New York, NY
I had little experience in technology, and had never launched an iPhone app before, but I was determined to figure out how to do it and make it work.
Following business school, I worked at a digital consulting firm in New York City where I would frequently meet with entrepreneurs. I deeply admired their work and considered the life of an entrepreneur to be my dream job: to have my own company, to build a team and to try and create something from nothing. It felt like what I was built for. Over time, it became clear to me that I desperately wanted to leave the traditional corporate environment and start my own tech company.
I had little experience in technology, and had never launched an iPhone app before, but I was determined to figure out how to do it and make it work. I spent months meeting with people who had relevant experience, and read countless materials on start-ups, tech and building a team. I eventually found my first hire, and then my second. Together, we launched a minimum viable product at South by Southwest 2010. My tech start-up was finally becoming a reality.
At every step of the way, I would think about what tasks to list out for the following day, as well as what they would need to be to get me to my 'grand vision'. Simply thinking about the bigger picture or my grand vision felt like too much to handle. For me, it was all about making list of tasks for tomorrow, breaking this long-term goal into slightly more manageable, more 'bite-sized' tasks in the short-term.
Eventually, I learned that a ton of small steps can equal something big.
After launching our product, I went out and raised two rounds of venture capital investment. I pitched at conferences, I sought and incorporated feedback, I hired and I fired. I've set up an office, and interacted extensively with customers. I've struggled. I've seen success. I've launched two iPhone applications. I'm in the arena, and I'm leaning in. I've become one of the entrepreneurs I would meet for coffee over three years ago.
I've come to believe that if there is a will, there is a way, and sometime a little naivety is a blessing. Despite all the challenges I've faced, this has been the best professional experience I could have asked for, and I wish the same for anyone who has seriously considered a new job, a different career, or a new personal vision.
A driven student finds her own way into a prestigious program.
Nerissa Holder Hall
Media & Tech Entrepreneur