In the beginning, starting a business feels like pushing a rock uphill.
The first few months is all about infecting individual people with your vision, and each time you have to start from zero. Nobody knows who you are or what you do, and all you have to get them on board are the track record you start with, a few ideas that make sense to you, and a handful of slides that no one wants to look at.
You build some stuff, hit the road like a standup comic working the kinks out of your act, and slowly add people, one-by-one, to the list of Those Who Believe. The team grows, and your act evolves. Your vision and your pitch come into focus, and if you get lucky before you run out of money, somebody gives you a shot to do what you say you can do.
Desperate to prove them right, you and your posse try to do something you’ve really never done before, and realize how stupid and shallow your thinking was. You listen, learn, and work your ass off to fix problems before the whole thing goes sideways. If the team you’ve built to that point is really good you manage to keep things on track, and you get the first one out the door without pissing off the people who trusted you first.
By then you have something real, something live, so with renewed energy you go back out there to try and sell another one. It’s hard like it always is, but at some point you lift your head up and realize it’s just a little bit easier than it was before. The second one launches, and it gets a little easier. The first round of improvements drop soon after that, then somebody writes something nice about you in a blog someplace. It feels good. You tell your Mom.
One day you realize the rock is the same, but the hill is flat. And even though that day begins and ends pushing a big giant rock from here to there, it is a great day indeed.
By sheer force of will, through heroism and hard work, by being smart enough to see what others could not see or too dumb to recognize a hundred defeats, you will have changed the very curvature of the earth. At least it will feel that way from the narrow perspective of, say, a few smart folks crowded into a little office in Needham, MA.
This is that day for matchmine. I am first overwhelmingly grateful to Fuzz and FilmCrave for giving us a shot when we needed it. I am second hyper-actively excited to add the incredibly smart people at Odeo, Blogdigger, Blogged, MediaMelon and IODA to the list of Those Who Believe. And I am finally chest-burstingly proud to be standing at the top of this hill with the team of talented, committed people who got this rock to where it is now.
We’re going to get this rock rolling now, and in the not too distant future we’re going to feel it start to roll on its own. I’m sure looking forward to that, and I hope you are too.