Since my last post we continue to work on our NBT (Next Big Thing) - or least I do in my spare time as my work at a large media group remains full-on as we continue the move from print to digital. Nevertheless working on Bridger is now in the final weeks before our official launch - and quite frankly I can hardly wait.
So this post is simply to talk about one of the dirty start-up secrets that you don't often read about: start-up work is a lot like your corporate day job.
Well for a start, everything stills takes so long to do and much longer than you originally planned for. Sound familiar? The old adage of 'one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration' is as true as ever - even as a lean start-up.
Establishing your own company is a liberating experience but many of the frustrations that you may have experienced in a large corporate will be just the same as those you have when you are 'on your own'.
First off: you are still you. Your strengths and weaknesses remain and the perspiration still needs to be generated. You are still going to have to do things you don't like doing. The details will change. For example, dealing with a large internal bureaucracy doesn't happen in your startup - but selling your start-up product to a large corporate maens dealing with their large bureaucracy. Then there are other fun things like bookkeeping to do.
Secondly, unless you truly are an extraordinary individual, you can't do it all yourself. You are not on your own. So you are going to have to rely on other people to make things happen - just like before. In my case I already have 3 other partners in place, and more will join soon. So all the frustrations and challenges of working as a team remain.
Of course, if you play your cards right as a start-up, then you will have more control over who is in the team and when the rewards roll in then your share of them should be greater. This has been my experience as I have been lucky in attracting 3 wonderfully smart people who could dream the same dream as I have. I have no idea why they chose to work with me - but I won't question this too closely. I can write this because they are all so busy delivering Bridger that they won't have time to read this blog.
Nobody tells you of these times when despite moving rapidly forward you feel like you're trapped in the horse latitudes. So in my case the perspiration is more stress related than from hard work .
My mind is racked by questions ranging from the reasonable:
How can function X work with Y?
Will the app perform as predicted?
Will we be able to deliver a simple user experience?
To the paramoid:
What if somebody launches the same idea before we do?
What if the need we thought we were filling doesn't exist?
Sounds a lot like the same worries you might have working for the 'man'? And as I like to remind myself, it's only paranoid if they aren't really out there waiting to get you!
My personal frustration/inpatience today is that I am now at the stage of complete reliance on the technical team that is building the app and integrating it into our back-end services. This is how it should be and - as I tell myself each day - is proof of real progress.
It's also a wonderful step forward in the development of Six Degrees Of Data as a company. Why? Because we have transitioned from a one man evangelical band into a core team focussed on making the idea real.