We didn’t get in the first time

We just got into 500 Startups!

But the thing you should know is – four months ago, we applied and didn’t get in. Heck – we applied to them all – 500 Startups, YC, Techstars, AngelPad.

We got rejected from all of them.

You know what sucked? I knew a lot of friends who got in. And no one wants to feel inferior to their friends. But I found out something I didn’t know before – many friends whom I’d assumed got in the first time – confided in me that it was their 2nd, 3rd, 4th time applying.

We got in the second time because they saw the progress we’d made. We had more traction, spoke more confidently about our business model, and had closed our first business customer.

When someone tells you no, what they really mean is – not yet.

A lot of first-time founders apply, get rejected, and then think that’s that. But it’s not such a binary thing. You know who else get rejected their first time? Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox.

We don’t hear about that side much though, because everyone is supposed to be crushing it all the time.

“How’s your startup doing?”

“Oh we’re crushing it,” we’re supposed to say with a smile, trying to ignore the knot in our gut.

But stories of struggle are just as important as stories of success. So I’ve kept a video diary since the first line of code was written. Every moment where I questioned how we would make money, where I felt exhausted, where I wondered how the heck we were going to make it work – it’s here.

Of course it’s going to be hard. Of course we’re going to feel stressed. But at the end of the day, we get to try and make our dream a reality. We’re very lucky to be able to do that.

We just built the feature we wish wasn’t necessary


Today we are releasing two features we wish weren’t necessary: block user and report comment.

Unfortunately, there have been a handful of unwanted comments this week, and a few Giveit100 members have emailed us requesting to be able to block people who have made them feel uncomfortable. Starting today, you’ll be able to do that.

It takes a lot of courage to put yourself – videos of yourself – on the internet. It takes even more courage to share videos of yourself when you’re not at your best. But that’s what Giveit100 is about. This is where you share not just your victories – but also your bloopers, the days when you’re not feeling so hot. We’re all works in progress.

The internet can be a pretty scary and hateful place. If you put yourself on YouTube, be prepared to be skewered in the comments. It’s easy to criticize others from behind the computer keyboard. It’s hard to be the one putting yourself out there – opening your work and your dreams to the internet.

We want this to be a safe place where you don’t have to worry about any of that.

We have just one rule:
Giveit100 is a place for positive comments only.

Here’s a test: will your comment make the other person feel good?

If not, best to keep it to yourself. And if you see negative comments on other’s videos, please let us know by clicking “report comment,” and we’ll take care of it.

Use your best judgement. Teasing among friends can be okay, for example. Constructive feedback is usually okay too, if it’s phrased in a considerate way.

We have a suggestion too – if you get a supportive comment on one of your videos, try paying it forward. Don’t feel shy about leaving a nice comment for a total stranger. It really can make a difference for them. When we talk to people who’ve made it through all 100 days, almost universally they say the giveit100 community helped them – especially when they felt like giving up.

Personally, I’ve received plenty of criticism, but I’ve also been fortunate to get a lot of encouragement.

When I first learned to dance, I asked my teacher: how good can I get in a year?
“Really good,” he said.
“Okay,” I told him. “I’ll give it a shot.”

He believed in me. So I practiced my butt off. And I learned to dance in a year. That video now has 4 million views and gave us the idea to make Giveit100.

Surround yourself with people who believe in you. It makes all the difference.


When it’s okay to quit

You miss a day or two of practice, then you feel bad for falling behind… then you think why bother?

It’s the holidays – you’re traveling and spending time with family. You’re out of your normal routine. Now’s a good time to reflect - is this really what I want to be doing?

Because maybe, you should quit. 

Yo-Yo Ma’s first instrument wasn’t cello. He actually started with violin – and he wasn’t good at it. So he quit violin and picked up cello instead. Maybe you’re like Yo-Yo Ma, and you just haven’t found your cello yet.

It’s okay to quit.

You’ve heard the advice before: Do what you love.

But what if you don’t know what you love?

What if you’re not one of those people who has always known what they’re meant to do?

The good news is it’s not magic, and it’s not luck either. And just because you’re an adult, it’s not too late to start.

Try everything. Be curious, ask questions. Let yourself be pulled in weird and interesting directions. Let your friends drag you to that thing you’re not sure about. Go to a real bookstore. Sign for an art class, a cycling class, an improv class. Bring a friend. When your friend bails, show up anyway.

Try everything. When you find something you’re truly passionate about, it will prioritize itself.

What we’re working on next at Giveit100

We’ve thought a lot about how to make this a place where you can try things – and just as importantly, quit things. We’re working on the ability for you to have more than one project at once. We hope to build this by New Year’s, just in time for you to start those resolutions. And break a few, too ;)
Happy Holidays,

Karen & Finbarr
Team 100

P.S. Some of you have requested a way to donate. We believe in this project and right now we pay for it out of our own pockets (last month it cost $1400 to run). You can donate here.