Photo: 12 Sep 2014

    Hello weekend. Here we come Marin. – View on Path.

    Hello weekend. Here we come Marin. – View on Path.

    Photo: 12 Sep 2014

    Alyssa’s last day at @airpair :) – View on Path.

    Alyssa’s last day at @airpair :) – View on Path.

    The Time Has Come to Give Up Coding

    I had a tectonic realization this week. The time has come for me to transition from executing to enabling, from creating to cultivating and from coding to managing (*yuk did I say that last part?).

    AirPair is now a cash spinning 18 month-old, because the founding team were good at executing. We took AirPair through 8 months of 40% month on month revenue growth without funding and picked up that growth rate again with seed funding, but I’ve been experiencing why my time as an executioner has come to an end. This week on my Keynote Panel at AirConf, Deep Nishar’s words (16:15 in) struck me like a hot knife through butter. “At some point you stop getting leverage from yourself”.

    The realization that I’m ready to reinvent my role feels as stark as one day not wanting kids, and all of a sudden feeling … ready.

    It feels good. I can envision how it will positively impact coming to work at AirPair. Until now, the main value proposition of working with us, would have been to observe a fast paced demanding entrepreneurial environment where things happen out of the will of dedicated entrepreneurs. But now I see, the benefit of coming to work at AirPair will be *learning* and practicing how to make shit happen, so one day you can leave us, and build your own company.

    As CEO, my full-time job has morphed from executing, to helping everyone else ideate, create and see through successful initiatives in the same way we did when we started something out of nothing and got things off the ground. 

    Perhaps this is an obvious evolution for some. I’ve heard other CEOs say it time and time again. I even fought the change internally for a long time. Executing is fun, and I had wondered if I could run a company where I was an executing quarterback… But that’s one of the best parts about taking the entrepreneur’s journey. Every so often you have a moment, and all of a sudden you understand the words you heard from others… Something makes sense, on an emotional level as opposed to just knowing about it.

    If you want to work in a a nine to five environment that’s already figured out and won’t stretch you much, we’re probably not going to push the right buttons. But if you want to be in over your head and learn from a company that knows how to make a lot of smart moves (and is also still figuring some out), hit me up. 

    Photo: 06 Aug 2014

    The US does have some good coffee :) – View on Path.

    The US does have some good coffee :) – View on Path.

    Photo: 28 Jul 2014

    Humbled to have so many brilliant people sitting around me right now. – View on Path.

    Humbled to have so many brilliant people sitting around me right now. – View on Path.

    Photo: 22 May 2014

    Team shot to make some of our investors happy. – View on Path.

    Team shot to make some of our investors happy. – View on Path.

    Photo: 21 May 2014

    First time in 3 years I’m on treasure Island ;) – View on Path.

    First time in 3 years I’m on treasure Island ;) – View on Path.

    3 Characteristics of a Worthy Idea

    AirPair is the 3rd idea that’s caused me an entrepreneurial seizure and ended up taking over years of my life.

    After spending most of a decade not getting what I wanted, many of the weak points in my previous attempts that weren’t as visible when I was emotionally invested became clear.

    Before starting AirPair, I came up with 3 characteristics that my next thing (and I think everyone’s) should have.

    1) Intrinsically You

    2) An Everyday Transaction

    3) A Greater Purpose

    Let me explain each in more depth.

    Intrinsically You - Brewed From Your Experiences & Passions

    If you aren’t building something for yourself that you’ve felt needed from deep experience, (1) you won’t know how to do a great job, (2) when it’s not working and pampering your ego, you’ll stop caring, (3) you won’t have a competitive advantage.

    My first startup - Preparty - was an online event planner (pre facebook events). I’d never thrown a professional event… but there I was attending events conferences, learning about venues and catering.

    Sure I was passionate about getting people together and having fun, but I was slow to market because I was learning an industry I had no experience in. My product sucked as it was not optimized from experience or insight. But the WORST thing, after crashing and loosing, I realized I wasn’t even passionate about event organizing and wondering why I’d spent 3 years caring.

    With AirPair, I know from years of making things, my favorite thing to do is connect people and empower them with relationships and knowledge. I’ve been a developer since 19 - I know how to speak to our audience and what motivates them. I’ve also had experience building global two-sided communities, so I knew I could do it and there were few people in the world capable of doing it better.

    I care about the problem, and that makes me fearless because I won’t give up.

    An Everyday Transaction - That People Value Enough to Pay For

    If you aren’t making cash, you are running on steams of passion. Very few people will work with you powered by such steam. Most people need to pay their rent and feel financial security. Money is the life blood of business and if people aren’t paying for what you make, you’re holding your breath until success. Good luck with that! My breath went for 3 years… most people’s don’t last that long and when that breath runs out, you have nothing left to give.

    Without a cash making transaction, I couldn’t do any interesting marketing with… I couldn’t setup an ad campaign knowing that if i tweaked it’s performance there would be a positive ROI.

    With AirPair there is :). A simple solid everyday thing that bring all parties value and makes us money. So if we can scale that, we have a profitable business.

    The best part about a money making transaction is that the focus of the business switches from validating itself to executing on growth. Every single time the cash bell rings, you have positive reinforcement. Lot’s of small wins builds momentum.

    A Greater Purpose - Attainable When Small Transactions Stack in Magnitude

    My favorite example of an un-sexy transaction that stacks up to the most sexy purpose is In isolation, all they do is help you save your code in a team environment. Source control has been around for decades before github appeared. But they have re-imagined and done it so well, and by removing so much friction got basically all coders to use their platform. At scale they’ve pioneered the next wave of collaboration for the human species. People are now able to work together and create things without even having met each other!

    AirPair has this quality too. In isolation, one AirPair helps unblock a customer and an expert to make money sharing what they’re passionate about and in the process become a better teacher. Stacked in magnitude, AirPair is a knowledge market encouraging the human race to interact in tiny 1 hour increments remotely and disperse expert level knowledge that will never make it into formal courses, blogs and tutorials.

    When AirPair scales, it will be the next generation of hive mind thinking and knowledge sharing mentality.

    — P.S. Want to come work for AirPair? Shoot me an email :)