Just Go…

Posted on August 12, 2017

I’ve spent the last 3 years imploring entrepreneurs to move faster.

To do so, I’d stand on the shoulders of giants and quote a trinity of famous startup quotes like a broken record — “move fast and break things” from Mark Zuckerberg,  “if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you didn’t launch it fast enough” from Reid Hoffman, and my favorite “JSIO” which I first heard from my friend and Living Social co-founder Aaron Batalion.

While strict adherence to some of those maxims got me in occasional trouble after I was running a business approaching $100 million in revenue, a “launch fast and iterate” mentality unquestionably allowed us to reach that point in the first place.

Even though that advice was easy to bark from my ivory tower, I’ve found it quite a bit more difficult to follow myself.

After a three year “break,” I completed the transition back to startup CEO in January — I hung up the investor / mentor / advisor hats I wore at my Hayseed Ventures startup studio to start and run Engine, a re-imagined cloud-hosted ecommerce platform.

A couple weeks ago I realized that I wasn’t practicing what I preached.  I caught myself saying things like:

  • “the product isn’t quite ready”
  • “we’ll do it when our office is finished”
  • “let’s wait to generate awareness until after everything is automated”
  • and the absolute worst — “let’s wait until we have our funding round completely closed”

I was making excuses, plain and simple.

Two weeks ago, I decided to make the leap.  For whatever reason, doing this was hard… I suppose it was driven by a fear of failure or rejection.

To my surprise, in less than a week, we closed our first customer — a 6-figure deal with a well-known company.  Though I was afraid to show it to the world, I quickly realized that Engine could solve several mission-critical problems for our client’s business.

What ever you’re working on, now is the time… Just go.

(John James, M.D. is the founder and CEO of Engine, a new cloud-hosted ecommerce platform. Email me john@enginecommerce.com)