I mean in a good way. Not manipulation.  Their ability to drive powerful emotions in you is part of the magic of being a parent.  There are the 2 obvious ones, but a 3rd surprising one:

1. Pride

When your child is performing on stage, comes back with a string of A+ results, is on the winning team, is singled out for their support of others.

2. Pain

You see it coming, but can’t stop them taking a massive fall – both physically (climbing, skiing, wakeboarding) or in terms of relationships with friends.


But one came out of left field today.  First you need the context:

The next big thing: The launch of Q9 Elements has been the talk of the dinner table as I work through the details and prepare for the March 18th launch.  Q9E is taking everything we learnt in Nimbus over the 15 years, delivered through the cloud, offered at a fraction of the cost and then extended to offer “low-code” workflow automation. I am very excited as we are “getting the Band back together” – the Nimbus executive team. We worked well together and delivered results; over the life of Nimbus we generated over $100 million of revenue. And there is clearly a strong unmet need and we still have great relationships back in the BPM market.  So I am feeling confident that this could work. Unlike the last one!!

The last one: On a high of having built Nimbus and then sold it, we looked at the market and launched ZenAlpha. Surely everything we touched would turn to gold. There was a huge market (events) and clear need (better internal planning and management of events) but once we had built the product we discovered there was no demand. Sadly we needed a product to prove that. Luckily it was just our own money we invested and didn’t burn any VCs. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love put it well, and I summarise. “How do you follow a success? Your next thing is always going to fall short. So get on with it and get through it.” To hear her put it far more eloquently, watch this excellent TED video.

So what was that other emotion that kids drive in you?

3. Inspiration

Inspiration: I came downstairs and found a signed document on my laptop. It was a request to buy shares in Q9 Elements from Max, my son aged 13. He has the confidence to put a lot of his savings into Q9 Elements. He watched ZenAlpha fail. He has weighed up the pros and cons. He is clear on the risks and is negotiating hard to make sure that he is in at the very beginning with a low valuation. Suddenly I have a very important investor that I cannot disappoint.

Inspiring entrepreneurs

He has, in that one simple act, summarised why entrepreneurs need to get back up after failure and try again. We need to have a childlike confidence that it will work. We need to ignore the inner voice replaying all the past failures. And despite the crisis in confidence that we have constantly, those who know us best trust us. And it makes me realise I need to get back to where I was when we launched Nimbus. We had no idea how hard, how scary, how stressful, how motivating and ultimately how rewarding the 15 year journey would be.  In one sentence we need to be:

Ignorance on fire, not knowledge on ice

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