We have a legacy that should not be forgotten - some really crazy times in the life of Devana Technologies.
Three years ago, Dec 1st 2012, Devana started a second phase of its life by confirming the product-market fit for its flagship product. This allowed us to move into a large, Google inspired office.
Following that move, 2013 was an incredibly crazy year in which mostly I learned how (not) to run a company. We scaled from 10 to 40 employees in a time span of just a couple of months, without being properly prepared for it.
Furthermore, in 2013 alone we launched and failed four additional startups (yes these were not story-line quests, but side quests) losing over $300,000 USD in the process. We also changed the name, changed the CEO, and changed the direction of the company, all that in less than a year. You don’t usually do that.
Crazy, crazy times. When I look back at it, the very fact that we survived without destroying the company is probably a major accomplishment on its own. I decided to use the very featured image for this post as only two people from that image are still in the company – this is the scale of the madness that was going on in the early days.
Luckily we have a video from that era that captures the gist of that crazy/fun/mad atmosphere those days.
This video and similar startup videos in general portrait a distorted reality, one which can not sustain a business. The problem is in what you don’t see in the video: Business sustained by strong and determined leadership, employees motivated by clear goals, and a plan to make these goals come true. In other words a serious business. If you stray away from that path or when things that do not contribute to the bottom line of the company become the primary obsession of its employees, you are losing precious time and energy, and not every business will be able to recover from that.
As a leader, I lacked the clear vision of what I want my company to be. It is not because I wanted it that way, I simply did not know better at the time. And because we still had good people, everyone worked round the clock to make that blurry vision a reality, which of course made matters worse.
Eventually we figured out how to do crucial things like having solid structure and processes in place and we found wisdom to get back on the right track that I hope we are on now. And this is building Devana 3.0, stronger than ever before, the one for the future.