Sett Has Failed

Beginning now, Sett is going into maintenance mode. Todd won’t be working on it anymore, except to help me fix the occasional bug on parts he built, and I will work on it as a side project, mostly fixing bugs.

Before I talk about some of the upsides of this decision, I want to acknowledge unequivocally that we have failed. More specifically, I think that our failures were those of strategy, particularly early on, and I take responsibility for those personally.

We had hoped that Sett would become a major blogging platform and would have either made enough money to sustain itself, or that it would be purchased by a larger company and that we could work with their resources to make it even better. We also hoped that we’d be successful in converting many big bloggers to it. In the end we failed at all of those things.

We knew that we could build a better blogging platform, at least for many bloggers, but we completely underestimated what it takes to get people to switch. For most bloggers to switch, it has to be exponentially better, because the hassle, or perceived hassle, of switching is huge. For most people we aren’t exponentially better, and even for those we are, we have failed to communicate that effectively.

At the same time, I’m very proud of the product we built. When making the decision between maintaining Sett and transitioning people off, I thought of what I’d want as a blogger. For my needs, Sett is leagues better than the next blogging platform, so I’m unwilling to switch. The fact that two guys can build a blogging platform that can reasonably be compared with dominant players like WordPress, Medium, and Tumblr is something I take a lot of pride in.

And I’m proud that we took a big shot. We tackled a huge market and did some really innovative stuff in it. It’s a lot scarier to do that than it is to make a gimmicky me-too app.

I’m also proud of myself for working so hard on it. I haven’t been perfect by any measure, but my level of output and dedication towards Sett was an order of magnitude better than I’ve ever done before.

It’s cliche, but I’ve learned an extraordinary amount from this experience. The breadth of my technical knowledge is now pretty substantial. There’s no way to get that knowledge other than hands-on experience.

I’ve also learned a lot about myself, and will approach my next startup completely differently. I have a lot to write about this, so I’ll share this in a separate post later.

And the timing is quite good. I’m ready for a change, and I’m planning on getting back into dating for WifeQuest 9000, which begins in just a couple weeks. I have ideas for two more books which I’d like to write. I now have time to get CruiseSheet to the next level. The Vegas condo will require some time, as will the island.

I’m planning on taking six months off to work on those things and think a lot about what I want to do next. I have a few ideas, and I have a lot of ideas on how it should be different than what I have been doing.

I want to thank everyone for being a part of Sett. First, Todd, for putting in a tremendous amount of great work, and for sticking with it for so long. Besides being an amazing friend, he’s a great person to work with.

Next, DROdio and Sebastian Marshall. They were the two who really took a big risk with us, and dealt with Sett when it was most buggy. They both contributed enormous amounts of feedback and help for which I’m extraordinarily grateful.

I’d also like to thank my family and friends for supporting us and, in several cases, offering to invest money. I’m now glad we didn’t take that money, but the offers meant a lot to us. And last, I want to thank you, my readers. You also put up with Sett when it was really buggy, and you were the first to sign up for accounts and put it through its paces.

I’m looking forward to continuing to blog on Sett, to move on to new projects, and to share them with you. Again, thanks for all of your support with Sett, and I’m sorry to those whom this decision will disappoint.

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Photo is a section of Prague from above.

If you want a free Sett account, sign up soon. One of the first changes I’m going to make is to make the lowest account cost something so that I don’t have to deal with spammers anymore.

I lost a couple items on my packing list, so there’s going to be a little delay while I replace them. I promise the gear list will be done by Christmas.

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