I’ll always remember how I felt when Jalopnik fired me. I guess things could’ve been worse. I could’ve fallen off the top of a skyscraper. Broken a collar bone. Or gotten charged a $10 late fee for not paying my electric bill on time. I suppose I shouldn’t have gotten so bent out of shape, but no matter how you look at it, getting let go sucks. Especially when you put in so much work and you come to the bleak realization that you’re just not good enough. I wanted to crawl back into a hole.
You see I had worked so hard to get there. I started my own blog which I worked tirelessly on to go from 0 readers to 3 readers over a period of three years. Whatever measly amount of readers I did have consistently, it felt good. (Thanks Tim, Sara and Damon!)
I just couldn’t believe that anybody out there would even spend more than two seconds of their time reading the amalgamation of words that I was producing.
But eventually that day came when I finally obtained the attention of Jalopnik head honcho, Patrick George. I will always be grateful that he gave me a chance even though I was far from the best writer he had ever seen. There’s no substitute for hard work and he recognized that I did want this bad enough and decided to give me a shot.
Here’s a lesson for you boys and girls. Just work hard. Sleep less. In fact, don’t sleep at all. Just keep working. And good things will happen, albeit temporarily.
It was amazing to have had the Jalopnik writing gig while it lasted. It was awesome to read through all the comments about how idiotic I was. But my lack of writing skill and experience caught up to me because I just wasn’t good enough to keep writing for Jalopnik. Looking back, it makes sense. I didn’t have that many years of writing experience and just like anything else, it takes time to get good at something. Although I was improving, I wasn’t quite at the level that I needed to be.
Here’s another lesson for you ladies and gents. There are no shortcuts. Working hard for just a short period of time and expecting big things doesn’t exist. Overnight success is ten years in the making, or more. If you want to be a writer, I would recommend writing over and over until your fingers fall off and you lose all of your friends.
After feeling sorry for myself for a while, I decided to slap myself across the face and move onto the next thing. I came up with a new plan. I’m like a hamster. I just couldn’t sit still. I always need to run on some kind of a wheel even if it might not take me anywhere. So I found another wheel to jump on to and this time it was the startup wheel.
I have always wanted to start a company and decided that I would make this my silver lining to the oh-crap-Jalopnik-fired-me cloud. But I couldn’t just start any business. It had to be in the field that I love. Cars. I was born loving cars and will probably die driving one some day. One can only hope.
In thinking about what kind of company to start in the automotive arena, I kept coming back to this idea that anything car-related is so agonizing. If you look at all areas of your life, you’ll see that just about everything is becoming effortless. You have Instacart for groceries, DoorDash for restaurant food delivery, ShoeUp that ties your shoe laces for you. Just about everything is done with a tap of a button these days. But with cars, many aspects of the whole auto industry is still stuck in the stone ages.
Also, as much as I love cars, I never quite liked working on them. I enjoy the looks and driving cars but if you ask me to replace the brake pads, I’d rather memorize IRS tax laws instead. Fixing cars takes time, tools and more importantly actual manual labor. I’m far too lazy to do any real work. So I did what anyone might do. I teamed up with a friend of mine to build an app that makes this business of fixing cars a whole lot easier.
With the app, it takes the pain and stress away from having to deal with issues related to cars. The way it works is that if you need anything fixed on your car, tap a button on the Torque Affair app and someone will show up to pick your car up, fix it at the shop and then drop it back off.
There’s also a test drive feature in there that works the same way if you’re in the market for a new car. No matter where you are, someone will show up with the car you’re looking to buy so that you can take the car out for a spin.
The app is available now in the Austin area (where I’m from). Hopefully we can launch in other cities soon, if things go well in Austin.
Who knows how this will work out. It’s possible the entire thing is a disaster. If that’s the case then I will know that I was meant to be a tax accountant after all.