Technology start-ups are unique organisms that affect employees very differently than other types of companies. Tech start-ups are about bringing new ideas to market. They are about change, and often founded on an alternative perspective of how to conduct business. They are more likely to leverage new technologies, hire unique people, and try different approaches to marketing, sales, and solving business problems. People who work at start-ups put more of themselves into their jobs, work a little harder, and are more impassioned about achievement and success. The entire frenetic experience is accelerated to the point where you compress years into months, providing an intimate level of participation not available at larger firms – the experience is addictive.

When technology start-ups don’t succeed (the most common case), they take a lot out of their people. Failures result in layoffs or shutdown, and go from decision to unfortunate conclusion overnight. The technology and products employees have been pouring themselves into typically vanish. That’s when you start thinking about what went right and what went wrong, what worked and what didn’t. You think about what you would do differently next time. That process ultimately ends with some pent-up ideas and frustrations which – if you let them eat at you – eventually drive you back into the technology start-up arena. It took me 12 years and 5 start-ups to figure out that I was on a merry-go-round without end, unless I made the choice to step off and be comfortable with my decision. It took significant personal change to accept that no matter how good the vision, judgement, execution, and assembled team were, success was far from guaranteed.

Where am I going with this? As you have probably read by now, 18 months ago Rich Mogull, Mike Rothman, and I planned a new IT research firm. Within a few weeks we got the bad news: Mike was going to join a small security technology company to get back on the merry-go-round. From talking with Mike, I knew he had to join them for all the reasons I mentioned above. I could see it in his face, and in the same position I would have done exactly the same thing. Sure, Securosis is a technology start-up as well, but it’s different. While hopeful Mike would be back in 24 months, I could not know for certain.

If you are a follower of the Securosis blog, you have witnessed the new site launch in early 2009 and seen our project work evolve dramatically. Much of this was part of the original vision. We kept most of our original plans, jettisoned a few, streamlined others, and moved forward. We found some of our ideas just did not work that well, and others required more resources. We have worked continuously to sharpen our vision of who we are and why we are different, but we have a ways to go.

I can say both Rich and I are ecstatic to have Mike formally join the team. It’s not change in my mind, but rather empowerment. Mike brings skills neither of us possesses, and a renewed determination that will help us execute on our initial vision. We will be able to tackle larger projects, cover more technologies, and offer more services. Plus I am looking forward to working with Mike on a daily basis!

This is a pretty big day for us here, and thought it appropriate to share some of the thoughts, planning, and emotions behind this announcement.