"Don't believe the hype. Don't assume success. Don't believe tomorrow will be similar in any way to yesterday."
That's been my daily mantra for the last two years at PivotDesk, from formation to today. In case you haven't heard (insert some sarcastic emoticon here that I can't figure out how to type) starting and growing a business is one of the hardest things you can attempt. All the stories about the constant pressure to move faster, grow more, code and ship, show better metrics, add more revenue, are all true. If only you can get it to the next stage, things will be easier... until they aren't.
We all hear the stories in the media (refer to sentence one) about hockey stick growth and a big sale to AppleBookGoogle, but those of us in the trenches know that this isn't the reality for 99.99 percent of the startups out there. Yet we keep coming back.
Two years ago, I walked in to David Cohen's office with a PowerPoint presentation (well, maybe it was Keynote, I can't remember) about how I believed we could take one of the single biggest, non value-added barriers out of the way of startups everywhere. Luckily, David was in a good mood, agreed with me and PivotDesk was born.
We were lucky enough to build a great exec team very quickly, get accepted into the Techstars Boulder program in 2012, launch our first market, Boulder, CO in July of that year, and have spent the last two years engaged in hand-to-hand combat working our asses off to build the PivotDesk platform everywhere and every way we could.
We've made good progress creating a market from scratch. We've grown by knocking on doors, working the network, writing tons of content and sponsoring events when and where we could afford it.
Hockey stick? Not yet.
Good growth with tons of happy customers? Yup. I'll take it.
Do we have plans on how to take it to the next level? Of course (stand by).
Any guarantees? None. Just hard work and trial and error.
So, in light of all the struggles over the last two years, how are we celebrating our two-year birthday? First off, we're going from six markets, to twenty-nine. Secondly, we're launching an eBook to celebrate all the incredibly hard work of startup entrepreneurs everywhere.
Let's talk about markets. When we first launched PivotDesk, no one knew who we were and we had to spend tons of time in a new market convincing companies about the value PivotDesk could bring to their business. Luckily, word has gotten out a bit and it's made it much easier to launch new markets. We've been getting tons of requests from startups across the country in markets other than SF, N.Y.C. and Boston, so today we're opening our doors in those markets too. We still may be a bit sparse on inventory in some of the new markets, but we wanted to help wherever we can. Austin, can I get a Yeeha? D.C., it's not all about politics. L.A., show off your office style. Chicago, beat the office space headwinds. Seattle, well, you get the picture...
And, to celebrate all the trials and struggles of building a startup, we've created a little story designed to illustrate the life of a startup entrepreneur in a fun manner. We know that sometimes it helps to laugh at ourselves, get our heads out of our asses, revel in the humor and shift our perspectives a bit. So, please enjoy our little story about growing your startup.
What does the next two years have to bring? Well, I have no idea. I know damn well what we're focused on doing, and hopefully we'll get there before the money runs out. But no guarantees, right? Stay focused. Work harder than everyone else, and make as many customers happy as possible.
Enjoy. And keep on building.
Follow David Mandell on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dgmandell