What Does Being A ‘Startup Founder’ Mean to Me?

Lemonade Stand 50 Cents Each Qiqi Lourdie June 24, 20111
By: Steven DepoloCC BY 2.0

 

Over the last few months that I’ve been building my startup (ServiceChat – a platform to help businesses have better conversations with their customers on Twitter) – this topic has been my constant companion. I am continuously discovering what it means to me to be a founder.  There is no job description, no employee manual to tell you what to do or not do and actually no other experience to compare it to.

When I think back to all the jobs I’ve had – postman, video-tab-remover-guy, programmer, consulting coach, ‘startup founder’ is, by far, the hardest, most unrelenting, supremely challenging work I have ever done.  It is also, without a shadow of a doubt, the most satisfying endeavor I have ever undertaken.

I have distilled my current feelings about being a startup founder and this is what I think it means so far, for me at least:

Incredibly hard work, emotionally exhausting

When I took my indefinite sabbatical from my really lucrative and pretty fulfilling job of being a consultant agile coach, I knew enough of the startup world to know it was pretty hard work. I knew also it is unglamorous work that demands you do what you know and often what you don’t, to make progress. Often for very little or no pay!

I easily put in sixty hours or more a week, work weekends and unsociable hours (the sky at 3am is beautiful!). All this whilst trying to be a half decent husband to a lovely wife and an attentive dad to four lovely people. Every spare minute I have is devoted to ServiceChat – building it, finding customers, crafting experiments to find customers, talking to customers, learning how to talk to customers, designing, developing , redesigning, strategizing, financializing (hey, that’s my word!). You name it, I do it because I’m a founder and it is what needs to be done.

And when I’m not working on my startup – I’m thinking about working on my startup!

Every success, every failure, every hope dashed, every dream realised is felt 100% by the founder. Praise does come, so does criticism – mostly from myself!
In any given day I go through the entire spectrum of emotions – fear, delight, sadness, anger and love. And that is just before lunch!

By the end of the day, I am not only physically tired, I’m also emotionally drained.

Requires focus, demands discipline

By nature, I’m easily distracted. This startup experience has shown me that starting is easy for me, I approach all new ideas with deep passion, huge excitement but I mostly suck at execution.
This is itself is great learning, because I now know what I need to improve on or buy in. Given that I’m building ServiceChat on a small budget, buying in an ace executioner is not really an option right now and besides, I need to get better at focusing and the discipline to focus.

Over the next few posts, I will share how I try and sustain my focus and train my discipline. Finding a focus is important because you bring all that you are to the challenge. You are present, some call it bringing your ‘A’ game, whatever you call it, you need it to be effective.  What has helped me hugely is creating a routine that I can stick to and form a habit around. The discipline to stick to it becomes easier as it becomes habitual.

Without focus, time will pass and nothing would have been done. I would be no closer to my vision, remaining ignorant of the learning I need to more forward.

And time is money – whether you are spending it or not!  ServiceChat is self funded, I moved to Spain (from England via Ireland) to extend my runway for a few more months, so every moment I am distracted, is cold hard cash that is burning away, inches of runway being lost to Father Time. But that is another story.

Deeply satisfying, hugely liberating

Being a founder is so deeply satisfying, I cannot find the words to articulate it as deeply as I feel it. Sure there are risks – it might not be viable, customers might not emerge from all the experiments. Finding those risks, facing up to them reaffirms my courage and encourages me to square up to the next scary thing. What a brilliant feeling!

Sure, there are dark undiscovered jungles in my map, big question marks about ‘what next? , ‘what if?’ and ‘how bad is it?’ . But discovering them, finding ways to answer the questions, learning what problems my startup could help solve and solving them are all satisfying things, at least for the curious mind.

Whether my startup succeeds as a sustainable business or not, I have learnt what professional liberation truly means. The freedom to learn and to explore. The freedom to take risks safely and to adjust the direction I take based on what I discover, the freedom to fail without the harsh judgements and condemnation of most traditional jobs.

As a founder, it will be damn near impossible for me to work ‘for’ someone else and be subject to their rules of how I work, when I work, what I do and how I do it. A wild bird is hard to cage, but an imprisoned bird that has experienced the freedom to soar unrestrained is almost impossible to re-imprison.

Feeling part of  something

What I continue to love about being in the startup community is that there is one – and it is rich in learning and support.  As a developer for nearly twenty years, I am used to the open source community, where ideas are freely shared and welcomed and I feel the same with the startup communities I have participated in.

I especially love the LeanStartup movement. Eric Ries (and to a large extent others like Steve Blank and Alex Osterwalder) has provided a manual that we can learn from and a common language that immediately connects us. Around it has grown a beautiful ecosystem to be part of, full of meetups, mashups, startup weekends, hackathons and so many community activities to help the starry eyed dreamers. They do help and support, but ultimately, as a founder, you have to go back and build your vision.  As a startup founder, I feel part of something revolutionary, almost like we are redefining the future of work as something driven by passion and is deeply humanised.

What does being a startup founder mean to other founders?

I was really interested to hear what other founders thought, so I asked around and here a few responses from my twitter shout out:

Hass Chapman (@hasschapman) from @TORCH_sh  –  “A very steep learning curve. Daily tests of commitment. Sacrifice. But also; Achievement. Pride. Enthusiasm.” 

Marc Cooper (@auxbuss) from fndout.com –  “freedom, destiny, change I want to see, daily confronting daemons, sacrifice, awesome. Not for everyone.”

Enovia Bedford (@accessoryremix) from mixieManagement.com –  Being start-up founder allows me to improve systems of the past and produce similiar products in a sustainable way.”

What does being a startup founder mean to you?

It does not matter whether you are contemplating starting a startup or just starting up or whether you are a tried and tested founder, we each bring a unique perspective to this gig and I would love to hear and share what you think?

Do you find it exhausting?
What are the sacrifices you are making to be a startup founder?
What are you learning?
Are you enjoying it?

Comment here, on the FounderSync forums or holler at me on @mhsutton. I also share my daily startup experiences on my personal blog at http://mhsutton.me

Keep dreaming, keep scheming!

July 18: A Mixed Bag

By: crabchickCC BY 2.0

Not sure what to make of this week. It’s a bit like being in  the Tom Hanks movie ‘The Terminal’. I’m stuck but actually while I’m in this state of suspension there are really interesting things happening, but mostly I’m still stuck. Unlike Tom Hanks, my becoming unstuck is in my hands, I just don’t know how or I’m currently too scared to try – perhaps a bit of both. The former I can learn and the latter I will outgrow in time and by taking small risks.

Here is my check in:

  • Glad that my Spanish language exchange is really going well.  Duolingo is great, but it is no substitute for actually getting into really interesting conversations with a native speaker.
  • Sad that I will be away from my family for 5 weeks while go do some coaching work.
  • Glad that there are Spanish language meetups where I’ll be, so I can keep up
  • Mad that I have not cracked this sales thing. I think I need to get a mentor/coach. That will be my task today – understand what I want help with!
  • Glad that I will have 5 weeks of doing something else primarily and some focused time in a different location to put into overcoming what is currently got me stuck.
  • I’m grateful for being able to reflect on things, sometimes too deeply – but that is a small price to pay for being able to reflect and learn.

I’m confused and stuck and in.

Improve On…

  • Completing blog posts I have started
  • Being more patient with this journey. Overnight successes take a long time to make.

Today

  • Blog. I’m trying to do 3 a day (this one, a personal one and one for ServiceChat about customer service).
  • Talk to more customers
  • Continue with the promo work for Twumps and BizBuzz. Not quite 20 hits/day but getting there (easier on Bizbuzz than Twumps).

The Trello board

My_ONE_Place___Trello

 

There are many things I could do, do something or do nothing, but whatever I do will be deliberate.

July 12: Traction not tractors

By: D. MillerCC BY 2.0

Traction is vital, getting early customers to commit to using what I’m offering is very important.  Both are vital and important for my finances and startup growth, sure – but mostly for my sanity.

I’m a maker and an artist.  I make the art that is in my head.  Many of the things I make are because I had a problem and I expressed a way to solve them.  When I bring them to the market (as ineptly as I do) and expect some meaningful response, I am investing emotional energy into that. I care that I get a response – much more than the nature of that response.  I can handle praise and rejection but much less so, apathy.

So my new strategy of trying to be found by prospective customers is off to a slow start, but a start nonetheless.  Here is my check in:

  • Mad that I am really struggling to keep my schedule on track, my options for being flexible are limited when I start late and end later.  If I start on time (9.30) , I am actually far more flexible to do other stuff (like going to the beach!) because I would have made some progress.
  • Glad that I can changed most things to get back to routine – this is a really valuable thing about working for myself.
  • Glad I had another idea and my technique for welcoming them and giving them a slot to explore them is successful at keeping me focused on finishing
  • I’m grateful for having different onion skins to other people and having mine not constrain me from being myself.

I’m in (onion skins and all).

Improve On…

Being a better marketeer – better meaning braver, more authentic, more dedicated, better organised. Avoid the schmoltz.

Being a better researcher –  everything – my potential customers, competitors , collaborators.

 

Today

The trello board says it all.  basically as much of the stuff I have on there as possible. Mostly blogs.  But absolutely must…

Write ServiceChat blog post on ‘I am the greatest customer service expert in the world’.

Do some promotion work on Twumps and ServiceChat and get at least 20 unique visitors to each today.

 

The Trello board…

My_ONE_Place___Trello

 

Ask yourself if you are doing everything* you can to be successful

* – whilst remaining congruent with your values, fair to those you love and kind to yourself

July 8 – Working hard, differently

By: Jeremiah “GrayBeard” RichardsCC BY 2.0

 

 

My last post was about 2 weeks ago and you might have wondered where I disappeared to. Well, I’ll tell you.

I was feeling very disheartened about the lack of traction with ServiceChat. So I took some time away from ServiceChat – maintaining focus when you are down is hard, but it is precisely when you need it the most.  This time was to try and get some perspective.

This time off  was mostly spent building this and exploring alliances with leading customer service evangelists like Ian Golding and Flavio Martins (both of whom are graciously offered to write about bizbuzz and ServiceChat).

So here is my check in:

  • Glad I took some time out to think about whether ServiceChat is still what I should be doing. Right now, it is.
  • Glad I built Twumps as outlet for my disheartenment, it was fun and completely different.
  • Glad that I am discovering passionate people in the customer services/experience space.
  • Glad that my spanish one-to-one conversations are getting better and I am also being useful to my partner in his journey to learn english.
  • Glad an option to replenish my funding is getting stronger by the day.
  • Mad I have such a reaction to insect bites that has laid me low for today.
  • I’m grateful for the universe that conspires to help me be successful.

I’m  in.

Improve On…

Keeping carbs out of my diet – especially the ones covered in sugar.

Today

Write this blog.

Start an insights blog post

Do some duolingo -I’m getting pretty consistent with this.

 

The Trello board…(more or less unchanged)

My_ONE_Place___Trello

 

Giving up is the last thing you want to do.

June 26 – Disheartened

By: Tom PurvesCC BY 2.0

I’m sitting here not really wanting to do anything else but code. I know it’s wrong – I’ve built something I passionately believe is valuable but not getting to even talk to the people I believe it is valuable for is deeply disheartening.
It doesn’t mean ServiceChat isn’t valuable (I honestly don’t have enough data to answer that). It just means I suck at knocking on doors.

So here is my check in:

  • Mad that my reach outs to the individuals in companies, that I have identified have a need and a hunch that they give a damn, has not provided the access I was hoping for. Both those hypotheses remain unresolved.
  • Sad that I’m facing this whole thing alone.  I have advisers, family and friends but no one really in the space with me. I am resistant to going out and finding a co-founder, much rather they found me.
  • Glad that this emotion is strong and empowering – in a weird way – it is sparking a survival instinct in me.
  • Mad that my spanish conversational meetup (intercambio) was so difficult, it seems the more I know (vocabulary and rules of structure) the less I am able to apply.  Rules as binds, who knew!
  • Mad I feel so mad.
  • I’m grateful for perspective, without it I would think my problems were the most important in the world. They are not. I have options.

I’m still in.

Improve On…

Getting back to my routine – I seem to fall off it when I get emotionally weird, yet ironically it is what gives me a way back to form.
Being courageous and picking up the phone to call people and arrange conversations. Enough hiding behind emails!

Today

Start my ‘insights’ series on the ServiceChat blog – where I share what the data from bizbuzz is telling me (and has told me).

Get back on track with Duolingo – I’ve decided to focus on this as vs split my time between it and Rosetta Stone (which is good also, but not as effective for me).

Blog, blog, blog.

 

The Trello board…(more or less unchanged)

Screenshot_20_06_2013_14_22

 

What does it all mean, really? 

June 20 – Mikey’s back!

By: Elliott BrownCC BY 2.0

The last 13 days

Q: Does a daily blog have to be done every day?
A: Not when it’s @mhsutton’s blog – obviously.

So much has happened in the last 13 days, I don’t really know where to start. I’ve been away because I’ve been a little discouraged with the progress of ServiceChat (no, I haven’t been in rehab – just nose down trying to move it forward!) – So I took a break from writing and the routine, to focus 100% of my time on completing my customer discovery experiments. It was an ineffective move, what may have been more useful might have been to talk to my @saintsal sooner and continue with my routine but with differently prioritised work.  Most things suffered in this hiatus – I ended up being able to do less pushups for example!

So here is my check in:

  • Glad that I spoke with @saintsal – who very kindly listened to my challenges and offered his honest appraisal based on what I communicated. Sal was gracious but honest – I have been coding an awful lot with real focus on business building and validation. I knew this, but it was hard to accept from myself.
  • Glad that my funding strategy is sorted. I’m taking a consulting gig in August that will help me fund the next 7 months from 6 weeks work. Ha, the joys of living a lean life.
  • Sad that whilst I’m doing the language study, the practical experience is not really happening. I feel less capable of speaking Spanish now than I did in January!
  • Glad that my intercambio is starting on Monday – an hour talking in Spanish, hopefully twice a week.
  • Sad to hear of the sudden death of James Gandolfini – who played Tony Soprano on the Sopranos. That show was a large part of my rehabilitation during my divorce.
  • Sad/mad that my collaboration with FounderSync fizzled out after one blog, it was actually none existent. A thoroughly poor set up. Chalk it up to experience, I guess.
  • Glad I got to talk with @scottcrowther about ServiceChat and he was lovely and kind enough to share more than 20 ideas for improvement and growth with me (including moving back to the midlands!)
  • Glad I feel more engaged and more present.
  • I’m grateful for saints who pop up with truth and grace.

I’m good and getting better. The future is less dark and almost entirely my own making. I’m  in.

Improve On…

Blogging consistently – this and other non-coding things are the highest priority items I have to do now. I basically need to drum up interest in what ServiceChat does. BizBuzz was part of that effort and now that I have gifted it to the public to search , I would like to see more interest in how businesses engage their customers on Twitter.

Today

Start my ‘insights’ series on the ServiceChat blog – where I share what the data from bizbuzz is telling me (and has told me).  The first is a summary description of the types of support behaviours I have observed and I’ll try and evangelise with best groups for the topic on LinkedIn.
Reach out to Huffington post and explore how to become a huffblogger.
Reach out to my top 5 ideal customers and get a dialogue going about using ServiceChat
Blog, blog, blog.

 

The Trello board…

Screenshot_20_06_2013_14_22

 

Seek beyond what you know. It is dangerous. Most things worth anything are.

June 03 – Plod on dear boy, plod on.

By: Jeremy StarkCC BY 2.0

 

Yesterday

I’m finally resigned to the realisation that I won’t be an overnight sensation ;-).  At this point, the core of my strategy is plodding on – persevere through the mud that lies between me and triumph (or at least the next mountain!) and have fun in all that squelchy goodness!

So here is my check in:

  • Glad I had a wonderful weekend with my family. Their energy reinvigorates me when I need it the most.
  • Glad I added averages to bizbuzz, makes interesting dimension to the per customer numbers. There are businesses out there apologising an average of 10 times a day on twitter. Most offer no real alternative to their traditional channels for people to get real help for the things they apologise for. Perfect ServiceChat customers!
  • Delighted that just after I moaned about customers not choosing to talk about their experiences, I noticed 3 replies agreeing to my invitation to have a conversation.  Yay!
  • Glad that using ServiceChat as the platform to have those conversations shed some light on some usability issues.
  • Mad that despite feeling more toned, stronger, fitter – the scales are not budging.
  • Glad that I spent  a few hours over the weekend fixing them and voila, chat notification is in-place and working well.  Some new learning about pub/sub tech was gained. Awesome.

    Screenshot_03_06_2013_10_48
    Simple notifications
  • Glad the I applied to be a guest blogger on FounderSync , I hope they say ‘Yes’.
  • I’m grateful for water. We take it for granted, but it is singularly the most valuable thing we have on our Earth and we would be extinct within months without it. I start my day drinking 2 glasses of it and instantly my brain is calmed. Do yourself a favour, drink more of it and help to make it available to more people.

I’m muddy and I’m  in.

Improve On…

Keeping my inbox < 10 (I did inbox zero, < 10 is more challenging!)

Take more walks. Pinos del Valle is truly beautiful.

 

Today

More customer chatting, more warm intro requests (2/3 of my last ones came up trumps).  I have 15 pretty good leads.
This experiment (how many warm intros can I get from my current network via Linked In) is showing that my current network is really not as diverse as I thought it was.  Mostly agile, tech people!  Time for LinkedIn inMails.

I feel a real need to blog one of 3 titles – ‘I’m mad about Youth Unemployment’, ‘Real Men Pee Standing Up’ or ‘Enough about Zappos already’.  If you have a strong preference for any of these, ping me and I’ll that one.

 

The Trello board…

Screenshot_03_06_2013_10_48

Do what you love and never apologise for it.

 

May 31 – Talking to Customers is Hard

By: Geraint RowlandCC BY 2.0

Yesterday

So I’m trying really hard to chat with some people about the problem I’m trying to solve.

My approach is to talk to my prospective customers’ customers – the ones that have the enquiry/frustration/need they want addressing. It should be easy, right? It would appear not so.

What could be easier – I know who they are and roughly what their articulated enquiry is (that is, what they said) and I can often deduce what their need is (thank you NVC!). But to validate with them what may have helped (hopefully the service I am offering) is proving to be very difficult. Simply because they are not responding to how I am currently approaching them.
Although it’s long and complicated and not really the subject of this post.  You might think that people would want to be part of a solution to their own frustrations – but, alas, no!

I will try something different and persevere, this is important!

So here is my check in:

  • Glad I started trying to talk to customers. Living the 80/20 rule, sending out lots of offers to have a conversation>
  • Mad I’m not getting the responses I expect. So maybe I need to revise how I make the offer and/or review my expectations.
  • Sad that how businesses treat engage with their customers (especially in tough economic conditions) is still under-appreciated. 
  • Glad that I am back on track with Spanish and my exercises.
  • Glad I improved on working late. I went to bed at 11 last night vs 2am the night before.  More work is not necessarily better.
  • I’m grateful for friends in the same startup space as me (albeit at different stages) – grateful for their comradeship and willingness to help talk things through.

I’m  in.

Improve On…

How I make my offers.

How well I keep to the fasting program

 

Today

I will continue (trying) to talk to some customers’ customers to day. I have a different approach.  Really thankful to David Harvey (@david_harvey) for helping me think it through despite him being very busy with @Vyclone (which BTW, is totally awesome tech – check it out : http://vyclone.com).

Today I also need to get on with the rest of the warm intros I need to make.

Although my anger has dissipated a little I still want to blog. So a post on ‘Youth Unemployment’ is imminent today – but only after I have some customer conversations.

 

The Trello board…

Screenshot_30_05_2013_11_41
No, your eyes do not deceive you, I have not updated my board. Sloppy? You bet. Honest?? Absolutely!

It is OK to get mad. 

But only for a while.
Then you should get smart

and then you win.

May 28 – Data is Fascinating

By: Dan BrickleyCC BY 2.0

Yesterday

I think I’m back in my stride!

Having got bizbuzz online, the data is flowing straight out of Twitter, of businesses that have the problem ServiceChat is designed to solve.  I’m getting the metrics to use in the conversation with these prospective customers.
It is providing amazing clarity and insight into the problems and I have learnt so much about the a worrying approach to corporate use of Twitter and in my opinion it is all wrong!!!  Businesses like Morrisons, Waitrose etc in the UK are missing huge opportunities in this space. Many use auto-responders (and I bet they sit in their boardrooms patting themselves on the backs for having a coherent social media strategy – please!!)

Wake up and smell the coffee, social media is not like anything you had before, trying to corral it into your traditional channels is going to cost you big time. Why are CIOs and CMOs not all over this?

Anyway – rant over…here is my check in (it is all glad!!)

  • Glad my data feed is online, 300+ prospects. Now, I’m the bottleneck.
  • Glad I decided against carpet-mailing my LinkedIn contacts , I now have targets and with a little effort I can narrow down the 20% who can get me to the decision makers in the businesses I want to speak to.
    Sometimes a hammer is not the only tool!
  • Glad the brainwave training stuff is working, I’m feeling less mentally fatigued, more alert and I think, quicker too.  I suspect fasting and exercise are also helping.
  • I’m grateful for Ruby on Rails.  I’ve been coding for nearly 20 years and it has never been easier to quickly make a beautiful  working version of something you imagined.  It is such a rich and giving ecosystem, that encourages me to give back to. So watch out for a Twitter reach gem, a beta marker gem.  They are all on my list.

I’m  in.

Improve On…

Keep to the schedule.

Increase automated code coverage on stuff that started as a hack.

Today

Screenshot_28_05_2013_13_15

 

My data reveals that, as of right now, there are 418 prospects from 766 unhappy customers, my strategy is to focus on the customers with most number of unhappy customers.

Today the major push is to have a conversation with a good cross-section of them, by the end of the week I want to have spoken/chatted with at least 20% of the customers of each of the top 5 target business in my data set.

 

The Trello board… is unchanged!

 

Be yourself, everyone else is busy. 

May 10 – My Keel Is Evening Out

By: Magic Madzik

Yesterday

Really challenging day, huge range of emotions but perhaps necessary.  Mostly I am:

  • Glad my routine is settling down and more that I am really enjoying it.
  • Glad I got feedback from my friend and ServiceChat early adopter on my landing page. It was awesome feedback and the mods really enhanced it.
  • Sad that I had a deep disappointment with a relationship that I thought was stronger than it actually is.
  • Glad that I was like a ninja on some tech challenges I got stuck on. I gave the solutions time to find me

I’m grateful for the ability to be irreverent.

I’m very In.

 

Today

The main goal today is to get the chat working again since I broke something! The tests need to go green before I move on to the other big elephant in the room – my explainer video.

I also will put together a mind map of options for funding from October (or sooner!) that I can discuss with my advisers.

The Trello board…

Screenshot_10_05_2013_10_51-2

May 2 – Retro: Ongoing…

By: Grant Kwok

Check In

  • I’m glad I’m making progress, it’s slow and with plenty of emergence, but it’s progress.
  • Glad that I’m learning and having fun doing this.
  • Mad that every 10 steps forward I discover 100 more miles to go!
  • Glad that I will have the approved chat hosts functionality in place, it’s so close I can smell its perfume.

I’m anxious. I’m In. 

Achievements Since Last Retro

  • Incorporated plans and accounts
  • Explored Hootsuite apps as a possible partner channel. They have 6 million users, I have 367 (from ChittyChat!).
  • I updated my fiddle with some revised pricing. It is still unvalidated with a customer (hoping that happens next week).

How The Trello Board Now Looks

It is fundamentally unchanged.

I Learned…

  • Messing with CSS and style takes time. Thankfully I work in 59/10 which means I review my work every hour to see if I should still be doing it.
  • That we can regrow lost forests with a commendable attempt at preserving diversity!

I Loved…

Sitting in the sunshine for a whole hour – with coffee, code and music. Even the wasps were friendly.

I’m Grateful For…

All the options for marketing, partnership and support that have emerged and are emerging.

April 23: Scary Challenges

By: costa rica beauty

Check In

I’m glad that just after my entry yesterday, I was able to knuckle down (aided by some wine) and fix my issues.
I’m sad that, as a result,  I went to bed pretty early in the morning and so today was tiring.
I’m glad that I spent time with my wife, having coffee and catching up in the sunshine.
I’m excited that my WordPress blog site for ServiceChat is almost completely styled and ready for beta soon.
I’m excited at the options that emerged to run ServiceChat app with its blog – making life much easier for me.
I’m glad I pushed myself to exercise even though it was pretty late.
I’m afraid about the challenges that lie ahead and whether I will get through them.
I’m glad that right now I feel I can.

I’m in. 

Achievements Since Last Retro

  • ServiceChat chat is completed and ready to rock!
  • Blab.by – the pub/sub platform I wrote for ServiceChat is completely refactored. and is more robust, stable and faster!

I Learned…

  1. How to optimise WordPress and a whole heap of DevOps know how.
  2. People are a bundle of stories and it is always worth it to have the conversation.

I Loved…

  • Stopping for 45 minutes to have a long conversation with a stranger on the street, helping them feel better and helping myself make a new friend.
  • Trying to help a friend with some empathy and thinking round a personal challenge.

I’m Grateful For…

Broadband , which spelt forwards spells ‘FREEDOM’

Next Desired Outcomes

  1. In-chat invite functionality ported to ServiceChat
  2. Basic info pages sketched out
  3. Two hours of language study (I think it’s going to be a 6am start)

April 19 : Leaps and Bounds!

By: Ivan Mlinaric

 

Check In

I’m glad that I only worked a half day today, I got to spend the afternoon with my sons.
I’m glad  that I was inspired to steal, with permission, Olaf’s template that he was inspired to make by reading this blog (everything is connected!) – Please let me know what you think of the format.
I’m mad that I had intermittent network issues with my broadband.  If I only lived 200 meters closer to the exchange!
I’m sad that the week has come to an end, I feel like I could just make and make and make.
I’m glad my wife went to the Alhambra palace with her Mama – I think when we get bigger with children of our own we neglect experience-making with our own parents.
I’m sad about the bombing in Boston – it is an unnecessary was of lives
I’m mad that the first instinct of the media is to try and paint the perpetrators as muslim and stoke the flames of intolerance.

I’m in.

Achievements Since Last Retro

  1. I reviewed my business model canvas (I use BMFiddle.com – it is really awesome)
  2. I hired someone to work on a wordpress site for the ServiceChat blog to make it look seamlessly with the rebranding – he should be done by Monday
  3. The chat page of the rebranding is further ahead than I expected , though still not complete
  4. I got the first public not-self-initiated contact about ServiceChat today.
  5. Getting feedback from trying to deploy a beta version of ServiceChat. Lots broken in deploy, but better to know now.

I Learned…

  1. The spanish word for pig sty – ‘Pocilga’ (don’t ask me why I learned this)
  2. My business model canvas is indispensable as a coherent memory of the assumptions I made waaay back.
  3. My business mode canvas is only as good as the information I take the time to put into it.

I Loved…

  1. Watching my HootSuite research dashboard of the 4 companies I’m searching, wow – what a stream of pain.

I’m Grateful For…

Spotify. I am having so much fun singing, dancing and discovering new music during my working day.

Next Desired Outcomes

  1. The Chat screen completely restyled and working responsively on common handsets and browsers.
  2. Blog titles and synopses written up and ready for discussion with my collaborator on Sunday

18-April-2013: Habits are forming!

Check In

I’m glad that today (day 3 ) of this new way of doing my thing, is the first day that it all pretty much worked.
I’m delighted that I have never been happier.
I’m glad I took time to sketch out the skins, made things go a lot faster and smoother.
I’m sad that my friend had a really hard time last year (lost his Mama – and now he is an orphan) and I knew nothing about it.
I’m glad I took my breaks at the timer
I’m very glad that I was able to do 60 pushups and 30 squats during my 10 minute breaks.
I’m mad I didn’t review my business model canvas as I had expected.

I’m so in.

Desired Outcomes For Today

Two days of toil and I recognise the truth that my rebranding is not a 2-day job. I am at peace with that and very happy with the results so far.
Therefore I am revising my outcomes. I expect to still be working on rebranding ServiceChat – specifically skinning the chat screens to make them responsive and to pare them down to the basics (ChittyChat has some bits I actually don’t want in the MVP for ServiceChat).

3 Things I Learned

  1. Progress is slow when I am learning how to do the work and doing the work. I must think about this, identify when this is the case and manage my expectations accordingly.
  2. My gut is very wise – it knows what I need
  3. Design takes time and thought (all kinds of design!)

3 Things I Will Improve On Before The Next Retro

  1. Reading a customer service oriented blog
  2. Getting out of bed on the first alarm.
  3. Get to bed before midnight (might help with above 😉

Something I’m Grateful For

That, inspite of myself, I am able to learn new things and that I’m loving the process of learning. Awesome!

Outcomes For Tomorrow

  1. The Chat screen completely restyled and working responsively on common handsets and browsers.

17-April-2013: Sloooow!

By: PeterWebb

Check In

I’m frustrated that everything I tried to do today took longer than I thought it would.
I’m glad I stopped to consider why and what I could do about it.
I’m mad that I needed to continue my task to research customers (this shit is important!!! and urgent) and I was not able to.
I’m glad I decided to use a template instead of handcrafting the ServiceChat temporary skin – it made the day less sloow!
I’m afraid that it is Thursday tomorrow.
I’m frustrated that I can be let down by tech (my network) and entire hours can be swallowed up trying to solve it
I’m glad that I can see an end to the re-skinning task tomorrow and I should get an opportunity to get on the Customer Discovery work.
I’m glad that I had almost no distractions (just pain!)

I’m in.

Desired Outcomes For Today

From my high of yesterday I had to reach my outcome of ServiceChat having its own visible identity and completing the work I needed to have at least 2 potential customers researched.

I’m farther along, just not as far as my outcomes. Progress is progress – as they say in Spain  “poco a poco”.

3 Things I Learned

  1. Sometimes I need to step back as a developer and look at what solution is required – I don’t have to build everything.
  2. Sometimes the people I pay to do things can do them better than me.
  3. Sometimes I really am the best person to do the thing I hired someone else to do.

3 Things I Will Improve On Before The Next Retro

  1. Sketching/wireframe out what I want the new ServiceChat UI to look like (so I don’t overly experiment when I code)
  2. Taking my break when the timer goes off.
  3. Update my neglected Business Model Canvas!

Something I’m Grateful For

The huge list of stuff that I have done in my life. Skills that I cannot consciously recollect have been internalised in me and they crop up when I need them the most. I just know how to do certain things. Awesome!

Outcomes For Tomorrow

  1. Continue to reach my original outcomes ( a rebranded  ServiceChat app that does atleast as much as ChittyChat does AND have at least 2 customers researched)
  2. An updated business model canvas that reflects what I have learnt since I last updated it 3 weeks ago.