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I began working on Infogami last summer, as part of the first batch of Y Combinator startups. At the end of the summer we had a working prototype and a number of offers for funding. Things were going so well I took a leave of absence from college to work on it.
But getting funding, as I hope to describe in later posts, wasn't as easy as I thought. I spent the next few months working full-time chasing funding offers, but eventually they all fell apart. I found myself stuck without any money, any partners, or any place to live. The whole experience was incredibly trying. There were many days when I felt like my head was going to literally explode.
One Sunday I decided I'd finally had enough of it. I went to talk to Paul Graham, the only person who had kept me going through these months. "This is it," I told him. "If I don't get either funding, a partner, or an apartment by the end of this week, I'm giving up." Paul did his best to talk me out of it and come up with solutions, but I still couldn't see any way out.
The next night I had dinner with Paul and his friends. They noted my birthday was tomorrow and asked me what I wanted. I thought for a moment about what I wanted most. "A cofounder," I finally said. We all laughed.
The next morning was my birthday and I was awakened by a knock on the door from Paul. "I thought of a solution to your problem," he exclaimed with his inimitable energy. "Merge with Reddit!" "That's an interesting idea," I said, still picking the sleep out of my eyes. As we discussed it, we just got more and more excited -- it seemed like such a perfect fit. I still can't even imagine a better solution.
Steve "spez" Huffman and Alexis "kn0thing" Ohanian, the team behind Reddit, also liked the idea and we began working together that very day. Immediately, we could see things were going to work out great. We also got Steve and Alexis's housemate, Chris "KeyserSosa" Slowe, a Harvard physics Ph.D. student, to join the team. Together, we felt unstoppable.
Last month, when we got back from winter break, we began working on Infogami in earnest. It was clear that the prototype I'd built would never work for any serious site, so Steve built an amazing new industrial-strength database system while I built the software to talk to it. Unfortunately this amazing system is pretty much invisible to the outside world, but it's going to allow us to quickly build software that's more advanced than anything else out there.
Last week we moved over reddit.com to the new system, proving that it can handle a lot of users. With that finally finished, I decided I had to get Infogami up as soon as possible. Normally, we'd spend another couple months working on the software before we'd show it to the public, but I just couldn't wait much longer. So we decided to work like crazy for a week and launch whatever we had after seven days.
Obviously there's lots more work to do -- right now we only have the most basic of features. But instead of continuing to work on it behind closed doors, we're going to try something different: we're going to build it in public.
There's tons of stuff left to build, including lots of things we can copy over from my original prototype. But more importantly, we want to hear what you want. Send us feedback and if you have an idea for Infogami, post it to our reddit where other users can vote it up and down. We'll try to implement the most popular requests.
Here's my goal: something new for Infogami every weekday. Some days it'll just be a blog post or a bug fix. But most days, we'll try to add a whole new feature. I hope you'll stay tuned.
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