Ten years ago I wrote a post about customer support. Nothing in my attitude toward customers has really changed since then, although my products have changed along the way.
Most of my Mac and iOS apps could be built by one person. Even Sunlit, which I developed with Jon Hays, could be maintained by one person. And so when providing support for my apps, I’ve always embraced being an indie company and said “I” instead of “we” when talking about my company Riverfold Software.
I’ve realized as I work toward launching Micro.blog that this product is different. It has a much greater scope than anything I’ve built by myself. To be successful, it needs a team.
This is why my first priority with the Kickstarter stretch goal was to bring someone new to the project. I was initially nervous about making that announcement. I thought that nervousness was because the stretch goal might not work, or because my post was long and could be misinterpreted, but I realize now that I was nervous because I knew it mattered.
The first decisions a new company has to make will end up shaping many things that follow. I worked at VitalSource for over 14 years because the technology decisions and leadership at the beginning were so strong they carried forward for years.
The same rule applies for a very different kind of company: Uber. When you look at their series of missteps, it seems clear that these are inherent problems that go back to day one. I think John Gruber is right when he says Uber’s response is “too little, too late”.
We can learn from every company culture that fails. I don’t expect to make all the right decisions with Micro.blog. But I’m going to try very hard to make the first decisions correctly, because it will make everything easier going forward.