You Can Fail Quickly Or You Can Do What I Did
It’s generally advised that if you’re trying to build something do it quickly. This, with the idea in mind that if you fail, and most things fail, get it over quickly so you can move on and avoid the sunk cost fallacy.
I took a different approach than most, by failing (in different ways) quite a few times before getting to the point now, where I can see if I’ll succeed or fail completely. BTW, Hi I’m Rob, and I run a strategy and creative consultancy).
I’ll share my path so anyone seeing this can figure out how to do better than I did.
How Did I Fail?
One: Built a website for a product best used on a phone
Two: Hired an app developer who didn’t know what he was doing.
Three: Hired a new developer who did some work and then took my money and then ghosted me.
Four: Hired another developer who didn’t know what he was doing.
What Were You Building?
I first developed the framework for a concept ultimately called Wrytr a long time ago. It started informally when I emailed writing prompts to friends with the submission considered the best earning a bumper sticker for Mexican restaurant in San Diego who at that time made the finest California Burrito on Earth.
Sticker: I AM AN HONORABLE CLIENT OF SANTANA’S
Who wouldn’t want to win that?
The concept expanded to involving other people and other prizes. Doing this type of writing was so much fun, I wanted to get it online and did with the first iteration being a website. As I was building to launch the site, phones and apps became popular. At that time, it became obvious the idea would work better as an app. FAIL ONE.
Why Didn’t You Quit Then and There?
For me, that spark came from finding Ryan Hoover and a few posts of his on Medium about building products, which was right around the time he launched Product Hunt, which for anyone building anything is as good as it gets. Everyone, from the biggest of big, to 12 year olds, is debuting new things there.
With Product Hunt around, and me in need of help building my new app, I reached out to Ryan and bought an add in search of a developer. Luckily for me, PH was new enough that my ad was up longer than I’d pay for it to be posted, and I found some resources.
Through Product Hunt, I found a great designer. As for devs? Not so much. Cycled through a few before finding the right now. Good lessons learned throughout the journey. FAIL TWO, FAIL THREE, FAIL FOUR.
Seriously, You Didn’t Quit After That?
No. I did not quit. As to why, well, I felt like the failures, even though they were driven by my decision making, they were more lessons learned than flame out failures. It’s hard to articulate how much I learned in so many ways, so on I continued. Continued until I found the right developer to get this done.
So Now What Will You Do?
Now, all of my planning, strategy, ideation, etc. is going to be put to a true test. If Wrytr fails, it will be entire due to me. I couldn’t live with quitting, had it been due to someone I hired failing me, but I’ll be completely OK, if the fail is at my own hands.