The two most exciting yet frustrating years of my work life were at a web start-up. I was director of marketing at a social media site called Zude.com. The CTO was 7/8ths genius. A wonderful coder, an infectious and eloquent geekus, he built the world’s first drag and drop web publishing tool. His object wrappers allowed me to tell consumers “If you can drag and drop, you can build a website.” In a world where we knew people would get tired of templated, database-driven web and social sites like Facebook and MySpace, this free-hand design tool was going to be the haps.
I remember standing on the back steps of my home telling the CTO that the decisions we made regarding usability and positioning were billion dollar decisions. Well, we burned through $10M and I’m still on those steps. I do love those steps, by the way.
What came out of this 2 year education was the realization that I’m an engineer whisperer. The CTO heard me, understood me, but he opted to go another route. He continued to build and add features and creep the product. He loved the rush of presenting to Robert Scoble and Erick Schnofeld and hearing “coooool.” Though I failed him, our CEO and investors, I learned that not all engineers can be whispered. And probably shouldn’t be. VCs know what I’m talking about. Peace!