Ugh, I’ve Kind of Launched

November 29, 2007

I released the site I’ve been working on. It’s called Foobity. I posted it to the news.ycombinator.com social news site. They have an excellent community when it comes to feedback.

I have release jitters. I’ve promoted other stuff I’ve done, but not with much avidity. And it’s often just an idea that sits in a perpetual alpha state. Not to say that Foobity is anywhere close to done. It needs a tremendous amount of work. But this site has gotten farther than most of my website ideas.

I had one other company where we got from idea to release. It was called PadHolsters and we were making holsters for the Gameboy SP. We made really high-end holsters out of leather. We had them manufactured locally. We should of had them made in China, but we didn’t have the money to produce them at that level of volume. I was also unsatisfied with the design. But we actually sold them. It was really amazing putting a product I had made in a box and sending it to a stranger who had entrusted me. There really is no magic to a business. It’s just people working together. We never got to profitability, but I learned a tremendous amount from that business.

I really hope Foobity becomes something that satisfies people, and that I can create a self-sustaining business from it.

Case #472

What to do when something someone says causes you to doubt what you are doing.

Example

You finish a webpage and ask a family member for feedback. They respond with a torrent of confusion and criticism. You spent hours on this and it made you feel awful that they are hanging onto easily fixed details. They don’t see the beauty of what you’ve done, and you start to doubt that beauty exists.

Response

  1. Don’t panic.
  2. Remember that everyone around you is an idiot. No one gets your vision because you’re better than everyone else.
  3. Then after your ego has rubbed the wound for a bit, remember that your critic said that for a reason. Go and figure that reason out. Do some opportunity cost analysis to see if it’s worth fixing or if their criticism should be treated as anomalous.
  4. Then go and seek more criticism by being brave with the publicity of your ideas. Develop a large ego-callous until you don’t need steps 1 and 2.

Note: This is not actually from a real book. Although maybe if I can think up enough of these it might actually become one.

New employees are invaluable because of their objectivity. They haven’t seen all of the product, development, and marketing yet. They aren’t indoctrinated into the culture. Their questions can point out the blindspots the involved worker can’t see by virtue of his position. Considering this, I’ve adopted the policy of making every employee a consultant in the company for the first two weeks they are there.

Since saying something about business practice without creating structure is just hot air, I’m going to implement this thinking by assigning an anomaly list to the new employee. At the end of their first two weeks they have to come with a list of things they’ve found strange and didn’t understand. Most of these items will have answers that are explained by historical circumstances. But some of them will not be explainable, and we will have to account for them.

Simultaneously, this task will welcome the new employee by giving them a license to poke around. They will be on a mandated search of investigation. This will plunge them into areas they would not have gone in, had they immediately plunged into the work they were hired for.

A Prototype of my New Site

November 6, 2007

I’ve released a prototype of my competition site. Here is the competition to name my site. You can win a book.

Please tell me what you think. It is obviously a work in progress.

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