I thought today was an interesting day. After weeks of doing the juggling act of pitching investors, pitching potential customers, negotiating deal terms, filling out paperwork, dealing with people that are still trying to get that “little bit extra” — you close your round and you get funded.
Its that magical moment right? Its what you’d been waiting for right? The press starts writing about you, the Congratulations come flying in. You’ve made it. Right? Wrong.
We made our funding announcement yesterday. Here’s a rough list of what I did today:
Answered 52 customer service emails
Debugged sync issues, identity verification issues and looked into performance issues
Closed the loop on the last few wire transfers
Talked to Derek about our priorities for the week, updated Pivotal, prioritized my own task list so that he isn’t blocked on anything
Went through Apple’s enrollment process, made sure the right things were signed, accounts were updated, team was invited, etc.
Coordinated with our contract iPhone developer and made sure he’s got his list of priorities for the week
Made plans and booked tickets and hotel for our NYC Community Manager to come out here for a few days and get acquainted
Created a Tout group of family members and close friends that I’ve been neglecting since I moved to California and updated them on my life and told them to write back
Created a Tout group of investors and updated them on the funding round and the company in general
Posted job listings for our Designer and Front End Engineer positions
Responded to my huge (and growing) backlog of emails — mostly having to do with business development
Grabbed dinner with my wife (who is now living in NY but is visiting for a couple of days) to celebrate our 4 years together. Ironically, our first date was at a restaurant right across from the 500 Startups office
Troubleshooted and thought through some bugs/changes with Derek
Answered some more customer service emails
Looked at our backlog and felt the pain again of how we need to make some more key hires so started to reach out to people in my personal network about the open positions
And on and on and on it went…
What’s the point? The point is that the day after you get funded is like any other day that you are running your business. Getting funded is not some magical event where all your worries go away. It is not some big party to pop the champagne over. Its the time where you buckle down even more so that you can make it rain.
The day after you get funded, you still have to deal with the real fundamentals of your business. You still have to build your actual business, and you have to actually plan and execute so that you can actually deliver all those things you promised your Investors when you took their money.
And that folks, is what a day after you get funded looks like.
In a number of different conversations this week with Advisors and Investors, I heard the same advice dispensed to me. I think Paul Singh phrased it best: “You better not be hiding in TextMate this summer.”
As I build out my team for ToutApp, it is important that I elevate to CEO and let the people I hire do what they do best. This means that while for nearly a year I was the sole Hustler, Hacker and Designer for Tout, my role is now changing.
As I thought through this, it made me start to wonder. What does this even mean? What makes a good CEO? How do I stop coding while still ensure that Derek and anyone else we hire in Engineering continues to build a solid foundation for our application? And most importantly, if I’m not coding — then what exactly am I doing?
Surprisingly, I wasn’t the only one asking these questions. In fact, someone else at one of our last Batch meeting asked the same question. There wasn’t an easy answer, but we followed the “Rule of 3” — we pulled together all these “transitioning CEOs” and we sat down and talked through the things that we needed help with.
I’m not sure what all the answers are, but this is yet another turning point in this amazing journey we call Entrepreneurship.