A cry from a voice in the wilderness ...
Submitted by Steve Moyer on Fri, 2006-05-19 10:45.
My name is Steve (say "Hi Steve") and I'm a recovering manager. There I said it, and everyone knows the first step to recovery is recognizing you have a problem.
In any case (and for better or worse), I've been invited to post for the next three months, so I'd like to give you a little background. Bob Walsh, in his introduction a few weeks ago, stated that it was odd writing about yourself, but in my case, I'm more concerned that it's the most boring topic I could talk about. Here goes!
I'm an enterprise architect for software that monitors cable TV equipment and pinpoints failures. I work for a medium-sized company (that's still far too large for me) that has acquired 10 other companies in last five years. While much of the technology gained in these purchases is ultimately useful to the company, it's been a real challenge trying to integrate all the pieces ... I feel like we haven't really started but, at least for the company's software groups, the value of the products will increase exponentially as we accomplish this task.
This is my first experience in a large company and I am totally dismayed by both the politics required to keep things moving and the collective lack of "common sense". How can you put together a large group of smart people and end up with a sum that's way less than any of it's parts? I started with my last employer as the seventh employee and over the course of 10 years became the CTO as the business approached 100 employees. This organization, in contrast to my current experience, remained light on its feet. Authority was both well distributed and regimented ... everyone knew who was responsible for what areas of the business and we didn't meddle in each others departments.
Prior to that job, I was the first employee in a new engineering division of another small company. Watching the management of this business taught me everything I needed to know about owning and running a business. I'm firmly convinced that all new small businesses could succeed if they didn't do the things this business did. The worst part was that this business didn't fail ... it just continued to be painful for everyone involved.
Like so many others posting here and on BoS on Jos, I've been infected by the mISV bug. My product falls into the "combining simple parts into a complex whole" category and should be released by the end of the summer. I've been spending about four hours a day on it for the past two years, and am anxiously awaiting the day I can quit my day job to pursue this project full-time. I've considered both VC (with $5M promised) and angel investors, but haven't found the right contractual terms to make the business run. I have another four people lined identified for key positions within the company (including someone else to be the President/CEO) and expect the first sale to be over $500K. We're obviously not targetting the consumer market ... I'll talk more about this in later posts.
I am 41, married and have four great kids, aged 4 to 15 years. I enjoy running and biking and will be competing in my first marathon in September (with a goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon). I also enjoy singing and playing music (though not everyone enjoys my output).
An interesting aside; this article is about 10 days late ... I'm going to set aside the topic I had picked for my first "real post" and describe "My week without Internet access (thanks Verizon)". After that, I'll write about my trip to the dark side.