Timothy Andersen – Starting Things Off

My name is Timothy Andersen, or Timmy to all those that know me. My friends have been calling me that for as long as I can remember. Even when I entered college, even though I introduced myself as Tim, a few months in people were already calling me Timmy. Perhaps I’m just a “Timmy”…

I grew up with a stable and loving family, and I had the pleasure of living in multiple countries. I truly had a blessed upbringing. The most influential time for me must be my years going to an international school here in Kobe, Japan. Playing basketball during lunch break, going out in Kobe and Osaka on the weekends, epic house parties.. Those times are like a dream to me now. My friends there remain very close to me to this day.

Academically, high school was a breeze for me. Math class consisted of finishing my homework during the 5 to 10 minutes it took the teacher to come around and collect it, and then napping through the rest of class. English literature and history I had a good enough grasp. Let’s just say I cut some corners, à la Spark Notes and such. Japanese class, I was a master of utilizing my short-term memory. Before a kanji test I would simply stuff all the kanji into my head right up until the last second, then as soon as I received the test paper I would scribble it all down on the top margin. It was then a simple matter of matching the kanji to where it fit best. SATs? I had taking multiple choice tests down to a science. Clearly, a super useful skill in life. What did I want to study in college and do for a living? Fucked if I knew.. I was good at math and physics. Mechanical engineering seemed like a practical fit.

I got into Carnegie Mellon University. Shit wasn’t easy no more. Make no mistake, that place is full of really, really smart people. I went from being the smartest kid in class to one of the dumbest. I went through the motions and made it through semester after semester. I got decent grades. Interviewing for jobs and internships proved to be something I sucked horribly at. Not caring and not having drive and confidence does that to you. My strengths? “I work hard and I’m a team player”. Why did you choose to pursue this particular company? “Who the fuck are you?”. I didn’t actually say that of course. They were all the same to me…

So without a job coming out of college, I had to stall – in comes graduate school. I joined a special graduate program that stuffed 2 years of your typical Masters program into 1 year. It was the hardest year of my life. I gave up any semblance of a social life and spent every single night and weekend studying. There are only 2 lessons that I keep with me from that time. First, if I dig deep, I am capable of working very hard. Second, if given enough time and pressure, I can learn extremely complex concepts.

After 5 years (and a quarter million dollars) of going to an elite university, the best I could manage getting was an internship at Proctor & Gamble back here in Kobe, Japan. During the internship I learned 2 more lessons. I suck at mechanical engineering, and I fucking hate mechanical engineering. After the internship I was up for consideration for a full-time job, and I didn’t get it. And rightfully so.. I had no idea what it meant to be part of a team and part of a business.

So there I was – once again living in my mom’s apartment, no job, and no fucking clue what to do. That will probably be the closest I will ever get to zero. It was the best thing to ever happen to me.

I finally started to truly invest in myself. No way in hell I was going back to school though. I started teaching English at an eikaiwa school to first get back on my feet. During my free time, I taught myself Japanese. Seriously this time – no short-term memory tricks. I was searching for what I was going to do with my life, and then steps in 2 of my good friends from high school. “IT”, they said. “Interesting”, I said. Right at that time my brother and a drinking buddy started an IT company. Perfect. I stuck my head in and asked to join.

I taught myself programming from scratch. Stack Overflow is my savior and my bible. Working for a 3 person IT company left me nowhere to run when facing a problem. Learning under fire truly is the best and fastest way. Going at it for 4 years, I was becoming pretty damn good.

I started developing a chip on my shoulder during that time. There was a fire that was brewing in me, and I felt I had a whole lot to prove to myself and to the world.

Reach for the heavens. With conviction, and without excuse.

Who made this quote? I did. It encapsulates what I feel and what I believe. And it is exactly what I will do until I finally taste true success in my life. No more fucking around…

I started reading books on entrepreneurship, and consuming every worthwhile video, interview, and podcast I could find on the topic. The thought of being in complete control of my own fate… It was extremely empowering. During my 4th year working with the IT company, I went on vacation to Phuket with my then girlfriend Naomi. Being away from it all, I had my moment of clarity. The time to pursue my own venture – that time was now. I graciously left my job, and started the next chapter of my life.

Musby has been developing ever since – starting from January 2016. It has been learning curve after learning curve. Reading all those books on entrepreneurship has helped to guide me, but there is no substituting the real thing. I have been truly blessed to have amazingly talented people join our team. We have a designer/brand manager that oozes creativity. Everything he touches is a reminder of how talented he is. We have a marketer who is extremely driven and equally kind, and her enormous network of friends and followers is a testament to that. Finally, we have a finance expert who is likewise very driven, and has this piercing aura of confidence that tells you she could beat you to your knees if she wanted to. I am very proud of our team. We have come a long way, and we have a long way to go still. Even if it all came to a stop tomorrow though, I would cherish the privilege I had working with these individuals.

I proposed to my wife in October 2016, at one of the most uncertain and financially poorest times of my life. And she said yes. At the time of this writing, we are 2 and a half weeks away from our wedding. We have dreams of moving to Tokyo in 6 months, and then to Hawaii after the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. This is me giving life everything I got. This is me reaching for the heavens. With conviction, and without excuse.

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