Product is fun; service is headache- What I’ve learnt from 2011

“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times”
Charles Dickens

So summarizing 2011 is a daunting challenge,There were many uplifts and many
downsides. 2011 was the year where I learnt lot of lessons. Some lesson are very
costly but accompanies with wisdom and pracitical takeouts.

Define yourself

If you don’t want to end up like spoon-fed by the pencil factory anymore and belong to the “eat what you kill” world, Then you should define yourself  from day one.

Getting self definition whether you’re working on product A or working on product B or either proving service C, is something which is inherently vital.

Focusing” as the late Steve jobs says, is about saying no.

Build a product out of a service company- don’t stay service

Service is money (sometimes) and mainly headache, On the other hand: Product is Fun (and rarely money). So once you understand the uplift and downside of each- you should approach it and decide where you want to be.

So why building a product?
Well building a product- it’s much harder, but for sure rewarding in the long term better. The journey is longer and demanding, but it’s much more rewarding at the end of it.
 As a metaphor, the view from top of the mountain is much more breath taking,  if the climbing was long and hard.

It took me 2 years to understand how service is a headache, and then I realized I should hear to Tim Ferris advice and work by PARETO law (80/20 rule), and I’ve fired 80% of clients that were making 20% of revenue (and 80% of the headache)
Then I moved to focus on the product (fun but no money, at least at the beginning)
So building a product while relaying a service wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Why?: A) you can use the current clients you have to test the product B) you use the cash flow generated from clients to fuel the product C) you reduce overall cost of the product when you allocate resources for the product development from your service team.

There are couple of excellent companies that were build to last in this method (Magento i.e, that was acquired by eBay in last june 2011).

The journey is the trophy, even if it’s doesn’t wind up with $1M reward at the end

As I look back to the year have passed, It seems to me like many other might think on themselves, that I’m in ground zero. I did make no progress and 0 results bottom line. So at the end of the day, i didn’t make a single dime, but I made the time of my life.
The experience worth it all, the experience is the real currency and the real payout. In a way, the journey is the exit, and the important thing is to enjoy it after all.

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Arie Shpanya

Arie Shpanya

I'm co-founder & CEO @ Wiser, second time entrepreneur, bootstrapper, learner, and writer. I live in San Francisco. This is where I share my thoughts.

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