Lessons Learned (The Hard Way)

Howdy folks!

It would appear my amazing disappearing act has gone on just slightly passed too damn long! My apologies for that. Until recently I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with GrapeShow, so it made little sense updating you. Now that I have a clearer picture, I’d like to begin by filling you in on some old news…

November 28, 2006: blah blah blah … GrapeShow … blah blah blah … failure … blah blah blah … explosion … blah blah blah … severe casualties … blah blah blah … entreprenerd robs bank … blah blah blah … prison!

So, as you can see, GrapeShow went a bit sour and it turns out I am a “miserable failure” (I may have added ‘miserable’). The important thing is I don’t dwell on it <twitch>. I mean, big deal, right? So I put a crazy amount of coding and planning into this thing and never saw it through <twitch>, it’s not like it wasn’t worthwhile. It was a good experience for me <drool> and besides, you never really fail as long as you succeed at learning <massive seizure>.

Seriously though, I did learn quite a bit in the process and I plan on applying that knowledge to my next venture (coming soon). So, in the true spirit of this blog, I would like to share some of what I learned with you now. There were many personal lessons learned as well, but I’ll stick to the professional ones:

1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew

It turns out I am NOT Superman. With GrapeShow, I pushed myself way too hard and tried to do too much too fast. It wasn’t enough that I was inventing a semi-new product, starting a business, and keeping a full-time job on the side (see what I did there). I was also blogging it in real-time, learning a new programming framework, incorporating several new-to-me technologies, and so forth. Which is all well and good, but I was trying to do it at an insane pace and with no help (with exception of design work). I thought I could handle it, but burn-out caught up with me and the rest is history. I’ve learned to take things a tad slower now, be more flexible, get others involved, and ask for help when I need it.

2. Manage your stress levels

This is something I did a horrible job at. As mentioned above, I pushed myself to the breaking point and what’s worse I did almost nothing to help alleviate the stress. They just kept building and building until I blew my top. So I strongly encourage you to incorporate relaxation into your routine and make stress management a high priority in your life. These days I take breaks regularly, I make Sunday a non-work day (for the most part), and I have a tool kit to help me relax my mind and stay balanced.

3. Don’t think too much

The need to thoroughly analyze my plan from every possible angle and make sure there were absolutely no holes caused me to over think things. Obsessive brainstorming and research was standard operating procedure to ensure nothing got missed. Naturally this led me to find what I believed to be potential flaws, which only drove me to more advanced obsessing, and the cycle would repeat. Eventually, when I got tired of searching for solutions to these issues, I began to tell myself that maybe I wasn’t cut out for it and I headed down the path of giving up. It never fails, I start out confident and end up chicken. The irony is, if I wasn’t so concerned about keeping myself from failing, I would probably succeed. Afterall, many of the problems I obsess over may never happen. This is something I am still struggling with but I keep telling myself to stop analyzing so much and just take the leap. The future is uncertain, get over it!

4. Be lucky!

This may sound weird, but it’s a slogan I live by now. I never really believed in luck per say until I watched a program on it and they were talking about the traits of a lucky person. While I still don’t believe in any mystical force, I do believe in lucky people and I’m trying to become one. Most of the lucky people I know have many of these traits:

  • They envision their future
  • They are approachable
  • They are open to opportunity at every corner
  • They keep their eyes open
  • They are positive and know there will be a happy ending

A positive mindset is key! Other than that I would just add that you should be sure you are passionate about what you’re doing and committed to seeing it through.

In upcoming posts, I’ll be writing more about what GrapeShow was all about and what, if anything, will become of it. I’ll also update you more on what I’m currently working on and what lie’s ahead. For now, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite new quotes:

A ship is safe in a harbor, but that’s not what ships were built for.



Daniel Hofstetter

Great quote! And good luck on your further way :)


Hey you live! *insert laugh here*. It would seem to me that you got more out of your grapeshow venture than you planned on getting :) It just wasn’t exactly the idea you had in mind :) Every situation in life grants us a bit more insight and wisdom. What is more important than anything is that you took away with you valuable lessons in life. Nicely done! I look forward to reading about what you have learned :)I also wish you all the best in future endeavors- sounds like your getting the hang of it!


Just last week I was asking someone about you, and whether he knew anything about your whereabouts. Welcome back. I’m glad to hear something from you, and looking forward to more lessons learned.

Michael Deering

Welcome back… I hope that you have had enough time to regather your thoughts/strength/sanity for

my next venture (coming soon)

To think I almost removed your blog during my last few cleanup sessions on my rss reader.

So now that you are already onto your next venture do you care to let the cat out of the bag on what GrapeShow was actually going to be/do?

There were many personal lessons learned as well, but I’ll stick to the professional ones:

Your four lessons still sound personal not professional. The professional lessons I would like to hear from your experiance are more along the context of;
1.) Write your business plan before you do anything.
2.) Find people who are as passionate about your idea as your are.

Anyway seeing you comeback to blogging may spur me to update my slowly dieing venture blog that was actually inspired by this here venture blog.

Cheers, and good luck!


So now that you are already onto your next venture do you care to let the cat out of the bag on what GrapeShow was actually going to be/do?

Yes, I plan on filling everyone in on the idea in the near future and may even consider releasing it as-is and see what happens.

Your four lessons still sound personal not professional.

True, most of these lessons can and do apply to my personal life as well, but they are without a doubt the biggest reasons why GrapeShow failed. The fact that I didn’t have a formal business plan or a following may have been poor judgment calls, but not the reason I failed. My point was this: There were things going on in my personal life which attributed to me giving up, but this is a professional(ish) blog and clearly not the place to delve into those.

Thanks for the well wishes everyone! I will try to keep this blog updated more regularly from here on out and I hope you continue to check back from time to time as I’ve got many exciting ideas up my sleeves.

Chris O'Rourke

Welcome back to the blogosphere (I feel dirty using that term actually). Anyhow, I don’t blame you one bit on taking a break, I launched a site last year and have devoted about 2 hours to it throughout 2007. meh. Anyhow hope to see more from you.

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