In 2011 I started a project for pilot flight time logging and called it, “myFltTime.com”. The idea was to do something I knew, and try to build a software as a service (SAAS) product that would bootstrap into a sustainable business.
Like every entrepreneur starting a business, I knew that I would succeed. I was optimistic. This is normal and necessary.
It didn’t cost me a lot in terms of dollars to set it up and get it running. It did cost me a lot of time. In terms of sunken costs and not cutting-loose, the time invested was the greatest impediment. The more time I put into it, the less I was willing to hear that it wasn’t working and best abandoned.
One of the things that I didn’t pay attention to was that it is a crowded market. There were and are a lot of other solutions for this. I convinced myself that mine would be the best, and that I had a very clean migration path that made bootstrapping from paper logs or importing from another solution pretty friction free. I invested time in that. I did a pretty good job of it.
More saliently, working as a pilot, I met a lot of pilots. Talking to them about logging their flight time, I kept hearing that they don’t. Most professional working pilots rely on the logging they’re already doing with their employer. Those that kept their own logs– private pilots and the rare professional –were very attached to the things they were using. Pilots aren’t big risk takers. The reliable known is preferable to them. Change isn’t welcome, and I didn’t have good compelling reasons to get them to change. Fewer than fifty pilots even tried it.
In the past few years I didn’t do a lot with it. Very little. But kept it online, paying the hosting fees, because I couldn’t bring myself to throw away all of the work I’d invested in it. Now I’m at the place where I wouldn’t know what to do if by some fluke of economics a dozen or so pilots start using it. Or worse, thousands. Time having passed, the lost time and effort that I had invested in it is less of a memory. Shutting it down, at last, feels like a positive. I save the hosting fees. Money kept in pocket. A win.