The Many Hats of Building and Launching a Web Startup



  • Quit job as designer
  • Failed to found co-founder
  • Learned Python

Start Out

  • Have good runway
    • 1 year+
  • Health and relationships

  • Quit your job

What is Success?

  • Don’t want to build Google
  • Just build something that makes you some money
  • Take a step back
  • Love your job
  • Concentrate on small successes


  • Knew HTML
  • Hated CS courses
  • Got a job at a startup
  • Got bored
  • Started freelancing


  • No cofounder is better than a bad cofounder
  • Applied to YC
  • Things didn’t go well
  • Used Learn Python the Hard Way (
  • Used Django
  • Six weeks later, launched

Launch as Fast as Possible

  • You need customers
  • It helps morale
  • Allows you to iterate
  • “Good enough”
  • You can add features later
  • Work on the hard parts first
  • For her, programming part was hard
  • It was okay to launch with bad code.
  • Violates DRY.
  • Got picked up by Swiss Miss with MVP


  • Have a plan.
  • Don’t think about it later or rely on funding

Don’t Be Alone

  • Surround yourself in a community
  • Find people who are smarter than you to help you out
  • No NDAs
  • Inhibits advice
  • People stealing your ideas is a good thing
  • Use Twitter/HN to talk
  • Attend Hacker Events, SuperHappyDevHouse, PyLadies

Take Shortcuts

  • Django ecosystem is awesome
  • Doesn’t know databases at all, South makes it easy
  • Dotcloud makes servers easy
  • Themeforest for design
  • Design for Non Designers
  • You can always iterate later