How not to run a service (TweepML story — part 3 of 4)

[Read part 1 and part 2]

You certainly need some context to understand where I’m coming from. In September of 2009 it was just a few weeks after my last day of work at Sampa. Life wasn’t great and the last thing I wanted was a long term commitment to another startup. Compare this to being married to someone for 4 years, getting a divorce and asking someone to marry you just a few weeks after the divorce is complete. No way would I call TweepML my next startup. I just wanted to fool around. Screw it if the service doesn’t work, screw it if I don’t make money, screw it if I don’t have a long term plan.

So I put all that in my head and went careless about the service. But the service kept growing, I started getting more emails about opportunities for partnerships, I started to realize I was leaving money on the table because there was no monetization at the time, etc.

At the same time I was doing TweepML I was working on Seattle 2.0’s StartupDay event, trying to grow Seattle 2.0 and bouncing ideas around with few investors and entrepreneurs of what should I do next. Soon it became clear I had too much on my plate and not enough focus. I looked at everything I was doing and Seattle 2.0 was profitable and growing, so I decided to put more wood behind that fire. Stop the search for the next startup and either sell or ignore TweepML. And, as soon as I got the first interested party in acquiring TweepML …

Twitter announced Twitter List about 4 weeks after TweepML came out and launched the feature a month after that. That was a bucket of cold water on the enthusiasm around TweepML. Although there was enough differences between Twitter List and that today we have a better understanding, at that time there was enough uncertainty about TweepML viability that not only people interested in acquiring us went into wait-and-see mode, but users started to question if their work creating lists would be wasted by duplication of the services functionality.

Well, I don’t want to claim credit for the Twitter List feature idea, but it seems very peculiar that Twitter would announce their list feature shortly after I launched Just kidding. Most likely they had “lists” as one of the features to add for a long time, but the demand for TweepML probably made they realize they should bump it up.

Without an acquirer and without much interest from me to invest on monetization and other interesting features to keep TweepML running the service was completely ignored by me in November and December of last year. In December I’ve made the decision the best for TweepML was to auction the service as soon as I came back from vacation. 

That’s when I… [to be continued on part 4 of 4]

Marcelo Calbucci

Marcelo Calbucci

I'm a technologist, founder, geek, author, and a runner.