Interview with Michael Callahan of ONE

Hiscox Brave Entrepreneur Interview Series

This is the tenth episode of a ten-episode series. Follow Hiscox Brave Entrepreneur Interview Series at

Interview series sponsored by Hiscox Small Business Insurance. Hiscox specializes in IT / technology, marketing, consulting, health and beauty, photography and many other professional services business, creating coverage for specific risks in your industry..

“If you have a dream, you have to follow it. There are a lot of people who don’t, but if you do (dream), you have to follow it. “

Dreams, like the ideas you have for business, are not worth it unless you work on them They give us great visions and aspirations for the future, but it is our responsibility to transform them from fiction to reality.

Michael Callahan is a dream jumper. He recognizes problems and opportunities and jumps at the chance to take them upon himself without waiting for someone else to take action.

Michael is the co-founder and CEO of ONE, a technology company that aims to enable global connectivity. This is not a small point, but Michael and One do not take that goal lightly. Their goal is to make existing forms better and to create new forms of communication as they flow more freely.

Not all communication is without debate. The San Francisco-based startup has made national headlines through its anonymous social posting app for high school students – after school. Due to cyber bullying and graphic content concerns, the App Store has removed the app. Since the removal, Michael and the team have made dozens of updates, some of which have not been seen on social media. One of the features that allows at-risk teens to connect with anyone for live chat is mentioned in a recent re / code article about the update. “The company has partnered with suicide prevention agencies so that when users type certain keywords or phrases, such as” kill themselves, “they are immediately asked to connect with someone who might be able to help.”

The changes have forced a team of less than ten employees to work around the clock over the past few months. When asked about the pressure that comes with innovation of this nature, Michael said, “As an entrepreneur you want the pressure, the focus and the scrutiny to be on you because it means people care. When people care you mean you do something. And created something valuable. “

Go back to where it started

It was only fitting that ONE ended up in the Bay Area, where Michael Callahan took the first idea for the company. As he walked to Market St. within hours of being killed, he overtook a group of people whom he considered instant friends. He looked at them, they looked at him and they both went their separate ways. “If we could solve that problem, people could do better.” Not only will it be easier to reach out to friends, people will easily be able to meet new connections, future spouses, business partners and others from whom they can get value and pay the price. The effects of cruelty in our daily lives are considerable, but often overlooked and underestimated. ONE’s goal is to turn future situations into a role, and to turn uninterrupted science into a science.

Communication without a voice

Before One, Michael made headlines after the debut of Audio, an invention that allowed voiceless communication. Audio is designed for those who have lost the ability to speak, and works by capturing the activity transmitted from the brain to the voice. Starting with the ability to distinguish yes from no, they worked to implement an interface without any limitations on vocabulary size. Audio completed the world’s first voiceless cellphone call in 2008.

Starting with one idea

Every startup starts with an idea, but the potential of the company depends on what the founders do with that idea. When asked about his advice to early entrepreneurs and how to get an idea and turn it into a business, Michael suggested: “When they go to pursue an idea, they can ask for money without building. The first few people are usually not interested in investing. The first thing we did was introduce the technology. Once we did that, it was a good time to look for funds and resources.

For people looking to invest or join your team, market legitimacy is important to show others that you are working on a preferred solution to a problem that deserves to be solved. To gain early market legitimacy, Michael recommends a few simple steps:

  1. Tell people about your ideas. By working directly with your target market, you can measure their interest when creating a list of future customers. The feedback you get will help guide you in the right direction, or will probably prove that your idea was not as good as you thought. Use this information to go to step 2.
  2. Create a false prototype. “Create something that doesn’t do what it claims under the hood, but shows power. If you can put together something in a short period of time that shows what the experience will be like – you can measure interest. You can save yourself a bunch of time. “
  3. Innerloop and Outerloop. Start with the idea and work with the idea. Build, and then test the concept. During this process, there will be loops when a certain aspect of the idea or project needs to be reconsidered – go back into the loop.

Internal loop: An internal loop is an iteration between products. This could be added to the feature set or change the direction of the revenue model. The goal is to complete the inner loops without the need to take the outer loop.

Outer loop: An external loop is a complete pivot – start the process and create from scratch. Understanding how to avoid loops outside of development will help you find products that fit the market and ensure that what you create is consistent with what your customers need and want.

If you take one thing from my interview with Michael Callahan, take your dreams and jump for them. Many of the things we use today and the companies that are being created today were once just dreams, but someone took action on them. Don’t stop dreaming, but start working.

Additional interview highlights

What was the biggest risk you took to start ONE? “You bet everything. You don’t really see it as a risk because it’s a necessity – it’s something you have to do. “

– “In general, the entrepreneurial part is to bet everything you have and be perfectly aligned with it.”

– “Entrepreneurs are amazing people. In general, if you meet an entrepreneur, they all have a lot that they have surpassed and worked hard. Entrepreneurs have a quality that sets them apart from other people.”

– “To be an entrepreneur, you must first overcome all personal problems. You just have to be more discriminating with the help you render toward other people. “

– “Whenever you have that initial idea and you want to go further, I think it’s best for entrepreneurs to decide how to make the product themselves without looking for someone who can make it for them. .

– To learn more about ONE, check out my 2013 interview with ONE co-founder Corey Levy.

Listen to the full interview with Michael Callahan below!


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