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Shutting down blaster.fm  

Continuing the topic of moving on from failed startups, Josh Sharp writes about his blaster.fm project and why he's shutting it down:

Choosing to let it go wasn't easy. "Why can't you just let it sit there and keep running?" I have been asked several times. But even though it doesn't require active maintenance, it still exerts a mental toll. It weighs on me, the site-that-could've-been. The site that missed its opportunity to get big.

Yep. Moving on is good.

There's also a comment to be made about Josh's approach to building blaster.fm. Reading his article, I noticed a lot of "I built this" and "I built that", but not a whole lot of "I went and talked to people" or "I saw this opportunity to make some money". Perhaps that did happen and is just missing from the write-up.

However, on the assumption that it's not just a writing omission, this approach of building things and waiting for people to find them is perfectly fine for a side project, a hobby that may randomly pick up and become interesting, but ultimately it means that the project was fundamentally a lottery ticket. In this case, a lottery ticket that didn't win (the prize was acquisition by last.fm, it seems). One hopes that most of the enjoyment was derived in the building of the site and the learning that came with that.

In the long run, it's hard to get motivated about a project that sucks a lot of time and gives very little back. I believe in working on side-projects, but in my opinion, if you're going to do that, then you should probably err towards side projects that have at least some vague commercial potential beyond "a big company will want to buy it". I'm sure Josh would feel differently about blaster.fm if it was making even just a meagre $2k a month.

More from the library:
Idea stagnation
How to start a startup
Estimating your market size from non-technical sources