Reflections on startup life: Week 69

As I started drafting this post, it occurs to me that frustration is largely a matter of perspective. Am I a glass half empty or a glass half full type of person? Last week was full of frustration; my immediate thought was to document all the “bad” things here (self inflicted server failure, logo frustration, wasted money and so forth), and yet actually there were lots of positive things too.

One of the benefits of this weekly exercise is that it gives me time to reflect and put that into perspective. The other is it lets me remind myself of some of the longer term goals. I said back here that we decided to spend February focussed on driving “word of mouth” acquisitions — or getting people to sign up WITHOUT the big PR hits we were getting in January. So how did that go?

Here’s our growth figures on weekly signups for the last 4 weeks (growth compared to previous weeks sign ups).

Week 7/2 : -20%

Week 14/2: +6%

Week 21/2: +24%

Week 28/2: +35%

The first week was down 20%, this is explained by the fact that there was still a tail effect from the January PR — so we were still getting inflated signup figures — so the Week 7/2 represents that settling down to the “base rate”.

From then, we’ve grown each week — we’ve worked hard on both improving the feature set, but also allowing people to share with their friends more easily and it seems to be working! Bringing this back to the top of the post — DESPITE the server issues and frustration and the fact that it was a “bad” week, it was still the best week we’ve had for user signups, in fact the “organic” sign up rate is now close to what we were getting during the PR weeks (another week of 25% growth will see us getting sign ups at the rate we were experiencing when we were getting all the PR).

Other highlights include the launch of — the iPhone client for Some contract work that “fell in my lap” and gives me 6.5 days of work — a distraction BUT it will pay for our upcoming trip in April to San Francisco.

Alex also produced the first version of the new search engine, another major milestone down.

So while there were setbacks last week, we still move forwards. I think the hardest thing in this whole startup journey is fighting the desire for everything to happen at once.


  • New components being developed and released using the API.
  • Continuing growth
  • Some contract work
  • Progress on the search engine

Lessons Learnt

  • Haste makes waste — the root cause of the two most frustrating things last week (logo design and the server issues) is as simple as rushing to get the job done and not taking the time we should.

Goals this week

  • For me — contracting.
  • For — move the new search engine to wider testing.