Is it Belief? Or Delusion?

I have been running Infinity Softworks for 15 years now, most of the time as a start-up and some times as a company. The process is walking the fine edge of a knife. I have to be strong willed enough to keep going, determined enough to fight ridiculous odds, and positive enough to keep me and my team going through every up and down of the company. Any fall off of any of those three and we slip off the knife edge.

There was a time when I almost gave up. It was the fall of 2007. Our multi-year campaign to make headway in math education came to a screeching halt thanks mostly to Palm firing their education team. From 2006 to 2007 we lost 75% of our income and I took the team from 10 to 3. An opportunity to sell the company fell through, which was a shame as it would have meant an incredible opportunity for Infinity Softworks’ technology and me personally.

I had faith in a new product we were developing, though, and believed that that would help us re-build. But I underestimated so much: the market interest, the help we had gotten from Palm, how hard sales were going to be. In mid-2007 I realized the product we had spent almost two years on wasn’t going to go anywhere either, fired my last employees and was trying to prepare myself to move on. As a friend said to me, it was the first time he saw me ever hit a brick wall and stop. Usually I’d claw my way over, under or around.

Now I’m on to new and interesting things, all within the same theme of working with numbers. powerOne is doing well and we just released DEWALT Mobile Pro. We are working on new deals and new ideas that push the boundaries of working with numbers even further.

So I’ve been thinking about that start-up knife edge again, thinking a little bit about how I almost gave up, almost sold out, some five-six years ago. And I realize that there is one other thing I hadn’t considered regarding that knife edge: there is a fine line between delusion and belief. And I think you have to have a little of both to make this start-up thing work.

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