Ubud | The good, the weird & the unexpected (pt. I)

A few weeks ago, I wrote a draft for a blog post in less than an hour.

I wasn’t quite happy with it so I figured I’d take some time to make it better and never got around to finishing
it.

It was about our time in Ubud so far and how I felt about it. Tonight is our last night here so it’s pretty
much a “now or never” moment to capture my impressions of the past month.

We came to Ubud because of a coworking space, Hubud, we had learned about online. It looked awesome: digital
nomads working away, plenty of meetups and talks, all in a building 90% made out of bamboo.
What better place to launch a startup?

We found a villa, I joined Hubud and we begun working away. Not really sure towards what.

Catherine and I both knew we needed to learn practical skills, that being the biggest takeaway from our time in NY and our failed
applications to startup accelerators. So I began online Ruby on Rails tutorials, Catherine started looking for
ways to learn how to design.

The thing with Ubud though is that once it’s 5 o’clock, there really isn’t much to do, except going out
for supper. Past 9, you’re pretty much walking down empty roads. So we fell into this somewhat weird routine
where we’d work, go out and eat, come back to the villa, sometimes watch a movie (thanks to the
1400+ movies available to download at Hubud!) and go to sleep.
Really, these weren’t the most exciting times. But, we did manage to get things done and, in about two or
three weeks, I launched a web app and (almost) set up a full website for my Dad’s company.

All along though, there was this sense of “what exactly are we doing all this for?”. Maybe we could do as much
from home. Why was it necessary to be here to learn all of this ? And again, doubt creeps in.

Do we really want to stay in Indonesia ?

Is this really going somewhere ?

Maybe we should go home for Christmas, how expensive would that be ?

And then, the unexpected happened.


We had this idea on which we wanted to get feedback. An app that would organize all of your information
across your devices by topics. No more going through you screenshots, twitter favs, gmail folders, etc.

All your stuff, nicely organized in one place.

We set up a presentation at Hubud to get people’s feedback on the idea. But, ten minutes before we were
supposed to start, the room is was still empty.

Vitto, the event manager at Hubud, went out to tell everyone at Hubud that day about it.
Five minutes before the start, he’d managed to convince 6 or 7 people to come and listen to our presentation.

To be honest, I almost told everyone not to bother and that we could simply cancel.
For some reason, I didn’t and we went on anyways.

To our surprise, people responded enthusiastically. They told us they’d love to use an app like this and gave us great input on how they’d like it to work.
It was amazing.

Startup Weekend was only a few days away and we went from unsure whether to work on this idea to being confident
it was pitch-worthy and that we would find others to help work on it.


It’s a strange thing, the way opportunities always seem to arise when you reach your furthest “what the hell
am I doing?” moments. Possibly because that’s when you are most attentive to them, but for some reason, I feel
most turns in my life have come right after a slightly longer than expected down-time. Almost as if it’s
life testing you, unsure of whether you’ll go that extra mile or not.

[to be continued]

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