That’s right. I took the plunge.
For the first time since this crazy journey began I’m working on my startup wholly. No contract work, no nine-to-five, no side projects, and as I’m quickly discovering, no free time to think/write about anything! I started writing this post on 22nd June and only just got time this evening to proof read it and click Publish.
justFDI began with an email, from me to Spode. It took about 20 minutes of digging around old inboxes, but I found it, dated 26/04/2009:
Another sleepless night got me thinking- we should really start getting these ideas / products off the ground.
Here’s what I propose: justfdi.com
JustFDI seemed like a good name for a company at 4.30am. By registering as a proper company, we have limited liability, can pour different amounts of equity & debt funding in, be paid by it as staff, and add/ remove people (including ourselves) with relative ease.
JustFDI would start services, launch products, build websites, consult on other projects, whatever.
And just like that, we started. The name, short for Just Fucking Do It, marked my intention that we bootstrap a company and approach each project with the attitude that we would deliver or die trying.
It’s now 2012 and I’m finally working at justFDI full-time. The time it has taken to get this far is easily double what I anticipated, but I’m thankful for the journey here and the lessons I’ve learnt. And I cringe at how cheesy that last sentence reads.
Joel wrote about ways to bootstrap a startup on the side which I think is a pretty accurate description of what that path looks like.
I have not seen anyone talk about the immediate shock of having all your time to coordinate for yourself. For at least the first two weeks, I had this sick feeling in my stomach, which I guess was guilt. I felt like I was skipping work and I feared a phone call at any stage from my former employer asking where the hell I was. My mind and body both craved that routine to the extent that it felt very similar to when I quit smoking.
Next came a wave of uncertainty about what I was actually supposed to do with my time. To go from spending evenings and weekends on my startup, to having all hours of the day and night to pour my heart and soul into work – this was a massive change. I needed a whole new approach to time and task management.
What saved me was getting set up with a proper office that wasn’t in or near my house. Working from home isn’t something I could adjust to. I either found myself completely distracted, or unable to separate myself from my work, and really anti-social to the extent you could say I had cabin fever.
I am pleased to say that for the first time – I feel like this is what I’m supposed to be doing.
Nothing to see here.
Today I found out David has died. In the night. From a heart attack. Bugger.
I have a handful of happy memories of David, my godfather.
I remember him being a lodger in our family home. At the time he stayed in our spare room, which he slowly filled with books.
He had an old green BMW with rusty doors. Then he bought a new BMW in navy blue with sports mode – which made the car so fast it scared him.
We had a party or something in the summer and he pushed me on the rope swing in our garden. I was getting quite high and then the swing rotated around and I went back-first into the tree. I cried a lot, he looked mortified.
Then more recently I went to a pre-selection weekend at the Royal Corps of Signals. There I met this guy who had studied under David at Sherborne School. In his words, “you’re Hedders’ godson?! He’s a LEGEND!”
I really wish I had seen David teach. He spent all his time reading, absorbing new information like a sponge. I never got to see how he put that knowledge and his razor sharp wit to use.
When I think about David, I think of a man I looked up to – and not just because he was so damned tall – but because he was a true academic who instilled in me a thirst for knowledge.
He showed me the value of reflection and quiet time to gather your thoughts.
David, you’ll always be in my thoughts. RIP.
I’ve seen two videos that I like:
The Day The LOLcats Died
@Google: Lawrence Lessig: Republic, Lost: How Money Corrupts Congress—and a Plan to Stop It
I know this second video isn’t specifically about SOPA / PIPA, but once you’ve watched it I have no doubt you’ll understand why I like it.
Usually, when it comes to this time of year, I like to look into a crystal ball, and start thinking about what I think is going to be up and coming in the year to come.
Most times, those posts get stuck as drafts, and become a constant reminder of how there’s never enough time to synthesise my thinking, other times, I end up choosing not to publicly share my views, and opinions (there’s something about having your own personal take on things, which sometimes it’s nice to keep personal
This year, I’ve decided to try a different approach. I want to talk to as many people as possible about what they think has been the big trends of 2011, and where they think 2012 is headed.. In the spirit of collective wisdom being smarter than any one individual, I’m curious to see what a ‘collaborative’ vision of 2012 looks like, and how 2011 looked, through the eyes of peers, and colleagues old and new..
So if you’re interested in sharing your two cents, please feel free to chime in below, in the comments, or to get in touch, if you’d be up for a short 5 minute interview. I want to get a much more granular view of the Social Landscape across Europe, for 2012, as it looks like a much more interesting tapestry of changing user behaviour, than has been in recent years past, so I’ll be reaching out to folks individually, as well as collectively, to piece together a collective vision of what 2011 was, and what 2012 could be, from the eyes of the “Social Media” Professional community.
If you want to get involved, drop me a line on farhan [at] consciouscomms [dot] co [dot] uk.
Hopefully, the effort will produce something that’s of as much value to the community as it is to me Here’s to a fantastic end of 2011, and a great 2012!
I responded to Farhan via email with this:
Two thoughts I have on trends for 2012:
1) Social in enterprise (Google+ for Google Apps)
I reckon Google will drop the final pieces of the + puzzle into place. Already we’ve got Circles in our Gmail, I reckon it’ll take over Sites as we’ve already seen it start to with Blogger; but who cares – the best part will be when it arrives in Google Docs. Imagine being able to set up a project Circle for the team members inside and external to your enterprise, then drop docs into the Circle as the sharing/permissions mechanism.
2) Social events (Twitter)
Spode and I started ThinkWall because we believe that Twitter is the ideal platform for enhancing events. The problem throughout 2011 has been that most event organisers we have spoken to have seen Twitter as something that is bolted-on to their event. It’s a “nice-to-have” feature and often a last minute consideration. My prediction for 2012 here is that Twitter becomes integrated and inbuilt, so that social is the backbone to all marketing efforts – before, during and after the event. This will become so much easier for event organisers to piece together when the event dashboard startups really begin to make an impression.
I look forward to seeing if I was accurate this time next year!
Dear Wind-up Records / Evanescence,
Please fire whoever it is that creates and sends me the Official ENews from Evanescence.
I’ve been a fan of the band since 2003 and own all the albums. I imagine that the other mailing list subscribers are just as interested as I am in finding out about new single or album releases, and about tour dates. Perhaps merchandise too.
What we are NOT interested in is cheap offers for the albums and singles that have been on sale for some time.
We want exclusives, special editions, and anything that’s new.
So when I receive emails that say:
Today only, get the deluxe version of the new self-titled album, featuring the latest single, “My Heart Is Broken,” for a reduced price on iTunes!
I do not click through. I already own that. You are cheapening my devotion to the band.
That example email isn’t an isolated case, here’s another:
The band’s new self-titled album is the Amazon MP3 Daily Deal! Today only, pick up your copy for a super low price.
Feel free to forward this email to your friends and to spread the word on Facebook and Twitter!
Do you understand my frustration?
Looking back through my email archive, it’s a recent change – perhaps a new hire at fault. Historically the mailing list added value.
If the low price offer emails continue I shall unsubscribe. Two of the most recent five emails I’ve received were like this – stop it now.
Terrible idea – whoever first decided to make a list of bad habits and life changes certainly did NOT see all of them through.
That’s the point, isn’t it? Make a list, feel better for having made the list, then two weeks later – pretend the list never existed.
I made a list last year. Conveniently, I’ve lost it. Lesson learned there: don’t write anything down on paper that isn’t part of a notebook. Scraps of paper will always go missing.
I do remember some of the points from it:
- Blog more
- Exercise more
- Quit my job at the school
Why do I remember these points? Because I actually completed these three. Woo!
The first one is most interesting to me because I didn’t blog more as a result of making it a New Year’s Resolution.
I purchased this domain, hosting it on more expensive servers than was logical or justifiable. This meant that I had to write blog posts because otherwise I’d see my credit card statement each month and kick myself for wasting that money.
One year later I’m still writing here. In fact my method has refined – I now also use Evernote Premium to clip articles and organise my thoughts as part of the writing process.
Having a private pad on which I could pen thoughts became an important part of my life this year. I wouldn’t say my decision-making has improved much as a result of note taking, but I certainly understand what’s been happening better than before.
That’s the key. Pie frequently writes “I blog for me” – he’s spot on. It’s not about the pageviews. No one reads this blog, but for a year I put the cash and the time into writing for it. I’m proud of everything I’ve written and I feel like I’ve grown.
Today I scaled this hosting package down. But what I’ll take away from the last year’s experience is this:
If I want to make a real difference and a change to my behaviour, I need to find a way to alter my perception of an activity’s value – such as spending a lot of money on it.
Go to getmerated.com/silke and make a quick list of the immediate problems you spot.
Update: the profile has gone, so here’s a screenshot from Google’s cache of what it used to look like
Let’s see how our notes compare:
First thing I noticed when I started using the site was the URL structure. I didn’t like that the profile name forwards to something ugly like /Profile.aspx?mid=3263
I didn’t see the URL: getmerated.com/silke in the left sidebar immediately, so I was left wondering if my username would be my URL.
Also why does it say “URL:” instead of “Profile address” or similar? You can tell that has been implemented by the developer, it should be replaced by a mass market friendly expression.
If you try to interact with anyone on the platform, your only option is to message publicly with comments and a system like @replies on Twitter. A private inbox / direct messaging system is on the development roadmap, but more on how I know this later.
What probably struck you first was that the girl is naked.
Use Google Image Search for almost any term and you’ll find porn within the first half dozen pages of results. On GetMeRated, I saw nudity within the first half dozen entries in the live feed.
It really doesn’t take much effort to discover content that you’d probably want users to flag as inappropriate on this particular platform.
That’s a little worrying. There are a lot of young people on this platform. I don’t want to sound like a member of Momsnet, but how long before there’s trouble?
The terms of the site state that users must be 18 years of age or older, and that if the platform owner suspects users are under age then they may face the profile being deleted.
Policing this is really tough, and there’s no real incentive for it to be enforced. The metric presented to stakeholders and potential investors will be based around user numbers – this needs to be as high as possible.
What other reason might there be for someone to contact the platform owner?
My guess is you’d receive communication in the form of a take down notice from a model, or a photographer, because their images have been posted without permission.
But here’s something cool – I was contacted by a member of the GetMeRated team.
I was private messaged on Dailybooth asking if I would mind trying the platform out. And not in a spammy way -
her: Random favor to ask you (that you can totally say no to!!!! just thought I would ask…)
me: go on…
her: So I am REALLY not trying to be annoying, so all you have to do is say no…
So me and my friend are interns for a company that just made a new photo sharing site called www.getmerated.com.
http://www.getmerated.com/ It is kind of like a DB (but with a twist) Could you pretty please try it out and tell me what you think (we are in great need of beta testers!). Its my job to get peoples reviews of what they think of the site. Its actually pretty fun! ( and you’ll make me very happy!)
Saw that you were a techie kinda guy… so thought you might be a good person to ask
Here is my profile if you are interested… [Link]
No pressure though…. just had to ask
What followed was a couple of lines back and forth as I submitted the feedback you’ve been reading in this blog post.
I haven’t returned to the platform yet because I was not truly feeling it met a need that resonated with me. But I will check periodically to see what progress has been made.
The engagement I have witnessed between users, plus the impressive level of attention that the platform’s team of interns are paying to users, leaves me feeling confident that there are companies out there equipped to meet the challenges of building web platforms.