by Niv Dror
The past 12 months have been eventful
Going into the Christmas, I suddenly found myself out of a job; it was clear that my time at DataFox was coming to an end. I started thinking about what I wanted to do
I started hanging around NASA Ames trying to learn
The New Space industry that SpaceX is enabling was fascinating. I wanted to learn as much as I could. I tried to be realistic with my lack of physics background
But then Meerkat happened.
Within a week of its Product Hunt launch, I was hooked
I asked Ryan Hoover for advice on how to reach out to Meerkat CEO, Ben Rubin.
One week later....
I was unofficially part of the team. The whole tech world is watching and SXSW 2015 was just beginning.
Right place at the right time, 3 years in the making
Grew up in the Bay Area, Homestead High, De Anza College for 2 years. First job out of UCSB was auditing hedge funds and VC funds in SF.
I left after 2 years to join a startup...
and moved back to my parent's house 3 months later.
Despite growing up in the heart of Silicon Valley....
I had no relation to the tech world and didn't know anyone...So I spent most of 2013 just meeting people and working for free
This was a difficult time.
I had no money coming in, no company to add to my Twitter bio, and each day the gap on my LinkedIn was growing.
There was doubt
but I actually felt like I was picking up broadly applicable skills. Introductions I asked for became more relevant and I was even starting to offer my own introductions
Optimize for learning rather than earning
When I cold emailed the CEO of DataFox offering to help with whatever was needed, it wasn't clear what that would be.
I wasn't optimizing for getting paid
It was the founders working out of the old StartX office and they were upfront that their first hires would be in engineering. I just wanted to work with smart people
"You know I can write!"
As it turned out, creating content for the DataFox Blog was something they were willing to let me help with. (This was based off my writing on Medium)
I was adding value without asking for anything
I turned my noes from Naval's YouTube video on the Current State of Startups into a formal summary. Within a few days, the post was seen by thousands.
I didn’t know what path I was on
but it felt like I was going in the right direction
Chris Sacca got me into tech
When Chris Sacca favorited my tweet about Uber in 2012 it showed me the power of Twitter. It can be used to connect with people you wouldn’t normally get to meet
Twitter is the where I was able to learn from, interact with, and eventually form all the relationships I owe everything to today.
My first Twitter catalyst
A conversation with a colleague about tweeting turned into “aren’t you on Sacca’s fund? He’s kind of a big deal…” which I didn’t know at the time
The second catalyst
My first Uber ride.The convenience was like magic. I wanted to tell people about it who could relate, so I tweeted travis and sacca
The importance of having role models
I need a way to see outside of my accounting mindset. Very few people leave public accounting to do something completely different.
Inspiring, relatable stories can leave a lasting effect
The initial spark was watching Chris Sacca's Fireside Chat with Sarah Lacy. After sitting in on a valuation call about Uber, accounting no longer made sense for me
Think about where you want to be 2-3 years ahead
Finding someone who is doing now what you want to be doing in two to three years is an excellent point of reference.
Adding value without expecting anything.
Chris would repeat that quote in interviews often — it stuck. Eventually this led to finding out about an app called Popcorn Chat and offered to help.
The founder and I were wondering what Product Hunt was
Popcorn Chat was featured I emailed the founder himself, asking to get on a call. For some reason, Ryan Hoover, founder of Product Hunt, accepted.
It was my first interaction with Ryan
whom I now work with at Product Hunt. I tweet for a living and help makers launch their projects -- it's great.
It no longer felt like I was trying to break in to tech
When I announced that I was joining the Product Hunt team the reaction and the number of people who reached out was humbling.
as long as we feel embarrassed by our naiveté every six months then we’re living outside of our comfort zone enough to learn and improve everyday.