Our team successfully launched Alice.com on June 23rd, 2009—a little over a year after Brian and I started the company. I’m going to devote a couple of blog posts here on Flywheel to the launch experience and some of the key takeaways from it. In this first post, I’ll talk briefly about how the launch of a new company is one of the best parts of being an entrepreneur.
Day One—Starting from Scratch
Here’s a great picture of Brian, sitting in our empty office space on our first day on the job with Alice.com last June, contemplating what we had just signed up to do.
We had just left the safety and security of our roles at Microsoft. A place with great resources, lots of smart people, and a seemingly endless supply of customers. Now we had no employees, no company name, no salary, nothing to sit on, and a general idea about selling toilet paper on the Internet.
Fast forward to today—Our team accomplished an incredible amount in the time since this picture was taken. We raised money, hired a bunch of amazing people, refined our business plan, created the Alice brand, developed the website user experience and back end systems, set up a fully functioning warehouse and eCommerce fulfillment operation, and launched Alice to the world.
This picture really illustrates the allure of the start-up for me. Last year, all we had was an empty office and an idea. Today, Alice is an exciting new company with real customers, a unique value proposition and a disruptive business model (you can read all about our model here) There are a lot of drawbacks to the start-up world, but building something from scratch like Alice is a remarkable experience and one you won’t forget.
Launch Day—at no time is the thrill of the start-up more acute than when you flip the switch and unveil the company to the world. Rebecca Thorman, our PR and Communications Manager, did a great job of covering the excitement of launch on her blog Modite here. It is exciting/scary/thrilling/overwhelming all wrapped up into one 24 hour period. And it’s something that I’m sure is difficult to replicate in any other type of job. It’s big part of the experience that makes being in a start-up so great.
Alright, that’s enough cheer leading for the start-up life. In my next post, I’ll dive into the business goals of the launch and highlight some of the really important things we did to meet those goals.