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Big Omaha Backstage Pass – Bo Fishback: The moment

This summer, you heard their speeches in our Big Omaha Video Series. Now, in partnership with our photography and moving images partner Malone & Company, we’re giving you exclusive access to backstage interviews with the entrepreneurs and innovators who presented at our Big Omaha event in May.

For one week only, the Big Omaha Backstage Pass will feature 10 of our Big Omaha speakers in 15 previously unreleased video interviews. We hope these interviews, with topics ranging from the importance of mentoring to the quest to change the world, will engage, encourage, enlighten and excite you to follow your passion, a message at the core of Big Omaha.

Our ninth backstage interview is with Bo Fishback, founder and CEO of Zaarly.

The moment


So I’ve been around so many startups that I’ve seen a lot of moments. You know, I’ve said many times to people from the idea someone has an idea to the time they start a company, it’s almost universally one year. I don’t know why. That’s just, like, law of averages or whatever. But it takes a year.

This was really different than that. I went to a Startup Weekend in L.A. in the middle of February. And I went to just help other people — I’m actually on the board of Startup Weekend — and so I went to help other people get their pitches ready and have a fun time for a friend of mine’s birthday, who ended up being my co-founder.

And on Friday night I listened to 30 pitches and nobody pitched anything that I was like totally in love with. And I keep this little file on my phone of ideas that I’d like to fund or be involved with or whatever. And so the last person of the night I was like, ok, ill just pitch this thing. And so I jumped up in front of everybody, gave a one-minute pitch for a hyper-local marketplace — it was kind of like eBay for people around you is kind of how pitched it originally — stayed up til about 3 o’clock in the morning just brainstorming on what something like that should look like. And wasn’t really until like the next day but like 2 o’clock in the afternoon the next day we went back to work on it, on Saturday, I just had this crazy moment. Like, I got chills on my arm and down my back, and they wouldn’t go away for like an hour. And I just really felt like for a moment like we had some unfair glimpse into the future and like we could see the way the world was supposed to be.

And, yeah, I quit my job Monday (laughs) and went all in. And so it was really fast. It was not, you know, I think a lot of companies that people spend a lot of time and they really dig in and they do all the things you’re supposed to do when you go build a company, and there was just something different about this. Like, it’s exactly what I tell people not to do all the time. And then I did it and didn’t even think twice about it, and I’m pretty sure it was the right move. So we’ll see.

Speed of change


I think actually the Mark Zuckerberg one is an interesting one. Like, I know when Mark raised one of his early rounds of funding, he told one of his investors, who said, “Oh my gosh you could have millions of users,” and he said, “We’re going to have 300 million users on this thing soon.” And turns out they have 600 million now.

And so I think what’s really amazing today that was not the case even 10 years ago is how fast things can change. You know, if you look at the fact that it took Microsoft 20 years to become a billion-dollar company, Google 10, Facebook five, Groupon two, like, there’s some magic in there, and it’s because of all the resources and the community tools and stuff that you can build on top of. So it’s funny, you kind of say, “a year,” like, “what could the world look like in a year?” Not that long ago, you would’ve had to answer that really honestly and say, “Well, in a year, a year’s not very much time, this is a 10-year project.” … I don’t think that’s actually that true any more. I actually think we are very clearly envisioning, like, a different type of state and market, even in a year.

To watch Chopra’s Big Omaha presentation, see our post: “Big Omaha Video Series: Bo Fishback of Zaarly

About Big Omaha and Thinc Iowa, our two premier events:

Big Omaha, a Silicon Prairie News premier event, is held each May to inspire, educate and connect entrepreneurs, especially those with an interest in the tech industry. Visit BigOmaha.com to learn more.

Thinc Iowa, a Silicon Prairie News premier event, will take place for the first time October 20-21 in Des Moines, Iowa. Its mission: Provide a common ground for startups and corporations to explore partnerships, examine innovation and share lessons learned. Visit ThincIowa.com to learn more (tickets still available).

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