Despite Best Efforts, Someone Always Gets Hurt

March 29, 2010

In my  short stint as a full-time entrepreneur it’s clear that regardless of how hard you try, some people you interact with are going to get their feelings hurt. In some cases, they’ll get really angry. I used to look at entrepreneurs and wonder why they looked so stressed out, laugh less, and seem to go bald faster – now I understand. Regardless of how you treat someone, when you’re dealing with dozen of different business owners each week eventually you find someone whose circumstances or attitudes completely conflict with your.

I spent some time last week concerned about one particular situation. The business owner I was dealing with who will go nameless (don’t bother asking who – lips are sealed) was involved in a project we’re working on at Vaporware Labs. Unfortunately I lost trust in the provider and decided to go 180 degrees from Friday to Monday. This was based on my gut instinct it was not the most logical thing to do. We scrambled all weekend to find another solution which I’m confident will be equally as successful if not more so.

On Monday morning I let the provider know we had decided to go in a different direction where upon I received a personal, angry, and thoughtless email. The funny part is that in the last 2-weeks I’ve probably been involved in half a dozen pitches myself, most of which we have not secured and my response to these businesses has always been, “Thanks for the opportunity, keep us in mind for the next one.” This allows us to keep the dialog open, possibly secure more opportunities in the future, and call on the partner if needed. I have received many follow-up deals with partners where the first pitch was not accepted. It’s part of building credibility with major companies, and it’s the nature of being a service provider.

It always funny to me when people act stupid in email. FYI: EMAIL DOESN’T GO AWAY. It can be easily forwarded and passed around. There are some great examples of stupid emails that cause major company problems.

I’m not trying to dwell on this. The provider has since apologized for any wrongdoing, I have done the same. It’s just an ugly natural part of the entrepreneurial adventure that we’re all on in startups. I hope to be strong enough to follow good advice I’ve heard many entrepreneurs echo:

Don’t hire family. Be careful which friends you work with.

If this person above had been my brother-in-law my problem would be 10x. Here are some other interesting things that happened at Vaporware Labs last week:

- Unity Game Engine: We’re officially using Unity on our current project. We’re excited about the early results and the rapid development it facilitates.

- Fridge: We got a fridge in the office, but it almost cost us our lead engineer’s right leg.

- Startup Grind Event: We had our second monthly “Startup Grind” event at Vaporware Labs HQ in Mountain View on Thursday night. Please join us next month when Spencer Tall, Managing Partner at Allegis Capital will be presenting some of the top business ideas he’s seen pitched in 2010. Email me, comment below, or reach me on Twitter if you would like to be put on the invite for details or help us organize/promote.

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