A sip of champagne

Reposted from my other blog:

I  can’t remember where I read it, but a few months ago I was struck
by an essay admonishing entrepreneurs for "saving all their champagne"
for the end of a project, for that mythical day when the "Mission
Accomplished" sign is hung. People can only think long-term for so
long, and they need to celebrate important milestones along the way,
with a metaphoric sip of champagne.

Today is a HUGE milestone for us. After I finish
this post, I am signing Pegasus News Inc’s first-ever payroll checks.
We’ve occasionally thrown our hardest workers a (very) little bonus as
a thank-you, but these are real, honest-to god, regular paychecks
complete with witholding and the promise that in two weeks there will
be a sequel.

They’re still well under-market, but they put us in an entirely
different mental place. Yesterday, we were a rag-tag team of
volunteers. Today, we’re a company.

My partners, Gary and Kevin, have been working full-time since
April, 2005 without pay. And many others on our team — Alan, Blair,
Chris, Laura E, Laura S, Todd — have been working nearly as long.

I was interviewing an ad rep candidate the other day who asked about
whether or not we have a good work environment. I told her to look out
into the office bullpen and see ten people who have been working a year
without pay. That’s the only answer I felt she needed.

Today certainly is not the biggest day our company will ever have. The day we launch Pegasus News
this November will be bigger. And the day we figure out how to make our
first monthly profit will be far bigger. But today is a big one for us.
There’s never been a time in my career or a team I’ve worked with of
which I’ve been so proud.

Don’t expect a lot of site updates this afternoon, as we’ll be
taking some time for a well-deserved "sip of champagne." Well, more
literally a gulp of tequila — but we’re in Dallas, so same difference.

My personal thanks to everyone who got us this far, and especially
to those who stuck with us when we were well past our freshness date.
There’s more to come.

Mike Orren is the Chief Product Officer of The Dallas Morning News; President of Belo Business Intelligence; husband to Crystal Orren; and a Mungarian at Munger Place Church in Dallas, TX. All opinions herein are mine alone.