+ About

Apurva Mehta

I'm a programmer and entrepreneur, currently bootstrapping RecordBox. I use this space to write about entrepreneurship and technology.

More about me.

Goodbye RecordBox - Lessons Learnt From My First Entrepreneurial Experiment

Photo by Craig.

I have decided to move on from RecordBox, my first attempt at bootstrapping a software business. While the product will live on, it will no longer be my primary focus. There are a number of reasons for this decision, and I will spend a part of this post articulating these reasons.

I will also ponder the question: what would I have done differently, were I to start today? I am sure that my honesty and transparency in answering this question will help me in my future ventures. But I also hope that it will help the starry eyed engineer-entrepreneurs who are sure to follow in my footsteps.

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Starting A Company Alone, Part II

In my previous post, I wrote about some of the difficulties I faced in starting a business alone. In essence, I was simply not equipped to deal with the myriad challenges in a graceful way. Consequently, most of my problems were due to me chafing against myself.

This post is about some of my methods for dealing with these difficulties. It is about some of my techniques for rising to the challenge in graceful and sustainable way.

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On Starting A Company Alone, Part 1

Photo by Zanthia.

For many an enterprising engineer, starting a company alone is a very attractive proposition. You have complete control of your own product and get to keep a 100% of the spoils. As a bonus, you can start building right away. What a deal!

Conventional wisdom, however, advises against starting companies alone. Many prestigious investors avoid solo entrepreneurs as a matter of policy. Research shows that companies started by single founders are statistically much less likely to succeed. Etc.

I have bootstrapped RecordBox through many ups, downs, and seemingly endless plateaus over the past 18 months. In this post, I am going to share some of the difficulties of going it alone. In my next post, I will share some of my techniques for bringing method to the madness.

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Will you Learn More at a Small or Large Company?

Photo by Malobi.

Will you learn more at a small company or a large company? Why?

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Balancing Breadth and Depth in Marketing

It's been nearly 18 months since I started bootstrapping my first business, RecordBox.

In these eighteen months, there hasn't been much 'success' to write home about: there hasn't been exponential user growth, and thus there has --unsurprisingly-- been tepid revenue growth. Sadly, RecordBox hasn't found product/market fit.

But I ain't givin' up yet!

Today, there are fundamental choices to be made at the highest strategic levels. There are many potential paths to take, and I am quite sure that all but one of them is a rabbit hole from which it will be hard to escape. A big mistake now will be fatal for RecordBox.

Hence this post. I have learnt some hard-won lessons through these eighteen months. I am now going to draw upon them to lay the foundation for the next eighteen months of RecordBox. [Provided, of course, that we will be in business for that long.]

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Focussing on Mobile and Other Lessons from RecordBox

I have been rather tardy in updating this blog. The last update was all the way back in beginning of Jan 2012! Truth be told, I have been working quite hard on RecordBox and have not had energy to sit down and write up my thoughts and impressions.

But now RecordBox is again in an 'in-between' phase. There has been lots of activity in the last five months, many lessons learnt, and a new plan for the immediate future. I think it's as good a time as ever to write up on the state of affairs.

Plus, I am taking a short break over the memorial day weekend in the beautiful Mendocino county. Writing while enjoying these views can't be beat!

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The Story of the First Six Months Building My First Startup

Around six months ago, I resolved to bootstrap my own Internet business. As I wrote at the time, my goal was to create a self-sustaining and personally meaningful business without seeking funding. I had no ambitions of becoming the next Mark Zuckerberg. Rather, I wanted to do honest work building a product which would prove useful to a niche audience.

Six months on, I have come a long way: I got possessed by a personally meaningful idea, experimented with Lean Startup methods for validating it, and then learnt Rails and iOS development to actually build it. And as of this week, my product, RecordBox, is open for business!

I have been documenting this journey on this blog all along. In this post, I am going to stitch my previous posts into a narrative which touches on how I began, what I did, what I learnt, and what lies ahead.

So get that cuppa brewing.. Ready? Let's go!

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How I Plan to Market RecordBox

I am strongly considering starting a blog for RecordBox as a major part of my online marketing strategy. In fact, I put up a version over the thanksgiving weekend which is ready to go if I choose to pull the trigger.

In this post I want to talk about why I am thinking of using a blog as my primary online marketing vehicle, and how I plan to do it. In a follow up post I will share my lingering reservations about this effort.

Just to clarify, my online marketing strategy is in addition to direct marketing through my contacts. This latter marketing can help me get started, but ultimately it is NOT a scalable way of building a viable customer base when each customer contributes $10 a month.

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