Movin’ on Up

There I was, standing in the lobby of the NYU Library talking to Rosa, the circulation desk attendant. There had been a crime. 

The suspect: a vending machine

The victim: me

The offense: I was shortchanged $.50

Why was I in the library of a school I didn’t attend following a paper trail to reclaim $.50? Was this the world’s saddest dream?

Nope. Well yes, it’s sad. But it actually happened 10 minutes ago. I didn’t quite realize the absurdity of it until Rosa pushed those two dusty quarters across the table to me. But it’s the principle, right?! Can’t let the vending machine fat cats take money from the little guy. And I can call myself the little guy because it’s officially been one year since Paul and I quit our jobs to build Treatings.

We’ve written a lot about the product on the Treatings blog, so here I thought I would address a couple of the more elemental things we’ve learned over the past year:

Work space:

Initially upon leaving our jobs, we shared a desk in another startup’s office. While it was great to work around smart people, we realized office space was unnecessary at our early stage. Since Treatings facilitates casual informational meetings in coffee shops, we figured that’s where we should be spending a lot of our time. So, for the last 9 months, we’ve spent many hours working out of coffee shops, with the NYU Library serving as a backup work space.

We’ve learned a lot from the many people we’ve approached in coffee shops. For instance, we met an artist the other day in Starbucks who mentioned that she enjoys working in more public settings, like coffee shops, because people will sometimes see and ask her about her work. In this way, she’s met one accomplished artist who has since become a mentor of hers, as well as a couple of clients. On Treatings, we plan to allow members to showcase the work they’re particularly proud of and display an openness to speaking about it in person.

Our habit of spending a lot of time at our favorite coffee shops, approaching people to learn about what they do and get product feedback, has made us marked men (aka “campers” in java circles). I’d like to think the gallons of coffee we’ve purchased help our cause.

Technical skills:

Many of the hurdles we’ve faced in building Treatings have been related more to social dynamics than technology. We are a tech-enabled, but community-driven, platform. That being said, Paul’s technical expertise one year ago revolved mostly around his academic studies of computer programming as it pertains to music, as well as what he learned during his brief tech role on Wall Street. Since then, he’s enjoyed throwing himself into web-related code in order to develop our platform. Now, if only we had a designer…(good news, as of last week we do!).

There are so many free resources on the web that make it possible to teach oneself how to code. We’ve benefitted immeasurably from building Treatings ourselves rather than outsourcing. We don’t think it would have been possible to arrive at our current model by this time if we had had to translate our concepts to a third person, one far less familiar with the idea, to implement. Admittedly, I haven’t done a good job of taking advantage of these resources, but I’m working on learning front-end code to help where possible.

Upward mobility:

Paul and I have learned a lot in the last year, helped by countless people who have spent valuable time meeting with us, providing advice and feedback. We’d like to think we’ve grown a lot and have decided our sleeping arrangements should reflect this fact.

Feb-12 to Feb-13: Room-o-bed

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Feb-13 to [?]: Bunks!

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