Wow! What a difference a year (and more) makes!
In an effort to hold myself accountable, I’ve started blocking out time in my calendar to do outreach. Dusting off this site is part of it. I’ve been relatively quiet about what I’ve been up to, for reasons that are equal parts “I’m too busy” and “If it blows up, I’d rather not talk too much about it.”
Both are still true, but it’s worth doing a retrospective so I can clear out some posts I’ve had in the hopper. I joined Rails Machine as CTO early 2014 with the goal of stabilizing the company, reducing customer churn, and figuring out business and technical strategy. I was able to take a down and to the right trend and turn it around to a (gentle) up and to the right (with the awesome Dustin Beason taking over and growing that slope), made some tough personnel changes, and prototyped, piloted, and released a new product/service called “Managed Operations”.
This prototype quickly reached product/market fit, and Bradley (RM’s founder) and I decided the best course of action was to spin out the service into a new firm. Thus, we launched a new business called ReactiveOps. Although I’ve been CTO/Director of a number of very early stage (nascent) businesses, it’s something else entirely to go from zero to incorporation to functional entity.
In under a year, we’ve gone from me and one other engineer to a team of 8, all self-funded/bootstrapped. It’s been an incredible learning experience – and one not without a significant amount of stress. We’ve achieved some amount of success and it’s looking like 2016 will be a significant one for us. There’s still risk – we started off as a consultancy to write/build product – and until product revenue outstrips consulting (by Q4 of this year, if all goes well), we’re still in a precarious position should consulting revenue dry up.
I’m looking forward to another look back early next year, showing us growing to about 14 people, closer to a 50/50 split of consulting and product revenue, and lots of new opportunities.