So you just joined (or started) a young startup. You get your founders together and you pick and choose roles. You be the CEO I’ll be the CTO and he will be the CFO. Hopefully you already know what product you’re building; in this case we did. We had our product and we knew people would use it. In fact, we had been building these applications for years. We just never thought about expanding to a Software-as-a-Service application. It was a sure fire idea! So now we will hire all the talented developers we know and get to work!
Well I wish that was me… but it wasen’t. Looking back on the whole thing I often think that if I were the CTO and had that power I would have done things very differently. I know better than that, though. Knowing myself at that time I would have made the same mistakes. When you start or join your first startup you always think about how much fun and games there will be. Your going to create something out of nothing and there will be bitches, drinks, jacuzzi’s and we will make it rain! Well, those of us in startups know that’s not the case… usually. I actually was one of those talented developers. I was 16 at the time, had just gradutated high school and was ready to take on the world. When I was asked if I wanted to start a company with some people I was like “sure what can I do?” and I was more excited and enthusiastic than a fangirl seeing Justin Bieber in concert.
Everything was awesome! We had two amazing PHP developers, one CEO, one CFO, one board member, and me: the youngest of everyone and by far the most gullible, sensative and inexperienced person on the team. For 6 months we worked remotely from 4 seperate cities in 3 countries across North America. We persevered and eventually we realized working remotely was not going to work anymore. We decided to move the developers to California. This was quite an undertaking and somewhat last minute and probabbly what runined us. Not only did I drop out of college while the others left their part-time jobs to pursue fulltime work at our new company, but our CFO forgot that the company did not have enough money to support 7 employees in Los Angeles. This unfortunately happened after the company started moving people out. This should have been a sign that things would not go well. No one picked up on it and the company immediately relocated to Colorado for the lower cost of living.
Moral of this story: when you start a company don’t ask your employees to move unless you can afford it. Also do not ask for fulltime work unless you can afford to pay your employees’ cost of living.