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Ask HN: What have you done after a failed startup?
23 points by lakeeffect on Nov 6, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments

I've personally launched and tanked two projects so far. In both occassions it was a matter of my competitor having more money, meaning more dedicated programmers putting in dedicated time.

I have a full time day-job and a family, so I could scrunch in some time whenever I could and successfully launched:

Oracle of Legends


Both were database websites for League of Legends and Dota 2 respectively, it was met with lots of love and kind words and usage. At it's peak I was looking at 25,000 daily users, with thousands voting on couterpicks for the champions/heroes. It was a "success" in my book.

Unfortunately around that time a website called Lolking was picked up by the Zam Gaming network (they own Wowhead, etc) and obviously that now had a team working on it as their job.

A team of devs working full time > a single dev working a couple of hours a week.

I learned a lot, had fun making it, but was sad when I ultimately pulled the plug. Who knows, I may revisit the websites and launch them for an international market. So far none of the big websites has localization and I know the latinamerican crowd is huge, so there's that. :)

All in all I spend 60$ for 4 months of hosting, nothing more.

It depends. If you have enough savings, you can take the much needed time-off and clear your mind and then work on another problem to solve. If money is the issue then get a consulting or freelancing gig (plenty of info on HN how to get 1). Write a guest blog post on why your Startup failed. Also there are plenty of people looking for Co-founders. The worst mistake is to not start something new because you think you may fail again.

The part about not starting something new out of fear of failure is the best advice ever. Even if your startup 'fails' you would've gained a hell of a lot skills out of building it, call it 'personal capital' and the best thing you could do is reinvest it in a new startup instead of letting it go to waste.

The first thing I did was "Sit Shiva", which is an adaptation of a jewish mourning ritual to startup life.

I think that a failed startups feels quite similar to losing someone.

I still tear up when I talk about my previous company, but sitting it out enabled me to better handle it and now I'm very pumped up and working on my 3rd company.

Btw, I've blogged about it: http://www.eytanlevit.com/post/32192713706/sitting-shiva-on-...

I created a social network called Unadu. It gave the users a voice, along with every other current aspect of online networking. It gained a little traction in my area with only a few hundred users over a 4 month span. Over the last 3 weeks there was virtually no activity. When you fail, fail fast right? So I retired the network and immediately went on to working on the next project. I learned a lot; mostly where my strengths and weaknesses area.

I applied for a job back in my old industry and now working there. I have a wife and 2.5 year old daughter so in the grand scheme of things it was the only real thing I could do. I will save a bit and learn a bit more and do it smarter next time.

I think you need to define "failed".

I've been working on my startup for some time. I haven't been profitable (or funded) yet, but it's far from being a "failed" venture.

Definitely. What defines "failed" depends on the person. I've been working on mine for some time as well. Considered it "failed" after cofounder issues led to nothing getting done (no product/MVP). Ex-cofounders just enjoyed talking about building something, and had unrealistic expectations of startups (e.g. $160k+ salary, $8 mil seed rounds, etc).

I've come to believe it's a "failed" venture once I reach a point where I've exhausted all of my ability and options. I haven't reached that point because I can just learn to code to build it. I was relying too much on finding technical cofounders because I didn't consider myself technical at the time.

Quite frankly, we were wantrepreneurs. Coming to terms with myself over that really helped in moving forward.

I've been building ever since and have someone willing to pay once it's done. Best thing is - I've realized that I enjoy building :).

I guess running out of the cash allocated to keep it running for the past five years. What do you put on your resume to find work in a difficult economy? When your specialized skills are business leadership and marketing? How do you sell I'm skilled? People are still using the service, and we have a ton of their media. Every couple of days someone clicks they like us on facebook and are continuing to sign up and people return after a year without uploading media. But its not converting to profit.

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