May 3, 2010
And then came Haiti. The very day after my last blog post, I was invited to a think tank at the MIT Media Lab to discuss my experiences with Haiti and the OLPC laptops. Since then, nearly all of my time has been spent organizing and supporting our current seven Waveplace pilots in four locations with 200 XOs. This of course meant three more months of delay for everyone that’s waiting for me. “Everything I do is instead of something else I should be doing.”
After some soul searching since returning from Haiti, I decided to bring on Beth Santos full-time, a woman who impressed me with her resourcefulness and initiative in Haiti. She starts today as Immuexa’s Support Manager and Waveplace’s Outreach Coordinator. I’m confident she’ll help free up our time so that people aren’t waiting as long as they have in recent months.
As for Immuexa itself, we’re finishing our part on the years-long insurance portal project and several other smaller ones, which means by July 5th, we’ve have a completely clear slate. This means we’ve got nine weeks to find a lucrative, challenging, and fun software project to dive into again. Nine weeks to find a great gig is more than enough time, and our search begins today.
Our problem is that we throw ourselves into our singular obsessions, which can be very productive and very lucrative, but it comes at a cost: consistent sales, recruiting, and support. Hiring Beth is a first step towards helping with this.
You might ask why we haven’t hired a non-billable person to help in the last twelve years. Well, for two reasons . . . first, I haven’t *found* someone with the right spirit and initiative. I’ve tried in the past, usually for as much as a month at a time, but our peculiar brand of freedom and minimal communication seems only to work with software developers. Others need a great deal more hand-holding to get them to the point where they know the business, what we offer, and how we do things. The other reason is simply that it hasn’t been much of a problem during much of that time. We ran a pretty streamlined shop and so far we’ve never been out of work, despite our absence of sales. Of course, we’re not growing the company or finding cooler projects either.
It’s been a long time coming, perhaps the last three years, but we’ve finally found the right person and the right time to delegate the stuff that needs to be consistent. I’m through “shoulding” myself about all this. I should be focusing on the stuff that I’m actually good at: sales & development.
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