Posted by Darrell Lerner
The days begin to blend together with little to distinguish one from another. A whirlwind of meetings, research, brainstorms and Google Docs. Jumping from thought to thought and idea to idea. Your mind moves faster than your body. There's not enough time to do it all, let alone process it all. Welcome to the early days of a start up.
As momentum builds and more clearly defined ideas begin to emerge, you start to enter what I like to call "The Start Up Vortex."
1. a whirling mass of water, especially one in which a force of suction operates, as a whirlpool.
2. something regarded as drawing into its powerful current everything that surrounds it: the vortex of war.
3. a way to describe the feeling of start up life as everything comes at you at once.
OK, I may have made that last one up, but it’s a pretty good way to characterize what it feels like once a start up gets rolling and you’re right in the middle of it. So many things start to come at you from every different direction. The pace gets faster and faster. Each day becomes controlled chaos. You get sucked in. It's exhausting. It's exhilarating. We often question why we do it (surely there must be an easier way, right?), but yet we as entrepreneurs keep returning to it time and time again (see: "The Only Thing Worse than Running a Start Up is NOT Running a Start Up"). I guess we just love it. Or we simply don't know any other way. Thinking about it reminds me of Hyman Roth's powerful line in Godfather 2: "...and I said to myself, this is the business we've chosen."
In an earlier entry I wrote about having difficulty for months in trying to narrow down a business idea (see: "What Quote from 'Coming to America' Helped Me Start My New Business?"). Well, a lot has changed since then! Now, not only do we have the idea, but it’s all sketched out in painstaking detail on a 14-page document of "site requirements" from which the first version of the website will be built. We've retained a talented developer to actually build our initial product. We've contracted with a great designer to make the site look fresh and modern. We've done considerable market research which, naturally, has led us to begin developing a product which is decidedly different from the one we originally envisioned. We have set up channels on all the major social networks and are preparing to implement a strategy based on engaging content and interactions which we believe will lead to tons of fans and followers. We're meeting with some of the most important and impactful people and organizations in the pets space to tell them about what we're doing and explore potential opportunities to work together. We're getting ready to start sharing with the media what we're working on. Critical mass problems? Nope - not anymore. We've found a way to launch with over 100,000 listings. And, perhaps most fun of all, we visited a prominent animal shelter last week to play with dogs.... I mean learn from them and gain valuable insights and feedback. It's all happening!
How long did it take to accomplish all of these things and progress to this point? Well, reflecting on how much we had accomplished in a short period of time, I looked back at the calendar and shook my head in amazement as I contemplated the actual answer. Afterwards, as Kim and I were leaving one day last week, I said "I can't believe it's been barely over a month since we began focusing exclusively on the pets idea." She looked at me with surprise and replied "that seems impossible. It feels like forever ago since we started." Yup. It certainly does…
We have officially been sucked into the vortex!