2017: Personal recap of a year in business

This time last year I knew I would start a company at some point, but had no idea what that would look like. In an oddly natural progression of events, here we are. I went in with three simple requirements:

  • Build things that are wildly useful
  • Build things that do good for people
  • Build a company where people can be wildly successful

Since formally starting in June we've built a robust, stable beta product and signed two paying customers on year subscriptions, both of which are doing great things for people. We've been diligent in making sure the team is set up to succeed from being thorough in hiring, taking the time to understand motivations and goals to making tough decisions.

Throughout the year we've faced a few challenges that I wasn't sure how we'd navigate, but the most important thing has been navigating them nonetheless. You may know that I am not one to avoid confrontation. We wouldn't be here without the hard conversations and hard decisions made rapidly. You may also know I am fairly good at asking for help. We would not be here without everyone who has taken the time, even if for one conversation, to provide insight into process, ideas and realities I haven't experienced. For sitting down with me, giving very tangible support in feedback and introductions. Thank you.

What I've not been the best at is being patient – sometimes a good thing when looking at our pace this year, sometimes a bad thing for breathing normally, being flexible and chilling out on the emails :) I've not been great at celebrating our wins – our monthly update is one of the only times I succinctly acknowledge what we've accomplished.

Which has made this last week of the year interesting. I've been forced to sit and be patient and acknowledge everything that has happened and potentially going to happen.

And that brings me to a more critical learning. In the last quarter of 2017 I became very focused on the optimal path to reaching our maximum potential that was based on a mix of data points and assumptions. I got stuck there. And with each detour we powered through, but those detours took more of my attention at times then I would have liked them to (because I was thinking about how they made that path less optimal). This is amusing to me because as someone who has built a lot of software, I know very well things don't have one path to success. Acknowledging the realities of the challenges and opportunities we face is an important part of the process.

So where I would like to personally improve this year is in being more flexible in the how and more focused on the potential. And in taking moments to look at what we've accomplished, not just for myself, but for everyone contributing.

I'm very excited about this year. There are a lot of really good things that will happen. Some things I'm most excited about right now (more on all of this to come):

  • E-commerce expansion and Facebook's interest in improving marketer's experiences with Messenger, as well as Instagram's standalone messaging
  • Hiring, and our onboarding process that includes mapping employee personal goals and styles in their first month. Tracking to those means a higher functioning team out the gate.
  • An mvp program for underrepresented founders, leveraging the platform to provide new business opportunities while identifying vertical opportunities and growing our community base.
  • Addressing how this industry operates, and how it can work to capture the opportunity in founders of different backgrounds

I’d love to hear your thoughts, if any of this resonates or if there’s a realization I may be missing. If there are things I can help you with or celebrate. Or just to say hi!

If you’re interested in a more in-depth personal follow along I’ll be writing a weekly newsletter to chronicle the starting up and running of business — you can sign up here.

Happy new year 😊