Practical experience is without a doubt the best way to learn something. Since the beginning of the year I have been trying to DO as much as could possibly be done by one person. This year I started my company Halotis Inc. That was an interesting experience – to meet and talk with an accountant, get all the paperwork done, issue shares, start business bank accounts and everything else that was required. It was a massive change of pace and perspective and through the process I learned lots of practical things that you will never learn in school or find in books.
For months I worked on building the Automatic Blog Machine site. it does a lot of interesting stuff and it was technically challenging, but it was also a chance for me to execute a marketing strategy. I recorded and edited videos, wrote sales copy, built up an email list and actually did a reasonably successful launch of the site. I did a lot and learned a lot.
After that I turned to iPhone development. spending night after night working on the software, creating promotional videos, and a website. The most important thing is that I actually finished the game UFO Invader and released it. There was so much learned through that process. It was so rewarding that I decided to keep developing more iPhone software. And it was so successful (in # of players not revenues) that I’m actually excited to get more done.
Having done the Automatic Blog Machine website gave me the knowledge, skill and most importantly a code base to be able to quickly create a new website for the back end management of my iPhone Apps. I’m in a good position to be able to quickly test new ideas for web applications. Do something, and learn a little more. It keeps getting easier.
Nothing that has happened this year in my business has been the wildly successful hit I wished for. However, having done these things and learning along the way has each time left me in a better position to take advantage of opportunities when they come up. I only need one hit business. There are so many subtleties to making a business really work well that it is impossible to really do it right the first time. It takes practice, it takes failure, and it takes doing.
The most successful people on this planet are the ones who take the most risks. They’re constantly testing the waters with new ideas, putting things out there – Doing things, and learning. They have developed a relationship with risk that eventually pays off. There are not many people like that in this world. I have only ever met two such people in my life. It’s a model I try to emulate myself since working hard and taking risks seems far more rewarding than watching TV.