The amazing adventure of a startup — told in song. 

13 songs that defined our journey — so far

judy shapiro
Jan 3, 2014 · 8 min read

Starting a venture is an incestuous marriage of faith and imagination — a rocky start at best. But that what’s makes it so seductive. It is a journey of triumph and terror; vision tinged with delusion and where courage carries the day. Yet in this heady mix, the existential question always remains; will money run out before hope does.

Our own stomach churning, roller coaster ride of nose dives and last minute saves had its share of villains, heroes, schmucks, menschs and chivalrous white knights who stepped in more than once to save this damsel in distress.

This both humbled and emboldened me.

I persevered during the dark nights, quietly defying the odds despite management shake-ups and false development starts. Yet here we are; we’ve come out on the other side. Our platform is live with paying corporate customers. After nearly two years — we have our proof of concept.

This is a particularly precious moment in the life of a venture where rational doubters lost out to those who held the faith. So here is our story from incorporation until now marked by the songs that spoke to me in the moment that I was living the “startup dream.”

It was a journey of unexpected twists and turns. But through it all, the support of the team and our circle of friends has been extraordinary. Rarely has a venture been blessed with so many assets of support. So now is our time to show ‘em what we’ve got. As we move into 2014, we are more optimistic than ever.

We incorporate December 2011.

In that administrative moment — everything changed and I felt like I have fallen down into a “hyper hacker” rabbit hole where I clearly don’t belong. I am not young. I am not a guy. I am not a hacker or a coder. I did not go to an Ivy League school. And most egregiously, I never had a passion about being an entrepreneur. No wonder I feel as oddly out of place like poor Alice in Avril Lavigne’s song.

Tripping out … Spinning around

I’m underground … I fell down

Yeah, I fell down.

I’m freaking out … So, where am I now?

Upside down … And I can’t stop it now …

It can’t stop me now …

That last turn of the phrase always inspired me because it spoke to my hope that what starts out uncontrolled can be tamed through strength of will.

We get real in April 2012.

And much like those early adventurers who took off for the North Pole high spirited, confident in their boats and provisions not knowing what dangers really lies ahead of them, we are embark on our adventure, buoyed by visions of what can be.

This song, Touched by the Sun by Carly Simon really captured the moment.

If you want to be brave and reach for the top of the sky and the farthest point on the horizon.

Do you know who you’ll meet there?

Great soldiers and seafarers, artists and dreamers who need to be close, close to the light.

They need to be in danger of burning by fire.

And I, I want to get there,

I, I want to be one…one who is touched by the sun.

Keeping it together — June 2012

I had to clean house all the while shoring up investor confidence. Quite a trick as I had no management team, no funding leads and not even a clear tech roadmap.

Yet I am determined to persevere despite show-stopping obstacles. I keep saying to myself, mantra-like: “Hope is irresistible” as in this song Can’t fall down by Natasha Bedingfield

Change can be a new beginning — September 2012

Failure is not an option — October 2012

A white knight appears — December 2012

New Year: January 2013

The Resolution — March 2013

In survival comes renewed focus and purpose. The resolution — Jack’s Mannequin was how I felt.

There’s a lot that I don’t know

There’s a lot that I’m still learning

When I think I’m letting go

I find my body it’s still burning ….

Somebody clear the wreckage from the blast

[Chorus:]

Yeah I’m alive

But I don’t need a witness to know that I’ve survived.

I’m not looking for forgiveness,

Yeah I just need light

I need light in the dark as I search for the resolution

Nuf said.

The ALPHA finish line is in sight — May 2013

This is 10% luck, 20% skill

15% concentrated power of will

5% pleasure, 50% pain

And a 100% reason to remember the name!

Overcoming the demons in my head — July 2013

Our first real sales — October 2013

And the stakes just got higher — by a lot.

Still, at least for a little, we are relishing the moment. We stayed true to who we are — an “agile” marketing platform that can keep up with a rapidly changing marketing tech world. “The sky is limit and I just want to float…. Free as a spirit on a journey of hope.” Weightless — Natasha Bedingfield

High hopes — November 2013

Then, another white knight swoops in to give us enough of runway room to get additional help. It feels like the marines have landed and we are “Marchin On — One Republic

A time of gratitude — December 2013

It’s a community of friends that launched this venture. Time and time again — we were so grateful. Thank you for being a friend (Andrew Gold)

I don’t know what songs we will be singing in 2014, but I do know we will be singing. And that’s a victory song no matter what happens.

    judy shapiro

    Written by

    CEO/ founder engageSimply. Passionate about bringing to market great technology that improves the life of Judy Consumer. http://engagesimply.com