Why We Burned The Boats

As legend has it, when the explorer Cortes landed in Mexico he ordered his crew to burn the boats that brought them there. This left the men with no choice but to march ahead into the unknown.

Recently, we announced that we planned to shut down the current version of Shelby that we’d launched late last fall.

We burned our boat.

The decision wasn’t easy, but it felt right, and it still does. 

In a startup, you have limited time, limited resources, and consequently little room for error. We realized a long time ago that the current model we built wasn’t the optimal solution for the long run, so we started building a new version that could scale with our growth and provide more value to our users.

Some people have asked us why we didn’t just wait until we had the new product ready and while there are a ton of reasons, it really boils down to this… 

  • #3 Money - When you process as much data as we do, it isn’t cheap. Running a second set of servers to process the same data just wasn’t worth it.
  • #2 Time - We want to get this new version of Shelby out the door as quickly as possible, that means we should be spending as much of our time on it as we can… not maintaining legacy product/features.
  • #1 Focus - The startup illuminati often speak of “focus.” We are now a company without a product in the market. If that doesn’t focus a team on one thing and one thing only, then I don’t know what does.

And as far as whether or not we made the right decision… it doesn’t matter. We’re in this for the long haul and the only thing we can do now is build a great product. Forward, we march…