Wild Web Projects and Attention Black Holes turn into Time Warps
It feels like only yesterday I was harping about how cool it would be if social communication platforms advertised serendipitously to the browser and not just page context or a single search. But that was the summer of 2009, and I experienced my first hit of raw building fanaticism. I had no idea where to begin without a shred of web dev experience.
Just a couple of days later I put together a notional framework with the help of friends, and began digging in to a metric crapton of web dev languages to figure out how to implement a prototype. But almost 18 months have passed since I began, and it feels like hardly longer than the blink of an eye. I'm not eccentrically rich from my first startup, to the contrary I'm fairly light on capital these days, yet I've grown wealthy in a variety of areas which will no doubt impact my and my family's future.
What changed in 18 months of struggling to hack out a compelling product
- I tapped into a hyper conduit of compressed learning that left me staggering and exhausted each night yet diving back in each morning
- I refined my raw perception on which products, interfaces, and social memes have a chance at wide spread or targeted niche adoption versus applications that are of passing interest. I stand by my earlier post that extreme sentiment will outlive like buttons
- I met incredible folks that live and breathe web/product dev, first time and serial entrepreneurs, hard working authors, news and curation wizards, and keen eyed investors. I list just a few on my friends and influencers page
- I understand a host of back end frameworks, servers, and persistence layers. Databases are far more than a creepy Oracle product with monstrous windows front ends. They're resources that have as much art in their growth, optimization, and utility as the design of any product
- I have a feel for network and system bottlenecks and am honing instincts for long term framework design decisions
- I realized I'm mortal. I can't maintain extraordinarily long work days indefinitely. For all the founders that can afford to focus solely on first product iteration without other responsibilities, by all means do so. You can compress explored opportunities into tighter deadlines and iterate faster at the cost of personal burn rate.
Concentration ebbs and flows, and regular exercise is a vital component to maximizing my personal "up time". I have mixed in some playtime over the past month and sense the restlessness of another full court press in the works. I look forward to what 2011 holds in store for me