Startup forever

Sorin Dolha
3 min readMar 25, 2019

Start and remain agile. Don’t go up if you don’t want to go down. No finish goal is OK.

I like technology, I love software development, and I truly enjoy creating tools that help others. I won’t often do it pro bono — but won’t do anything else for a living either. It’s best this way: my hobby is my job.

To do what I please, however, I had to freelance myself and start a company. Did so, years ago. People easily understand why — I just wanted to do everything (or as much as I could) myself — from opportunities to products, from ideas to applications, by assessing risks and avoiding issues, with ongoing learning and without any external control whenever possible.

OK — in time I did learn too that it’s easier and much better to accept help from a partner or two: programming alone is not selling well itself. You need marketing add-ons. You need business direction. You need artistic talent. And too often you just need a rubber duck to help you out when blocked.

(Yes, being always in control makes it very difficult to just do things humanly: it took years for me to accept, for example, that a known corner case bug doesn’t require an immediate hot-fix; and that customers are temporarily OK with even more than one minor issue, too!)

Some people ask me why I won’t increase the size of my business. Why I don’t hire people and delegate tasks to them. Why I don’t “want” big projects from big customers. Why I don’t want to do what “normal” entrepreneurs would probably do.

Well, I’d happily accept big customers, no issue here (actually I did work for and with a few of them already) — just that probably I wouldn’t be able to complete large projects that such companies often (need to) request — at least not in a timely manner or without hiring more developers. (And in fact, for that type of work, they usually won’t even look to a very small team — they’d rather pay a lot more for the same or even less deliverables, just getting the mental comfort of working with a larger company like themselves.)

On the other hand, I can indeed accept a manager to handle the company’s growth and try it out. I can even remain a happy “leaf developer”, couldn’t I?

I think I just don’t want the complexity this would bring, nor to have other people’ lives to think about: what if we don’t have projects for a month, and the cash flow is broken and I can’t pay salaries on time; or what if we just don’t find the right person to hire for a specific role? What if, what if.

(Sure, the manager I’d have hired should ask these questions and not me, but I know for sure I just couldn’t help joining him or her in such a horrible adventure.)

Eventually it’s just easier for me this way: doing what I like every day, with one business partner and only with occasional help from others. This simple way is rarely the most profitable, but for me I couldn’t find anything better.

No team-buildings, no scrum, no bullsh*t. — The real agile. Startup forever. 🙃

Sorin Dolha

Developer • married, father×2 • Rust, Swift, WPF, Web • founder of DlhSoft • MacBook enthusiast • absurdism • EDM • writing from Cluj