At 26 I thought I was ready to run a company.
In the preceding few years I had done pretty much everything while putting the first building blocks of Infinity Softworks in place. I’d written much of the code, did support, managed the finances, sold and marketed the products, built relationships.
And then in 2000 I met a few good guys and we agreed that we wanted to build something bigger. The stock market was still going strong, the mobile market was growing 100% per year and we were afraid someone would pass us. So we decided to raise a round of funding. And that became my job while I left everyone else to run the company.
But me walking away like this left the company rudderless. I never shared my vision for the company and never pushed my ideas. I didn’t do a good job of defining roles in the company. I can’t even say I even believed in my own abilities.
Infinity Softworks, over the next seven years, failed. By 2007 the revenues were gone and the employees were gone and I was left by myself, again, for the first time since 1999.
But then something funny happened. A spark, an idea, a belief. And I started to build around that idea and I was able to convince one of my previous employees to come back, too. And the idea became more formed over the next year and a half and a few other people offered to help, some with money and others with time.
And now the ideas are solid enough to pursue as a bigger company again. The mobile market is growing better than 100% per year and we are attracting even more people to help out, with money or time or both.
But this time it is different. Not just because the ideas are different and more fully formed but also because I am different.
At 38 I am ready to run a company.
I understand my vision and I understand my strengths and limitations. I have a hiring strategy and a business strategy and a product strategy and the beginnings of a marketing strategy. I am comfortable with who I am. I am no longer ashamed of my attention to detail, my desire to get everything just right, my unbending rule that you don’t ship half-ass crap. I have the personal fortitude to take in other people’s opinions and let them influence the direction without losing my own perspectives. Heck, I have perspectives.
It took me 12 years but I’m ready to lead.