A hundred hours and running

100 hours and running

Written By: Tommy Ryan | Published: 2012-11-06

A while back I was reading about a drop shipper and his business.  He is currently very successful and makes over $75k a month in revenue with a net of about half of that.  One thing stuck out to me.  He would frequently test new products in the market using his business model.  He would invest some time and about $5,000 in advertising.  If it didn’t take off after the advertising money was gone he would abandon the product altogether.

As a budding entrepreneur and developer I have notebooks for of ideas, servers full of prototypes, and friends and family that are sick of me probing them for user feedback.  The problem is when to know when to push forward with potential businesses and when to send the to pasture.  I mean REALLY send them to pasture.  Databases dropped or deleted, space freed up on servers, notes archived: GONE!

Taking a note from the drop shippers playbook I’ve instituted a 100 hour rule on my startups.  Using a time tracking tool, I’ve started keeping track of how much I’ve spent on a startup idea.  At the 100 hour mark if I don’t have something solid that’s tested positively in the real world then it’s time to walk.  Free of the mental cycles and physical space on servers I’ll be able to look at the next venture with a clearer mind and more resources to give to it.

I’ve adopted this policy with my next venture that I’ve brought to Stanford’s Technological Ventures course.  I’m about 20 hours in already with a very low-fi product so hopefully my hourly constraint isn’t too tight.