Robert Scoble has just written a really nice article about Fluidinfo, calling us both “world-changing” and “unfundable”. Funnily, Tim O’Reilly said something similar when I talked to him at OATV. He said something like: “This could take over the world” and in the very same sentence “but I don’t see how we could fund you.” The two things an entrepreneur most and least wants to hear, all in one sentence. I’ll never forget it.
A few people have mailed me to say that the Scoble videos create the incorrect impression that I’m building FluidDB alone. So I wanted to clear that up. Others who are actively involved in Fluidinfo are:
Esteve Fernandez is doing the most difficult coding. Esteve and I are the only two employees of the company. We even have modest salaries. We spend most of our time apart, writing code, swapping email. Once or twice a week we meet in person to talk about architecture, current problems, or for him to gently explain to me how I could have written my code more elegantly and usefully. I usually try to stay out of his way, as he’s a force of nature and I just slow him down. He left a solid and secure job that he liked in Barcelona and then said no to Google to join Fluidinfo.
Esther Dyson invested in Fluidinfo just over a year ago. Esther is an incredible investor to have involved for a company like Fluidinfo. I wont try to summarize, except to say that without her support we probably wouldn’t be here today. After a year of trying to find investors, I’m more keenly aware than ever of how extraordinary Esther is.
Russell Manley is the other company director. It was Russell who pointed Delicious out to me a few years ago and got me back onto working on this project after I’d put it aside for 6 years. Russell is a finance guy with a ton of experience in operations and running companies. He’s an investment director at Land Securities in London, and sits on over 30 boards. He’s also a close friend, incredibly smart, and widely read. I hope one day we’ll be able to get him into Fluidinfo, though that will take some doing.
Nicholas Radcliffe is an old friend and advisor. He’s the founder and CEO of Stochastic Solutions. He was also a founder, CTO, and then CEO of Quadstone, raising tens of millions of pounds along the way. Quadstone was acquired a couple of years ago. He’s into algorithmic approaches to targeted direct marketing, and he’s very successful. He has a Ph.D. in physics, so you don’t want to mess with Nick. He’s also an advisor to Scottish Equity Partners. Nick is my harshest and most unrelenting critic.
That’s it for now. There are probably a dozen others who are peripherally involved, but not on a day-to-day basis. I’m very happy to have just two people on payroll right now. We’re pretty much recession proof. I went through the 2000-2004 as CTO of Eatoni in New York, and we survived by cutting every possible cost and keeping our headcount as low as possible. So operating on a shoestring comes pretty naturally. I feel we’re strong and small like a hard nut, and not really exposed to the economic downturn. It’s a great time to be tiny and to be focussed on building a product.
It would of course be nice to be properly funded. But I’ve always been confident that’s just a matter of time. The main thing, perhaps the only thing, is to get an alpha version of FluidDB released so people can start building things on it.