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October 16, 2003

Startup mode

So I'm back in startup mode. My latest company is about to start a long-awaited installation in Cleveland, we've recently gotten the go-ahead from another full-installation client, and we're working on a pilot project for a third client.

That's the great news; after my six-month-plus hiatus in 2002, it's good to have a stable position with a company with good prospects. So for this I'm thankful. But there's also a part of me that's just glad to be back in the ramping-up process. Sometimes it seems I've been ramping up since I was 12.

What do I mean? Well, when my family came to Atlanta in 1978, the area we moved into was in the middle of a boom that made it for a time the fastest-growing county in the United States. The county was throwing up schools as fast as it could, and typically bringing in trailers about the second or third year. I started middle school in a brand-new school (in fact, since it was behind schedule, our middle school shared space with a nearby high school). I then started high school in a brand-new school, which had no organizations, no traditions or legends, no history of any sort.

Off to college, and I joined the student newspaper, which cycled the entire staff every quarter. Startup, teardown, startup, teardown...Took a job with University Computing, a well-established campus organization, but in their first public-access Mac lab, and helped set up a number of other campus labs.

After that, I had my only completely non-startup job, at Coke. That was a blast, in many ways, as this was when Coke was fat and sassy, with a specialist for everything, so the workload was great -- not too heavy, not so light as to get boring.

From there, off to CNN Interactive, where there were 50 or so employees when I started, and 425 when I left. We were buying equipment, building out space, and launching new products like you wouldn't believe.

And I like that time in a company's life. Nobody can say, "We don't do it that way" in the "just because we don't do it that way" sense. You can generally see the results of what you're doing, and you certainly feel like an essential cog in the machine.

On the other hand, there's not usually a lot of time for contemplation during startup mode. Over the next three months, I expect we'll hire 4-6 more people, roll out in one full-production and one pilot market, move into a new office, finally launch a website, and finish completely reengineering and redeveloping our product from the prototypes we launched at a different company 3 years ago.

Beats the heck out of what I was doing a year ago.

October 16, 2003 in Work | Permalink

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And I like that time in a company's life. Nobody can say, "We don't do it that way" in the "just because we don't do it that way" sense. You can generally see the results of what you're doing, and you certainly feel like an essential cog in the machine.

You said a mouthful: I like that time as well. So much is happening so quickly, you can measure the growth, both in yourself and your skills and the thing you're building.

Good for you. Keep us posted on how things go. Perhaps a work-related weblog, as a way to promote your service? Beats the standard corporate website . . .

Posted by: paul at Oct 17, 2003 11:52:54 PM