I met with a fellow entrepreneur today. A great guy who – along with his co-founders – is killing it with his startup. As I was going through the regular formalities of how I ended up “here,” it inevitably came to the my last day at Kinaxis.
I went to… “so about a year ago… wait, a year ago today!” It was interesting to watch his smile as I am sure my face split thinking about it.
The meeting continued, but I have been thinking about that day – and most of the 365 days in between – all evening. Before answering the question posed in the title, it might be a good idea if I take stock and be objective about it. I wrote my first post on this blog on October 24 of last year. In it, I said that I felt I had three choices in front of me. Well, I chose “start a company from scratch.” I said I would do it based on three guiding principles. Let’s take a look at these and try to score them:
(1) I want to be part of a team that creates a product and/or service that will change a market; make people’s live better or easier.
We decided to tackle the “little” problem of travel planning. We validated a market need. People say they need a solution to this problem. Can we build that product? Well, we released a closed alpha which has been used by 60 people. Has it made their lives better or easier? Not yet. But we are learning, adapting, changing some things, removing others and adding what is clearly missing. The feedback keeps getting better.
We have been putting the team together. Not as fast as we want. More on that in the next point.
It is early to score this as a success, but it is heading in the right direction. Let’s call this… Yellow, trending green.
(2) Work with like-minded people who want to get up out of the bed everyday and make themselves better and make the world around them a better place. People who feel a duty to do so, in fact.
On team – we have had bumps on the road of getting the right team together, but we have learned. We have had direct help (including actual software code!) from so many people who have been generous with their time and talents. We have a full time software engineer on our team and he is definitely the “right people.” He is always looking to learn more from people and get it into product. We are all continuing to learn. We are not going to compromise on the right people who focus on changing this market in the right way.
I’m going to score this the same. It has been a roller coaster. The team is still too small, but the team we have is green and we think we know what we need to do to add to it. Yellow, trending green.
(3) Spend as close to zero hours a day on low value conversations and activities as possible. Low value conversations and activities being anything that don’t relate to points 1 and 2. These conversations are often referred to as politics.
Green. Solid green. Enough said.
Just before answering the question, we have a tonne of work in front of us. The path is not predictable. We are scared, yet confident. Patient, yet super focused.
So, the answer to “Would I do it all over?” YES. One thousand times, YES!
’til next time.. Kirk out.