It’s not fear itself.
Sometimes when a few of us entrepreneurs get together, we share what our greatest fears we had to overcome when starting out on our own. Generally, the answers are what everyone hears about: running out of funding, too much dependence on a single customer, getting paid before going bankrupt, recession on the horizon, launching too soon, launching too late, or competitors copying the idea. My greatest fear seemed unique- could I finish anything? It was the only fear that kept me up at night.
Prior to starting this company, my job was to see if certain ideas could work. Can IBM’s SNA protocol be supported over ADCCP? Is there a way to debug remote devices on the network anywhere in the world? Can we support the daily transaction volume of a stock exchange in the far east over dial up lines at 9600 baud? Is there a way to prevent tools from leaving a nuclear power plant during downtime? Can we show where to move troops on a map to avoid contamination in real time? As an intern or employee, I was involved with providing answers to “can it be done?” Once I built a prototype, the project would inevitably go to another group to develop into a commercial product.
So, when I started the business, I really didn’t know if I could actually complete a viable product or service. I found that the engineering question, “can it be done?”, was easier to answer than, “can I build something someone will want to use?”- that’s the scary one.
It still scares me.
Published May 16, 2019