I’ve given up on many projects that could have been big. I don’t regret it. However I think a lot about why I did so. I have found the reason and I want to share it with the world.
Before I do that I want to clarify one thing: I do not regret of moving on and leaving my projects in the past. But society and people around me make me think I’m a quitter. So I think a lot why I tend to move on? Am I really a quitter?
When I dig deep I’ve identified that I execute my projects in a wrong way. Usually I have an idea. I visualize it ‘at the peak’. I mean I see how my idea is changing the world, I see how millions of people use it. I see smiles on their faces. I see them in the process of using my product. I see them telling each other about it. Then I think a little about whether or not I see myself dedicating considerable amount of time of my life building it. If I’m confident that I’d spend my life on this 1 product then I build an MVP. Having in mind I’m not technical. So I have to convince others to join me or my MVPs look like prototypes of MVPs. When I get the initial product up and running which is pretty agile and startup style (1 day to a week or 2. Depends on an idea) I go out and tell everyone about it. By everyone I mean potential users and everyone else :). Clearly I get countless contradictory feedback. Which is not even close to what’s important at the moment. So after a month I feel lost. I feel nothing seems to work. One thing leads to the other. I lose interest in the project. It’s feels too much and then I quit. I quit and move on. I never regret. If you feel like wanting to quit you should quit. Cause things are going to get uglier on later stages. Better to quit now. However when you feel like quitting and you can’t allow yourself, that’s when you stay in the fight and keep working.
Although it seemed to me I ‘knew enough’ cause I have a degree in marketing, have written lot’s of projects, I’ve read every possible article on startups, huge fan of PG and the list goes on. I did what every “I know better person” does: I ignored it all.
I have this inner demon in me trying to do everything on its own. I don’t like nice plans, I don’t like anything written in advance. I’m more comfortable in chaos when there are no pre-determined actions to execute. Who wants to work like a perfectly written code? Not me.
Having said all this I have decided to make a change. I’m still against academic approach to development no matter what. I hated having 1 year plans and I still do. Long-term plans are wrong. Anything longer than “GOTTA DO TODAY” is long-term. Long-term plans are wrong but Long Term Goals is the name of the game. When I have an idea and I no longer try to visualize everyone using the product. I do it once a day to motivate myself and that’s about it. Instead I try to think about 1 person. Where and How can I find her? Why would she use it? What will be the very specific benefit she’ll get? And so on. If I can help her and solve her problem there’ll be 5. After 5 there’ll be 10. Then 50. Then 500. And that’s how you grow.
There are no shortcuts from 1 to 500. Sometimes it just happens relatively faster than in other cases. That’s all. And depends what you are building. Remember it’s hard to change the world.