The Long Game

Scott Francis
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Great read from the founders of Yipit, on the long hard road to become and overnight success:
So, it’s now February of 2010, over two and half years since we started, and we have yet another idea: build an aggregator for the early but quickly growing daily deal industry. The idea was sound, timely and right up our alley since we had been doing local deal aggregation for the last 9 months. And, in just three days, everything changed. We launched the new idea in a three-day scramble, got some initial press, users loved it, and four months later raised $1 million from amazing investors. A year after that, we’ve raised $6 million, made real revenue, attracted hundreds of thousands of users, and recruited amazing people to join our team (we’re hiring! join us!). And, best of all, we’re just getting started.
I really liked the raw honesty of this post.  I just quoted the happy part – 2.5 years in.  But there’s also this part:
“So, what do you do?” Ugh. I hated that question. The truth was that we were trying to start a new venture but we hadn’t really made any progress.
Anyone with a struggling startup can relate to this.  I’ve felt this same awkwardness explaining what we do – not so much because we’re struggling but because BPM isn’t exactly a buzzword for the masses or a great conversation starter at social events.  But I’d much rather be telling people about what we do at BP3 as a BPM services firm than, say, a dating site (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). I’ve noticed when I explain how we started BP3, people have assumed that we only left Lombardi at the moment IBM acquired the company.  Not so.  We started BP3 about 2.5, almost 3 years, before IBM acquired Lombardi.  An investor would probably call that being “early”.  It wasn’t about the acquisition or potential acquisition.  It was about starting a company that could be the best BPM services firm we could be. That 2-3 years was great formative time for us to build our reputation, our culture, our team.  It takes a long time to build the foundations for success – especially when you’re bootstrapping – but people don’t always remember how long it takes.  All of a sudden, it looks like success and they wonder how it materialized out of the blue.  But we’re in it for the long run, and we always were. In closing, congratuations to Yipit on their “overnight” success!