Kevin, CTO, used a house building metaphor to describe how the company grew and evolved. They started with a very small and simple house adding a room as needed and could afford. So basically building your dream home one room at a time. Another thought with respect to this that I had is perhaps this is an example of minimum viable start-up (similar to minimum viable product). Kevin also seconded Greg’s notion of making sure all of the projects they engaged in to generate revenue were strategic to company growth.
Andrew, VP of Engineering, had some very sage words for many of those perfectionist engineering types I have come across “get the product out the door!” because it will never be perfect. There is a great post by Wendy Kennedy that I will always remember called “when good enough is great” that echoes this sentiment. Andrew also mentioned that “not knowing” what the customer wants can actually be beneficial because it forces you to solve real problems when they do start to use the product. Always be creative in solving problems for customers “in every problem are the seeds of opportunity” When Good enough is Great.
Huw, Lumenera President, mentioned that while 2002 was a dark time there were also lots of benefits to starting then like a plentiful pool of talent available for hire. Space was also cheap and credit was easy to get. Huw offered a few choice tips to start-ups on looking bigger than you are;
- Dumbed down cards (there are advantages to being Director of Support)
- CEO of a big company would never be on a service call (makes you appear small) o On a support call be Director of Support implies a bigger company
- Have multiple cards depending on where you are going to meet a customer
- VP business Development for customer visit
Huw also likened the blend of optimism and pessimism as holding multiple hands at a poker match. If one doesn’t work out you fold and keep playing the good hands. He also mentioned that two key success factors were; speed and being nimble. Putting his finance hat on Huw also mentioned if you can keep your costs as variable (costs are pegged to product sold) then this helps your scale cost effectively.
Tomorrow's post will be the teams key lesson learned, that one bit of wisdom each feels is most important.
- Ian Graham