The past few weeks have been crazy. Have scrambled together a website.
Have struggled to quickly learn image and video editing tools. Have written,
re-written and re-re- written product pitches. And then have gone through
gazillion versions of a product demo video-cum- slideshow. All this amidst an
untimely demise in the wife’s family close on the heels of what turned out
to be a stressful wedding ceremony. Consequently, haven’t slept more than
4 – 5 hours a night. Ask any of my teammates; you’ll hear a similar story. Be
it shifting of houses with a toddler in tow and full-day training sessions at a
new job or flying 36 hours to attend a summit only to rush back before the
jetlag could get accustomed, we’ve really been burning ourselves. And it
didn’t help when one of my friends shared this on Facebook. Talk about
Naturally, like any adrenaline-powered experience, this overdrive had to
result in something we won’t forget. And soon enough, the truth came
crashing down on us. We can’t make the deadline. I’m talking about the
Startup Festival’s Launchpad, a one-of- its-kind event that presented a
chance for upcoming startups to launch amid press, fanfare and hawk-eyed
investors. With 3 weeks to go, there was absolutely NO CHANCE in hell that
our product will be available in the market, ready for the real deal –
customers. And it would be suicide to reveal a prototype to the world at this
stage, making it a cakewalk for nimbler competitors to beat us to the
Yet, we had built-up a nice momentum (deadlines are good, you know!) and
it’d be criminal to let that go to waste. So a sleep-deprived me had
the envious task of delivering bad news to a stressed-out team in a way that
motivated all of us to go faster and harder at the task on hand! Have I
professed my love for leadership before?
It is at times like these that Philosophy comes to aid. Good news and bad
news are but 2 sides of the same coin – all I had to do was look at the flip
side. So I did. The early feedback we had received from our survey and
limited preview was very encouraging. To quote one of the respondents:
Yesterday, when I answered your survey, I thought the idea of an app like
that was bullshit to be honest (Sorry :P) But when I reached home, I
realized that I had not drunk water since 3 PM or something. My water
intake is usually low (much lower in winters) which is why I encounter
frequent headaches round the year. And then it just hit me that your idea
in fact is a brilliant idea! I’d say go for it. 🙂
When it’s clear to us the problem is worth-solving and we are developing a
kickass solution, there’s no sense in going slow. For various reasons (entirely
valid ones at that) like being a distributed team with most of us having full-
time day jobs, creativity working best in the absence of pressing timelines
(crucial for UX) and all the fears and troubles of starting a company, I knew
we were moving slower than we potentially could.
The Startup Festival was solving this problem for us – it gave us a date to
shoot at. And an ambitious one at that. So we said, “Launchpad or no
launchpad, 3 weeks it is. Maybe we can’t have it available in the market.
But we sure can be dev-complete in 3 weeks. Add to it a few weeks of
testing, a few more for Apple to review, and we’re looking at a launch in
early May. And that is a peak we can scale! We owe it to ourselves”.
Alright then. Battle cries, please!