Anchor Intelligence has been one of the best work environments of my professional life. At it's peak, it was a small, friendly group of seasoned professionals. There have been many interesting technical problems to solve, and I learned a lot about operating Software as a Service. We worked hard at times, but we had a lot of fun and the work/life balance has been fantastic, with very generous vacation benefits.
The main problem at Anchor was that the business model just hasn't seemed to pan out. It's not clear to me if that is a problem of senior management, or (more likely) if the market just doesn't exist to support Anchor's products at a price point that can sustain the company.
Advice to Management
Thanks for creating such a great team and for fostering a great work environment. I'm glad I joined the company and was able to work with such a talented group.
The technical staff is very smart and experienced. Both research and implementation aspects to the business provide many opportunities for growth and challenges otherwise atypical in an internet-focused software environment.
Nobody in senior management has any real startup experience but plenty with large companies, and it shows. With under 20 employees, there were already big-company pathologies. There was the wasteful office move with the concommitant political jockeying for seating. The CEO has the only office, yet he's a part-timer. The other part-timer is a political-nepotism buddy of one of the investors. Technical hiring highly favors ex-Yahoo cronies over competence or startup suitability. Technology and tools are chosen based on market popularity rather than applicability or competitive advantage (Java, MySQL).
Advice to Management
You're a small company, so act like one. Lose the cronyism the part-timers. Get a CTO who is (and wants to be) a people manager and leader, knows technology, *and* has startup experience. Double your hardware budget.
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