Monday, November 5, 2007

The Evolution of an Idea and some Persistence

When we started developing the idea for this business, it was a great deal different from what it looks like today. I actually started thinking about this idea about 4 years ago. I moved to Bangkok in 2004 and was surprised how difficult it was for me to find people to meet, things to do, places to visit, and other things to keep me busy. Sure, most of the travel websites had good pieces of information here and there, but as a whole, it really wasn't suited to what I wanted.

I began developing a travel guide that was dedicated to Bangkok and that came from a perspective of someone who wanted to travel with an intimate knowledge of Bangkok. I wanted to offer restaurants that weren't tourist traps, sights that weren't lame, and bars where the locals actually hung out. I figured I'd begin with some of the major tourist destinations (Bangkok, Tokyo, Hong Kong, NYC, Paris, London, etc.) and go from there. I ended up going to business school later that year and shelved the idea.

Through business school, as I participated in entrepreneurship classes or met people thinking about starting their own businesses, I always gave my pitch for this travel idea. There were takers here and there, but nothing really panned out. I had actually started working on a niche travel website with a colleague from b school while on exchange in Hong Kong. Again, it just sort of died.

Rajiv and I began to play with this travel idea at the tail end of business school. He is as passionate about travel as I am and he was really frustrated when he began planning his trip to Europe post b school. He didn't know where to stay, where to visit, or what to do when he got there. We talked and began to develop an idea. The turning point was when we both reached a similar epiphany, the same day, with our idea. At that point - we knew there was something there.

After 5 months of working on the final idea - we're in a completely different place than we were when we started. Some of this came from market research, seeing what competitors were doing, and most importantly, watching the changing internet environment.

Social networking, open social, facebook, and others have all played a part in how we have morphed our initial idea into a strong offering. We hope you guys eventually feel the same way. It's going to add all of the great pieces of the internet, as it exists today, along with some age old technology. Unfortunately, we have to keep it quiet for now.

Bottom line: If you have an idea you like, be persistent and be open to change. I think a successful business is probably 60% persistence and 40% other stuff.

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