Reflections on start-up life: Week 20

Wow. Week 20. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun.

As I come out of an Easter weekend (four day break here) where I’ve worked a substantial portion of each of those, it’s perhaps appropriate to reflect on deadlines, goals and focus.

After 20 weeks there haven’t really been any slow weeks, but there are weeks that are busy than others. This last week is one of them. It’s all down to deadlines.

I think the great danger in a start-up is that you can actually cruise along. You’re the boss, there is no one to tell you what to do, you set your own time frames and if you don’t meet them? Well you probably didn’t have any customers so what does it matter?

That’s why this trip to San Francisco next week is great — it’s a hard stop in the weekly cycle. We are going regardless of if we are ready or not. What this has done has bought incredible focus to what we are doing.

  1. Why are we going to San Francisco?
  2. How are we going to achieve those goals?
  3. How do we best get prepared — what do we need and so forth.

All of a sudden there is a critical path. Decisions become quite clear. Things that were unclear two weeks ago are brutally clear now. Things that were must haves suddenly find themselves relegated to the “next release”. You can’t stop, you’ve got to act.

So in the last week what have we achieved?

  1. Rather than continuing to develop the prototype we reached a “near enough” point that the focus moved to deploying it. It’s now become critical to have it up and running to demo to people this week so we can take some early feedback to San Francisco with us.
  2. The pipeline went live and delivered the goods.
  3. We shut Twendly down. We love Twendly, we want to keep doing it, but we need those servers to deliver Tribalytic. Two weeks ago we couldn’t of done it, we’d of left it there and were entertaining running it in parallel until we could migrate it to the Tribalytic engine. Dumb idea — we need the resources, we need the focus, we don’t need it hanging around like a bad smell. We closed it and we’ll relaunch when we have Tribalytic under control.
  4. Signed up for and accepted into our first Government program (export Vic thing to access their advisors in San Fran).
  5. First live (very early) prototype demo. Unbelievable relief to actually get it out the door and show someone.
  6. Prototype now moving into stabilisation rather than feature creation mode.

So goals are great, hard deadlines are better because they lead to focus — it’s critical to keep you moving along.


  • Feeling productive with everything coming together.
  • Working hard but loving it.
  • Itching to show people Tribalytic now — I’m really proud of what Alex and I have achieved (mostly Alex but don’t tell him that!).
  • Running the crawler for a few hours and doubling the number of users we are tracking already.
  • A lengthy two hour business planning meeting with Alex. Been a long time since we spoke about what our goals beyond just releasing the Tribalytic prototype are. This was really beneficial for us.


  • Everything just takes so long. 6 hours and 50 minutes to modify a table.

Goal this week

  • Seeking our first customer for Tribalytic — someone willing to try our alpha and commit money down in return for a substantive discount on the basis of what they see.