Reluctant Shiny Object Syndrome

December 10, 2021

I’ve been working on EdScreening for over a year now. Every night and weekend. I’m overworked, exhausted, and close to burnout.

And now I’m looking to start a new side project.

My problem is that I like to have full control over my side projects, and I’ve kicked this one off with a small team of co-founders. To be clear, I never would have got this started by myself, there’s far too much domain expertise involved well outside of my domain.

My domain is the web. I’m comfortable with making and marketing things on the web. EdScreening rests on ongoing academic research which the domain expert is extremely good at. It will have a lot of B2G aspects which I’m happy for other people to be in control of. There will also be a lot of biz dev things that I’m excited to have off my plate. But I understand making things for the web.

The problem here is the Venn diagrams of people’s domain expertise. I can’t do the web stuff in isolation. The product exists only on the web. By necessity, everyone has an interest in how the site looks, the site copy, how it’s marketed, the site voice, and so on. I’m currently struggling with people wanting extra screeners (products) being built, and my own desire to kick into marketing mode the second the first product is launched.

This stems from a number of my previous failures, most of which can be locked down to a failure to market before, and after, launch. It’s very tempting, as a developer, to think “this is great, people will find it and love it”, and then wait… And no one comes. I’ve had happen more than a few times. I’ve learned my lesson, but the other team members haven’t. So we want to move this in different directions once it’s launched.

One side effect of this is that I am now looking at getting started on a tertiary project, one I have full control over. Just a toe in the water at the moment, and a few emails, preparing if the main project goes south.

I think I can talk people around to focus on marketing for a couple of months. If I can’t, I will have to go with consensus for a while but will have to slow down on new products on EdScreening, as I will be launching a new project pretty quickly if I can’t see any traction happening.

Step one here is to see if we can come to an agreement on a roadmap for the next few months. Let’s see how that goes.

Reluctant shiny object syndrome.

30 by 30 #4


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Written by Adrian Gray who's bootstrapping an EdTech startup in Sydney, and loves to chat with like minded people. Find him on Twitter