For a while now, I’ve been thinking, long and hard, about the business model we’ve been building. As a team, there are revenue goals, business milestones and more we need to hit.
However, as a very selfish individual, I miss my old software. I miss my team at Intuit, I miss my children and yes, my life isn’t where I pictured it today. I would rather sell it than give it away.
The “Missing old software,” bit is why I’m writing the post and the only reason I miss the team at Intuit is because those relationships were built over a longer time than the current team and I have been working together.
Also, it’s a lot easier to focus on team building when you have revenue, aren’t, “In the red,” etc. That makes it a bit hard to focus on culture, but, I’ve been taking a step back this year, on purpose, after burning myself out shipping and doing too much during the holidays.
If I’d been less selfish, last time, I might have the last SEO software I built today.
Some of the clients I had back then I still have, so, the only things missing are the team and the technology. The team I’ve been rebuilding, along with the software.
Sure, it wouldn’t be, “Cutting edge,” in every sense of the word but in 2006 at the time I helped design the tool set, the automated page analysis market was still very primitive. That’s nine years back now, and a lot has changed. If the software was open source, just maybe, it would have found a home. Grown. Or at least, been kept alive, on life support, as a hobby project by anybody who cared. There was no opportunity to do any of that, because I was selfish.
We didn’t give it away, we kept the source code to ourselves. I didn’t expect to be a full time consultant again, but after a few months, I decided if I am going to do this, I’m doing it right. Adam and I hired Hans, joined forces more formally.
Now we’re shipping. I’m tired. It doesn’t, “Feel,” like victory, because there’s not money in it – yet. The software saves us some amount of time, but not a ton – again, yet.
The operative word here is, “Yet.” I don’t know what’s going to happen today, tomorrow or next year. The upshot of giving away our tools (more coming) is that if I end up going around in another circle, nine years later, I have a better shot next time than I do at present.
I’ll have a foundation. Building blocks. Another link in the chain, and the more I’ve been learning, reading and grokking open source movements in general, it’s the absolute right way to do technology. I’m a tinkerer at heart. I leverage other people’s hammers and view the world as one huge box of nails.
Today, and from now on, we’re sharing our hammer with the world. Like it, love or leave it, for people who appreciate the fine art of pounding in yet another nail, filling in yet another box, this one’s for you. It’s not shiny shiny – yet.
If we’d left all the details off, we wouldn’t have a product. If we had fine tuned to our hearts content, waited for Facebook’s permission to publicly use the variables we need from Open Graph, well, we’d be admitting that our business depends on Facebook. To a degree, it does, in terms of access to their tools, data and infrastructure.
But, we know our business is really people. There are distribution channels that come and go, like fads. It was Google, it still is Google, and next year, it’ll probably be Google still. But there’s Facebook now, which didn’t exist in the 90’s when I first learned the ways of Excite, Infoseek & Inktomi. The world’s changed, people have moved on, and for the first time in nearly fifteen years, we’ve got a new HTML standard. Five.
For a few years now, I’ve been telling people, I feel like now, today, is the very best time to be building things. So, I’m putting my money where my heart is, in case the rest will follow. If it doesn’t, well, consulting is getting better. Clients are doing incredibly well.
Retention over time is increasing, too, which is humbling like nothing else. Thank you, everybody.
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