There's this Venn diagram I've seen pop up at a few talks and presentations I've been to. It's normally used in relation to development - apps, tech etc. There are 3 overlapping circles labelled 'fast', 'cheap' and 'good'. The task or question to the audience is: "choose two out of these, you can't choose all 3".
The purpose of this little exercise is to demonstrate that you always have to compromise in some regard when it comes to development. You can have something fast and cheap, but it won't be good. You can have something good and fast but it won't be cheap. And so on.
With STAMP, we went for cheap and good. Things have not therefore been particularly fast to say the least. In fact they've been slow. At times painfully slow. But we're currently bootstrapping this project and we don't have much choice unless we want to go out and raise external finance. It is the best compromise for our situation. And indeed the situation is likely to be different from company to company and from project to project. You have to figure out what works best for you.
So when things are going slow, you have to celebrate the progress as and when it comes about. There were a lot of positive things going on for STAMP this past week.
First off, we attended Venturefest. A one day event at York racecourse that features panel discussions, keynote addresses and a startup pitch competition. As a little app startup ourselves, partly based in Yorkshire, it's the kind of event that can provide a lot of inspiration and hopefully a few good contacts. They also had the new Tesla Model X out front so it was worth it just to see that. A particular highlight was a panel discussion on the Yorkshire startup landscape featuring representatives from well known accelerator programmes. This was relevant for STAMP because one of the panel was from Entrepreneurial Spark, the accelerator for which we were due an interview the following day...
An interview that went...okay? I guess? A one minute pitch followed by 7 minutes of quickfire questions is a moderately stressful process to go through. With 7 other hopeful applicants, you hole up in their coworking space nervously waiting your turn as the others are taken off one by one. Naturally I revert to filling the nervous silence with lots of questions both to the assembled applicants and the current residents. I felt like I made a couple of friends so it would be a real shame if I didn't make it in 😩
And as if one pitch wasn't enough for that day, that evening I found myself at Leeds University, doing a talk on app development to the members of the Enterprise Society. I talked them through the process we had gone through at STAMP, diligently trying to keep out the jargon and keep in the excitement. They seemed interested. And afterwards I stayed behind to answer a bunch of questions from a particularly interested subgroup. All in all it was a successful day.
Crucially though, it was the first time I had really properly talked to strangers about STAMP. After months of slow progress and a keen desire to have an app to show people, I finally had the opportunity to share our product and get excited about our future. I suppose it's important to relish those moments. They don't come along all that often at the moment and they help remind why the f**k you're doing all this in the first place. A subtle reminder that maybe, just maybe it might all be worthwhile.
'til next time
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