over two months since my last post - sometimes life calls...
by Derek Sivers
Related link: http://www.cdbaby.com/
It's been over two months since my last post, here. Besides being the programmer, I'm still president of my company. It mostly runs itself without me, but for the first time in 3 years I felt things had gotten off-course, culture-wise, inside the company. I had to make a VERY tough decision to STOP programming for a couple months, while I turned my full attention to the company itself and the people that work there.
I put aside most of the last two months to sit with each of the 50 employees for at least an hour, talk about what they do and don't like, take suggestions, and generally just being a part of the day-to-day workings of the company. Put my finger back on the pulse.
Spent lots of deep-thinking about the direction of the company. In some ways, we had become the inflexible beast that I was rebelling against when I started CD Baby in 1998. We got set in our ways about the CD itself, when the real point was to make a company that helps individual musicians sell their music. Many of the excuses we were making to people, about what we can't do for them, came down to simple technical problems that I hadn't put aside the time to solve yet.
Anyway - all of this was DEFINITELY a drain. Good for the company and probably good for my soul, but VERY hard. Not "exciting", that's for sure. Necessary.
Now I'm finally back at a lovely FreeBSD Konsole terminal and working in PostgreSQL, Ruby, Rails, PHP, XML, and all of those things that for me are "exciting".
A couple books to recommend, that really got me through the last few months of trying-times...
For big thoughts about company direction:
Good to Great, by Jim Collins
One of the best books on managing people:
First Break All the Rules by Buckingham/Coffman
I think it's really a reflection of your values that you took the time to do this. I suspect independent musicians will benefit from the process . . .