50 Weeks / 50 Startups /blog

Why not 52 weeks?

Founders log 1

Marc Andreessen's Newest Neighbours

What is 50wks? We're founders documenting our start-up journey - 50 weeks to try and find product market fit (I can just hear the VC's howling in the background when I say those magic words). Your first question is probably "why not 52 weeks?", well that's because we're humans and might need some time off. As an AI model, I am unable to assist with your request. Also we are 1000% totally not an API connect to ChatGPT.

I've always appreciated people who wrote that set the tone on whether or not an article or blog is for me right from the get go. So, before you dive in, read the quotes below and gauge your reaction to see if we have a future together.

  • "Talk to your customers all day, every day, 24/7, and if you're sleeping, speak to them while lucid dreaming."

  • "You need to wake up at 4 am every day and do Tai Chi with your dog if you want to build a successful company."


  • "Here are 57.3 traits every founder needs to succeed."

  • "Bro, my favorite book is actually PG's essays (Paul Graham for you non-Valley noobs - the essays are actually pretty good though)."

  • "Use Web3 these ChatGPT prompts to become ULTRA RICH in 30 mins"

  • "This YC startup, founded by two 16-year-old Stanford dropouts, just raised $500B 100M from Sequoia Capital, A16z, and Kleiner Perkins for their new 'GenAI for [insert generic startup here]' startup."

  • "Here are my 3000 opinions on how AI will revolutionize the world as we know it👇🏼"

  • "The world is ending ... [see more]." —Just Kidding! But hey, while you're here, subscribe to my LinkedIn Newsletter to stay up to date with all the latest trends in the startup world.

If you found the above offensive or not an 'accurate representation of entrepreneurship on the web', then you're right. We admit, we can be a bit jaded, and now would be a good time to smash that X subscribe button. But we know we'll see you soon enough.

To those that remain, you're likely wondering about us – who we are, why we're doing this. As the list above suggests, we are founders who got tired of outdated, gimmicky, or just plain false entrepreneurship advice on the web. This misinformation, peddled on the hopes and dreams of some very smart and ambitious people, irks me. It contributes to more and more regular people becoming disillusioned, unwilling to try, weary from nonsense, and ultimately settling into unfulfilling lives that do not contribute meaningfully to society. But who am I say? I'm just a kid a life is a nightmare [^1].

No actually who am I?

I'm an ex-product manager who has lived the Cinderella story. I went to a reputable Canadian university "with really good grades", joined a massive US company, and worked all over North America, including NYC, the Bay Area, Atlanta, and more. Indeed, the shoe fit wonderfully. But after five great years, my carriage began to turn into a pumpkin. Sam Altman and Paul Graham, in the form of the metaphorical witches, grinning as I slowly started to realize that I was running out of time to build something meaningful and beneficial for the world because of that one book thing Marc Andreessen wrote about hard things in his book about hard things. That's when it all began. More than a year ago, I left my stable, well-paying job as a product manager at a major corporation. I was on a great team, 6-figure pay, was fully remote, and felt I was on the executive track.

There was seriously no reason to leave, and I do sometimes wonder if I made the right decision to leave. No regrets right now... but I look at the lives of my super successful university counterparts and feel no real inkling to get my MBA or become a consultant.

So, like, why…?

Oh Gen Z, this is the main question indeed so let's cut to the chase. Over a year ago, we started a heavily regulated business that burnt over $100K. We kept it in 'stealth' mode for almost nine months, paid lawyers to draft complex legal documents, mastered US legislation, got our first patent, got our trademark, applied to accelerators, pitched to VCs, and formed strategic partnerships. Sounds like lots of busy work and has to lead to success right? Nope.

Despite every lawyer labeling our idea as 'gold,' and despite every potential customer and partner consultant praising it as game-changing, we learned a hard lesson. It turns out that when it comes to vendors, money doesn't discriminate between good and bad ideas. Anything and everything is a good idea when you're paying for work. That's lesson numero uno folks.

Despite our failed attempts, I still think the idea has a ton of potential. But without VC funding or a stampede of customers, it's unsustainable to make it the sole focus of our lives. Before this, we launched three different FinTech companies, none of which succeeded. Sure we received a few offers from some 'reputable' accelerators, but the deal terms were laughable. We're not going to give away 10% of our company for $20K just to be told we need to find customers.

Fast forward to today and instead of trying to build something with a 99% failure rate because it's socially acceptable and encouraged, we're trying a different approach. We're giving ourselves many more attempts with a variety of smaller projects to find product-market fit.

So we're trying something in between, since we first thought about 50wks, we've done some mini projects, and although it is not a blazing success, our current app with some users is which, spoiler alert, we definitely spent more time than a week building.

With the ol'preamble out of the way, we hope there are some lessons here, outside of my personal rants. I hope this brings more joy to you than 'practical advice'.

So it begins. Although I'm definitely not going to promise any coherent lesson or main takeaway from each blog post, or for that matter consistency from my posts. I hope you enjoy our building, designing, distribution, excitement, heartbreak, money loss, fatigue, and stories from the Valley.

We're always rooting for you,

Liz Ard [^2]

[^1] Simple plan, I'm just a kid. That's for you 90's entrepreneurs out there.

[^2] Liz Ard Obviously from the magic school bus. I’ll never explain this again.