Hugh Guiney is creating a daily vlog about starting a tech company
0

patrons

$0
per month
Hi, I’m Hugh. I started this video blog to document what it’s like to build a company, day by day, from the very beginning. I want to take this typically very private process and open it up to everyone. Imagine if you were able to watch Steve Jobs and Wozniak grow Apple from a garage project into the largest tech company in the world? I may not reach that level of success; I may fail spectacularly, but at least there will be a record of the attempt.

For me, it’s self-improvement by way of radical transparency, and the public accountability that comes with that. For you: you get to be my virtual co-founders. I’ll be listening to your feedback in the comments and chat room every step of the way. I also endeavor to make the series equal parts informative and entertaining—so whether you’re a fellow founder looking to compare notes, or just an Average Joe/Josephine killing time on your lunch break, there’s something in it for you.

Join me as I attempt to achieve financial independence, put a dent in the universe, and squeeze the most I can out of life along the way.

Full disclosure, though: in addition to “entrepreneur”, I wear many other hats: web developer, UX designer, comedian, filmmaker, writer… the list goes on. Since this is a daily documentary series, it will inevitably veer off-topic into these other interests at times. But I’ll be sure to always bring it back to my journey as a startup founder.

The Company

Hypervideo—online video annotated with time-based links and other widgets—is on the rise. It opens up a world of immersive storytelling, such as choose-your-own-story films, which boast high audience engagement. Frustratingly, there is no free, standardized solution for creating and distributing hypervideo in active development. Current offerings are proprietary, requiring recurring payments and vendor lock-in to use. This hinders cash-strapped visual artists, and silos metadata that could be useful in search and beyond.

Enter RedBlue. We (well, just me at the moment) enable more people to produce hypervideo by democratizing the technology behind it. We author an open specification, HVML (Hypervideo Markup Language), which aims to be the HTML of video. In conjunction, we develop the RedBlue JavaScript player, which brings the immersive features of HVML to any website.

These core offerings will be completely free to download and use. Monetization will be achieved through premium products and services based on these technologies, such as plug-ins and support.

There are some other exciting products on the roadmap, but for now… 🤐

Why do you need the money?

Right now, I find myself a walking Millennial stereotype: 30 years old, unemployed, and living off of Annie’s mac & cheese at my mom’s house. Until I can afford a cheap apartment, the money will just be used to cover basic necessities, like buying more pasta. There will be the occasional business expense, like domain name renewal or website hosting fees, but nothing crazy. As the pot grows, though, I’ll be able to put more and more of it into the business, such as paying for a desk at a co-working space, or hiring a videographer so I can focus more on founding than filming. I intend to stick to Lean Startup principles throughout—I certainly won’t be springing for Aeron chairs from the get-go.

Why Patreon? Why not pitch VCs like other startups?

Shows like Shark Tank make it seem like there’s only one way to fund a company: asking venture capitalists to write you a fat check in exchange for some equity in the business. This has advantages over a traditional bank loan, in that you can procure substantially larger investments, you don’t have to pay any of it back, and the investors act as mentors to the fledgling founder. With VC money in the bank, a company can afford to take bold risks early on, without having to worry about revenue forecasts until after they’ve become the next Facebook. Sounds nice, right?

But there’s more to the story that doesn’t get talked about as much. First off, most VCs aren’t doling out their own money like Mark Cuban is. Much like founders, VCs raise their own capital from richer, meta-VCs called LPs (limited partners): the likes of insurance firms, investment banks, pension funds, and private billionaires. LPs entrust their money to VCs the same way one might entrust their 401(k) to a hedge fund manager, the idea being to pick companies that look like winners in order to maximize ROI for the fund; the VCs making their money in management fees. If a startup goes public or gets bought, the VCs and LPs both stand to make a killing.

The problem with this is that VCs ultimately serve their own investors, not the founders in whom they invest. LPs, despite being largely anonymous, can indirectly change the direction of a founder’s business in order to serve profits. VCs take 20–40% equity and a board seat, meaning that outside of day-to-day decisions, they call the shots. Including firing the founder from their own company if they don’t see exponential growth. Stable, linear growth? Not good enough. After all, they’re looking for a minimum of 10× their money back (with an outside chance of 100×) in the span of 7-odd years in order to make the investment worthwhile. While they don’t want you to fail, it’s an acceptable loss if you run out of money and fold without becoming Facebook. Any given investee is only one asset in the fund’s diversified portfolio.

And even if I wanted to go down this route, it would still take 3–9 months or more of landing pitch meetings with VCs and getting rejected by most of them before I could walk away with a check. Pitching is effectively a full-time job, so I would need to already have money to live off of. Yet if I had money to live off of, I wouldn’t need to raise a round in the first place, since food and shelter are my only overhead costs right now.

But the biggest reason I’m avoiding VC funding? I’m looking to build a different kind of company. One that serves the public good, rather than simply maximizing profits. By being funded by Viewers Like You rather than the 1%, my company’s interests will be aligned with the interests of my users. That is, the filmmakers and app developers who will craft the future of visual storytelling.

Should you choose to become a patron: thank you very much for making this dream possible!!
Tiers
Fan Chat
$1 or more per month
Access to an exclusive chat room where you can hang out with other patrons and myself.
Includes Discord rewards
Producer Credit
$100 or more per month only 10 left
Your name will be listed in the end credits of each vlog episode for a whole month (or 30 consecutive episodes if I miss any upload days). This will get you a corresponding IMDb credit for each episode, and an IMDb page if you don’t already have one.


Included:

💬Fan Chat

Includes Discord rewards
Design/Development Audit Of Your Site or App
$250 or more per month only 4 left
You will get a list of actionable feedback from me on ways you can improve your software product. I have over 10 years experience in the tech industry and can cover coding, information architecture, look & feel, performance, accessibility, and/or usability.


Optionally, I can also send you a screen recording of me navigating your site/app with a real-time narration of first impressions.


Note: For coding feedback, I can only cover HTML, CSS, SASS/Less, XML, JavaScript (Browser, Node.js, Polymer, Angular 1.x, React), and PHP.


Included:

💬Fan Chat

🎬Producer Credit

Includes Discord rewards
Goals
$0 of $250 per month
Provided my mom doesn’t kick me out of the house first, I’ll be able to afford groceries and other essentials. I’ll still take on freelance gigs to build up a nest egg, but I could at least get by while chipping away at the business and vlog.
1 of 4
Hi, I’m Hugh. I started this video blog to document what it’s like to build a company, day by day, from the very beginning. I want to take this typically very private process and open it up to everyone. Imagine if you were able to watch Steve Jobs and Wozniak grow Apple from a garage project into the largest tech company in the world? I may not reach that level of success; I may fail spectacularly, but at least there will be a record of the attempt.

For me, it’s self-improvement by way of radical transparency, and the public accountability that comes with that. For you: you get to be my virtual co-founders. I’ll be listening to your feedback in the comments and chat room every step of the way. I also endeavor to make the series equal parts informative and entertaining—so whether you’re a fellow founder looking to compare notes, or just an Average Joe/Josephine killing time on your lunch break, there’s something in it for you.

Join me as I attempt to achieve financial independence, put a dent in the universe, and squeeze the most I can out of life along the way.

Full disclosure, though: in addition to “entrepreneur”, I wear many other hats: web developer, UX designer, comedian, filmmaker, writer… the list goes on. Since this is a daily documentary series, it will inevitably veer off-topic into these other interests at times. But I’ll be sure to always bring it back to my journey as a startup founder.

The Company

Hypervideo—online video annotated with time-based links and other widgets—is on the rise. It opens up a world of immersive storytelling, such as choose-your-own-story films, which boast high audience engagement. Frustratingly, there is no free, standardized solution for creating and distributing hypervideo in active development. Current offerings are proprietary, requiring recurring payments and vendor lock-in to use. This hinders cash-strapped visual artists, and silos metadata that could be useful in search and beyond.

Enter RedBlue. We (well, just me at the moment) enable more people to produce hypervideo by democratizing the technology behind it. We author an open specification, HVML (Hypervideo Markup Language), which aims to be the HTML of video. In conjunction, we develop the RedBlue JavaScript player, which brings the immersive features of HVML to any website.

These core offerings will be completely free to download and use. Monetization will be achieved through premium products and services based on these technologies, such as plug-ins and support.

There are some other exciting products on the roadmap, but for now… 🤐

Why do you need the money?

Right now, I find myself a walking Millennial stereotype: 30 years old, unemployed, and living off of Annie’s mac & cheese at my mom’s house. Until I can afford a cheap apartment, the money will just be used to cover basic necessities, like buying more pasta. There will be the occasional business expense, like domain name renewal or website hosting fees, but nothing crazy. As the pot grows, though, I’ll be able to put more and more of it into the business, such as paying for a desk at a co-working space, or hiring a videographer so I can focus more on founding than filming. I intend to stick to Lean Startup principles throughout—I certainly won’t be springing for Aeron chairs from the get-go.

Why Patreon? Why not pitch VCs like other startups?

Shows like Shark Tank make it seem like there’s only one way to fund a company: asking venture capitalists to write you a fat check in exchange for some equity in the business. This has advantages over a traditional bank loan, in that you can procure substantially larger investments, you don’t have to pay any of it back, and the investors act as mentors to the fledgling founder. With VC money in the bank, a company can afford to take bold risks early on, without having to worry about revenue forecasts until after they’ve become the next Facebook. Sounds nice, right?

But there’s more to the story that doesn’t get talked about as much. First off, most VCs aren’t doling out their own money like Mark Cuban is. Much like founders, VCs raise their own capital from richer, meta-VCs called LPs (limited partners): the likes of insurance firms, investment banks, pension funds, and private billionaires. LPs entrust their money to VCs the same way one might entrust their 401(k) to a hedge fund manager, the idea being to pick companies that look like winners in order to maximize ROI for the fund; the VCs making their money in management fees. If a startup goes public or gets bought, the VCs and LPs both stand to make a killing.

The problem with this is that VCs ultimately serve their own investors, not the founders in whom they invest. LPs, despite being largely anonymous, can indirectly change the direction of a founder’s business in order to serve profits. VCs take 20–40% equity and a board seat, meaning that outside of day-to-day decisions, they call the shots. Including firing the founder from their own company if they don’t see exponential growth. Stable, linear growth? Not good enough. After all, they’re looking for a minimum of 10× their money back (with an outside chance of 100×) in the span of 7-odd years in order to make the investment worthwhile. While they don’t want you to fail, it’s an acceptable loss if you run out of money and fold without becoming Facebook. Any given investee is only one asset in the fund’s diversified portfolio.

And even if I wanted to go down this route, it would still take 3–9 months or more of landing pitch meetings with VCs and getting rejected by most of them before I could walk away with a check. Pitching is effectively a full-time job, so I would need to already have money to live off of. Yet if I had money to live off of, I wouldn’t need to raise a round in the first place, since food and shelter are my only overhead costs right now.

But the biggest reason I’m avoiding VC funding? I’m looking to build a different kind of company. One that serves the public good, rather than simply maximizing profits. By being funded by Viewers Like You rather than the 1%, my company’s interests will be aligned with the interests of my users. That is, the filmmakers and app developers who will craft the future of visual storytelling.

Should you choose to become a patron: thank you very much for making this dream possible!!

Recent posts by Hugh Guiney

Tiers
Fan Chat
$1 or more per month
Access to an exclusive chat room where you can hang out with other patrons and myself.
Includes Discord rewards
Producer Credit
$100 or more per month only 10 left
Your name will be listed in the end credits of each vlog episode for a whole month (or 30 consecutive episodes if I miss any upload days). This will get you a corresponding IMDb credit for each episode, and an IMDb page if you don’t already have one.


Included:

💬Fan Chat

Includes Discord rewards
Design/Development Audit Of Your Site or App
$250 or more per month only 4 left
You will get a list of actionable feedback from me on ways you can improve your software product. I have over 10 years experience in the tech industry and can cover coding, information architecture, look & feel, performance, accessibility, and/or usability.


Optionally, I can also send you a screen recording of me navigating your site/app with a real-time narration of first impressions.


Note: For coding feedback, I can only cover HTML, CSS, SASS/Less, XML, JavaScript (Browser, Node.js, Polymer, Angular 1.x, React), and PHP.


Included:

💬Fan Chat

🎬Producer Credit

Includes Discord rewards