The third item in Guy Kawasaki's top 5 list for starting a venture is "Get Going" which translates to "start creating and delivering your product or service". There are so many logistical details to starting a business (incorporating, setting up a proper work environment, acquiring domain names, hiring legal and accounting service providers, setting up bank accounts, and on and on) that sometimes the most important thing - the product or service itself - can take a back seat to all the required, yet peripheral, minutiae. This is true even if you are aggressively outsourcing most of the functions (as I am). In my case, of the 75 items that I have crossed off of my task list so far, I can count just 9 that were purely devoted to development of the product - that's only 12%! Scary.
As a brief aside, for anyone else out there starting a venture (be it a business, a non-profit, or or any other type of organization), I highly recommend checking out Guy Kawasaki's "Art of the Start" material. His tone can be overly snide and mocking for some (and entertaining for others), but the content is rock solid food for thought nonetheless. I'd recommend watching the video (see here), browsing some choice blog entries like this one on rules for powerpoint presentations (see here), and reading the book (see here).
For my business, "Get Going" translates to "Get Coding". Thankfully, I've been devoting more and more time to coding over the past two weeks and it feels great. I really, really love writing software.
Whether "getting going" means coding as it does for me or something else for your product or service, don't get so heads down that you forget about "getting help". This holds true even in areas of your own core competence. In my case, despite spending 13 years on Oracle's technical staff, I still turn to other Oracle experts to validate approaches and to make sure I'm not missing any new developments or clever techniques. Once you get over the humbling realization that there is always someone out there who knows a domain more deeply than you do, it's all upside. And with the advent of the Internet, getting help has never been easier or cheaper.
One such Oracle expert who graciously shares his knowledge on the public Internet is Tom Kyte. He has a fantastically rich Internet resource for Oracle database developers and administrators called "Ask Tom" which is located at http://asktom.oracle.com.
Most recently, I turned to Tom's site for advice while I was designing and implementing the site password handling logic for FamZoo. When it comes to security, I don't want to make any mistakes. The information on Tom's site was invaluable (fellow geeks can see an example here) - deep discussion, analysis, and tips updated over the last 6 (!) years. I ended up leveraging a number of the suggested techniques and code snippets to come up with my own slightly nuanced approach. It saved me days of effort. Or, alternatively, saved me from hastily hacking together a naive, insecure implementation on my own.
One word of caution: for every one truly talented expert like Tom posting information on the Internet, there are probably thousands of rookies or charlatans all too willing to share their razor thin or, worse, just plain wrong "advice". So as Sergeant Phil Esterhaus used to say on the Hill Street Blues (yeah, I'm old): "Be careful out there." Proper due diligence is a must.
Well, speaking of getting going, it's time for me to get back to coding.
Oh yeah, and thanks for the help Tom.