Post Image
Hack To Start
Episode 161

Mike Williams

Building & investing in startups @Thinkboxmakes.

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, & Google Music

Mike Williams is the founder of Thinkbox, a startup studio in Santa Monica, California, and the company that’s behind several successful startups including StudioTime and Yoroomie - an app which was built in less than 30 days and sold in less than 6 months, after getting a ton of press for being listed on eBay. While in high school, Mike was a pretty good wrestler. But he knew his sport had limits. So he decided to pursue his passion for flying instead. While in college, he was exposed to the world of cycling and that led him to becoming both a semi-pro in the sport, and an ecommerce entrepreneur, selling high quality bike parts to other cyclists in the early days of the web. Mike joins us to share his story, how he built and sold his first company Codeity, how he approaches building MVPs, what it was like launching Yoroomie and having it acquired in less than 6 months, how he built a chatbot in a weekend, the biggest mistakes most entrepreneurs make when building an MVP, and much more.

Main Objectives For This Episode

  • Learn more about how Mike got into startups
  • Learn more about how Mike approaches building MVPs
  • Learn more about what it's been like building Thinkbox
  • And more!

Episode Overview

Mike Williams is the founder of Thinkbox, a startup studio in Santa Monica, California, and the company that’s behind several successful startups including StudioTime and Yoroomie - an app which was built in less than 30 days and sold in less than 6 months, after getting a ton of press for being listed on eBay.

While in high school, Mike was a pretty good wrestler. But he knew his sport had limits. So he decided to pursue his passion for flying instead.

While in college, he was exposed to the world of cycling and that led him to becoming both a semi-pro in the sport, and an ecommerce entrepreneur, selling high quality bike parts to other cyclists in the early days of the web.

Mike joins us to share his story, how he built and sold his first company Codeity, how he approaches building MVPs, what it was like launching Yoroomie and having it acquired in less than 6 months, how he built a chatbot in a weekend, the biggest mistakes most entrepreneurs make when building an MVP, and much more.


Some Of The Questions We Ask

2:36
Where are you from and what did you study?

4:18
So how did your passion for tech and startups develop?

5:44
After a few internships you joined NPR and then later the New York Times as an Interactive News Intern. How did you create the opportunity to join these teams and what were these first experiences like for you?

8:15
You were then the Founder & CEO of Codeity. Can you tell us a bit more about what Codeity was all about and what motivated you to launch it?

12:50
Codeity was then acquired by AngelHack in 2015. What was that process like for you?

14:07
You then founded Thinkbox, a startup studio based in Santa Monica. What motivated you to launch Thinkbox? What are some of the industries/spaces you’re most interested in exploring?

15:24
One of the first startups to come out of Thinkbox is called Studiotime. Can you tell us more about Studiotime and what led you to wanting to launch that?

20:48
How do you balance credibility and validation when you've got an MVP?

22:08
You’ve also built Yoroomie App in 30 days and it was then acquired in less than 6 months. Can you tell us more about that app and what went into making that happen from start to finish?

26:25
You’ve also been exploring the messaging space, recently publishing a great article on Medium about building a Messenger bot in a weekend. So what’s your approach for validating an idea and then executing on an MVP?

28:02
What are some of the most impactful tools or resources that have changed the way you think about startups or execute on MVPs?

30:42
Do you have any final thoughts or words of advice for other entrepreneurs out there?


Here are some of the most important links and resources mentioned throughout the show.

Twitter Handles & Websites

Mike Williams on Twitter
Mike Williams on the web
Thinkbox on Twitter
Thinkbox on the web
Tyler Copeland on Twitter
Franco Varriano on Twitter

Devices, Apps, and Books

How To Build And Launch A Chatbot Over The Weekend
Facebook Groups

We make Hack To Start for you!

Subscribe to our email newsletter to know when we launch new episodes, behind-the-scenes content and more goodies to help you launch, build, and grow your thing.