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Ask HN: Why is nearing completion so demotivating?
534 points by danschumann on May 23, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 165 comments
So I've been working on animation software for over two years. Part of me is very excited for launch so I can have money again ( I've been freelancing a minimum amount these last two years, and went car-less, moved, cut lifestyle into a third ). I should be wholeheartedly excited, but I'm feeling tired and generally sluggish regarding the project. I still make consistent progress, but it takes a lot of will power.

Part of me thinks it might be an aversion to sales. Part of me thinks this could have been built up so much in my head that anything short of overnight millions would be a disappointment (though I would be happy with 1500 bucks a month ), part of me thinks I might be scared of success ( or scared of surpassing my parents )(media attention), part of me fears the attacks that might come with success ( having something to lose ), part of it is the un-fun-ness of mature projects where the focus is on polish and bugs rather than broad new features, and part of me is scared of commitment: if I succeed I have to stick with this (freedom value), part of me wonders what will happen when more people become involved, if I will be able to maintain my creative direction, since I'm scratching my own itch. Part of me wonders if diet and exercise isn't a factor.

A combination, likely...

When your project is finished, the dream is dead and the reality is born. The death of a dream is like the death of a friend. It's probably been with you for a long time -- longer even than the length of the project. A dream is the manifestation of what's possible. When it is over, the possible diminishes very quickly and you are left with what actually is. Will people respond well to your project -- in the dream stage it is possible; everything is possible. In the reality stage, it will only be what it is.

So while it's common to think of a release as a birth of something new, realise that you also have a significant loss. You will mourn that loss. Give yourself some emotional space to deal with the mourning.

Good comment.

Post-completion depression is a recognised syndrome in the arts. One psychological explanation is that constant pressure to complete maintains a core state of focus and emotional arousal.

When the pressure disappears so does the arousal, and sometimes a sense of purpose and direction disappears with it. You knew what you were doing and why you needed to get up in the morning, and then you don’t any more. It’s a bit like losing a job.

It’s also temporary. A good prosaic but effective antidote is a vacation and/or a change of scene. If that’s not practical just after shipping - it often isn’t - at least clear a couple of weeks later, book a break, and take at least a weekend off to do something fun in the short term.

This is exactly it. Tens of my personal projects have died in this stage. It was always much easier to move on to the next dream. There is always the next big problem that could use a solution. Why not build when it is what we do best? Rinse, repeat.

I took a break from side projects for several years but recently got back to it and couple weeks back finished building. It is the same story all over again. Same feeling. I'm dreading what comes next.

I think this is why it's super useful to have a cofounder for a side project: there's someone to let down (besides yourself) when you give up too soon.

This is also why funding (and employees) helps a lot of startups. Not so much the money itself, but an ever growing consortium of people who literally have a vested interest in the thing continuing. It's harder to give up when people are counting on you.

If your side project isn't the kind where you want to make money in the end then you're going to need to have higher intrinsic motivation I suspect as none of these pressures will likely come to bear and help you stay motivated.

I’ve felt this so many times and kinda feeling it right now as I’m nearing launch of a side project. I think at least for me a big part of the feeling is fear - fear of the project falling flat on its face even though I validated the idea before I even started and got a lot of interest and positive feedback. As they say, money talks. If nobody is buying my stuff then all that praise and interest was bullshit - just people trying not to hurt your feelings. This is the stage where I’m about to find the truth - I either built something in demand or it was all for nothing. Also, now that I think about it, even if the project is a mild success, there comes a whole set of other boring things I’ll have to worry about like support and constant growth. There is a lack of excitement when all I’ll be doing is making modifications to something that was fun to build at first.

My solution for this was not to "look forward to the next big project", as my thinking was, but instead I looked back on my life, what were some of my best memories related to work. (there are online courses to illicit this answer, I went through Simon Sineks 'Start With Why', though you might know it anyway).

So, I picked my best memories, and they were animation related. I knew that when it came to the 'switch horses' temptation, I would be able to say, "every project gets to this stage, so why would I switch to my 2nd favorite thing, because surely that would be even harder at this phase. Sure this phase is hard, but doing my favorite thing means this is the easiest version of this phase".

It's kept me going.

It's interesting -- I wholeheartedly agree with the phenomenon, but I'd frame it completely differently.

There's a scary cliff there, but I feel like launching is when a project first becomes real. It's the actual start. It's when you're judged. It's usually when you learn that your assumptions were completely wrong. It means you have to start dealing with actual problems, not imagined problems.

That's usually less fun, but I think it is more exciting (in large part because it's the dive into the unknown).

> in the dream stage it is possible; everything is possible. In the reality stage, it will only be what it is.

Best comment I've read all week.

Yes, but... not b/c the dream stage includes the possibility of succeeding. It's all the other possible outcomes that make it richer and preferable to the reality stage, where one and only one thing will be. Even if that thing IS success. This is the unknown vs certainty, the unfortunate and mind-bending nature of desire. The reason https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_on_a_winter%27s_night_a_tra... is so great. And the reason I'm not doing what I should be doing... :(

Nice/interesting comment although “death of a friend” seems a bit harsh. (Although in some cases it may be worse than the death of a friend!)

Not sure if this is what OP is experiencing or just some 90/10 etc rule about the last parts being the hardest parts. Starting a greenfield project you can make massive progress quickly. Polishing it is slow.

That is not harsh art all. If you have ever really poured everything you have into something for hours and hours a day and months on end only to be rejectd over and over again. "Death of a friend" is totally accurate IMO. Day and night you spend your time nurturing and growing this thing in hopes of it becoming more... When/If your project fails - TBH - its more like the death of a child.

"When/If your project fails - TBH - its more like the death of a child."

Thankfully, I have neither suffered from the loss of a child nor a failed major project.

However I would expect someone making a statement like this to have suffered from both, in which case you have my sincerest condolences.

Very insightful and it matches very well my experience where it is easier for me to complete a task when I have also other tasks in progress.

Being in the same stage as the OP, I highly second this comment. I have been working on something for last 19 months. It is nearly complete, but still finding it difficult to wrap up somehow. Your comment has given me some insight and some closure.

Thanks a lot !

Exactly the same here. Almost two years, it's near completion and more than what I imagined at first, but that last mile, damn it's hard. I constantly find another thing to add or focus on to avoid that final step.

I hope you'll find the strengh to do so :)

I think it was an indyhackers story I’ve read where someone said “just get it out there ASAP”. Don’t let imperfections keep you from learning the hard truth about your baby.

That's also on one of the YC founder's blog (PG?), and really it makes a lot of sense. Let the market suggest the 2.0 version.

It sucks to fail, but hey; most people do not have the inherent desire to even play. That means something in and of itself. Good luck.

And you too ! :)

This. I think the issue of "separation anxiety" can be applied here... Same thing with handing over pet projects to someone else, and losing control over it.

I guess it's kinda like when one of your kids grow up enough to fly by themselves. You're proud of them, but you're also sad to see them go.

> the dream is dead and the reality is born

I could not say this better myself. "The Dream Is Dead, Long Live The Reality". So very true upon many things.

I've been back here to re-read this comment 10+ times today, it's really resonated with me.

Thank you.

Well said.

All this may be true, but just understand that when you finish one phase of a project, another one begins. So now, comes the part where you have to promote and get word out about that project (software, whatever it happens to be) before it becomes a success. The work is not actually over, just the 'creation' aspect. And, if someone is addicted to merely creating rather than helping the creation thrive and survive, they will perpetually be stuck with a house (or computer) full of half finished projects.

Are you me?

Programming feels like productive work, and indeed it is, up until just about the point you are at. Now it is not productive work any more, in fact, once the product is finished, programming is counter productive work. Other things need to be done and you don't know how to do them and if you do, are not in the habit of doing them. IOt is easy to get up in the morning and write code, harder to do unfamiliar things.

--> self sabotage (deeply seated need to actually not succeed)

--> fear of the unknown

--> avoidance of a change in work habit - from programming to...... ? what does one do post launch

--> fear of the likely outcome which is zero feedback, zero users

Curious - how close are you to launch, what remains to be done, and what does the software actually do?

Can I suggest perhaps be really ruthless about the remaining tasks - likely many of those launch tasks just are not important, even though the completionist in you thinks they are. For example - terms and conditions document? Ditch it until users are interested. Privacy document? Same. Purchase? Drop it.

See what I mean? If people like what you have built and use it, then the world will not come to an end because you did not have those things... and user interest will motivate you to implement them.

It's incredibly hard to work on something with no user interest. Just dump what you have built out there and see what happens.

Christ this hits hard to home. (Note amateur programmer here), I built my software, openers to beta testers and was active in the community. (It's a good deal control software for a popular game - pretty much a copilot who would do things for you).

So many testers said they would try it out, never did and there was an insane amount of actual testers who wanted something slighty different. (Which i couldn't do, as I had spoken to the company, and doing certain automated style actions would have gotten me banned).

24th of May 2018 might not be the best time to choose to launch anything while intentionally having ditched thinking about your T&Cs and Privacy Policy...

I'd just block Europe instead...

I'm happy to be blocked from products that aren't compliant. There will usually be other alternatives. This is better than unknowingly using something that could cause me problems later.

I don't even take it as an aggressive negative, unless it is explicitly expressed as such. You can just be honest and say "I can't accept your custom at this time because X, and we have other priorities that would make addressing X to everyone's satisfaction a problem for the foreseeable future".

That _helps_, but I'm a British/EU citizen, living in Australia, who regularly VPNs through servers in Singapore, Tokyo, and the US.

I'm still protected by GDPR.

(Personally, I reckon that's quite an overreach by EU lawmakers, but that's what they've chosen to do, in response to equivalent or worse "overreach" by internet companies trading in personal information...)

According to this HN discussion you're probably not covered by GDPR: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16751791

Thanks for that!

That actually makes sense (not something that's expected to be true of laws...)

So by my reading of the advice linked there:

If an individual is in the EU, they're covered by GDPR - whether they're a citizen or not.

If a company is based in or does business in the EU, all it's users are covered by the GDPR - whether they're in the EU or not, and whether they're an EU citizen or not.

That's much less over-reachy than I'd thought. The EU arguably does have the right to make laws about how you treat people within it's borders - whether they're citizens or not. (A death threat against a Chinese person in Paris should be prosecutable under French law by French police/authorities). The EU definitely does have the right to make laws about how businesses in the EU or who have offices/presence in the EU treat people everywhere. (A London company discriminating against a homosexual Saudi citizen should be prosecutable under British law by British authorities, even if it's not illegal to so discriminate in Saudi Arabia).

I think it's even less reachy than that - if a foreign multinational has a subsidiary in the EU, I don't think the parent company is covered by the GDPR unless they directly deal with subjects in the EU. So they can compartmentalize the parts of the company that must deal with the GDPR, by redirecting every EU user to the EU subsidiary.

4% of 0 is 0.

Sure, and I know it's mostly scaremongering, but "4% of zero, or 'up to 20 million euros'" is up to 20 million euros.

A better motivator, in my opinion, is that disclosing up front what data you're going to capture, and what you're going to do with it, and obtaining consent for that from users - is "the right thing to do". Unless your business model is "fucking over the users", those are not scary things to do, and will likely lead you to make better decisions about what you collect and how you store it, and reduce your and your users exposure in the worst case.

Hey "fucking over the users" Strategy has been doing Comcast wonders for decades.

Yep - and I have zero fucks to give about how much grief the GDPR is going to cause Comcast. Or Facebook. Or Google. Or Equifax.

It's whichever is larger.

And it’s the maximum penalty, not the penalty.

Hey wow that's great advice I think I'll learn from what you say here.

Uh? A user replying to himself with congratulations? What's just happened here? :/

I'm just saying heck I wish I could take my own advice.

I am empathizing with the OP about how hard this point of a project is.

Perhaps I'm being too dry.

Maybe a bit meta for HN.

Yep - the more obvious interpretation was "Hey look, hoodoof forgot to switch sock puppet accounts!

This might be the funniest comment/reply I've ever seen on HN.

I have been there before and I think it's demotivating because reality is setting in. Before you release you can stay under the delusion that anything is possible. As soon as you release you are forced to deal with problems that aren't fun anymore. Marketing, advertising, people telling you your product isn't very good, people telling you they like your product but then not buying it and using alternatives instead.

The truth is people aren't going to bust down your door and give you millions. What comes after release is far harder and demotivating then before, and, if you are lucky, you can find success after a few more years of a hard, slow grind. If you aren't so lucky, you end up back at a normal job :)

Good luck!

Way to get motivated again:

I get asked a lot why I left architecture and tech to be in product, and now, bootstrapping a relatively non-technical collaboration platform. My answer is that it's solving similar problems just at a higher level of abstraction. It's moving from a perfect information game of development to an imperfect information game of alignment and persuasion. It's like a context switch from chess to poker.* Going back into learning mode with books on sales and business is really refreshing.

Shockingly, once I cobbled my demo together it didn't just start raining term sheets. My impression is that people who know what it's like to be here don't let it out as not to discourage others.

However, what I still believe is, we don't regret things we take all the way. What we live to regret is the the pulled punch, the hedged bet, the b-plan, the retreat, the fold, the concession, the job, the approval of people we don't admire, the unsaid, the declined invitation, the judgment, the things we held on to or didn't let go, and the lack of belief in ourselves - these are the things that will shake you awake at night in middle age, and I assume, forever thereafter.

When you finish something, you need to "pop," up a level of problem solving. It's analogous skills, just with new tools and variables. Oddly, it's also a way to rest. There is an old saying that translates to "a change is as good as a break," and getting my code to the point where I could not touch it for a week while I worked my pipeline and have a demo meeting where it just worked was a huge confidence and energy boost.

Take time to invest in reading some books on business in your field. It has massive returns and feels like a break.

Oh yea, I forgot one of my main reasons for not "switching horses" can also be applied to this spell. In the past, when a project reached the un-fun stage, I would convince myself another idea was better, and switch horses, or in a different case I got a job instead. In both cases I regretted not continuing on, and occasionally remind myself not to do either of those mistakes this time. Good call with that.

“It's not that students don't "get" Kafka's humor but that we've taught them to see humor as something you get -- the same way we've taught them that a self is something you just have. No wonder they cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke -- that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home. It's hard to put into words up at the blackboard, believe me. You can tell them that maybe it's good they don't "get" Kafka. You can ask them to imagine his art as a kind of door. To envision us readers coming up and pounding on this door, pounding and pounding, not just wanting admission but needing it, we don't know what it is but we can feel it, this total desperation to enter, pounding and pushing and kicking, etc. That, finally, the door opens...and it opens outward: we've been inside what we wanted all along. Das ist komisch.” ― David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

In short, "One of the first signs of the beginning of understanding is the wish to die." - FK

I’ve built a dozen apps over the past 10 years, most of them commercial, and I always encounter this dip that you describe as I approach the finish line. A number of commenters are suggesting it’s the fear of what comes next that is causing it, but I don’t agree.

For me, it’s so regular that I can see it creep up on me — all the major features completed, only the polishing and websites to complete, and it starts to hit me, trying to drag me down.

Steven Pressfield wrote a short book called The War of Art that talks about this. It’s common to any creative endeavour, whether you’re writing a novel or building a product. I’ve written a novel as well, and it hit me at the same time and in the same way — near the finish.

You need to power on through and come out the other end. All the problems and issues others have talked about will be there waiting, bit that’s a different can of worms.

George R.R. Martin's behavior just made a lot more sense to me now.

You have been working for 2 years and have no customers?

I guarantee that you're thinking about your problem wrong. There are things that people want to do that you don't know yet. There are things that are obvious to you about how to do things with your software that nobody will be able to figure out. You won't be able to learn anything about that until you have real people using it.

Go out. Find a potential customer. Preferably paying. Non-paying is better than nothing. Sit down with them, offer them a demo, train them, get feedback, and try to make them happy. If you can't do that, and can't take the feedback, then you not only won't succeed, you never had a chance in the first place.

I don't think this kind of reasoning applies to all projects. If you're doing something without the pressure to make money you can make something that you're proud of. Of course, this can only be a side project unless you're already rich. The one thing I know is that if you don't love what you do, it's the same wether you own some super hot startup or you write forms for some accountant firm.

If you want other people to use it, it does apply. You don't know what you don't know until you have user feedback. No matter how much is right about your vision, you need that.

This is WHY the idea of having an MVP and iterating has won so thoroughly.

Don't get me wrong, if you are to measure success by the money you raise, then I completely agree with you. I meant thinking of an app as a mean of expression rather than a cow to squeeze money from. If you want to make something more in the arts department, getting people to tell you what they think early on might be a horrible and non constructive idea.

This is underappreciated. Art and expression is a value in and of itself. I don't think it's a cop out to think this way. However, creating something is in fact complicated and retreating to "I'm just making art" is an easy justification to fool yourself into being ok with failing if what you're trying to do is build a profitable business.

But it remains: art and expression is valuable.

Yes I can probably make more money optimizing advertising attribution. But, honestly, I think there's some art in all of us. It's ok to explore it.

I don't care whether you are writing it for money, open source, or simply to make the world a better place. If the purpose of your work involves other people appreciating it, you won't know what they will and will not appreciate it until you put it in front of other people and get feedback about it.

I think this is a discussion about building stuff.

When the idea is just taking form I think getting too many people involved is a mistake. All you need is 2/3 people really invested in the idea. For example: unix

When the idea is near completion I think it's really good to get all the feedback you can.

I agree, software that is designed for users must be tested as soon as possible.

Humans are notoriously bad predictors. For example; That fancy menu system you spent a week making might be completely useless to most users, simple user feedback could have prevented the colossal waste of time...

One caveat though is that in many situations, there is a lot of bureaucracy and overhead involved with collecting and interpreting user feedback. User feedback is often inconsistent and contradictory, influenced by mistakes in survey design, influenced by time-varying factors. And once it is collected, a lot of different stakeholders inside the company will have conflicting incentives about what the feedback is supposed to mean for priorities and decisions.

In some cases, if someone has a very highly developed sense of aesthetics and design, or can extrapolate from previous user feedback scenarios, then they might be able to come up with designs that users will love even if users wouldn't have thought of it that way ahead of time, or if more generic feedback would never have collated down into actionable decisions that empowered that particular designer.

As I've gone on in my career, I tend to see the value of this more and more, and lose faith that feedback collection mechanisms won't be politically subverted.

One example: I'd say a lot of the feedback about the principal lines of work for TensorFlow from the recent dev summit is wrong-headed, and they should just let Francois Chollet's design aesthetic motivate what gets worked on and how it gets designed, for a while.

I have struggled with this too. For me, the thing that helped was figuring out how to turn the "ship it" moment into a mechanical process -- a list of bugs and a ship date. You stop creating a beautiful thing, and just need to fix X things before Y date.

Introspection and all the thinking you're doing is important and good and will help you overall find happiness so keep that up -- but it's not going to help you ship this. Just make a list of bugs and cross them off. Ship a V1.

If it's usable now just release it. Call it a beta, call it early access, whatever. You'll have a few weeks to just react and absorb feedback and that will help you decide what you want to do with it, learn what the market looks like, learn what the users want.

Especially with something like a creative or animation tool, you're not going to get people knocking down your door and throwing money at it overnight. But if a few people find it expressive and useful, find those users, support them and their work will bring others.

I can definitely draw parallels with this feeling, in my mind its a combination of finding it harder and harder to see actual meaningful returns on your time invested on the project. When you're just starting out and delivering big features and changes you can get that feedback quickly and things seem to move quickly. But when you're now having to focus on cleanup and polish it can feel like the project stops moving and you're stuck behind a wall.

There are a few things that I've found that help me in these situations:

- Get a good project management software, personally i use https://monday.com/ for small project task management, you can list all the things you need to do - and seeing the tasks slowly disappearing can help get that feeling of momentum back

- Get a cofounder/help finding someone else to be passionate about your project or help with the work often will help spark more of that early stage excitement again. I'm currently working with some contractors on my own project and their excitement helps motivate me to push though these 'work stitches'.

- Take a small break, not too long, any longer than a week or two and you can distance yourself too much.

What you need to remember is that you're attempting to pull something off that very few people actually do, building and launching a company from scratch. It _is_ a-lot of effort, but as a founder and as it gets traction you can start to hire into roles which you don't like/don't care for.

Good luck with your software!

I feel like this quote[0] from David Foster Wallace is relevant here:

"perfectionism is very dangerous because, of course, if your fidelity to perfection is too high you never do anything, because doing anything results in... it's actually kind of tragic because it means you sacrifice how gorgeous and perfect it is in your head for what it really is, and umm, there were a couple years where I really struggled with that."

[0] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w5R8gduPZw4

Because the first 90% was enjoyable and the second 90% is no fun. The places a mind can wander when provided a blank canvas are infinitely more vast than an already painted one.

There's a more practical side too: earlier in the project a day's work can produce a large increment in functionality. Later in the project you get less and less obvious result for your effort. Those smaller and smaller increments are important for your product to be polished and reliable, but they don't feel as satisfying to the implementer.

I usually find this. The interesting stuff is done: you've nurtured the idea, you've proven the concept, you've refined the design, you've made it work. Now what is left is dotting the is and crossing the ts (the boring nitty-gritty finishing details) and dealing with people (release, marketing, support, ...).

If you are a creative at heart this finishing stage can feel soul destroying: you've already got your next big idea, probably several of them, just waiting for you to complete this one so you've got time to properly get started...

Procrastination is most often a self-defense mechanism for coping with your fear of your work not being good enough. The procrastination creates an “out,” allowing you to excuse yourself if your work isn’t excellent. This podcast with two psychologists who have studied procrastination heavily is quite illuminating https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/beat-procrastination...

In general, I find that the mind doesn't lie when you're stressed out, it just exaggerates a bit. If I had to guess, all of your fears are valid fears and you should sit with each one and address it. However, now is not the time.

You just reached a major milestone, whether it feels like it or not. You are getting near completion on a major project, you are starting to think longer term, you are considering the impact of your work on the world.

Take a week off. Or even a few months. Take a step back and let what you've done really sink in. Give yourself a treat, like playing a video game or binge watching tv or walking in nature. Whatever floats your boat.

Come back to the project in a month or two and you'll have a clearer head about where you're really at and what's left for you to do. Be kind to yourself. This kind of project is a heavy emotional and mental burden. Do not underestimate how much emotional weight it has. Give yourself permission to get back to a balanced, healthy mindset before taking the next steps.

Be well friend. Good luck! And be kind to yourself.

I do like video games, but when I play video games my house gets messier and messier. Lately I've been making more deals with myself, rewarding myself in various ways. Thinking about life through more of a lens of "is this behavior a reward, or an activity which will warrant a reward?" If it is neither, why would I do something so unfruitful? It's been a bit better on my psyche. Been going to bed earlier, as well.

I could be very wrong but the reasons you gave were all scenarios where you end up successful. That probably makes me think that you are just scared of the failure and judgement that comes from putting yourself out there.

For me the solution has been to know that whatever I create is out of the need that it has to be created or it will bother me to no end. So even if it is criticised the other option would have been to not create it which would be much worse.

Also if you are not on point when it comes to your diet and exercise there is a lot of room left for you to feel better than you are at the moment just by doing that. The difference can be night and day.

I think it's harder to pull the trigger and launch once you've taken so long (years) to work on a project. You're a lot more invested in the success or failure, so you take a perfectionist view of the project which is a view that often leads to procrastination.

When you're only spending ~2 months developing a bare-bones MVP, it becomes easier to just launch the thing and be less attached to the ultimate outcome.

This is just my personal experience, I've worked on both types of projects and I vastly prefer the ones that take only 1-2 months to validate.

This is somewhat on topic but people may consider it unrelated.

There is a business book that explains the disconnect between many people who say they want to start a business but only focus on the task that they're good at. One of the premise inside the book was that a baker started a bakery and ended up only baking and leaving all of the managing and appointment making to her employees. All of the employees quit and she ended up taking on all of the work herself, quickly burning out. Despite the fact that building a business was the task that she should have been trying to figure instead of just the act of baking which. She was good at baking, thought she should open a bakery, didn't realize that a baking business is only 1 part baking and 8 parts baking system building. I wish I could remember the name of the book.

The lesson that the book tries to teach is that the business is actually the product customers will give you money for, not single piece of software that you're programming right now. If you organize your thoughts around it that way then you might be able to become more motivated. You've only really built a single part of your business system. The rest of it still needs to be built and you still need inputs, cogs and outputs for it.

I'm not sure if this is helpful.

If you don't mind me asking, did you get validation for your idea and product before spending two years building it out?

Alternatively, this could be an argument for teaming up with the much-derided "business guy." If you think your product-making skills are good enough, then it might be worth specializing into early development while your partner handles the management/sales/marketing side. Just be careful to work out a fair deal - the partner is the one that specializes in arranging to get the long end of the stick after all! (That's why you want one.)

the book might have been emyth

Yes! thank you.

One aspect that I don't has been mentioned is the old joke I and my colleagues have about 'its the last 10% that takes 90%' of the time.

You get to the end; you've done all the big-vision important stuff. The application works, you just need to tidy it up a little. You're at the annoying snagging, which provides little personal satisfaction, but has to be done.

It’s the 80/20 Pareto principle. The last 20% of the work feels like 80% of it. And honestly, maybe it is. Have you considered that maybe you aren’t as close to the end as you think? Often that last 20% doesn’t contain any major challenges, but rather a mountain of small and tedious tasks that you’ve “left til later” throughout the project. So although it feels like you’re almost finished, because you’ve eliminated all major challenges, you actually have a lot left to do because the sum of those smaller tasks is greater than you estimated.

If that’s true, it’s better to be realistic about what work remains. That way you won’t lose motivation when you’re spending so much time completing the project, because you’ve consciously recognized there is still a lot of work to do.

And TBH I’ve been in the same boat, and in fact am in that 80/20 area on my current project. We’ve all been there I think. It’s part of software. Best thing you can do is recognize it for what it is and deal with it like you would any challenge.

I have exactly the same experience, not just with projects but with technologies as well, I move from 80% completed projects because I get excited about a new thing, either a new s/w framework/language/electronics and then never come back to finish. I have a number of partially completed systems in use (One is a controller for emergency vehicles, another a tracking dashboard for shipping reefers, strangely they seem to more or less work) I keep thinking that one day I will get a really good product and make enough money to hire developers to complete and support what I have created. I have given this some introspection and have a couple of possible reasons, one is "fear of failure" I abandoned a facial recognition system I spent years developing because of one rejection. Another is loss of interest, the creative stuff is all done and now its down to plain work. Anyway, thanks for sharing

There is a required shift in mentality that you are due.

Its like when you're in love, at first you can survive on romance, but to survive a marriage, there is a necessary shift into the long term mentality.

You've romanced your way to a product, but haven't considered the long term of it yet. In the future, it would help to have some long term thinking earlier on, so you can plan for various things and not have a step-function-like inflection point in your expectations.

Like switching from growing something to not letting it die? Maybe that's not quite articulated right.. but yea, some sort of shift in mentality..

It's natural. All the tension gets released. Your driving purpose for so long is gone. "Just relax and enjoy yourself" doesn't really help because you enjoyed working towards a goal. The let down is a natural part of it that just reminds you what a ride you had. The only solution is to set a new goal. Next release. New project. If you want to chase the dragon of your first release, try blogging about how you got there.

I can only speak for myself but I consider myself to be some sort of pro academic. I should maybe consider a career at a university. Because one of my biggest flaws is that I love starting projects and following them through until I've learned everything new I can squeeze out of them.

Then just before the finish line when I feel that I have a good understanding of the project my energy and willpower falters and my focus is drawn to new projects.

You're not the only one, I too enjoy the learning process much more then finishing the project.

It seems I'm always learning new skills in preparation for something greater. Maybe its just a lie I tell myself in order to prevent disappointment...

There is nothing greater. I believe we're just chasing the thrill of learning new things.

Have money again? Getting people to use it for free will probably be a challenge... getting people to pay may be nearly impossible.

Here's my animation platform that gets no traffic as an example: https://www.superanimo.com

Maybe yours will be different but at one time I also thought "if I release it, the people will come." Luckily I wasn't invested too much in a certain outcome after launching. Otherwise I would have never kept improving it. I still don't know if more than a few people will ever try it, but I like working on it so much it won't ever feel like a waste. If nothing else, at least I can make silly animations with it.

1. What didn't work for you might work for someone else. 2. We have no way to make a comparison with what you did to what he's doing - see #1.

That's why I said 'maybe his project will be different.'

Reading the post again I think he's saying he'll have money again because once launched he'll stop working on it and go back to freelance. In that case it makes sense. I thought he was assuming he'll bring in profits once launched - even though he hasn't gotten user feedback yet. IMO that type of thinking is premature, even if you have the best idea/execution in the world.

Yes, luck plays a big part in this game... unfortunately. I actually read it as in "he'll make sales which will generate more income" but what you're saying is valid though I think once you launch, you end up getting more work as feedback comes pouring in.

I'm currently in a somewhat similar situation, although with a smaller open source project, and that's exactly what I've been struggling with the last few weeks. There are some great points in the comments here, here are my 2 cents and what I'm currently doing.

Like someone here said already - the second 90% are no fun. The first 90% are fun, launching is fun, people using and loving your software is fun and eventually getting filthy rich is probably fun (I really wouldn't know), but the second 90% are usually just a giant pain in the arse. Accepting that does make it easier.

Plus, when you're making something you care about and you really want it to be good, it's particularly hard to say no to features, even more so when you expect to get paid for the whole thing. And a case can certainly be made that one should probably be careful not to launch an MVP with too strong an emphasis on the M, no second chance for a first impression and all that.

That being said, as Joel Spolsky once wrote, shipping is a feature. It's your most essential feature. If you cut a few things here and there and add them post-launch, it probably won't kill you. It may even turn out that you don't need them or that you could do them better.

If you keep pushing a deadline trying to get everything in there, getting it just so for the launch, losing more and more motivation along the way, maybe deciding that you really need to rewrite this or that but it'll take you another month or something - that could kill you.

So I think this is the time to brutally cut everything you can cut and just get the damn thing out the door. Half a product is better than both a half-arsed product and no product.

Once you're done butchering your todo list, you apply the age old universal recipe for all things that you don't feel like doing but need to do, trite though it may seem - you take it one step at a time. You don't sit down at the computer thinking "I've got to launch this". You sit down thinking "I've got to implement this thing", "I've got to fix that bug", etc.

You've worked on something continuously for two years. This already puts you ahead of the overwhelming majority of people who want to make things. In the words of Captain Reynolds:


I should probably go and see about following my own advice now.

> shipping is a feature. It's your most essential feature.

Very true. It's a feature, but I think I've been looking at it as a liability.

I have this too and it is in my case attributable to one thing only: fear that it bombs.

That's why I try to release stuff as early as possible to feel which way to go in with the development to minimize that chance. Two years is a long time but I can see how for some software that is a reasonable amount of time to spend in development mode before the first release.

> part of me thinks I might be scared of success ( or scared of surpassing my parents )(media attention), part of me fears the attacks that might come with success ( having something to lose )

Beware of those expectations, after the initial press fades out (a week or two in), you're going to have close to 0 users and 0 revenue. Launching is just the first step, you'll be successful when you can grow your user base.

You're likely not going to feel successful at that point, probably the opposite: "I spent 2 years working on this and no one is using it".

One cautionary note: Beware pushing/powering through incipient burnout, rather than addressing it. "Emotional debt" can be hard to pay off. I've had valuable projects that I was very reluctant to touch again, even years later.

This is a good call. And letting frustration roll off your back. If I let frustration get to me, I would have quit. If I couldn't accept 'little progress', (when the alternative was no progress), then I wouldn't have made little progress daily, and gotten to the point of almost done. This is something I've heard (perhaps mostly anecdotal), where people shift between neglect and perfectionism. Allowing moderate progress (where you're not meeting your standards for progress 100%, but you are moving forward), is actually difficult to accept, but it's usually a pretty good coarse. It's hard to be the turtle.

Do you have a written plan on how you will make money with this - like a business plan? If not, take a day off and work out a complete outline on what you want to achieve and how you will get there.

I totally get what you are saying and have been there myself - the development stage is fun, and you avoid / defer marketing tasks because, let's face it most of us HATE that stuff. But if you want to make money, you need to do it, and having a plan helps because you have the 'big tasks' broken up into little chunks.

Once you have broken down the steps you can plan your time - start by spending an hour a day on one of the marketing tasks, just to get into the mindset and work from there. You might find some marketing tasks are fun, just as doing a blog / video demo of the product, or putting together a collection of cool screenshots showing what it can do.

Your very first marketing task is to post here with a screenshot or something showing what your product looks like, or even the name - marketing is part getting the name out and I haven't seen that in this post anywhere yet.

So, yes it is hard but take it in small steps - one at a time and be persistent.

There is a screenshot or two ( top one is older ) at http://schuwing.com (and an email signup for launch updates).

I do have an example page in the works, with 4 examples so far, of each of the different page-integrations (in page pop-out, scroll, auto-play, etc), and each showcasing a few of the different svg filters.

It's marketed toward professionals, so I'm not in the game of taking non-creative people and "giving them a creative outlet". It should help with real world animated web tasks, and I had some experience with that in my freelancing. I'll probably have some pricing tiers, but probably something like $29/month, 59, 149, with higher tiers being more support.

For marketing, besides doing tutorials and buying ads on youtube, I can reach out to people w/ existing "how-to design" blogs, and share revenue with them (recurring), to keep their watchers using the software. Then reaching out to companies, even cold-calling if it proves cost effective.

I just have a bunch of polish to iron out. If I release it with bugs, and those bugs end up causing people to lose work (ie work for an hour without saving, and then a breaking bug causes you to lose work), I might lose those customers forever, so I'm stuck ironing those out for now.

It's getting really close though, and it seems like the closer it gets, even though I have figured out some possible ways forward for marketing, the less motivated I am.

I think I have to admit that in some ways I was, and really liked, chasing a fantasy, and I don't know how to chase now that it's more real. The hunger is what I'm lacking, in a way I feel full.

I am in the same boat right now - a project is 90% complete but I have no motivation to do the last 10%. I blame laziness, but really it boils down to a few things:

1. The enjoyment of building - I quite enjoyed building this project, and once it's "done" that joy ends.

2. The fear of failure - what if it's a flop after I publish?

3. The hatred of sales - I'm a programmer, I don't want to deal with selling the product!

Something that is kind of helping me is this: ( I apply it to cleaning my house too )

I can't force myself to work on the project I say to myself, "You don't have to work on the project, but you can't do anything else. You can either sit here and do nothing, or work on the project"

For some reason this works for me. My inner self is so fed up with being told what to do, it doesn't work, it rebels, but if I limit it, and let it drive forward, it tends to work a bit better.

There also might be a factor with eliminating all distractions, setting the rule of "you can't do anything else".

As for #3, I have the same, and I did a project I truly believed in; I truly believe if more people did more animation, they'd be happier. So, it's not really selling, it's just telling people how I actually feel about animation.

#2 I accept the possibility. If it flops, well, I will have to do some actions to change that. Maybe I change the product, maybe I start calling people on the phone. A flop is a place, not a destination, I can move away from a flop, without failing, taking the product with me.

In addition to what others stated, if "nearing completion" means "the programming is almost finished", then this can be demotivating because as an experienced programmer you know that this means that there is still about 400% to be done in terms of boring debugging, deployment, debugging, optimizing, and boring debugging, packaging and deployment... and debugging!

Overcoming this is fear of launch is the key differentiator between businesses that have a chance and those that are doomed from the start.

It’s a fear of failure. The sky is the limit with new fresh projects. Thinking of the potential and possibilities is exhilarating. But reality hits hard once you launch. That’s why I’m a proponent of launching early and often. Get it out there fast and don’t spend a lot of time thinking about how successful or unsuccessful it will be.

The impending prospect of being judged.

With the possibility of the worst form of judgement - disinterest/ambivalence.

Find a partner. Often I found that where the fun stops for you, it begins for someone else. I personally like creating PoC or solving complex problems. The whole story that comes afterwards, it being sales, marketing, polishing or any other stage is killing me inside, but it is often the start of someone else's challenge.

Ok, I am very depressed person and I do not have motivation. All the comments are very insightful, great and true.

I checked your http://schuwing.com website and want to tell you it is really great what you have built.

Now Advice: Forgot about all the expectation you have about money, payment model, people will like it or not.

Think about positive side of it. Check your website again and see what the great thing you have built. How much you have learned during process. Can you mention it on your resume? Can you talk with passion about this? After two years when you see this Is it not making you great or felt yes I have achieved something?

If yes than do not fear and push the release button. Forgot all about you negative thoughts. Loose your expectation if someone will buy or not. Continuously improve it.

So, lately my definition of depression has come to this: Someone who screwed up a high resolution thing, like forgetting to pass the salt, which they cascade up the pyramid into 'well I guess that makes me a bad dinner guest, which makes me a bad friend, which makes me a bad person'.

I find this fairly accurate for people with depression, and I try not to let actions cascade into my identity, but I try to make my identity drive my actions. If one of my actions doesn't symbolize my identity, I don't change my identity, I just try harder to make my actions truer to my values. I think if a person does this, they are still subjects to bouts of sadness and normal grief of life, but not so much as to invalidate themselves as a person and then fall into depression. `yourActions.onfail = function(e) { e.stopPropagation(); }`

> Why is nearing completion so demotivating?

Because the bulk of the interesting work has been done, and now all that's remaining is the finicky, nitpicking tasks that you've been putting off doing for the whole project.

> though I would be happy with 1500 bucks a month

I wish you the best of success, but please be prepared that you will not likely reach this goal for some time, if ever (although I hope I'm wrong).

Everything else you are worried about (surpassing parents, more people becoming involved, losing creative direction etc) is putting the cart before the horse. It's far more likely that the project will fail to meet your expectations. Especially if you've been working on it for 2 years and haven't had any customers validating your work in that time.

I don't mean to be a downer, but that's the reality of most projects.

i think you defined the whole process as one challenge. divide it to many small challenges according to the process, and reward yourself after each one completed, then you don't need to reach 100%, you are already succeeded ( by your own definition ).

At first software launches felt like that.

Getting a software out in public is very stressful the first times you do it, essentially this is fear of _social rejection_ I guess and it can be harder for introverts. But customers and people are much, much nicer than one can expect! Especially if you love your product chances are people will love it too. You'll get used to be "vulnerable" in this way, meaning anyone with an internet connection can criticize your "baby" unfairly (but most of the time fairly!).

Sales, bugs and getting criticism are actually really fun once you get to enjoy them!

My advice is to give you some time to be energetic before launch, so as not to begin it tired.

You're a diamond in the rough, my friend. So true that most the time people are nicer than you'd expect. The unfair criticisms can be seen as a flaw with that person, if they are indeed unfair. The fair criticisms were probably known about anyway, and it says that someone actually cares about the product. Yes. I think when I get more communication with customers it might even be motivating.

Thanks. Remember HN has a population of talkers: do not take advice here in general...

What you always need to consider when taking on a huge project is what techniques you want to leverage and whether you've scoped things appropriately.

That is, when you make a small personal work, you can leverage all your technical skills towards the goal. And you can redesign the problem to fit your skills. You get to try anything just for the sake of learning.

But if you intend to build a whole business, the leverage - and hence the techniques - come from a different, more abstract place. The SV startup model that is often on display in HN is based on leveraging lots of capital and the existing Bay Area tech ecosystem to build very large, capable organizations in a short span of time. That takes a very broad skillset and it isn't 100% based on the founding team's own skills, but rather on the strength of the connections and recruits they can get as they try to build "business machinery". An organization is ultimately a designed thing, just like a product.

When a codebase gets past the prototype/greenfield phase and becomes a grind of churning out features, bugfixes and optimizations, sales, product marketing and customer support, it is likely to escape the grasp of your existing techniques, because - unless you're extremely selective about what you're aiming for - that kind of breadth is going to be better suited towards an organization with defined roles and specialists than a lone developer who is wearing every hat every day. There's both a technical burden and an emotional burden involved and most people, most of the time, do better by sharing it, hence the common advice to have co-founders.

That said, plodding along for long periods with slow progress is hardly unusual regardless of how you scoped the project or who you got involved. Sometimes you have a technique handy that makes it go smoothly, but oftentimes it is just a grind and you have to commit to the grind to get the learning done and even know what you're doing wrong. It's no different from training your body or mind in other contexts: some things come easily, others don't. Try to go from strength to strength, but don't despair when you have to do something you find painful and stressful.

For me, it's confronting the inevitable sales rejection and critical feedback upon release that causes the demotivation.

The solution was to partner with people that enjoy sales, so I can remain focused on the product ("building the dream").

"is there anybody out there?" - pink floyd

I would love to find the same. Now that product is nearly done, it should be possible.

I think there is potential that you may spend another year to polish your launch without earning anything. Why big launch then?

Maybe you should just now release a quick alpha version and share it for free on a niche forum with your target audience. I am sure you will get a valuable feedback. There may be people who may want to donate to help you with beta and then GA version. If you succeed then you will worry, you can always employ somebody, sell everything, open-source or just fork with your new direction.

Happens to me every time.

My last side project was a data-driven sport (Cricket) analytics blog (https://hackpravj.com/blog/inside-cricket). Worked on it for 8 months (every Sunday), now when it's done I don't like the way I wrapped it up.

People appreciated it, I learned multiple new things but it didn't go as per the dream (the initial motivation that helped me start it).

My personal hack to get around pre/post completion downers is to have a clear idea of what to do after the project completion.

This can be support for the completed one, another project, vacations, or anything really, as long as it is clearly visualizable and tacit. If there are multiple good options and I cannot pick one of them, I try to clamp them to a maximum of 3. All of them have to be clear and concise.

It is a somewhat simple system, but I have found this to work time and time again, mostly because I came to realize that the core of these downers could be attributed to post completion void. Before this approach, I would find myself delaying completion in order to not face the unknowns of what would happen after getting though the goal line. This led to unneeded anticipation worries and needless time wasting.

On the other hand, having these delimited post project goals took the situation on its head. Instead of delaying completion, I worked even harder to get there fast and jump to the next exciting stage as fast as possible.

Thank you for the post and for sharing your experience with us!

What type of animation software?

It sounds to me like you need to find co-founders or partners. Part of surviving in the long run is really just emotional support from people who believe in your product and share similar interests. It is unnatural in my opinion for a human to spend years working on something with no immediate reward (doesn't mean you shouldn't do it).

It exports to html, with a 3d scene and svg filters, which are stackable. There is a path system (for 2d cartoons), but that'll likely be v2(so much to polish). Then there are a few ways to integrate it in the page, options for pop out and fixed position play(based on scrolling), in page play(based on scroll[like parallax but better]), auto play(with some options based on scrolling).

I'll make a video when I get some energy so you can get a better idea. I have several examples. The 3d examples are pretty cool, and some of the stuff possible with svg filters is really cool, and then the fact that it responds to user's scrolling makes it kinda fun to play with, and see the effects go in and out.

That's pretty cool - can you share the video with me as well when you're done? I'm a potential buyer for a content creation portion of an enterprise.

Are you at all concerned about software patents in this space?

Sure, but what should I do about it?

I didn't think google help could do even less but here it is. I ask for help to recover a recipe board from pinterest and get nothing! NOTHING! Don't need to powerwash everything. We need to have a place that shows history and can be repaired if needed. I know this is too untechnical for you people. But KISS should be your guideline.B. Karr. Thanks for nothing AGAIN!


Is this a post in the wrong place. Or?

I'm so confused.. is he saying I should google it? Or is that a bot? It has a green name.

Thats totally relate-able. Completion of one project on which you've worked for a long time implies you're about to finish something you finally feel confident about, and now moving on to start another one (maybe completely new project). So this feeling is somewhat like moving out of a city where you've lived for quite some time.

I've experienced this often. Some comments:

- Before a release, I have to hold off major features (like you path system) and it goes slow and boring. But immediately after release, I can suddenly begin the exciting new stuff again. It's a freedom to look forward to.

- When swimming, I would get tired near the end of the lane, but by visualizing the end being even further away, I got more energy.

- My todo list grows faster than I clear it. So aggressively remove pre-release items as much as possible. You're never going to do them all anyway.

- You really need people to be using it or you'll be designing things wrong, perhaps even the major organizing principles will be hard for users to understand. You don't want to end up with a Gmsh or a Blender!

- User requests are a powerful motivator. You're doing work for a confirmed real purpose and know they're going to appreciate it.

This has been mentioned in various permutations, and I'll add another one. The happiness in figuring a puzzle out is not when action is taken, it's when you figure it out in your mind. What about when you >think< you have figured it all out? Could you trick yourself into considering that your proposed solution might not actually be correct and you have to build it in order to check? Perhaps that doubt could slow someone down as well, enough to not want to continue either. What helps motivate me to finish is guilt, or more to the point the guilt of someone expecting the outcome and not receiving it. Not the best thing to chase/avoid, but everyone has their carrot/stick. Also consider that the work and upgrades are never over so the current release is just the latest iteration of your efforts.

I've been thinking about it quite a while. I think a big part of it is that when you finish one work item or project you need to move to something else. And people generally don't like change. I noticed that it gets even worse when I'm not completely sure what I'm going to work on next.

How's that novel coming? Almost done, I'll bet.


> All of those are the same thing: defenses. Abstractly, they are fears of finality. Not finishing means anything can still happen, your identity remains intact: "I'm a writer."

> More concretely, they are a form of self doubt not about the success of executing the act which is in your control-- the writing of the book, the asking the girl out-- but of being able to manage the consequences which are not-- the publishing of the novel, sustaining a relationship/finding a burn unit.

Brilliant article. Hits home. Thanks.

>You can do 90% of something, but the last 10% takes years, or never gets done.

Your current thing will get you to the next thing you love, only my you will have a little more freedom in time to carry forward.

Stick with it, and ship. Shipping is a drug. You will level up to really be in the driver's seat.

A better question might be, "how can I get motivated again?" :-)

The reply above from tripn is perfect.

divide it to many small challenges according to the process, and reward yourself after each one completed, then you don't need to reach 100%, you are already succeeded ( by your own definition ).

How can I get motivated again? :D How can I make it fun again?

You don’t like sales and selling. Same as most of us coders. The truth is that’s when the real work really begins. This is the testing part, the first part was the hypothesis.

Starting a new business project is like owning a puppy. Everything is fun and the future looks bright because you think you will eventually have a useful and loyal dog that will serve you. But the whole time you had a wolf pup without realizing it. Perhaps the wolf will ultimately serve you. Or perhaps it will keep you up at night, eat your food (money), and coerce you. Once you make that realization the anxiety can cause a loss of motivation.

I think personally it is this:

You are motivated to get a lot of bang for the buck. While the derivative of your function is high, you’re feeling you are making “great progress”.

Then the thing decelerates and now you have a lot of niggling details to iron out. Each one takes a while.

You look around and see that other problems have higher BANG to BUCK ratio. You naturally want to do those.

Remember to land the plane man (or woman) !

Your brain may be telling you that you need to shift your point of view and focus your energy on different activities, but you may not be clear on what those activities are, or feel like doing them.

Have you launched a product before? Do you have any pre-launch users/customers? Have you done customer development on this product, or just built a thing?

To the extent that having interesting problems to solve is motivating, running out of them should be correspondingly demotivating.

I'm in the same boat as you recently, and all I can think of is the story (maybe a myth or fable?) about the painter who was cursed with his paintings coming "alive" when they were finished - to everyone's detriment. So he was always careful to leave one eye or other small element unpainted.

This is probably the story you are thinking of: "Draw Dragon Dot Eyes" https://www.wattpad.com/178269525-fables-of-the-past-draw-dr...

The story is acted out by elementary school students in this video -- showing things don't always have to be perfect or polished to be of interest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=krptm4-mTDM

I've found this entire discussion enlightening. I especially liked the comment about the story of a baker who starts a bakery and soon finds out that being the owner/manager of a successful bakery actually has little in common with baking skills (even as baking is obviously important to a bakery).

For me, as with some other posters here, a big issue for programming projects I start is that while you are working on a project -- as a programmer who likes to program (working person-to-machine) -- the programming is usually fun. And also you can also imagine anything about the potential value of the results while things are under development. But when a project is "done", then getting others to try a project and dealing with support questions or major design feedback and such involves a whole different set of skills (working person-to-person). And those tasks -- especially promotion and support -- are probably are not fun things for a typical programmer. And also you might have guessed wrong about the need if you did not have users lined up before you started or got incremental feedback. If you couple all that with a perceived need to make money from the project when it is released, putting software out there can be a big source of looming stress -- especially if you begin to realize you are someone who loves to bake software and not someone who loves to run a software bakery.

My latest FOSS project took about a month of spare time -- porting to the web a CYOA-style interactive fiction Delphi app I co-wrote twenty years ago. And while I enjoyed working on it, I did drag the end out a bit and also consider even just not releasing the result just because I did not want to have a support burden from unpaid users. Luckily on that score it sank like a stone. :-) Thankfully I didn't need to make money from it. http://storyharp.com/

And at least that result is a big improvement from some previous independent projects which took much longer (sometimes years) and where hopes for making money from them were disappointed.

A lot of times by the time I am almost finished with a project I am bored with the project...and only the most tedious stuff is left. For me, formatting my bibliography. Just kill me now is how I feel. (bibliograpic software does not help btw...too many errors.)

I know that feeling very well. But there is only one answer, keep walking out of this hell.

For many it's not the completion that causes the dejected feeling. It's the thought of starting something new, knowing many of the daunting tasks that will lie ahead. And further knowing that you cannot know all of them.

If you want a support group of at least one, check my HN profile. I'm there too.

I believe that the journey can be exhausting and fatigue as well. The closer you get to completion, the longer you’ll have worked on the project, the more like you are to be fatigued. Any long journey will take its toll on you.

For me I feel like as you near completion it becomes harder to make complex changes quickly so each time you sit down to make an epic commit you are not able to make as much impact when compared to the start of a project.

Sounds like you need a partner to take on the things you dread (marketing, sales, & support). And you take on developing future iterations of your idea based on the marketing, sales, and support feedback.

To me, at that point all of the interesting issues are tackled and the remaining ones are boring or outright repulsive so my mind keeps on wandering to new interesting things.

No, unfortunately I have no solution available...

Yes a combination of what you mentioned, plus the possibility that it'll all fail (which happens 90% of the time), which wasn't really something you thought about when you were still building.

It’s not, at least not for everyone. Which is why you need your team members to compliment each other, and perhaps even rotate poor finishers out of your team when you’re nearing completion.

I'm almost done with my side project and I feel exactly the same!

I have seen that when production and after production are handled by different person, company or partnership have tons of success. Because each can be in his bubble forever.

> Part of me wonders if diet and exercise isn't a factor.

For sure and probably more than any of hose hidden psychological you've invented.

My advice is to find someone to work with on your product.

If you have the runway, take a 2 week staycation before launching. There's a good chance you've been burning hard for a while. You may just need a break.

The risk of failure is reduced when you near completion.

Because you realize you haven't thought it through enough, and continuing is daunting. There is no such thing as complete.

because you are getting out of your comfort zone (developing the project). Now you will enter a more marketing and sales side which we usually dread as developers. Maybe start doing it yourself and as it gets some clients then hire someone. Or find a cofounder that actually complements your skills (not another dev).

Because the closing effort is a lot of detailed work that you didn’t anticipate and could be quite demoralizing

For anyone feeling line this email me at segmond@gmail I know the pain and it helps to have a support group

Maybe because of the 80:20 rule? The steepness in progressing near the end is suddenly much higher.

read “do the work”, a 2 hour motivational read

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