For those entrepreneurial types out there, do you ever look at a successful company and get a little intimidated? Maybe you think, “Wow, look at all they’ve accomplished! That’s way beyond what I could ever do.” Success IS intimidating, but remember, you’re looking at the company the way it is now, not the way it started. Scott Cook, the founder of Intuit, tells a story of when he ran the first ad for QuickBooks. It was a half-page, professionally created ad in an accounting magazine with a one-million readership:
It generated four calls. Scott, I feel your pain.
I LOVE this story because I can relate to it. I envision Scott sitting there in his little office, listening to some ad guy’s marketing ideas and Scott saying “Uh… okay!” I KNOW that feeling. Sometimes, whether it’s marketing, software development, hiring, what direction to go, etc., you just don’t know what the answer is, so you give it a shot and see what happens. You can’t be so afraid of a bad decision that you are unwilling to make the call. In this case, Scott gave it a shot, realized it didn’t work (pretty easy with only four calls), and kept trying new things until something did work. He then went after it, learned from his mistakes, made improvements along the way, listened to his customers, and kept moving forward. Intuit is the result. That’s a pretty condensed version, but good enough for my purposes.
So today I want to talk about some of the odd events, screw-ups, and misguided sales/marketing/development efforts in Fishbowl’s history, not to cry over spilled milk, but to let everyone know that, in the time-honored tradition of successful businesses, we’ve had our growing pains, too. (more…)