A few weeks ago, I had the incredible opportunity to sit down with Alex Rawitz, a young entrepreneur and co-founder of the start-up, Verbatm.
After reading Alex’s story on Medium, I immediately reached out to see if I could interview him for my book. As someone who is barely old enough to drink, Alex demonstrated wisdom and maturity beyond his years in the Medium piece. I needed to pick his brain.
Promptly, Alex agreed to an interview and what resulted was one of my favorite conversations I’ve had in a long time. As I continue to draft my book, I wanted to share with you some thought-nuggets from our discussion for you to munch on.
The following represents the first half of our conversation, the second half will be released tomorrow morning.
What is Verbatm?
Verbatm is a platform on which millennials can transform their first-person perspective and narratives into interactive multi-media stories and share that with their audience on existing social media and our platform.
What were your original plans going into college?
I didn’t have a definite plan of what I wanted to do. It wasn’t as if I knew since age ten that I wanted to be a doctor, lawyer, what have you. But, certainly my life was thrown a pretty major curve ball when Verbatm started because I never saw myself going down the entrepreneurial path either.
How did your parents react when you said you’d be taking a year off to pursue this start-up?
I had to explain some things to them. They have always seen me going down a more academic track. I’m actually an English major, of all things, and minoring in Chinese which is not the typical entrepreneurial track, but we roll with these things.
[My parents] had always seen me going to grad school. I always saw myself getting some kind of professional experience in the real world. I wasn’t quite sure what.
Besides taking a year off of school, were there any other significant sacrifices you had to make?
Certainly, in terms of life trajectory and logistically what I’ve had to give up, I’ve had to give up the English honors program at my school to do [Verbatm]. So I can’t be writing my thesis anymore. A bunch of my extracurriculars I had to give up – the youth debate initiative, I’m an oral communications tutor here at Stanford, I’m a manager of a Chinese language tour company.
So yeah, there’s sacrifice, but I do it because we believe in this vision. All of us on the team – myself, the two co-founders, and the lead engineer – are taking time off from school and fully aware that this might put a wrench in the plans we had before.
When will you consider Verbatm a success?
In some sense, I hope that [success] never comes, because I don’t want to become complacent. I always hope there will be a direction we could take the company in, and a way we could fulfill our vision more.
I think on a literal level, success is when the goals you have are achievable by the means that you have. Maybe that means you don’t aspire to very much, but you can accomplish it. Maybe it means you have great resources and can accomplish great dreams with those resources.
If you are interested in beta testing Verbatm, feel free to email Alex at alex[at]myverbatm[dot]com.