Are you building a company, or just a module?

Recently I received an email from an investor who has invested in a company that offers an online scheduling service – a competitor I guess you could say. This investor said and I quote “Wes, we are building a diverse platform of technologies that we are going to offer to the restaurant industry and would like to speak to you”. After I read that, I threw up in my mouth a little bit and then politely responded – no thanks. Another investor emailed me a few months prior to that and said “Wes, we find your industry attractive and we think your software would make a great module inside a larger system.” He then rattled off some large HR company products where I guess he pictured our “module” fitting in. I thought to myself a “module”?? Is that what he thinks we are building and what we strive to be? Sheesh. I responded and told him if a module was what he was after – just go build it. Stop wasting time bothering companies like ours and just go build it. The product is the easy part. The real work and the reward comes from making it a great company and a brand. Side note, I also find it funny that 10 years ago – our industry (online scheduling) didn’t exist and now after people have worked their butts off to create great companies around it – investors find it “attractive”. Of course they do.

So anyway, the reason I am telling this story is because I am so damn excited that many (business) people think the world wants lots of stuff and lots of features packed into “enterprise” platforms and diverse ecosystems made up of multiple companies and modules and integrations and blah blah blah. I am really glad that most people truly don’t think that a simple product can actually become a very successful business (that grows every year) and a beloved brand – on all it’s own. Because it can. And if you let it be just that and protect it from being swallowed up and turned into a feature (or module) – I can almost guarantee you’ll be different than everyone else and a big breath fresh air to your customers. They will literally hand you their hard earned money – and say thank you. Thank you for keeping it simple.