10 Years and celebrating small business

We shouldn’t have made it to 10 years. At least, that ’s what the statistics say about startups because most of them fail in their first few years. But here we are and it’s been quite a ride.

Founders Lenz, Timo and Paul early 2008 before launching iwantmyname Founders Lenz, Timo and Paul early 2008 before launching iwantmyname

In the last couple years, I’ve pondered a lot about what success means for iwantmyname. We never set out to become the next GoDaddy, but it’s simply intoxicating to see a company grow. However, everything comes at a price and for me that was burnout. The very thing I thought would never happen to me because, after all, I live in New Zealand, which in my mind meant my work-life balance was sorted automagically. Turns out I was wrong.

Enough

While I recovered from burnout, I read a post from Basecamp simply titled ”Enough,” and that’s when it hit me. What we do at iwantmyname is enough. We’re big enough, grow enough, and are profitable enough. But that’s not to say we’re done. In fact, our team just launched a new site design which lays the foundation for a new direction of the company. Will that elevate us to become a giant in our industry? Heck no, but it is enough to be a small business focusing on a particular niche.

Hail the maintainers

Another idea that helped me to accept and understand who we are as a company is the one of being maintainers. If you are not familiar with the concept, I recommend reading Hail the maintainers which explains why maintenance matters more than innovation. As a domain name registrar, we help maintaining a small part of internet infrastructure. There will be innovations how we navigate the internet, but the underlying bits and pieces will stay the same for many years to come and we want to help customers as much as we possibly can with maintaining their web presence.

A reminder that small is beautiful

Over the last few weeks, I helped my wife to set up a small online shop selling local products. Everyone talks about the importance of being global in the startup world, but going the opposite way and keeping it local was a profound experience and a timely reminder before our 10-year anniversary that it is all about helping small businesses and individuals succeed.

So let’s celebrate enough. Let’s celebrate the maintainers. And let’s celebrate all the small businesses that make a difference to local communities and let people make a living.

Happy 10th birthday iwantmyname!