As they said in a movie once, “Feast yer eyes!” and then read my post below for the punch line It’s worth it, I promise.
See, I’ve been lucky enough to get TechCrunch’d once upon a time, both for my company and also as part of an early stage start-up just this year.
However, despite an introduction to somebody on the Mashable team years ago, I could never, ever figure out how to get them to cover us. We had a great vision, stellar team, massive traction, emarketer & comScore accolades on growth, the quote in the Wall Street Journal…well, if I do say so myself, we had it all. But then again, we didn’t, and I think now I know why Pete and company never gave us the air time I firmly believed we were entitled to.
It wasn’t a story about giving, it was a story about how big my ego had become
Back then, wow, the things you believe when you think that the grass will forever be green, when your start-up hasn’t gone from 7 million visitors per month to less than a quarter million and even worse…like having the President of the country where you live have the police trying to break into your house the night before your birthday.
Yep, that happened and trust me, it sucked. Hard.
Eating a slice of humble pie teaches you a few things about value, about building something real, for the long term. The startup was good, the team was stellar…but, I wasn’t giving. Instead, my former business partners and I held 100% of the equity, didn’t have an ESOP, never filed to incorporate (kept the LLC, etc). Long story short, we were jerks and deserved to be ignored. The story wasn’t about the community, it was about how inflated our heads had become.
My bad, and I sincerely apologize. I won’t be making that mistake again, for a few reasons. The main one is in building, the good parts were really, really good. Seeing the growth in the community, the moderation team we built, especially the awesome time we sent everybody t-shirts, and everybody updated their profile. It felt like being a member of a fun little club, and I was one of the few who controlled the whole thing. My partners and I, well, we’ve all learned from the experience in various ways, and we’re all better people. That definitely messes with your sense of what’s right, what’s fair and then some. Bootstrapping a business also makes you really, really feel entitled to every drop of anything that appears, especially when the first real profit arrived in 2007, a long four years after the website was initially built.
Pete, I’m glad you never covered us and I still read Mashable. The site has morphed, you guys have experimented and continued to grow, to expand, and now I see it as a real top tier general media brand, with a solid edge in tech. It’s a powerhouse, and an amazing story. From everything I can tell in the media, you’ve also treated the team, the brand, exceptionally well. It’s the kind of thing I am doing now, in sharing, in ensuring that the company, the team, comes first.
It feels fantastic. It’s already my older son’s birthday today in Hong Kong, and the best thing I can give him, or anyone, is a better tomorrow. More opportunity, more freedom and help shine a light, give hope to everybody who needs it. At the end of the day, who doesn’t appreciate getting hooked up? I know I’m grateful for every opportunity I have, with each one, my next trip to see my children in person arrives that much sooner.