After two years of being absent on this blog I’m back to show my work. Like many others I’ve decided to start a side project. It’s called Finlo. The idea is that Finlo will be a better way to stumble upon local places that care deeply about their craft. As of July 2, 2017 it hasn’t launched. This post is about why and how it’s frustrating.
I bought the domain for Finlo on April 13, 2017. I thought my first iteration of Finlo would be out by the end of the weekend (a landing page). I’ve worked with Pivotal Labs in my day job, read Lean Startup (among many other books and articles about lean product development), and have been a vocal proponent of agile product development with everyone I’ve worked with. I also have practiced user experience design and development for 8 years and recently got my MBA. I thought I had all the tools to get something up quickly that I could use to determine whether there is a market for my product and begin discovery exercises to better understand my potential customers. However, I quickly became overwhelmed.
A quick Google search for “idea overload” showed me that I am not the first one to think of the term. The term came to mind when I started thinking about what was different about this side project versus my day job. In my day job, one of the primary components of my work is to help my teams have a specific focus on problems. We work to understand the problem from the user/customer perspective, understand how the problem fits into the larger experience, and frame solutions that can solve the problem. The whole process is really about pulling great ideas out from the clutter. It’s a challenge to successfully accomplish this task with multiple people but I am finding that it is even harder when I am only working with myself.
As I reflect on why I am struggling with it I realize that it is because I have no constraints. Right now there are no expectations from anyone else and I’m already making a living. What that leaves me with is too much time to think when what I should be doing is learning. I’ve been so worried about what my first release will look like since Finlo is founded on the principle that people want to seek out well-done and handmade experiences. I want people’s first impression of Finlo (and my first entrepreneurial endeavor) to be incredible. I want people to know that I don’t just care about making money, but am going to work tirelessly to connect people with other people who are making something great. So even though I know I’m just going to be making an informational landing page, I’ve been delaying a release because I don’t think that some descriptive copy is good enough or I learn about a new way that some other company launched and I consider scrapping my approach.
I need to be listening to everything I’ve learned in my professional career and focus on learning. So, how am I going to battle idea overload. First, I’m going to stick to the version of “Welcome to Finlo” that I have today, June 18th. It might not be perfect but I will be able to learn from it. Next, I’m going to set a deadline for myself. A tweet from @Lin_Manuel inspired me to do so.
Deadlines.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) February 16, 2017
You know how if you set an alarm for a certain time your brain will wake up just before?
Deadlines teach your brain the same way. https://t.co/IRImJTmEQ5
I have a family vacation coming up and my family will always take priority, so I’m going to set myself a doable deadline of July 10th, 2017 to get the landing page up. Be sure to visit Finlo then to see the first preview of Finlo up and running.
It’s gotten pretty late and I’m writing a bit more than I expected, but I think it’s important for me to get it out. So in the spirit of release and learn, I’m going to publish this post as a part one. Part two will feature: Websites Seem Harder Now and Get Out of Here, Imposter.