Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Genesis story - Thinking a tree into existence
I'm starting to notice
a significant increase in thoughts of building another software company.
The idea is interesting because
I have been there, done that, several times before.
Each time I have enjoyed the process immensely
and each time the adventure prospered.
So, these thoughts of building another software company
are quite pleasing to me.
I can do this.
It could be fun.
Software for fun and profit.
I've done that, and can do it again.
If I were going to do it again,
it would have to be some Grand Adventure,
some quest for a holy grail of human existence.
Eventually, one day, the entrepreneurial seizure occurs,
and I am launched into the new adventure.
(I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul. Invictus. My father's favorite poem.)
I can do this.
And now, all of a sudden, I am doing it again.
It is that magical creative impulse,
that sparks Commitment,
that prods us to Action
and at the moment of Action,
a new future is created.
Absolutely fascinating to me.
The story of the genesis of SeaSweet Software
is the partly the story of my fascination with
the magical properties of software.
This latest iteration of building a software company,
going back to the beginning in September 2014,
grew from reflections upon the occasion of my birthday that month.
Birthdays are natural times to take stock of one's life.
The most personal of all the holidays.
The growing feelings of pleasure with the idea of
building a software company
are heightened with the delight at
the puzzle of what the product might be,
because it was at that time completely unknown.
What was holding me back from that magical moment of startup
was the lack of clarity of vision of the product.
I was released from this impasse only when
I realized that Action creates new visions
and that the product always evolves from these new visions.
So, it isn't the product that is envisioned at the moment of startup,
it is the product that continuously evolves,
from continuously evolving user imaginings
but only after continuous Action.
The mission of the software company is to deliver those imaginings.
Action in the face of the unknown
is the essence of the entrepreneurial adventure.
And so, in the fulness of Time,
one morning in September 2014
I sat in my chair as a new person,
the founder/CEO of a bold new startup.
That moment is wonderful and terrifying and
as natural as passing through a doorway,
but into another world completely.
I love it.
The adventure, the challenge, the opportunity to do some excellent thing.
What is that excellent thing?
It must help others
at a fundamental level.
It must help them achieve their goals.
I have spent the last dozen years or so
helping founder/CEOs do just that.
Software to help with that process is a natural software project idea.
Software for my clients to focus on the priorities, the goals,
and the actions needed to deliver the goals.
I can do that.
Software for founder/CEOs.
That same software for me too,
because now I am one (again!).
The startup world suggests you build a product that
solves a problem you experience yourself.
We need a name.
Sounds better than using the first person all the time,
and of course success with the adventure will depend on a team of good people.
The name SeaSweet Software was settled on because C-Suite was taken
and I love my home close by the sea in Del Mar, California,
my chair with a peaceful panoramic view of the Pacific.
The name will bring me the calm yet eternal energy
that is needed in the new adventure.
Kind of a mouthful to say,
but it can change later.
It's not important the name of the company,
but the name of the product is important.
There will be many products in the future
all with different names, of course,
so the company name will fade from importance.
Make a decision, get on with it.
Try it out, get feedback,
change in the direction that data directs.
Website is built.
Look mom, I'm a software company!
This is easy, right?
A couple of days into the new adventure
I notice a cognitive disconnect.
My actions are inconsistent with
what a founder/CEO should be doing.
I am watching myself as though I am my own advisor,
as I have been an advisor to so many startup founder/CEOs over the years.
I am comparing my actions with my behavior
as I remember it from prior adventures as a software startup founder/CEO.
The difference, as I saw it,
was that I had got myself out of the good habits that create success.
Vacations can do that.
The founder/CEO must lead by example,
the corporate culture is the values expressed by the
actions of the founder/CEO.
What are the actions that will create success?
Good research project, foundational to the product as well.
And while I'm doing research,
I started interviewing dozens of CEOs
about their software use.
The research results in a list
of activities engaged in by people who have achieved success.
Then I commit to doing these activities
and prove that doing these things will leverage success in business.
It's all simple stuff to do,
and we've heard it many times before,
no secret sauce here,
just a list of stuff like
get plenty of sleep, exercise, eat right,
blah, blah, blah.
The disconnect is the Knowing - Doing Gap.
That we Know what we should do, but the Doing isn't done.
Why is that?
The challenge of optimizing human behavior
has visited me before, several years prior,
and it all comes down to Habits.
If we can create Habits out of the success activities,
then success becomes much more likely.
With habits, the energy to perform an activity become less over time,
a continuously increasing Return on Investment.
Powerful stuff if only the activities are done.
Solve that challenge and you have yourself a product...
Once the list is created,
all that remains is to Do it.
A list is a natural thing for me.
As an aviator, the various checklists help with staying alive.
So I now have a pilot's version of a checklist for success.
Do this stuff, stay alive and succeed.
The handwritten checklist soon became a Word document,
for ease of editing, printing.
A few days into the new adventure and
I have a fundamental awareness that I need
a checklist unlike a pilot would use in that
I need a checklist with a memory.
What I do each day is valuable data to
show me where/why/when/how much/if I am doing
so I can continuously optimize what I get done.
Google reveals a great empty space for such a thing.
So I build it.
Version 0.1 is the true magic.
When thought becomes real.
The rest is Perseverance, Execution.
That was in January 2015,
and the product has evolved every day since.
I have used it myself every day since then
I have experienced what it needs.
Along the way, it was shared it with clients,
and their experiences in using it
have helped make it better.
I am enthusiastically looking forward to the future of this product.
at May 22, 2018