I've just figured out what I've been doing for the past few months. No, not that. I've been asking questions. I've been putting things up and saying "Anyone want this?"
More often than not, the response is "nah, we're good thanks", which I now realise is absolutely fine. I haven't wasted hours on market research or thousands of pounds in development. I've built something quickly to solve a problem, spent a tenner on a domain name and shoved it under some noses. When those people say "actually we didn't really need that", how can that be a failure?
In the interests of... whatever, here are the things people have said "no" to in the past 8 months, and my interpretation of that response:
- Meegloo: a Swiss-army knife for social reporting. We have Twitter, Posterous and Tumblr for that, and newer services are getting better at linking stuff up, so I don't need another tool that I'll only use for events I'm at.
- Poddle: a video podcasting platform. OK it's a nice idea, but I don't need one, and there's no-one in my circle who does. And if I did, I wouldn't pay a fiver a month for it, plus I'd probably want to use something more established.
- Bootsector: a forum for tech startups. Again, we have Twitter. And who uses forums nowadays? It's the 90s, Granddad!
- idoxiny: a tool for finding work via Twitter. I'll say this one more time. TWITTER. Are we clear?
- Stac: video tutorials on web basics. I could really use some WordPress help; this sounds promising.
- Nymbol: a content management system for physical objects. Oooh, intriguing!
It's easy to get happy-clappy in this creative arena, because none of us wants to feel like we've screwed up. But in that list of nos I generally see only one real failure: Meegloo, and I've already written about that experience. In all the other points, I was simply asking the question "do you want this?" When the responses came back, they weren't "no because that's a bad idea" or "no because that's really shoddily built and obviously not researched"; it was "no, it's not for me". I don't see failure there, just a different response to the question than the one I gave. And if I'm in the minority, it's time to move on to the next idea, and to ask a new question.
So here's to asking questions, and sticking with the ones that come up "yes".