I met with a company today that is really doing something interesting – and something that will change how we all prepare and view video. I love talking to people that are passionate about something, and talented. I love being around people I can learn from.
I found them through a friend of a friend, and I really met with them expecting to do some consultation. Instead I left contemplating rejoining a company as a full time employee and building both Customer Support and Quality teams from scratch. Again.
This isn’t an easy thing to do – especially for a company that is a start up and is going to launch a global product. The challenges in successfully building an infrastructure of people, processes and systems are rather daunting. Doing it in weeks instead of months is almost unimaginable.
And that’s exactly why I am considering joining them full time. It would mean 100 hour weeks (again). It would mean missing a lot of what my kids experience in the next year. It would mean almost completely devoting my time, energy, passion and focus to this effort. It would mean living this company, not working for it. And I am still interested.
I am interested because the primary investor told me (even before he really knew my background) how important he viewed customer support. I am interested because the entire staff (very small now) seems open to discussion on anything – they don’t have a lot of preconceived notions on “how things should be”.
I am interested because the two inventors developed the technology as teenagers, and there are patents pending, and now these guys are still only 20. Young people really bring out my best efforts. I always feel like I have to think twice as hard about a problem to keep up with them. I love talking to them – they just ooze energy, and determination, and hope, and the sincere belief that we are not just here to build a widget – we are here to change the world.
It would mean a complete change in lifestyle – and I am not talking money. I am talking freedom, time with family, time spent at home, travel time, etc. One of the best things about consulting is your ability to set your own schedule. This company makes me think I would be willing to make some of those tradeoffs.
I showed up for what I assumed was an hour meeting and spent almost five hours with them. They are a long commute for me – 45 minutes one way (without traffic – longer with). And they are considering moving even further away in a year – would be a 90 minute commute each way.
So why am I considering it? Well, I like doing things. I like getting things done. I like people, and I love building teams. I love creating something out of near nothing. I love the challenge of startups because there are very few limits to what you are allowed to try and do. Generally in a startup you can try anything. That’s how I ended up running a remote site, negotiating new space build-outs, creating a Quality group, building a Technical Support team – almost everything I have been allowed to try has been done in either a startup or a company with a startup mentality. I love how startups move quickly. I love how the entire staff is co-located and talks with each other very often. I like the way you can not only bounce ideas off each other, but actually create ideas by “sitting around and chatting”. I love the fact that in startups “sitting around and talking” is NOT considered wasting your time.
I told the company today that I wasn’t ready to commit to working for someone again just yet. I told them how much I like being a consultant, and how much I enjoyed the freedom that gives me, and how I can dictate what I do tomorrow – be it delving into a new technology segment or just spending the day reading.
But the real truth is that I never had more freedom than when I was building my initial WiFi Quality and Support groups. I had the trust of management and the backing of my employees. It was in everyone’s best interests for me to succeed.
I didn’t expect to find an opportunity like that again. Today I think I did. And that is why I am interested. I am interested in seeing how much better I can do it now – based on the experience I have gained.
So I owe this company an answer early next week, and as much as I dread the thought of getting involved in another company where I spend 100+ hours a week supporting internal and external customers I am somehow drawn to this challenge. Maybe just because it is a challenge. Maybe just because I can learn a lot from them. Maybe just because I liked everyone I met today.
I’m not sure why, but I am feeling compelled to do this. Maybe it’s simply because I think I can really make a difference in this company.
We should all know my decision (and theirs) early next week. In any case, it was a very lucky Friday the 13th for me. At the least, I met some really smart and interesting people. And that makes for a damn fine Friday.