We try to limit our discussions with VCs, as they can easily become a distraction. As a startup, focus is what will differentiate between success and failure. But sometimes, we can’t refuse an introduction and a discussion, as some investors have a lot of insights on your industry.
Recently, we had one discussion with a top-tier VC general partner. In addition to a lot of feedback and insights, one question in particular he asked really struck me: “What is your truth for 2021?”
In this article, we will explain what he means by truth, and what our immediate answer was for Airbyte.
A truth is what we absolutely need to achieve for your company to be on the path to success. It is the one thing you need to strive for, and that should determine your priorities, strategy, initiatives, recruiting plan, etc.
A truth helps put every consideration in perspective. Any time you have a decision to make you can ask yourself whether that brings you closer to that truth. Anything that doesn’t get you closer to it, you should ponder whether you should actually do it.
It is by having this singular goal in mind that you will give yourself the highest chance to get there.
I’m sure you have heard about “SMART” goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-based.
It’s true that your truth needs to be specific. It cannot just be “My company is successful.” You need to define exactly what success means to you as a company.
Your truth should also be achievable and relevant, and it is by definition time-based, as it’s for your current year (or another period of your choice).
But the difference lies in the fact that your truth should be aspirational above being measurable. It should be very easy to express, just a few words, very memorable.
When we were asked this question, we hadn’t thought about it this way, but Michel - my co-founder - and I knew the answer instantaneously.
What came to our mind is that for the end of 2021, we envision that Airbyte just works. This is the feeling we want all our users to have.
This includes reliability of the platform and all its connectors, whatever your infrastructure and the volume of data you need to replicate. But it also includes agnosticity for whatever connector needs you have, whatever data stack you opted for. Airbyte just works.
Let’s go into more detail.
This year, we will be focusing on integrating with the rest of the data stack, should it be for orchestration (Airflow, Dagster, Prefect, etc.), data quality (Great Expectations), cloud provider (GCP, AWS, Azure…), whatever the scale, which implies we must support multi-node. Until now, we’ve been focusing on single node setup.
We are constantly improving our connectors, and are even certifying them against a set of best practices that we will keep adding to. Data integration pipelines are a thousand-paper-cut problem. Each new user brings some new use cases that may or may not be supported yet. We will continuously grow the team in charge of building new connectors and strengthening existing ones. At the end of the year, we hope we will be able to support TB-level replication.
We want to support at least 200 connectors by the end of 2021. And this will only be the beginning. We’re working on a low-code framework to make it easier to build and maintain connectors. 200 is obviously not enough to cover all connector needs, but hopefully, we will be at a point where the developer experience to build new connectors is so easy that the number of connectors won’t be perceived as limiting to address any use cases.
On that matter, we will also be working to support Kafka, Spark and webhooks.
This is our truth for 2021. By the end of the year, whatever your use case, you will be able to set up Airbyte and start fulfilling your data integration needs in a matter of hours. We believe this is the only way to commoditize data integration.
A last note for this article. You can use the truth framework in other contexts.
For instance, we see a lot of entrepreneurs making decisions based on the amount of equity they hope to keep and the valuation of the company they hope to reach. However, they fail to remember that startups are either a 0 (you failed to exit and you died), or a 1 (you exited, IPO’d or are profitable). Any consideration of equity and valuation should actually be multiplied by this 0 or 1.
So as such, you need to consider if the decisions you make bring you closer to the 1. If you keep focusing on the 1 you will see that, in the long term, they were the right decisions to make, as having a bit more equity is not important if you end up building a successful company.
What is your truth? Are any of the decisions you make taking you closer to it?
Get all your ELT data pipelines running in minutes with Airbyte.