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August, 2006:

Web2.0Slides | Web2.0 Slideshow

What is it? It’s the second generation of our slides project.

Web2.0Slides is a self-running slide show of over 1,400 of the best Web2.0 sites. It’s categorized by tags and sorted alphabetically.

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Web2.0Slides | Web2.0 Slideshow.

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.