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10 reasons why your bootstrapped startup is doomed to failure

updated over 4 years ago; latest suggestion over 4 years ago

This proposal has been withdrawn...

AKA 10 reasons why my bootstrapped startup was doomed to failure

Most developers will be brimming with ideas, some of which end up as side-projects. But what happens when you decide to turn one of these side-projects into an actual business? A product that you charge people money to use and that you hope will one day bring in enough money to become your full-time gig?

What follows is a recounting of my journey as I tried to do just that; the things I learnt, the mistakes I made and the things I'd do differently were I starting again today.

Bootstrapping a startup in your spare time is anything but easy. By the end of this talk, any developer thinking about venturing into the world of entrepreneurship should have a clearer idea of what's involved, what's important and the common pitfalls to avoid.


  • The proposal author responds over 4 years ago

    I've withdrawn this proposal, partly because there didn't seem to be much interest here, but mainly because I've had a similar talk accepted at another conference.

  • The proposal author responds over 4 years ago

    Right now, my notes contain around 15 "reasons", with a bit of overlap across some of them. As you say, the insights and stories are more important than the quantity, and I'm definitely not planning on forcing 10 out just for the sake of it. It may be that I settle on five rather than ten.

    The one thing I want to avoid is this becoming a generic startups 101 talk, as there are plenty of people eminently more qualified and able to give that talk. My aim is to frame things from a lone-developers perspective, using my personal experience to illustrate what such a journey like, as well as how to avoid making the same mistakes I made.

  • Acd62030df551952268e84c8fff26a5b James Adam suggests over 4 years ago

    Do you actually have 10 reasons in mind? I think it would be useful to give them, if only in bullet-point form, as part of the proposal?

    There's no shame in not having a nice round number like 10, too; I'm sure we'd rather hear about 3 really interesting and useful insights, than 10 superficial and less interesting ones, if you realised that those three were the most relevant. My point is - you don't need to be a slave to a catchy number in your title :)

  • The proposal author responds over 4 years ago

    So, yeah, this talk has absolutely nothing to do with Ruby. But I'd like to hope it's a subject that will interest the audience.