Not Sucking When It Counts Is A Very Good Thing.

The past 160 days, and really the last 8 weeks, have had my team focused on delivering a small new product for which we’ve had start-to-finish responsibility since the Social Solutions team was formed last year.

And today, we launched.

I’m tired. And my team is likely even more tired than I am.

We finalized the concept, business case, project scope, key requirements, database architecture, back-end development, front-end development, user experience design, market launch plan, marketing communications plan all in under 160 days… and today we continue marketing, technical maintenance/support and phase 2 development.

But even more than I am tired, I’m proud of my tiny, yet incredibly talented team.

They amaze me every day with what they are capable of despite our extremely small size, in addition to the vast array of responsibilities we carry beyond the norm for most teams.

When crap hits the fan, we’re the only one holding the red bat phone.


When something breaks at 5am, we’re the ones sending red-exclamantion mark-laden emails to… well… ourselves because from start to finish, from business case to critical bugs, it’s all us.

In a large organization where 99.9% uptime is simply table stakes to exist, we have uniquely been given the blessing and curse each day of working in an undefined space with less sleep and fewer resources than almost everyone else… but greater freedom to own and deliver something groundbreaking, or even capturing fast-follower status in the growing area of social.

But growing areas tend to be long slogs on the way up… and the main reason I think our team has trudged through them with success is our persevering sense of humor.

We don’t take ourselves too seriously, especially during the toughest parts of a project, and had I ordered it early enough, I would have worn the below shirt to work this week just as a reminder that with as little sleep as I’ve gotten lately, I’m basically a walking Ruby error.


And that’s the same Ruby 500 error every developer dreads seeing on a launch day… and we’ve seen our fair share. But both of my developers handle every single one of those scenarios with skill and poise, while taking the time to laugh in between.

Yet, we’re serious when we say we believe the success of our business in 2020 will likely be as a result of some of the cutting edge work we’re doing today. We could very well be wrong, but the winners of tomorrow have to be taking the same gambles we are today to be in the game at all. 

And personally, I’m proud to walk out the doors of my HQ at 4am every once in awhile knowing I pushed myself to the limit that day.


I think a little sacrifice like that every so often is good for the soul.

But even better for the soul is not sucking when it counts. And today, we didn’t suck.

It was one of those few days when you stop to look back and appreciate the work achieved… even if just for a few moments because you don’t have many to spare.

Through my sleep-deprived & 5 Hour Energy-supported daze, I realized we broke our single-day site traffic record for visits, pageviews and time on site only 14 hours into the full 24.

Hockey sticks are almost always a blasphemous, ugly joke any time they appear in a presentation, just like the one below at which too many of us have stifled a laugh or eye-roll.

Yet today, our hockey stick was real. And a hockey stick based on real data from our real new product is an incredible thing of beauty.

But if you stare at it for too long, you’ll go blind, or lose a foot… err… or something sort of like that.

The most important thing at the end of this project is to know even more definitively than before that my team truly rocks. And after a very hard 160 days, I wish upon them each a weekend full of uninterrupted ZZZZs, exclamation mark-free emails and error-free codebases.

To my heros, @markmcspadden & t_itchy, tell Theodore to put down the tequila because he’s on bat phone duty all weekend.



One thought on “Not Sucking When It Counts Is A Very Good Thing.

  1. markmcspadden says:

    <blockquote>I’m tired. And my team is likely even more tired than I am.</blockquote>Yes. I went to bed tonight at 8:30pm…and awoke at 11:30pm and felt like that was the normal amount of sleep.I love this post. I love in crunch time that, not only do we not suck, we lean in and crush it.And I would write more about how our little team (with some help) generated that traffic on a day when a press release did not go out…or how a major change that most teams wouldn’t even consider played a big role in increasing pageviews today…but…I have to go…I just got an automated email from our system titled: "A delayed job did not finish…"And that’s the thing with being a hero, it always comes with a big red phone.

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