30 April 2013
Your first, and most important, customer should be YOURSELF.
I left my last job because I didn’t like the person it was making me. I blame the customers. Over my four years there they’d had success selling to businesses of all sizes. But over the last year they really wanted to double down on Fortune 500 accounts.
Over that year I got tired of taking direction from 12 member-cross-divisional-virtual-planning committees that couldn’t agree whether a reply button should be on the left or right. These customers didn’t want to just test it and get data either way… they just wanted to debate it and I’d already spent a 7 year career at Microsoft.
Some people probably like the schmoozing and debates in those environments. As for myself… I had recently become a parent. I was talking with Gretchen about one of these pointless debates at home one night and realized that, even though I wasn’t THAT mad about it, the tone of my voice caused my 9 month old son (Gabe) to start crying.
The job was making me an unhappy person and my family deserved better. Work is such a huge part of your life and every business has customers that can dictate your job with their dollars. For me, that realization made it clear I needed to be a founder.
As a founder you get to choose your customers.
Choose wisely. Be selfish. LOVE the challenges you put in front of yourself. If you aren’t happy you’ll have a hard time making customers love your product.
PS: It doesn’t matter if your a founder, marketer, developer, or member of the support team… it’s your job to make sure custoemrs love your product. So make sure you’re going to love the customers you serve. Start with yourself.