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Last night at a nextNY event, Nouncer founder Eran Hammer-Lahav spoke about defeat and the reasons behind why he decided to shut down Nouncer. Eran has also authored a very lengthy post that describes the reasoning in detail. The story has a positive ending as Eran is moving to San Francisco to work for Yahoo on their open standards team.
Nouncer was a microblogging product that began before the current microblogging market begas. Eran began work on in 2006 and left his high-paying safe job at Citi to focus on full-time in mid-2007. Eran spoke at length about the nervousness in leaving a guaranteed paycheck for the startup life.
Eran spoke about the difficulties of finding a partner and noted that it’s ok to find a partner who has the same skillset you do. This seemed odd as the typical discussion is usually around finding a developer partner if you are a business person and vice-versa.
Eran spoke about the technology and building to scale to massive size when it wasn’t needed from the beginning. He selected C++ as the language without realizing that it would be hard to find talent.
Lastly Eran discusses the differences between Silicon Valley and NYC, focusing on the "Wall Street" aspect. It’s hard to get a developer to want to leave Wall Street and a high paying "easy" job for the very risky startup life. He discusses the fact that Nouncer was focusing on open standards and that most people involved in the open standards community are out in San Francisco. I’d agree with that – look at Data Portability or OpenID. When was the last time that we had a public discussion about either? I certainly don’t know.
When I began interviewing companies on CN, I asked many of them for their lessons learned as their startups progressed. Looking back at my most recent interviews, I’ve noticed that I haven’t asked this line of questioning in a while. From today forward I will once again add questions about the important lessons that the entrepreneur has learned. It’s critical that we all learn from others as to what works and what doesn’t work so we can maximize our success.