In a Pulse post originally published on Linkedin, our COO Vitaly Pecherskiy reflects on his experience of growing a startup from the ground up and three realizations that he has come to. Original post here
The last 18 months have been the most action-packed, brain-melting experience in my life. Watching our company growing from working in my living room to having three offices globally has been exhilarating to say the least. This is my first post on the lessons I learn as we scale our company.
1. There is no such thing as ‘silver bullet’
When we launched, I remember thinking that solving a certain challenge in technology or landing a big client or having a viral piece of content would unlock all the closed doors for our growth. What I didn't realize is that after that door, comes the next one. Often with a bigger lock.
I came with terms that building a company is more-or-less a perpetual path of tackling problems, many of which need to be solved in a certain order.
A short-term growth hack is always great, but in the long run, sustainable growth comes at a 'brick by brick' speed.
2. When raising money, traction is the only thing that counts
I have lost count how many times I have tried starting my own venture before StackAdapt. Definitely in the dozens. Looking back, I am surprised how much hope I was putting into external factors such as raising financing to kickstart my business.
It is definitely the current startup culture that created the illusion that you can raise money on the premise of a great idea. I personally would put it in the same bucket as winning a lottery and label it: 'things to never bet on'.
Having raised our seed round (we were 17 people at that time), I can say with certainty -- traction is the only thing that counts. What is more important, is to show that this traction is repeatable and scalable.
3. Embrace the roller coaster
I think this pivotal change in my mindset came to me only about 9 months after we launched our company. It didn't feel like a gradual change. I just woke up one day and felt I no longer live the 'outcome-dependent' life.
Being an entrepreneur, it seems that 1/3 of my time is occupied by putting out ‘fires’. Interestingly enough, often these 'fires' don't last for more than a couple of days, which means I almost have no visibility into what awaits our company even a week ahead. I just put trust in myself and our team that whatever comes our way, we are competent enough to solve it.
Without getting too philosophical here, I feel this experience taught me to not only embrace, but also to enjoy the roller coaster. Yes, there are some big 'lows' along the way, but they are always followed by some really big 'highs'.
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