Reflections on start-up life: Week 9

You develop a thick skin pretty quickly. The first two emails were upsetting, but by the 10th, you just apologise and move on. Moving forwards seems to mean stepping on toes, sometimes no matter how careful you are.

The BIG news entering this week is that we’ve moved from indecision at the start of last week to focus by Wednesday very quickly and smoothly. The catalyst was this article in TheNextWeb/AU which talked about Twendly and kicked off a significant leap in traffic (at it’s peak around %18,000). I like percentages, they sound much more interesting! This was picked up globally and resulted in a significant increase in traffic as well as a lot more chatter and talk about Twendly on Twitter. People were generally finding it useful and interesting and on the whole, surprised that it works as well as it does (there were some negative comments, but the positive far outweighed them).

This is the “pull” that we’ve been looking for and so we’ve decided to focus 100% now on the internet play which has quickly brought a lot of things into focus. We’re now an Internet Search Engine (albeit a slightly different one for sure) and we now need investment and funding to grow and prove the business. Now there are twice as many things to do, and twice the urgency (we are now inside a month of Alex leaving AU), but it’s great to reach this first point where we are ready to take on the world!

Ultimately we’ve decided to play the high-stakes game — the pay back for the Internet play is significant, but of course the challenge and the risk are a lot higher. It’s also a lot more fun!

So as Twendly started to get a lot more traffic, we started chasing our tail. Our second server came online this weekend, giving us increased processing capacity, we caught up with the surge of signups, only to find just as many there waiting for us and we started to reach the limits of the current technology. We also managed to upset people, for lots of different reasons (only a few, but they were vocal). Some didn’t like the way we sent our messages, some didn’t like where they were ranked by Twendly, some thought we were hackers. Now customer relationships have come to the fore — this is fine, but the thick skin has developed quite quickly. It’s not that there isn’t valid feedback, there often is, but you have to separate the attitude from the message at times (and also appreciate that 95% of people didn’t have an issue). In many ways, much of this is great because it shows that people care and have a need — far worse for them to be saying nothing!

It’s also been an interesting weekend because I’ve had my family here so have taken two days (Friday and Monday) off (kind of). I’m champing at the bit to get back to work and get things done. Speaking of which, I have to go set the table and it’s my sons eighth birthday so I better get it done!


  • TheNextWeb AU article, 500+ retweets about Twendly and the overwhelming positive feedback
  • Gaining the much needed focus.


  • Trying to catch up with the surge in sign-ups.
  • That you can’t please all of the people all the time.
  • Not being able to spend the time I wanted when I felt it was needed.
  • You can be as trustworthy as you like with people you know, but on the internet the default position is often intense scepticism and distrust.

Goal this week?

  • Road test the business pitch and terms sheet and get some investor meetings lined up (a consequence of focus — we now know we will need financing to make the vision happen)