Editor’s note: This article, by Inman News Publisher Bradley Inman, was originally published at BradInman.com. Click here to view the original item.
The 10-year anniversary of the dot-com crash is next month, a good time to write about the fine line between leadership and hubris.
In early 2000, HomeGain, an online real estate company that I started the year before, was chasing leader Realtor.com. We were quickly building awareness and sign-ups around our home-valuation tool and our venture-backed radio spend. In those days, we were second or third in online real estate traffic and the premium was on visitor count and user engagement, not revenue. (In just a few months, the math and mood changed for all dot-com entrepreneurs and their investors). Hubris was creeping in.
Get stars in your eyes and your head will blow up.
That spring, we were re-architecting the entire HomeGain site with a new technology team who built the new site on Linux and was breaking new ground in software development. We were also putting the site on a new platform, created by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen. He started LoudCloud, which supplied server infrastructure, software support and other services for startup technology companies.
Marc was an early investor in HomeGain and we were one of LoudCloud’s first customers.
Imagine the scene: new company, new platform and new system architecture. Add to the mix a founder pushing everyone to move faster, faster, faster.
We launched in February of 2000, and like the dot-com bubble a month later, the site crashed. Fingers pointed every which way before we joined hands to fix the problems.
I blew it — trying to do too much too quickly, feeling invincible. Letting my technology team put so much faith in evolving software was a mistake. Putting our site on a new platform was risky. Pushing everyone to launch faster than humanly possible was my biggest lapse in judgment. …CONTINUED