Having met Marc Benioff on 8th Dec 09 in London and having finished reading his book, “Behind the Cloud” recently, I will be sharing my experience against Marc’s through a series of blog posts. In his book, there are 111 plays. I will be picking plays randomly and would like to invite you to do the same by leaving you experience as comments against my posts.
But before I can start, here is a reality check:
Marc was well connected, influential, secure and financially stable before he setup salesforce.com. In addition, he lived in the epic centre of technology, San Francisco and invested $6 million of his own capital before raising $60 million over the next 3 years. Very few in the technology sector has the resources Marc had in bringing a SaaS product to the market. He had a vision to change the industry and he did, but one cannot ignore the fact that he had the best possible start irrespective of the difficulties he has disclosed through his book.
Now I am not going to compare myself against Marc in this respect, but will compare my journey with edocr.com against ebdex (my first startup that I shut down in 2006). When I started ebdex, I had significant startup capital (nothing compared to Marc’s $6 million), years of corporate life and a brand new MBA. I knew nothing about technology, the sector I ventured into and had zero startup experience. I saw the opportunity and did my research to understand the size of it. I also had confidence (self belief) and an ego the size of Paul Walsh.
When I started edocr, I had very little startup capital, plenty of scars from ebdex, a network of tech entrepreneurs and friends, and bunch of others who wanted to be part of edocr. Things have changed, but here are few areas that mattered to me at the time
– Built the product without spending anything – The actual cost when soft launched in Oct 2007 was under £500
– Speed to market – should have taken weeks, but at the end, it took 6 months. We launched a product with bugs under Alpha
– Not to put all my eggs in one basket – now VCs hate this, they believe that if you invest cash, you should just be concentrating on one business, and only they know how to share risk and you do not.
Of course, since 2007, we have spend significant amount of capital, still fully embracing the low cost model. I continue to be a strong believer in sharing risk, so 2010 will see my continuing efforts in driving both edocr and Northern StartUp 2.0 forward.
Now to get to the first post….