I know it's been some time since my last update. Let me start by saying thank you! You guys are awesome, you saw my product, you believed in me and you joined my adventure.
I won't be pursuing the MacDock any longer and If you simply want a cool Docking Station and don't want to continue reading why I've taken this difficult decision click here and use the discount code "macdock" for a special $20 discount.
What a journey it's been! And looking back I wish I could have shared more of my week to week challenges as the campaign progressed. It all started almost two years ago when I was finishing my masters degree that I had the idea of creating a beautiful product which addresses a day-to-day problem which hadn't been solved. One year later, I launched the MacDock Kickstarter campaign which was one of the most exciting days in my life. I felt like I was coming into a test for which I was perfectly prepared for. As a naive eager young entrepreneur with boundless faith and optimism; little did I know about all the challenges that were looming. As I recently heard from an experienced entrepreneur: "If we really knew what we have to do in advance we'd never start a company in the first place."
To keep it short: there were many challenges and I learned many lessons. I'd like to share 2 lessons that I'd tell my 2 year ago self with you: backers, supporters and young entrepreneurs.
Lesson 1: The importance of a TEAM. A challenge as big as the MacDock is impossible to tackle by yourself. Sorry Tim Ferris, but outsourcing isn't applicable everywhere. At least it's not applicable for a one-man startup expecting to outsource the technical design of a consumer electronics product. I had been working on the MacDock by myself and worked with contractors for all the activities I couldn't tackle such as technical design, website, Kickstarter video, etc. I worked on all the other activities such as sourcing the parts, patents, getting quotes, preparing the Kickstarter campaign, social media, PR, etc. It was lots of work and when I finally got to launch the Kickstarter campaign I hit the wall and realized that working by yourself isn't the best way to tackle a challenge this big. As a fact, any investor, hardware accelerator or experienced entrepreneur would say that the 3 most important factors for a startup are: Team, Product and Market. Team being the most important aspect of the formula. I sort of knew this before but I assumed that I could rely on contractors acting as proactively as a "teammate" would. Little did I know about the practical effects of the principal-agent problem, thanks business school. By realizing that contractors can't be considered team members got me to recognize that I needed a full-time teammate to work on the post-Kickstarter stages of the MacDock.
Lesson 2: Never underestimate the value of NETWORKING. At the time of the campaign I was working by myself from home in Hamburg, Germany and didn't involve myself in an environment where I could start looking for a co-founder. After some back and forth trying to find a co-founder in Europe, I decided to move across the world to the mecca of tech entrepreneurship: Silicon Valley. Now, as I write this I've been in San Francisco for 2 months having at least 2 meetings or meetup events a day. And I can't tell how much I've learned and the great people I've met. In Silicon Valley I had many conversations with entrepreneurs who've been there and done that. These conversations helped me understand what I could have done better and gave me a completely new air of energy and perspective. Which got me to accept that it doesn't seem to be the right time for me to devote all my energy to continue with a project with so much risk involved. I can now officially say I won't be pursuing the MacDock any longer. It has been a painful decision to take, but it is necessary in order to open new exciting opportunities.
If you're wondering "Where can I get a cool docking station now?" You won't leave empty-handed. I had the chance to meet with the Zenbox Team and managed to arrange a Kickstarter-priced pre-sale ($20 off) of their minimal docking station for everyone who backed the MacDock. With the discount code "macdock" you can get your own Zendock at their original Kickstarter price HERE.
I'm sorry for disappointing you and I want to give thanks to all you for believing in me and taking part in this adventure. I've also got special thanks to my brother for his support throughout the entire project and for the MacDock's awesome design, my father for his strategic advice and especially to my girlfriend who helped me to keep up in the hardest moments.
The closing chapter of the MacDock marks a new chapter in my life and now I'm heading off with a better toolset out of the lessons learned with the MacDock project and a new set of questions to get answered. If you'd like to stay tuned, you can follow me on twitter @JanSapper or feel free to reach out to me if you have exciting stuff to work on.