This is a time to recognize prudence. I take no joy in witnessing this string of events. My frustration is even more acute because we have a terrific product, but we failed to execute a demonstration effectively and timely enough during this race; mistakes were made, but lessons were learned. The only thing that I do know is that from chaos comes opportunity and I'd like to take this opportunity to show you value in more than words."
That was the start of an email I had to write to an executive earlier this week and it fucking sucked. I apologize about the lack of posts the past few months, and in few, I mean four. If you follow my Instagram, I've barely posted anything the past two weeks. So now, I am really putting towards an effort to get back into the swing of things. This includes everything from: taking weekends off, communicating with my friends, and doing all those important "creative" things that keep me sane (i.e., blog posts, writing, traveling (not for work and without working while traveling), touring new exhibitions at galleries, you get the drift...).
As a brief update, I was stationed in the hot and miserable New York City all summer, with weekend escapes to The Hampton's. Sounds rough, right? Even though the city was both hot and miserable, it was also the best place on the planet. I had such a ridiculously awesome summer and I spent time building out several relationships that are so important to me. My days were spent working tirelessly on deals that would set our company up to be a major player in the space that we are in. My nights were populated by a number of charming activities with friends, adventures to new Borough's and frolicking under the "canopies" in parks.
I left my extended holiday in New York, so it would seem, at the beginning of September when I concurrently transitioned into an additional role at my company. Additional, meaning I still kept my current role, but added an entirely new role. This made my job a hybrid position, in which I now wear many hats. I was previously leading our retail team by hunting for business and was basically in charge of making shit happen, but now I also run marketing for my company. My new job makes me not just retail specific, but cross-sector, which includes a number of different industries like: retail, manufacturing, professional services, and more. We previously decided to sell the product, get some customers and worry about marketing later, but now we've hit that point where we have some really big customers and over 150 employees and we needed someone to jump in and take the reigns and our CEO chose me. Lucky me!
Since September, I have traveled upwards of 95% of each month; in and out of cities across the globe and working across a variety of teams, on a number of different assignments, all of which are time-consuming and extremely demanding. Our business is truly complicated. I have come to the conclusion that software is hard. It's fucking hard. It's so fucking hard that I have a whole new respect for anyone working in this industry and a ridiculous amount of respect for a few of the folks at my company that run product. This type of business requires a willingness to take risks and generate ridiculous returns. You can't do that unless you have a healthy appetite for risk or you'll suck at your job and die. To be in this business, you better love what you are doing and have an insane amount of passion for it. People that enter into this business are outrageously smart. They do the math of the business model and come to a conclusion that it's a very lucrative business to be in, but I've never seen anyone survive and be successful on "wanting to make a lot of money".
In the enterprise planning space where we specifically play in, it is a legacy-based world, where Fortune 100/ 500 companies are on ancient systems that they rarely replace and if they do, they will likely upgrade their systems with the current vendor of choice versus taking a risk and starting from scratch. If they do entertain the option of looking at "what's in the market", they will enter into an exhaustive RFP where they will bring on super expensive consultants (Accenture, Bain, Deloitte, etc.) to help make a decision that they already know they are going to make. So here we are, in a gladiatiorial ring, fighting for our lives, with knives and nets and shit.
I now not only have to fight to sell our software for my job, but I have to market the software and convince everyone with over $1B+ in revenue that we win, for my life! I can't decide which side is better- the buy side or the sell side. Currently, I am on the latter and not sure it's the right place to be. I think so, because that's where the innovation starts right? Selling someone something transformational in hopes that they your product will be able to transform their company (and potentially, their entire industry)? I call this era that I've entered into: "Startup Blood; hunt or be hunted".
So I'm going to continue traveling for the next few months. Things will hopefully start to slow down in February, but in the meantime, I promise to be on my best behavior and start posting more blog posts for all of you! All of which leads to my question that I will leave you all with. In a gladiator fight- One guy is completely blindfolded, but has a dagger and is very skilled with knives. The other guy can see, but doesn’t have a weapon and is new to this kind of fight. Who wins and why?
P.S.- This is a no brainer. I choose sight and then I'll fight a battle of attrition until I win. I could always wait until I see an opening, kick the opponent in the balls, and then retreat tactically. Once you grind them down enough, people generally get weak and then ultimately let their guard down to where they get sloppy. Dude with sight, sans weapon will always win, especially if they fight like they close business. Ow, ow, ow!