Evan Varsamis, the Athens-based founder, and CEO of The Gadget Flow, a product discovery site, shared his entrepreneurial journey with us in our debut print issue. Read the full interview below and find out an idea born from three friends hanging out one day turned into a popular, global site.
How did you get started? What was your motivation?
It was a usual Saturday in August 2012 when my co-founders and I were hanging out, trying to find quality products gathered in one place online. We didn’t find anything noteworthy, so we decided to launch our own blog and start curating products for fun. After two months, we had over a million visitors through Facebook (we’d mostly shared everything on our profiles) and Twitter. We realized that people loved the idea of quality curated content. We started working on the website that soon became the platform for our daily-updated curated content. As soon as we started earning money from
ads, we hired authors and developers to keep introducing new features and keep our platform interesting and constantly updated with great products.
Describe how it felt to launch. How did it feel to get paid for your work for the first time?
Awesome. It started as a fun project for personal use and became massive within a year. We quit our jobs and started working full-time. In order to succeed, you must love what you do. Period.
What’s the biggest obstacle you’ve overcome? How did you do it?
Hiring the right people at the right time. As a startup, you are volatile and it’s hard to know the perfect time to hire someone or to invest money somewhere. It was challenging in the beginning to grow our team. Today, we have 15 people on our team and continue to grow rapidly. In fact, we are currently hiring.
Which milestones or accomplishments are you most proud of?
We wanted to be everywhere: on iOS, Android, and the web. We’ve managed to do so with five team members working full-time in 2013, just in two months. Today, we have plans to release hundreds of new features with our latest iOS and Android app update and our next platform version. We want to keep our users engaged and happy; that’s why we keep updating our apps and platform constantly to deliver the best possible experience.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your journey so far?
We [receive] emails every day from our users, saying things like, “Thank you for building this awesome platform”, or that it’s so “addictive”, and these emails make me smile every single time. Building a product that makes people’s lives easier is rewarding [in and of] itself, but when these people recognize and understand your effort, it becomes priceless.
What advice would you give yourself if you had to do it all over again, knowing what you know now?
I’d hire the same people, but faster. Assembling your team is challenging, especially if you don’t have the time to go through tons of interviews. You have to be picky and trust your instinct. I wouldn’t change anything we’ve done, but I would do it faster.
Also, just do it, no matter what anyone says. If you believe in something, don’t let it go; keep working on it. You have to be passionate and ready to make many sacrifices in your daily life. If you are not ready to skip coffee with friends to work on your MVP, then don’t bother starting it.
*MVP = Minimum Viable Product
To read our other Journey Q&A features, get your copy of issue zero here.
Photos courtesy of by Evan Varsamis