Chasing hype cycles with Anthony and Kevin


A transcript of Episode 5 of our Young, Scrappy, and Hungry Podcast

Young, Scrappy, and Hungry is Typedream’s podcast where our founders talk about the product, stuff they’ve learned along the way, the founder mindset, and things they think about as immigrant startup founders in Silicon Valley.

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Full Transcript

Kevin: Testing, testing.

Anthony: Uh, click, click uh, record first before you say testing.

Kevin: Yeah, already did. Already did.

Anthony: Okay. So, testing HP laser jet wireless network.

Kevin: Sounds good. Sounds good. All right, cool. Test 1, 2, 3, and let's go. Hey guys. Welcome to another episode on... fuck nah nah repeat.

Anthony: It's fine.

Kevin: Hey guys. Um, it's Kevin and Anthony here. Yeah. Welcome back to another episode of Young Scrappy and Hungry. Today we wanna repent for our sins of chasing hype cycles. And yeah, basically take you guys back down the memory lane on why we did all this, um, when it started, um, before all this was Typedream.

Anthony: Exactly. And like, how, how do we do it? Like, like yeah. Like, like so what sense do we have repent for Kevin?

Kevin: Oh, man. A lot. We've been chasing hype cycles. Time after time, man. Yeah. Let's just go back down the memory lane.

Anthony: So, fourth year of college, it was 2017.

Wait, no. 2019. 2019.

Kevin: That was like the epitome of it all. Um, but if we go back like a year back, um, I think we were doing a project, uh, and it was on a crypto exchange.

Anthony: We were really interested in the crypto environment. And back then, cuz it was really hyped.

Kevin: Mm-hmm.

Anthony: It was like what? The second bull market or something? The second spike in the, you know, like obviously at that moment, you know, everything was, you know, the clear, clear blue ocean. Anything is possible. There isn't really that much innovation yet compared to these days.

So obviously the obvious thing to do is to make a crypto exchange.

Kevin: Yep. And everyone around us was talking about all these new blockchain ideas, blockchain this, blockchain that, everything on a blockchain.

Anthony: And I mean it, it's a really cool idea, right? It still is a very interesting idea.

Kevin: It is. But yeah, we were very naive at the time wanting to build a crypto exchange, not knowing how technically difficult it was.

Anthony: Yeah. So like I remember that we had to do, you know, order matching, you know, the entire flow of like, you know, it's so complex and you know, it's so hard to make it efficient, so hard to make it performant, like in compared to these days.


Kevin: Yeah. Back then we didn't have. Yeah, just simple API tap into finances, liquidity pool, coin bases. We had to do everything manually create sub counts on all those exchanges. That was crazy, man.

Anthony: Like, like imagine the legal risk, like we would have to encounter if things went wrong. I mean, I mean, things did go wrong, right?

For many of these exchanges from time to time.

Kevin: Yeah. It was, again, naive of us to think that a bunch of senior college students can build a crypto exchange and be responsible for people's money.

Anthony: Yeah, I mean, I mean, looking back, like a lot of failed crypto companies or a lot of these companies have stemmed from really quite naive and like, um, and young people.

And usually the more successful crypto companies are filled with older people, right in finance.

Kevin: That's true. That's true. You know, just really, really, um, good engineers with deep knowledge.

Anthony: Mm-hmm.

Kevin: Um, but yeah, I mean, all the bad stuff aside though, uh, that project did get us somewhere.

It allowed us to, you know, um, enter basically, uh, the crypto space, um, the FinTech space. Got us to, to know a couple of founders in the space. YC-backed founders and it taught us a lot about what's possible. You know, when we came here we knew YC but we didn't think it was possible.

You know, a lot of Indonesians don't really apply there.

Anthony: I mean, like, it's so rare to hear someone from Indonesia or even from like, not, non Americans, right. In general, like, it's. It's almost like a, you know, like a pipe dream, right?

Kevin: Yeah, it was. We thought it was like an elitist network kind of thing. Uh, we didn't think it was possible, but, you know, little that we know, um, we learned a lot from other YC founders, uh, on how to apply, um, what YC is looking for in terms of like a founding team.

And, uh, upon graduating, we decided to take a shot. You know, what if these people can, why can't we?

Anthony: Yeah, so, so like, um, so I guess why did we apply to yc? Like, I guess we applied to YC with a sense knowing that, you know, there are so much more out there like, like we, we kind of reach our limit within the non YC space.

Mm-hmm. Maybe Kevin can share a bit more about how we met VCs and how we tried and failed to fund our crypto exchange all of that.

Kevin: Sure, sure. I mean, it goes all the way back, man. All the way back before 2019. We've always been trying, I think the first time we met an angel investor was back in 2017

Uh, we didn't really know, uh, how, you know, uh, the funding system was. Yeah.

Anthony: Do you remember like how it was also. Hacky, it was extremely hacky. Right? It was like, like we didn't know any legal structure. It was more of like some dude literally just asking whether he can, you know, help us out.

Kevin: Yeah. And, you know, weird being the naive little kids that we were, um, every time some, you know, old person, uh, or, you know, saying that they were angels or from a VC, uh, if they reached out, we would be extremely happy and we were.

Okay. Wow. You know what? Maybe it's possible. Um, I keep reminiscing on the days, like, uh, I got inspired by one of those, you know, social network movies and I thought, I was like, oh, I'm on track to be like Zuck. Um, but little did we know that that wasn't the case. Um, we didn't know that that was the VC's job, right?

That was an angel's job to look for companies on a daily basis if they had to talk to like a hundred companies they would. And we were just one amongst a thousand founding team that they would talk to. But every time we talked to them, we felt like we were special, but in reality we weren't. And we were, you know, just chasing whatever the VCs wanted.

Anthony: Yeah, exactly.

Kevin: Um, whatever's hype, uh, whatever attracts the retention. And, you know, I think that was a wrong approach, uh, that we did, um, one of our other sins, but, uh, it was a good learning though. It got us somewhere.

Anthony: Yeah, I mean, I guess it wasn't like, it wasn't like totally bad in general. Like, um, in general, uh, the moment that we tried for stuff, uh, it all moves forward step by step, right?

And it's been little steps, you know, we learn along the way. We make mistakes along the way. And I guess, um, YC is a very good environment for that. You know, it builds a really solid foundation for people like us without any prior knowledge in the industry. Mm-hmm. And. I guess when we were naive back then, we asked, uh, VCs a lot, right?

Kevin: Yeah.

Anthony: For like, uh, what is, what is a problem? You know, what, what should we solve? How, how should we do things? And, and of course, you know, along the way we learned that, you know, that's literally the worst way to, you know, build a company or make a new product from advice from other VCs.

Kevin: Exactly, man. We were basically asking them what should we build so that we could get funded.

And that was incredibly wrong. We also thought back then that there was this magical partnership, right? If you get it.

Anthony: Oh, oh yeah.

Kevin: Yeah. A big name VC invests in you that means you know, your percentage of being successful increases significantly.

Anthony: I mean, I mean yeah. That, that, that's true across like, I mean, what we thought then, like it was true across whether it was a VC or whether it was like a major partnership that brings us revenue, right?

Kevin: Yep. Exactly. And we were dead wrong on that. Um, you know, in the end we just realized, uh, today, looking back that, um, whatever you do, if you want to be successful, uh, it, it just comes back to you, your own effort, uh, your own hard work. And yeah, actually people don't really know, um, how to be successful.

Um, what we learned is basically how to fail fast, fail cheap, and fail forward is what we kept doing. That's the only one thing that we did right. Um, and yeah, I'm just really glad man, that, that we did that and yeah, really glad we got, we got into YC. We learned all the things that we needed, I guess.

Anthony: I guess that was a really like interesting phase in our early days. Pre, pre YC. Um, like we, we, we weren't even doing startup school then, right?

That's such a great resource that we didn't, if we had tapped into it earlier, we probably could have figured things out, um, a lot faster, a lot of better.

Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. Yeah. I mean, yeah. And, but you know, the good news is that for some reason, you know, like we were, we had enough, you know, courage to apply to YC. The first, the first like moment that we went out of college, right? Literally like that summer or something, we were like preparing to get into YC.

We were talking to a lot of, uh, previous batches, a lot of people from gathering advice on like, what is the best way to make a business and apply ing to YC. And yeah. I guess that's it and we'll see you on the next one. On the next one we'll talk more about our journey through YC.

Kevin: Cool. See you guys. Bye bye.

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