On Building Momentum

Startups live and die by the velocity and the resulting momentum that they build as they continue to iterate and scale.

And the lack of velocity and momentum is what can certainly kill any organization of any size! Whether it’s engineering, product marketing, sales, or human capital, if an organization doesn’t have and increase momentum then the end is an inevitability.

What we’ve been doing in the past months is focusing most of our efforts on the core product and the many iterations that we’ve put together to get closer to a market-fit. In short, we’ve been building engineering momentum consistently since we first starting writing code.

We’ve been sharing our progress twice a week (at least) on the blog here and we’ve also been liberally sharing our go-to-market thinking and experimental efforts at building a community around the concept of “high-performance engineering” and any of the verbiage derivatives as well.

We haven’t quite landed on the exact phrase(s) but they’ll come in time and are less important than actually building something people want and that attacks (and solves) fundamental pain for the individual, team, and larger organization.

All of these things are increasing our momentum in a variety of different ways and even attending YCombinator’s Inaugural Startup School and growing a new set of relationships there is part of the larger universe.

YCOM Startup School Office Hours

The reality is that we simply can’t go it alone and we’re going to need a constellation of resources and people to help get this off the ground. This includes anything from new interns to full-time staff to our venture partners and our friends and family.

Essentially, building momentum is required in every facet of an company’s life and the success of the business depends on it. The goal is to continue to build and iterate, experiment and grow, and remove ego from the equation as much as humanly possible as there is no “right” way to build a successful company (but many of the ingredients are shared, a’la momentum!).

A momentum, iteration model.

I found the above image from a recent, deeply mathematical piece here that I felt was an incredibly accurate picture of how a startup finds and builds momentum (and iterates on product-market fit!).

The article itself may not be overly useful, but, the imagery made an impression!

You have a starting point and you take a “stab in the dark” as to what you think is going to work. Then you iterate, go another direction, and continue to do so until you’ve refined it to a small and accurate point.

Head toward optimum.

Again, this iterative approach is for your product, your engineering, the way you do internal operations, customer discovery and onboarding, venture financing, and anything else the startup needs.

You and the team are on a mission to discover and to eventually land on “optimum” and on the path your product gets better, more customers onboard, and you build revenue.

The path can get ugly and difficulty and outright dangerous but it is all part of the process. Besides, the process and path wasn’t meant to be a clean one to begin with.

But you don’t stop and you don’t quit and you put one foot in front of the other. You take the small wins and you celebrate them because what is celebrated is repeated. And you obviously want to celebrate the stuff that works.

Onward and upward my friends!