Weeks 6-9: Arrested development

Week 6

Week six we focused on integrating the feedback from our mentors, and the business plan grew to offer 13 services for game developers. We also tried to get a web developer on board, with the aim of being able to build the basic version of the platform and get to revenue.

Consequently we struck a deal with a local developer: we offered them a healthy 5% of the company and a salary for only four weeks work. Sounds Insane?! Well, the idea was that if we could get to revenue, then we’d need no investment, so it wasn’t as crazy at it sounds.

Unfortunately, despite many positive recommendations of his talents (which were probably justified), he failed to mention that he didn’t actually have the time to do the job. So, in the first week he did no work at all. Needless to say we spoke to him about it and he said he was finishing off old projects. We took him at his word and hoped for better the next week.

Week 7

Week seven was yet another round of mentors, and although this time there were fewer of them, it was still constructive for us. Most notably for us was Jim Schuman who was fantastic, and who we subsequently added as an advisor to the company. After meeting Jim we added in another two possible services. Meanwhile, the website continued to stall. This time there was probably one day of work done, and we were getting totally frustrated.

Week 8

Week eight was a crap week for us. We had a very serious meeting with our developer at the beginning of the week, giving him one week to sort his act out, or we’d fire him. This was something we’d debated as a management team, I felt we should give him one more chance; Elena was keen to pull the plug there & then. He pledged to focus on our business; so again, we took him at his word.

At the end of the week we had to go to an expo in Adelaide to promote the company, and who should we bump into acting as a helper for the expo…yep, our developer. It was time for action.

We got the advice and support of two of the leaders of the Innovyz START program, who asked if the situation was resolvable. We thought not. A vital three weeks had been wasted, we’d lost momentum, wasted a lot of energy, and still had no website with which to promote our business.

Week 9

Week nine we had a meeting with our developer and pulled the plug. To be fair to him, his decent act was to offer to return the 5% equity we’d given him (although we’d have to pay the lawyers to get the paperwork done). To reciprocate we agreed to pay him for the work he had done so far.

At the same time, one of the other teams had met a web developer at the expo, so we interviewed him as a possible replacement. However, our expectations had to change. Instead of trying to deliver a prototype working product, we now just wanted a damned website so we could promote the business!