Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014 was Hell, but a Blessing

To those that have been following my blog or social media posts, you have seen that my 2014 was a living nightmare both on a personal and professional level. It was a year I lost my little brother, closed down an office I built, and shut down my first product. It was a hellish storm that I had to choose to navigate through or drown in.

As I look back on 2014 and wonder why things happen like it did, I learned that this year has been a blessing and here are the lessons I wanted to share with you:

1. Personally, I found family again.

Being away from home for the past 7+ years, I was focused on work, all I did was work so that I can move up fast. Visiting family occurred once a year (for a max of 1 week) and doing nothing but taking advantage of the fact that my family will “always” be there, it was a cycle on autopilot.

To those that are in the same work mindset as me, I have one thing to say: “Work will always be there, family time is a fading asset.” I can promise that through the worst parts of your life, your family and their support will rejuvenate and heal your soul better than anything you can buy. Take the time to hang out with your family and friends and don't let holidays be the excuse to do it.

2. Professionally, I moved forward.

When you have an idea, it’s your baby and you do not want to give it up. You want to keep going, hoping something big would happen. Sadly, it happens 50% of the time. When I created MeSocial, my gut told me at the beginning of this year to give up on the website product and to move on with a mobile app idea. 6-months and tens of thousands dollars later, I have learned this lesson. To my fellow entrepreneurs, listen to your gut, follow the market trends, and most importantly, learn to let go. It will save you the time and money. And this app? Well, stay tuned for our New Year announcement!

3. Overall, I removed negative, stressful people.

If you have never experienced a loss of a loved one, it is hard to process when others around you go through it. When I told someone that my best friend passed away, he gave me a blank stare and did not say one word. “I’m sorry,” “Keeping you and your family in my prayers,” and “I’m hurting with you” are simple words that have a meaningful impact to those who are grieving. I now have been on both sides and all I can tell you is do not sit in silence. Your real friends (the expected and even the unexpected) will be there for you, keep them and forget the others. At the end of the day, you need people that can stand by you.

In my entire career, I have only fired 3 individuals and they all share 3 common traits: constantly making excuses, ability to not progress, and behaved selfishly. To those that manage a team and to my fellow entrepreneurs, always listen to your gut about people and remove those individuals sooner rather than later. The amount of stress that is removed, surpasses any guilt for letting a “nice” person go. It is your team/company, protect it and drop the dead weight so that you can move forward.

As I look forward to 2015, I am better equipped to take on the next challenges and I have to thank 2014 for it. It was never ideal but what situation ever is? I can never wish for 2014 not to happen, how else would I ever learn about these perspectives? Yes, it sucked. Yes, I grew from it.

I hope my lessons learned help you navigate your storm. Here is to a better New Year!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Our First Product, MeSocial

First Version - Concept
Started out as an idea to manage all social media, MeSocial was the launching point of our company, 1ME, LLC. Creating an unknown path for us to take on, teaching us more than we ever realized, and weeding out individuals who could not grasp the entrepreneur profession, MeSocial was more than just a product we were trying to create, it was a learning tool for a start-up venture.

Since its beta launch in April 2013, it has spawned a team size of 12, raised $10K from a crowdfunding campaign, created an office in India with 5 developers, and a user base north of 600 accounts.  Today, that is no more.

With its main intentions to integrate posts from the major social networks into one location, ability to manage multiple accounts, and allow you to make a status update that could be posted across all your connected social accounts at one time, it was just the base of what MeSocial could do. As we further its development, we were able to integrate chat from Facebook and Google Hangouts, add a news RSS reader, pull in videos/pictures trends, manage calendars locally and from Google, and the ability to create sticky notes, to just name a few features.

Second Version - Alpha Testing

The question I faced earlier this year was do I grind and continue this website or do I pivot to something else? With the changing technology landscape and the rapid shift to mobile and mobile apps, it was time for MeSocial to pivot to the mobile platform as well. Something I should have done last year, to be honest with you and base on the "when will you have a mobile app?" questions from our users alone. That was an expensive lesson and MeSocial will never be the product that I saw in my vision a couple years ago. That is a good thing as my vision has changed and developed to something I know is better.

Third Version - Beta Launch

Now all of this is gone but what it left behind is a wealth of lessons learned, self development, and the mechanics of how to operate a start-up. So farewell to 1ME's first product, MeSocial. You have shown us what it is like to take an idea to reality, pushed us to our limits as we tried to keep up with the ever changing technology landscape, and taught us the hardships of being an entrepreneur.

We are done with MeSocial, the website. However, a piece of its function will exist as we build a mobile app that is just more than a social hub and I'm excited to share that news soon!

Last Version

Lastly, I would like to personally say thank you to all of our friends, family members, and MeSocial users that have signed up on this website, who took the time to share your feedback, and most importantly, believed in the team and I in this start-up venture!

Failures are great only if you choose to learn from it. So stay tuned!