My Storyful adventure started on 12th of January 2010. And ended last week. It has been one hell of a journey.

Almost 3 years ago I wrote a blogpost called “A funny thing happened on the way to my redundancy”. It was the post the day before I started on the Storyful adventure. This post is the bookends that one.

When I started with Mark there were two desks, the germ of an idea and buckets of optimism. We didn’t even have a name. Well we had, but Crowdflash just doesn’t have the same ring to it as Storyful.

Storyful now has over 30 staff in Ireland, the US, and Hong Kong. It covers the news via social media 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. Its customers include ABC News in the US and the other ABC News in Australia, Google, YouTube, France24, Channel 4 and many more.

It’s hard to explain what its like. I’ve compared a startup to jumping off a cliff with a bunch of spare parts. You have to build a plane before you hit the ground. You have no instructions and you’re doing it blindfolded. Creation is hard. I’m reminded of the quote on writing “Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead”. You are literally making this up as you go along. Even the words to describe it aren’t there.

Working in a startup is all consuming. You’re in the office 12 hours a day, and in the other office in your house half the other 12. When you’re not working your mind is. Social media is an extension of your office, not goofing off.  And it’s immensely rewarding to see a business grow, to see a team grow and to see people grow.

In that earlier post I blogged on the following ideas stolen from Rowan Manahan

  • Follow your passion
  • Find playmates smarter than you are
  • Solve the important problems
  • Share your toys
  • Build tools
  • Make magic

Boy did I find playmates smarter than I am. We’ve built an amazing team at Storyful. Gavin Sheridan is still bending my mind with his ideas after almost three years. David Clinch’s instinct for news and superhuman stamina his energy and ability to open doors hasn’t wavered over that time. I’ve learned more from Paul Watson, Sasha Wilson, Fergal Murray, Markham Nolan, Louise Byrne and Shane Creevy than they can possibly realise.

What do I say about Mark Little? Most people know him as my mother would say as “that lovely man off the telly”. I’ve had the honour and privilege to work with him for nearly three years. He is an immensely talented, thoroughly decent man. Open, honest and generous. And the reason Storyful is here today.  About the only thing I can think to say is “thank you”. Thank you for the faith, the optimism, the vision and the opportunity.  Thank you for building something special.

So the questions I’m asked. Why are you leaving and what are you up to next? The clearest answer I can give on this is everything has a season, just as spring turns to summer, my season is Storyful is over. It’s a wrench and it’s emotional, and it’s the right thing to do at the right time.  As to what’s next, the rules above still apply. There will be teaching, learning, mentoring, advice and technology. I’m starting out on my own. I haven’t figured all of it out yet. Yes I am for hire, call me, DM me or email me if you want to talk about Strategy or Startups, Systems or Technology.

And this time I’ll be tweeting, blogging and talking about the adventure.