“A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty." - Eric Ries
Most of us would agree with this Eric Ries on this one. The point I would like to stress on here is ‘conditions of extreme uncertainty’.
Uncertainty is one thing you can definitely be certain on in your startup. I realised this the hard way and wish I and my team members didn’t have to find it out like we did. And this is one of the reasons I haven’t been able to honor my promise.
I’ll be honest with you - we were running behind on our product development schedule. Not because we were confused as to what to do. Nor was it poor planning nor was it lack of motivation. It was factors which were just out of our control and all of them happened at the same freaking time!
- Two of us had our family members who were sick and we had to go to attend them. Days Lost per person - 15.
- One of us had to leave country for what was an unavoidable trip with the parent. Days Lost per person - 15
- Two of us went about looking for new place to rent. Then stuff gets packed and moved. Then stuff gets opened and settled. Then a man takes a beer and relaxes. Days lost per person - 5
There were more but I’d refrain from listing them all down. There were a few bright lights in between but mostly it was pretty bad. These events were unavoidable and were emotionally sapping. You just can’t plan for such things. And its not a startup specific thing but can happen to anybody - though its just that its effect is felt the most in a startup because we are all building what we think is going to be next big thing and running on really tight schedule to make it happen.
Lessons Learnt: Shit happens. You will run into things that you have no control over. You will feel its a conspiracy against you. But, more often than not its just sheer bad luck. Things eventually do turn around for the better. We came out stronger from that phase, touch wood. We are working harder than ever before on our product. The team has responded admirably to all this and I feel proud of us all. So, thanks team! Keep the faith and keep building.
Suggested Reading: This too shall pass