When I left EA last year money played a huge role in each decision I made. Should I take the corporate money and save for another year? Should I keep the great insurance a few more months to make sure my new born is healthy? Should I get a part-time job? Should I just put it all on black? Should I rob a bank?
After getting through the first couple of panicy months I realized we weren’t going on welfare, and money didn’t consume my every thought. This was aided by not taking a single dollar out of the LLC for the first 9-months. Every deal, every consulting job fueled the business fire.
When we started building Steve Young Football we took a small injection of angel funding to hire our team and get the project completed. I’m proud of how we managed that money, and it allowed us to focus completely on the product.
With the game launch completed I’m back to bootstrapping Vaporware Labs. I’m working on a new project code named ‘CR’. There’s nothing to share right now except to say it’s ambitious.
Being overly aware and frugal about spending money has done two major things for our product: focus and simplicity. I’ve cut all non-critical functionality, simplified the MVP feature set, and zeroed in on the Day 1 value proposition.
At first this was disappointing but as time continued it’s become liberating. Fewer features keeps us focused on the core idea. My gut tells me if we can get that right, we will have success.
Not having a lot of money (read: security) in the bank to fund your idea is scary. Feeling like six angry guys with metal pipes are backing you into a corner is terrifying. But I’ve come to find out when your life is on the life you tend to throw your best punches. Hopefully that’s what we (Vaporware Labs) are doing.
November 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm
Your blog is becoming one of my fav sources for authentic talk about startups and startup life. It took me a while to realize there is no recipe, no script and folks that say they know, don’t. I am not saying they are not brilliant, far from it. In one of your last previous posts, you challenged Ron Conway’s assertion that you can’t do it alone, which was totally refreshing, I loved the fact that you took on a giant (and a seemingly great guy).
Keep the authenticity going, keep working and good luck man.
November 11, 2010 at 7:39 pm
That’s really thoughtful of you to say. I’m glad it’s somewhat helpful. I think you’re right that brilliance is not the biggest factor of success. To me the best entrepreneurs are simply the best problem solvers. They are the guys that attack and solve problems before their competitors even understand they have them.Thanks for the insightful comment.