Like you, I've found myself in situations where I realize after the fact, "oh, that's what they were all warning against!" It might have been sunk in better if I'd been given a practical example rather than abstract advice.
dlevine puts it really really well in another comment - "Once you make the mistake, you will try to avoid the pain it caused by doing something different the next time."
[PS. If you do set sail again, give me a shout. Shipmate Chester Grant reporting for duty.]
Thank you for your article ansd post.
Case in point - my first startup failed as well. We tried to do things the "right way," but we still made tons of mistakes. But we learned, and at the very least my second startup has gone significantly further than the first because I have avoided some of the mistakes I made the first time around. For example, I picked a cofounder who had skills that I didn't have on the founding team the first time around. Those skills have allowed us to succeed where we failed before.
I'm also happy to see that most of the comments here are positive. I'm sure you'll get some "Oh, well you should have just done ..." crap here too, but you probably know to ignore that by now.
Good luck in your future ventures and just keep at it. There's no guarantee you'll ever be successful, but doing nothing guarantees that you won't.
Maybe because desperation forces people to think differently? I don't know, but its worked for me.
The night is darkest just before the dawn...or before it somehow gets even darker.
We read a lot of "I stuck it out 1 more day and then we got rich" stories but it's the same survivor bias that we see in all the startup stories. I would wager that for every 5 companies that "just don't give up", 4 of them eventually give up. But, the 4 that give up don't write self-congratulatory blog posts and give interviews about their failure. So, we only hear about the 1, never about the 4.
As for why we failed to raise money, we were in a crowded space and investors wanted to see some really strong breakaway growth before they'd back us, and we didn't deliver.
The site doesn't look like it's too resource intensive. Why not bootstrap it? You could get a dedicated box for a couple of hundred bucks per/month and then do some consulting to pay for it/your living expenses.
You definitely got some traction. I wouldn't give it up just yet.
Originally it was a location based "awareness" platform, with people, places, events and deals. The iOS app was the main part, and that's what I pulled. I focused the site down to just events, and now that's running on a single server. It's far from the original vision though, and no longer my main focus.
I'd say about 99 percent of us are not in your shoes. Do you really think you can say "Not only were none of the mistakes we made novel, a lot of them were mistakes I'd read about before and was sure I'd avoid." and think that most of us, even on HN, know what you mean?