I spent some time this morning with a startup founder and he’s in a bit of a pickle, crisis mode, really if we’re honest.
It’s a place that I’ve found myself quite a few times in the past where I’m having to make very difficult decisions about the fate of the business and venture, decisions like who to let go, and where to focus time and attention for the next 30 days, and do we go on a capital raise, and do we need to stop development and such.
Big decisions requiring a lot of risk with a ton of unknown outcomes. To top it all off it’s his first venture, his first real company, and he’s made some mistakes and will make a bunch more before it’s all said and done with.
There can be a significant cost associated with executing on “low hanging fruit.” In previous companies I came to the realization that trying to convince my team to always execute against them was not only unproductive but distracting.
You see, not all low hanging fruit can be helpful and yet many times we personally try to knock out these things first and what may happen all too often is that we completely ignore the larger goals.
I like to think that dedicated and passionate software engineers are craftsmen – consummate professionals who’s work is of the highest quality both in form and function.
Essentially, we love what we do because we really, really care about the entire experience of preparing, planning, building, touching, interfacing, and the art of learning our creative craft.
I’m not entirely sure if we get to chose the craft or if the craft choses us – it’s all the same really. We hone our skills because we pursue the lost art of refined excellence – it is our trade, our livelihood, and our passion.
I’m a big Apple fan and clearly I enjoy it enough to invest a serious amount of time and effort building products (here and here) for their growing ecosystem. I have spent many years converting my entire family (and extended family) to their product line because I just believe they are superior in every way.
But there’s a number of other computer and technology companies that are close to my heart and HP is one of them, especially because they are distinctly different than other high tech companies.
If you’re familiar with the Dos Equis commercials featuring “The Most Interesting Man in the World” then you’ll get a laugh out of this one. I know that I did.
The one above is a common “sin” when it comes to hiring and growing a technology-centric business because many mistake the best software engineer (or the first) to have the same qualities as a leader they need to run the organization. This isn’t always the case.
My team has been working incredibly hard to turn something that was once just an idea into a sustainable and growth-oriented model. In fact, they’ve been doing more than that the the stories that I hear from our graduates of The Iron Yard have validated that the hill that we’ve decided to climb was the right one to tackle.
And we want to do much, much more (as most companies do). We’ve got tons of neat ideas for expansion, for culture development, for creating even more value for our customers and for our staff. There’s always room for new and fresh ideas and I conjure up a ton of them every single week.
Via Steve Jobs:
In a conversation years ago, Mr. Jobs said he was disturbed when he heard young entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley use the term “exit strategy” — a quick, lucrative sale of a start-up. It was a small ambition, Mr. Jobs said, instead of trying to build companies that last for decades, if not a century or more.
The so-called “Exit Strategy” is one that you hear all the time in startup world and it’s a question that’s hard to answer as there is not a one-size-fits-all type of response.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – everyone has a price but I do not believe that “price” is always directly related to a financial bottom-line.