Learning The Hard Way

I have certainly posted enough already about lessons learned from my startup.  But why should that stop me from posting more?  At some point I will need to turn my eye back towards the present…

This recent zoomable map of worldwide tweets by MapBox reminded me about learning the hard way.  In case you can’t tell, and assuming that link worked correctly, that’s tweets in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, unofficially known as Tobacco Alley.

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Our startup’s growth hinged upon massive adoption of smartphones and mobile coupons.  Scanning that map out to our two markets of Wilmington and The Triad [Greensboro, Winston-Salem, & High Point], it’s pretty clear that “massive” isn’t the word I would use to describe mobile tweeting adoption there.  I’m drawing a correlation here between tweets and overall mobile sophistication…

Even if we had this chart 18 months ago, we would have been able to rationalize a way around this data, saying that our approach would be different, and we’d still succeed.  You kinda haveta believe that if you’re going to charge down the startup path.

We were just going to have to learn the hard way that our business model wasn’t sustainable.  Sometimes, this is the only path to truth and clarity.  Mentors and advisors can dramatically improve your decision making ability.  Even then, they had to tell us three times and we had to stumble twice for us to believe them.  But eventually we listened.


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