Committing

I’ve lived in London for 6 years, and I love it, there’s so much going on, and my friends are all nearby.  However, in a month I will be leaving it, I’ll be taking a leap and moving to the US.

Libboo has been expanding for the last year, which makes working remotely that bit harder.  I’ve been over a few times, mainly for techstars and mass challenge, but it’s hard working with people some of which you haven’t even met in person.

Moving to Boston will get me closer into the action, which means I can have a more involved role in how the company is shaped, and in what direction we take it.  I could have stayed in London, but that would have been the easy option, and I like challenges.

I’m technically ready to come over, in that after a summer of paperwork (and a trip to the embassy) I now have my visa, so I just need to make sure the rest of me is ready.  I’ll be moving over on my own to start with, then heading back to London to collect Anna, pack up the house, and get everything shipped over.  During that time I’ll have the chance to find us a place to live, get to know the area a bit better, maybe even make some friends.

I’m looking forward to the challenge!

Full time

I find it easy to adapt to putting every waking minute I have into my work, possibly too easily, especially when I am working to deploy a new product with a fixed deadline.

After the deadline has passed, and you’ve delivered your work, it’s nice to re-discover your spare time, and realise that you don’t have to work ALL the time.

Having said that, working for Libboo doesn’t feel like work, I spend my spare time designing/coding/developing anyway, so Libboo is just on a much larger scale, with a bigger team, and financial backing.

Direction

A lot has changed since we first started Libboo back in 2007; for a start we’ve gone from Chris and I working in our spare time to a team of 8 people. We’ve been through the MassChallenge and Techstars accelerator programs, both of which have significantly improved us as a team, the focus of the company, and the reach of our network.  Then there is the more than $1M that we have raised to keep us working, developing, and refining what we have.

So now we’ve released our pilot, the result of a pivot, where we fundamentally changed what we were doing, and how we were doing it. We realized that although some people had trouble writing books, it wasn’t the main issue they were facing. The main issue is they had trouble getting discovered, and that’s a problem that nobody has been able to solve yet.

How it started

Back in 2007 Chris and I started working on an idea in our spare time. The idea was for a website where a user could write and publish their books online, a problem that no one had satisfactorily solved back in 2007.

We met up in the evenings and on weekends, and started to work out how we could solve the problem.  The process started slowly; we didn’t have a lot of time, and we were learning the programming languages we were building in as we went. Our skills improved, and so did our speed and the accuracy in which we worked.

Over the next year and a half we put in more and more time, while still working alongside our jobs.  We were attempting to get the site in a state where we could show people, and finally finished the first alpha version of our product in mid 2009. It took us a long time, and the end result in comparison to the current Libboo was terrible, but that wasn’t important.

We had committed ourselves the project, we had put in time and energy, and we had successfully created a product that could potentially solve the problem. More importantly, we had managed to pass the first hurdle that many others fail on: actually getting something out.