It’s been a while, everyone. I hope all is well. I just finished reading The Hard Thing About Hard Things. As you all know, I’ve read a lot of business books, but this one really hits home. Some back-story:
I graduated from university with a B.S. in Computer Science and joined a start up that was comprised of two guys. We built custom web applications and websites for nonprofits and associations. The three of us were doing pretty well. As the core team, we designed the solutions and then used off-shore teams in India and Russia to implement. Standard consulting projects, nothing special. But I was 22 years old and getting massive amounts of real-world experience. I had the opportunity to be a part of something that I can influence greatly. And I was promised I would be made a partner and owner and that meant the world to me.
A lot has changed over the last four years. We spent a great deal of time and effort trying to exit the consulting business because consulting sucks. It’s much better to have our own product and through a number of twists and turns, we created one. I could probably write 100+ blog posts about everything I’ve learned in the last 4 years trying to make this happen, but I’ll skip over all of that and get straight to the point.
We employ 18 people now and there is more at stake than ever before. Cash flow is a real issue. It’s not like the old days where we can cut a few things and we’d be fine. The numbers we deal with are too big. We are fighting for loans, investments, you name it. Cash is king and we are running out. It’s at the point where I don’t know if my company is going to be around in 90 days.
That takes me to the book — it follows the story of a communist turned venture capitalist who spells out all of the lessons and crazy shit he has had to deal with from starting as a young man to becoming VP, and then CEO of major companies. How he had to save his companies multiple times. Making the hard calls to lay people off. Never having enough information and having to make decisions anyway. Really, an eye-opening book, with top of the line advice.
All that matters is results.