Over the past decade, I’ve been on a mission to improve life at work. Many of my solutions are experimental and weird (MetroNaps, for example), so I expect my failures to outnumber my successes. It’s therefore vitally important for my team and me to fail fast, then move on. This is why we’re closing ClearGears.

ClearGears was going sideways. We had a few passionate customers willing to pay for it, but we never got mainstream traction. We mistook enthusiasm from our first users as a sign that we should build a big business around the product. We were wrong.

We never found a perfect product-market fit. We built a product few people needed. We made it easy for small companies to conduct 360º performance reviews, only to learn (gradually) that small companies don’t often do 360º reviews, and few believe it’s worth paying for. While bigger companies pay for 360º review systems, they expect an enterprise-worthy solution that connects to their existing HR systems, an enterprise sales process, and consultants to help set it up. Our 5-man team could never do all that.

We stopped believing in it. A final, equally important reason we’re closing is because we stopped loving what we were doing. It turns out that ClearGears is at times devastatingly effective. In some cases, people were quitting or getting fired as a result of the continual feedback, and that’s not a product we want to put into the world.

What’s next? ClearGears has launched a new product called Interview Jet. It’s an extremely simple service that connects companies with talented people. Instead of paying a recruiter $20,000 or more to find and place people, employers can sign up for the free Interview Jet emails. We find good people and, if employers want to interview them, they pay us to make the introduction. Instead of getting people fired, we’re going to get them hired.

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  • Mdefranco

    Best of luck my friend. Can’t wait to see what Interview Jet turns into. Keep us posted!!

    Aloha brother- thanks for all the advice. You’re a seasoned vet and I can’t wait to watch your next homerun.

  • http://theleanstartupmachine.com Trevor Owens

    Great to hear this honest assessment of what happened with ClearGears. Good luck with Interview Jet, we’re all rooting for you over at the Lean team!

  • Shamiras

    It’s refreshing to read a humble and honest assessment. I look forward to your next venture with Interview Jet.

  • Khandker47

    All the best. Why share your idea about Interview Jet? Its a good idea.

  • Sumair

    Oops I was also planning an idea around this domain…but after reading your article I need to rethink my idea.

  • Arshad

    Yes, Sumair, proceed with caution. Test your marketing messages and find out what it really takes to sell HR software to companies before you build anything.

  • Arshad

    Khander47, I’m sharing the idea because Interview Jet is already live and making money.

  • Arshad

    Thanks, Shamiras!

  • Arshad

    Trevor, thanks for the ongoing support, my friend. We’re keeping all our new ventures totally lean.

  • Arshad

    Aloha, guys. Thanks for the kind words and support!

  • Glenn Riseley

    Wow. How refreshing to read an unvarnished, no B.S assesement of an idea’s failing. Most business people are loathe to admit to themselves that they failed and that the reason for the failure was something other than the economy, timing, limited capital etc. Of those who are brave enough to confront the truth and own it, almost none are brave enough to publicly share it with the world. You taught the rest of us a number of important business lessons here, the most important of which is the value of honesty. I’m sure you’re now one step closer to launching something that will make the world better and repay your faith in yourself and your team. Respect, Glenn

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the kind words, Glenn! It means a lot to earn the respect of an accomplished entrepreneur such as yourself.

  • Anonymous

    Sumair, you definitely want to proceed with caution. The field is filled with a few giant winners and many quiet corpses.

  • Anonymous

    Khandker47 – There’s nothing to hide regarding Interview Jet because it’s already live and making money.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks!

  • Anonymous

    Aloha, guys. Thanks, and I’ll be sure to keep you posted!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, Trevor! I’ll make sure the next projects follow Lean Startup Machine’s methodology. http://leanstartupmachine.com/