Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Gameday Tycoon in the deadpool

Top 5 Misses

1. Market Timing. If I had ran at full speed the way I did when the project initiated (12/2008), the ending of the story would be entirely different. But I didn't do that until 6/2010, and the market had already evolved then. More importantly, I didn't have the foresight to see that coming because I was so focused on getting a product developed. Most internet entrepreneurs are ahead of their time, for me I was too late.

2. Didn't fail fast enough. Was it necessary to take a year to call quits? Glad to have the strength to say I'm done, but if this were to happen again, it should happen in 8 months. No excuses.

3. Didn't focus on validating a business model. More or less the same as 2), except this is about validating a business model. REPEAT: validating a MODEL. Not making money, not working on the perfect product, not optimizing conversion rate, but VALIDATING A MODEL. Start ups are supposed to be VALIDATING A MODEL. Cash will come with a validated model.

4. Games = Resources. Games are a resource business. You can't bootstrap them. Games cannot compromise on quality, and quality should not be compromised by resources. Conclusion: Games != Start ups.

Top 5 Hits

1. Customer Development. Feels great to know we talked to customers all the time. It gave us the confidence to spend time working on things that mattered. It gave us the confidence to quit. An incredible business is in the works if I continue to do this.

2. Execution. We were lean. Everything you can ask for from a start up team. Passion, confidence, savvy, ethics (the gray type), we did what we set out to do and we executed really well given our constraints and resources.

3. Mentorship. Severely lacking in my last start up, I made sure I surrounded myself with trusting, successful mentors. These were guys that helped me make this a learning experience even if the project is now in the deadpool. They changed how I would think about an internet business.

4. Analytics. From the get go, I pushed for an analytics driven culture. No maybes, no circular discussions, no personal opinions. Analytics was how discussions were supported and it worked. And we tracked the living hell out of everything. I wouldn't change that if I were to start any new business.

Not painful. I'm optimistic.

No comments: