(h/t to Barry Ritholtz)
Someone should develop a database of new companies that meet these criteria:
Ripoff of an existing service…check.
Shitty user-generated content…check.
Horrific sins against programming…check.
Somehow got a plug on TechCrunch…check.
70 people get together to build a web-based company in a single weekend. That’s 70 people that either barely know each other or have barely worked together – well maybe 60 or so plus a few that actually do work together. Nevertheless, just getting this many people to burn their entire weekend working for 1/70th of the equity in an unfunded enterprise is a feat. Yet, there were naysayers beforehand and the “told ya so” crowd” afterward (the site didn’t actually launch on time), many of whom fall into the following persona categories:
– Those that thought this project was purely an exercise in building to flip (because they generally can’t see the forest through the trees); and
– Those that the existing 70 folks probably wouldn’t have wanted around anyway (because they are simply negative-willed pains in the asses).
There were numerous successes to this “venture,” and you don’t really need a well-trained eye to see them either:
- A few die hards will finish the project (albeit late), and probably sharpen their negotiating skills (to balance their highly tuned coding skills, and newfound high pressure social skills);
- A few people will have some fun with the project once it’s done;
- Vosnap will not need to hire a PR firm when it launches (they’ve gotten plenty of free publicity already);
- The groundbreaking “all open” development methodology (open as in blogged, video-ed, cross-commented on, etc.) will be the subject of a business school case study, and probably sooner rather than later;
- Several of the participants will invariably start something else, knowing now that they have complimentary skillsets and further assurances of a productive working relationship;
- The Foundry Group/TechStars/Boulder/Colorado communities stand to benefit from the above (and they knew it to begin with).
There are probably a lot more gains to be had that don’t show up at first glance, but I have to go walk the dog.
Also noted…even though Vosnap didn’t launch on time, there is a distinct lack of directly negative commentary showing up among the “internet influencers” – before you bash this project, ask yourself why.
A few parallels worth mentioning:
- The need for patience and persistence – Not everyone is going to buy into your idea the moment you deliver it. By the same token, neither is a trout. Be patient with people as well as finicky aquatica – adjust your presentation to achieve the intended objective. Quit too soon, and you might miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime.
- Betting on your winners – Throw your all into the stuff that’s working. Successful entrepreneurs get a boost from small successes, and by directing attention to the small wins they often turn them into big ones. Commodities traders are particularly good at this – they generally double up their bets on their winners (and yes, I consider traders entrepreneurs). For trout, go for your favorite flies and favorite holes first – the ones you have confidence in as a result of previous successes.
- Knowing when to cut your losses – You can turn a small business failure into a big one very easily. Just keep throwing good money after bad. You can turn stellar conditions into a “no fish” day as well – just stick to the same fly, or stand in the same hole. All day.