Our friends have asked us if we were nervous about going out on our own, especially with the economy as it is. Alex and I have wanted to do our own thing for a while. We call this yearning “not wanting to work for The Man.” We, to a large degree, control our own destiny. That means we need to simultaneously market our company, raise capital, develop the product and run an office. It’s only been two weeks and we’ve learned that when you are The Man, you have to wear many hats.
For most people who work in established companies, these tasks are divided and parceled out amongst numerous specialists. One of the chief complaints I heard from the younger engineers at our old company is that they don’t have a good view of the overall business. What I think they mean to say is that they don’t see the interaction of all the components that make a company run. I was an applications engineer, where I would meet customers, help solve their problems, sometimes at their location, define products and characterize them in end-applications. I thought I had a good view of how the business ran. Boy was I wrong.
There’s a lot of “small” organizational tasks that I took for granted. For example, we had a closet full of pencils and notebooks. We had an amazing field engineering team. We had a healthcare plan. I learned that when you are The Man, you need to know when to take advantage of the sale for a 24 port 10/100Mbps switch. You need to implement a successful distribution system and understand how to deal with healthcare for you and your employees. By the way, Microcenter, has a great deal on a 24 port D-Link switch.
I see PR in a whole new light. At our previous large company, I authored a fair number of webinars and articles. I contributed to ad campaigns for product releases. But at a startup, there is this visceral sense of the direct linkage with the bottom line. It’s where the rubber meets the road. Our web page ranking and the press we get will clearly affect how Baydin takes off. We’re working on a kick-ass product but people need to know about it to buy it.
To our friends who have been writing in to ask us how things are going. The protective cocoon has come off and we’re experiencing the internal clockwork of business. We’re beginning to see things as they are.