Plug-pulling is Agony

pull-the-plugIt’s the most difficult decision a startup entrepreneur can make. In fact, I’ve never done it before.

It took me a long time to write this post. Every other time I started a business, eventually a new opportunity would come along that made sense, and I’d sell my business, or go forward with an acquisition. Each exit was a win for me. I used to take great pride in the fact that I never failed with any business I started.

I can’t say that anymore.

Big Mountain Data was my most ambitious venture yet.  Its thesis was predicated on the fact that there is a preponderance of data collected every day on domestic violence offenders that could be mined and analyzed to make predictions on which offenders are most dangerous. The data could then be used to intervene in the cycle of violence.  Across the country, the data could be used to identify, track, and hold offenders accountable.   Of course, I still believe this is true, but I wasn’t able to sell a single client on giving us the opportunity to do this, or build applications based on existing data collection.

Looking in the rear-view mirror, it’s more obvious how I misjudged the opportunity. It mostly boils down to this: just because something can be done, there will be a “market” for it. This is a rookie mistake, and I should have known better. Resistance to what we wanted to do arose from every facet of the field. I learned a lot, and for that I’m grateful. I’m also very grateful for the many individuals and groups that supported our mission along the way. Some special people even donated to our startup fund. That really means a lot to me. I won’t be pushing this post to social media, so if you come across it in your reader, feel free to leave a comment.

I’m horribly disappointed in and ashamed of this outcome. Not only because of the personal failure, but because of the impact of what we could have achieved if we’d been successful. Of all the businesses I started, this was not the one to fail. My only hope is I planted the seeds of looking at domestic violence in a different way, and that someone of influence will pick up where we started. For that reason, I’ll leave the web site up and the various blog posts that tracked with our progress.

Who knows.  Maybe I’ll pick it up again some day.

In the meantime, I’ll be reverting this blog back to publishing various and sundry personal thoughts from time to time.  It’s hard to believe I’ve been posting to this blog for over nine years.  It does serve as an interesting roadmap to my exploits over this phase of my life. Thanks for reading and taking a personal interest.