The Secret Life of an Entrepreneur

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Life is hard enough for an entrepreneur, let alone a Internet Start-up Founder. I am incredibly fortunate in that I am surrounded by a loving wife, very passionate and focused (and supportive) partner(s) and surrounded by developers who are far more gifted programmers then even I could ever hope to be. Sometimes, these people are the only reason I can go on.

The Touchstone Team has a huge level of faith and determination and a growing level of enthusiasm from the community (even some of our very own “fanbois and girls“) which only catalyses our efforts. All-in-all, Touchstone (even right from the beginning) seemes to be slightly blessed.

It is however, not all rosy. It strikes me today as I sit here programming and blogging between episodes of Mythbusters and Grey’s Anatomy on my wedding anniversary pondering how I am going to push a few lines out tonight between courses at my step-father’s 50th birthday party.

Families (esp extended ones), girlfriends, in-laws and the Tax Department for some reason just dont seem to be very supportive when I whip out my tablet shouting “Eureka! I just solved how to factor views over time over importance!”. They also don’t seem to appreciate how satisfying it can be solving memory leaks, or understand why slowly transforming into an albino Hunchback of Notre Dame with sever allergy to sunlight and fresh (non recycled) air is an acceptable means to an end!

I guess they just don’t understand the ‘space’, which is weird considering they all happily use MySpace! Im not sure what it is that can make these people so counter-supportive. Maybe they think they’re helping or that they are trying to help us see reason, and it’s their attempt to protect us from failure.

but it doesnt work that way. As an Internet Start-up Entrepreneur, our brains seem wired differently to other people. Success is not permanent and failure is not fatal, we all understand that. Small sucesses are like a drug, and miss-steps only drive us to go harder still.

Through sheer determination and willpower we will topple mountains! And so it continues….

From One Founder to Another…

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Over the Christmas break, the Touchstone development team has taken some personal time out to remind their families that they are still alive. Since this naturally has slowed the pace of development, it has taken some of the pressures away from me as a director and founder to take 5 minutes to reflect on the past year and realise the massive steps we’ve taken both professionally and personally.

After this reflection, I have realised how lucky I am to have a partner and friend like Chris. I know there are many other ‘dual founders’ out there, but I’m sure none of them have quite the same relationship as Chris and I. We’re both burdened with an over-abundance of passion and opinion, and while this has on occasion raised some eyebrows in the office, we never let ego get in the way of decisions and we’re very careful to support each other when it’s needed.

Plus, there isn’t anything quite so depressing when you’ve fallen in love with an idea or aspect of the business, and your co-founder tells you that it can’t “be that way” – and you knowing in your heart that he’s right. But when he doesn’t hold this against you, you realise how lucky you really are.

Chris, you are an intelligent and co-operative friend and colleague and I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank you for your effort, tenacity, patience and inspiration which helps push me past what I previously thought impossible.

Thankyou buddy.

One to Make Aaron Sorkin Proud!

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

Sometimes, American politicians confuse me. How do some of these polititions they get enough votes to get into office. Perhaps my expectations are set too high by the banter of Josh Lyman and Jed Bartlet (you know the guys from everybody’s favourite political drama).

But every so often you hear something from people like Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) who like to give us meaningful reasons of why he voted against Net Neutrality and “gave an amazing primer on how the internet works”.

There’s one company now where you can sign up and you can get a movie delivered to your house daily by delivery service. Okay. And currently it comes to your house, it gets put in the mail box when you get home and you change your order but you pay for that, right.

But this service isn’t going to go through the internet and what you do is you just go to a place on the internet and you order your movie and guess what you can order ten of them delivered to you and the delivery charge is free.

Ten of them streaming across that internet and what happens to your own personal internet?

I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?

Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the internet commercially.

So you want to talk about the consumer? Let’s talk about you and me. We use this internet to communicate and we aren’t using it for commercial purposes.

We aren’t earning anything by going on that internet. Now I’m not saying you have to or you want to discrimnate against those people […]

The regulatory approach is wrong. Your approach is regulatory in the sense that it says “No one can charge anyone for massively invading this world of the internet”. No, I’m not finished. I want people to understand my position, I’m not going to take a lot of time. [?]

They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the internet. And again, the internet is not something you just dump something on. It’s not a truck.

It’s a series of tubes.

And if you don’t understand those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and its going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material.

Now we have a separate Department of Defense internet now, did you know that?

Do you know why?

Because they have to have theirs delivered immediately. They can’t afford getting delayed by other people.


Now I think these people are arguing whether they should be able to dump all that stuff on the internet ought to consider if they should develop a system themselves.

Maybe there is a place for a commercial net but it’s not using what consumers use every day.

It’s not using the messaging service that is essential to small businesses, to our operation of families.

The whole concept is that we should not go into this until someone shows that there is something that has been done that really is a viloation of net neutraility that hits you and me.
Oh, so THATs how the Internet works?
Perhps someone should show the Senator which “pipe” google is in. It might help him string a sentence together.

Offline…..and hating it!

Cross-posted from the Particls blog.

After a fiasco resulting in the temporary disconnection of my internet connection, I am suddenly faced with the harsh reality of being disconnected from my regular (and only source) of information.

Now it’s a true statement that im not an RSS junkie (like Chris) for the simple reason that I was grossly unhappy with the delivery of RSS feeds into my machine – or is that my life. I have tried RSS in the past, and enjoyed the simplicity, but it was full of holes, and poorly (and ugly) executed.

So as I found myself feeling more and more isolated from reality without the net, I found myself appreciating more and more the power of TouchStone.

Now….”Show me the Gadget!”