16 7 / 2012
Happy 2nd MAZiversary! Thoughts After 2 Years Of MAZ
Two years ago today, I registered magappzine.com.
I had left Apple about 16 months prior and was working hard with my band Love and Logic, riding the heels of two popular videos that had taken off on YouTube. One had over a million views and one found it’s way onto MTV - that one featuring a single seamless video playing simultaneously on 4 iPhones. Go figure.
I was paying the bills doing home computer consulting and training under the name Paul The Wizard, teaching people how to use their Macs, iPhones, and iPads, setting up routers and printers, and so on. I spent a lot of time observing and understanding the way that “normal” people use technology.
The iPhone 4’s “antennagate” was underway with things like this circulating on the web.
Steve Jobs was alive.
I was working with a couple of friends on custom iOS development, including Simon, where I did UX/UI design for iPhone apps.
The iPad had been on the market for only 3 months and already was changing the world.
Articles like this were cropping up left and right. In those 3 months, we had been getting many inquiries from magazine publishers to develop iPad apps for them. I was out there, pitching my heart out to these publishers. I was selling something we didn’t have— a native iPad app where a publisher could add (and sell) new content over time. But nobody hired us, because it was just way too expensive. In retrospect, we were actually quoting too little at the time.
We knew that there was a very real need. We kept getting calls. And we knew that the only real solution to that need while staying price sensitive was to build a platform, a way to empower publishers to publish to this new and magical device, without having to write a single line of code, or hiring a custom developer. We wanted to build a platform that would put ourselves out of a job.
So I registered magappzine.com that day, and we began figuring out how we were going to build it. And we spent a lot of time, a lot of late nights, building it.
It was 6 months before I started selling again, when we started our beta. (that was less than 2 weeks after my apartment burned down and I climbed down the fire escape with my backup HD, but that’s a story for another time) And this time I actually had something to sell. I could walk into an office with a finished app, for my first meeting! That’s the beauty of a platform.
A few brave souls tried us out then, including BUST and City Journal, who are still with MAZ today. They will never know how big of an impact they had on our fledgling company (well unless they are reading this, in which case THANK YOU!!!!!!)
In these two years, I have become even closer to my best friend and co-founder, Simon. We found an amazing partner and CTO in Shikha, who lives halfway around the world, and yet I talk to her more than most people I know in NY. We met on LinkedIn, the best way for the partners of a global startup to meet if you ask me.
I have learned so much about technology, about design, about finance, about law, about fundraising, about selling, about marketing, about running a business.
We have touched the lives of countless readers who now can find their favorite publications on the iPad, and we have empowered publishers from around the world (40+ countries!) to create rich, interactive digital experiences, all without writing a line of code, just like we set out to do.
We have built our team out from sitting on the floor of our apartments to staffs in the US and in India comprised of hands down, the most talented, devoted, ambitious, hard-working, and most thoughtful people I could have ever imagined working with. In case I don’t say it enough, thank you to our incredible team. You amaze me every day.
All of this in the first two years, and yet I feel like we have only just begun. We’ve just scratched the tiniest surface of what is possible, of what we want to accomplish. We are still hungry. More now than ever before.
We still spend a lot of late nights. We are still building.
To my family and friends who have been so supportive over the last two years, to our clients, to our end users, to our investors, to our advisors, to our team— thank you. Thank you for believing in us.
We have only just begun.
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