Very few things can make a startup founder melt like a marshmallow.
Almost every single day in our life is a lonely fight for relevance, existence and traction. In a sea of sharks, of risks, of dismissals, of incomprehensions, and of doubts.
Having a thick skin, and an uncluttered mind, free from raw emotions and from the tempting lures of being complacent or appear vulnerable is not just a “nice to have”. It’s a mandatory skill to develop if we want to survive.
However, I challenge any founder not to melt after hearing a story from one of their users, whose life has been touched because of what they’ve built.
This is one of these.
It all started with “Edu”. I met him only recently, but I quickly grew a lot of respect and affection for him. It’s easy to see why: Edu is also an entrepreneur, but with a much higher profile. He’s compassionate and smart: he advises startups, and sometimes even invest in them. He loves people, and people love him.
But Edu doesn’t always have the time to show his compassion to the people in his life. He’s a very busy man.
When he was a kid, Edu was in a private catholic school run by nuns. One of the nuns, who was also one of the most respected and devoted person in the school, also really loved Edu and was always looking after him.
They ultimately stayed in touch and they connected on Facebook. But they haven’t been interacting a lot thus far.
I connected with Edu through a friend in common that introduced the two of us, as he believed we could do some business together.
That’s how I got to show him to our birthday application: Happy Birthdays.
Edu, liked it a lot. I immediately saw that we were on the same page. He understood what makes the app unique: the ability to collect and share gift ideas for people, in an easy, crowd-sourced, fun and non-intrusive fashion.
But, as it’s often the case with things we expect, or take for granted, a much simpler and much more ordinary action in the app was what touched Edu’s life.
Happy Birthdays allows users to create personalized birthday cards for select friends on Facebook. Very quickly, and very easily, while allowing the user to stay creative. Edu created and scheduled birthday cards for his friends, including for the nun, with whom he is connected on Facebook.
When we met again, a couple days ago, to catch up over a coffee, he told me about what had happened when she received his greetings: she was so moved by this simple but meaningful sign that she downloaded his message, printed it and sent it to her friends, and to Edu’s friends. Along with these touching, simple words: “He remembers me!”.
Edu eyes were sparkling as he was telling me the story. It was easy to see that he was really happy for putting so much warmth into the life of someone that matters for him.
That’s of course one the most beautiful story I’ve heard this year. And yes, it did make me melt.
Thank you Edu for sharing this story with me, and for inspiring me to stay focus and keep the faith in our vision and in what we are building.