Anyone who’s worked in a startup knows there’s a period during development when you wonder to yourself whether you’ll actually be able to build the shiny new widget you set out to. Actually, I this emotion may be stronger in those of us who can’t actually execute the design, but need to keep pumping up customers and analysts that it IS coming.
I wrote earlier, though, about that magic moment when you realize you’ve actually done it and the system works. It’s never the first burp from the system, but a point when you know it’ll actually work in production. With AppLogic that moment came when I was able to launch 30 crm apps from my sofa one Saturday while watching cartoons with my son.
Once engineering proves it can deliver is when we get to find out if marketing did it’s job. Did we make the right feature tradeoffs? Did we pick the right target market? What about the pricing model? Collateral? PR? When creating not just a new catagory, but a whole new way of conducting business every decision is revisited again, and again, and again.
And that brings me to another stress buster moment in the life of the startup. It didn’t come with the first contracts or even with the first customer announcement. Instead, while preparing for a staff meeting recently I suddenly realized we’re tracking more than 2 active evaluations for every employee in the company. In fact, with a few additional evals starting over the next couple weeks we may get close to 3 evals per employee. That realization is the moment I knew we’d gauged the market correctly.
Even so, there’s no time to rest, of course. We have a lot of work ahead of us to make 3tera successful. Life at 3 evals per employee (can I coin the “epe” unit of measure?) isn’t fun and games; it’s long hours, countless conference calls, too many emails to count, the crackberry buzzing at all hours, more than a few frayed nerves, and even a few angry spouses. Still, for some of us, this is what we live for.