If At First You Don’t Succeed, Maybe You Should Give Up

What should you do if you’ve been slaving away at your startup and you’re still not seeing results?

Ted Rheingold, founder of pet community sites Dogster and Catster, has an interesting benchmark.

Ted Rheingold

Ted Rheingold


Ted Rheingold is the founder of pet community sites Dogster and Catster.

Here’s an edited excerpt from his program on Mixergy.

When I launched, the one marketing effort I did–besides sending an email to all my friends–was my girlfriend posted a 3-line entry to Craig’s List Pets section. She said, “If you like dogs, you might like this site.”

And since it was so different, it blew up on Craig’s List. Before that, maybe 5 dogs were added to the site a day. And after that, it became 100 dogs added to the site.

It became this giant fight on Craig’s List. People argued whether it was legitimate to talk about this site or not? Craig Newmark, the site’s founder, even had to get involved. And all that from one little post.

That’s going to be a benchmark for me on any new project, and anything we do. Does it immediately interest our most likely customers? And if it doesn’t, there’s a problem. And it might not be worth working on it at all, or starting again.

If it had gone to Craig’s List and no one was really into it, I probably would have been like, “Huh…. Okay, well this has been fun. Maybe I’ll work on something else.”

I think a lot of people they put too much hope into something working. Even though they’ve gotten the indication that it’s not going to be what they hoped it would be, they still keep working on it.


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