A year of preparation
It's been over a year since I first shared my vision for Mindfolder (something that had been percolating for years before that). And so, with the end of this year - a part of me inside is saddened that the product is not yet a reality. But it's no matter, because I'm actually quite proud of what has been accomplished in other areas. Areas that will be important to master if I am one day going to be apart of building a successful product like Mindfolder; or whatever product may come about.
The most important area to master, I believe, if you are going to create a successful product - is not the product itself. Not the idea, nor the technology. It's not advisors or investors. Not even 'the market'. It's the strength of your team. The people who will build the thing and whom will launch it to the world (and support it thereafter).
So it is on this front that I (we) have made the biggest strides.
The year started off with a move to the 'big city'. Relocating my homebase from a small town to the heart of a metro was an obvious step. Not only because of the opportunities to network with new people - but because some of my best, most talented friends were already there.
And now more than ever, that is my primary driving factor. It's friendship & collaboration. Not product or ideas. It's the potential to create something cool - not in the confines of my dimly lit home office - but in cafes, kitchen tables, and other makeshift offices - alongside close friends. To embrace the ups & downs - together.
Like a boss
At some point, in the pursuit of creating Mindfolder, I made a realization. That I was going at this alone…
No friends by my side on the frontline of the battlefield. No buddy to rest a shoulder on when things get tough. No one to call at 3:00 AM when the servers crash. And most importantly, no one to high-five when there is a victory.
So, even after the overwhelming reception of Mindfolder - I reached a fork in the road. Clearly it would be possible to make a profitable business with this idea. But did I really want to be a sole-founder? To carry the weight of such a business all by myself?
I don't care how many employees or contractors you have committed to working for you. If you don't have their emotional investment; if you aren't building something they truly love & care about; if you aren't sharing an equal piece of the pie - you are just a 'boss' and will always be.
The fork in the road was obvious. Be a boss or be a teammate.
A common goal
The next challenge of course, is finding common ground.
If you have an 'idea' for an exciting new startup, it really doesn't matter. It doesn't matter what idea you have, or how awesome you think it would be to have product x. If it doesn't align with the personalities of your team - you won't have their participation. Truly amazing products contain the heart & soul of the team members who built it.
Turns out, my closest friends aren't necessarily interested in building a note taking software product. They have other ideas and aspirations different than that of my own.
To really get behind an idea, one that is to be shared equally among a group - I think it has to come about from within; organically & collectively. There has to be synergy & harmony of skills, interests, and the will to create. That can be your momentum, to inevitably result in the idea's manifestation.
So I've spent the past year planting the seeds of collaboration. Attempting to spark ideas with friends, collectively. Pushing forward a few of our pet projects here and there. In hopes of achieving some truly organic, common vision. Something that, when it begins to percolate - is clearly something we all want to work on. To bring to life. In a big way.
That is not to say, there won't be a series of failures and discomforts along the way. It's all part of the process I suppose. And it's a bit like 'doing it all over again' since, well - I've already been in business (freelancing) going on 6 years now. But I've never been apart of a startup team. Never launched a business with friends. So let the new journey begin.
Mindfolder v1: postponed indefinitely
Your guess is as good as mine, but I suspect going this route will not necessarily ensure Mindfolder sees the light of day sooner than later. It might be a really LONG way to go about it. But it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.
I have shifted course. And with any luck, I can still be apart of building something cool - perhaps someday returning to this Mindfolder dream... with a team at my side.
Either way, the future is exciting. 2014 will be the best year yet.
I hope everything in your life has been coming together; and that you too are in constant pursuit of your dreams. Just remember that the dream is not as important as the journey. Have fun.
p.s. - thanks again to everyone who has shared their unique ideas for 'the ultimate note taking software'. I am still taken back at how much amazing input was received on this product when things were revving up last year. Rest assured, your notes are saved forever - tightly sealed, for another day ;)