Confronting The Fear: Launching an App

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Nathan Pahucki is the co-founder of DataParenting, whose first app was just released today.

Imagine the following spoken, preceded immediately by a big throat clearing.

Confronting your fears is hard. It’s much easier to run away from your fears. I would admit that I ran away from confrontation one time too many — at least when I was 16 years old. The act of growing up is the act of confronting your fears head on.

One fear that every founder must face at some point is… launching. It’s much, much easier–at least in the short-term–to never launch. Oh, we can add this feature that’s essential. Oh, if we do this thing, then it will be much better. In other words, it’s easy for us to justify actions to postpone. And the reasons are usually good: yes, it would be better if it had this feature! It would be better if we made that tweak.

But we need to stare directly into the abyss. Throw ourselves out there into the pit presided over by that unrelenting mistress, the market.

And here at DataParenting Baby Milestones, we just did that today. I’m happy to announce that we’re now in the App store! A month in to StartupChile — and we’ve already launched our first product!

But guess what? It’s scary. Now, the project is no longer in our heads. There’s no more denying reality any longer.

What to do now?

I don’t know the theoretically correct strategy, but I do know what our strategy is.

Here at DataParenting, we approach building a company a bit like we approach, well, being a parent: dealing with the problems early and often (like voting in Chicago!). Always be sensing upcoming disasters and avoiding them before they happen–or at least trying to. While at the same time, letting our kids–literal and metaphorical–enough space, freedom, flexibility and even, yes, risk to fall, all on their own. Being a founder is like being a parent: overwhelming, and more than a full-time job: a mission, a mission to grow someone (something?) from just an idea in the glint of your eye, to something that can stand on its own.

What does this translate into, in practice? We track the data, but don’t go overboard. We know our short term and long term goals, and always remind ourselves of it. We expect dark, painful periods of growing pains. Above and all, we stay clear and focused on our mission, and will let nothing stop us. It sounds easy and fun and cool, and at its best it can be–but the day to day is an intense, never-ending, often painful grind. Both parenting and building a company. But are they worth it to do? If you do it smartly and wholeheartedly, then absolutely.

Special thanks to the entire DataParenting Baby Milestones team.