So, I am winding down on my pursuit of the startup. I had to. My saving level is dangerously low, and I have a family to support.
And, this outsourcing to an Indian software company was a BIG mistake, too. What it came down to is the heart and soul put into the work. They will do a job to meet the spec, but as any software engineer knows, there are million ways to write a code, and these guys will write the minimum or take the shortest path to meet the spec. That doesn’t mean they will think about efficiency or quality of the code. So, quality of the code is always questionable. But, again the biggest problem is that these guys will not go above and beyond. Just do the minimum to meet the spec and that’s it.
When I told many people that I was going to outsource the coding, they thought I was crazy. It’s core of my business, and you should never outsource something that’s core to one’s business. That’s so true, because I just learned it hard way and also it is clearly said in the book I am currently reading, Living on the fault line by Geoffrey Moore. Well, actually at first, I didn’t think the website was the core, but marketing strategy was, because writing a website is so trivial and anyone could do it. I wanted to do it cheaper and faster, and concentrate on good marketing so that I can attract critical mass of users. But, it was the core. In consumer website space, user experience is everything and the website that was built by this Indian outsourcing company – which by the way had developed other social networking sites before – had the worst user interface. So, I basically told them to stop the development since I want to cancel the project. Of course, they weren’t happy about it, but there was really no point in going on. The website developed by them was so inferior to current competitors.
Recently I had to research open-source social networking platforms, and I was surprised to find so many. And, they all looked really good. I remember distinctly that I searched for such platform in October of 2006, and there really weren’t much. I found a few that I’d have to buy, but no social networking…. Though, I am not sure if I would have time to develop the site myself even if I found a suitable open-source social networking platform. The learning curve would have been too steep. That was actually another reason I decided to use an outsourcing company….., but it turned out to be probably worse.
Ah, well…. You live and learn and move on.
Also, another thing that I learned was that most of the successful startups were founded by engineers and geeks, not by business or marketing people. I’d better go and hit programming books!