There is a myth that somehow, if you do all the right things, you can have a huge win with an Internet app and make millions overnight. Andrew Chen wrote a sober piece about predicting startup success recently. The simple fact is, if the industry is bad at predicting winners, entrepreneurs themselves are miserable failures at the game.
In reality, that’s not serious problem in the macro sense, it brings a lot of resiliency and innovation to the marketplace. But for individual entrepreneurs, it can be catastrophic. The Lean Startup movement provides a great deal of distilled wisdom to offset the hedgehog complex that can plague anyone with a concept they strongly believe in. But still, little is said about how long it can take to bring a concept to a sustainable level, even in the best of cases. Kevin Dewalt recently gave a good rule of thumb – 5-10 years. As he points out, that is a good chunk of a person’s career.
That’s why I was glad to read the insight from an entrepreneur in the trenches – Michael Adam’s piece, “Why No One is Paying for Your Web Application.” He’s on the right track and there are some good links in his piece. And his assessment of his future? Five to seven years to control enough of his market niche to be comfortable.
Reality – not an easy master – but still important to acknowledge.