Fail with an idea
And learn valuable lessons

This website was a break point in my professional career. I had just moved to the US, and my Argentine startup had ended. With one of my colleagues, a developer, we had been ideating this project for years. And when we finally executed it I discovered it wasn’t viable for multiple reasons.

That made me learn a lot of lessons, but also to put my focus in the business model first. And to always test no matter how much it affects the team’s egos.

On being your client

My colleague and I used to have a lot of conversations about astrology. So we thought that learning about personality patterns and archetypes could help us figure out their personality traits. IN this case, we were our stakeholders.

We did a lot of research reading books, and we came up with the ultimate idea of pulling not only one, but five different zodiacs and merge them to see what were the aspects they had in common. A vast utopia.

But when we finally started interviewing people we realized something wasn’t working that well.

The good part

The architecture and interface were both very demanding. We were trying to make a very complicated idea something easy to use.

Using the Facebook API allowed us to get the birth dates from your contacts, for us to populate our database and get the different personality profiles. In case a contact didn’t have the date specified, or if you wanted to create one from scratch that was also a built in feature.

There were several hours spent on typography research and icon development. We also used Twitter Bootstrap for the first time at its full capacity: we customized each one of its elements.

The bad

A soft launch was necessary for us to be able to have the prototype working with the minimum features. We tested with people on site and discovered both our flaws and wins. But there was a recurrent question: how do you know these results are correct? Who’s the authority behind these statements you’re making about people’s personalities?

We simply didn’t have the right answer. And not only that. We started thinking about the idea of affecting people’s lives for the worst. Copyright issues, legal disclaimers.

Things you don’t bring into consideration when the excitement of building something that no other competitors are doing take over yourself.

Learning from failure

Fortunately, we could catch these issues early enough to realize we didn’t want to keep pushing forward an idea that was very resisted.

Minimum Viable Products do work. It’s always a bummer to see an idea fail, but it’s better to do it when you can still be unharmed from it.

Ever since this product, now I always bring it to the table as an example when I’m talking with stakeholders. Fail fast. Learn and keep going.