How did BoardSpace get started?
My experience as a Director on my Condo Board
The idea for BoardSpace began from my experience as President of my condo’s Board of Directors. Being a Director was great. I enjoyed learning about governance, management, legal issues affecting condominiums, engineering and the many other aspects involved with taking care of an 87-unit townhouse condominium. It was a steep learning curve to keep on top of the issues that came at us fast and furious. Our Board was extremely busy because of the situation in which we found ourselves in, but I kept up as best I could. The downside was the amount of administrative work that took up so much time and often got in the way of more important work.
Minute Madness: Where are the minutes?
Minutes drove me mad. Never in five years of being a Director did I have minutes ready to review any sooner than a few days or a few minutes before the next meeting. If I had a few days this meant spending Saturday or Sunday morning reviewing them. When the minutes were dropped in front of me at the beginning of the meeting, we had to take valuable meeting time to scan several pages of text while racking our brains to remember what we had actually done the month before. This did not result in the best quality minutes.
Task Tedium: Who is doing what and when?
As President I took a lead role in keeping track of who was doing what and the due date of each item. We tried a few on-line apps but, we never stayed with one. They were either too simple or too complex and were abandoned quickly. Excel spreadsheets became my friend and then my worst enemy as keeping them up-to-date also became time-consuming. When I fell behind – and this happened many times when other work took precedence – tasks did not get done or disappeared completely when we couldn’t remember who said they would do something.
Document Drama: Where have they gone?
Keeping up with our documents and records proved time consuming as well. At one point, we decided to engage a new property management company and in the transfer from the old to the new, many signed versions of corporation records vanished – never to be seen again. Not an ideal situation. Electronic copies existed of most of these records but the signed paper original was gone. Surely there was a better way.
Broaching the Possibility
Over lunch one day with my colleague Yawar Kahn (Bridgeport Realty) I raised the possibility of using technology to take over some aspects of my work as a Director. This most definitely was of interest to Yawar. After 3 hours of lively debate we took a breather from our brainstorming to find we were the only remaining patrons in the restaurant and finally took the hint to leave. My next step was to attend a StartUp Weekend
48 Hours of Immersion in all things Entrepreneur
My first entrée with my early barely-formed idea into the startup world took place in Montreal in July 2013. These are crazy events where you take an idea and build a business over 54 hours continuously over one weekend. I made my first pitch on the Friday evening and received enough votes to carry on and build a team. Alas only one other intrepid individual joined on this weekend journey but nevertheless it was a tremendous experience and I learned a ton about starting a business and numerous other entrepreneurial topics. I returned home burning with ideas and the energy and resolve to continue developing the idea.
Making the Vision Happen
This tells the beginning of BoardSpace. Implementing one’s vision is no easy task and there were many steps in between then and today that I’ve left to another blog post. For now, team BoardSpace is focussed on launching our early release (or beta) software on November 1. This a giant step for the team but one that we can’t wait to see happen. First users – that will be a major accomplishment for the software.