Attachmore www.attachmore.com is a large file delivery solution that assists computer users in transferring files that are too large for email. Attachmore bridges the gap between email attachment limitations and complicated FTP or complex online storage solutions. Attachmore is privately funded and was founded by Brent Young.
During the next week of reflection, a non-early adopter, but loyal user of the product called the founder to announce that he would not after all, pay for the product. Not at the proposed price, not at the price they had argued for, not at any price.
So he fired himself as Founder and CEO of his company. And then he fired me. (“I no longer need your services. But in the future…”)
We talked briefly about his future, including possible pivots and leaps, but essentially, the gig was up. I admire his self-awareness and the honesty with which he evaluated his situation.
Whether there’s a tech bubble or not is an interesting discussion going on in the blogosphere. (Reading guide is below.)
I fall into the “boom before bubble” pack. Having lived through the 90s’ bubble, there’s no way we’re there yet. That doesn’t mean there won’t be one, but my feeling is we’re skating a razor’s edge off one side of which looms another wave of housing foreclosures and a doom & gloom Sequoia presentation. Investors herding like sheep around darling Silicon Valley startup memes is not in itself bubblicious, it’s SOP. Sheep investing affects supply and demand conditions that result in higher valuations. Good or bad, that doesn’t in itself represent a bubble.
The Internet bubble was about more that overvalued startups. Horowitz and Graham argue other dynamics way better than I can (see links below), but I think it’s important to point out that bubbles dramatically affect the entire economic climate. The bubble was “our” version of 70s inflation. The bubble caused a huge migration of people to the SF Bay Area. Salaries went through the roof (not just for engineering talent.) So did cost of living. In the 90s, the housing bubble was inseparable from the Internet bubble. The buying of lots of different goods became irrational.
Despite Dave McClure’s imploring to “kill a feature” and Eric Ries’ urging to “cut your product in half, then halve it again,” most startup founders I encounter are trying to work their way toward Product-Market fit by planning and building new features. The analytical mind of an entrepreneur, both engineer and business-side, naturally tends toward solving problems and ostensibly, features solve problems. But it’s the wrong approach for most startups.