— layout: post title: “Building hashpanel.io: Part 1” date: 2014-12-28T16:53:53-05:00 —

Start Norfolk 5 I placed in the top three of Norfolk’s startup competition,

Start Norfolk with my presentation on hashpanel.io. hashpanel.io is a web control panel for managing a group of bitcoin miners. My main challenge during the startup weekend was to communicate two things:

  1. What the hell I am actually proposing here
  2. How will this make money?

I partially succeeded and failed on each point, to an audience who is largely unfamilar with Bitcoin. After all these years, I’m still much better at building stuff than realizing value from the stuff I build. After a long string of business failures, my strategy this time is slightly different.

Fail #1: Carbonservers The first business I started was hosting game

servers in college for friends, which grew into a nationwide network of colocated servers hosting hundreds of servers for online gamers. It failed because I did not do proper accounting, and drove the company in the ground by spending more on Google Adwords than our revenue allowed.

Fail #2: A2B Go Anywhere We built a public transit bus tracker before bus

trackers were cool. Now everyone is building one, but in 2009 we started building the “BT Tracker”, and released a beta in the Summer of 2010. We found funding from the university and a private marketing firm to continue development, and released an app we hoped to go nationwide. Disaster struck when we found out some things about our investors we didn’t like after having dove into the deal without doing our homework, and my co-founders and I quit our startup.

Fail #3: Speak Logistics I was hired into an early-stage startup to build a

new kind of web-based logistics software in an industry begging to be dragged into the 21st century. We abruptly lost funding nearly a year into our venture, forcing us back into the real world to find new jobs on short notice.

What will be different?

  1. I need to suck it up and do the math. Feeling like I’m making money doesn’t mean that I am.
  2. I need to work to persuade the world that my products have value. It turns out that I’m pretty convincing when it comes to getting people to pay me to write code. I will try to leverage this.
  3. I’m all in. I chose to quit my job without a new one to jump to; not only because I’ll have extra time to devote to the business, but because I think some desperation and struggle is good for the soul.

If this time fails, let it fail because the product failed. Or because I didn’t build it right. Don’t let it fail because I didn’t give it a chance.

Part 2 In part 2 and beyond I’ll delve into some of the specific things I’m

doing, the technological aspects of what I’m building, and how I’m planning out my strategy.