I Made Mistakes as a Founder; Here’s What I Learned

One of the hardest and most vulnerable things I can do as a founder is to tell you where I went wrong. Three years into this journey, I made some big mistakes; here’s what I learned.

It’s a quote that I have grown to love because it was a hard lesson to learn, and it represents the toil of a man’s effort. I hired poorly, engineered too much, hadn’t focused on a revenue-generating solution soon enough, and hadn’t raised money when the company was rapidly growing.

Three years down this path, I find myself working through the challenges differently. Hindsight is always 20:20, and ironically, so is this year. If knowledge is a formula, then wisdom is knowing what you do with it.

Early last year, we were in Redwood City as a featured startup, one of fifty, in Startup Grind’s Accelerate program. It was a prestigious honor to have joined their cohort as a promising young company. My business partner Jeff, an engineer, Mathias, and I, shared an Airbnb just a few miles away from the conference. Everything seemed right; we were growing sometimes upwards of 100 new users per day, but it wasn’t right, that is.

Our newfound fame, having been featured in the local newspaper on the event’s launch day, faded as the year went on. Not because we didn’t have traction, and the problem we were solving wasn’t interesting. And not for lack of effort. The challenges we were up against had to do with focus. We were off track and failing to find our way.

You would think that being featured by Apple early on would’ve catapulted us toward success, but it didn’t, although I think it could have if we understood the problem we were solving better. What I’ve learned since then has brought tremendous clarity and taught me so much.

On the other side of all of this, hope and wisdom are emerging from lessons. bnotes is now bundleIQ, and ‘IQ is the exact problem we are solving. Augmenting IQ is maybe a more accurate personification.

Intelligence is the ability to apply knowledge and arrive at the desired outcome. Without an understanding of how to do something, you cannot act intelligently. To overcome the discrepancy in knowing, one has to seek or find a formula for the problem they are trying to solve.

With all of the technology available today, humans still struggle with the overwhelming challenge of recounting the knowledge they need at any given moment. This lack of insight mostly has to do with the difficulty of scaling information across organizations. Think about the last time you looked for a link, a message, a file, a note, or a password and couldn’t access it. When was that? Less than 24 hours ago?

Where do we go from here? Well, we’re not investing in making a better note-taking app, I can tell you that. Or, as I like to say, building a better bookshelf; there are plenty of those. But we are going to help you understand the books’ contents and, more importantly, connect you to those insights when you need them. We help tap into the available data and use technology to connect the dots for you.

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