AKA, a list of my failures. 😉
When I was seven years old, my father took me door to door in our neighborhood in Winthrop, MA and told me to offer to mow and landscape their yard for $1. Obviously, despite the child labor laws at the time, many people accepted. After we went home with my new list of clients, my father went back to each person, and told them not to, under any circumstances, give me more than $1 unless I asked for it. I quit a few weeks later when I realized that my time was more valuable than what I was being paid.
Lesson learned: Value of Time.
When I was 15 I started my first business. A friend’s older brother did latin music promotions and when I vendor failed to provide back-stage passes at the last minute, he asked if I could do them. Never having seen back-stage passes before, I included the band’s graphics and logos, and provided them with nice, high-quality, laminated backstage-passes. The inclusion of the graphics and logos set them apart, and very quickly I had a number of clients. Unfortunately, when I established my pricing, I didn’t take into account ancillary costs like, printers breaking, unusual amounts of ink, etc, and consistently lost money.
Lesson Learned: How to price correctly.
Haven spoken at Sun Microsystems, Oakley, and spent a good amount of time building IDS systems at my day job, I decided to offer security auditing services. I put together an online system scanning tool, but had a very difficult time finding clients after working with the few in my immediate social network. This was primarily due to not knowing enough about sales and marketing, and not being able to find enough leads. Cold-calls
Lessons Learned: Importance of having a sales & marketing plan before starting business.
Entrenza was a reputation analytics service based on some software I wrote. We used predictive analysis to determine if text was positive/negative about it’s subject (the brand we were tracking) and would then graph that over time & send alerts if it dipped into the negative.
Acting as both the founder and CEO/Project Manager, I learned so many lessons doing this project. I learned how sustain motivation, how to adopt standards, how to pick a team. I learned that just because people are smart, doesn’t mean that if they’re not motivated that they will add to a team. I learned to pull the trigger on letting people go, and I learned how important time-to-market is. We had a great piece of technology, that we weren’t able to get polished enough before other big companies moved into the market. Ultimately we decided that the cost/benefit of going up against google, gartner, and the other players in the market just didn’t tip in our favor. Additionally, while our software worked pretty well, in order to compete at that level, we’d have needed to get a lot more capitol to successfully deliver results in a timely enough manner to satisfy our clients.
Lessons learned: how to motivate people, how to manage a team, project management, necessity of capital, time to market, when to cut and run
icreatedthis.com (current project)
ICreatedThis.com is a goal tracking website & homepage replacement. It’s a “mini” startup project, in that I started it to learn about a) a new programming framework b) monetizing a website and c) marketing.