Life after Startup – momentum

Our event in St. Gallen Switzerland

Basking in the momentum

Its 21.00 o clock on a Saturday, and I look out my office window on the 10th floor that overlooks the distant port of my beautiful city of Rotterdam.

The office building echoes the sound of the wind softly beating the metal panels on the outside and the slowly moving dark clouds make for a spectacle of shimmering lights.

I just came back from a 9 hour drive from Switzerland. I was carrying boxes, cables, speakers into what doesn’t really resemble an office anymore but more somewhat of a living room/storage facility.

Our last event went very well and I am still basking in the incredible amount of positive feedback we got.

In general the past 2 months have been very hard work. We organised events in Barcelona, Austin and now Switzerland and we have gained a significant amount of new fans for what we do with Superconnectors.

Our Superconnectors event in Austin, Texas

Not only happy startups that got valuable connections, but also actual paying customers like governmental delegations and superconnectors that have seen their fair share of events have repeatedly told us that we are really onto something.

Also in that time I found several pirates to join our ship, such as the events intern Rebeka, and now also a soon to be revealed full time marketeer and soon another 7 people (interns and new team members), growing our team to almost 10 people working on superconnectors.

I would definitely say that we are gaining something which I have learned is a very rare resource in the lifetime of a startup: Momentum.

Our event in Barcelona

What is momentum

I would define momentum as that magical moment that you have more opportunities coming at you than the ones you need to chase after.

It is not to be confused with traction. Traction is to me more related to actually consistently converting those opportunities into signed contracts by clients.

Momentum is basically the moment just before that and it’s this sentence, going round and round in my head: “We are getting there, but we are not there yet”

This sentence is, for me, an incredible driver to put in a relentless amount of work.

It’s very tempting to keep chasing that voice all the way down a cliff, blind to everything that is happening around you. It’s definitely something I have done in my younger years and made mistakes on, and probably still do.

The hard thing about momentum is that there is a 50% chance that you are basically fooling yourself.

Keeping the right pace

When I came back from Switzerland I had to make some tough decisions. As we are moving very fast and have 20 events planned for the whole year, I needed to reassess if we were going to have enough time to get everything that was coming up done well.

We were planning for an event in Brazil 1st of May and that would have meant non stop work pretty much straight after the event in switzerland.

Instead I decided to cancel that event, and give the team time to reassess our performance, plan for the months to come and focus on building the necessary routines of our new team.

It’s easy for me to get lost in the adrenaline of setting one impossible goal after the next one, however I know from experience by now that we can only move to second gear and go even faster, if we have got our foundations in order.

Turning momentum into traction

And so for the next 3 months our aim will basically be to turn our early momentum into traction.

This requires clear agreed on working protocols and IT systems that are organized accordingly, a very strong core team (almost there), and a relentless planning where everyone knows exactly what to do.

And also, it requires plenty of time to do lots and lots of follow up with all the enthusiasts from the past 2 months. We need to learn from them, understand what to improve to make our event truly exceptional enough to be significantly outperforming anything else even remotely close to it.

Momentum doesn’t really strike twice in the beginning, so when it’s there, I try to follow my gut and build, invest and plan accordingly.

Snapping out of it

Ok, so back to Alex spacing out on the couch with a stupid grin on his face.

I look at the big box with cables and stuff that I should be putting back in the right closets.

I sigh and decide to call it a day. I stand up, grab my jacket and close the door behind me.

Tomorrow is another day and we fight to hopefully ride the wave a bit longer, for however long it may last.

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