Reminiscing – the first half of 2007

I.e. the glaring gap between January and May of this year…

Shut down one company

The victim was Tot Jot. Be as it may, it was a good learning experience. The biggest lesson…you can’t ignore the “feet on the ground” marketing needed by a business, even if the company is entirely virtual.

I certainly want to thank the potential investors I spoke with, even if they didn’t wind up writing any checks. Good insight can always be had from conversing with professional stakeholders. You may not think that way when they are telling you to stick your concept in the “FU bin” (yes, one actually said that), but reflection will make the message a lot clearer. I’ll also thank several close friends who supported me in the endeavor, as well as those that advised me to pull the plug.

Prepped another company for financing

A great job some folks I know did building something really fantastic. They aren’t really part of the local club, operations are spread all over the place, and they were missing a solid financial arm. We pulled together a years worth of books and records in under a week, and spent the rest of the time sculpting a set of financial projections that, for the couple of months I was involved, were mirroring actuals within a couple of percent of gross revenue and even a bit closer below the margin line. The Excel model was a bit of a pain to share, as it was over 2mb, but heck, it worked.

Now let’s just keep our fingers crossed that they get their cash.

Technology Use

I had a Powerbook on the desk for more than two years. But in my infinite wisdom, I thought I needed an Intel-based MacBook Pro so I’d have easy access to Windows and Linux (through virtualization). Now, I’d be hard pressed to think of a computer I’ve had more problems with – I think Apple has quality control issues resulting from new-found popularity and an obsession with earbuds and living rooms. They’ve jumped though hoops trying and set things straight – things are still not quite right, and I’ve given up. Sad.

Recreation

I missed out on more recreational activities than any one person should in a lifetime while working on Tot Jot. While it was a great mental exercise, a person shouldn’t have to leave a dozen fly rods sitting in their tubes for an entire season. It’s almost inhumane. I promise it won’t happen again.

Stringing together something new

Yes, but I’m not all that keen to start popping off about it. It’s kind of the in-thing to “pre-market” your “pre-alpha” product or service, and by invite-only to boot! Doing this has two effects: 1) it essentially cuts you out of any more worthwhile opportunities that might arise before your idea really gels; and 2) it almost guarantees that if you go down, it’ll be in flames. There used to be a term for this…vaporware, and proliferation of it is usually a pretty good sign that the pot is ‘a boiling over.

What ever happened to the element of surprise? Or do I mean humility?

UPDATE: I’ve got a lot of handwritten notes from the past few months – I’ll use them to fill in some of the blanks, as time permits.

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