185 Days Later

Zombie Walk 2010

It’s been like a great zombie movie. There’s interesting zombies, lots of gore, non-cliche characters, man vs zombie, and at least one human idiot (hello, my name is David).

Actually it’s been an amazing 185 days (just over 6 months) since I announced that I was leaving Microsoft.

MSFT 9-24-2010 thru 3-24-2011

The good news is that as a Microsoft shareholder, my departure did not appear to greatly affect Microsoft’s stock performance (closed Sept 20, 2010 at 25.13 vs Mar 23, 2011 at 25.81). This means technically my leaving added 68 cents a share. While my giant ego would be incredibly bruised being the cause of $5.712B increase in value because of my departure (8.40B shares outstanding *  $0.68/share change). I am pretty sure that most of this change is unrelated to me, and more related to Kinect, Phone 7, and other product sales performance). But as an egomaniac, I’ll claim I’ve added $5.7B of value to the economy ;-). But I digress.

I found a co-founder. We started a company. We’ve hired a team. We’re raising money. We’ve built a product. Talked to potential customers. Threw that product out. Started again. Talked to potential customers.Listened. Formed a hypothesis. Gathered feedback. Iterated. Measured. Tested. Deisgn. Built. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

It is completely different than my experience at Microsoft. And completely worth it.

Don’t get me wrong. It has been difficult. There have been arguments. I’ve been sick as a dog, twice. Payroll is still a bitch. Dealing with government agencies full of red-tape. Trying to write here and at StartupNorth has been difficult.  I’ve been on planes. Trying to build products. Trying to raise my girls. Trying to stay healthy (unsuccessfully – see SxSARS below). I keep helping other startups: here’s looking at you BuzzData, Attachments.me, and TribeHR.

I’ve been heads down for so long that I forget that there are other things going on in Toronto and around the world. I skipped SxSW for the first time in a few years, though I still managed to get the dreaded #SwSARS. It is a very strange experience being sick and not being able to work, even when you want to, versus just taking a sick day when you work for a big company. The fact that I’ve been mostly unavailable because I’ve been stuck in bed and medicated, makes me wonder how long this will continue. I can’t wait to feel human again, and I can’t wait to get back to talking with customers and building. But since the team kicked me out of the office yesterday, I’m home again fighting this zombie virus.

It’s been a fun 185 days. I’m looking forward to the next 185 days and the changes it will bring.