Ya, Ya, right I know this is a cliché title, and anyone reading (if any) will say “Duh, of course. If only I knew how Bitcoin will skyrocket and make people billionaires.”
But actually no, I am not talking about circumstantial opportunities or being the right guy at the right time at the right place (Although I know a couple of them). I am going to talk about the misfortunate I faced when I was working initially at my startup company, Sketch, which was later on rebranded as Vstoria.com.
When we, the partners, first met we were young and full ego. Laughing at everyone and criticizing anything we see in front of us. This is just the mentality that us, the developers, the technician, and the domain architects, projected on ourselves due to experiencing the technical surge that happened post-2000 bubble. Or what we called that time, the Web 2.0 era. The technical maturity and business immaturity lead us to see ourselves as merely a toolkit to solve the user requirements through classes, methods, and presentation frameworks.
We had absolutely no business foundation, yes we understood how to talk to the business people, but that was the farthest our young minds can grasp. We created a company just to develop some software and utilities. And like a dog chasing its tail, we went full on the market talking to everyone and anything who just bare the resemblance of a human. We had nothing, that is NOTHING to show except for talks supplemented with our self-arrogance. We didn’t understand the problem the business faces, we never tried to establish a business case, we never tried to define a value to encapsulate it with a proposition that acts like a magnets for our stakeholders (at that time they only thing we understand about the stakeholder is the drawing of the guy in the Use Case diagram). Heck, we even didn’t even do some strategic analysis for the market. We just went there full in speed to face nothing but the void. It didn’t matter if we moved with the speed of light or like a snail, the end result is the same: we were still running in a void.
True, we managed to work for multiple years, and we gained some competitive advantages and managed to land numerous projects. But at what cost? Web 2.0 moved out, and here came the social and mobile ecosystems. The digital era was starting, and we were trying to implement an ERP system for the sake that we can do it and we will resell it once we finished the project. The ERP was implemented successfully but after spending a couple of years where the big players started to penetrate that segment with their cloud offering and SME solutions. And again, that ERP ended in a void much like our earlier experiments and effort.
I don’t know how many people were killed with the single-dimensional mentality of the developer, engineer, technician, or even the pipe-welder who think just because he excels in something then he could outsource that skill as a freelancer or his small company without building the business foundation necessary for it to perform.
That was a harrowing experience for me, but my only condolence (Arab proverb) is that it made me a more reasonable guy, a more humble person, and added so much to my knowledge that helped me to avoid further issues that I am facing right now. Maybe this is what the elders call wisdom.