5 Things we've done wrong with Social Blendr

May 20, 2012

Last October, Khaliq and I started to really work on Social Blendr. We’ve made plenty of mistakes, and I’d like to spend a minute talking about them. I’d like to publicly confront our issues before they become problems, so to speak.

In no specific order

  1. Changed our idea 7,000 times
    Pivot is a word that gets so much air now it’s hard to remember when changing your idea seemed bad. We tried to incorporate every piece of feedback we got into our product, and sometimes lost the “big vision”. We ended up refactoring the code base multiple times. We were essentially always starting over, which made traction impossible.
     
  2. Incubator infatuation
    When we first applied to Y Combinator and Techstars, we spent a solid month on our application. We worried about every word, every meaning and what they were thinking. We were mangling Social Blendr in an attempt to get into one of the programs. While the process was great for us as a team, it wasn’t great for our product. We ended up getting attention, but we never had the product ready because…we were too busy trying to get their attention.
     
  3. Feature Creep
    At times, we had so many “features” and ideas for Social Blendr we forgot we actually had to make them. We planned out a ton, but never got to building them. Or if we did build them, we didn’t use them because core parts of the product weren’t ready. When those other parts were ready, the product had changed so much it made them useless (see point 1).
     
  4. Ignoring Burnout, championing overworking
    I very proudly worked a 50 hour day trying to get a version of Social Blendr up and running before an event. I wrote exponentially worse and worse code as the hours went on and then pushed right as I left for the “real life” component. None of that code ended up working. The more I did this, the harder the following week was. I ended up having the hardest winter of my life.
     
  5. Mentors
    One of the most important meetings we had as a team was the one we made with Reece Pacheco. He opened up doors for us and really showed us how to take our first steps. We spent the first month following up with Reece, getting feedback and meeting with whoever else he knew that could give us some insight. For some reason, we stopped. We never got another mentor on that level. We pay to live in NYC, but we aren’t taking advantage of it. Reece is definitely an outlier, but if we can find other people who help us 50% of what he did that’s a game changer.

They say that you learn more in your failures than you do in your successes. I think that’s just what people say when they fail.

Why can’t we learn this now and still succeed? Let’s hope this new saying get’s some traction:

You learn the most when you figure out your failings on the path to succeeding than when you just give up half way through.

HN conversation here


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