I love Buster Benson. A class act all the way. Sometimes, though, the dear fellow, one of my best friends, is self-deprecating to the core. He sell himself short. I just went out and visited him a couple weeks ago, and I know he’s sad about Habit Labs, and this blog post is a great read about someone picking themselves up and moving on, but as a good friend of his, I feel it doesn’t do him justice.
His first startup, the Robot Co-Op, was founded in 2005. It won the Webby that year for Best Social Networking Site and we all loved it. Here’s the thing though. It’s still in existence, it’s still a going business to this day, seven years later. That, in itself, is an accomplishment.
The bar? Okay. That didn’t work out too well. But you know what? I was an investor in it, and I don’t regret a second of it. One of the best times of my life that place.
But you know what? I don’t see it at that way at all. Locavore? A successful product that he sold and lives on to this day. 750 Words? Still alive and well, a site designed from the ground up to not be part of the viral loop, to be something personal and private and special, nonetheless still living on. Additionally it has spawned Peabrain, a product that I am now using and loving completely.
Health Month? Sold, and will live on.
The way I see it, that’s four successes Buster has had, all with amazing sites that have changed countless people’s lives for the better.
I’ll go one further and say something Buster’s too polite to say: the failures of Habit Labs were not his fault, and the product itself (the part of the company he was responsible for) was special, and had amazing metrics around user retention. What Buster went through with an AWOL cofounder is nothing sort of extraordinary, poor luck, and unfair. I know Buster’s counterpoint to that would be that he chose and trusted this person, but considering that I have met literally dozens of amazing people through Buster through the years, every one of them simply wonderful, I can hardly agree with the supposition that his judgement of character is poor.
Buster is one of the smartest, best people I’ve ever known. It’s super sad about Habit Labs, and as an investor I feel his pain as well, but it hasn’t shaken my faith in him at all, and I still think his accomplishments have been remarkable through the years.
Oh, also, did you know he wrote a novel?
Rick does a great job explaining some of the reasons Buster is one of my heroes.
Also if you havent read his full post you should.
My fave lines:
Remember, we all die in the end anyway. Nobody’s going to be using this skull after I’m done with it so might as well give it a good pounding.
I’m happy to be here.