When I arrived to Madrid in early 2002, after few a days in Madrid, I met with Glenn an old friend from Cali, a city close where I grew up.
Our conversation was centred around starting up a small software company. Glenn had a good product and I had the experience of working as an account manager, so we decided to go for it. We felt we had a lot of passion and the right atmosphere to start a good working relationship and a good company.
First, we worked on the “business and marketing plan” to sell our story. It was in one of those meetings with a lawyer from Venezuela that our idea turned to reality: we created Cravitel.
This investor gave us a seed capital, which we made the best use of. It was difficult and we learned lots of things every day by trying, failing and then improving.
Sometimes it was stressful, sometimes too many doors were closed. Or to be more precise, sometimes getting opportunities to talk to IT managers was impossible (their secretaries were doing an excellent job!). But we stuck with it, and sure enough, one day I reached the Database Manager from the Ministry of Science and Technology. We gave him a presentation, offered him to a demo, and the product was sold after one month.
After this first success, we had a very good impact in some City Councils in Spain and they wanted presentations and demos. But after three and a half years working for Cravitel, we could not keep up competing with big software companies. We decided to give the source code to the small group of clients we had and close down Cravitel.
Someone might think after reading the previous paragraph that “it sounds like a failure instead of a success”. And yes, to be fair, the success could have been me talking with Warren Buffet to decide if acquiring that brilliant Database Development Company in Silicon Valley was a good opportunity for Cravitel to extend it business into other markets. But the “Warren Buffet” fake success sample is relative to me.
And I know I learned lots of things at Cravitel, about people, team work, business, marketing, sales, and technology, and obviously I did a lot of travelling in Spain. And I certainly agree that I lived by George Bernard Shaw’s credo that:
“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honourable but more useful than a life spent in doing nothing.”
I tried, and I learnt a lot more by trying than if I’d just watching the days pass by.