designtrack Journal

← Back

The Rollercoaster

Christopher Murphy


This morning, I woke to an inbox full of emails. There was one, in particular, I was looking for.

Scrolling through the list, I found it.

We would like to thank you for your time and effort in submitting the Concept Grant Application Form and for presenting to Techstart in January 2019.

Unfortunately, we regret to inform you that your application has not been successful.

At that moment, I was – as you’d expect – hit with a wave of disappointment. I’d put a great deal of effort into articulating my vision for designtrack.

This application for £10,000 of support was intimately integrated into my spreadsheet, perhaps a little too intimately.

The problem – as I later discovered during the feedback – was that the problem I had articulated, whilst interesting, hadn’t been innovative enough to qualify for support.

The feedback Techstart provided was fantastic, identifying weaknesses I needed to address if I were to be successful.

The startup journey is – like the Kickstarter journey – a rollercoaster of intense highs (being accepted onto Propel) followed immediately by intense lows (being unsuccessful).

I’ll share more of the lessons I learned in a future post, but the lesson I learned is that I needed to build an emotional bomshelter (as my Masters graduate and Get Invited co-founder, Kyle Gawley, once told me).

Lesson learned.

About the author…

A designer, writer and speaker based in Belfast, Christopher mentors purpose-driven businesses, helping them to launch and thrive. He’s currently building designtrack, an education-focused startup.

As a design strategist, Christopher has worked with companies, large and small, to help drive innovation, drawing on his 25+ years of experience working with clients including: Adobe, EA and the BBC.


Subscribe to get weekly updates and lessons learned from our journey towards building a (hopefully!) successful startup.

This is broken. I’m working on it now.