I’m excited to speak tomorrow at the Bootstrapper’s Breakfast, a monthly event held in SF and other bay area cities. There’s a lot of talk about fund-raising and venture-backed business these days, but there are also a lot of people just making their businesses happen with a series of small steps. I’ll give a very short overview of my startup experience and what I’m up to now and then I understand we’ll spend most of the time in Q&A.
My first startup business was CoSA, the Company of Science & Art, begun with the goal of melding art and tech in the form of interactive multimedia delivered on CD-ROMs. It was 1990, we thought this cutting edge tech would change consumer habits of reading magazines or watching TV. We were naïve and dashed headlong into a unproven market with competition from the likes of Time Warner who could afford to lose a few million dollars on producing a CD-ROMs that might not sell. When our initial funds ran out, we consulted using the tools we had developed and self-funded ourselves to create shrink wrapped graphics software. We pivoted a few times and ended up creating After Effects, for which the company was acquired by Aldus, and subsequently Adobe.
My newest venture is Mightyverse (originally founded by my partners Paul Lundahl and Glen Janssens). As with CoSA, I joined pre-product launch and arguably we’re still at that point. Last year we made our database of native language videos and translations available on mightyverse.com — our belief is that the business needs to be on mobile platforms, but with a web service as a necessary component, the website made sense to release first. We’ve been doing what I call “use case testing” for about a year using a beta iPhone app. Just last week, we’ve kicked off a series of market tests starting with MightySushi a mobile app that works on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
With Mightyverse some distance from profitability, I’m growing an engineering team inside Blazing Cloud, a software development consulting company where we build products for other people. We do training, as well as mobile and web development.
Tomorrow I’ll talk a bit about what I’ve learned over the last year, why I think it is a good idea to keep the consulting business separate from the product business, what worked, what didn’t and my daily struggle to make good decisions on how and when to spend time and money and still have fun.