I am a serial entrepreneur seeking personal freedom within one year. This site is about that journey.

I don’t believe in unicorns.


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And tastes like chicken!

Tastes like chicken!

I have been involved in hundreds of projects over the 17+ years I’ve been developing websites and web / mobile applications. Some of them have been really big ideas, most of them have been really small ones. In the last few years, I have invested in  2 very large “big idea” type projects that completely and utterly failed to launch. I say this with no sense of pride… because I was actually a lead developer and partner on both of those projects. Both of these projects were really great ideas. Everyone we showed them to thought so, especially our moms. Both of these projects ran out of money before they were able to release. This is why I don’t believe in unicorns.

What I have learned since then is that there are two major things we did wrong in both cases.

  1. We did not find customers willing to pay before we started building
    My feeling is that if we had gone out early, before even starting to build the project in order to find several customers willing to put money on the table … this would have verified value, helped us to set goals specific to who was actually paying, and these early adopters would have helped us to promote the product when we really needed it… in the beginning.
  2. We did not release / iterate features soon enough or in short enough cycles
    We tried to eat the whole elephant, and not one spoonful at a time either.  If we had found our customers first before starting to build… and then asked them what they wanted, they may have told us that they needed / wanted something entirely different from what we were building. By shortening your release cycle on your products and features, you have many more opportunities to ask your customers if you are going in the right direction. A year of development on a product is way too long.

Hopefully these two rules will save you the pain that I went through to learn them.

Let me know in comments if you have had any experience with this!

 

How I learned that jelly beans are actually bunny poop


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I have a confession to make. I love children’s movies.

I suppose that this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, after all… I do have a 4 year old son.

Today he was watching a movie called ‘Hop’, which is a cute Easter movie about a bunny who doesn’t want to be an Easter bunny. Yeah, I know it’s not anywhere near Easter, but hey… he’s 4, and so who cares?

SPOILER ALERT! 🙂

Beyond the fact that the lead bunny poops jellybeans (mmmm… watermelon!), part of the reason I like this and other movies like it is because of the message that they send.

E.B., who is the main character and the Easter bunny’s teenage son – is expected to take over the family business. However, he does not want to be an Easter bunny, he wants to be a drummer and so he runs away and then is chased down by bunny ninjas who are part of the Easter bunny’s royal guard. What is he thinking? I mean… his initials are E. B. for pete cottontail’s sake!

Irontail doesn't like what I did there.

Irontail doesn’t like what I did there.

E.B. is run into by Fred O’Hare (I’m not making this stuff up) quit literally… as Fred hits him with his car. Fred is an unemployed slacker being hassled by his father to ‘man up’ and get a real job. So there is the theme, as these two characters connect … one who is confident in his dream and actively working on it, the other who is still trying to realize it but is being oppressed by his dad.

We will throw off the yolk of our opressors!

We will throw off the yolk of our oppressors!

Fred ‘helps’ E.B. fulfill his dream of being a drummer by stumbling through an interview for a mail room position when E.B. finds a recording studio where he is able to play a cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground” with The Blind Boys From Alabama, which then sets off a series of events leading to E.B. meeting with The Hoff for an audition where he plays drums to Taio Cruz’ Dynamite.

Hasselhoff is German for Awesome.

Hasselhoff is German for Awesome.

During the process of Fred helping E.B. to fulfill his dream of becoming a drummer… Fred realizes his own, that he wants to be the Easter Bunny, which is crazy because well… Fred is human! E.B. helps him anyhow… despite him thinking that it is a hare brained idea (I heard that groan), and despite his limitations, Fred actually excels at it because he has finally found joy in something he loves to do!

The movie’s primary antagonist is Carlos … one of the Easter Bunny’s chick minions who attempts a coup d’état (french for coup d’état) because he also has aspirations to become the Easter bunny.

So, I got several things out of the movie:

1) Don’t let others dictate what your dream is for you. You need to be responsible for figuring it out yourself.

2) Helping others fulfill their own dream / destiny will help you discover and fulfill your own

3) Present limitations do not determine future success

4) There is always someone willing to steal your dream. Defend it!


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