A Cautionary Tale

Sometime a group of smart people come together, have a neat idea, work hard toward a common vision… and it doesn’t work. Such was the case with Convoq/Zingdom, shutting down after a five year adventure.

Chris Herot has a great post reflecting on lessons learned, invaluable for any current or aspiring entrepreneur. Highlight:

  • Iterate in the marketplace, not the conference room. Agile is the only way to go.
  • Just because you are using agile methods doesn’t mean you don’t have to plan. Write your stories before you begin an iteration, but don’t waste a lot of time on the details that aren’t needed until later.
  • Don’t spend a lot of time and money naming the company until you have the product and positioning figured out.
  • If you are depending on paid search to generate traffic then your marketing is broken.
  • Raising too much money is almost as dangerous as raising too little – it sets high expectations which then drive high expenditures to deliver the results on time.
  • If you want to do a consumer-facing product on the East Coast, stay engaged with the community in Silicon Valley. By the time you read about something in TechCrunch it’s too late.
  • Remember the three stages of building a web property: 1. Attract, 2. Engage, 3. Monetize. Don’t skip a step.

Sage advice, IMHO. Think we’re delivering on these fronts, if you don’t, please let me know.


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