... but I still haven't found what I'm looking for - Paul David Hewson
A visionary who lacks execution. This is how my wife often describes me. Her evidence is the laundry list of unfinished and unfunded projects we have around the house. Have you ever held on to IKEA furniture that you still haven’t built after 3 years? My parent’s strongest piece of evidence lies in the many musical instruments I have played over the years: piano, violin, trombone, trumpet, guitar.
My personal evidence comes from the many domains listed in my namecheap.com account. Of the 12 domains I own, 1 is a financial blog that I ran for a year before I lost interest, 3 belong to previous companies I started that no longer exist, 4 are related to web projects in some half-finished state, and 2 others are domains that I bought about 5 years ago because they seemed look good projects… to start… one day.
I don’t deny this description. I was born a tinkerer and my jack of all trades master of none style is actually one of the things I truly enjoy about living my life and being me. But it turns out I have a love–hate relationship with being a mikka bouzu. In the case of instruments it turns out I stuck with one. It just took (more than) a few tries to figure out where to focus.
Personal/Market Fit and You Economics
The two things that will guarantee eventual failure for an upstart are lack of product/market fit and poor unit economics. Venture Capitalist Marc Andreessen says, “The #1 company-killer is lack of market.” If you can’t sell the thing you’re making then what future do you have?
Unit economics describe gains and losses associated with a business model, for instance, a true customer is worth something around $14k to Starbucks. Quoting another Venture Capitalist, Sam Altman, he talks about the joke during the dotcom bubble being “we lose a little money on every customer, but we make it up on volume”. If it is all just a losing proposition then what is the point?
My theory is that this same sort of venture theory applies to the individual as a venture. For all the projects and ideas I have floating around, if it’s not something I can sell as worth of my time and if at the end of the day it is actually a losing long-term proposition then isn’t it something that I should just forget about. But how do I even figure that out?
This year I’m commiting to write about all the things that I have interest in. The plan is to publish, or plan for publishing, at least 500 words nearly every single day. I’m going to write about anything and everything to find something that has both personal/market fit and satisfies my own time economics. I have a few obvious places to write about specific topics: this site for personal things, and over at donutindustries for anything technical related, but the potentially truly stupid part of this is that I could end up with many many more ideas and an infinite number of projects.
My hope is that I will finally find something that sticks. As I look back at this time next year I hope I will have given up a bit of perfectionism, shipped a software project, and to get over my fear of failing to impress. I’m going to write. Some of it’s going to suck. Some of it’s going to be a pain. But maybe, just maybe, some of it will stick.