I was an ardent reader of the blog Coding Horror by Jeff Atwood (StackOverflow fame). It’s too bad he doesn’t blog much anymore. But Jeff has left me with a colossal mountain of information on software development.
One of my favorite posts is on Curly’s Law. Curly Washburn was a cowboy in the movie City Slickers. Jeff quoted some dialog from the movie:
Curly: Do you know what the secret of life is?\ Curly: This. [holds up one finger]\ Mitch: Your finger?\ Curly: One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and the rest don’t mean shit.\ Mitch: But what is the “one thing?”\ Curly: [smiles] That’s what you have to find out.
Jeff relates this to software. But I think the concept equally applies to a startup. Lack of focus can kill your startup. That’s why it’s so important to not overload your plate with a number of projects.
Reflect7 has done this. We loaded up consulting projects and tried to simultaneously build multiple products - all with three guys working part time. Big mistake. It’s nearly killed us.
I think that’s what Curly is really talking about. Do one thing, and do it well - and your customers will love you for it. You just have to discover what that one thing is.
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