Monday, January 12, 2009

Waiting for ever to be an overnight success

Mister Coding Horror Jeff Atwood talks some sense about overnight success, namely that it doesn’t generally happen. Success is a long road, it can takes years for a blog or software to reach any kind of critical mass. But I think he misses an important point. Namely, that success may never come, all that hard work may be for nothing. Take blogging. How many blogs are out there? Millions probably. How many are successful? A few thousand perhaps, so the chances of hitting it big are pretty remote. What about software? Since the barriers to entry are a little higher, there’s not so much software around but how many successful bits of software are there in each mature category you look at? Two or three generally. How many software products have fallen by the wayside? Generally many more. Websites? The same kind of success rates I’d guess.

So if you enjoy writing your blog, cool. If you enjoy hacking code, great. But don’t assume you’ll be successful, over any time span. Don’t think you will be able to retire to your own private island, however much effort you put into it. Have a plan B. Get a job that pays a reasonable wage (not just piles of stock options), put some money away, pay down your debts. Oh, and don’t call your blog ‘Bell End’.

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