Flying to SF for Buildspace - here's what I learned.

Personal UpdateStartups

What is Buildspace?

This summer, I joined a virtual program called Buildspace for 6 weeks. It's a program (they call themselves a school) for wannabe founders to catapult a product into existence in just 6 weeks.

For me, I built HabitDuo.

Building HabitDuo.

It's a habit tracker that lets you track habits with your friends. It's a lot more fun than it sounds, I promise. Currently, I'm trying to launch it onto the app store.

And because I finished the program, I was invited to fly out to SF and visit Buildspace in real life. And it was incredible.

Buildspace at SF.

The intensity, the collaboration, the absolutely crazy ideas I saw from founders around the world - all in one facility. I was hesitant to pay almost $1000 to fly over to the event, but I'm glad I did it. I met a lot of inspiring mentors there.

Coding HabitDuo.

Among all of the ideas, there was this one that really caught my eye: a network of 3D-printable military drones that allows provides wallhacks to a user. Suddenly, every first-person shooter video game I've ever played felt like reality because a junior studying electrical engineering was interested in augmented reality and drones.

The military drone.

Why did I get called crazy?

The last day, I was speaking to some founders. We were talking about our experiences, and somehow I blurted out, "Oh my parents don't even know I'm here. They think I'm in my dorm back at the University of Pennsylvania."

Everyone was shocked.

"You flew out here without telling your parents?" "You paid $1000 for this event by yourself?" "And you just started college last month?"

But to my surprise, everyone there loved that story. I exchanged fist bumps with a dozen other founders. "Man, you're absolutely crazy, and I love that. Keep it up."

Lessons for the future

You know, that little exchange was pretty meaningful to me.

I've always wanted to be a startup founder, to change the world in a meaningful way.

But how? How do I get started? Am I the right type of person to be a founder?

That day was like my personal product-market fit validation. Me, fresh out of high school, with no experience in the real world, was able to inspire other founders and have them believe in my future.

And a good metric I discovered, is for people to tell you that you're crazy. It's a good thing, that you're crazy. That you're crazy enough to do something that no one else would do, or could even imagine doing. That you're crazy enough to take a risk that no one else would take.

Like flying out to SF for a Buildspace event as a fresh high school graduate, without telling your parents.