Trudging through the snow with the Adventurate Incorporation documents
Of course. There are ups and downs in starting a business, and some people just never would take the steps to start their own business. I have talked with multiple friends who have told me about their business idea, and I always say “why don’t you start?” A common response is that they aren’t risk-takers. I think the biggest risk is to have lived your life and never pursued your real dream, all because you were afraid of failure.
Beyond the risk, there are real rewards. The more obvious ones are that I am getting to travel around to build my business and it happens to align with my personal interests. I never would have imagined living in Miami for a couple months, but here I am in 75 degree weather in February, and when I look out the window I see palm trees. I work from morning to night 7 days a week, but that is easy when I get to build my dream.
Then there are the less obvious benefits. The roller coaster I mentioned earlier is what makes people stronger. I have learned to code, which I know has instilled that great technology and a great user experience will always be a part of Adventurate’s product. Year one into Adventurate I am thankful to Adventurate users, Adventurate Partners, my family, my personal supporters, and even the haters who give me inspiration as well. This year has been full of great moments and lessons, I look forward to the next year of running my software startup.
Founder & CEO of Adventurate, Inc.
Thoughts From Adventurate's First Year In Business
What It's Like to Switch Careers and Run a Software Startup (Year One)
Would I Start Adventurate Again?
Adventurate after it launched (left) and Adventurate (now). An improved sense of design has led to an improvement in the app.
I have spent a lot of time in the past few months reading a lot on the subject of design, and it has improved the product and my business overall. Design includes the “look” of an app, but it also includes the functionality and the speed of the app. An exciting Saturday for me this past year was watching one movie on industrial design and one on fonts. I didn’t know that “watch a movie on fonts and chill” was something I would do in my career when I was studying political science at Michigan State University, but there I was. And it was fun! After running a business for a year, my sense of design has improved and I think it does for others as they grow their business and study the topic.
On Miami Beach. Never had visited Miami before Adventurate or imagined I would live here for a couple months!
Adventurate has been in business for over a year, and as a new version of Adventurate is released this weekend I feel this is a good time to reflect on the development of Adventurate that has made it so it makes discovering and booking adventures easier than ever before, and also to take this moment to reflect on what it has been like to switch careers and run a software startup for the past year.
Starting a business is starting an adventure that develops you as a person. When I started Adventurate, I noticed how focused I was on thinking “how would a businessman approach this problem.” A year in I have become more independent and I am a better businessman for it. And so the question has become “how would I approach this problem.” I think this is a distinct change of mind that comes within the first year.
This personal development also occurs because when it happens to you it is different than looking on from afar. Like Muhammed Ali said, “everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face.” You get punched in the face as a businessman. Before I started it was easy to expect “I’m sure businesses will say no” to being on the Adventurate marketplace. But when I am at my standup desk and make a cold-call and a real person on the other end of the phone is telling me no, that impacts you. Your emotions are tied to the ups and downs of the business. While I think it is good to be personally invested in a business, I have noticed setbacks in the beginning were a lot harder than they are now. That allows to keep perspective and focus on implementing plans to achieving my vision with Adventurate.
Design-thinking has been applied to Adventurate’s search process. Making search simpler and trying to aggregate results towards adventures is a big benefit of Adventurate. But it can still develop, and in this latest version, you will notice it has significantly improved. In nearby adventures, once you have allowed location services, you will automatically be served the closest adventures to you. Additionally, in Adventure Search, you will see there are now 3 categories (“Water,” “Air,” and “Earth”) that are a special design exclusive to Adventurate, and is much simpler than any other type of search process.
As I mentioned earlier, there are features you wouldn’t think of as features included into design. As an example, the “Book Adventure Now” button has always been below the description, so people can read all about an adventure before booking it. I noticed that people with iPhone 4 or 5 had to scroll, but didn’t think much of it. When I became more aware of design, however, I realized that I had inadvertently added another tap because people with smaller phones had to scroll down. From the beginning, one of my goals was to make it so it takes as few taps to book an adventure as possible (and you probably enjoy that Adventurate is ad free, meaning fewer taps). That wasn’t design friendly to people with smaller phones. So now it is convenient and you don’t have to look for the Book button, making it so people with smaller phones are the same amount of taps away from booking as people with larger phones. Regular people wouldn’t point that out as an Adventurate feature, but it is and it is a result of good design.
“Design-thinking” can also apply to other areas besides products. My schedule is designed better. My approach to tasks is designed better. Analytics helps this process. I track the data and use it to design of everything from coding to calls. The design-thinking applied to my time has allowed me to benefit Adventurate’s Partners and users. I don’t claim to have mastered design, but my ability has improved over the past year, and a year in you better know how to design your product and business processes.