Tag Archives: Startup

Lessons: Just because you can build it. Doesn’t mean you should

5 Feb


I’ve probably been burned by this at least 1/2 a dozen times.  There are friends of mine who I know have/are doing the exact same thing (you know who you are).  Here are the steps of a start-up in the mind of a technical entrepreneur:

  1. Come up with a fantastic start-up idea
  2. Look for a domain name (maybe buy it?)
  3. Tell a couple of trusted friends about it and why it’s going to rock
  4. Start building

There are many other steps past #4 but so many of my start-up ideas die within these steps.  (sidenote: The ones that die after #2 are entertaining because I have the domains to prove the existed and took up brain cycles at extended period of time. )

#4 is where it goes wrong.  It’s so tempting to just start coding.  Even if it is just a demo, proof of concept, just to tinker with an API or something.  Just stop.  Just stop wasting your time.

Sure I’ve read about customer development and lean start-ups but my idea is different, right?  Or I can do that after the demo is done, the customers can look at that…. then you just keep making updates and tweeks and before you know it… you’ve wasted way too much time on it.  

My new belief is to not “build/code” anything until I have a pilot customer.  I can do mock-ups, I can do wire frames, I can do workflows, but I should not code anything.  Say it with me now “I shall not code anything until I have a pilot customer”.  Without a customer you have no guidance of where this thing is really going.  You are just wasting your time on assumptions.  Time is a commodity, if I’m going to be serious at getting a hit one of these start-up ideas.  I have to fail fast.  I can fail a lot faster if I don’t start building until I really need to.

 This may seem obvious to other entrepreneurs but having the chops to build things, is also a sickness of temptation to just build things.   


Read This: Startup site aims to ease consumer buying decisions – The Globe and Mail

23 Jan

Startup site aims to ease consumer buying decisions – The Globe and Mail.

Congrats to my Canadian friends on their newly launched site and this nice written story about how it came to be.

I recall being an early tester for their first site dedicated to cameras.  I even bought my last camera based on the research I was able to do on their site.

What a good story for a great bunch of guys.  I wish them all the success with Sortable

Read This: How My Lifestyle Business Became a Startup | > code618

12 Oct

How My Lifestyle Business Became a Startup | > code618.

Truly inspiring article that acknowledges there is another way to start a startup.  It’s not all burning the midnight oil, get funding, get big fast!

You don’t hear about the successes of individuals like the author nearly as often as the tech wiz kid who is now worth billions.

With my current life (mortgage, wife, baby), being able to start slow with my next idea is one of my main criteria.  Guys like this are more of my hero vs. the Mark Zuckerbergs.

Hopelessly perfect: Why it’s smart to work at a no-shot startup | The Startup Foundry

12 Jul

Hopelessly perfect: Why it’s smart to work at a no-shot startup | The Startup Foundry.

I really enjoyed this post.  It was a great reminder about how much you can pick up on the road and scenery as you travel the world of start-ups and entrepreneurship.

Even if you fail to reach the destination (acquisition or IPO), you learned a lot.

Startups Don’t Die, They Commit Suicide

27 Jun

Startups Don’t Die, They Commit Suicide.

This article is especially relevant to me right now and the state of UberNote.

I especially like the example story of Airbnb.  I’ve heard inspiring stories about them in the past.  (Obamo O’s was a pretty good one)

What I didn’t know was that the founders were originally designers and I didn’t hear about all their trials and failures before getting into Y-combinator.  To try and fail that many times with little or no traction is very commendable.

UberNote had some early wins that kept our heads in the game.  We had some good blog press and retention of traffic at the right times when we needed it to keep going.  Right now we have slow growth and a consistent user base, which honestly has kept us from throwing in the towel many times.

We don’t have hockey stick growth or tons of press.  Maybe if we did we’d be approaching UberNote differently.

Outside the initial rush of starting a startup (first year?), how much does your effort and fortitude relate to your traction, growth and retention?   I’d argue that they have a pretty close correlation.

The Logic in Starting UberNote

22 Mar

The idea for UberNote started over 4 years ago in late 2006 (It’s a little hard to believe).  During that time “web 2.0” startups were at their peak.  Delicious, Flickr, Myspace and other early businesses in this space had had successful exits.

Since this was our first startup, we had the starry eyed dreams of becoming viral and being sold as the next great startup.  Why not us?

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