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When pandemic hit in 2020 I found myself out of work. Until then I used to have a java based pirate gameserver of a MMORPG as a hobby.
When pandemic hit I noticed that online players count increased from like 70 to 200 without much advertising because purely of people being stuck in home. So i decided to scale and spent 2 years with that. What a wild ride it was.
So i invested a bit in ads, managed to reach around 500 online players, opened my own company and launched a couple other successful spinoffs of that gameserver.
First year it was a goldmine but I was doing 10-14 hour days because I had to take care of everything (web, advertising, payment integrations, player support and also developing the server itself, ddos protections and etc.). I made quite a bit of money, saved for a downpayment for mortgage and got an apartment.
Second year I noticed that there was a lot of competition and online players count dropped, but I double downed on this and invested a lot into the product itself and spent most of the time developing a perfect gameserver that would be the big bang while also maintaining existing ones. Clasic overengineering mistake. As you can guess, I crashed and burned on all levels, never even managed to launch my final project because simply the scope was too big and I had trouble finding decent devs to outsource it to, since it was a very niche gameserver.
In the end I learned a lot especially about my own limits and ownership, now Im back to being a dev but working as a contractor.
I believe having actual business owner experience allows me to have different perspective and I can bring more to the table rather than focusing on crunching tasks.6
Nope, I haven't built a startup. I lack:
Basically all of what's required.8
In the mid-2010s, we barely had any apps in our native language and popular coupon and review sites were lackluster in our neck of the woods.
So me and some old uni colleagues got together to make a WhatsApp based "wtf is going on right now and right around here"
think Groupon meets yelp meets Google maps meet trending topics. The idea was that local business would post deals and events and people would comment on it giving stars on real time, with geolocation. So you could see what was going on right next to you, and business owners only needed WhatsApp installed to post new topics.
We... failed to go viral. That simple. Things get frustrating when infinite no-questions-asked venture capital is not available.
Then me and the other founders got very lucrative jobs in former British colonies and that was it.
This idea might still work nowadays, but it would be reeeealy hard to navigate around Whatsapp's terms of service.
Good luck to anyone who might want to try.4
Ran a DecSecOps consultant business for many years. Used it as supplemental income because it never made enough to be a main gig. It was a great tax write off2
It was early 2000s and I put together a personalized shopping concierge site. My wife was amazing at finding deals, coupons, obscure products, etc. And in those days you had to work hard to find them. So we set up a site with a simple “tell me what you want and what you’re willing to pay” form. We got a few requests but it never really took off. And it wasn’t scalable.3