Behind the Scenes: Journey into building my new StartUp Ep.1

Brian Huy Mac
6 min readFeb 25, 2022


So things when they come together seem to come together all at once. I am in NYC for 2 weeks Sept 2021 just finished a dinner with a friend (Erik) who was like I should start my own company, and I was like I didn’t have anything with enough legs for something that. Fast forward few days later I get the news that ForgeRock finally IPO’d first startup I joined (got some unexpected cushion).

ForgeRock IPO!!

Trying to focus at work sitting in a meeting going what’s the strategy / model that drives the org chart which drives the systems? Later that night having some consulting calls with some start up clients asking the same question… a light bulb finally went off. I couldn’t sleep all night with ideas / thoughts floating around so decided to just start dumping concepts into some notes.

Some 20+ pages of notes later over the next few days, excited phone calls to friends in the industry for feedback / market fit… there was just too much momentum to not give it a serious shot!

So time to think about what it takes / needs / pull together for trying this out. First I started with Trello board and started dumping out user stories, links to competitors, funding strategy, ideas around pricing model, resources, etc.

Next started to book calls with various friends that are product management / engineering to get ideas around how to proceed with building an Minimal Viable Product (MVP). Thanks to Manou for really pushing me to explore this low/no code avenue first vs hiring a team developers in lieu of not having a technical cofounder.

Hanging in NYC w Manou

With kind of a solid plan for MVP, a good idea of all the various things I wanted to do, and some financial cushion I set forward a schedule to get the ball rolling to take a leap. The original plan called for wrapping things up at Cloudbeds and my clients for the next 2 months, and in December head to Bali (low cost of living) to try building the MVP for 2–3 months before applying for an incubator program/testing with users.

Over the course of the 2 months I didn’t have too much time to work on the project other then discussions with friends for advice, get sample models, and continue to make updates to Trello board notes. When I finally was ready to head to Bali in Dec to start → I caught COVID :( On positive note I thought I could get going working on the project but was super tired / low energy during the isolation, not to mention scrambling to figure out plans. During isolation in New York City 10 days (great timing newly funemployed lol), Bali changed their quarantine from 3 days to 10 days so it became a bit too much to try to get to Bali.

So to keep on the theme of low cost living with access to surfing I headed to Sri Lanka and found a Colive / Cowork Space. I found it’s important for me to be in a good space where you feel productive / separation between home and office.

Catching up with friends in Sri Lanka Community Cooking Class and Dinner

So finally in Sri Lanka in a good space I started to work on PROJECT HIPPO (Inspired by 2 horse asses NASA rocket story — Following principals of Low/No Code and what I set out to test in my MVP I tried to bring some concepts to life. For my non techy friends essentially Low/No Code is this idea of using existing tools to build your application without actually programming. Think like using squarespace, wix, etc. instead of writing HTML / CSS code yourself →

I initially tried to use Airtable but found the learning curve and for what I wanted wasn’t working out. I pivoted to trying typeform (easiest I found out of the three forms I tried) as a basic version of a wizard to capture the inputs, yet it quickly had limitations in the types of inputs I could display. Neverless it was a great exercise in capturing the questions I wanted in my starting wizard.

TypeForm Testing / Clarity for Wizard Questions

Then I will admit starting XMas / NYE I took some time off to enjoy / relax, then things spiraled from there. There wasn’t a lot of surf, lots of people visiting, and I found myself out all the time every night and not motivated to work on the project. January blew by and I knew I had to get myself back on track. Luckily Bali announced reduction in quarantine and restrictions so I booked tickets and accepted the last few days in Sri Lanka would not be productive and embraced the fun lol Big highlight was the Spanish friends let me DJ Lamana my last night and it was a BANGER of a party! ❤ bringing people together sharing energy →


Finally now back in Bali and back on track. Getting into a good routine of surf, work, and training — promised myself no nights out during the week. Signed up for this awesome cowork space called BWork Bali

BWork Bali

I think I found the right low/no code tool for me in I find it so far very intuitive in the way it’s setup, and there is a lot of resources/tutorials so feel like the traction is coming again with the MVP. I built this test app for a personal project of calculating and display where you are in the average 4000 Weeks we have of finite time.

No Code

So with a 1 month membership my goal in the next month is to build the Wizard in no code that links to a excel model database (for now), while getting advice from various technical friends here in Bali. Start user testing / feedback in April and start converting it to a full application in May/June once I move ideally to NYC as my new basecamp.

Thanks for following along and I’d love any feedback / advice / questions you have around Low/No Code tools and building a startup!