Tonight's outing was to Entrepalooza, MassChallenge's annual shindig. Roza and I got there on the casual side of 6pm, since I had figured that a a large and loud party like this would have folks gradually arriving over the first hour or so. Wrong-o: there were a couple hundred people in line ahead of us.
The event was held at the Royale, a pretty large club in the theater district downtown. As expected, it was loud and crowded (presumably not helped by the fact that they were pushing $5 "VIP" tickets, with all the Harpoon you could drink), but in fact a good deal more useful than I'd expected. The focus was mainly on service offerings for entrepreneurs -- accelerators, gatherings, newsletters, tech services and so on. Each had its own eensy-weensy table on the floor, and was pitching its services to the mobs of entrepreneurs and would-bes wandering around. We found several that seem like they might be noticeably helpful for us, including the MIT Enterprise Forum, the Venture Cafe Foundation, TIE and The Capital Network. Between those, my calendar for the next few months is starting to look a lot busier.
I was gently amused that, while we're still very early on this road, we are a *lot* further than most of the people present -- we wound up in conversation with several earnest 20-somethings who had a clever idea and not much else. (I listened to one of them, pitching to an accelerator, smoothly transition into, "Do you maybe have any intern openings?".) Having an actual product in beta, that's been through well over a hundred releases, looks positively baked by comparison.
I remembered to grab my "I write code so you don't have to" button, which got a lot of inquiries. I may yet make that a semi-official slogan for Querki, since it gets to the point quite nicely.
I'm finding the overall sensation vaguely familiar, which is comforting. I've learned that, at the outset of any major project, I have an overwhelming sense of, "OMG, we're doomed! I don't know what I'm doing! Doomed! DOOOOOMED!". So I spend a while -- anywhere from days to months -- poking at the problem, looking at it from all the different angles, understanding what goes into it, and so on. Eventually, there comes the day that I look at the problem again, and say, "Oh -- okay, that's easy."
(Mind, that's the engineer's definition of "easy", which means "not hard", which means "I'm quite sure that it's physically possible to solve this". It still might take years of work -- but now I understand *what* work needs to be done, so it's no longer scary.)
That seems to be roughly where we now are. We need to raise a sum of money that, while not especially much by enterprise-software standards, is still dauntingly large -- enough to hire a bunch of people, and push Querki through to a serious launch. The process is a bit of a black box, and that little voice in the back of my mind is going, "Doomed, I tell you! DOOOOMED!". But I'm starting to feel like I understand the resources that are available for learning the process (how's that for indirection?), and have some hope that, while this isn't ever likely to be easy-easy, there is some hope of achieving not-Doomed in the foreseeable future...