Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Your friend, the time burglar.

So the business is in need of a round two, a phase B, whatever you want to call it. We need money to continue development of both our web based front end, and our uber cool back-end.

Having read the Andreesen blog yesterday I will not call it a platform. It is a back-end. I know that some people want us to call it a platform because thats the current buzz topic among various people with lots of money who want to invest it in to tech stuff.

Anyway I have two very nice opportunities, and of course I can't talk about them here because of many things. The first would be that I have a corporate image, and blogging about the inner workings of my company is already sketchy. I share here more than I think most people would, but I do keep a lot of things close to my chest.

I think thats a card analogy. The only thing close to my chest right now is my shirt.

I had a few meetings, and a few people who asked me for things like white papers or full documentation on my entire system and its design before we had even begun to talk about partnering or shaping any sort of deal.


People know that you are a small business, and they can sense the chance to milk you for information. Information that might let them, and their larger team of coders simply reproduce what you have. I know its one of the top 10 fallacies of business startups: not everybody is out to rip you off. Guess what? In casual games they are. These are such tiny games that its very very easy to copy somebody else. Why buy what you can just create yourself for cheaper?

Well most of the time they look at something like we have and go "Whoah... hold on. This is very complex." and then they set up meetings where they pump us for information.

They may have no intention of doing anything at all with us. These meetings do two things. One is that they waste your time, and theirs. They should be smarter than that but if every executive was a genius then one company would rule them all. The other thing they do is give you important face time with your competition, or cooperation.

Face time is critical as a small business. You want people to know who you are when you walk up to them at an industry mixer. Even if it's because that abortion of a meeting you had a week ago is how they know you, it's still an excuse to shake hands and say hello. You might get linked to somebody else through it, and then meet the one guy who says YES to your proposals.

Anyway you can tell by reading between the lines I have been told NO a few times, and that I have been dealing with lots of people who "think there might be a good opportunity here, just send me all your designs and then we'll see!"

Yeah right. I'll let you drive that car off the lot and if you want to buy it maybe you'll come back later and pay too.

Part of your job as the good entrepreneur is making these dead ends in to something useful, or knowing when to turn the tables and say NO first.

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