“If I find a cow turd on my front steps, I’m not satisfied knowing that I’ll be mentally prepared to find some future cow turd. I want to shovel that turd onto my garden and hope the cow returns every week so I never have to buy fertilizer again. Failure is a resource that can be managed.” Writes Scott Adams creator of Dilbert and Wall Street Journal contributor.
As I walked out of the selection interviews on the 12th of May I was almost certain that we failed to make the final eight. Undoubtedly we failed in our objective. Gutted would be putting it lightly, I remember talking to a family at work that evening thinking I just shouldn’t be here. I guess this is normal, MAP applications were an exhilarating but also exhausting process.
Thankfully the upshot of our MAP experience was two fold. During the one-month MAP selection window we had our fastest growth as a startup. We set ourselves a goal to build bank feeds to the largest 4 banks in Australia and have a prototype of our app ready for the MAP team interview. The amount of code TP and AK wrote during those 3 weeks was incredible. To put this into perspective we only started working on our app, FirstStep a micro-investments platform in February ‘15.
Even today when we send investors our information memorandum, it’s based off the final/34th revision, stored on our Google Drive, of the MAP pitch and accompanying appendix we did. Preparing slides, practising interview questions, plotting ways to effectively acquire customers and figuring out the financial for MAP got us up to speed quickly. The MAP selection process beginning just 2 months after we started was a blessing in disguise.
More important than the acceleration or boost we got from applying were the friends and feedback we got along the way. Despite not making the final 8, we were contacted by a couple of MAP Mentors and a Director who are interested in our app. They have continued to provide us invaluable advice and networking opportunities. If you’ve met the MAP team; Rohan, Maxine, Kostan and Wen you would know just how generous they are with their time and feedback. Suggestions and points they raised, we at FirstStep still bring up 3 months down the track. The final selection interview was great learning opportunity for us.
I may not share Scott Adams’s hope for cow turd turning up on my front step every week. However I do share his ethos of the trick being to make the most of it.
Joe’s a master’s student at Melbourne University and a specialist trainee down the road at the Children’s Hospital. When he is not at either he’s tinkering away at FirstStep, a no-minimum micro-investment app that allows people to invest the virtual spare change of their electronic transactions. FirstStep is in the current cohort at The University of Sydney’s Incubate Program.
FirstStep is a mobile app that lets you automatically invest your loose change from everyday purchases into a diversified, low-cost investment portfolio, with a risk profile of your choosing.