Staying Scrappy

I’ve been saying this a lot around the office lately - let's make sure we stay scrappy. It comes up when we’re picking software to use, when we’re deciding what features to build, or how to travel for events or conferences.

The obvious reason to stay scrappy is profitability. We’re bootstrapped and profit-focused, so we want to always make sure we’re being thoughtful on where our money and our time goes. But on reflection I think it extends further than that.

In the last two-ish years we’ve grown Wildbit in people faster that we’ve grown our revenue numbers. This isn’t usually the story of bootstrapping, one in which you grow as fast as your top line grows. But we all had a vision of what we could be, and we knew that just a few more brilliant folks would help us make the difference. And the good news is, they are.

But growing the team also meant we quickly started acting like a bigger company. The more money we made, and the more profitable we became, the harder it was to stay scrappy. We got comfortable throwing money at problems, instead of finding creative solutions. We slowed down features to make things bigger and more perfect than they needed to be. It became so addictive to feel yourself “big” and allow yourself the luxury of gluttony.

It’s the hit in profitability that has snapped us back to reality. We need to stay scrappy to stay happy and productive and profitable. We need to be super selective of where we spend our time and money. I’m reminded of the days of launching Postmark. We didn’t have a way for people to cancel - and it stayed that way for many years. We were so focused on the product, stability and building something people loved, that we easily forgot about things that weren’t important. Since we didn’t have monthly plans, most people never cared to hit an actual “Cancel” button. The ones that did always reached out. That’s a small, silly example of when we were closer to our small stature and scrappiness.

I think we can all hope to stay scrappy, because it makes us more creative and thoughtful. Scrappiness is where magic happens.

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