Tuesday, August 20, 2013

And so it begins...

In the last 14 days I've had over 60 conversations with people about what it will take to kick this project off and have it be successful.

I have talked to people about what they want out of a PIM, who they know that might be an expert on something, who they know that might be willing to contribute money to making this happen, and what would be the market for it.

And a path forward has started to emerge.

Along the way I have discovered that I have a lot of opinions that could get in the way of what I want to create. When I started this I was thinking purely in terms of producing an open source project and finding a way to fund it so that I could produce something that will shift the way people deal with their communities, their schedules and to do lists.

What I have discovered is that for many people an open source project alone is not going to provide what they want and need. With everyone I talked to, many of whom are open source boosters, I kept bumping into people's interest in the commercial availability of these tools.

A lot of startup owners, consultants and small business owners are definitely interested in having SaaS providers of these services so that they don't have to install and manage the software. Everywhere I went I kept bumping into that if I want to make the kind of difference I am looking at I will be dealing with people that want to deal with businesses that provide services.

I find myself resisting the very feedback I had gone looking for. That's like doing a marketing survey and then ignoring the results. I did not want to get involved in any activity that looks like a business. I really had to confront that my opinions about businesses and business owners were getting in the way.

All of my opinions boil down to: When you start selling something you start going down the slippery slope towards lying and losing what little integrity you might have. And of course, I have lots of evidence to support this opinion. I have been in many startups and other companies dealing with sales and marketing people who have "Sold the Sizzle" when the functionality hasn't been even put in
the project plan. And I have dealt with executives in marketing or sales who have outright lied and directed their salespeople to lie. And I know many software engineers who can say the same. And when I have encountered single salespeople or even whole sales organizations that have integrity I have discounted them as exceptions rather than the rule.

I have a commitment to creating tools that make a difference in how people deal with life. In order to do that I can see that I am going to have to constantly examine my opinions and where they get in the way of that commitment.

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