Patience with new ideas

When moving innovations/new ideas to the implementation stage, it pays to be patient.

In one of my early startup experiences, we achieved $6 million/year revenue, no profit (but no loss either), painfully acquired 4800 on-line customers, and built quite a solid web-based solution. All in 18 months, with more than $10 million left in the bank. You would think we were successful… Not so fast, said the the VC firms funding us. They were expecting millions of users (we had 4800 paying customers, paying us each month…) — in a nutshell, the smart VCs were stuck in a Web 1.0 mind set (get “eyeballs”) and did not realize that it takes time to get people to do business with you on the web and build the relationship that will let you offer a long-term service that customers will pay real dollars to get from you. You know, on the web no one knows you are a dog… (famous New Yorker cartoon). So we had to liquidate the company, return $10 million to the funding firms, and move on to new adventures.