Fred Wilson of A VC captures the details of being in a trough after the initial high of launching a product. I quote a pertinent passage below.
The ugly adolescent stage is when you’ve built the product and are now building the business. It is when the team grows beyond the intial founding group and not everyone is getting along so well. It is when you are no longer that "bright shiny thing" that everyone wants to talk about. It is when your users are complaining that the service is not reliable or they hate that new feature or interface. It is when you have to figure out how to make money and get profitable. It is when the founder starts to wonder whether this CEO thing is for him or her. It is when you need that next round of financing and it isn’t so easy to raise this time.
Having conceived and launched a product this year I can utterly vouch for the generalities and specifics of what Fred mentions in the post.
Of course I have done this within the framework of the current firm I work for but it does not change the messiness in any fashion. In fact, if anything, it only gets more difficult because not only are you dealing with external competitors, enterprise customers with their glacial decision making speeds, looking for people who have the rigor to build a product but also have to deal with internal politics and organizational bureaucracy. And that can severely test anybody.
So far I have lacked a framework to understand what the heck is happening in my own context. Fred’s post has helped clarify that this is just another phase that has to be overcome and others before me have done the same.