Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Broken Business Partnership

Another year had passed, another broken partnership, perhaps it’s time to rethink what I should do next. Before that, let’s have a postmortem on why the partnership failed.

Why did I exit? Not really about money, since we haven’t made much yet. It’s more on ideal on how I think the company should be run. We have 4 partners, 2 person works in the company, another 2 works outside the company. At first I am okay with the arrangement, since I am occupied with some problems to solve and to restructure the company and to keep it away from chaos. Besides, the 2 partners working outside would not bleed the company, and perhaps would add value and resources, or even help to bring in more business.

As time goes by, the company got more stable and we manage to employ some people, and the projects in hand might be overloading us as well. Since it’s hard to employ some good programmers, and they doesn’t come cheap as well, perhaps it’s time to bring all the partners under the same umbrella (or the same boat) and work together as a team in a more closely manner. I feel that we also need the synergy, as I felt apart from them and we aren’t really “working together” full heartedly in a “fulltime” manner to grow the company. I felt if you treat the company like a part-time affair, it shall remain a part-time business. I felt everyone should start bearing some risk, get out of their comfort zone, sit on the same boat and be responsible for the company, do or break kind of style. At least, it would force us to work together better and everyone would give all they have to make this work. When you burnt bridges, that’s where the real actions begin. If you still have your income coming from somewhere else, if you still feel too comfortable, if you still don’t need to take responsibility together, if this business is still a part-time affair (you didn’t spent most of your time working in the business, didn’t you, although you though that you might have gave priority to the business), I don’t see the company would have any future in it.

I have a heated argument with the partners, and they disagree with my view (they would not want to come in to work in the company). They have their reasons and arguments, and I have my ideals. After some thought, I decided to exit the partnership, since I don’t believe I could work under such arrangement for long term (basically I don't believe in the idea of going through the partnership in this manner). On the following week (after I state my decision to exit), they told me that they would leave their current company and bring some of their existing staff to work here. WTF! My first impression was that I was so screwed. I realize that they are not willing to leave their comfort zone until I force them to do so. As long as I am still there to guard the base, they could continue to remain in their comfort zone. So, it’s a loose-loose situation for me. It is ironic that I have to leave the company in order to have my ideal achieved. I was a money making machine for them, and they didn’t have my interest in their mind. I guess at the end, everyone is for themselves. I understand it’s just business, but I thought there is more meaning for the word “partnership” where we wouldn’t utilize others for our own comfort. I guess I was too ideal again, haha.

Is my decision correct? Like I always said, there is not so much of right or wrong, just what I believed and to stick with it. No turning back, no regrets. It’s time to think of survival and future plan from now onwards. I might have made some bad decisions here and there, but I don’t really know, do I? I know from the beginning business partnership is difficult, and I decide to give it a chance. Perhaps now I understand the formula for a successful business partnership slightly better (do I?). I still have a lot to learn, and to try, until I succeed someday.

After learning from some mistakes, what I should do next is the more important question.

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