There are lots of dating sites on the Internet, but many fewer devoted to keeping your marriage happy. Similarly, Toronto now has DemoCamp, Entrepreneurship 101, and a growing list of other events devoted to getting new ventures off the ground, but so far as I can tell, there’s nothing for technical types who want to know how to keep an established business going and growing.
One reason, I think, is that starting new things has a higher social status than being a conscientious gardener. Another is that the attitude and skills needed to start something are often quite different from those needed to keep something going: someone who’s good at turning a chance encounter into a phone number and a first date is often clueless when it comes to keeping a relationship going, and as many employers have found out the hard way, people who are good at landing jobs are often not good at actually doing them.
But even understanding it, I wish it weren’t so. I am running three projects that are going into their tenth, sixth, and second years respectively. The first two aren’t startups any more, and I sometimes wish there was somewhere I could go to talk to people who have small ventures that have been around long enough to be on their second logo and fifth or sixth development team. Yes, there are business schools and Board of Trade seminars, but they’re not aimed at “small”. Maybe it’s just a matter of time: in idle moments, I imagine today’s DemoCamp crowd in their 70s, sitting in rocking chairs on the porch grumbling about how easy these young kids have it with their neural implants… Here’s hoping.