Running to Stand Still

FeedBlitz as a business has been growing since we started. Successfully competing against organizations multiple orders of magnitude larger than we are. Passionate about what we do, how we do it and run with a business model that is making the company self-sustaining, even with ~60% year on year growth, over the long run.

But the challenges of building a business like this, even as it grows more or less steadily (and 60% year on year growth, over multiple years, is fast), and even though FeedBlitz is still pretty small by many standards, is that the change required to support that growth is distinctly non-linear. The way it was run this time last year is not sustainable. It hasn’t been for a while.

Only: I hadn’t fully grasped that fact. I was so busy dealing with the increase in business and concomitant work that I’d missed the warning signs. We couldn’t keep up with the dramatic increase in customer service. The net result was that we all were running to stand still – and, despite our best efforts, ended up moving backwards anyway.

So it turns out that vacations are a good thing. Clearing my head gave me the time to recognize, realign and recommit. To enable and empower the rest of the FeedBlitz team.

Last week from poolside, I decided to hire; it was in fact one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made one I’d got my head out of, um, the sand, for long enough to see what needed to be done. Heather made it happen with a brilliant move in less than 24 hours. The metrics are already moving back in the right direction, and although we’ve much catching up to do, we will do so quickly, and we’re not going to let this happen again. We’re ready for the next step.

But the change required is not just about increasing resources, though. Parts – the most important parts for the long haul – are cultural and personal. The team now knows that heroics, while occasionally welcome and indeed sometimes necessary, shouldn’t have to be the daily modus operandi. That’s incredibly unhealthy. I’ve got to be a better enabler, too, and focus more on what lies ahead rather than reacting to what’s happening now. Done and done.

To those who didn’t get the response they needed quickly enough, the blame is mine alone; I’m sorry. I hope we can make this right for you.

Meanwhile, though, FeedBlitz is no longer running to stand to still.

And, damn, that feels good.