One of my favorite terms for startups is “stealth mode.” It is just so mysterious to say, “we are in stealth mode right now…” It is essentially a way for us geeks to add intrigue and mystery to technology. The basic process for stealth mode seems to be: 1) put up a web site and 2) put on the site that you are in stealth mode and can’t say anything. It makes me wonder, if I really wanted something to be secret, why put up the web site in the first place? The answer is simple; it’s just no fun to have a secret when no one knows you have it.
I am reminded of the movie line “the first rule of Fight Club is we don’t talk about Fight Club.” In the era of so much clutter and information overload, withholding information can create more interest than providing it. Just look at the lengths that people go to try to figure out what Apple is doing next.
The time has come for my current company, Formation Data Systems, to exit our “stealth mode” phase. We never were really that “stealth” in the first place; we have been speaking with lots of analysts, potential customers and advisors all throughout our development process. Still, until today, we actually never disclosed the level of investment in the company or the fact that we have been in Alpha testing with customers for several months and the fact will deliver Beta software by the end of the year.
We are super-excited about the potential but, alas, as we are not Apple, we are not going to get notoriety though silence.