My First Startup Failed

19 Oct 2013


I recently shuttered Studycache. My medical research startup that I have been working on the past two years. After only a small amount of adoption, and a myriad of other things I've found that it's best to not continue on the product. After much reflection it came down to a list of factors that contributed to my failure.

  1. I failed to focus on the product
  2. I failed to be assertive
  3. I failed to be honest with my Co-Founder

Product

The first point of my failure was little focus on the product. I'm a technical person by trade, and I focused far too long on good code and cool frameworks. This drove decisions based more on cool tools than getting a job done. In the end the product suffered. Tools are good to focus on, but are only a means to an end. It's still on the developer to create something great.

Assertiveness

The second point of my failure was lack of assertiveness to go and market my product and show others. I tend to be a very private person that has a hard time showing off accomplishments. This came to be a shortcoming when trying to build something and show it off. Eventually you need to convince people that your product is worthwhile and that they should pay for it.

Honesty

The last part of my failure was not being 100% honest with my Co-Founder. We had some reservations during this whole process on who to talk to and when. We had different opinions, and me sugar coating what I was trying to get across didn't help. Speaking honestly with people who are on your team is paramount to sucess. Without that layer of honesty things will fall apart.

Postmortem

I still firmly believe that creating a product to make academic, scientific, and medical research practices more modern is important. At least for now I'm not going to be the person doing it. However, I learned a ton from my small startup and it serves me well after all this time. It hasn't deterred me from the dream of running my own company and being a leader. In fact it has driven me even more to keep building things and coming up with ideas to create.

-M