Carlos Taborda, CEO of cloud app hosting platform Webbynode, recently detailed the fatal mistakes he made that prevented one of his startups from succeeding.
Taborda wasn’t inexperienced when he set out to build his own company.
He had already co-founded Webbynode and worked for multiple Fortune 500 companies.
The 28-year-old developer and entrepreneur considered himself an industry veteran in 2010 when he set out to build his next business, which is why he was confident the idea would work.
Taborda and his business partner then set out to create StackFu, a platform for sharing server configurations that was supposed to be as big as Github, the community for sharing software code.
But the project never gained traction, and here’s why, according to Taborda:
His business revolved around a product that he found useful rather than thinking about whether or not it would appeal to a mass audience. Taborda notes that one of his biggest mistakes was creating a product that solves his own problem rather than looking for a solution to a larger issue. “It was pushed by me wanting to have this problem sorted out for ME, selfishly thinking everyone out there would also want this problem solved,” he wrote.
His product didn’t solve a burning problem that was really urgent. That’s not to say StackFu went totally unused. But since you can use other open source tools on the web to solve the same problem, StackFu never became widely popular. “This is an area that I have become passionate about,” Taborda wrote. “Understanding whether your product or service has the perceived business value it should. If not, then it’s just another unimportant tool to have.”
He didn’t solicit feedback from his target audience before persuing the idea. Taborda describes how going heads-down on a project without running a concept by your potential user base can be detrimental. Going with your gut can lead you down a rabbit hole that’s difficult to climb out of. “We should have put our ear to the ground, spoken to our target audience, and gotten to know them deeply way before a single line of code was written,” he wrote.
He had too many great technicians and not enough management expertise. When building StackFu, Taborda said had an excellent tech team that some would “give an arm and a leg for.” But having talented technicians wasn’t enough to make StackFu a hit. “You have a fully loaded canon, and it’s very hard to manage,” he wrote. Taborda notes that if he had a weaker technical team, he may have done more work ahead of time. “Having so much gun power pushes you to take rash actions and avoid doing the boring working of validating your ideas, market, etc.” he wrote.
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