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Setbacks are driving this young entrepreneur

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Nis Frome is enjoying life at Alpha UX after learning from two failed startup attempts.
Nis Frome is enjoying life at Alpha UX after learning from two failed startup attempts. - ()

Nis Frome was building websites before he even received his high school diploma. He and a friend even found moderate success when they turned the skill into a business.

For a while.

“For two 17-year-olds building a company and doing revenues at ($50,000) a year, it was pretty good,” Frome said. “We couldn't handle that, of course, and it fell apart mostly because it grew too quickly for us.”

They took the lessons they learned and narrowed their focus while in college. He and his partner shifted from building sites to designing a specific product: a webinar platform called Hublished.

But they still found a few growing pains.

“It took us (more than) two years to realize we didn't know how to build a product, which is way too long,” Frome said. “But nonetheless, I learned a lot, and what I was happy about, was that I knew what I didn't know.”

Welcome to the crazy world of high-tech entrepreneurship — where failing often is the key to success.

For Frome, that meant reflecting on how his companies succeeded and, ultimately, failed.

After college, his main goal became learning how to build a product. And he knew he couldn't do that on his own, so the New Brunswick resident began hopping the train to New York to work as a demand generator for Alpha UX, a platform for gathering user insights from digital products.

It couldn't be a better fit.

Even though he technically isn't a founder at Alpha UX, he feels invested in the company's success.

“I definitely feel like I have skin in the game at Alpha UX. I was the third person there and I feel like I have a lot of autonomy,” Frome said. “Right now I'm in a role where I get to learn rapidly, and I really couldn't ask for more at this age.

“I know what a dream job looks like, and I think I have it right now.”

Despite all the setbacks, for someone who was starting businesses before the ink was dry on his driver's license, it's hard to crush that entrepreneurial spirit.

Even if it's not in the immediate future, he'd like to try his hand at starting another company. And when will he know it's time to move on?

“I have a rule I live by: I say, at this point in time, if I'm looking at a 6-month-younger version of me, was he an idiot or not?” he said. “If that 6-month-younger version of me wasn't an idiot, I'm not learning fast enough.”

E-mail to: andrews@njbiz.com
On Twitter: @andrewsnjbiz

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