Shirish Pokharel Failed Ideas blog

The following essays are post-mortems of projects I've worked on that have failed. I've gone back through the years and unearthed some of my dearest ideas that were almost successful, yet fell short. Feel free to reach out if you'd like detailed proposal documents and other information about the projects. I'd also be happy to work with anyone interested in implementing some of these ideas. While they may not have worked out for me, I believe they haven't failed as concepts.

The great dream, and the betrayal, of Blockchain: lessons from Grad School

During my graduate studies at UMass Amherst in 2017, distributed computing was a hot topic. Blockchain technology, in particular, held immense promise for the future. Ethereum was supposed to be next big thing, Solidity the programming language of choice. I was skeptical, but one must seriously consider the most outlandish...

A food research and development company: foiled by factors far beyond our control

The idea was to research, develop, market, and sell new and novel health food products into the Nepali market. Our target audience was the health-conscious upper-middle class and foreign “returnees” familiar with Western health-food culture. The idea failed because we didn’t realize the non-food aspects of business growth, the the...

Hawaghar: a failure in community-building

Early to mid-2010s, inspired by Peter Thiel and the “unschooling” concept, I wanted to start a learning space for folks to offer and take unaccredited classes on various skills and topics. I called it Hawaghar.The implementation failed miserably, but important lessons were learned.

Shuttling laptops in carts: foiled by lack of clear and united team vision

My idea was for a local business to purchase dozens of laptops and shuttle them across different community schools within a neighborhood. At the time, laptops were not as affordable or as common as they are today, and community schools had a limited supply of desktop computers for computer science...

OLPC project: a failure to understand the limits of technology

You can’t just hand a hundred laptops out without significantly adapting the syllabus and the pedagogy, they told us. We refused to believe our energy and drive wouldn’t be enough. We were wrong.