After a full year of work, my startup LinerNotes.com is finally just-about-ready to launch an open beta. The site is still short of my vision by a mile. But I’ve decided that I stand to gain more from real feedback than I risk by disappointing early adopters and totally embarrassing myself in front of my friends and various onlookers.
It’s been a long, long road getting here. I thought I’d be excited when I reached this point but more than anything I’m confused and mildly terrified. Entrepreneurship is always full of ambiguity, but now more than ever I have no idea what to expect. I can imagine a whole range of outcomes, and I definitely know which ones I hope for and which ones I fear. But I just don’t know how to assign probabilities to those possibilities, and of course I know how often the future makes a mockery of ability to imagine it.
So I’m doing this blog series. I figure that by writing openly and honestly about my launch process – about my expectations, my plans, my decision-making, and even a bit of my personal psychology – I’ll be able to impose at least a little structure on process. If nothing else, writing helps me think more clearly. I also hope that telling my story will make it easier for the people in my life to understand me, for early adopters to connect with me, and for the types of people I want to work with to find me. And I hope that someday this series will help another first-time entrepreneur through his or her first launch.
So here’s the plan: as often as reasonably possible over the next 2-3 weeks, I will write 200-500 words about some aspect of my launch process. Some days the posts may be topical (e.g. an overview of my technology stack, or a discussion of quantitative metrics) and some days they’ll just be diary entries about the events and challenges of the day.
I have to admit I’m a bit nervous about putting this much information online. I’m a very private person by default and this series will be by far the most personal thing I’ve ever written for general consumption. I also have a tendency toward pathological honesty that’s in pretty stark contrast to the rampant puffery of traditional startup blogging. I’m concerned that writing about my uncertainties and constant failures is going to make it difficult for eventual investors or collaborators to believe in me the way they believe in more “reality distorting” entrepreneurs.
But one of my greatest goals in life is to work with people who have the same respect for reality that I do. And if writing authentically cuts the inbound interest in my inbox from zero down to zero, then so be it.
Welcome to the live-blog.