS Development agency in New York City, but quickly transitioned into teaching iOS development online. Our community grew to 110k students, and we ran the company while traveling between places like Berlin, Barcelona, Paris, Portland and Melbourne. Business insider wrote a little about us and I was interviewed on Mixergy. Check those links out if you want more info on the Bitfountain story.

Right now I am in Berlin, but in the process of moving to California.

What’s next?

I’m not going to share Powwow updates on Medium every week, so the next thing you should do if you want those updates is to get on my new email list. You’ll get a confirmation email and then the first three progress updates.

Get on the list here!

Topics of interest

More Related Stories