Some folks have asked for more details on the sequence of events to our funding. Here’s a bit more of the story as to how 43 Things came into the world.
If the beginning is when you sit down with friends and decide to start a company, Amazon wasn’t there at the beginning. We started the company in Daniel’s basement with a list of crazy ideas we’d been kicking around for months. We started building the prototype using instiki – not even writing code – and then enlisted the help of DHH to start thinking about developing the site using Ruby on Rails. We roped in our friends at 37 Signals to help. And we started recruiting more of our friends to work at the co-op. Along the way, friends at Amazon heard me out on some of my ideas, but all was very casual at this point.
As we congealed around what we were building and how it might come together, I started conversations with various people in a position to help. I spoke with folks at Amazon (I worked there from 1996-2001, and Microsoft from 2002-2004) as well as several other angel investors and VC firms. We decided to self fund until we worked out a deal with Amazon.com. That came together in the Fall of 2004. We were working toward a public announcement on the investment next month, but the story came out ahead of the announcement.
We are committed to what we call The age of the amateur and if that means we are going to make missteps as we build the company, so be it.
We don’t see Amazon’s investment as defining what we are doing. It just helps us do it. We are focused on building 43 Things, and other products that create networks of shared experiences to borrow John Udell’s phrase. Some would like more detail on terms, and others want to craft conspiracy theories about how this came together. We don’t really have a shared interest in either topic.
So thanks for the congratulations and support. I hope you’ll try out 43 Things and send us some feedback on the product. We’re listening to your suggestions and evolving the site to make it more fun and useful.