Enjoying the journey

I’m back from my holiday! We went on a simple road trip from Eindhoven to Marseille, at the Mediterranean sea, with plenty of stops along the way. We enjoyed some good food, hiked in nature, did some sightseeing, read some books. Now I’m well rested and excited to get back to work.

Whenever I sit down at my desk after being away for a while I get the opportunity to look at my work with fresh eyes. We tend to work on our projects for a long time. Years on end, usually. It’s easy to lose focus of the big picture when you’re always heads-down working. Stepping back for a while can give you valuable new perspectives.

Sometimes, when I return from a break I feel energized and ready to continue working right where I left off. This is the best case scenario. Other times, I ask myself why I’m working on this specific thing, when I could be working on any number of other things instead. In a conventional job it’s the responsibility of other people to figure out what what’s important and what you should be working on. When you make your own products you have to figure it all out yourself. Breaks are a great time to think about these big picture questions.

Taking a break costs time. There is no denying that. If you don’t plan ahead for breaks your schedule will slip. That’s a little bad, but not a disaster by itself. What really matters is choosing the right things to work on and actually launching. Launching a week or a month or a quarter late doesn’t matter in the big picture. It’s still better to move fast, of course. But direction matters most. We’ve picked a direction with Thymer and we’ll launch with only essential features. This reduces the risk of we waste a lot of time time building the wrong thing and it’s easier to make big changes to small products.

Although our goal with 80daystartup is to get a product from 0 to market in a short time, we’re still in it for the long haul. Making a simple product that is good enough to charge money for is really just the first step in a much longer journey. Ultimately, we need to make a pretty great product to get the kind of traction necessary to make Thymer work as a business. That’s going to require rewriting big pieces of our app and ripping out those parts that don’t work. Ideally, we get everything right in the first beta version. But if the future turns out anything like the past then we’ll make some big product mistakes. It will take some iterations to fix those and to get to really great product market fit.

And even then, that’s still only the beginning. Turning a good concept into a rock-solid commercial product is a ton of work. If Thymer really takes off we’re likely to work on it for years before it’s really “done”. And that’s fine! We enjoy writing software, and we enjoy seeing people use the software we’ve written. We don’t know if Thymer will work out. We’ll discover in due time, but no matter what we’ll enjoy the journey.

You can follow us on Twitter @jdvhouten and @wcools and look for #80daystartup

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