Keith Teare is the founder and CEO of Just.me, a service that provides texting, email and social networking in one place.
Write a lot of guest articles for a site like TechCrunch. I did and it generated about 30,000 beta requests.
I was motivated to start just.me by a love of iMessage, Photostream and the mobile address book. I realized that they were all disconnected and that I could integrate them and add video and voice to create an incredible powerful, yet simple, messaging experience.
During our initial fundraising I learned that time is your enemy so if you can execute, do it fast. We raised $550 thousand from early stage investors, and then $2.2 million from Vinod Khosla and True Ventures.
We decided to make just.me available in 32 languages on day 1. And then we did 12 press events (via Google Hangouts) for international markets. This led to a lot of publicity and the PR led to customers.
One low point in building just.me was realizing that our app (much as we loved it) sucked at some things. For example when it was only on iPhone, Android users could only receive messages, they couldn’t send or reply. This killed the ability of the app to be viral. We solved it by driving hard to release Android and Web.
Our highest high was seeing the app live for real users. By that time we had been working on it for more than 12 months. It was both exhilarating and frightening.
I learned that if you are a victim then you will never self-realize. When I am down I always blame myself and try and figure out how to solve the underlying frustration. Then I do something. By doing something you become the agent of change, and other’s react to what you do. That is very empowering and usually solves the problem, at least for a while.
Though he’s the hero of many I’d say I’d aspire to be like Steve Jobs. He always acted as if Apple was a startup, he did launches twice a year, he was always trying to disrupt and he was very focused on users and simplicity.
In the beginning I wish I would have raised more cash so that we could have grown as big as our potential.
I believed I could upgrade the social-mobile experience for almost 2 billion smartphone owners and be better at that than Apple, Google or Facebook. Its dumb, foolish, crazy, and cool all at the same time. And we can do it.