How does a one man show get more users than a well managed team?

By Shawn Smith,

Published on Mar 13, 2011   —   3 min read

Well the usual story of writing things down has hit me today. I’ve left this so-called journal alone until now as I’ve had my head in all directories lately.

My mind is swimming with ideas and burning with frustration this morning. I just saw the thing I didn't want to see, and it's exactly what I feared most. Just a few months ago, I thought we were on the right track with this project, and it didn't seem as though there was much competition. However, after doing a little research as of late, it looks like other guy is ahead. Not by a long shot, mind you, but he's definitely got more momentum than we do. So what you might say. I suppose I’m not really saying anything but painting the picture in my head about this.

And that's scary. We're still in the development stages, and he's already got 3,000 users. He says he hasn't launched yet, but by the looks of it, he may as well have. All of it makes me wonder what we've been doing for these last 4 months. Here's a single solitary guy, a one man show, and he's more motivated than my entire team. Something just isn't right here.

So I organised a conference call to discuss what we can do to launch as soon as possible. I needed to convey the sense of urgency, that our competition really is gaining the upper hand. And even though this one man show doesn't have the same vision (as well as most of the features we plan to implement), if his name gets attached to our idea, we're through. Every bit of momentum he gains makes it that much harder for our startup to get going.

Nobody showed up to the meeting – and now I’m pissed! You know, it's the classic I've gotta run to such and such. We usually have these discussions every Tuesday anyway. It seems like it's harder and harder to get them together. I really hate to say it, but it seems like they just don't care. This is kind of my thing and not necessarily theirs. They don't see it the same way I do.

How do you motivate people? The thought has been running through my head lately. I think people need to feel like their actions matter, and although that initially sounds quite vague, don't worry. When I say that, I mean a very specific thing. My team needs to see their work directly helping someone in some way. We need to get some real customers. And if we can't get that, we need a important player to tell them that we're onto something big, something revolutionary.

There's a certain concreteness to having your first customer. Suddenly, it's not about you. It's entirely about them. I think we've gotten too feature hungry, and we've missed the central purpose of what we're trying to do. Forget all the bells and whistles. We'll add them later. Right now, we need users. We need people who depend on us.

Part of me wonders if it's possible to truly motivate someone. Sure, a lot of people talk about being motivated, but when it comes to their actions, it amounts to nothing more than a show. It's something you say at the end of a job interview, just before hopping in your car and going home to watch Home And Away on the tele. Everyone I know who is truly motivated doesn't talk about it. They just do great things, and I happen to bump into them.

Is the answer in the one man show? When you're just one man, you are your weakest link. There is no deliberation. No hesitation. You get a whiff of inspiration, you run with it, and your momentum carries you into the next stage. And that's exactly what we're missing. We're briskly walking down the park when we need to be sprinting. We've got more resources than this one man show, and we're still behind.

If we don't pick up the pace soon, it's over.

Share on Facebook Share on Linkedin Share on Twitter Send by email

Subscribe to the newsletter

Subscribe to the newsletter for the latest news and work updates straight to your inbox, every week.