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Failure: Another Stepping Stone in Entrepreneurship

Posted by: Taylor Brown on August 14, 2013 Source: e360 Blog

Taylor BrownAdam Coomes is a prime example of an entrepreneur who has seen the best of times and the worst of times. He has been a part of several startups and has gone through the peaks and valleys of these experiences. They've consisted of fast-paced ventures and ventures that have been put on the backburner. He has never worked in the corporate world and never intends to. Adam will always be an entrepreneur.

After getting his feet wet with several ventures in his early days, Adam began consulting startups, and gained interest in a company called Linkminded.com. This site serves as a resource for entrepreneurs and developers to become connected and collaborate together. Adam wanted to create a more effective online space for communities to support one another. He had heard the complaints from others companies and the problems they had with their own social media networks. Adam went to two other entrepreneurs, Joshua Eithun and Sam Bao to turn this dream into a reality, and thus Backly was formed. Backly is essentially an online support system for startups to create a strong brand and relationships with supporters and other businesses from the community.

AdamCoomes1Backly was successful out of the chute. In fact, the team dabbled with vidcasting themselves in a behind-the-scenes look at building the site. They were even featured on UStream's Technology section alongside shows such as Leo Laporte's Twit.tv. Backly was on the front page of Hacker News and was receiving high viewership. Soon, however, watchers started dwindling. At the following Startup Weekend, Backly tried to increase users and exposure by giving a free account to every startup at the event. They ran a contest to see who could acquire the most backers by the end of the weekend. Unfortunately, the objective did not go as planned. There was a lack of usage by the startups, with only a few teams bothering to blast their backers with updates and ask for feedback.

"Ultimately, this killed our momentum," Adam said.

He became discouraged, questioning Backly's purpose. Adam decided to put Backly on the backburner, for the time being, but says his stalled venture was just another stepping stone in his entrepreneurial journey.

Adam is a lifetime entrepreneur—in it for the long haul. He recognizes the hardships that come along with that. Some say it's a dreamy title, but Adam says it&'s much more than that.

"I don't like that people have made the idea of startups sexy and cool, when it truly is the most difficult line of work," Adam said. "You have to have passion for what you're doing, and finding something you want to do every single day isn't easy.

AdamCoomes2

Since Backly's fold, Adam has begun work on developing a strategy card game. He has been a card and board game nerd for a majority of his life, and says there is something very pure and satisfying about a good card game. The game is currently in the prototype phase and is going through weekly tests. Adam has gone back to the basics, using paper and scissors, and bought an industrial grade paper trimmer that he uses to print out text-only prototypes and cuts them into cards. So far, there has been a tremendous amount of positive feedback for this game. Once this is finalized, it will be launched on Kickstarter.

Adam loves what he is doing and is excited about the work he is generating, reminding himself "If you're going to do it, it must be something you love. Putting in that many hours on something you are lukewarm about isn&'t worth it and, in the end, won't be successful or fulfilling.

Tags:  Failure, stepping stone, entrepreneurial journey, Backly, Startup Weekend, lack of usage, Hacker News, UStream, failed ventures, Leo Laporte, strategy card game, new idea

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