Subject: Re: Bootstrapping a FSB
From: "Russell Nelson" <>
Date: Wed, 03 Feb 1993 23:31:13 EST

On Thu, 4 Feb 93 09:15:54 JST, "Gavin Thomas Nicol" <nick@NSIS.CL.NEC.CO.JP> wrote:
> I would be interested in hearing how Cygnus, or any other FSB's
> bootstrapped themselves.

Well, while I was at Clarkson University, I started writing packet
drivers, to solve a job-related problem.  Lots of other people had
the same problem, and packet drivers helped them solve it.  FTP
Software's DOS TCP/IP package runs over packet drivers, and they're
the market leader.

Clarkson and I had a parting of the ways, and I sought employment
elsewhere.  By the time I got the gumption to start my own business
(not an easy thing with a child and a pregnant wife), I had already
accepted at job at Mitel.  I worked there for five months, pulled
their NT-1 project out of the fire and back into the pan, went to
Interop, and got the committments from enough customers to make the

It didn't hurt to have two separate standing job offers.  But that's
one of the effects of writing free software -- you get a LOT of
visibility and you become very employable.  But if you start your own
business, be prepared to never want to be an employee again.  :)

So now, over a dozen companies use packet drivers for their products,
some of them mission-critical.  Packet drivers are simple enough
software that most people don't need support.  You just install them
and they work.  But there are enough people who want support, either
as insurance, or to get actual bugs fixed, to pay my living.

Now, for the sake of truth, I sell two days/week to a single party,
week after week, doing proprietary software.  Why?  Well, it helps
stabilize my income.  Getting $6,000 one month and nothing the next
is somewhat stress-inducing.

So where do I go from here?  I think I need to hire a salesman/
business manager.  Sales are what I like to do least.  But I have to
go from a one-income/ one-employee company to a one-income/
two-employee company.  Doubling the number of employees in one
instant is not something a company does very often.  :) Does anyone
have any hints for me on making this transition?

-russ <> What canst *thou* say?
Crynwr Software           Crynwr Software sells packet driver support.
11 Grant St.              315-268-1925 Voice  |  LPF member - ask me about
Potsdam, NY 13676         315-268-9201 FAX    |  the harm software patents do.