In 2005, after moving back from the U.S., my wife and I started Synage, as a web design & development firm. We experienced quite a bit of employee churn in the first couple of years. We would be lucky if a team member would stick around for more than 5 months. That is how crazy and ugly things were back in 2005. It was like running an HR company.
My vision was to develop a global product from India. That is the reason I moved back from the US. A product needs a very stable team and minimum churn. My dilemma - how the hell do I build a product if employees in India don’t stick around and jump ship every few months for that 20% increment? Money is important. I think it is very important in India. 2005 was the goldrush in web development and outsourcing services. People wanted to cash-in.
Plus, we are largely a risk-averse society. That is slowly changing now. People haven’t seen big exit stories with employees making a killing. So, naturally, it is hard to convince someone to work for nothing on the hopes that something big will happen one fine day. A product is like a baby - you have to nurture and take care of it. It requires a different mindset.
As an entrepreneur, what is really important is to have the ability to paint a realistic vision for the product. Team members need to grow professionally as well as personally. They want to move up in society. They want to do something different and be a part of something big. Some people get a kick out of not following the herd. Personally, I am proud of the fact that while everyone was concentrating on the outsourcing business we decided to dive into SaaS back in 2006. This is one of the best decisions I have made.
Even though, we are a small team, people stuck around with us. I think there is a certain joy in developing, designing and growing a product.
One guy stood out the most - today is his 7 year birthday at our little software company.
This is to you, my friend - thank you for believing in my vision, staying through the highs and lows, and sticking around for the last 7 years.
We have come a long way.