Bootstrapping Our Social Media Business

Some people have been wondering why I have been tweeting about coding practices these last few weeks, while my blog is about managing software development.

I have a simple explanation for that:

Right now I act like a real entrepreneur.

I'm a manager, software developer, software architect, business consultant, account manager, project manager, and nerve wrecker, all wrapped in one. It's because of the new project I told you about several weeks ago. This project is about figuring out how to use social media to improve communication between vendors and consumers. It is eating all my time, and I love it. Here's why:

As a business consultant I need to figure out why vendors should use social media, how to do this properly, with what kinds of social media tools, and what we need to build and customize ourselves.

As a software developer I'm working out how to connect my code to the API's of multiple social networks, like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Hyves.

As a software architect I must choose the technology stack, and I must make sure that the solutions we create are not only scalable and secure, but also flexible, because the social media landscape is changing continuously.

As a project manager I have to make sure that we're only working on highest priorities, and that at least something useful can be showcased to potential clients within a few weeks.

As an account manager I talk with customers, and I explain what we do and try to turn our new project into a sustainable business.

And as a manager I am writing the business plan, securing resources, discussing branding with upper management, and fitting the operational structure in the mother organization.

It's a lot of fun. But working as an entrepreneur is a mixed blessing. While freedom is exhilarating, the pressure of having to do everything yourself (and in far too little time) can be quite stressful. Fortunately I'm a robot, not a human being. The only thing that bothers me is being a generalist, which means that you can never be efficient or perfect in the details. I'm hardly the world's best software developer, and neither am I the perfect project manager. My software architectures are usually disasters, and my qualities as an account manager border on the pathetic.

Of course, I'm just planting the seeds now. Real people will take over as soon as things are starting to explode. Several colleagues are already assisting me, and a full-time development manager is on the way. It's only a matter of time before our new business is so large that we have to move to another office building.

Yes, being a dreamer is also the responsibility of an entrepreneur…

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