Burnt child dreads the fire

Riffing off of my last post about Morten Lund, just today, my coach Anders sent me a link to this video featuring self-made billionaire Art Williams saying “Just do it” about 15 times in a short speech.



One of my hotdog-stand-and-facebook friends found it nauseating, but I actually found it fun and rythmic and almost rap-like. It reminded me of Obama’s pastor showing how white guys danced. Remember that one?

But I found it inspiring, too. Specifically, it made me realize something. For many years, I’v been wanting to have a money-making web-app of my own. But I don’t. And a big part of it is, I got burned. I built one a few years ago, and did put it on the market, but so many things went wrong - team chemistry and geolocation, lack of market, and a ton more - and it ended up being a bad experience. I got burned. It wasn’t even all that painful, but it was still a failure. So - I just realized - I’ve been scared to get back into that game again ever since.

Meanwhile, many other folks, have built theirs. Including my old mentor from uni, who for eight years have been crushing it with his time logging app, which - according to all my rules about what cool web apps should look like - is below standard. But it still solves his clients’ problems, and makes him laugh all the way to the bank. Just do it!

I saw an interview a few months back with Jason Calacanis, where he was asked about his biggest mistakes. He said that he held out too long with Silicon Alley Reporter. He got several ridiculously high offers, but turned them down, because he believed he could get even more. Then the bubble popped. So with Weblogs Inc., he sold out too soon.

It’s really basic, I know. Burnt child dreads the fire. But it’s also really all around us, and much more than we’d think. We try something once, and it didn’t work out, and we think that we know why, we’ve thought about it, reflected on it, learnt from it. We’ve consciously moved on.

But unconsciously, we haven’t, and that’s shaping our behavior.

That’s really worth looking into.

2 comments

Although I'm not the one you're referring to above, I will say that we will improve the overall usability of our time tracking app. Our customers deserve it. For now, we have released a lightweight desktop app and are soon to release an iPhone app to make life easier for the majority of users, who only need to track their time and don't use the vast array of features that create the real value for our customers. Finally, I believe that "Burnt child dreads the fire" is a Danish idiom. The corresponding English idiom would be "Once bitten, twice shy". I have that from George Michæl's "Last Christmas".
By Brandstrup on Wed, Apr 07, 10 at 05:55 · Reply
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Hi Anders Thanks for the comment. I hope you got the fact that it was meant as a big and unmitigated compliment to your company's and your boss' ability to make shit happen. We can all learn from that. As for the idiom, I did look it up. It does seem to be okay in English. But yours is cooler ;) Thanks! //Lars
By Lars Pind on Wed, Apr 07, 10 at 08:20 · Reply
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