Or maybe the final straw was that Joel convinced me that Cloudlfare could actually do what I needed. I had lost my founders’ insanity and was now open to listening to him again.
So I shut it down. And you might be here (probably not) from the redirect URL handled by Cloudflare.
If you’re an active reader, you wouldn’t be out of line to ask “Haven’t you shut down and given up on a lot of ideas?” You’re right. I have tried a lot of things and shut down a lot of things. But that’s what I really wanted to talk about now.
It’s not a bad thing to fail. Failure is what teaches us. Any one who practices a sport knows that it’s all of their failures that makes the practice worth while. It’s a chicken and egg - if you didn’t fail, you wouldn’t need practice - but the more you practice, the more you experience failure.
But you also start to experience success. It’s just how you measure it.
It’s been quite trying to think about this lately. I do sometimes feel like a failure. Every idea I seem to come up with seems to wither away and die. I’m shutting things down left and right. But, I’m learning a LOT.
Success seems easy when we look at the end result. We don’t see all the times that these people have failed. And, the successful thing is much more exciting to talk about than all the failures. I don’t feel alone with all of my challenges. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, though.
It’s ok to fail. But failing, shutting things down, and moving on - is not giving up. I learn from every new thing I do and make more adjustments. I think RedirectURL was probably one of the most ambitious things I took on (besides working on my own with my own company More Better Faster). And I’ve learned a lot.
Writing about failure takes vulnerability - if you’re willing to admit what you failed, why, and what you learned. Otherwise it’s just venting and complaining. Let me try to distill what I’ve learned. (Again, I don’t hazard that my regular readers actually care about my thoughts - just my technical and business tips I share - but I think there’s valuable business-related and self-help related items in this summary list).
Know your limitations in business. I have more of an operations mind, less of a sales and marketing mind. I think in the future I need to partner with the skill, ability and desire to market and drive sales.
Understand that both partners need to equally love the product. Joel is freaken amazing. But I don’t think his heart was much into the product as I was. Again, he was right, I was just too stubborn to realize that Cloudfront could handle it. But I think if you work with something with a partner, you need to make sure they’re calibrated with you on the desire and mental investment.
Know your customer. I didn’t really narrow in on my customer right. It was someone who would know enough to change their DNS, but not want to set up a redirect in Cloudflare or on a server. It was someone who was potentially needing a complex redirect, would be willing to pay me for it, but didn’t want to set it up. It was kind of a narrow sub-set of people. Yeah, I did dogfood my own product, but… yeah. Turns out it was a customer segment I didn’t want to support either. Almost one of those knows just enough to be dangerous group.
Honestly, I got a bit depressed when I realized it was time to shut down RedirectURL. Another failure. But, I did learn a lot. And getting rid of non-performing projects, products and assets lowers the cognitive load - so I can be ready to do something new, and even better!
Remember, failing is part of learning. If you move on and learn, shutting things down is not giving up.
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