Lately I have been thinking a lot about how to make myself less and less the center of my company. Mainly because I feel that I can become the bottleneck. Also because it's hard to scale. I have taken some steps by hiring a couple project managers, and that is definitely a step in the right direction. But I don't think I have gone far enough yet. But I'm working on it.
It isn't that I'm trying to stop working with clients. I think that is one of my strong suits, so it would be silly to stop doing that. But, I think there is even greater value in spending more of my time working on products, rather than focusing solely on client work. And, no, the answer isn't that I could just work more hours. I already do too much of that.
The point got driven home nicely this past week when Jon Brown shared an article about some developers who are using cruises as a way to get together and work on projects. Because of the lack of cell service and the limited (and expensive) wifi, it would cut out a large portion of the distractions that tend to eat up our days. You know, things like email, Facebook, Twitter, phone calls, etc. I love this idea and my immediate reaction was to go and look at upcoming cruise schedules. But then a heavy dose of reality set in. Who would answer my emails? Who would send invoices? Who would land new clients?
In my current position, a cruise is pretty much an impossibility. I am too heavily involved with all aspects of the business to simply go offline for several days (or weeks) at a time. These days, even when I take days off, I'm still connected at the iPhone to my email. I put up an out of office email response telling people I will get back to them in a few days, yet there I am typing away when I should be involved in what I'm doing in the physical world.
I would love nothing more than to pack up and take a couple developers with me, hop on a boat for a couple weeks and use the time to develop a product or greatly enhance one of our existing products. But this can only work if the rest of the company is humming along without me. So now I have a goal. I want to get to a point where just the idea of taking two weeks off and being largely unreachable doesn't give me heart palpitations. Then we can start talking about making it a reality.
Until then, I have some emails to attend to.