Twelve Startups

15 September 2019

Twelve Startups

People that’ve known me for a long time would know I’ve done it all. Worked for large multi-nationals, government agencies, startups and yes even for myself. It’s been a long time, but many many years ago I rage quit a well paid job and setup my own development agency. For the first few months things were pretty tough, mostly because at the start I’d made the mistake of selling technology/resource rather than a product/service. As soon as I realised I should be focusing on solving issues of the clients business rather than selling them technology things really took off. After a year we had a turn over of close to a million pounds. Of course that wasn’t pure profit, but you get the idea of how successful the business did at the time.

One itch I did have at the time was to get back to working on my own products. Consulting was enjoyable but I really wanted to have something that had my own stamp on it. I ended up leaving the business to work for several startups. Seed, Series A, B, C and D. Scaling from one to over one hundred engineers. It was stressful and challenging but ultimately I wouldn’t have traded any of it. There was one thing however that I have missed. You see, I’ve been building startups for everyone else except myself. It’d be nice just for once to see what happens when I build my own products. Also from experience I know there’s a huge amount you learn from doing your own thing, where you’ve got no one else to hold you to account other than yourself.

It’s because of the above I’m announcing that I’ll be doing the twelve startups challenge. OK, so it’ll probably end up being six startups rather than twelve. I’ve some doubts how much value/learning you can create in a product in under a month. I’ve seen so many people try this challenge before, see no traction after the initial flurry of sign-ups after posting on Product Hunt, and eventually fall off the boat.

Another thing that I’ll be trying to do slightly differently from everyone else is that I won’t be looking for a unique vertical. Sure, if I come across one that I think I could monetize I’ll do it. But having experience, not just in the technology side of startups but also in business development I know there’s lots of rich/easy pickings going for a vertical that is already serviced by an incumbant who has done the hard/expensive work in proving out the market. Things are just imeso much easier when you don’t have the expectations of investors. Freedom to experiment and take chances you just couldn’t do in a standard VC backed startup.

I’ll be releasing my first product on October the 1st. The deadline is quite tight, but I’ve ready done more than half of the app and from experience it’s better to release eary and often.