Way, way too late one night this week, Jacob and I got to talking. It was one of those late night conversations that involves a lot of inside jokes and giggling, the laugh of the sleep deprived. We discussed where we thought Fellowstream could take us: we would hit a million Twitter followers, manage 20-person teams, become sponsors of South by Southwest. Bill Gates would have nothing on our future.
But, in all honesty, I hope we never get there.
I’ve worked at start-ups before. The fun part isn’t getting big, but the part where everything is still intimate and small. Where you still know everyone who works with you, and everyone works efficiently in small teams. Everyone manages themselves because they want to be there, so there’s no need to have managers dedicated to cracking the whip. You have 1,000 really awesome customers who love what you do, and your team is quick about adapting to their needs and wants. Instead of sponsoring huge events, you’re getting your name out at smaller venues, where you can have real conversations 1-on-1 with people.
I can see us hiring more people, once we get off the ground. I can see myself devoting a lot more time to answering questions on our Get Satisfaction forums or reaching out to frustrated, ranting customers in my inbox. And I can see myself in that environment. But if I ever don’t know someone I work with, or I don’t personally know how people feel about Fellowstream without looking at a chart full of ridiculous metrics, then it will no longer be a place for me.
So here’s to staying focused and defining success as “creating something awesome for a small number of people,” rather than creating an empire.
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