The first fund I ever raised was sometimes around 2015 – for a dream I had around conversational AI taking MCQ exams and helping students prepare for public examinations.
The whole project went bonkers right from the start. It was over-engineered, badly staffed, terribly managed, and had a CEO who had no idea how to run things. And I was so terribly ashamed of the product I had built, that I never released it to the public and decided to sunset it before it had the time to fail. Obviously, I wasn’t aware of Reid Hoffman’s ideology that if one is not embarrassed by the first version of their product, they’ve launched too late.
Seven years down the line though – I feel that everything I have done post that point has been a result of what I learned while doing that one project. I learned how to dream, design, hire, document, manage, and fail – all in the short span of a few years while I was still struggling with my bachelor’s on the sides.
It was the biggest investment I made upon myself, although I must admit that it was a terrible way to break my confidence and teach myself that I had a lot left to learn.
Today (Oct 3, 2022), I have paid off the fund (which was a loan) completely. It was the last strand I had connecting me back to it – and somehow, I am happy that although PorashonaOnline didn’t have many students, it had one student that it managed to teach a lot.
Adios, old friend. Someday I will be a better manager and I will get back to you with all my might.