We have decided to quit.
Actually, that’s not completely true. We decided to give it one more month. To work really hard until March 15th and see if we can make our startup take off — if not, then we’ll call it quits.
Why quit? Because we’re stuck. We have a solution, but no problem. It’s a very common startup problem, especially for engineers. People like myself get very excited about solutions without validating that there’s actually a problem to be solved. It’s the “square peg in the round hole”-problem. You end up having to reverse engineer your solution to fit some kind of problem.
In our case, we’ve tried so many different user groups: Social entrepreneurs, lawyers, product managers, project managers, CTOs, marketing and sales people, developers, teachers, researchers — you name it, we’ve tried it.
We have found some people interested in our product. Emphasis on “interested”. But no one who so badly needs what we offer that they’d be willing to put up with our prototype. Every new user we get is a real battle. We fight very hard to get them onboard, but mostly they don’t really care.
We will keep trying until March 15th and we may still find our user group. I’m going to pour my heart into it. I really want this to succeed. But if we can’t find anyone who’s problem we can solve, then it’s time to call it a day. That’s probably my biggest learning from all this: Never again will I ever build something without first having (paying) users lined up. Always focus on killing your ideas as quickly as possible. Your job is to poke all the holes in your startup, so you get attached to a problem to solve and not to a particular solution.
I have no regrets. It was unlikely for this startup to succeed (equally unlikely as any other startup), but for the potential impact, it was absolutely worth a shot. I’ve learned a TON. About myself, about software development, and about entrepreneurship. Working with Jessy has been an incredible privilege. I’m very excited to see what she will go on to do — her talent, intelligence, and work ethic make her pretty unstoppable. And it’s been awesome getting paid to come to Singapore to work on something that I love. Thanks, Antler!
Okay, back to work. We still have three weeks and I’m committed to doing everything I can to still make this work!!