The funny thing is until I started reading HN I had no idea the extent to which people are out here building apps frantically for the "big exit".
When I read about how much 37signals get pissed off at being referred to as "a lifestyle business" I had no idea that this subculture chasing VC and Angel investing even existed.
I had a vague notion that people got investment but I feel a little uneasy about the way that young kids coming straight out of high school are being influenced by this culture.
Everyone just wants to "be an entrepreneur" and no-one really seems to know what that means. In most cases, business is about raising invoices, not capital.
Problem is, for every Google-like company, there are hundreds if not thousands that fail to make a profit and just disappear. On the other hand building a 37signals-like company is within reach of most talented people, but these stories aren't highlighted by the media (unless you have the oratory talent of DHH).
not really that surprising. while a great tech resource, HN is, of course, an offshoot of YC.
It seems like this is even more true in the last few years, when company after company with no users, no business gets acquired, then shut down by the acquirer.
I graduated in Summer 2009, and I immediately wanted to do my own startup. I'd recently built my own new website, which was pretty much all my social networks on a single page. A friend asked me when he could have his, and after that I knew I was onto something. It turned into OnePage (http://myonepage.com) and it is doing well, with thousands of users. The problem? revenue was an afterthought, so to fund it I had to keep doing contract work. I tried doing it part time, and then I tried doing a wave of full-time and then a wave of full-time work on OnePage. We tried applying to incubators, too. After a year and a half, I still know there's huge potential in that space (just look at about.me), but I know I need to sort out my income so I can focus.
So, when the November Startup Sprint popped up, the timing couldn't have been better. I built my second startup called Buffer (http://bufferapp.com) with the sole purpose of getting to ramen profitability and using it to free my time. I built the app in about 7 weeks of evenings and launched with payment options from day 1. Fast forward one month until now, and I've had just over a hundred signups, 3 of which are paying. I have a long way to go, but I think this is the method more people should take.
Some people want the lifestyle business so they can spend less time working and enjoy life more, others want their finances "sorted" so they can hit for the home run. Either way, I think lifestyle business first is almost always a good idea.
I built it to scratch my own itch and also to put into practice all my learning of lean startup ideas, development and user experience. It was a real challenge to hold back and launch with a minimal yet complete (in the sense of being useful) feature-set. Now I'm trying to scale it up, I would love to ease off the amount of time I need to spend on contract work given time.
Really appreciate the support.
This interview was an eye-opener for me because of Andrew's reaction rather than because of the interviewee's business philosophy. If it's strange and alien to Andrew Mixergy, no wonder it's strange and alien to plenty of other folks as well.
While the "jackpot" target is small and elusive, I think a more _reasonable_ but still far-fetched goal is to search for a place where you are 'impactful.' You may not be rewarded in some strictly remunerative way, but if you are passionate about changing something and can make it happen - better CRM tools, better ad exchange software, better reverse osmosis technology, whatever it may be - then that is something great, completely aside from whether $$$ follows.
Lifestyle stuff is great too, but for myself - as someone very young but idealistic and ambitious - what moves me most is the possibility of making a difference in the world. Businesses - and one where you define the rules and set the agenda - are one way to do that.
completely aside from whether $$$ follows
As I was telling my mother in law, who's a very religious and charitable person, it's much easier to be generous to the world with other people's money, but when relying on other people for $$$ you can't bitch about how things aren't going your way, so the best way to give is to make $$$ yourself ;)
And if you fail to do that, not only will your dream of world-change shatter, but the people relying on your company/service/product will find themselves in the dust; so it's not only hard but also irresponsible and immature to not worry about $$$.
A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
-- Bruce Lee
Having it turn into the success that it became was a mix of drive, determination, planning and luck.