Farewell Flare

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Reflecting on next steps.

After working on Flare for the last 2 years, we’re shutting it down. I hold my head up high knowing that I worked with an awesome team, and I tried my best in an extremely tough space. I want to thank my comrades, my co-founders, my mentors, our investors, Expa and all the Flare users for giving me the chance to build this. I also want to thank Annie, my family, and all my friends for being so supportive of this dream.

This has been the most humbling experience of my life. I’ve learned some lessons along the way, and I wanted to pay it forward by sharing the insights. I’ll be posting a little more over the next few days, so stay tuned.

Dinner at Dumpling Kitchen

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The signature Shanghai soup dumplings, served at Dumpling Kitchen.

Annie, Julia and I went to the Dumpling Kitchen to enjoy their most consistently delicious soup dumplings.

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Shanghai style noodles with chicken.

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Veggies.

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Beef in black bean sauce.

I’ve tried a lot of things at this restaurant, and I would say that this is probably one of their better dishes. If you go there, definitely order their beef with black bean sauce.

After Dumpling Kitchen, we made our way to Super Cue to get some boba. My personal favorite is their mango with pana cotta—it’s the perfect dessert to follow any meal. Julia claimed that Super Cue has the best tapioca pearls. ^_^

Anyway, this is an excellent combo between price and value (especially in SF).

Bunch 1.1

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Bunch beta was released a month ago, and since then we’ve made a couple of tweaks based on user feedback. Thanks to all our beta users for providing us insight, and kudos to the Bunch team for making the updates. If you haven’t tried it out yet, you can download it here.

I’m incredibly proud of the app, and I love using it with Annie, Vinny and my friends. The question is whether the app is useful and appealing to other people around the world.

The biggest bit of feedback we got when interviewing users is that they didn’t know how to message. We spent time improving the first time experience, hopefully to show users how messaging can be done easily by pressing and holding. This is the #1 issue we’re hoping to address in this update.

We’ve also made it so that you can add more than 8 people. For users that initially joined and had a ton of friends message them, this was a huge pain point. I know for a fact that I was having trouble messaging people that were outside my top 8.

Anyway, I’ll share more on lessons learned soon. Until then, try the app and let me know what you think. If you don’t have anyone to message, just add me as a friend. Search for “Jeff Wong”, and we can message each other. ^_^

Squashing Bugs

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We’re getting closer and closer to shipping our new app with each bug we squash. I’m really proud of this team—Joe (pictured above) stayed up all night working on fixing a really gnarly bug that’s been causing issues with our app. I’m inspired by his effort and creativity. He’s leading by example and I think it’s motivating us all.

He’s taught me to ignore negativity, persevere and keep building. I’m really inspired by Joe. I have a lot to learn from this guy.

I hope we can launch this new app and get some traction. I’d love to show the world what this team can do. We’re so close.

Interview with Scott Belsky, via Expa

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Last night I attended an Expa event with Scott Belsky. He shared his story and a ton of startup lessons. Scott co-founded Behance and is now a general partner at Benchmark. He also served as a VP of products at adobe when they got acquired. Here are some memorable quotes from the evening.

“Products are like a bonsai—Sometimes you have to cut some of the most beautiful branches to make sure the trunk is healthy.”

“Process is the escriment of misalignment.”

“The easiest decision is not to make a decision.”

“As a leader you have to short circuit your reward system.”

“Acquisitions are like feeding a domesticated lion. You have to aggravate the lion by shaking the meat in front of it, until it finally gets fed up and eats it.”

“Focus on verbs and actions, versus documenting everything.”

And his favorite question to ask people who are raising money, “How do you hire people?”.

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This was definitely illuminating, and the timing is so relevant. As I work on Flare, I really have to think about all these things.