LearnTime vs Ideas

Ryan
writes on October 16, 2007

One of the things we constantly battle at Carsonified is how to balance our insane amount of ideas with the ability to actually do them.

We’re a small company (soon to be around 10 full time folks) and there just isn’t enough time to do everything we dream up. Right now we’ve got an amazing idea for a new web app, but we just don’t have enough people to do it. In order to do it properly we’d need to hire another developer and a product champion to look after it. With DropSend, Amigo, FOWA, Vitamin, FOWD and FOM, there’s plenty to do 🙂

That’s one thing we’ve learned with Amigo and DropSend – they need constant attention. You can’t just build it and move on to the next app and expect it to become a smash success.

Slowing down

So in 2008, I’ve actually decided to slow things down. We’re going to hold off on launching any new sites, apps or events. We’re going to hunker down and get to be damn good at what we’ve already created.

It’s weird but I’m actually really looking forward to it. Ahhh, the joy of focusing on one thing at a time 🙂 I think we’ve always been slightly under-staffed for the amount of products we have, so we’re adding three new people and then we’re going to focus on growing what we’ve already got.

I guess the temptation is to be lured away from your current projects by something shiny and new. It’s a false trap though, as that shiny new thing will soon become a drain on your energy and resources.

A quick fix

One way to battle this constant frustration, is to do short and quick projects.

The FOWA Road Trip was a great example of this. We hatched the idea, Elliot designed it (beautifully!), and I hopped on a plane. Then it was over. All in the matter of about four weeks. It was a great way to do something creative and fun, without creating long term comittments on our time.

What do you do?

I’d love to hear how you battle with this. How do you balance launching new ideas versus digging in and getting good at what you’re already doing?

0 Responses to “Time vs Ideas”

  1. Hey, your site keeps asking me to login to twitter.com:80… fix that please.

  2. One trick for handling too many ideas is to write them down in as much detail as you like. That way you can safely set them aside without worrying that something will be forgotten/missed.

    You end up with a book full of ideas you’ll probably never tackle, but that’s good. It’s what you want. What you *don’t* want is to go from one to the next, abandoning projects along the way.

    Focus is hugely important. Often when you read over your previous ideas they’re less exciting than when you were scribbling like mad, and that’s a good thing too. 😉

  3. I have this problem and it is a huge problem for me. I have massive lists of apps to build and a big list of tech demos too. My problem is like the one above, picking which one is going to be a winner. In this day and age when there are so many people with so many ideas and execution being cheap you always have a feeling that someone else is going to do the one you decided against. I have lost count how many apps launched that I have had to cross of my list.

  4. I have a couple of ideas – but no time because I am still working on ideas that I launched a few years back. This makes them old ideas… which isn’t very sexy. Such is life.

    I would like to see an article on Vitamin where someone (probably a VC) goes through how to evaluate which ideas are runners, which are not. (this is down to how long to develop, potential monetisation, whether you could bootstrap it or not) – that kind of thing.

    I also get paid for good ideas when working as an ecommerce consultant…. which is a bit weird…. I have also found that one of the problems of going to your conferences is too many ideas are created….. if you go to as many conferences as you run (which is an assumption!) then no wonder you have too many ideas!

  5. I’m the other way around, too much time and not enough good ideas! Sure, I have ideas but someone has already got there before me.

  6. It would be great if you could blog really openly about this process.

    When you were in the process of selling Dropsend you gave true stats and revenue figures. It would be helpful if you gave updates on any major feature changes, marketing campaigns, etc and how these affect your stats/revenue.

    Are you keeping your outsourced staff or bringing it all back in house?

    How successful has Amigo been? We’ve seen figures for Dropsend but not Amigo.

    Good luck with everything!!

  7. I think too many ideas and not enough time is a common problem. You just have to make sure that you can spend enough time on each project, and not let some older sites go on the back-burner while a new idea is in development.

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