Starting a New Company is No Reason to Celebrate

This past Friday was my last at SalesLoft.

I’m going to do something that can only be explained through hopeful arrogance.

I’m starting a company.

Before any order of congratulations sets in, realize what a congratulations entails.

When Micah Baldwin walked into the gathering room at TechStars Boulder, he sat down on the stool and said “most of you are going to fail,” it hit me like a brick.

Startups are hard. Incredibly hard.

You’re not just building a product or selling a vision. You’re building a team and organizing people hopefully more talented and smarter than you to create something valuable enough many people will pay for…every month.

There should be no expression of joy or celebration with the news of a new company. I’m starting a path of stress, struggles, highs and lows. A congratulations is more suited for a well-penned article, a chess match victory, or a birdie. But never the inception of a company. In fact, an “I’m sorry” might be more appropriate. Nothing has been done yet. A problem has yet to be solved. The customer is still unsatisfied.

So why even write an article about the company?

The past year has been one of immense growth, personally and professionally, and I’d be extremely remiss if I didn’t express my appreciation to the entire SalesLoft team. Building one of Georgia’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies, being the first team from Atlanta to dominate go through TechStars, and create something extremely valuable has been awesome.

Kyle Porter is one of the most dynamic and invigorating people I’ve ever worked with. There’s no one better at getting a product in front of someone or a message communicated. He single-handedly got the team into TechStars and showed me how to influence every important decision maker within a sale.

Chris Beauregard is the one man band who built the first iteration of SalesLoft. I’m convinced if you put any problem in front of Chris he’ll find a way to figure it out. Chris’ thought process and perspective opened my mind to new ways of looking at problems.

Todd Wilson, the undisputed chess champion at SalesLoft and the back-end Big Data expert, tackled SalesLoft’s sophisticated data obstacles. Todd’s calm demeanor and intense focus made him an admired and great co-worker.

SalesLoft’s future is bright. There is a changing of personel occurring and that’s part of the game. Matching skills sets at different maturity levels of a company has to be performed and Kyle’s doing it well.

What’s next?

The new company will be in the sales process management space. David Cummings of Atlanta Ventures is the primary and sole investor.

Now is not a time to celebrate.

When we have:

– built a team of Atlanta’s finest talent
– created a product that solves the identified problem
– charged people for it
– charged enough businesses that we’re cash flow positive
– charged enough businesses that we’re doing $1mm in revenue
– had a ton of fun doing it in the process

Then we can celebrate and I’ll make sure to invite you to the party.

 

 

 

43 Responses

  1. Jonathan says:

    And at aforementioned party, we will bring the booze!

  2. Jacqui says:

    Jon:

    Since congrats is not in order, how about “we’re here for you” ?

  3. Jon Birdsong says:

    Ha! Much appreciated, Jacqui.

  4. Kyle Porter says:

    This past year has been awesome and I’ve learned a ton from you Jon. You’ve got what it takes to build a special business & I look forward to watching as you crush it!

  5. Jerome says:

    Can’t wait to hear more Jon! The challenge of starting something completely new is exciting!

  6. Mark Schultz says:

    Good Luck Jon!!!!

    Look forward to learning more.

    • Jon Birdsong says:

      Thanks Gummy Bear Clare. It seems like yesterday Kyle and I were stalking you and trying to work our way into TechStars 😀

      Come to Atlanta!

  7. Kelly James says:

    Fly high Jonny Bird.

  8. Pratik Patel says:

    Great post, one half of me agrees and the other half not. First the nod:
    As a startup veteran, you know that starting a company doesn’t mean a damn thing. It’s “finishing” that deserves celebration. Launching the v1 of your product. Getting that first customer. Getting the 100th customer. Getting to break even. Turning a profit. Now you are allowed to celebrate.

    OTOH, for many people, leaving the safety of the corporate world, with its good pay, steady paycheck, and low stress to the startup world is a reason to celebrate. You’ve taken a leap – chances are you will fail in your endeavor – but you are guaranteed to grow personally and professionally. That, IMHO, is reason for quiet celebration.

    Bon chance!

  9. Ann Hughston says:

    Best of luck, Jon!

  10. Matt Martin says:

    Can’t wait to hear more man! Looking forward to seeing what comes together.

  11. saba says:

    Saying a prayer that God grant you another level of tenacity, awareness and wisdom as you navigate this journey.

  12. Wayt says:

    Felicitaciones, JonnyPajaro, y bien suerte con todo. Disfrutalo tu viaje magnifico!

  13. Kevin says:

    “Stay constructively dis-satisfied but go with the highest level of confidence because the only limits you will face are the ones you put on yourself…” — deep thoughts by Kevin O’Mallley

    Hope to see you at B2BCamp ATL on 1/19!

    • Jon Birdsong says:

      Thanks Kevin. Of course I’ll be at B2B Camp. That’s the best B2B conference in the country! And you, KP, and Anand are behind it. That’s what we call a no-brainer in sales :)

  14. J-Lew says:

    Here is to 2013 my friend!! May we have one hell of a journey, no matter the outcome!!

  15. Brad Hunter says:

    You sir are born to do great things – congrats on taking the plunge! Best of luck my man. Sending good vibes.

  16. Nicole Glaros says:

    WOW Jonnybird! Best of luck to you!

  17. MK says:

    JBird,

    I know you’re gonne make it rain up there!!! I always knew I found a gem that day at Startup Lounge.

    Congrats anyway and I’m here for you always.

    Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    MK

  18. You can succeed. From OS to SF, you’ve undoubtedly picked up tools & tricks. Lmk if I can be of help. You’re an asset to the ATL startup community and a class-act.

  19. Eric Karaszewski says:

    I’m in your corner buddy – good luck!

  20. Jon Birdsong says:

    Thanks Eric!

  21. Linnea Geiss says:

    Awesome news – can’t wait to hear more about it. I think Jacqui said it perfectly: “we’re here for you!”

  22. Jon Birdsong says:

    Thanks Linnea.