Oh hey, BTW, I left Shelby
Yep, I guess only a few people around me actually know, but around the time we were closing our round ($1.5MM) I decided to walk…
Why in the hell would I do that? So I can lead HomeField to the promise land! I am now CEO of HomeField, and I couldn’t be happier about my decision. In fact, my only regret is that I waited so long to make the decision.
**Disclaimer - before I go on, I truly believe Shelby TV is a phenomenal product. One I helped launch. Do not misconstrue me leaving as having no faith in the company, the team, or the product. In fact, quite the contrary.
Shelby has every chance for success in the world. It’s a large market, with tons of users, and it’s a real problem. People miss web video all the time.
However, I believe in doing what you’re passionate about, no matter what. Truth be told, I don’t watch a lot of web video. That could change over time, hopefully it will and I’ll have Shelby to thank for it, but right now if I watch a web video it’s something specific. And, if I miss something, I’m fine with it.
Early on during Techstars (around the middle of Feb) while I was watching Shelby trying to think of the best way ads could fit in without being obtrusive to the user, when it hit me. ”Do I really want to be working on something like this?”, I thought. ”I hate ads. Is this what I want my contribution to the world to be?” I remember thinking, “I should take over HomeField.”
Full disclosure - I did nothing about it. I continued to put more time into Shelby even though I knew deep down I wasn’t passionate about it. Why? Because, it was the easy thing to do. I was part of a fantastic team, we had momentum, we had investor interest, we had Techstars.
Then, one day Mid-May while on the train back to Long Island I tried to be as honest as possible with myself, “Why won’t you take over HomeField?” All the answers I had were answers I didn’t like. ”I won’t find an engineer. I don’t know any investors. I’m afraid to go it alone." The last one really stuck with me. It hit me hard, and I remember having a quick jolt of pain shoot through my chest… "I’m a coward."
Every day of my life is devoted to improving myself in some way, however small it may be. Specifically, I love that aspect in sports. The preparation, the process, the pain it takes to drudge through and achieve what you want to achieve, or become who you want to become. I live with that motivation, and the drive to do whatever I’m doing to the best of my ability, everyday. That is what I believe is at the core of HomeField. That’s something I should be working on… Something I live every single day.
I walked off the train 95% sure I wanted to leave Shelby. Sure enough, as fate would have it, I sat down for dinner with Dan and Reece (co-founders) and they asked me, “Would you be interested in taking over HomeField?” Since I was only 95% sure at the time, I told them I’d like the weekend to think about it.
The weekend only further solidified my decision. Rather than think of the negative, what if it fails type questions, I tried to think of all the positives associated with taking over HF. At the end of the weekend I knew where my heart was - HomeField. I sent an email out to the team, and come Monday it was full steam ahead.
Since then, I’ve had some scary - Oh, F*&K - moments. After all, it’s not exactly easy to walk away from a $1.5mm investment, especially after you’ve been bootstrapping for 3+ years. Nevertheless, I’ve already pitched to a few investors, I’ve made a major improvement to the product, and I even have a new lead engineer on board (more on that later). Most importantly, I’m happy as can be, and believe I’m building something that will have a positive and lasting effect on a lot of people. It’s early, but I guess I’m better at going it alone than I originally thought. ;)