Taking risk and dealing with the consequences – a case study

One of Andy’s favorite expression around Founders Co-op is “GFA” (Get Fucking Aggressive). Here’s a mini-case study on that from the past 24 hours:

  • Yesterday afternoon FC portfolio company AppStoreHQ reached out to Jolie O’Dell at Mashable to get her take on AppESP, an on-device personalized app discovery engine for Android they’d just released to public beta
  • Jolie liked the story and asked if she could run with it. The AppStoreHQ team knew they hadn’t resolved all the scaling issues with the app, but didn’t want to miss the opportunity. In the email exchange they told her:

    we’ll catch some flak for known stuff, but would rather have you run with it when it suits you than try to hold the story” (little did they know…)

  • Around 11PM the story dropped, and the coverage was killer. They money quote:

    “It’s a brilliant system that solves a pervasive problem in the Android Market — in fact, if Google doesn’t release a more intelligent app-finding solution with their upcoming web app store and apply the same solution to the Android Market, we can imagine AppESP as a possible acquisition opportunity for the makers of the Android OS.

  • Then all hell broke loose (just read the comments on Jolie’s post to get a sense for it).
  • The company has a full debrief up on their blog, but suffice it to say, they took a risk, suffered the consequences and (after 15 hours of insane effort) came back out the other end.
  • The risk cost them some goodwill among customers (never a happy thing), but also produced:
    • A fantastic piece of news coverage
    • A ferocious real-world load test for a new piece of engineering
    • A handful of new ideas and innovations to support future scaling requirements
    • An opportunity to reaffirm the company’s commitment to making things right
  • Kudos to the AppStoreHQ team for coming through the fire on this. GFA indeed…