Life as an Entrepreneur

Posted by Curtis Miller Curtis Miller

I've been at this for a couple of months now and I've started to notice some things. When I tell people what I do (i.e., I work for no pay on a dot com that may not take off) I get a wide range of responses. Here are some common ones:

  • Huh?
  • Congratulations! That is great!
  • Interesting…
  • Well…good luck with that.
  • Man, I wish I could take the leap… maybe I will… I should!... just as soon as I finish my current project…
  • You're doing what?!? Are you crazy??
  • I hear it's another bubble…

I get follow-up conversation almost every time; more questions than I usually care to answer, but I answer anyway. It helps me to formulate more clearly how to communicate what I am doing and what my vision is. I am surprised at how many people cannot hold a conversation about the Internet and the current technologies being used. I realize that we really are in our own little world. Despite the hundreds of blogs that are talking up a storm about Web 2.0 and the “new” Internet, most of the people I talk with are clueless about it. Even when I tell them about it, they don't really get it and most don't care.

Makes me wonder if we, as developers, entrepreneurs, etc. are hyping this amongst ourselves, but the rest of the world could care less. Kind of a collective “That's nice…” coming from potential users. Fortunately, I'm persistent and have convinced several people of the benefits of these technologies and their uses. A long road though…

Anyway, in my follow-up conversations, I usually get one or more of the following questions. Depending on the person I am talking to it may be the first question or they may take a while leading up to it. Some people ask all three straight-away. Regardless, they all want to know:

  • How will you make money on it?
  • How much money do you think you'll make?
  • When will you start making money?

Notice a theme? It's funny how interested people become when they are asking you about money. I usually fend them off by explaining my theory about startups and money. Considering this is my first (second really, but the first one was a practice run, right?) startup, this could be completely bunk information – your mileage will almost certainly vary. The theory goes like this:

If you concentrate on money first, you will fail. If you concentrate on users and follow your vision for the site, you will eventually find a way to monetize, and perhaps not fail.

Another funny thing I have been getting a lot of lately reminds me of why I wear a “No, I will not fix your damn computer!” t-shirt (thanks Kim!) as a programmer. In shifting from programmer to programmer/entrepreneur I now get many ideas for startups thrust at me by friends, family, and complete strangers. It usually happens after a lull in the conversation. Then they begin, “You know what's a great idea for a startup….” or “You know what you should do…”. I think I will make a new t-shirt that says “No, I will not implement your damn idea for a startup!” Actually, I'm making a list for the future… after all, I didn't sign an NDA….

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