Origins #65 - The first project Marin and Julian worked on (not DULO)

And the lessons from it.

Origins #65 - The first project Marin and Julian worked on (not DULO)

In this series we are documenting the journey of building DULO, starting from Day 1. Every week we publish a new chapter that takes you behind the scenes of our process. With every article we want to provide value to you, the reader. We share the success and failures, the opportunities and the challenges that we face while executing our vision.

If you are new, check out our previous post.


You probably don't know, but DULO isn't the first project that Marin and I have worked on together.

At around 2011, both of us just recently graduated from university, I was living in Japan at that time and Marin was doing a marketing internship in London.

In the year prior, I had my first entrepreneurial experience by bootstrapping (meaning £600 from dad) a junk clearance business with two friends from university in the UK. Marin was also dabbling in blogging, social media and the opportunities that came with being active on the (at that time) quite newly emerging platforms.

So in 2011, while communicating remotely, we were brainstorming ideas for a platform that turned into Odese, our first joined project.

In summary, Odese was supposed to be a platform where fans and brands can interact with each other, brands would get the opportunity to engage and promote new products and fans a chance to participate in cool competitions and win rewards.

At that time we thought we were going to take on Facebook Business Pages by providing a better platform for those two parties to connect on. The plan was to find an investor (first asterisk right here) and then build the platform (second asterisk).

Marin dug up the prototype we made for the investor pitch, you can enjoy our work here! 

Back then we didn't have the programming experience we do now and therefore were kinda stuck in the ideation phase. 

So, looking back to it, there are a few lessons that I'd like to share, that hopefully we've learned from and are universal when it comes to getting a business off the ground.

LESSON TIME

Don't wait for someone to make it for you

Fast forward a few years and we actually taught ourselves programming online, if we had done that back then, we might've had something more to show for, besides an interactive wireframe in a form of a website.

The first step should not be looking for investment

A follow-up point from the one above. When you are helpless in the execution, the effort is spent on looking for an external party to solve your lack of expertise. Had we been proactive back then and learned to code, we would not have needed external investment to hire developers to make the product we could've made ourselves. 

Ideas are worthless without execution

Whether the idea was good or not, had potential or not is a pointless conversation, given that we did not execute on it. It remained just that, an idea.

Expertise matters

Besides me and Marin, two other guys were involved and funnily none of us had any specific skills we can contribute with. Freshly out of university, none of us could take the reins on any one thing and work on that, while others worked on other areas of the project. In other words, all of us were obsolete and could not contribute to the project moving forward.

To summarise:

  1. Execution (as in, doing the actual work) is all that matters
  2. Rely on external factors as least as possible, especially in the earliest days.
  3. Don't involve people that cannot directly contribute to a specific process.
  4. Execution is all that matters
  5. Execution is all that matters

Having said all that, I think we learned the majority of those lessons and approached building DULO with a much more realistic view of the work that WE actually need to DO and we’re seeing the results of a tangible running business, compared to an idea that stayed a wireframe.

Thanks to Marin for dusting off this little piece of history and you for taking a stroll down it ;)

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Feature photo by Jonas Svidras on Unsplash

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