Friday, March 2, 2007

I need your advice! Startup Failing. Should I simply release the product?

I need your advice! Startup Failing.
Should I simply release the product?
(See my last post on where I am.

What is juwo?
A "Swiss Army knife" piece of software that gives more power to consumers to structure audio, video and text as a bullet list, to more easily index and annotate them, and to share the lists with others. Its benefits extend to multimedia as related to more enriching broadcasts, collaboration and organizing.

In October 2005, when the initial prototype was finished, nothing came close to juwo. Now, I find several, with quite a few of the same features. It still has an advantage - the concept is still unique and (In My Humble Opinion), powerful. It has many potential applications and uses.

The more I delay, the more likely someone else will catch up and move ahead. And then it will really be wasted breath, sweat, years, money.

Potential competitors:,, supcast, abazab, wiki,, podcasts, filenotes organizer, Media Matrix.
Sure, there's overlap. I have done a competitive analysis matrix, and feel that juwo has its own niche. It can be a useful tool for the layperson.

The problem is: It took me 12 months, full-time, to iterate through and develop a prototype, plus another 6 months to unsuccessfully try and build a business.
I calculate that, conservatively, $120K was sunk into this. How?
Cash used up + missed regular salary = $120K.
All of my Savings. Will I lose all this if I give it away?

I needed about 2 months of full-time effort to do thefollowing
  • to make it more user friendly (help wizards etc) as people said it wasn't.
  • support other media players (right now, only Windows Media Player supported).

But even so, I lack co-founders, customers and investors.

Now I have a job, and can barely do it on the weekends.
Should I just release what I have?

So I am thinking of adding a legal disclaimer screen, and a feedback form and then releasing it.

However, here is the conundrum:

I am sure potential competitors will download it and perhaps copy any concepts they didnt think of.

But on the other hand, I have always been profoundly impressed by those who follow this saying, "Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again".

Is it lose-lose?

How can I make it Win-Win? (get some money out of it).

P.S. I can share a percentage of any profit from juwo - for a certain time eg. 1 year with those who will help out with concrete help.

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