Sales-driven IT Startups

Dear neglected blog,

This week I did nothing but work. Despite the fact that the project I’m supposed to cut my teeth on hasn’t started I’ve been busy looking busy doing fun and exciting things like coding a toy app that will never see the light of day, looking up obscure APIs, playing with the ruby programming language, and teaching others about rails (to the extent of what I know). With all this “work” I still manage to get dead tired at the end of the day and by Friday I’m spent. Funny how it takes a many hours of decompression before I can look at a computer again let alone code. I’m sure the situation will calm down after a while and then I’ll come back full force. Maybe.

I just can’t give up my idea. I’ve learned from coding a toy app that I semi-care about that my passion is still with my original idea. I’ve also learned that deciding on what you want to program means you skip past the hard problems that pose the most learning opportunities unless they are absolutely unavoidable. I need to put my nose to the grindstone more.

My only respite is to play Tetris DS like a madman against random people from around the world via my wi-fi network. The sad thing I discovered is that playing Tetris before bed significantly decreases the quality of sleep and aggravates fatigue to the point where I nod off in the afternoon. It goes without saying that productivity approaches 0 quite fast.

On the other hand, I’ve learned something interesting about a whole new approach to creating a tech startup that you will never see covered on TechCrunch or the like. It’s the sales-driven startup. The weird thing is that our company subsists on selling non-open source software that is widely available on the internet for free along with custom design, hosting, etc. No prestigious venture capital or anything, just real salesmen cold calling businesses and selling or shall I say re-selling licenses. They’ve managed to leverage this revenue to boost their software development division to hopefully create an interesting web application that may or may not take the company to the next level. If not we’ll continue cranking out apps for other companies until we do in order to earn our keep.

It’s strange to see how a tech startup can start simply by getting their sales division right but when you think about it Microsoft and Dell were essentially sales-driven at the beginning to the point where Microsoft founders sold a non-existant piece of software to make their first coup.

So many geeks quit a comfy, well-paid job, cash out their retirement or stock options, code like crazy and pray even harder. This is the business plan of many startups led by otherwise brilliant people. The first portion of the prayer cycle involves enlisting a sugar daddy investor (like venture capital) and the second stage involves selling off the company at a heft profit (at least to the venture capital) and then quitting to start another until you accumulate enough cash to become a venture capitalist yourself. Seems remarkably similar to real estate flipping.

Anyway, it’s time for me to sleep and go work another day. I hope I can someday start my own company but in the meantime I’ll try to overcome my allergy toward associating personal projects with work and even squeeze out some blogging time. Despite the lack of exercise I’ve even managed to lose 4 pounds. Must be all the sweaty walking in the summer heat combined with the massive amounts of coffee and water I drink at work (hey, it’s free!).

Sincerely yours,

Categories: web