Paul Watts says, “Building software that people will hug you for, that’s what drives me every day.” That’s why he and his team at gatherball are working to make trip-planning fun again by taking email out of the equation altogether. What led this entrepreneur to move from being philosophy major to startup CEO? He lets us know on this episode of Nextcast.
Even though he entered college as a philosophy student, Paul figured out that computer science may be more his speed. “It turns out I knew as much if not more than the computer science majors,” he says, which is why he changed majors and charted a different course.
After leaving a position at Microsoft, Paul entered the startup world. One of his first projects was building a smartphone for teens, but eventually shifted “from atoms to bits” and traded building hardware for building software.
Gatherball wasn’t always the visual travel-planning guide that it is today. The first incarnation of the product wasn’t bringing in numbers like the team had hoped it would. “We had to thoroughly change the direction,” Paul says, explaining that it was a struggle to give up on an idea the team loved.
It’s time to pivot when experiments reach diminishing returns.” That's the lesson Paul and his team learned while trying to save their original product idea. “We started talking to people and asking what we could do,” he adds. Brainstorming led them to create their new product, gatherball, that is evolving more every day.
“Startups are much, much easier now,” says Paul, a startup veteran. But Paul still seeks the challenge: “It encourages you to be humble and to continue to think.” He adds, “I learn something new every day.”