Just Doing What Normal Kids Do
Malcolm Tyson received his very own computer in the 4th grade. He was immediately intrigued and wanted to figure out how it worked. Like any normal kid, he took it apart, played with the parts and got to know this unique piece of equipment. Once he learned how to build a computer from scratch and write basic software, he just knew that he was destined to help people with their technical needs.
In middle school he started his first business burning custom mix music CDs. His peak came when he made a whopping $50 in one day! The feeling he got when he realized he could generate revenue put him on top of the world.
“What I realized then was I really liked taking things that were complicated and inaccessible for the average person and distilling them into an easy, simple to use product.”
Impacting The Lives Of Many With Technology
Fast-forward to college and a path that seemed a little odd to most of the people that knew him as more of a technical guy.
“I had already taught myself how to code and tried to be a computer science major for a semester, but it was boring. Technology is just a tool to serve the needs of people. I think the one thing I realized in using my technical skills to solve problems was that people are the real currency. Technology can evolve and become antiquated – but if you can study what people do and create solutions for their problems, you'll be golden. The best thing about software is you can create a solution once that impacts the lives of many.”
Malcolm enrolled at the University of Florida and studied Anthropology. Upon graduation in 2010 he went to work for Rent.Com/eBay and A YCombinator Company. He also did freelance computer programming.
Every now and again he had something to get rid of and always found a friend willing to buy it. His desire was to execute the transaction online, but thought the existing solutions made it too complicated. Simplicity and utility in an ecommerce platform is what he craved, he began making what would become Robora, a really simple way to sell something exclusively to friends, fans, followers or loyal customers. With Robora the user picks a template, sets a price and uploads a picture. The platform then gives a simple webpage dedicated to what you are trying to sell.
A Great Excuse To Be In Silicon Valley
Draper University was a great excuse for Malcolm to be in Silicon Valley for two months participating in a program run by one of the biggest and best venture capitalists in the industry.
“Having never been, I wanted to witness first hand the hustle, ambition and innovation that embodies Silicon Valley. I had a product people wanted, and I came to Draper seeking help on how to scale and grow my idea.”
Prior to attending Draper University, Malcolm had never been surrounded by like-minded and entrepreneurial people. Participating in the program allowed him to get feedback from other entrepreneurs, Tim Draper, VCs as well as his peers. Malcolm and the other alumni listened as founders from some of the biggest companies on the planet told their stories, which quickly made he and his peers realize that everyone started out just where they were.
“Being okay with the unknown, and being okay with failure are probably the biggest things I got out of the program. A Draper University education is very different. It is much more hands on and gets you out of your comfort zone on a regular basis - which makes for a very solid learning experience.”
Just Do It
Robora, soon to be rebranded Delight, is moving $30,000 a month in sales for his customers and is on track to move half a million dollars in sales this year. Malcolm is building a mobile app, exploring paid customer acquisition and busy raising funding.
What are his words of wisdom for people thinking about attending Draper University.
“Just do it. You will not regret it. I repeat, just do it.”