Learn from your mistakes. There couldn't be more wise words to live by when you're working on a new startup, or a new project. Take what you've done before and start from scratch; it's good and healthy to reassess where you've come from in order to learn from your mistakes. Earlier this week I read about Mark Bao's proposal and eventual successful sale of ThreeWords.me. Like every young entrepreneur who heard the story that morning I too wanted to mimic his success, or better it. My mind immediately went into action about creating 'get rich quick' websites and crazes. Whilst in the shower that morning I thought over all of the instant viral hits; apps like ThreeWords.me, Twifficiency, Formspring.me and a few others. How do they do it? There's an instant huge wave of new users flooding the system incredibly quickly, who then disperse. The answer is vanity. We all want people to love us, or to talk to us, or to find out something about us; it's the reason why people are on the internet in the first place, they want their ideas to be heard.
I started thinking of all of the domains that I own, but have never used. I'm a domain hoarder, a collector. If I think of a domain that I think might come in useful one day, I buy it in the hope that one day I'll use it. In September I purchased the expired domain name Pitchie.com, this seem perfect for what I wanted to do. I wanted to build an application that could be viral and allowed users to express themselves and their ideas. I had the name and the idea.
Jumping out of the shower, rushing to my MacBook, I quickly phoned my partner James Cunningham (the developer behind the infamous Twitter craze Twifficiency). I quickly explained to James my idea in my usual rushed manner, before he had time for it to sink in I'd already made him agree to build the application. Pitchie was properly born and it was starting to happen. I began writing down ideas, expanding on my original proposal and very quickly the idea for Pitchie evolved from trying to be a one hit wonder / get rich quick app, to being a fully fledged service with longevity. Whenever this happens with an idea it's terrifying, mainly because there's no backing down or quitting. You can't give up within a week after launch, there's no quick exit.
Learn from your mistakes.
I've been working on one of the pioneering simple screenshot sharing apps since I founded it in 2008, you might have heard of it, it's called TinyGrab. TinyGrab initially started up as a little play toy, a pet project that was never meant to really take off (especially to the extent that it has). Thanks to the inclusion of TinyGrab in bundles such as the MacHeist Nanobundle, we quickly rose from 1,000 active users to well over 300,000. TinyGrab, as of today, now has 400,000+ users on its database; half of which are active weekly and take regular screenshots. TinyGrab spiralled out of control very quickly, it got too big for our incredibly small team to manage properly and it started to fall down. In May of 2010 we started to turn this around with the roll out of TinyGrab 2.0. TinyGrab 2.0 has been plagued with development issues and is rather late to launch. It's not as nimble and as quick as it once was, every move now has to be carefully calculated and planned meticulously. This is where I hope to learn from my mistakes with Pitchie.
Everything you do, every failure and success you have; put it down to experience. Don't focus on your weaknesses, focus on your strengths. If you keep worrying about what you're NOT good at, you're going to start losing focus and then you won't really be good at anything at all. Play, don't work, and your life will be infinitely better and enjoyable. Just a few words of random drivel in a hope to make a vaguely interesting blog post, I hope it helps someone.