Come in Wingman?

April 27, 2009

We pulled the plug on Wingman yesterday.

It was an itch. We scratched it.

We never really got it working to our satisfaction, and as a result we never really got to the point where we were comfortable pushing it harder.

We launched with an incomplete product. Possibly too incomplete?

I still believe that if you launch and you’re not a little embarrassed you launched too late, but I’m coming around to the school of thought that says you shouldn’t launch at all.

We put a throttle in place to ensure that we were not slammed by too many users before we were ready (a simple “enter your email address and we’ll send you an invite link when we’re ready”). We got slammed anyway.

I’d probably try and do that differently, given the opportunity.

Lots of people signed-up and used the service, kicked the tyres briefly, but moved on too quickly.

We never really had a product that was compelling or a business model that was obvious.

So, given the futility of flogging dead horses, this was an easy decision.

But, as always seems to be the case when things don’t work out as you hoped they might, there are some positives too:

I enjoyed working with Koz. I’m fortunate to be involved in other ventures that he is also working on and look forward to working with him again soon.

I got my hands dirty with some code again for the first time in ages.

I feel like I could hold my own now in a discussion about Rails and Git (two tools I hadn’t previously used). And I know a little about some of the challenges of creating an add-on for Firefox.

I found a great font!

We came up with a great structure for the venture, which is well suited to this sort of prospective product build I think. I will definitely use this sort of arrangement again in the future. When I get some more time I’ll write more about this.

We formed a company that will live on in a new guise to fight some future battles (some of which are already brewing!)

And, we spent so little that the venture was almost profitable even without any revenue! 🙂

So, we move on :