I’ve tried to start a ton of businesses over the years. I’ve never had much success, but I’ve been really really close to succeeding a couple of times. Each time I fail, I learn something new, but it doesn’t always remove the sting.
Back in 1997, I was working at a small company in Palm Desert (near Palm Springs and my home town of 29 Palms). I worked for Aver Computer, after having worked for Dale was given the leeway to do whatever I wanted as part of that company, and my boss let me develop websites. Some of the ideas:
- A website that allowed independent musicians to upload their work for people to download. I can’t even remember the name of the website.
- A website that was like Hotmail, but you brought your own domain. I called it MugMail.
- We also started and ISP, a Web Hosting business, and a Web Design business. eCove.com – A Safe Place to do Business.
The ISP made a modest income, but I really missed my chance with MugMail. I noticed somebody registering a domain in a coffee shop in Joshua Tree, CA, and I told him about my Email Hosting service. It turned out that he was a Freelance writer who wrote for Wired magazine, and a number of other technical sites. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear from him for months, and my circumstances changes so I could no longer afford to live on the $10/hr salary the small internet company was paying me, so I took a job in San Francisco.
I told Dale (the owner of Aver computer) that I would still manage the site if he would let me, but I had to move North for the new job. About a week later, I received the email:
Hey! What happened to MugMail? I was going to write an article about it.
I called Dale, and he told me that he had to dismantle the computers so he could use the parts. I hadn’t been paying attention, so I didn’t even notice.
That one still stings.
The lesson: Don’t let your guard down. Had I been paying closer attention, I would have been in closer contact with Dale, and we would both be better off.