No More Hustleporn: Things I Did To Avoid Starting My Startup

Tweet by Amjad Masad ⠕

ceo @replit — bringing the next billion software creators online — work with me: 🇯🇴🇵🇸 #Bitcoin

I dreaded the idea of starting a company.

As an early employee, I saw how painful startups were, in both success & failure.

Replit was forcing itself unto the world; it was no longer sustainable as a side project.

Before incorporating, here are all the ways we tried *not* to: I tried to make it a project at Facebook where I worked.

I was careful in separating the two but when it became a big time and money sink, I told my boss. We tried to find a home for it but there was just no appeal.

I even emailed Zuck. No response. Time to move on. I tried to merge it with two other startups at the time doing similar things.

Ultimately we had different visions for the future, and I didn’t think they were being ambitious enough.

Today they are 1/10th of our size combined. Tried to join YC, maybe it derisked the company and made quitting my job an easier decision.

Didn’t get an interview until 3 years later when we got in.

Finally, decided to bring an outside CEO because even if we made it a company, I certainly didn’t want to be one.

Months of meetings and conversations with friends, but no one believed in the idea as strongly as we did. Many thought it was a dumb.

Ultimately Haya (wife & designer) felt like we should do it together.

I tried warn her: startup are “like chewing glass and staring into the abyss.” But she felt it could be fun.

A year later she would tell me she didn’t think it was going to be “this hard” (chewing glass?!)

We had a lot to lose. As immigrants it took years to get to be in the green and build up some savings. With no sign of VC interest we were on our own. Failure could mean losing everything we worked for in the last 5 years since we landed in the US.

After a lot of thinking, and a psychic journey into our souls, we decided our mission really mattered and if we fail, it would have been worth it.

So in April 2016 we took a leap of faith and incorporated the company. Today, we are a team of 40 serving millions of users.

An essay I wrote at the time to battle with the idea of becoming an entrepreneur