I decided to join a startup called Timyo 4 months ago but the real beginning started years earlier. After choosing a traditional start to my professional life, I was ready to step into the unknown. Here is how it happens in 7 milestones. It’s my personal story but it might inspire anyone who would be – like I used to be – tempted to listen too much to the left side of his brain and not enough to his heart.
Never say “no” to your boss
October 2013. My manager was leaving the company at that time. After the round of applause to celebrate his farewell speech, he came in my direction. “Thibaud, do you have 2 minutes? I’d like to share something with you”. I was curious. “Very few people know, but I am not leaving Prosodie-Capgemini for another large and coveted company. I am going to be an entrepreneur.” I thought to myself: “Well done, boss! That’s bold for someone who is used to a comfortable situation! But you have more to lose than to win, why would you do this stupid crazy thing?” He keeps talking and added: “I’d like to present you my plan and I can already tell you that I’d like you to be part of it!” Rather straight forward for a recruitment process. This guy was Fabrice. And that was the first time I heard about Timyo.
Fixing something that is a pain in the…
Nothing was concrete yet, but everything was clear in Fabrice’s mind. He was already obsessed with finding an antidote to one of the diseases of this digital century: bad email communication. Most businesses start because they want to solve a problem. This one was a good bet: big, growing and unresolved. Like many, we were suffering at work, and email wasn’t going anywhere. The original diagnosis was there from the first discussion: if people want to relieve their pain, they must take the right medicine. Timyo could be the vaccine to eradicate the infection. Each time we write an email, add the elixir, mix it with time, and Timyo will do the rest. I thought: that’s a f… brilliant idea! And like many great ideas, it’s a simple one. People are constantly using the word “innovation” for no reason, when they are in fact just following others… But here was real innovation, doing something nobody had never done before!
The false start
The question at that time was: how do we start and where do we start? We spent two nights a week after work to dive into it. It wasn’t a garage in San Francisco but who cares? We ended up agreeing that reaching a Minimum Viable Product to prove that the idea could be successful would be very hard. Yes, “email is harder than you think” as Mathilde Colin from Front likes to say. So, yes, developing the first product would take time. But we were convinced there would be no big success if we were not ready for a big failure. We could fail in France, no worries, but if we wanted to succeed, it would be better to be in the US since day one. Fabrice was ready to move with his entire family to the US. Me too. Though I wasn’t Mexican, getting a VISA to work for a not-yet-created company was not easy, even before a Trump presidency!
Through an epic process filled with complications and hurdles, Fabrice managed to get a Visa… but I did not. Trying to help raise a baby from thousands of miles away would have been very difficult, and more importantly, detrimental to the health of the baby. So, I decided to step back for the time. The baby would have to get started without me, learn to walk a little bit. I was about to learn to be patient.
Career focus and startup education
I was disappointed but not depressed: I was lucky to really like my job, my team and the challenges in front of me, so switching back to my “normal” life was relatively easy. But the idea was not to abandon the project. We knew that the situation could change. So we never closed the door. Entrepreneurship started to run in my blood even more. I spent the next 2 years devouring bestselling entrepreneurs’ books and watching hours of online courses for startups. Education was really inspiring but I couldn’t stop questioning myself: creating a startup sounds a really good idea but it sounds like it would be a better idea for somebody who didn’t have a good job! Maybe I was not made of Fabrice’s caliber.
Time has changed
While I was wondering if one day I would dare to make the big jump without a parachute, Fabrice was overcoming one hurdle after another. The first release of the product was launched in 2016 and user feedback was promising. The project proved to be solid, and investors trusted it. Timyo was about to enter a new acceleration and scaling phase: penetrating the B2B segment and starting to monetize the service. The situation had drastically changed, the development team was in Europe, no need to join the US anymore. Eventually the time had come!
Base my decision on the Regret Minimization Framework
The challenge was exciting but the decision not so easy. The left side of my brain was fighting against the right side. It took me about 2 months to make my decision, even if my heart knew it at the first second. I didn’t know at that time but I was applying what Jeff Bezos called the “Regret Minimization Framework” (Two minute video – worth it!). “At 80, looking back at my life I want to have minimized the number of regrets I have. And I knew I wasn’t going to regret that I tried this adventure, and if I failed I wouldn’t regret that. But I knew one thing I might regret is not ever having tried. It could have haunted my life”. I was tired of watching and eating all these startup videos from 500Startup and The Family. Enough practicing, let’s compete on the field! Let’s start my life as an entrepreneur!
My life as an entrepreneur at Timyo is on and I am happy 🙂
I am grateful Fabrice gave me the opportunity to join such a project after participating at the very beginning 3 years ago. We fight for a good cause: relieving the pain we all have in managing our emails, but above all we’re working to help people regain the ability to spend their time wisely, to what really care to them. In this new experience, I won’t leave room for passivity, for approximation or bad execution—but yes, some room for the unpredictable. The ambition and the challenges are high. The team is passionate and multicultural. The solution is global and humane values are at the center of the project. Let’s make Timyo enter into everyday professional life for everyone! And yes, I am happy!