Entrepreneur, Thou Art Toolish, part 1   August 25, 2011

August 25, 2011

it doesn't work, dudeI’m starting a new series of blog posts cataloging enormous or classic blunders that I’ve witnessed firsthand.  These are the mistakes that entrepreneurs made in their ventures that unequivocally caused a project to fail.  But this isn’t me just sitting on the sidelines calling fouls.  These really happened.

Now I know I am going to catch flack for the in-your-face title, so I’ll give a brief explanation.  If you are an entrepreneur and you can’t check your ego and absolutely inhale all of the data that is out there (mostly bad, some good), then you don’t belong in this game.  That MBA from Wharton isn’t going to get your site launched, real life lessons will.  Every biz-related datapoint that you run across needs to be weighed and you need to make a case as to why it doesn’t apply to you.  Don’t put up a wall and claim that you are immune from idiocy and failure.  Wholeheartedly accept that failure is your project’s most likely end point and move forward keeping that very real prospect on your short-list of outcomes.

That said, if you can’t make the case against a datapoint, then you indeed have that problem.  Don’t fight it.  However, that isn’t what makes you so foolish, sir.  It’s your inability to accept and adapt your strategy.  Once again, check the ego.

Many years ago, a friend pointed out that I had no backup for my lead programmer in my development workflow.  I railed against that concept of single point of failure, claiming it was not a valid concern so why should I invest time in training senior coders to be architects.  Care to guess what happened?  I lost my lead, nobody could take her place, the client lost faith and walked a short time later.  Single points of failure nearly caused the doors to close back in 2005.  The lesson: I was a fool with an ego.

Alright, so now that we have a level playing field, mistake #1 is trying to launch a project without a recurring revenue stream.  Google will not buy you.  Google buys about 10 to 15 companies in a really big year. I launch about 30 sites a year and I am one small developer.  Seriously, you have no chance if this is your strategy.  You have to have some incredible, patented tech to even catch their eye at all, much less get purchased.  Profitable operations is one sign that a technology is solid (when the crowd opens their wallets, that heralds mainstream acceptance).  That last sentence there, THAT is your datapoint.

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