Sunday, 12 August 2012

Re-thinking the way forward

Mike's meeting with the director of the Industrial Research Assistance Program went like this:  Great idea, good market research, do you have $50K to put into the $200K grant you are seeking?  Uh, no.

His suggestions after that are really quite good.  Scale back the $200K plan, finish a very basic prototype that just one law firm volunteers to test and validate and go from there.  Here's the thing - we don't need IRAP to be able to do that.  And maybe that's a good thing.

We have a basic philosophical problem with taking government money.  It bugs us that Canadian angel and VC investors demand that startups be first vetted by government bureaucrats who have never been self-employed and put their life savings on the line.  They have a guaranteed job and retirement pension.  They don't know risk from a hole in the ground.

When you take government money, you are pinned to staying in Canada.  What if an investor wants us to relocate elsewhere?  What if WE want to relocate somewhere else?

So, we will continue under our own steam.  Andy, our programmer, knows what needs to be done for a basic prototype for the legal application and can do it.  He's been on the road in his camper for months, coding away on our platform on a thin stream of income.  He is a shareholder in the company so his work benefits him too.  Even before we start marketing the legal application, we will be ready to market another application we are calling "Move" (Andy came up with the name).  It's exclusively a tool for large enterprises that use Documentum for content and file management.  He's pretty proud of what he has created and we are too.  Already Mike's contacts in Documentum have asked for a brochure and told him "we run into this challenge all the time with clients - show us what you've got".

These events also tell us more about where we need to be - or can be - this fall and winter.  If we were working with a government grant and a couple more hired programmers, we'd really have to be in Calgary.  Now we don't.

After a month of applying for various new consulting contracts, it looks like Mike will be going to New Jersey for 6 months - but, its very possible they will allow him to work remotely after an initial month or two.  If so, we'll be in Mazatlan this winter.  If not, we'll both be in New Jersey with visits to Mazatlan.  Either way, we'll rent out the house again.  New Jersey might actually be fun. After all, right across the Hudson is the most exciting city in the world!

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