Build it, push it

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with trying to come up with some multi million dollar web app idea the world has never seen before. On a daily basis I go through my RSS feeds looking for articles with insights or stories that might provide me with my aha moment. And when I go to sleep, almost every night I keep myself awake letting my mind go,off on tangents in the hope that down some rabbit hole lies that elusive idea I’ve been chasing.

It’s not helping me, and I need to change things.

I’m lucky enough that I’ve had some experience with start ups, having created twithawk, a twitter marketing tool and releasing it before the likes of hootsuite entered the market. I was able to get over 10,000 users, covering around 170 countries, and bring in a nice revenue for the three years I ran it.

When I saw it wasn’t growing like I was hoping, and figured Twitter marketing was going to die from all the cease and desist letters Twitter was sending out to developers I decided to get out of the game. So about 12 months ago I sold it, for a fraction of what it could have been worth had I have done any form of marketing for it.

I was under the stupid haze of “if you build it they will come”, and figured that since I was getting good traffic and revenue purely from word of mouth and virality, why would I bother spending money on marketing? It seemed stupid until now, that I look back and see the piece of the pie I missed out on due to my complacency.

It hurts somewhat to know that I released my product before hootsuite, yet they went on to be valued recently at over $1 billion, and for one simple reason, they kept pushing both the app itself as well as marketing, while I was content with my small success and thought it would continue to grow itself virally with no effort from my part.

Don’t get me wrong, I am still proud of what I did, and I learnt a lot of lessons (like this one) along the way that I’ve been able to get right in the current company I co-own. Things like creating partnerships that are mutually beneficial, marketing spend, selling benefits not features, leaning on existing networks, giving customer more than what they bargained for, etc.

But the biggest lesson I’ve learnt in the last few years, is that constantly reading articles on how other people succeeded means jack. It’s getting out there and doing it, and actively letting the world know about it, that counts.

So I’m making an effort to cull the 120+ articles I have in my Pocket account (EDIT: after writing this post, I culled that down to two articles, and two videos), cull my RSS (EDIT: culled from 41 down to 15, I’ms till working on it), unsubscribe from all mailing lists, count sheep when I go to bed, and most importantly, stop worrying about some elusive brand new million dollar idea, but instead take one of our current good ideas, and build it better than anyone else has. Get the world to know about it, and give them a reason to talk about us.

Build it, push it.

  • A.J

    This is an old article but it is such a great article. I find myself spending so much time trying to come up with the next greatest idea that does not exist yet. Which to be honest feels like procrastinating doing the real work, instead just like you said I could focus on one of the ideas that exists and make it even better.

    We learn from our actions and that is how we build grow and increase our experience, so it is okay to do something a certain way and later knowing there is a better way to do it. I wish you all the success.