When Mark Shuttleworth founded Canonical in 2004, he made a promise to his staff: "You can count on me for two years."
The idea was "to get the team to relax" and focus on the newly created Ubuntu operating system. Shuttleworth wanted to eliminate the pressure of becoming a blockbuster business overnight.
He issued no ultimatums. And although Shuttleworth wanted Canonical to be self-sustaining, he didn't threaten to abandon Ubuntu if it lost money. "When we started, I told the team two years," he recently told Ars. "I didn't say, 'till it's profitable.' I said, 'You can count on me for two years. What I want to really see is evidence of a clear path to success and really interesting disruption.'"