The Startup Chat with Steli and Hiten
348: Weird Side Projects We’ve Worked on That Failed and What We Learned
Sep 28, 2018
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Today on The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about ideas, side projects, and businesses.

Steli and Hiten have been in business a long time. It is fair to say that they’ve had a long history of failed side projects, and each failed business idea has taught them valuable business lessons and motivated them to continue trying.

In this week’s episode, Steli and Hiten share some business ideas they’ve tried in the past that failed and talk about why they failed.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic

00:33 Hiten talks about one of his failed side projects.

01:35 The reason why this topic was chosen.

01:55 A ridiculous ideas Steli tried in the past

03:26 A ridiculous idea Hiten tried in the past

04:17 Another of Steli’s idea that failed.

07:47 An embarrassing idea of Hiten that failed.

08:38 Steli shares another failed idea of his.

10:18 Hiten shares another of his failed ideas.

3 Key Points:

Just because you’ve succeeded in the past doesn’t mean you’ll succeed in future
I think existed so didn’t need to exist.
The one thing we never asked ourselves was how to get customers for this.


Steli Efti: Hey everybody, this is Steli Efti.



Hiten Shah: And this is Hiten Shah and today on The Startup Chat we're going to talk about ideas, side projects, maybe even businesses to some extent depending on what we get into going back and forth on ones that failed. I'm going to talk about one of my failed ones which was ... I think we experienced and talked about a little bit on the show which was I tried to make some shirts and I tried to sell them.



Steli Efti: Oh, yeah. Yeah.



Hiten Shah: Yeah, and I messed up big time. And it was about unicorns and something about unicorns dying and somewhere in my closet I have a pile of those shirts somewhere or some box somewhere in the garage, I don't remember. It had a unicorn and a sad unicorn and it said something like, "Unicorns die too" or something like that. First of all, my grammar on the copy of the shirt was way off. Second of all, nobody wants those kind of shirts. I think it's because they're very negative not positive. I don't even know why I did it. I think I just wanted to try something, something completely different and it failed. I still have the shirts so it obviously failed. I was trying to sell them.



Steli Efti: Yeah, I remember that. I remember you with a shirt on my balcony recording a Startup Chat episode.



Hiten Shah: That's right.



Steli Efti: Yeah, the reason why we wanted to do this episode is just again, a lot of times you see people that seem successful and are running companies that work well but that doesn't mean that they didn't have a lot of failure and it doesn't mean that just because you've had success in the past every project and every company you work on or every idea, it's going to succeed in the future. That's not how it works, right? So just shedding a light on that. All right, so I'm going to start with the smaller more ridiculous ideas and then maybe we'll work up to some more side projects or real startup things that I worked on that failed. But something ridiculous that I just thought of as you were talking about the T-shirt was that one winter maybe seven years or so ago we tried to sell Christmas trees. It was even during a time we were running ElasticSales and one of our teammates in November was like, "You know what? What would be really cool is to have a really nice website that's really modern where people in the Bay Area can order a Christmas tree." I don't even remember, he had some kind of unique angle and we started just laughing about the ridiculousness of trying to sell ...

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