Sunday, 11 April 2010

Riskiness in the waves

Well, I decided to treat myself to breakfast on the beach today - its Sunday!  I doled out all of $4 for fruit plate, 2 eggs, toast, bacon, shredded potato and refried beans - oh and coffee.  I sat at a little table right on the sand under an umbrella and watched the waves and other beach-goers.

I'm on a tight budget this trip - one of the factors of being an entrepreneur - cash flow is king.  There's no regular paycheck coming in, and lots of people want to be paid by us.  A big line of credit at the bank?  No, my friend.  They don't like us entrepreneurs much. Savings to fall back on? No - any money we've had set aside for a rainy day has long been donated to the "cause".  The cause being software development.  Mike's consulting income, thank goodness, has been pretty steady.  The Government of Canada, bless their hearts, have given us a nice chunk of cash every year for the last 3 years for "Scientific Research and Development" - yes, really!  They have reviewed Mike's technical outline and obviously think its worth pursuing.  A local community development business lending organization in Alberta also reviewed it last year and loaned us $50K to continue development (another monthly payment to make).

I take care of making sure everyone is paid and on time.  It ain't easy.  Mike is a geek.  Not the kind that sits in a little room with his computer coding 24 hours a day (that's our programmer, Andy - LOVE him!)  He's the big picture guy, the ideas guy, the visionary.  But he lives and breathes techie stuff just as much as Andy.  One of my jobs is to be the layman interpreter for him.  He writes or says a bunch of technical gobbley-gook and I say, ok, now in English.  He struggles with that.  We've done many a presentation to potential investors, and written numerous Executive Summaries, and I am the one who has to make it understandable by "normal" people.  Really have to dumb it down.  Investors aren't usually techies.  Even then, its incredibly frustrating to watch one after the other ask question after question and still not get it.  I wonder if the guys who created Facebook or E-Bay or Twitter had people look at them like they were crazy before someone, somewhere got it.

I have to admit, our software isn't easily understood even for me.  At least, a large part of it isn't.  It hasn't been the type of thing an individual consumer would want like Facebook or Twitter.  It's for huge businesses. Its boring stuff.  Say the words, "Document Management", "Integration", "Migration" and see how long it takes you to yawn.  Why couldn't Mike have dreamed up something sexy?  So, as complicated and boring as it has been (and expensive), now we're building ANOTHER application (and business with all that entails like corporate registrations, minute book, bank account, accounting, taxes....).  The first one - Qtility - is the "platform" (sorry, techie talk) for the new one - OneFileEverywhere.  OFE is a little more interesting than Qtility, but still only for business types.  But smaller business types.

The challenge is: you can build it, but will they come?  Ah, that's the risky bit.

1 comment:

  1. sounds really cool mom! i like these blogs