15 – Anger


Me and Paul are angry.

Paul’s been angry for a few days and I was like all chilled about it but today I’m feeling it. So now we’re both angry.

Not at each other. We’re angry because Filippo the coder can’t do any more work until our company (Team Story) has been registered so he can send us a contract. So we’re waiting on Lawyer Chris to sort the contract out. Which he’s done but now we’re waiting for it to be processed.

A couple of days of nothing happening I can deal with (Paul can’t), but a couple of weeks and the anger descends.

Getting this thing going is like trying to get a… a plane to take off. The captain is in his seat, the engines are warmed up and ready, the luggage is loaded and everyone’s boarded. Everyone except some gap year student, so you’re announcing him, Chad, to get on board like, get on the fucking plane Chad, we’re ready to fly, everyone’s waiting for you Chad, and like, I dunno, he’s stoned or something slapping his beaded wrist against an accoustic guitar on a beach not even checked in at the airport.

And I wish we could leave without Chad but we asked Filippo and there might be VAT issues that we need to follow up if we go ahead without a contract.

14 – Friends or followers?


Haven’t heard from Filippo for a few days. Hope he’s head-down and coding.

So, friends or followers? This is currently a biggie for me and Paul.

You friend someone, they accept, and you can see each others stuff. That’s facebook; you have a two way relationship.

You follow someone, and you see their stuff but they don’t see yours unless they follow you back. That’s twitter; it allows for a one-way relationship.

The advantage of ‘following’ is that Ashton Kutcher can have his stuff seen by 10 million people and not deal with having 10 million friends. Seeing 10 million people’s shit. That’s good. That’s what we want for Story.

But, we also want Story to be built on a real foundation of friendships. We want people to be friends with their real friends. Not just following a bunch of anonymous people.

We want the best of both worlds. If it could use both the friend and follow model it would be perfect. But it would have to be real simple. Like, not-needing-to-explain-how-it-works kinda simple. No one else has done that yet. No one’s figured it out.

We think we have. I need to work it out a bit more. Draw a diagram.

This guy, Alex King, wrote something about it but didn’t actually draw any conclusions. Good one!

Filippo better be coding.

13 – In the club


[10:08:38] Paul: You’ve founded a company?

[10:19:08] Mahir: Yeah. Its for a FourSquare game
[10:19:12] Mahir: based on ███████████
[10:20:00] Mahir: http://██████████.com/

[10:20:41] Paul: interesting

[10:21:13] Mahir: the app is still under development
[10:21:18] Mahir: so i don’t have anything to show u
[10:21:22] Mahir: iOS and Android
[10:21:27] Mahir: and web

[10:22:26] Paul: wow cool. I currently shhhhh have this shhhhhh in development shhhhhhhh! www.storyapp.co
[10:22:34] Paul: This is just the concept video but yeah will be alive in a month or so

[10:22:43] Mahir: nice
[10:22:51] Mahir: looks good
[10:23:18] *** Mahir sent app_ListView.jpg ***
[10:23:26] Mahir: sneek peek…

[10:24:08] Paul: nice UI.

[10:24:14] Mahir: exactly
[10:24:20] Mahir: thats just a concept
[10:24:24] Mahir: still working on designs

[10:24:53] Paul: How many founders?

[10:24:58] Mahir: 5

[10:25:06] Paul: funding?

[10:25:08] Mahir: web, server, ios, android and designer
[10:25:17] Mahir: we have secured a first investor

[10:25:27] Paul: cool
[10:25:40] Paul: angel fund or individual?

[10:27:08] Mahir: individual, but hoping to get more investors on board once we have a working prototype

[10:27:55] Paul: yeah so we are getting Story built to prove the concept then we’ll do a 2nd round of serious funding

[10:28:16] Mahir: let me know if you are looking for investment
[10:28:29] Mahir: i know someone who has good contacts and can get the ball rolling

[10:28:35] Paul: Cool will do thanks. We have a guy on board now but yeah

[10:29:19] Mahir: cool
[10:29:47] Mahir: when is the story app coming out?

[10:30:18] Paul: will be done in a month i think. Stick your email address in on the site and you’ll get an email

[10:30:32] Mahir: yep will do

[10:31:07] Paul: hmmm our site is a bit shit. Should sort that out :)

[10:31:47] Mahir: its pretty good for a product that hasn’t launched yet
[10:31:50] Mahir: best to start basic
[10:42:54] Mahir: how many founders do you have?

[10:44:11] Paul: me and my designer friend. We took our mentor/investor on as a 3rd founder. He has decent contacts

[10:44:23] Mahir: cool
[10:44:42] Mahir: that’s exactly how our investor is. mentor + money = win!

[10:46:24] Paul: I *think* our guy sits on a couple of boards of investors or some shit which could be handy. He knows Eric too which is less handy (worry)

[10:46:37] Mahir: haha
[10:46:48] Mahir: my investor knows eric too
[10:47:03] Mahir: coincidence?

12 – Marketing


World changing idea: check
Amazingly simple branding that reflects purity of idea: check
Developer developing the thing: check
Money to pay developer: check

But this is all still meaningless. It’s still only an idea, just with more people and money involved. The only way this thing will work is if everyone digs it. It’s no good getting a few thousand users. We need a million. Ten million. It’s a do or die idea. No half-measures.

Me and Paul meet in a pub to chat about marketing.
In four or five weeks we’re gonna have the first version of Story live on the App Store. Our plan is to get a hundred-ish people using, get feed back, then polish it before submitting a new version and then go hard telling everyone.

I know a few journalists so I should be able to kick up a noise. Although, the last time I mentioned it to a guy I know (editor of a prominent tech mag) he ignored my request for help in exchange for an exclusive cover story. I was wasted and wouldn’t tell him the idea. Probably that.

Currently, I’m designing the images in Photoshop to give to Filippo to use in the app. I’m also mocking up a new version of storyapp.co that’ll focus on people signing up to get the first version of the app. Here’s a real rough mock up I did. Real rough, okay. Just a kinda ‘hey, Paul this is kinda what I mean, it’s real rough but kinda this.’


11 – Naming the company


Paul’s wife, who also works for a law firm, raised her eyebrows in a good way when Paul said which firm Lawyer Chris works for. Paul liked that, that it impressed his wife.

Lawyer Chris is setting up our company and writing up a contract that splits its equity three ways. Jamie, the money guy, put us in touch with him. The guy’s doing it for free too. Well, not free, a ‘referral fee’, so we pay when we get some real money with the intent to continue using his firm.

We want the company name to be ‘Story’, same as the app. Obviously Story isn’t available. Next on the list is Story Board, but neither is that. So me and Paul fired some names at each other.


  • Story App – Having ‘app’ in the name makes Paul cringe.
  • Story Boys – A gay musical.
  • We Are Story – We are Shoreditch.
  • Story Store – It’s the name of an old skate shop some friends ran which made me think of ‘story’ in the first place. It doesn’t really fit for us though.
  • Back Story – Kinda makes sense.

Paul replies while ignoring all my suggestions:

  • story box
  • short story
  • long story
  • story tank

I fling some more over and re-ignore Paul’s suggestions:

  • Good Story
  • Team Story
  • Story Team
  • Story Castle
  • Story Mob

Paul says he doesn’t care. I phone up my friend Glenn who has no idea what an app is let alone that we’re making one, “App? What? The Neverending Story?”

We settle with Team Story. Paul says we can change the name for £20 anyway.

10 – The kick-off meeting


Me and Paul meet Filippo at his office after work. We talk through everything so he can begin the next day. Begin working on Story. The next day. Real, official, proper, real work!

Wow, wow, wow.

Paul’s taking care of the back-end web stuff (all the online storage of people’s stories and how it all interacts with the app). Filippo’s doing the actual app bit and I’m doing the design. Paul and Filippo spend most of the meeting talking about tech stuff. Usually in a meeting this technical I’d be bored off my tits. But not our meeting. Not for our thing.

The biggest discussion (argument) we have is about logging into the app. Me and Paul originally assumed we’d have a simple ‘create account’ thing but Filippo said it’s not as easy as that as you need a lawyer to write up terms and conditions as you’re dealing with people’s private information. He said that using facebook to log in is way simpler and won’t cost us anything.

Firstly, I hate apps that use facebook. It dilutes the experience you’re trying to create for the user and every app I’ve seen that uses facebook whores itself on your wall as much as it can, spreading like a disease across your social network.

Secondly, it means we have to use this button in our beautiful app:

So I’m kicking off about how I don’t want it and Paul kinda agrees but is also saying ‘normal’ people don’t care about facebook buttons and Filippo chimes in saying that people actually trust them. Paul says not everyone is mental like me and how it will save a bunch of trouble and that, if we get a second round of funding (big money), we can create our own log in then.

So I pipe down.

After the meeting we go for a few drinks in a nearby pub. Filippo explains he’s about to embark on an insane three month fitness regime called the P90X where he’ll change his diet and train everyday to get ripped. I like that he’s going to be super fit while building our app.

Here’s Paul (l) and Filippo (r) in the meeting.

9 – The competition

“Giving people an easier way to communicate
is the most powerful thing you could ever do…”


“… This is Story.”


Me and Paul had a discussion (argument) about this blog. He thinks it’s written like we’re a couple of arseholes doing a thing.

The reality is, for the last five months, our days have been planning Story’s every detail. With breaks of absolute excitement. Followed by fits of anxiety as it still feels so far away.

We both want to use Story so bad. Everyone we show wants to use it. And we all want to use it in real different ways. That’s what I love most. It’s going to be such a rich and dynamic thing.

We haven’t seen anything out there that does what we do. The ones kiiinda similar are complex. They’re like overloaded swiss army knives made of candy. Story is a hammer. Its simplicity is obvious. We barely need sell for this thing (despite all this talk).

We’re so proud of it. Not only are we creating something but we’re creating something amazing and for everyone. It’s a blinder.

Finally, this is Paul’s iPhone. And this guy’s worried about me.

8 – Meet the money guy


Jamie is one of Paul’s old bosses. He started a company while he was at university selling glasses online. It became big. Not sure but I think he sold most of what he owned but is still a chairman.

Paul had emailed him explaining our app. He loved it and hinted at getting on board helping with the start-up costs. So we met up in a pub to discuss further.

He’s very well spoken but also laid back. I raised my eyebrows when he pulled his phone from his jacket and it was a Blackberry. The bit covering the battery was missing off the back of it too. Apparently he’d been mugged. But only for the back of the Blackberry!

We told him that the development costs were going to be 15k. He said he would love to go thirds with each of us putting in 5k and then splitting the equity of the company three ways. We said cool, we’ll be in touch soon.

Me and Paul went to another pub where I had a freak out about someone who will contribute nothing (what’s 5k really?) yet will own a third of our idea. And that I’d rather get a bank loan. And that it wasn’t fair. Paul explained that this is how business works and that he’d be contributing a lot more than just five grand (Jamie had said he’d top the money up when the development needed it). Paul explained that ideas (basically all we have right now) are cheap and that Jamie knew a lot about actually starting and running companies and knew a lot of people (lawyers/tech people etc.)

I realised I was being an amateur and accepted that this guy would be a great guy to partner up with. It also helped when he confirmed he didn’t want to get in our way in the day to day running of the app. He’d leave that all to us. A silent partner.

So that was £5000 sorted. The other ten was easy. Paul borrowed five from his wife. I borrowed five from my parents. My dad said something about owning 10% of my 33.3% but I think he was joking.

Everything is becoming very real. We are talking to one of Jamie’s expensive lawyers to write up a simple contract splitting the equity between me, Paul and Jamie and we are deciding on a company name.

We probably won’t be able to get just ‘Story’ so may try for ‘Story Board’, geddit? Yeah you get it!

7 – Meet the coder


We met Filippo at a pub and showed him the video. Paul used to work with him making websites but when he saw the whole iOS thing coming he quit his job, learnt how to make apps and set up on his own. Paul says he’s a good guy.”So how much do you think an app like this will cost? Like, if you made it for us…” Filippo thinks for a couple of minutes, “Maybe around 15 thousand.”

This is a discounted price as he really wants to work on this thing. Like 40% cheaper than what he’d quote a regular client. Me and Paul go to the toilet. Whilst pissing, Paul says, “Soooo I don’t have any money. You?”


“What are we gonna do?” as he does up his flies.

I’m still going. “Don’t know.” I say, “All I know is that we’ll get the money. Bank loan… borrow it off people… whatever, this thing is getting built.”

“It is.” Paul exits. I finish up and feel really excited. Having a number slapped onto our idea brings it one step closer to becoming real.

A few days later Paul sends Filippo over the wireframe (basically a blueprint of the app, what all the buttons do etc.) Here’s a couple of pages from that:


Filippo sends us a more specific cost sheet with the amount of hours each part of the app will take to build. It comes to 16K. Yeesh. We’d pay half at the start and the other half at the end.

8K each. Neither of us have ever had that much money. We tell him we’ll get him the money.

6 – Ashton Kutcher


Let’s do a recap.

It’s been four months since we had the idea. We have the whole thing mapped out and designed and a video with a really catchy song (Afternoon by Youth Lagoon).But we don’t have anything real, you know? No real product, just an idea. I felt kinda guilty about that as Paul didn’t want to fuck around picking colours for four months, he wanted to get on with it.At this point I go on holiday to America.

While I’m there, I decide it’s time to find some investors. Piece of piss! Ashton Kutcher, I’m thinking. He loves investing in apps and this app is the shit. I know, if he just saw the video, we’d be partying in LA that night, him shoving money into my pockets and he’d also really love me.

Hmm, how to get in contact with Ashton Kutcher… I check his twitter and he has 12 million followers. Forget that. I keep thinking. There’s always a way.

Then it hit me.

I know this guy whose job is booking magazine cover stories (A lot of my career has been working in magazines). This guy has booked every famous person for the last twenty years.

I facebook him saying I need Ashton Kutcher’s contact details.

He sends me back Ashton Kutcher’s manager’s contact details. Wow. Always a way.

So I send this woman an email like… hang on… I’ll dig it out.

Hi Stephanie, I’m making an app that Ashton Kutcher would be interested in.Me and my business partner are after funding so we thought we’d start at the top. Kutcher invests in social apps. I know if he saw this he’d want a piece. The app is for sharing stories. It’s insanely simple and it’s crazy no one’s thought of it yet. But they haven’t. It might even change the entire publishing industry. It’s called Story. Watch the video here, it has a really catchy song: www.vimeo.com/44785545 This is the real deal. Hope you’re well,


This is the real deal? Can’t believe I wrote that. Whatever, there’s always a way.

Meanwhile, Paul, back in the UK, had coded the website becomeastory.com and had set up a meeting with an old work colleague called Filippo who had started his own company making iOS apps. He also contacted an old boss who’s really successful in the tech world and knows loads of tech people and really loves our idea. And has money.

Never heard back from Ashton Kutcher.