I’ve written about startups that persist despite the failure of others, as well as about startup postmortems, so this may seem ironic: we’ve decided to stop active work on Bynamite. To make a long story short, my cofounder and I have both received compelling offers to work at large Internet companies, offers that we don’t think rational people would refuse. Unfortunately, the companies involved do not want to purchase Bynamite.
As a startup founder, whenever anyone tells you that your idea won’t work, that it won’t be popular, that no one will care, that no one wants it – you hear all of this as: “Your baby is ugly.” Founders invest time, money, emotion and the goodwill of their friends and family into the company; it really can feel like raising a baby. It saddens me that I haven’t been able to find a home for our pride and joy.
I couldn’t even get the company “acqhired” - that is, have our company acquired merely in order to hire Ian and me. That kind of “hacquisition” seems pretty common around Silicon Valley these days, but I failed to get it done. It hardly makes a difference though – a hire wrapped up in a sale is merely a mask. Our goal wasn’t to build a resume in the form of a company, we were aiming a lot higher than just getting hired. It’s important to own your failures, and this experience has certainly given me plenty to learn from.
But I’m proud of what we were able to do in the time we had. We put out a beautiful service that received nice launch coverage and some industry mindshare. Serious publications highlighted Bynamite as a useful tool and a company to watch. We took a little shot at the opportunity and had good enough results to seriously question why we won’t take it further. I’ll probably detail and try to answer those questions in a later post, but not for a while.
In the meantime, I still have a passion for the relationship between online advertisers and consumers. To the extent my new duties allow, I’ll keep Bynamite up as a hobby project outside of work. I’ll consider selling the assets to someone who cares about the product, or perhaps even turn it into an open source or otherwise community-supported effort. If you have any ideas about what to do with Bynamite, feel free to comment here or send me a note via LinkedIn.