Epilogue of a Startup

After our fearless Start-up has failed in the most lamentable manner, I wondered: What went wrong and what could I change in the sequence of events to avoid the failure? Bankruptcy has occurred so suddenly that many employees have not recovered from the shock even after months. Everyone has been felt cheated… the big shock was when management declared the reason of bankruptcy: “[suddenly] we realized the money were gone…” Continue Reading →

Live Long and Prosper!

April 19. The sky is blue, the air seems frozen. The wind is whipping streets of dust and the garbage is rising in a ominously swirling towards the sky. People, driven by the wind, creeps through the cars parked on the sidewalks and through the trams blocked in intersection. I get off at the last station, where trams turn by a gnashing sound of metal itself. People, cars, trams all seem to me drawn from a post-nuclear war world, chaotic and dirty. Continue Reading →

We Are Pirates

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).  Continue Reading →

Dare. Challenge. Thinking.

March 29. We move the office, again… for the 8th time. The company is in financial collapse. The relocation was made to reduce operational cost. The new offices are cramped and much smaller. Experts are fighting for the window seats, because is the only thing they can still fight. I have never seen before The Experts fighting;  the panic it’s in the air. Everywhere is chaos. Some people are sad as a tomb, others are insane happy. Continue Reading →

Silent Launch

Cold wind. Unusually cold for mid-March. I’m walking in the city traffic, reading news from sports on my mobile phone. A car almost hit me on the zebra crossing while reading a news in TheGuardian: “Rafael Nadal crushes Roger Federer in the quarterfinals at Indian Wells…“. The match began on March 15, around 4:00 am, local time. At that hour, I was working at a personal project. I felt asleep, with product specifications in my hands, before the match ended. Continue Reading →

Back Into the Future

March 8. CEO announce that we have an opportunity to sign a partnership with all the Malls in town:

-In order to make the deal, we just need to give them a simple mobile application. But we need it in one month! said CEO delighted. Continue Reading →

I have nothing else to lose

9:30 o’clock. On each of the office desks are laid out our resignation letters.

-What is this? I asked.
-You resignation, of course, tells my boss. So, come on, quickly, start to sign them, so at the end of today to have all the resignations in a glossary! Continue Reading →

The Journey Comes to an End

The events of the past three months, starting with the bankruptcy of the parent company and collective dismissals, meant the beginning of our end. They need to know what is Company Insolvency and how a practitioner will help them. My colleague, the R&D Project Manager, announced today he will resign. After him, others and others have followed Continue Reading →

One Last Move…

-Talk with your people, ask them to start packing their stuff and move to the second floor! CEO said.

For me, this relocation represents the 7th move in the last year.

-Are we moving again? We have just moved last month…

-Yes. But is the last time we move… additionally, I don’t believe we have a choice… Continue Reading →

Brainstorming (or the Story of a Stormy Brain)

10:30 o’clock. Members of steering committee occupy silently the places in the meeting room. We open notebooks and prepare the pencils for the brainstorming session scheduled few days ago. CEO remind us the rules: “there are no bad or poor ideas, just ideas“. Continue Reading →

When is About Business, the Logic Fails

Simon Sinek, the author of the book Start with Why?, using the concept (“Golden Circle“=“Why? How? What?”) explains the reason why some people have success and others don’t. In order to succeed in business, but also in private life, you need always to start with the question “Why?”: “Why we do what we do? Why do we exist as business? Why some people managed to change the world and we did not?” Continue Reading →

Happy Holidays!

December 20. Outside is snowing with big flakes. Only six people in the entire company. We are listening to carols songs on YouTube. Everyone is dreaming. Nothing disrupts, we talk, we joke, everything is calm, all is white, just like in Christmas songs. Today,  a part of external development team are terminating their contract and leave us. Some of our engineers submit their resumes on job sites, a few others are asked to sign their resignations… Continue Reading →

The First Snow

December 13. Today started to snow. It is the first snow fall and it is so abundant, you can’t see a few feet away. My car sits under a pile of snow, streets are clogged, transportation is blocked. Continue Reading →

Conflicts from a different perspective

Some studies say the main source of conflicts in companies are: organizational conflicts (when there is a discrepancy between actual and perceived values, needs and interests of individuals or groups of individuals), some studies says the economical conflicts (when companies lack the available resources) or conflicts about understanding the project objectives and scope are the most important (it may seem there is always an inconsistency between how a client, manager and employees understand the scope of work). All the source of conflicts mentioned above are equally important, however there is no unified opinion among experts regarding which is the key factor in conflicts. But for one thing I am certain: in all companies I worked before, regardless the type of conflict involved, the ugliest conflicts was due to improper communication. Continue Reading →

The Day of The Big Launch

November 16. Today is Friday and The Big Launch of our new product. I reach the office at 8 o’clock and I am alone in the building. I quietly drink the coffee, send emails, make the final preparations for the product release. Although I had come first at the office, I arrive 5 minute late at the morning meeting. I begin my presentation… “The four big bad wolves” (the group of Experts) are waiting to tear me apart. Continue Reading →

Launch Preparation

We get used with the idea we are on verge to bankruptcy. Some of my colleagues start to post their CV public, some are screaming hysterical “I don’t care about job”, others are frozen by fear of not losing their job. I expect in upcoming months, we will remain without employees.
Continue Reading →

Ups, We Are Fired!

9:00 AM. The most “pleasant” way of starting a new day of work is by receiving the following shocking email:  “The shareholders of this company decided 109 employees will be disposed (meaning almost all employees will be fired). The board of directors will try to find solutions and provide alternatives for his employees“. And that’s all folks, the story of our parent company ends here. Continue Reading →

Who are The Experts?

CEO hired a group of “Experts” in Marketing and Sales in order to offer consultancy to executive board in our company. So called “Experts” were good old friends or former employees of CEO, with questionable expertise, with few experience in technical marketing (F-Startup was a combination of IT and Marketing programs). The shock troupe was thrown by CEO in each negotiations with business partners or whenever wanted to justified his decisions in front of shareholders using their analysis. Continue Reading →

Modern Times

Behind the glass walls of the big boss office, I hear a lion’s road. In the “cage” glass I see CEO, gesturing. He talks with one of our partners about our business model. He rises his hands, slams papers, laughs hysterical! His mimics moves from agony to ecstasy.  If you could imagine on the other side of the phone is a man from the category of “Experts“, the discussion could be one of the most “interesting”… I imagine no one understands what they are talking about and probably one of them will end the conversation abruptly with a curse. Continue Reading →

A day of nothing else but LIFE!

9:00 o’clock. In the kitchen, three people are drinking coffee:

-I really do not understand how you are so calm when you know we all are going to be fired? How can you remain unaffected by the situation?… asks me the Project Manager of R&D team.

-I don’t know, I am used to… I lie shamelessly. Continue Reading →

A Day From The Life of a Product Manager

Oct 26. A gloomy morning of October. Meeting with the company’s shareholders. CEO invited the whole group of Experts meeting and the number of invitees have reached to ten.

-I am little worried… said one of shareholders.

-Don’t worry, everything is planned! tried to reassure him CEO.

No one understands exactly what he meant by “planned” since there is no plan… Continue Reading →

Priorities, a logical choice!

In theory, features priorities are settled in a transparent, logic and consistent manner. As we have seen before, in Gathering Requirements lesson, the priorities in F-Startup are chosen based only on the “mood” of key stakeholders:  Continue Reading →

A lesson of Gathering Requirements

Operational meeting always lasts three hours instead of one. Many times, I had the sensation we fake working (there is always someone late at the meeting or someone is tapping his Facebook app during the meeting). Of course in three hours of conversations, we talk also about serious problems: long term plans, loyalty programs, but all of them remained on the stage of wishes, at least until now. Practically we didn’t managed to sign a contract with a strategic partner and we didn’t manage to sell nothing. Although we are in deep shit, still we are dreaming at “plans will change the world“… Continue Reading →

Master of Puppets

Just before launching of our first product on market, the Sales and Marketing Experts suddenly realized we need to change some features. Because was too risky to change the scope of the product on the last minute, as a Product Owner I explicitly opposed to any changes. Seeing their claims rejected, The Marketing Experts complained to CEO, their good and old friend, and they obtained the approval for all the changes wanted. Continue Reading →

A Discussion with a Man of Marketing

“The 30 minutes morning meeting” lasts longer than expected, because one of our Experts in Marketing and Sales get a long and “emotional” speech about marketing strategy. In the end of his monologue, I realized I din’t understood nothing. I was in the same time “fascinated” and resentful how can anyone talk more than an hour, without saying nothing concrete? Continue Reading →

Project Manager – To be or not to be?

Before things went wrong in F-Startup, I didn’t realized how important are the organizational process assets and implementation of best practices of Project Management in an organization, until F-Startup encountered some financial difficulties. When the cost problems were revealed, also problems related to poor organization appeared and we experienced delivery delays, conflicts, missing motivation, huge costs, fired people and other unwanted results. Continue Reading →

A Brand Workshop

When defining the Brand philosophy, the Brand creators should be inspired by Martin Luther King’s motivational speech: “I have a dream“. The philosophy of a brand could sound like:  “I have a dream in colors, a dream about life and people. My dream is our vision, a vision about our future, about a better world”. Brand could be defined as an unique and uniform philosophy at organization level, that bonds peoples dreams with the reality, present with the future. Continue Reading →

A Fatidic Day

Today, I receive an email from shareholders. They express worries about the high costs of the F-Startup. With my natural disengagement, rapidly I reply: “Don’t worry, I know a method to reduce the costs… there is a tax deduction for software companies, if we match several conditions…” Continue Reading →

Our Business Model

When I was employed in F-Startup I was told:

-We want to conquest the world! For this, we need to create the greatest application on the market. Our Business Model is very simple: we want to make big money taking few from many… Continue Reading →

The Story of a Start-up. The beginning.

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…
Continue Reading →