As they say in that commercial (you know the one I’m talking about): “life comes at you fast.” Less than 8 weeks ago, I had no idea what Pinterest was, let alone imagined that I’d be packing up the family and moving to California before the end of July. If you ask my friends, I’m sure they’ll tell you this was no surprise; moving to the bay area is something I’ve been talking about for years. But still, I can’t help but feel a little shocked that I’m writing this post from Palo Alto instead of Provo today.
If you’re a startup guy like me, you probably have a hard time imagining yourself at a larger more established company (even if that company is as cool as Facebook or Google). The term ‘startup’ gets thrown around a lot these days and young companies come in all shapes and sizes. In my case, I was looking for a startup that met a few specific requirements.
Early but not without funding
I’m prepared to take a risk, but being a parent means I’m not the only one taking the risk anymore. This may not apply to everyone, but for those with families, it’s a big deal. It reminds me of something Paul Graham wrote:
“Another way to decrease the risk is to join an existing startup instead of starting your own. Being one of the first employees of a startup is a lot like being a founder, in both the good ways and the bad.”
The earlier you join a startup, the more impact you’ll be able to have. I’ve only been at Pinterest for 3 weeks and I’ve already experienced this personally. One of my first tasks was to add a feature that makes it possible for users pin videos. We launched the feature last Monday and nearly 20,000 videos have been pinned so far. I’m quite certain that nothing I’ve ever done in my life has touched so many people in such a short amount of time.
Great team with a strong sense of direction
I can’t overstate how important this was to me. There were several good signs that helped me feel good about joining Pinterest. One that stands out to me was how careful the founders have been about publicity. In an era where so many startups seem to be overly focused on the fundraising game, it’s refreshing to meet a group of founders who haven’t forgotten their users. Pinterest is under-hyped for a reason (for now anyway).
Great product with adoring customers
I knew Pinterest was something special the moment I first saw it. Now that I’m on the team I realize that even more. We get fan mail pretty much every day. And not just simple ‘thank you’ notes, either; these are long gushing love letters. We have the best users ever.
Exciting technical challenges
This one caught me off guard. I knew that joining an early stage startup would present new technical challenges. What I didn’t realize was just how much I would learn and how quickly I would be thrust into the thick of it. I feel like I’m drinking from the firehose, but there’s honestly nothing I’d rather be doing at this point in my career. Pinterest is growing so quickly right now that it’s giving me opportunities to work on things I’d only ever dreamed of before.
As you can probably tell, I’m pretty excited about the opportunity to help turn Pinterest into something millions of people use and appreciate. I’ll do my best to post more as the site grows.
Oh, and if you’re looking for a great opportunity to work with amazing people on an exciting problem for the best users in the world, apply here. :-)
My second ‘visible’ contribution since joining Pinterest is now live (the first was the new “Pin It” button for websites)! Almost 15,000 videos have been pinned since the feature was launched on Monday. More details on the Pinterest blog:
Today, we’re excited to introduce a brand new feature at Pinterest: Video Pins! If you’ve ever wanted to pin a DIY tutorial, a cooking lesson, a music video, or just a Beluga whale enjoying a Mariachi Band, now you can.
Just push the very same Pin It button you have installed in your bookmarks bar whenever you see a YouTube video. We are hard at work adding support for other video sites.