We pivoted a few months ago. As much as I’d like to say that we were clever and the new product reused designs and codeâ€¦ we didn’t. A lot of things have changed. Even myself.
During the last few months, I have been strengthening my beliefs around what I want to build, who I want to build it with, and ultimately what my purpose is. I can tell you that the current version of Input is something that I would build even if there was no funding left. Why? Because I believe in its purpose.
Last year around this time, we had a CEO that was full of marketing jargon and had no real vision around building a product. He suggested that the entire premise of the product was based on integrations, calling it a “single pane of glass”, “empowering people through transparency and knowledge”, “the system of written record”. Un-imaginative. Non-controversial. Just consecutive marketing farts in the wind.
Ugh. I just cringed thinking about the smoke and mirrorsâ€¦ and all his self-aggrandizement.
I digress. Back to the pointâ€¦
This feeling (of sheer anger) has motivated me. For a long time, I’ve been the nice guy. The reasonable guy. But, I can no longer sit back and be everyone’s friend or rely on people okay with mediocracy to push our vision forward. The harsh truth is, most people don’t know what it takes to get thereâ€¦ and they’ll probably evacuate themselves after they’ve extracted as much as they can. These are the people that I will amputate from our culture and founding team. We will cut beneath the healthy tissue, down to the bone to ensure it never has a chance to metastasize again.
On the other end of the spectrum, there will be others that will stay because they believe in the vision, they believe in the team, and they love their craft. I will invest into these people. I am still forming my opinion, but at some point, these choices will need to be made ahead of time so that we are prepared. Here are some of the choices that I have personally made in the past month:
I choose one word over two.
I choose clarity over jargon.
I choose customers over ourselves.
I choose hard work over short cuts.
I choose data points over assumptions.
I choose long term solutions vs short ones.
I choose process over one-offs.
I choose loyalty over strangers.
I choose fun over functional.
I choose gut feeling over everything.
I realize that I’m probably not the easiest person to work with, but I’m doing it for the product and customers. Not for my own convenience. And certainly not for my ego.
I believe Input should be built with the heart, and things that embody the vision should be protected at all costs.
Not everyone will love this product. Not everyone will love our teamâ€¦ But the ones that do, they will know that we were determined to build something special. And that small following will love us because we are edgy in our perspective and way of life. It’s also necessary, without compromise, at this stage of our company.
In my life, I have been inspired by Apple, Pixar, Porscheâ€¦ What makes them special to me is that they knew they needed to make the best, and the only way they could do it was by turning their weaknesses into their strengths. They were also the underdogs.
I’ve been told that I can’t do it. I’ve been told how much I should make in terms of maximum salary for my abilities. I have been told that no one will invest in a notes app. I have also been told to respect the chair and follow the leader.
And my answer is NO.
From this point forward, I will build what I truly believe in. I will find people that share the same philosophy. Those who have fought and earned their stripes in our battles will have my respect.
I realize this memo could be weaponized and used against me in the futureâ€¦ but I’m writing it down because I need to remind myself what I’m truly capable ofâ€¦ and that I give a damn.
In this pivot, our product will changeâ€¦ but the thing that needs to emerge is our own passion to fight for what we believe in. That has to always stay inside us, no matter how many punches, pivots and battles we take. There will be no room made for cowardice to roam freely anymore.