The single most important financial metric for any startup company isn’t revenues, margin, headcount, or profits. Those are all important, for sure. But the number that matters most is the cash balance.
Eddie Cantor, a star of stage, screen, radio and TV from 1900 to 1960 said; “It took me twenty years to become an overnight success”.
Let’s think about that literally for a minute. If I told you today that your dreams would come true if you gave 100% effort everyday toward those dreams for the next twenty years, would you be able to do it?
My friends Ben Neumann and Chris Ueland have a clever idea for helping out Hurricane Katrina victims called MillionDollarHelpPage. They’ve taken the idea that Alex Tew came up for MillionDollarHomePage and repurposed it to be a Katrina fundraiser with the goal of raising $1 million.
Thanks largely to the exposure of Fred Wilson’s kind words, my recent post on the Seven Founding Sins – common mistakes which often divert entrepreneurs off the path towards success – received a number of comments and feedback throughout the blogosphere. I’d recommend reading the original post, but the summary of the sins itemized are: inauthenticity, sloth, extravagance, taciturnity, greed, arrogance, and indecisiveness.
Given that I thought the discussion was interesting, I thought I would highlight a few others’ reactions.
For an idea to spread, it needs to be sent and received.
No one “sends” an idea unless:
a. they understand it
b. they want it to spread
c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind
d. the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits
No one “gets” an idea unless:
a. the first impression demands further investigation
b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea
c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time
What goes away when a company moves past the start-up phase? Living only on take-out and caffeine. Working in a [small] living room. Crazy, stupid, unprofessional behavior. Wearing nothing but shorts and ripped t-shirts.
Is this a good thing?
This article describes an alternative approach to building massively scalable online multiplayer systems using my OpenPoker∞ project as an example. OpenPoker is a massively multiplayer poker server with fault-tolerance, load balancing and unlimited scalability built in. The source code to OpenPoker is available from my site under the GPL and comes in under 10,000 lines of code of which about 1/3 are dedicated to testing.
Two months ago, Joel Spolsky published an essay entitled Hitting the High Notes in which he uses the metaphor of vocalists to explain something about software developers… High notes are amazing, but harmony is powerful. I am not disagreeing with Joel’s metaphor. Rather, I like his metaphor so much that I want to finish it. Joel spoke of individual talent in terms of a soloist. I want to speak of team talent in terms of a choir.