Building steam. —

Editor’s Letter : November 2017


Momentum. The one important and often unseen element of a start-up is momentum. It plays into the various stages of launching something new. The initial point is to simply get things out of the gate and there’s a certain level of inertia you need to overcome before you’re finally in motion. That can look boring with things such as legal, business registrations, and contracts. It could also be more intangible like figuring out the exact idea and putting it in front of people to validate.


Many people never get out of the gates or sputter a few feet from the start line. They stop at the first sign of friction while others fear failure. Or they simply never want it bad enough to go out and just get it done. Fortunately, there was sufficient fire in our bellies to kick things off and get MAEKAN running. Once you launch, you start wondering: how can we keep this momentum going and when the time is right, how can we increase its velocity?


The reason this idea of momentum resonated with me was because it’s been a year since MAEKAN has launched. We’re starting to figure out how to maintain this momentum. There are a lot of things can derail any given business and you have to do your best to mitigate or manage them. Cash flow, resources, changing market conditions, trends… Need I say it again? CASH FLOW.


These are all things that come to mind without really thinking too hard. But as a start-up, cash is king and if you don’t have momentum, it means the feedback loop is delayed and well you eventually bleed out. The time it takes to acton what is essentially a constant string of experiments can’t be understated. It means how long does it take for you to get feedback on a new feature and subsequently implement a suitable reaction. If the loop is too long, you simply run out of money.


Some months are better than others at MAEKAN, but the one critical thing that’s never alluded us is where we want to go. That’s what dictates the direction of MAEKAN, it’s what allows us to slot in key decisions that will hopefully allow us to get there. How we make decisions used to overly focus on “is it perfect?” If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last year, it’s that perfection isn’t the key at this stage (and it may never be).


Instead, the goal is to define a base level of quality and ensure you move as quickly as possible against that. It’s now become a compelling game of opening two or three doors at a time and closing the ones that aren’t beneficial. But with each occasion where I find myself picturing that blue sky scenario where we want to be, I make sure to remind myself not to stop and smell the roses for too long. For momentum is so hard to build and yet so easy to lose.


Until next month,

Eugene Kan


Eugene talks about our recent strides with reinvigorating our creative processes and continuing to move forward, even as the challenges we sought to solve and the world around us continue to evolve.