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Leaving MSFT to start a company

I recently finally made the decision to leave my project management job at Microsoft and start a company.  I still have a few weeks left here before I'm out on my own, but I am feeling a little uneasy.  I just gave up a six-figure salary and great benefits for an unproven idea.

I'd love to hear detailed accounts of other people's runs at entrepreneurship?  People who started their own companies - and what it took to make them a success?  I'd really appreciate vivid, inspiring stories to get me through this period of doubt.


Monday, January 26, 2004

Doubt == doom

Monday, January 26, 2004

Is this another one of Philo's aliases? :)

Monday, January 26, 2004

little late for that now, dude!

the capitalist
Monday, January 26, 2004

it seems some of the MSFT people are not so bright

Monday, January 26, 2004

Shouldn't you have asked this question before submitting your resignation letter? God, you'd think a project manager in MS is smart enough ... sigh ...

Cosmo Kramer
Monday, January 26, 2004

You guys are ridiculous!

It's perfectly natural to be uneasy, especially considering the situation. I don't know about you, but if I was looking to invest in a start up, this would actually inspire some confidence. Someone who is flying blindly towards entrepreneurship after leaving a 6-figure job without feeling the slightest bit uneasy sets off alarms for me.

Considering what the guy asked for was "detailed accounts of other people's runs at entrepreneurship", and what he got was snippy comments, it would seem it might not be the MSFT people that aren't so bright.

Jason Kozak
Monday, January 26, 2004

Self doubt is not conducive to persistence, so his question would not inspire me to lend funds.

Really, he should've tested his idea while he was still working.  On his own time, of course.

Monday, January 26, 2004

You must already know about Valve Software.  They seem to be doing fine. Gabe Newell, the founder, is another former Microsoft employee.

Their game, Half-Life, was not a revolutionary new concept (arguably).  It was not a business or marketting breakthrough.  It was just a very well done game that a lot of people bought because it was fun to play and raised the bar for people's expectations.  (They even missed several deadlines.)

Monday, January 26, 2004

"Considering what the guy asked for was 'detailed accounts of other people's runs at entrepreneurship'"

Do you or the original poster think we are dumb to open our heart  and tell our stories simply because we want to sympathize with him losing his 6 figures income at MS?

Who would give a rat's ass if you are dumb and you think you are not!!!

Cosmo Kramer
Monday, January 26, 2004

Jason, brother you are in a wrong biz. This is a cut throat industry. We are not hear to tell you bed time stories to make YOU feel good.

I suggest you contact social services program and see if they're hiring.

Cosmo Kramer
Monday, January 26, 2004

You guys don't even know whether he really works there or not - why focus on that?

I've had thoughts in the past of starting my own company... i'd be interested in hearing real responses to the question - whether it was smart for him to leave his job or not.

Monday, January 26, 2004

What does the new company do? Make websites? Sell turnips? Currency arbitrage.  I just quit my job and bought a burrito truck. Do you want to hear my story?

Monday, January 26, 2004

Not info info, but going on the averages...

You should probably ask for your job back, if you like it at all.  Depends on the business, but your looking at a long time to get back to 6 figures as an owner, if ever.  Remember that the press only covers the successful startups or the ones that get funding.  Ignore if you're in that category.

the capitalist
Monday, January 26, 2004

Then cut those throats Cosmo, cut those throats!
(I'd say more, but the last thing this thread needs is another off-topic post... oops)

Jason Kozak
Monday, January 26, 2004

You guys crack me up - especially Cosmo.  Here's a gut trying to do more with his life, and you guys sit there, poke fun, and don't answer the question.

Typical of a bunch of techies who think they're all that.  Reminds me of the arrogance in Joel's last posting.

Cosmo - sit at home unemployed, or be a slave to an employer and poke fun at other people.  It doesn't leave you with a skewed version of the world at all!

Monday, January 26, 2004

I have to agree with Mr Tilde - people sniping at wonderful and brave people is just so awful but people sniping at people for sniping is much more admirable. It's sniping at snipers for sniping that worries me more, though.

Monday, January 26, 2004

I started a web development company in 2000 and then a high-end custom computer-building company in 2001. Both companies failed miserably.

But I'm glad I did it. I learned a lot about forming a corporation (when to do it, and when not to bother). I learned a lot about marketing, and I learned a lot about sales (mostly, I learned how much I dislike sales).

I learned how to take on lots of different roles within a company (executive management, development, support, finance).

I learned how to buck up my pride and ask for money from investors.

I learned that asking for money is usually not enough. You have to have a really really really convincing case for how you're going to turn that money into **more** money.

I learned that the WORST time to start a company is:

1) when you've just lost your job.
2) when the economy just tanked.
3) when you have less than $25,000 to invest in your idea.

I learned that it's much more profitable to run a product company than a service company.

I learned that running a company with no physical storefront (web only) is really tough. It's difficult to get customers to spend money on the internet without having an established brand through some other channel of marketing.

By starting two companies, and having both of them fail, I learned a lot of valuable lessons about being in business.

At the moment, I have a regular job (which I really enjoy, by the way). But it probably won't be more than four or five more years before the desire to set out on my own gets strong enough for me to start another company again.

Hopefully, by that time, I will have learned enough lessons to overcome the tremendous gravitational pull of risk that accompanies entrepreneurship.

Good luck in your new venture.

Tell us a little bit more about it sometime.

Benji Smith
Monday, January 26, 2004

"Cosmo - sit at home unemployed, or be a slave to an employer and poke fun at other people.  It doesn't leave you with a skewed version of the world at all! "

WTF are you talking about? the so called ex MS fellow has asked a moronic question and we gave me him some reality check. Guys like you who would like to hear sweet, unrealistic stories don't belong to IT. Flipping burger if I may suggest?

Cosmo Kramer
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

JC, you and I are a match made in heaven.  You see, I long to stop working for myself and take a job as a project manager with Microsoft.

I'm not kidding.  Having private clients is a nightmare.  Given a choice of managing projects and developing software for a bunch of narrow-minded small business owners who constantly second-guess me, or taking a job doing real work for real products at MS, I'd gladly take the MS job.

So while I applaud you for having the courage to go out on your own, I have to about a swap?  ;)

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

I started my own software company about 8 years ago.

I could never go back to working for someone else, unless they were a a fantastic boss. I've only had one of those. 

I make decent money.

What I've learned:
1. Focus on meeting a customer need at a price they can afford.

2. If you can do something for someone cheaper, better, or faster then they can do it for themselves, you have an opportunity to make a profit.

3.  Make sure you're charging enough.

4. Read

5. Read  (inc magazine)

The real Entrepreneur
Tuesday, January 27, 2004

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