The Story of a Start-up. The beginning.
Posted on November 5, 2011
In the company I was newly employed, a new department of software for research and development was inaugurated. The first month at my new job was full of enthusiasm: I spend almost two weeks only for sticking motivational posters on walls and fit my office with an entire collection of inspirational books…
From the window of my new office, I can see the round with flowers from the crossroads, neighborhood park or contemplate the panoramic view of the city. On the whiteboard I write down my ideas, quotes and big words such as: Challenge, Vision, Ideas, People. Is the first job give me the opportunity to dream with eyes opened.
There are some guys in company, always staring at my office, probably asking themselves: Who am I or What I am doing here? To be honest, I am not sure even myself about what is my role… I am employed as Enterprise Product Manager, but I was told I will play the role of Project Manager, Product Designer and whatever will be necessary to put a stake in the ground for a start-up company. My role could be summarize in the following way: find new monetization opportunities.
So, here I am playing the role of my life, in attempt to conquest the world through new ideas and initiatives, in a young and ambitious company. My initial proposals presented to executive board were welcomed and very much appreciated, even if many ideas were totally unrealistic. The shareholders were also enchanted by my initiatives and that fact gave me more confidence. Overnight I was transformed from a simple employee into a Brand IT Manager. I was told:
-You don’t realize what opportunity it was given to you…. The Press waits months to enter in shareholder office, but you have everyday access to them… What a fortune…
In the attempt to obtain the sponsorship for some projects and to impress shareholders, in the next months I worked very intensely and was one of the most creative period of my career. Suddenly over me, it was created some kind of “aura” of guru, as I was considered one of the most innovative minds in the company and because I was one of the few people in the company who could change the future. After shareholders approved the funds for my ideas, together with two executive directors from parent company, we managed to create another Start-up, named F-Startup. But just after half a year since the first launch, the parent company turned bankrupt. Our money become fewer and fewer and the things gone wild. Then I experienced for the first time in my life what really means a “chaotic” management (see Chaotic and Reactive Management) and how disastrous could be in a start-up. After the chaos caused by failure of the parent company, it followed a calm period of intensive and creative work, a time when we managed to release our first product. When things seems to calm down and the first results to materialize, in our start-up were employed a series of so-called “Experts” in Marketing and Sales (see Who are the Experts?), brought by the CEO with the purpose to sell our products. Their presence instead of bringing more value to the company and to the organization, dive our company into a deeper crisis. The things go worse and worse and everything culminated with the bankruptcy of F-Startup.
The story of F-Startup is a journal that accumulates my experiences over one year and a half and describe the challenges faced by a manager in a new Start-up. The PM Journal contains personal logs, dialogues, uncensored thoughts and describe with accuracy the events from a life of a PM, as it is. The identity of the persons involved will be kept private.
This journal was also an opportunity to discover my defects and qualities, to understand better the management theory and to define my own vision of practicing management (see the concept of Lead by Experimenting).
Following next, the story of how we defined Our business model.