Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Whatever happened to that Lachlan guy?

Short answer, I set myself up to fail and used a competitor who beat me to the punch as an excuse to quit.

Yes it was a promising start, I was even surprising myself with my progress. I had an idea who's time I thought had come and I may have even been right about that. I abandoned the Sydney project with probably about 60% of it completed though I doubt I'll ever go back and finish it.

Thanks to everyone who followed my progress here. I'm really sorry to have let you all down with such a poor showing. At least some of you seemed to be quite entertained by my story as it unfolded, it's just a shame I never got around to finding out how it ended.

For those few of you who tracked me down to make sure I was still alive and kicking after my sudden disappearance from the net I am especially grateful. To have had people from the other side of the world that I'd never met before concerned about my welfare was a unique experience that I won't forget.

As for what I have actually been doing I've been continuing with my own business doing consulting work to help small businesses in Sydney with their IT systems. That's Sydney the city, not the code name for some vapourware pipe dream project. On top of that I discovered I'm a pretty good half-marathoner, found and lost a girlfriend or two, moved house again and suffered a major health scare (doing fine now thanks).

So what was the big secret?

At it's heart Sydney was an email archiving add-on for a particular email server. You can see what I hoped it would be become by checking out this real product released early last year.

Their product, while slightly different to what Sydney would have been, is actually very good and received endorsement from the manufacturers of the MDaemon email server I was targeting (previously codenamed Geneva by me).

At the time I decided, probably correctly, that the market share of MDaemon wasn't big enough for a second email archiving add-on and with everything else that was going on, I let work on Sydney fall away completely.

So what now?

I'm continuing with my consulting work doing IT for local small businesses. I'm doing a fair amount of programming as part of that but I'd like to be doing more.

There's potential there for bringing someone onboard to work with me, handling the tech support work while I do more programming, though I'm being extra cautious about finding the right person for the job. The fallout from mistakes I made last time I hired somebody was still haunting me these past few years and holding me back somewhat while I was working on Sydney.

There's also one or two other new business ideas that I'd like to explore further. I'm not sure if they're viable yet but I'll be looking into them more closely over the next few months.

And for this blog?

Well it's pretty obvious I lost interest in continuing this blog as of early last year. To be honest it's now more of an embarrassment to me than anything else. It's obviously the first thing that comes up if anybody Googles me and a few times in the past year I've had new acquaintances asking me if I ever got around to buying myself a new pair of shoes.

I'm not sure that just because it's a little embarrassing means that I should be taking it down though. It documents a fairly significant time in my life, and the fact that it isn't documenting a huge success doesn't seem sufficient enough reason to be removing it. After all the point of the whole blogging exercise was for both myself and others to learn from my mistakes. I can't do that if I hide them away and pretend they never happened.

So I'll keep it here. FeedBurner is currently reporting just over 200 subscribers who have stayed with me since my last post in March 2005. While that's incredibly flattering I'm not under any illusions that you've all been sitting on the edge of your seats the last 18 months waiting for me to post again. Certainly many of you no doubt just never got around to removing me from the list of feeds you have set up to check.

So now's your chance to unsubscribe if you want to.

If you stick around I'll post again before the end of the week. Most likely it will consist of some more in-depth navel gazing, disecting the doomed Sydney project and my failings. After that I'll probably go quiet again for a while. Like I said earlier I do have some other business ideas but I'm not ready to talk about them yet and maybe I won't talk about them here at all. I did have fun writing this blog though so I'll probably start writing again at some point in the next few months.

I won't be blogging again though unless I'm sure I can achieve a different end result the next time around. There was far too much talk and not enough action surrounding Sydney. Whether my next venture succeeds or fails that's one thing that needs to change.

11 Comments:

At 5:37 PM, Anonymous Adrian McEwen said...

Well, you're right - I haven't been sat on the edge of my seat for the past year and a half, but I have from time to time wondered what happened.

Sorry to hear that you didn't get the Sydney project finished, but you'll have learnt lots along the way. And I think the fact that you're planning to try again is almost an as important an aspect of being successful as finishing the product :-)

 
At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting, this is the first time i read your blog. Not sure how I came across it but I'm probably in the same boat. I just started my own startup building software that I'm planning to sell. Don't really have any clients but I do know that there is a market for it. I though didn't quit my job since I needed the funding. I live in Texas and I'm hoping to start publicly approaching customers sometime later this year. I just worry some big shot company will try to beat me to it. I though I'm planning to file a patent so atleast for one aspect of the product that will make it very unique. This has been in my blood for years and now I'm finally giving my startup a shot. I don't really have time to blog about it but maybe i should :).. icehot26@hotmail.com

 
At 7:44 PM, Anonymous Ian said...

I may not have been checking every day - but I have thought of the blog every couple of months and checked back to see if anything has happened.

I'm sorry to hear things didn't work out. It sounds like you were pretty enthused with the original idea. To have an effective competitor jump up like that must have been a big shock.

I'm taking a slightly different approach and trying a bunch of different ideas without being too committed to any of them.

As for half-marathons - City to Surf? I got 76 minutes and was quite pleased.

 
At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Ian M. Jones said...

Welcome back Lachlan!

I was one of those that tracked you down after you'd been missing in action for some time, and am glad to see you've finally let everyone else know you're still alive.

It's a shame you had to quit Sydney before it was finished, but it's also great that you had the courage to cut your losses and concentrate on your other business.

I enjoyed your story, and am very grateful for the encouraging comments you left on my site when I first started blogging about my venture. It was a great thrill to get comments from the other side of the World and spurred me on no end to continue with my endeavours.

I hope you find the time to drop an occasional blog post now and then, it'd be interesting to hear how your current business is going as well as any future directions you might pursue.

Take care,

Ian

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger Lachlan said...

Adrian,

Thanks for the words of encouragement, try and try again has always been part of the plan. I'll get there someday.

 
At 9:14 AM, Blogger Lachlan said...

Icehot,

It's great that you've started chasing your dream. Be prepared to give it your all but also don't let yourself become too blinkered on success that you can't see when it might be better to call it a day.

 
At 9:18 AM, Blogger Lachlan said...

Ian,

Well done with the 76 minutes City 2 Surf. That might just be enough to get you starting with the red group next year if you didn't already.

Good luck with the business ideas. Hardware isn't my strong point but your blog looks interesting.

 
At 9:21 AM, Blogger Lachlan said...

Ian Jones,

Yes I certainly do remember you tracking me down Ian. I'm really pleased to see you're now selling your software. Wish I was in the same position but my time will come.

 
At 12:41 AM, Blogger Max said...

Well, I'm happy to hear you're OK. I had some strange ideas of what could have happened to you, which all started with you returning that money without a car.

I think everybody's got an itch to go out on their own. Which is why so many people (including myself) admire you for doing it.

 
At 11:34 PM, Blogger Nick Pasko said...

It's great to hear from you again!

Coincidentally, I'm into consulting business as well now. However, it's mostly tech support, not programming, and I have a hired guy walking to clients installing things.
Alas, I wish I lived in Sydney, Australia! We could make a nice pair of shoes, heh ;)

Good luck to you, I suppose you'll get rolling again some day, and your next project will be a success! :)

 
At 5:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG...I did the exact same thing. I quit my job to start a company and create products. However, I didnt open myself to too much risk. I went out to generate a cash flow while I created my product. So far its worked out. Nowhere near a google level company...but I did OK. I created enough cash flow to create the product and to pay me more than what I was earning.

Anyway...just wanted to let you know that good things can happen if you hang in there!!! (And I know how frustrating it can get)

AP

 

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