A little more than three years ago, I took on yet another start-up gig. This time, I asked my family for permission before embarking on the adventure. While I was given three enthusiastic thumbs up at the time, there is no doubt that at least my wife regrets urging me onward.
Livemocha was a blessing and a curse. I never felt more proud of a product or service. The newest version we built is revolutionary in design and implementation. You can in fact learn a language with this service – we have some evidence to back up that claim. And in the hands of a teacher, the service works magic. But Livemocha was probably the worst business experience of my nearly 30 year career. Sales growth was anemic – in consumer and institutional markets. Profits were impossible to achieve without massive capitalization or catastrophic cost reduction. Neither were ever a realistic option.
So we sold our venture to Rosetta Stone, which arguably needed Livemocha’s platform and product team more than any other company in the world.
So now I am in the last few days of transition – our product, sales, and finance teams are settling into new roles in the much larger parent company. And I’m ready to finally take a break. At the moment, it is unclear if my marriage has survived the past three years. But it is clear that my 51 year-old body, is a bit wiped but will recover quickly. For a little while, I will rest on this beach. And then – it will be time to stop lolly-gagging around and find what else might be fun to work on…