Legacy Is Not Purpose
Legacy Is Not Purpose
Gary V. says, “Legacy is more valuable than currency.” I couldn’t agree more. You should act in order to fulfill your legacy, not attain currency. When it comes down to screwing over a customer for profit, it’s not worth it. Instead, give that customer exceptional service even if doing so costs profits. In the end, people will remember what you did rather than the commodity you sold them. That mindshare will circulate and come back tenfold in returning customers and positive regard. Not to mention the great feeling you get inside when you genuinely help someone.
Recently, Reflect7 has discussed a directional change. We’ve been entertaining the idea of dropping our Sports Apps and moving directly towards our main goal: to have a positive impact on the world. The first step is to build a book sharing website dubbed Mindspread. I’ve taken the position that we should work out the Sports Apps kinks and then tackle Mindspread. I don’t want us to abandon the Apps because they bring in revenue that can go towards bootstrapping us later.
Attending to the Sports Apps would delay Mindspread development by a few months. During the discussion, my partners have quoted Jason Fried’s, “Inspiration is perishable.” I’ve addressed that position here. They’ve also quoted Gary V, “Legacy is more valuable than currency.” My good buddies believe that we should scrap the apps and get right to our Legacy. But now we’re muddying the vernacular waters. Legacy is not purpose; it’s not some specialized goal. Legacy is the context in how others view you regardless of your goal. You can’t “act” on a Legacy. You act on your goal and your legacy is the way you go about achieving that goal. Did you do it with respect, empathy, and integrity? or did you grovel for everything you could get no matter what the cost?
The base of the discussion should not have been legacy, but what our primary goal was. Then we should have extrapolated the baby goals that we needed in order to reach our main goal.
1) Our main goal is to have a positive impact on the world
a) One baby step to get to that goal is to free up all of our time
(aka bootstraping) to work towards goal #1
Let’s face it. If we’re all working for the man, there’s not much time to create a giant impact on the world. Time is the most valuable commodity.
Let’s look at it another way. I’m a digger and my goal is to dig a giant tunnel. After digging with my hands for several days someone comes along and says, “Hey, if you build a shovel then you’ll dig much faster.” Is building a shovel wavering from my goal? Nope. It’s switching my focus to a tool that will help me complete my goal with greater efficiency. In this same way, revenue from the apps is a tool to achieving bootstrapping.
If we want to maintain a strong legacy then I suggest that do what’s right by our 120,000+ customers and keep the Sports Apps alive by committing to 40 more hours of work. Lately, we’ve received 5-7 emails from angry customers who want updated data for a Football season that hasn’t even begun. Imagine the animosity once they realized we’ve abandoned the apps (if we do). The argument can be made that since we are eventually going to relinquish the apps in 2-3 years, then why not just get the customer pain over with now instead of waiting for it to build up. I have two answers:
- I’m taking back my decision that we should ever get rid of the Sports Apps. Yeah I know, it’s a bitch move but I need a mulligan here. In 2-3 years, if we’ve reached our goal then we will be a company that is up and running with employees. If the apps have a large, active, customer base then we can have our employees maintain them. Look at any software company that has multiple software apps. There’s always a burn rate with growth when it comes to hiring on people who can maintain that software. Our mindset should be to reduce the maintenance so much that it will only need a light touch every season.
- If we decide to jettison the Sports Apps later then at least we can formulate a viable transition strategy. Right now we’d just be throwing them in the dumpster and disappointed thousands of customers. That’s not the legacy I want to start with. I’d much rather phase them out by giving our customers months notice to the transition. Maybe we can hand them off to another company/our competition. Since most apps will probably be free by that time, I’m sure our competition wouldn’t mind getting thousands of more eyeballs on their iads.
Either way you slice it, if we have a customer base that is large enough to worry about, then the product is still viable as long as we can minimize the upkeep. Since we can’t tell the future, let’s look to the past. Our efforts to maintain these apps (after they’re up and running) hasn’t been more than 45 minutes a week. After we go through this 40 hour tweak, the apps will be much more robust. This is the last 10% and it’s time to buck up. Not just for our bootstrapping future but to preserve our Legacy.
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