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Essentially none of those 30kloc were part of the actual product, just set dressing. You could easily launch the same basic product without writing a single line of code, just handling everything through e-mail attachments and a paypal button. I don't believe that the user experience would be significantly worse for it.

In the middle of the article, the OP lists various mistakes he made, but I think he's basically wrong on all counts. His essential mistake IMO was launching too late. In six months of work, he gained no insight whatsoever into the market. He could have learned just as much with a handwritten flier on the college notice board - "Your mock exam reviewed by a postgrad, £10. Email foo@bar.com".

For the technically-inclined, coding is the perfect form of procrastination. It can absorb a near-infinite amount of time and feels quite productive, but it's usually a distraction. Steve Blank's most important message is that in an early stage startup, your job is to learn about the market. Anything which doesn't connect you with your customers is wasted effort.

In fairness to the OP, he does talk about this very issue (including just doing this via email). We're all a little blinded by what we're good at.

The op did do some marketing research. He made the mistake of asking if people would buy, instead of asking them to buy. Huge difference.

Not understanding your (potential) customers is often mistake #1. We spent 2 months talking to potential customers before writing a line of code and now have 1,000+ in a fairly small niche.

Have you got a blog? Always interested to read about the process.

Maybe one day, too busy now and I don't really enjoy writing. Have some good stories though. I'd probably start with "How I turned a $60 bottle of scotch into $2mm".

Yes, I think many of us would like to hear that one even if it's followed by the usual punchline:

1) Start with $4mm

2) Drink $60 worth of scotch

3) End up with $2mm


not even close: how a $60 bottle of scotch got me an intro to someone who in turn invested 2mm. there, my first blog post is live.

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