Minimal Runimal: Launch early, repeat

To meet the 30-day launch deadline I’ve imposed on myself, I’ll obviously need to move pretty quickly. To be successful, my main goal is to keep the scope lean, and cut ruthlessly if necessary. To that end, I’ve tried to define in my design document the minimal features I need in place to launch.

This scope maintenance is pretty mentally difficult, actually. I have great (amazingly super great, in fact) ideas for what I want the site to do in the future, and my brain keeps saying, “Yeah, pretty much no one will use it unless it does X,” where X is additional functionality to the basic idea. Luckily, it says in big letters in my design doc, “LAUNCH EARLY AND OFTEN AND CUT FEATURES RUTHLESSLY.” At least it should. I just made that up. Anyway, I then have to slap my brain around and write down the idea under ‘Future Features’.

And then wrench my brain back around to the problem at hand, which is implementation of the features I do need for launch. In RoR, which I have very very little experience with.

Is it a wise decision to go with RoR vs PHP or ASP.NET, which I’ve actually used? Probably not. But there’s the brilliance (and crushing responsibility) of being solo. I’m not going to lose my job if I choose the wrong framework. And in this instance, I have very little to lose.

Having little to lose is itself a hurdle for a startup to overcome. Basically, without ‘skin in the game’ your incentive to succeed is less, and perseverance comes down to commitment/vision rather than necessity.
That’s not a bad thing in itself, it just makes it much easier to give up if success doesn’t arrive with banners streaming and horns blaring the morning after launch day. And then you go back to the 9-5, start sleeping more vs. working on your side-project, and you gain a vague sense of satisfaction that you ‘gave it a try and it didn’t work’. Settle into that for 30 years, then retire and you can live off your giant corporate 401k until you die.

Sounds great, right?

I have trouble with the 30 years part. Maybe because I’m too young to appreciate havin’ it good, or something. I started college early, and graduated at 19. Now I’m almost 22, and I’m developing more and more an instinctual revulsion at the thought of spending most of the hours of my life in a cubicle working for someone else. Kids these days, huh?


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