Over the years, we’ve considered raising money from VC, going public, or simply bootstrapping. To be honest, the most frequent process we’ve started new companies has been bootstrapping. In so doing, we maintained total control of the firms. And, when we finally exceeded our ability to grow the firm (or in more than a few cases, proved our concept and no longer had the desire to run the firm), we’ve sold the entity to others.
“When you’re young, you think you can change the world. As you get older, you realize that you can’t do that, but you’re still convinced that you can change the town in which you live. Then, there reaches a point where you realize you can’t do that either. But you’re still sure that you can change your family. Finally, you become aware that the most you can do is change yourself.”
While we were surprised at the timing (or at least the announcement), it’s pretty clear that Microsoft knew Steve Ballmer was going to be retiring soon. Not necessarily in the next 12 months, as was announced, but certainly within the next three years, after his youngest child began college. Because he said that several times.