The calm after the storm

It’s not really all that calm to be honest, but it’s certainly not the fire and brimstone of yesterday when nobody knew what to think, false rumors were getting started, and obscene emails were coming in.

Perhaps one of my goals for the year should have been “Try not to get noticed until after version 1.2 of MRM comes out”. At least by then I could have had three products for people to look at instead of just MRM. I still don’t have listed as a product for sale on Moon River Software’s site yet, nor have I had time to integrate it into the main MRS site. Or into my blog for that matter. I suppose if ChitChat had been available yesterday, scrubbing it of the obscenities might have taken most of the night to do.

It takes time to do that sort of integration, and that is time which I’m currently selling to the steadiest bidder as a consultant to pay the bills. I certainly don’t regret being a consultant, but working double time is a bit harrowing. Tack on the fact that I’m sick right now with a sinus cold, and I’m really just not having any fun, all things considered.

My long winded explanation seems to have stopped short a prolonged fury. There are still the few naysayers, but I expected that. There’s 10% of the population whose minds you will simply never change, no matter what you say or do. What good is a well intentioned argument if the other party doesn’t care what you have to say? It’s like arguing with a 2 year old. “But why… but why… but why…”.

One JoS reader commented that I seem to have a lot of interesting things to say and a lot of history behind me. I’m no spring chicken anymore, that’s for sure. I have plenty of grey hair to prove it. Perhaps some good will come out of all of this after all. I will definately keep writing. I have a number of articles that I’ve stubbed out as things to work on, but just haven’t finished most of them. I’m don’t think I’m nearly as entertaining as some writers, and I’m definately not as successful as most of the people you probably have on your own blogroll, so your next question is, why should you bother listening to me?

Everyone wants to be a success story and everyone likes reading about them. People like Joel, Paul Graham, Steve Pavlina and Eric Sink are natural attractions because they seem to have succeeded on their first attempts. I really think that is the exception, rather than the rule. A lot of people simply crash and burn. Me? I’ve crashed and burned twice so far on my own. Four times total if you count companies I wasn’t running myself. Will MRS crash and burn as well?

I don’t think so. In fact, I can say pretty confidently it will not crash and burn.

I never had that warm fuzzy feeling inside me with the other two companies I started, or that voice in my head that was screaming “You need to get this done because it’s going to be huge!”. Currently, the voice is rather subdued and is saying “Take your time, and don’t rush things. Just focus on what needs to be done right now.” The simple fact of the matter is that in the short months that MRS has been in existence, I’ve made more money than both of my previous companies combined, and then doubled. My consulting efforts are definately paying off. I’m learning to become a better writer, and the software work I’ve been doing has been coming along nicely.

It’s different this time. Completely different in fact. Everything seems to be falling into place, and working out for the better. Eventually at least. Over the years, I’ve worked in two failed startups (2K Innovations Corporation and Clearwire Technologies), created two of my own failed startups (Yako Entertainment and Game Thoughts), worked at Wegmans, the #1 company on Fortune Magazine’s list of 100 Best Companies to work for, and stayed with yet another company till it was bought out for around $65 million dollars.

I think that the diverse experiences I’ve had has a lot to do with this being different. You see, when you fail at something, you undergo a learning experience. As bitter as the experience can be, you may not realize what you have learned until years later. Some companies get lucky, hitting the nail square on the head in the first shot. “Woohoo! This is a piece of cake!” they say. It isn’t until their second, third, or maybe even their fourth project that they begin to realize they were insanely lucky. By then, it’s too late and their company is spiraling out of control down the toilet bowl faster than a lawyer runs from Dick Cheney.

Being lucky means that you didn’t actually learn much other than the idea that business appears to be really easy. This is bad because running a business is not only hard, it’s incredibly hard. You can become too complacent and if things start to go awry, you try and ride your luck through to the end, falling face first in the dust because you thought there’d be a vat of styrofoam peanuts at the end of the ride to catch you. “What the hell just happened?”.

Well, you didn’t screw up enough early on. Luck can only get you so far. But a history of failure is often more than adequate to teach you what not to do and prepare you for the real world. A world where you are in charge calling the shots. You become a penny pinching miser, and are able to save money for a rainy day because you realize the sun isn’t going to be shining on your back forever.

My point is that over the next 18 months, you’re going to see some incredible advances towards profound success here at Moon River Software. Come back and visit every so often. You’ll see.

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