Building Networks: ROSL81

ROSL81 — Reflections on startup life: week 81

General news

We had a huge day overnight Wednesday / Thursday — our biggest single day of sign ups since back on the 26th of January (which was when we were on the tail end of our launch press). Was feeling pretty good about it, although there were some performance challenges that needed to be overcome.

Then Thursday evening as I was leaving to attend a Melbourne startup event, the database crashed. Ahh, but we have Master / Slave replication “just in case” for this very event. Ummm, yeah. The slave crashed too. Took almost six hours to rebuild the site, fortunately it came back fine.

I did love Alex’s attitude though — it’s just the excuse needed to finally get on top of all the RAID monitoring. We were worried that perhaps a failed hard drive took it down. Turns out that it wasn’t that, but now the server is up and running again fine and we know the disks are in good shape.

Otherwise a “business as usual” week — pushed a lot of improvements and moved a few things forward. We finally launched RSS support which has been asked after for a while and now moving on to extending the API even further to add search support.

We’re also trying to solve the “information overload” problem and Alex has been pursuing things in that direction, experimenting with algorithms to help filter and promote the right kind of content for users. He hopes to have this in with the group feature this week which will enable us to put back in the “timeline” feature which we removed because it was too noisy with the wrong kind of content.

Reflections on Networking

My reflection this week? It’s really about how the network you keep needs to change as you do. Initially I was seeking lots of feedback and experiences from other startup founders; now, although I can always learn more, I largely have that network and I can meet and learn as needed on a case by case basis. In some cases I’m even being asked to mentor other startups that are earlier in their journey than ours.

The bigger challenge is that as our thoughts start turning towards recruiting (more on that soon), the type of people I network with aren’t the type of people I can hire (not that I wouldn’t necessarily, but they have their own startups). A lot of the startup events I’m attending are attracting “entrepreneurs” — sometimes technical, sometimes not, but they are also generally people wanting to build their own venture, not contribute to ours.

So we go in circles! I wrote early on about how my network was “broken” in the sense it was very PwC centric. Strangely I find myself back here again — except it’s now too entrepreneur focused. I don’t advocate networking for the sake of it, but I think it’s crucial that every now and again you need to take a step back and ask yourself “where am I going to be and who do I need to know in 3 months to make that happen?”.

The time to start building THAT network is now.