I'm not going to make it


I'm not going to make it, but maybe that's for the best

You saw the title, and it's true. I will not finish building my business, LearnGit.io, by the end of 2023, BUT that doesn't mean I won't be launching before the end of the year. But wait, those two statements are contradictory, so what gives?

Transparency

The goal of these newsletters is to document my life as a software engineering manager who quit his job at a large FAANG company to start a business. Managing the emotional toll this path would take was a bigger part of that journey than I originally imagined. I've talked a lot about fear and insecurity in the past, but I never really had a concrete solution to manage these emotions. Until now.

Key advice

The advice that got me unstuck is the same advice that inspired me to quit my career of 6+ years at Amazon: failing fast, and failing often, is the best way to learn.

Successful businesses solve customer problems and even though I have a strong conviction about what I'm building, there is no better barometer than real user feedback. Out of the countless readings and podcasts I've consumed, Kat Mañalac's talk, "The Best Way To Launch Your Startup," described this feeling the best:

"Most founders overthink their first launch. They think they have just one shot at launching their product publicly. That the messaging has to be perfect [or else] no-one will ever buy, or use, or invest in their product... think about launching as something that you do continually."

I don't think of LearnGit.io like a tech startup, but I have found comfort in the many similarities between my personal journey and Kat's description in her talk. It's inevitable that you'll make mistakes, pivot and incorporate feedback. The longer you wait to launch, the longer it'll take to make your product better. This is the realization that got me unstuck. To sum it up another way:

"Many [business founders] have strong but theoretical notions of how you're going to solve a problem and how people are going to interact with what you're building. So putting your product out there even in its early state will help you determine whether you're solving a big enough problem that someone is willing to pay for you, or use you, even in the product's really unpolished state."

Feeling like I only get one shot — and that everything must be absolutely perfect or else nobody will use it — was putting me in an impossible position. I was demanding perfection when perfection wasn't possible. This way of thinking was counterproductive to building a good product that people will enjoy using. Now that I'm unstuck, what's next?

Slash and burn

In the past month, I've refactored LearnGit's single massive course into four bite-sized learning tracks focused around common use cases (shout out to one of my alpha testers for this suggestion):

  1. Fundamentals of Git
  2. Applied Git
  3. Git for Open Course
  4. Advanced Git

Each track contains approximately 10 to 15 video lessons, along with extra features such as search, interactive snippets, and visual cheatsheets. Early adopters will get a chance to experience these features firsthand, and influence how development of the user interface and learning tracks proceed.

This is an exciting thing to write. Thinking about LearnGit as a partnership with users (like you) rather than a solo endeavor is incredibly motivating. The feedback I got on my YouTube channel from excited viewers has helped me turn this small idea into a reality, and I'm looking forward to what we can do together for LearnGit.io.

LearnGit.io Preview: November 2023

Typically, I highlight a single feature in these newsletters, but today you get the whole thing. Enjoy this walkthrough of LearnGit.io as it stands today.

At this point, I'm happy enough with the core architecture and UX to launch an MVP. My focus in the next month will be finishing the videos for the first learning track (Fundamentals of Git) and tying up loose ends in preparation for onboarding customers! Early adoption isn't for everyone, but if you're interested in helping me bring the vision for LearnGit to life, I'd love to have you as one of the first users.

If you're subscribed to this newsletter, you'll be the first to know when the site is open for business, and that day is hopefully coming sooner than you think.

There is a more to come in future newsletters. Thanks again for joining the journey. If you want to chat, simply reply to this email. I'd love to hear from you. Cheers,

Jack

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Credits: Cover images from Flaticon.com

The Modern Coder

My name is Jack Lot Raghav, I'm a tech industry professional (ex Amazon) & growing YouTuber (28k @themoderncoder) building an online business (LearnGit.io). In this newsletter, I'll be sharing monthly technical & business insights as I strive for self-employment.

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