We had the good fortune of connecting with Nathaniel Goodman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nathaniel, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
My friends and I came up with the idea for Emit when we were in our apartment at Brown University the fall of our senior year. We started brainstorming and thinking of issues we faced as students on a daily basis. Organizing last-minute plans with friends and meeting new people in general have been especially challenging due to the pandemic because there’s been a complete lack of information about what people are doing due to social isolation. As a result, we were drawn to building a mobile application to recreate the feeling of spontaneity when it came to making last-minute plans with friends. From there, we decided to interview other students to validate this problem before building a prototype, and after 50+ rounds of interviews, we decided to go for it. Around January, we brought on another co-founder who had coincidentally been working on the same idea and had already built out a MVP, so since then, we’ve been building on top of it and simplifying the functionality, and successfully published the application to both the Google Play and Apple App stores (you can check it out at www.getemit.com). Since then we’ve been trying to find specific groups of users — friends, clubs, organizations — that can regularly use this app in order to get initial traction and improve the app based on feedback.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Coming into Brown, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to study or pursue professionally, but in my sophomore year, I decided to take a chance on Computer Science and ended up loving it. A big challenge was getting over some imposter syndrome I had from not only being at an Ivy League school, but also starting my major essentially a year late among a sea of first-year students, many of whom had been programming since they were in high school or earlier. I got over this by actively avoiding comparing myself to those around me, channeling my time and energy into my own intellectual and personal growth, and focusing on the domains within computer science I truly found fascinating such as Natural Language Processing, Distributed Systems, and Computational Biology. Since then, I’ve been very lucky to have three research assistantships, two software engineering internships, and an upcoming full time job at Amazon as a software engineer. The biggest takeaways and lessons I’ve learned from all of this is to focus less on those around you, don’t be afraid to look up and ask for a helping hand, and don’t be afraid to shoot high!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would start any good trip to San Diego with a morning hike up Torrey Pines, then we’d make our way up to Del Mar for breakfast at L’Auberge, followed by an afternoon of surfing capped off with a couple slices of Del Mar Pizza. For dinner, I would take them to Bangkok Bay, the best Thai food in San Diego in my opinion, and then watch the sunset at Swami’s beach. In the evening, I’d take them to the Gaslamp district for an evening of bar hopping and fun.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would absolutely love to shoutout my parents Ira and Wende Goodman for always believing in me, even when I didn’t. I truly would not be the person I am without your unconditional love, guidance, and support.