The Real Education

Continued from “Moving Around

The real education for me and the others who were involved in the startup was the experience of bootstrapping when the economy was in a distress and everything was falling apart. Looking back, it would seem like “sheer madness” to have continued pursuing the dream.Odds were totally against us. Think about it –

1. We had five co-founders – the complexity with that goes up exponentially

2. We had no savings

3. All five were first-time entrepreneurs in the United States

4. Nobody believed in the company (except us)

and most important,

5. We had a flawed business model to start with

When survival was in question, dreaming of a big success was not an option.

The Big Break

We had to wait for more than a year to get our big break for the company. As you trying to convince companies to hire from us when they were in fact firing people is hard.

Being optimistic (and with a lot of hope) we were continuing to “try to sell.” However, something had to change. To keep the lights on, we got a few consulting projects. The problem (which would become an opportunity) was that there was no money to buy the software to develop these projects. So, our CTO downloaded a bunch of open source software products to deliver on those projects. That was our introduction to the world of open source.

Long story short, it was one of those meetings with a large semiconductor company that things changed in our favor. We were pitching recruitment services and one of our claims was that our candidates are screened and interviewed by super sharp technology professionals. Some of our people are so cutting edge that they are building Open Source applications on the side. The executive stopped us there and wanted to know more about our work in Open Source arena.

The meeting took a turn for the better. By the end of the meeting we were discussing a pilot open source implementation for the semiconductor company. Soon the pilot project was expanded into a larger project.

Long story short, this project began our transformation from a recruitment company to an Open Source solutions provider. Certified Talent, Inc was renamed as CIGNEX.

Getting Back into Writing

In the middle of this, I also got an opportunity to get back into writing.

For the first four years as the CEO of CIGNEX, I don’t think I took a vacation. Weekend was treated as a “work from home” day. In 2005, I slowly started crawling back into writing. I started blogging on Feb 14, 2005  as a way to support my  book “Beyond Code” that was released later in the year.

The blog took a long time to gain traction and in fact the release of the book was what got the attention for the blog.

The Next Step

The next step in my journey was to partner with like-minded entrepreneurs to bring good ideas to life.This is what I am doing right now.

I will update this section soon.