Posted on March 15, 2013 by Andy Jones
This is the first among many blog posts I'll be creating for my new business PipeThru.com.
Two things come to mind as I continue with PipeThru.com. One, life is a journey, not a goal, and two, building a business, not a project, is really hard.
On the first topic, I consider myself very lucky to have the ability to build websites as my main profession. I have completed a large amount of work to place myself in this position, however, the position "web site developer" did not exist 20 years ago, and nothing resembling my general occupation existed 100 years ago. I find myself standing on the shoulders of giants. To many I owe, and I do hope I am able to give back in some substantial way.
Aware of my fortune, I've chosen a profession where I enjoy the day to day. Not to say there are not hurdles, challenges, and unpleasant moments, however these are always transitory and passing. The majority of days, I wake up glad and eager to begin another project, continue coding, and engage those with whom my work benefits. This is the simplest gauge of success, and the one by which I live. I do consider end goals for PipeThru.com or any project I start as nice and worth working for. The end goal is not guaranteed though. The chances of a liquitidy event, buyout, sustainable lifestyle business, or whatever are not high, and some would say the chances are quite low. However, looking back, I will have the ability, in all honesty, to say the last several years were well spent doing things I enjoyed, whatever the outcome.
On the second topic, building a business is not the same as starting a project. This revelation should have been more obvious to me. Coming from a technology background, though, I guess my mind just did not, or wanted not to see that. The key factor between a project and a business to me - will someone pay you for you for what you did. Ideally, will many people may you consistently over time for what you are doing.
This can mean many things. Consistently means the willingness to stick with the project on the timeframe of years. The timeframe here is measured in years, not weeks or months. For most entrepreneurs this means being poor for an extended period of time with no future security. Getting someone to pay you means listening to a set of potential customers and making their life less painful. This will mean modifying my original vision. Not that my original vision is wrong, but it's just a first guess that needs validation and refinement. Customer feeback is the path to that validation and refinement. I need to ride out the customer feedback because, doubtless, I will not like some of it.
I'm writing PipeThru.com as a way to connect APIs online. More broadly, I help liberate information between the online websites that you use. Implementing a website's API is no trivial task - even for programmers. If I can automate this, that's a solid win. If I can package the connections between APIs to help people (1) manage their social media, (2) backup information, (3) receive notifications, or (4) automate business processes, that's an even more solid win. I think there are pain points somewhere in the above and I mean to find them.
I'm just beginning customer discovery for my business. I've thought about a few pain points for customers, but most likely I'm wrong. We'll see where the journey leads.