we are pirates

We Are Pirates

Posted on March 30, 2013

The story of a startup (F-Startup) is similar to a story of some people who turns pirates, in an attempt to get rich, not knowing what dangers await them on the sea.

There is a big resemblance between a company and a fleet of vessels. A department, inside a company, is like one ship from the fleet having the following crew: a captain (an executive director), a first officer (director/senior manager), second officer (a Project Manager), many commanding officers (team leads or others middle level  managers, etc) and teams of leutanants (consultants, senior developers), second leutenants (middle level developers, etc.) and matelots (experts in different domains). 

On a ship, the orders are executed using the chain of commands, from the executives to senior officers, officers, until the lowest rank (very similar to a functional  organization). But, as in many companies, ship might have a flat hierachy, meaning that the entire crew reports directly to captain. This kind of descentralized organization, where there are no chain of commands, is similar to a pirate ship rather than a ship from army. A fleet (like a company) is ruled by an admiral (a CEO). In our story, the roles of shareholders and the company owners is played by those rich kings or nobles from the king’s court, living far away from dangers on a distant land, somewhere on shore, playing cricket or golf…

If all fleets are downed by enemies, kings remain defenseless and are either put in prison or die beheaded (as happens today when a company goes bankrupt). Any sailor or officer has duty to defend his king at any cost (even with their lifes). But if the king dies, it is shouting:

-The king has died! Everyone is on his own! Save your lives! (Or a mutiny take place and all sailors kill each other)

The king (company owner) sometimes pay visits to his top fleets (most profitable companies). He likes to walk among sailors, on the bridge and to talk with people:

-I want to conquest the sea! or We will conquer all world! or Why the sea is so vast?! How much do we have until we conquer the world?

(Such questions without answer appear frequently from the shareholders: -What we lack to make more money?? (can be translated as: How much do we have until we conquer the world?) or -What can we do to become known on market? can be reformulated as: -Why the sea is so vast?! (See the story of Our business model).

The fleet’s admiral (F-Startup CEO), a former spokesperson of the King (former VP of Communications at another company owned by shareholders), before he joined the army of the king, had sold Cuban cigars (CEO worked in the tobacco industry and had little or no experience in IT industry, our core activity). The fleet was composed by a big ship, flag ship (research and development department) and few small crafts looking more as cruise ships (departments of sales, marketing, etc.) anchored by the flag ship.

At the beginning, the flag ship sailed without the full crew (only a few specialists have been hired initially) but during our mission, we’ve hired a team of mercenaries (subcontractors from a consulting companies: programmers, testers, designers, architects, and later specialists in PR, online marketing and sales).

We start our journey across the big blue with the white flag waving in the wind. (In this context, the flag is the symbol of the company Brand, “blue sea” is an allusion to the concept of Blue Ocean in marketing, see the story of a A Brand workshop). We had made provisions for one year, hopefully we will not be forced to stop in ports (the F-Startup budget although designed for three years, but proved to be realistic only for a single year; the plan was after the first year we will be able to sell enough that we can keep the operations cost).

Shortly after the ship had been launched at water, it started a terrible storm (with reference to the story: Collective redundancies). The admiral, who had never seen a storm at sea, was frightened (inexperience and misunderstanding of the life cycle of IT products has proved a great challenge for CEO). When the storm subsided, Admiral, living a terrible fright, had hired a team of experts in order to keep him informed about the weather conditions (see Who are The Experts?). The admiral aids proved unnecessary (they also lack experience in IT), and, as the storm continued, the Admiral still remains scared and his decisions have become more chaotic and desperate than ever. Once the Experts were hired, our trip has turned into a real adventure.

Despite the dangers laid us ahead (pirates and enemy ships), Admiral has looked our mission as a pleasure trip on sea: his consultants were always relaxed, cheerful, with fine drinks and food, tan all day long in the sun (as a fact, our experts did not like to work; the most of their time was spent in coffee meetings or browsing all day long on social networks). So, the admiral aids have fully enjoyed their parties on boat cruises, bravely singing songs about what we will do “when we will conquer the world.” Admiral, seeing how joyful the life is on the cruise ships, he decided to leave the flag ship and moved on the cruise ships.

Probably you ask, where is the captain of the flag ship? Captain, being always busy with other businesses, always missing from the line of duty, practically gave me the interim command of the vessel (my direct superior, company’s COO, who had another job in another city, left me the management of the department, at a time, when tension between the R&D department and marketing increased; but, despite conflictual situation, he has decided to transfer me almost all his responsibilities).

Again, It started a terrible storm on the sea. Cruise ships were completely destroyed and our ship suffered serious damage (budget for sales and marketing departments were wasted and in the absence of any signed contract with a strategic partner, the F-Startup become a bankrupt company; the bankruptcy was due also to the parent company, who was closed).

It has been convened a large meeting to determine the storm damage…

-Who was responsible for the storm? Admiral asks accusingly.
-He’s guilty by storm! consultants respond pointing at me.

(Board discussions were often on the borderline of stupidity: Most disagreements between board members were due to lack of understanding the IT industry. Many questions were like: Why the product has the same design with the brand? What means the life cycle of a product? etc.)

-Admiral, I think we should change the color of the vessel. Black is depressing … comes with a “wise” proposal one of the assistants.
-Let’s change the color in white! Admiral decided.
But Admiral, black was chosen by the King! I can not paint the ship in white, I answered.
Admiral nervous, beat his fist on the mast:
Who are you to tell me how to drive a boat? Young man, I have 25 years experience in the service of the King! I do not care what the King says! I want the ship painted in white! Admiral screamed.

(Not once, but several times, the CEO reversed its decision: product design today was white, blue tomorrow, day after tomorrow white, then spotted blue. Changes were common, but the most important aspect was that the requirements were contradictory. Moreover, CEO decisions came to be made ​​solely on the basis of expert opinions of Marketing and Sales. View of the Master of Puppets).

Meanwhile, far from the sea, in the land of the king, the drought decimated all crops (parent company lost major contracts, had gone bankrupt and nearly all the people were fired). Desperate king wanted, at all cost, to conquer new territories to recover his lost. No rain for a few months and scorching sun had made havoc and among sailors. (we “burned” almost all the company’s money and we still had not managed to sell anything. Some people were forced to resign and contracts with providers have been terminated. The Firm has collapsed).

Last letter from the king sounds like this:

-In two months I want to conquer the world. We’ll start with Europe!

The commandment made ​​Admiral thinking. He no longer was able to sleep nights, staring at the stars continuously, trying desperate to find a way to conquer the world (referring to the Modern Times story describing the dilemmas facing the CEO). Slowly famine has decimated the crew; we barely kept our ship on the surface (shareholders put pressure on us when the parent company went bankrupt and lack of resources made internal organization chaotic. We had moved the headquarters to a much smaller space, where we had only just minimal comfort: computers, desks, a few chairs used water, coffee, fridge and electricity, a meeting room).

-Say to your people to work more! We’re moving too slow! .
-We do not have wind Admiral! That’s the maximum speed you can have!
-Faster! Rowing if necessary!
-And tell your men to wash themselves. It’s a terrible smell of sweat!

(Open space in which we moved had no airflow, people were sweating, windows could not be opened and the air conditioning could not cope. Even the people worked in poor conditions, in two months we managed to put on feet the first product, practically we achieved the impossible, but instead praises, employees had received unfair nickname “unwashed”).

People discontent grew and officers were beginning to question the competence of superiors (see how did Our great launch). One night, the sailors protested by cutting the flag and made it an uniform …

-This is outrageous! You’ll pay for this! said the angry admiral.

(Latest changes imposed by CEO created dissatisfaction among employees. There were few who still believe in our products and the quality of work decreased day by day. Meanwhile CEO become tyrannical, imposed his decission with his fist in the table and all reasons were like “Because I said so”).

-If tomorrow we do not have our white flag up the mast, I’ll throw you all into the sea! Admiral threatened us.

The admiral freezed when he woke up the next morning… Overnight, the outraged sailors have painted the ship all in black, sails were also painted in black and the flag was replaced with a pirate flag. The flag ship, as a black pitch, melted by the sun, became a pirate ship. (Research and development teams had been named “pirates”, because they were considered insubordinate and defiant; see The story of the IT Engineer).

Suddenly, the water around our ship had become red. Sharks began circling around us. We are sailing in troubled waters. (Hint to the concept of marketing Red Ocean vs Blue Ocean. Several new startups emerged on the market and our products were at risk to be “swallowed” by competition before they were launched on the market).

Admiral received an ultimatum from the king: “Conquer the world in two months or you will be beheaded!” With a crew rebelled, a leader lacking inspiration, decisions that followed were surprising: Admiral gave up his coat sewn with gold thread and had dressed as a pirate. Soon he and his aides followed the example. Then, finally we all worked side by side, from sailors to senior officers, to survive. We all became pirates!

We are pirates” is based on my personal diary and The Story of a startup.

Read furtherLive Long and Prosper!

PreviousDare. Challenge. Thinking.

RecommendationThe Story comes to an end.

What Others Are Saying

  1. xbox live gold gratuit April 16, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    I truly love your website.. Very nice colors & theme.
    Did you create this web site yourself? Please reply back as I’m trying to create my very own site
    and want to know where you got this from or exactly what the
    theme is named. Kudos!

    • The PM Journal April 16, 2014 at %I:%M %p

      Hello,

      thepmjournal.com is using a paid wordpress theme, with small customizations. I initially wanted something similar to pinterest or facebook timeline. I would recommend you to try your personal approach by searching pinterest or facebook wordpress themes. There are thousands of theme like thepmjournal.com or better (depending on price). You definitely your site is unique, so probably you should try something very easily customizable.

      I hope this helps!
      Sorin

  2. gta 5 cheats April 26, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    Hey! I came across this site on Twitter. I am posting here to find out which theme
    you are using on your site, I would love to have the theme
    that you’re using so I can put it on my site.

    Thanks!

  3. free netflix account May 3, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    Hey! I came across this page web page on Yahoo. I am posting to find which theme you’re using on your web page, I would like to have the theme that you’re using so I can put it on my site.

    Thanks!

  4. emulateur3dsfrance.wordpress.com May 3, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    Everyone loves what you guys tend to be up too. This sort of clever work and
    exposure! Keep up the terrific works guys I’ve added you guys to our
    blogroll.

  5. Ines May 31, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    Thank you for sharing your info. I really appreciate your efforts and I will be waiting for your further write ups thank you once again.

  6. Maryland Bankruptcy Lawyer June 1, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    Hi everyone, it’s my first visit at this web site, and piece of writing is really fruitful for me, keep up posting such content.

  7. how to grow taller June 21, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    Hello, constantly i used to check blog posts here early in the break of day, because i like to find out more and more.

  8. grow taller 4 idiots June 26, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    First off I would like to say superb blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if
    you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing.
    I’ve had a hard time clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just
    seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted simply
    just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?
    Cheers!

    • ThePMJournal June 26, 2014 at %I:%M %p

      Usually try to write from your own experience, not from others, not from fictive events. There are people gifted that can write about anything even fictive events, but even for them is very hard to keep up the inspiration. In my opinion, if you will write from your real life events it will be just fine and will be happy. What is part of your experience, and if your experience has somehow marked your life, certainly you will find a thousands words to write good stories and produce an emotional response to your readers.

  9. DuQ3H June 30, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    Your blog has the same post as another author but i like your better.

    • ThePMJournal July 8, 2014 at %I:%M %p

      I can guarantee you, the story is genuine. Story is based on real events and I am sure there are couple of people here on this webblog, former employees, that can approve that :)

  10. connect google plus and facebook July 1, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    What’s up all, here every one is sharing these kinds of experience, so it’s nice to read this
    web site, and I used to go to see this weblog everyday.

  11. Pingback: My Homepage

  12. google plus api July 12, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your site is excellent,
    let alone the content!

  13. Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from
    an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog?
    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things
    out pretty quick. I’m thinking about creating my
    own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you
    have any ideas or suggestions? Thanks

  14. the lovely dragon September 22, 2014 at %I:%M %p

    I love you.

  15. fishing lovers January 25, 2015 at %I:%M %p

    In this awesome design of things you all receive an A+ with regard to hard work. Where exactly you confused everybody ended up being in the facts. As they say, the devil is in the details And that could not be more true here. Having said that, permit me say to you what did work. The text is definitely pretty persuasive and that is possibly why I am making an effort to comment. I do not make it a regular habit of doing that. Next, although I can easily notice a jumps in reason you come up with, I am not necessarily convinced of just how you seem to connect the points which make the actual conclusion. For right now I will, no doubt yield to your position however wish in the future you connect your dots much better.

  16. Google February 10, 2015 at %I:%M %p

    Usually posts some really interesting stuff like this. If you are new to this site.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>