Wavii Will Make Waves On Your Newsfeed
Adrian Aoun has a long history with the tech world, starting when he was a grade schooler who had to figure out how to re-format a busted laptop. From there he went on to study computer science in college, founded a software and consulting company, worked on bringing Microsoft onto the web and was a director at Fox Media interactive. It’s no surprise, then, that his latest project is making waves.
Wavii monitors everything that’s going on online for you, posting automatic updates right on your Facebook newsfeed so you don’t have to scour the web for all of your industry news, celebrity gossip, and political fighting. Basically it allows you to condense your information intake, letting you see the news of the world and news of your friends all in one place. Pretty cool, right?
Adrian sat down with KillerStartups to talk about how his OCD crashed his first computer, pacing on the phone and why showering is important (it’s not the reason you think).
How long have you been involved with the internet? What were your first steps? What was your first computer?
When I was in 4th grade, my dad brought home a laptop, a Compaq LTE Lite 486 25Mhz. I had played with our 286 IBM before, but never was really that into it. But this laptop seemed exciting.
Problem was, I was a little OCD and didn’t like the fact that some of the files on it weren’t in a folder. Namely, in the root of the hard drive there were a few files (autoexec.bat, config.sys, command.com, etc.) and they seemed unorganized right there, so I moved them into a folder. Oops…. The computer wouldn’t restart after I did that.
This meant I had about 3 hours before my dad got home to fix it, which meant reading the DOS manual, formatting the computer, and reinstalling the OS. After that day, I was hooked.
What time do you usually start work each day? Do you have an office or work at home?
I usually wake up about 6 or 7 and work out (yoga during winter and cycling or tennis during summer). Then I take an hour or two of making calls to Europe and reading the news (I read an enormous amount, from WSJ, NYT, FT, Le Monde, blogs, etc.)
We have an office, right near Pike Place market in Seattle, just a few blocks from my home.
What’s the first thing you do when you leave the office at the end of the day?
Every single morning before work and immediately after work I call my best friend, my father, and my cousin. I update them on my day and shoot the shit a little. This allows me to always have outside non-tech advisors that can give me advice on anything I’m facing without me having to catch them up on years and years of context in my company.
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? After working for 16 hours? While out jogging? On your third beer?
I try to shower twice a day because it’s one of the only times during the day that I’m not attached to a device and reacting to incoming requests. I end up re-capping my day in my head, and thinking about my coming day so my creativity for the week usually comes during those times. But I think it’s also important to think at a broader level–weeks, months, years–and that comes mostly during yoga or biking, where I can clear my head of whatever I’m currently dealing with, and focus more on high-level thoughts and passions.
We want to know about where you spend your day! What’s on your desk right now?
I spend my day in the office, but rarely at my desk. My team loves to joke that there’s no real reason for me to have a desk, because I never use it. When I’m on the phone, I have to be pacing otherwise I don’t get the energy flowing so I’ll either pace around the office or go on a walk around the neighborhood. Otherwise, I often have meetings, and because we have an open office, we head over to one of our conference tables to chat and not bother people. Thus, I’m never at my desk, and have never bothered to decorate it. It’s empty other than a monitor.
Favorite book? Author?
Gleick’s Chaos, Hawking’s Brief History of Time, Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, [and Feyman’s] Surely You’re Joking, Mr Feyman
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually put your life on hold and realize yours?
It’s less the confidence, and more the obligation. I think that the world has a lot of tough problems that need to be solved and it’s our duty, as privileged individuals to solve those problems, improve society, and give back.
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get their business off the ground?
The two best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given for doing a startup:
1) Hire people better than you.
2) It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Who has been your biggest cheerleader throughout this process?
My father, but in a funny way. Rather than coddling me, he merely expects me to push myself and work harder, as that’s his default. It keeps me going, but in a cheerleader-less way.
3 people you recommend we follow on Twitter, and why?
- Aaron Levie – funny as all hell.
- Marissa Mayer – excited to see how this plays out. Huge respect for people that leave comfortable jobs to tackle tough problems.
- Wavii – [obviously!]
We also love to know the fact and figures, care to share?
We’re about 30 people from Amazon, Microsoft, Last.fm, etc., backed by an all-star list of angels including Ron Conway/SV Angel, Aydin Senkut/Felicis VC, Mitch Kapor/ Kapor Capital, Mike Arrington/CrunchFund, Dave Morin,Shawn Fanning, Keith Rabois, Joshua Schachter, Paul Buchheit,Rick Marini, Max Levchin, other angels.
Where can our readers get ahold of you?