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Sheepish Expectations

When you launch a service like WishRadar, even when you have absolutely no expectations of becoming an Internet thousandaire and the primary driver is to fix a problem that you yourself have, you are still secretly hoping that the world bashes down the doors to your servers in an effort to sign up and validate your efforts. Feel free to apply any psychological paradigms to us that you want (Love me. LOOOVEE MEEE!), but I'd venture to guess that most people would feel the same way.

When the uptake is anything less than hotmail-circa-1997, two things happen:

1. You begin to notice web phenomenon that appear to have cracked the code for achieving the elusive "critical mass" - My newest example of this, borrowed from O'Reilly, is a guy who collected drawings of sheep over a 40-day period and is now selling them for $20 a pop. He collected 10,000 sheep drawings at a rate of about 11 sheep per hour. That's pretty phenomenal, when you think about it. Imagine if every person at the Durham Bulls stadium drew a picture of a sheep. Baaa, indeed.

2. You start to engage in a little self doubt - Not to tip our collective hand or anything, but in case any of you were wondering, WishRadar did NOT, in fact, sign up 10,000 people over the course of our first 40 days.  This leads to an inevitable series of tough, introspective questions. Did we build this thing right?  Are we actually solving a problem in a new/helpful way. Is WishRadar less useful, on the whole, than a site that accepts sheep pictures?

I don't let the comparatively vast adoption rates of sheep-drawing sites trouble me that much, though. I will come no closer to the secret of Internet marketing by comparing The Sheep Market to WishRadar than I would understand the secret of internal combustion by comparing a 1997 Honda Accord to an ear of corn. We're pretty happy with the progress we're making and are especially jazzed at the feature development we're planning for this weekend (hint: it doesn't involve sheep).

We'll post with more updates soon!


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