It’s been nearly a year since Splunk purchased my third company, VictorOps. By all measures, VictorOps was an outstanding success, and it was really the pinnacle of my Entrepreneurial career. I will look back on VictorOps and smile at all the good times.
I’ve had other companies that were successful, but none really gave me the level of satisfaction of VictorOps. Part of that satisfaction, I’m sure, is I got to do things pretty much exactly the way I wanted to. With VictorOps, I conceived the idea, I built the team, I raised the money, I even built part of the product. All things I genuinely enjoy doing and probably makes the success of the company more meaningful to me than the others.
Starting a company, assembling a team, building the product, and taking the product to market is always the “fun part” for me. I like to say, “On day one your company (and product) can be anything you want it to be”. Each day after that, your market narrows, there are things you know you won’t be able to get done and the dream turns into a practical product. This is all normal stuff you need to embrace, but it’s also just a little sad. Kind of like when your kids grow up. You are excited to see what they have become, where they are going and how awesome they turned out, but also a little whimsical that their lives will proceed just fine without you!
When people ask me how we made VictorOps a success, I usually say, “We didn’t make any substantial mistakes.” Of course, in the rear-view mirror there are things I might change but frankly not many, and I think I would run the playbook the same way again.
For now, I’m considering this a wrap on my Startup Life. It’s a good time to get out while the gettin-is-good. Startups have been a 20-year arc in the Vernon family’s life that can be difficult at times.
A friend of mine, and one of my co-founders at Raindance (my first company) has a saying when you finish up a company and get to walk away and start thinking about what’s next.
“File->New,” named after the menu item on your computer where you “start a new document.”
When you “File->New,” that new blank document can be anything you want it to be and that is the best feeling in the world.
Right now, I’m going to let the blank document and blinking cursor sit there for a bit.