I am mothballing my ServiceChat startup experiment.
After six months, I have to admit to myself that ServiceChat has no legs. People who I thought should be interested are not and actually trying to find people interested is proven too difficult for my abilities. The lack of interest is itself great feedback – if you struggle to find 10 customers how impossible will it be to find 100? So as it stands, I don’t have a marketable product, nor even one I can get customers to use. So I’m done with it.
My enduring philosophy in life is failing fast – not only because it costs less financially but also because it costs less emotionally. I want to fail fast because it means I can get to the next thing sooner – and with the learning I make from each ‘failed’ idea – I increase the probability of future success.
Here is my check in:
- Sad that ServiceChat is not going any where and that I am mothballing it. Nothing ever truly dies. But for now – learn, adapt, repeat.
- Sad that I have unanswered questions – for example why could I not get people interested, what was truly incorrect about my choice of customer segments.
- Glad that I now know a lot more where my strengths are and I can better make decisions about how to address those areas I suck at.
- Glad that I am much clearer about what my passion is. Without this, I will fail on any startup before I even begin. I really didn’t know this before. Now I know that all the ideas I care the most about are about harnessing diversity and connecting people so they can be better informed, make better decisions and generally be happier and more joyful.
- Glad that I learned that I need to experiment more about what idea I want to build a startup business around. For this I need to take a fundamentally different approach (more lab like and less startup like).
- I’m grateful for all the help, concern and love I’ve had this last 6 months.
I’m out of ServiceChat. I’m in with life.
- Do more research about competitors, partners and the problem.
- Get MVPs out faster. Find more creative ways to test the idea out – without necessarily coding a damn thing!
- Understand the marketing channels from day 1 – it is by far the most important thing and the riskiest one for me. I assumed that good ideas would naturally float and become viral – they don’t.
- Fail faster than 6 months. Ideally 6 weeks.
- ServiceChat was based on monetising ChittyChat for business. ChittyChat as a free tool was mildly successful with absolutely no marketing. I will work to reinstate it with the enhancements I made whilst focusing on ServiceChat.
- I see a need for a more usable answer to public group chats on Twitter using hashtags. The current solutions are crap. The tech that drives much of ServiceChat can help me build something for me to use twitter hashtag chats better. I will experiment with this.
- Bizbuzz is providing interesting insights into how people connect with business and the deep lack of consumers connecting with each other. This is an exciting space to explore – I will continue to mine this for insight and blog about what I discover.