Reflection on startup life: Week 51

Because these posts are after the completion of the week, I can’t help but think ahead a little. It’s now a year since… (ok, I’ll save this for next week).

Last week was a short week and having blogged on Thursday, there’s not a great deal to say. Let’s see… our new project is almost ready to take the covers off, the consulting work is going well and we are starting on a new development project for another client today. Yup, I think that’s where we were at.

Our friends at HyperTable (which is a key part of what makes Tribalytic saw freakin’ fast) want to feature us on their home page, so we are happy to represent — we love HyperTable.

To be fair, we do have a very polygamous relationship with Databases — we love HyperTable, we lust after Redis and I think we’re on our second marriage with MongoDB after a brief divorce. MySQL is like an old girl friend that we can’t quite dump — we feel comfortable with each other, but I’m not sure if long term we are right for one another. For the types of problems we are solving with Tribalytic though, HyperTable is brilliant.

I was called this morning by Brian Menzies who was one of the mentors at BootUp Camp where Alex and I first met. He’s in town at the moment and I’m looking forward to catching up with him this morning — Brian has been a great supporter, putting us in touch with his network in Sydney, reviewing our San Francisco investment pitches and generally helping us out whenever we’ve asked. Will be great to catch up.

Despite the fact that we haven’t yet taken the covers off the new project, it’s in fact already debuted at Girl 2.0 in Shanghai. Alex was approached to go in the lightening pitch demonstration, so he pitched there in front of a panel of Angel Investors, including Dave McClure of 500 Startups fame. By all accounts it went well. Given it’s so early in the product cycle (we haven’t launched it to any customers yet), our expectations weren’t high, but it’s great to know that after batting backwards and forwards with the Angels, Alex was pleased to say they didn’t come up with anything we hadn’t really thought of already and nothing that would change the direction we are taking.

So while we haven’t taken the covers off, there’s 300 people in China who’ve heard about it!

I was thinking about this experience and how well it went for Alex, and it made me think back to this post which was a summary of the half way point. So many of these points which are lessons we’ve been learning were reflected in getting the opportunity to pitch:

  1. Point 1: Networking — Alex has been building his network in Shanghai since moving there from Beijing; it’s directly lead to this opportunity
  2. Point 3: Getting out there to pitch helps confirm the track we are on and make the pitch better for when we a really ready.
  3. Point 4: Never to early to share (OK, I know I’m not sharing here yet — but there’s a reason, I know that you guys will all go try sign up and we haven’t got the signup form working yet so you can let us know you want in on the beta…)
  4. Point 5: We’ve been working on the elevator pitch since before we even cut a line of code. Although we did give it a LOT more focus in the lead up to the Girl 2.0 event.
  5. Point 6: Brutal feedback — far better to hear it’s a dog now before wasting more time (the fact we didn’t hear that is a bonus).
  6. Point 10: If you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go — Alex could of bowed out of the event, but opportunities like that don’t come along that often and the more you do, the more they come along.

Right, well there’s heaps to do this week, I’ve got three jobs on (Consulting, Dev Contract and BinaryPlex) and two products (Tribalytic and the new project) so can’t spend too much more time reflecting at the moment…


  • Working with new people and new problems to think about. Challenged to think in some different ways.
  • A general feeling of being on the upswing at the moment.

Lessons Learned

  • All this documenting and reflecting is not only good for the soul, it’s great to see progress and see that we’ve actually learnt one or two of these lessons!

Goals this week

  • Launch that new project to a few people
  • Meetings with the accountants — we now have enough money in the bank that we need to work out the best way to actually take some of it out and start paying ourselves. It’s not much, but it’s another milestone and progress (in 12 months we’ve not taken out any cash for us — just reimbursed a few expenses).
  • Catch up with some blog writing
  • Consulting
  • Development Project

PS — I’ve used the new project three times in writing this blog post — unbelievably useful… if you ever blog (and refer to past links) you’ll love it…