Since I struck out on my own to build a business, I've banged my head on countless metaphorical low-hanging beams, taken the proverbial rake to the face at least weekly, and otherwise made just about every mistake in the book. But, despite the cost, I've actually learned a thing or two along the way. Hopefully you won't make the same mistakes. Actually, you will, but don't say I didn't warn you.
Last Tuesday we launched beta for The Odin Project, a website where you can learn web development for free. The launch went well -- to focus solely on users, we got >10k visits converting to >1k new students in just two days -- and it hammered in an epiphany that I first had in September of 2013: Do nothing quietly!
There are a lot of expressions out there which capture pieces of this mentality, like "Fail early and often", but I like the directness of "Do nothing quietly". This is very counter to the mantra of the engineer: "head down, get shit done". Engineering culture has little love for self promotion, bold (unsupported) claims or anything to do with PR. But, to build an effective business, you've got to get over it and make sure people know about your idea.