All Posts in passion

October 30, 2012 - Comments Off on The Making Of A Team

The Making Of A Team

In startups, passion is your best friend and your worst enemy. It can drive a team towards a solid future and just as quickly tear them apart. The great news is that passion has such a powerful effect when used in the right way.

We (Kickfolio) are a very passionate team. We all have different viewpoints, understandings and directions and passionately discuss them amongst ourselves. Sometimes the passion unites us. Other times, the passion is so strong that the other founder(s) don't connect with it straight away.

This moment naturally creates a small wedge of opportunity for us all to learn, connect and grow. In that moment, we are challenged to find a way to work together and understand where the others passion is coming from. What is driving that opinion? What are the core values behind that passion?

During that time, we are heated. Professionally heated of course, in a way in which we can see the light at the end of the tunnel but we don't know which steps we will take to walk towards it. Ideas are thrown around, concepts are carved into the path and actionable steps are taken towards a combined direction.

I'm not going to lie, at times it's incredibly tense during those moments. Passion is intense. Quite often, the original passion is funneled into an activity that may only be present for a short amount of time before it can be merged into the bigger vision at a later stage. It can be overwhelming, frustrating and exhausting. But often (even during those moments) I am reminded that it has to be this way. We WANT it to be this way.

Without passion, there is a weak connection in any team. Without passion, the direction of a company can be pushed into a completely obscure path, straying close to immoral directions or fad-like areas. This is not what any of us want. We all want to direct the company towards a place that is held in high moral regard and value. We want something we can be proud of just as much as our customers.

This is why we respect our individual and passionate views. This is why we work everyday to align those various passions to strengthen the company from the ground up.

The alignment of passion - this is what really makes a team.

March 21, 2012 - Comments Off on The Roller Coaster Threshold

The Roller Coaster Threshold

So right now, if you're wondering what to do next - take action. Work out your options quickly, choose the one that feels right (physically and mentally) and just get on with it. Even if you should fail you have one less piece of confusion in your life and a win on the board for starting something.

This post was inspired by my Facebook update (thanks Will for the extra nudge).

Every day I get to read about, talk to and watch entrepreneurs go through the motions of building their various startups. Over the couple of years I have been working in this field I have been able to learn just as much about success as failure. In most parts, failing is an extremely important result in our daily activities but is often avoided like the plague, so much so that people stop taking action towards certain tasks. The problem this creates is a never-ending loop of self-sacrifice, low results and lack of excitement.

Failure Is Very Important

With what I have witnessed, I believe that failure has been a very important outcome of the various startups I've seen operating. This is as simple as failing to deliver on time, failing to communicate, failing to focus on the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) or even failing to actually build something of value to users. Everyone seems to handle these various failures in different ways but they all end up in the same place by learning from what went wrong.

The Roller Coaster Threshold

What's a harder lesson than failure? The roller coaster ride from failure to success, back to failure and so on. The constant up and downs of working on a startup are extremely challenging and can happen just as fast as the actual ride. In many cases, the fear of the 'Roller Coaster Threshold' is actually more debilitating than failure.

When I first started Barkles, it was built on top of WordPress. At the time, Rhys and I were running the show (I was designing the front end interface and he was working on the back-end development) and we had just heard about our acceptance into the Angel Cube shortlist (more details here), basically proving that the initial concept and networking we had done was paying off.

That moment of extreme excitement was shattered when Rhys made a decision to leave the company on that day after hearing the news. While I respected his decision and we parted amicably, it still hit me like a truck. I had gone from extreme excitement to complete freak out in a matter of minutes. However, I knew that this was a great thing. Barkles had succeeded (validation, albeit early stages) and failed (The only developer quits) in such a rapid time-frame right before the pitch.

Later that day I called Jay (who was only a contracted developer at the time) and told him the news. I openly asked if he wanted to keep going with Barkles and he quickly jumped at the chance to be further involved. Jay stepped forward and said that he would be able to take our demo app and turn it into a Rails app. This took me from a low point of failure back up to a level ground knowing that we could still move forward as initially planned.

That extreme roller coaster happened in the space of a few hours. Entrepreneurs will experience this at least once in a day in some form and more often than not, the success will match the failures.

This leads me back to the original message that started this post: Take action. Don't avoid making a decision because you fear an outcome. If you have a variety of options in front of you, take the risk and actually choose one path. Make the call from your gut and be prepared for high points of success and low points of failure.

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