Six years ago at university I embarked on a journey that changed my life: I started my first company with Melinda, Jeroen, and Reinier. We weren’t doing it full time and we didn’t succeed, but that didn’t matter. We learned to work in a team that went beyond 9 to 5, and it formed friendships that lasted ever since. We learned what made a startup work, and we learned why it failed.
I’ve always been involved in startups ever since, either of my own or others. When we left The Netherlands our original startup had slowly pivoted into a new company called TipIt. We didn’t get involved with it, but we still felt part of it. It wasn’t long though until I got distracted again, roped in to make that next crazy idea work.
I could never stop resisting the start up vibe.
I learned a lot since then. I took one year to work at an agency to pay the bills and get experience, and then I quickly went on to freelancing. I became a better programmer, moving from horrible code to using Symfony, to Rails, back to Symfony, and in the last 1.5 years again back to Rails. I met some great people that had great ideas, and I learned that having a non-technical co-founder (@uniquejosh) can be fun, mind broadening, and probably the best thing that can happen to any techie. I went to hack days to expand my technical knowledge and I formed lasting teams (@pizzapowered) at these events that still persist today.
I worked for small companies and big ones in my time as a freelancer, but in the end there was always one thing that I missed ever since I started my first company: working in a great team. And so the end of an era is near. In 2012 I will be working in a great team at EmberAds, the startup founded by Baz, Caius, Dom, Melinda and me. We will be trying to tackle the boring world of advertising and make it a little less boring. What started off as a PizzaPowered product that we were working on in our free time, will now be something that will be developed by us full time.
It’s crazy how the end of an era can feel so familiar and so different. Six years ago I had no idea what having my own business meant, but decided to start one anyway. Today I do the same, but the exhilaration of starting a new venture is still there.
We don’t know what 2012 will hold, nobody can predict the future, but all I know is that from this Monday forward I can truly say: bring it on!