Note: In recent development, Web Mutiny has not ended (technically). The legal entity lives on with only Aditya (my co-founder) from the original team.
Opinions expressed here are no way neutral. These are biased from my personal experience and perspective. Everyone will have their own version.
Symbiosis A mutually beneficial relationship between different people or groups.
Parasite A person or a thing who habitually exploits others and gives nothing in return.
It’s hard to kill your dreams. But it’s harder to kill your dreams in motion. Today it happened - I quit Mutiny and therefore, by mutual agreement, killed it. I killed my own company, my heart child.
This was a long and painful one. It just became official today. Painful for people involved. Who’s dreams and aspirations were at stake.
Discussing what went wrong without mentioning what went right will be a disaster. So here are the worst and the best of Web Mutiny:
The Worst of Mutiny:
Businesses are supposed to be a symbiosis. People who can benefit each other come together, grow & prosper. But many relations in Mutiny became parasitic overtime. Sucking time, resources, talent and the very self-respect of some people.
Often this is a result of people believing that they are somehow superior to another. When, really, it’s a mix of incomparable people coming together. Till the superiority complex is gone, it won’t be a symbiosis. Because there will be no respect.
This one is a personal experience. Often, I was working almost every waking hour - on everything under the sun, from handling clients to fixing the CSS bugs. Quiet obviously I burned out pretty frequent - I’d slow down, crash and burn. To a point where my personal life was at stake.
Now in startups - this happens. You do all this and it is worth if if there is an outcome - if there is a symbiosis. But overworking in a parasitic complex is just invitation to death.
Lack of Financial Planning
As I’ve mentioned before, money comes in easy. Specially in a services company. But to keep it & grow it - that requires great deal of financial wisdom and planning. I am not very good at this personally - but as a company there was complete lack of any sort of financial planning.
That lead to a lot of pay-less months, even though people were working. That caused much frustration and chain reactions of emotional friction.
Human Values and Relations
A startup is a bunch of people doing business and creating a culture. Without culture there is nothing life-changing that can come out. You can make money; but you won’t change the world without culture.
When building a culture from ground-up, it is essential to respect people for who they are and what they do. You’ve to respect the individual. That lacked in Mutiny a great deal. In fact we lost many valuable people when their very self-respect was at stake.
Human relations and individuals is what makes a startup what it is. Without respect and trust; nothing is possible.
The Best of Mutiny
We had balls
Internet is full of designers complaining about clients from hell demanding logo to dance and be a little bit bigger. We never took that shit.
We knew what we were doing and unless there was a logical explanation / evidence to it otherwise - we won’t do it.
I remember saying “Fuck you” to a big shot client over their non-sense corporate crap. We had balls - to tell our clients when they were wrong.
Solved Great Design Problems
One of the two key reasons of doing Mutiny was to solve good design problems. And I’ve never faced and solved more critical design problems ever in life. The nature and magnitude of these problems had real life implications. I love that!
We were out there, changing the world - one pixel at a time.
Not all relations at Mutiny were parasitic. In fact, most helped me grow personally and I am sure everyone who was involved grew as well.
That’s what matters - growth as individuals. That’s what keeps symbiosis going. And as long as everyone’s vision of growth is aligned - the company grows too.
A Note on Failing
There are many people who hate failing. They hate failing so much that they’d bluff rather than fail.
First thing I learned, as an entrepreneur, was - failing isn’t bad but a part of the process. It’s noting to be ashamed of. In fact, if you are not failing - you’re not trying anything new.
Entrepreneurs fail. They fail more than normal people because they try different and crazy things that have never been done before.
And in the end there is no failure, if you had fun it and if you grew as a person.
People at Web Mutiny
Web Mutiny was always a small company filled with amazing people. I want to take time to mention them and what they mean to me:
Aditya Kumar Nayak: He is man of ambition and big dreams. But what makes him really different is that he has balls. He knows how to defend what he believes in, and in design industry - we need people like him.
I’ve learned a lot from him and I owe him a great deal for pushing me, again and again, out of my comfort zone. He has, he is and he will change the world.
Roma Kalani: I do not have enough words to express what she meant to us (as a company) or me (as an individual). She played many roles from being a mother figure at times - who’d scold and give a wake-up calls. And being a coffee girl other times.
Without here we would’ve done nothing. Mutiny owes a great deal to her. There is no other like her.
Aniket Pant: A man of few words but a lot of code. My only hope is to be as focused and productive as this guy. Someone who will never be satisfied with mediocre. A very honest man. He’s been with me through good and the uglies, thanks for being there, man.
Manav Dhiman: However long he was with us, it was delight to see the dedication and enthusiasm he showed while working with us. He learns fast, damn fast. And he learns everything he can get his hands on. I wish I could learn like him.
The dreams we dreamt, high-fives & hugs, debates & discussions - clashes & burns - everything was worth it. I’ve learned a great deal from everyone. I had the time of my life.
PS: Thanks to Archit Gupta, Kshitij Kumar and Dad for keeping me sane through this.