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jkanstyle » Actual lessons from Kiko

This is a direct quote from the kiko blog of Justin Kan

Actual lessons from Kiko
August 17th, 2006 | Category: Uncategorized

Today I listed the main asset of our startup, our web calendar Kiko, on eBay (see the auction). Since we put the eBay post up, there has been much buzz on techcrunch, reddit, etc about Kiko going under. Many people have speculated heavily on why we failed, and, to my amusement, some have even blogged about lessons we can learn from Kiko.

I think there are a lot of lessons other people can take away from Kiko. Most of these are things that someone looking in from the outside wouldn’t know. They don’t have a lot to do with our business model. They don’t have a lot to do with getting stepped on by a giant. Here are the important things that I actually learned from my first startup:

1. Stay Focused. Most entrepreneurs have lots of ideas. Often times, many of them may be really good. I don’t know about you, but my favorite part about startups is talking about new products and new business ideas. If you’re a creative person, it’s very easy to get side-tracked on side ideas when you really should be working on your main one. This is bad. Bad, bad, bad. We did this a lot with Kiko, and it caused many delays in getting the product out the door.
2. Hire Slow, Fire Fast. Picking the right people is life and death for your company. We hired two people for Kiko. One of them (Rich White, our interface designer) was awesome; everything I could have asked for and more: self motivated, entrepreneurial, competant, hard working, and very smart. However, one of our hires turned out to be a huge mistake: he basically spun his wheels, didn’t complete anything, and left for months at a time without word. Working with someone like this can easily make working on your company not very fun at all. If you have any reservations about someone at the outset, you should probably not hire them.
3. Cute hacks can cost you time. Take the time to do things right from the beginning. Seriously.
4. Make an environment where you will be productive. Working from home can be convenient, but often times will be much less productive than a separate space. Also its a good idea to have separate spaces so you’ll have some work/life balance.
5. Get your investors involved. Your investors are there to help you. Get them involved from the start, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. I think we made the mistake early on of trying to do (and know) everything ourselves, perhaps out of insecurity over being so new to the business world. This is a mistake.
6. Build incrementally. We tried to build the ultimate AJAX calendar all at once. It took a long time. We could have done it piece by piece. Nuff said.

An AJAX calendar is not fundamentally a bad idea (I think we, google calendar, 30boxes, calendar hub, and many others prove that). I don’t think we were doomed from the beginning; I just think we were too slow at times, and focused on the wrong thing at times. I think Kiko is still a good idea that can yield a lot of value to its users, but I won’t be the one to take it there.

I’ve had a good time working on Kiko this past year. It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve gotten a lot of experience I wouldn’t trade for anything. Y Combinator has also been a great funding experience, and helped us out tremendously; I am thankful to be part of that community. Thanks to everyone who has reached out to wish Emmett, Rich and I luck.

P.S. We’re looking for good hackers. Email me at justin.kan at gmail.

jkanstyle » Actual lessons from Kiko.

Austin Bootstrapper Blogs

Bootstrap Austin Bloggers
These are next on the list to be added to the http://blogslides.com/austin slide show of Austin Blogs

seeking developer for slides web 2.0 project

We think we may have one of the more interesting and exciting web development projects on the net right now. It’s tag based searching with the display output being a slide show.

About 3–4 weeks ago we launched a site call http://web2.0slides.com and it got a surprising instant response. It’s a slide show of 1,400 of the top new web 2.0 web sites. Within two days of in house launch, we started getting blogged, listed, rated, linked to and buzzed about and we couldn’t figure out why. Then we realized it was because we were getting noticed in referral logs by the web masters whose sites we were showcasing in our slideshow.

We’re planning several major releases of http://web2.0slides.com , http://tagslides.com and http://sportslides.com which will expand the idea of web2.0slides into all other major topics and categories that we can develop.

If you’re skilled in php, mysql, javascript, iframes, flash and have an understanding of new web 2.0 technologies, social networking, social bookmarking (a la http://stumbleupon.com , http://del.icio.us http://technorati.com and are knowledgeable about the blogosphere contact us!

Take a look at who is linking to us!

http://www.stumbleupon.com/refer.html 6871 6881
http://www.listible.com/list/complete-list-of-web-2-0-products-and-servi… 697 697
http://del.icio.us/popular/ 444 444
http://0slides.com/todd/ 403 403
http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/list_of_web_20.php 381 381
http://www.listible.com/list/web-2-0-sites 338 338
http://0slides.com 303 313
http://del.icio.us/popular/web2.0 294 294
http://popurls.com 250 250
http://blogs.itmedia.co.jp/speedfeed/2006/05/web20slides.html 218 218
http://www.netwizz.net/blog/2006/05/12/273-web20slides 212 212
http://www.bloglines.com/myblogs_display 209 210
http://www.micropersuasion.com 152 152
http://www.netvibes.com 134 134
http://www.web2list.com/forum.php 132 132
http://diggdot.us 130 130
http://web2slides.com 116 116
http://www.blinklist.com/tag/slideshow/ 114 114
http://wwwhatsnew.blogspot.com 113 113
http://www.anecdotot.net 111 111
http://wwwhatsnew.blogspot.com/2006/05/web20slides-navega-por-la-web-20-… 110 110
http://www.hamvideos.com 91 91
http://akihitok.typepad.jp/blog/2006/05/web_20_web20sli_5368.html 86 86
http://plog.longwin.com.tw/post/1/386 82 82
http://www.netwizz.net/blog/ 77 77