One Month One Dollar - Part one
High-stakes cash games in Vegas
When I was a younger and slightly dumber man I was captivated by the allure of online poker and high-stakes No-limit Hold em. Going to Vegas and battling it out for million of dollars with all the high-rollers, was a big dream of mine. I would watch all the tutorials I could get my hands on, read whatever poker book was available to me, and, binge every poker show out there. Now, this was a few years after the golden age of online poker which was kicked off by Chris, I shit you not, Moneymaker. An accountant from Nashville and hobby poker player whom is said to be responsible for online poker exploding, after he won the WSOP Main Event, gaining entry based on a satellite tournament he played online. For the unfamiliar with online poker, a satellite tournament is basically a (often much) lower priced tournament that gives the winner(s) entry to a higher-stakes tournament. I'm getting a bit sided-tracked here, anyway. In this post-chris-money maker-winning-wsop-main-event environment a lot of young people (i.e nerdy white guys, try and guess why it was appealing to me) started printing money online. This lay the basis for a show called 2 Months 2 Million which was centered around this bunch of young poker pros who pooled their bankrolls (money) and gave themselves two months to make a net profit of 2 million dollars. They failed. Well, sort of failed, they made a bunch of money just not the two million dollars.
I never made it into professional poker nor did I go to Las Vegas. I did, however, go into Software Engineering and happily forgot about poker and that show. That is, until I stumped across this article about a guy who challenged himself to start from zero and, after one month, have built a product that some stranger on the internet would pay money for. I loved the idea and was immediately reminded of that show long time ago. The difference now being that I actually have acquired a skill set that would allow me to have a real shot at completing this challenge. Even better, I also have a business partner to do the challenge with me. So, from the 1st of February 2023, Rasmus and I will be attempting at starting completely from scratch and after 30 days of work, have a product that will have made more than 1 dollar. A million seemed to bit too ambitious.
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Isn't this just 12 month 12 start-ups but shorter
Maybe, yes, kind of, the chance that an idea is completely original is absolutely minuscule. I've tried to (mentally, at least) do the challenge made famous by Pieter Levels but never really got it kicked-off. I started the preparations, loaded up on some ideas, picked a date but then excuses got in the way (work, family, friends take your pick) and it didn't go anywhere. Taking potentially 12 months off, or built 12 new projects on the side while working full-time just seems really exhaustive to me. But, dedicating one month to try and kick-start a project is way more manageable; both financially and risk-of-burn-out wise. I used to build a lot of side-projects in my spare time when I just started as a software engineer, which was incredible fun, but as I've gotten older I just don't want to spend my time coding for 12+ hours a day. This limited time scope seems to be a much better fit.
Wait, but why?
Wantrepreneur: A person who aspires to be an entrepreneur, especially one who never realizes this ambition
At the beginning of January, I wrote about Wantrepreneurship and how I've been wanting to break into this for quite some time now. I must have read every single book under the sun about entrepreneurship, creating micro-saas businesses and start-ups. Yet, I haven't even launched anything always holding back because I lack a good idea or because it's not the right time or insert-other-common-excuse (actually, it's not entirely true. I did launch something called called ByGourmand intended to provide subscribers with a wide variety of recipes. If you're currently thinking "so, a shittier version of HelloFresh?", you've got the right idea). But, I seemed to have forgot an important lesson; one I learned straight after uni having made the jump into software: you don't really learn anything until you take action. I.e you need to do that thing you're consistently talking about and you will get better at it. I've spend long evenings on YouTube learning to program but equally long evenings building and writing software. And the last step, that's what actually makes the difference. One of my favorite twitch streamers, theprimeagen, has a perfect acronym for this: TITS (time in the saddle, Elon Musk would love it - spend more time doing that thing.
Having set an optimistic deadline while also made a public announcement is hopefully going to be the combination that really pushes this into gear. Additionally, teaming up with Rasmus for this project, I think it creates a situation that will push me to take a real stab at this.
So, what's the plan? I'm glad you asked.
This is quite an ambitions deadline, so we're going to be cutting quite a few corners wherever possible. Since we're starting from zero we can't really have a already researched idea ready to go from day one, we need to start out doing some good old fashioned brainstorming. No more than 2 days have been put aside for this, along with preliminary research into potential customers and the market. On the third day we're taking a pick, putting maybe one or two ideas in reserve, and then starting to creating a landing page and doing outreach. Based on the feedback, we will start building, do more outreach, do more building. Rinse and repeat until we either run out of time, or, make our first dollar.
Honestly it's a fairly simple approach but given that this is mostly a learning experience, I would argue it's the ideal way forward. The thing about planning for an activity, that you are unfamiliar with in practice, is that it quickly turns into a big soup of postulates. In the famous words of Mark Hanna:
Fugayzi, fugazi. It's a whazy. It's a woozie. It's fairy dust.
It's not fucking real, but two people can quickly convince themselves about X hypothesis being very real because the world would be so much sweeter if it was. The plan can be summed up to be hypothesis-driven entrepreneurship if you will. We have a problem, think up potential experiments that could solve said problem, run them and evaluate. Continue what works and stop what doesn't. It's worked for old Greeks, I'm sure it can work for a couple of danish guys.
Speaking for myself here, reaching out to strangers on the internet have always been an Achilles heel for me. I'm not sure why, the thought of it has always made me imagine myself as the human form of a spam email. I fucking hate spam; Escobar had burner phones, I have burner emails. But I've also slowly come to accept the fact that this is going to a necessity, if I ever want to move forward in this process. My first job in Uni was as a phone sales man where I made a sell in my very first phone call, and then never made one again. Hopefully, this month goes a bit better.
Most likely, this project will not make much money within this month. A firm rule is that we cannot beg friends and family to buy the product/service, so we unfortunately have to take the long route. Additionally, we could go the cash grab route and do AI profile pictures but that just seems boring at this point. Saas businesses have never been easy and even though we might get lucky and strike gold, the takeaway here is hopefully going to be a lot of learnings that will push both of us into the next step in our entrepreneurial journey.