Insights

Define Your Distractions

Posted by on 8:23 pm in Blog | Comments Off on Define Your Distractions

Define Your Distractions

Distractions can ruin a business. This is particularly true for startups. Just think about it. There’s so much to do and never enough time or people to do it all. That in and of itself can lead to failure, but what do you do when distractions to your business come around? More importantly how do you know what’s a distraction, what’s an opportunity and what’s the typical chaos associated with the mere fact that you’re a startup? One of the most important things your company’s leaders can do is take the time to very clearly define the distractions that will likely come your way. More importantly, they need to articulate these distractions to all team members. By doing so everyone will be on the same page and precious effort, time and capital will not be wasted pursuing something that’s not core to your objectives. Does this mean you have to forgo a distraction that might also be an opportunity? Absolutely not! In fact, I recently had a conversation with the COO of a startup in Silicon Valley who was calling me for this very reason. His company was developing a product that would launch via a direct-to-consumer business model. He realized his core technology was ideal for licensing and private label opportunities, but also knew pursuing that path at this stage would negatively impact his product’s launch. His solution? Find a partner. By engaging with a company like Hotwire he understood he could pursue his distraction without it actually becoming a distraction. The key to his success was predefining what and what not to do, and then managing events accordingly. Take a moment, define your distractions and find genuine partners to help you pursue the ones that are opportunities. Your employees and investors will be glad you did. Cheers,...

read more

Facts Are Our Friends

Posted by on 4:03 pm in Blog | Comments Off on Facts Are Our Friends

Facts Are Our Friends

I was sipping coffee and watching a news report on the launch of the ObamaCare Exchanges when my 12-year-old daughter snuggled up to me and asked a question. “How can the government make you pay a fine for not buying something?” She followed up with, “Is that constitutional?” At first I was really proud. After all, how many 12-year-olds ask these kinds of questions? How many even know what’s going on with our government or health care at all? My pride quickly turned to disappointment when I remembered my Lake Powell vacation just got cancelled because of this whole government shutdown mess over ObamaCare. At Hotwire we like to say, “Facts are our friends”. It’s one of the guiding principles behind every product we develop. After all, successful products become successful when they provide the best answer to a problem or need in the market place. They win because people want them more than they want the other solutions out there. Facts provide the most effective framework for product innovation. Collect them early in your development and collect them often. They’ll be beacons guiding your way. Looking at the facts it’s hard to understand why we increasingly place our hope in government as the answer to our biggest societal problems. Government, by its very nature, was not designed to be an effective solution. How can we expect an entity that doesn’t exist within a competitive environment to become increasingly effective and efficient at delivering a product or service? How can we expect an entity that increases its revenues through taxes rather than innovation to come up with creative solutions to our complex problems? Many times when looking to government for our solutions, we’re simply ignoring the facts. Instead we’re caught up in our feelings, hopes and dreams – they cloud our better judgment. Unfortunately it’s easy to do this in our businesses too. How often are we tempted to “go with our gut” instead of talking to our key stakeholders to find out what they think of our product our service? How often do we start to build an enterprise before we even know if its product will sell or its business model can scale? How often do we make risky or costly decisions based on an assumption? It happens all the time. My challenge to all of us is to diligently work to collect facts and then listen to what they have to say. Cherish them as you do your closest friends and let their counsel guide your way. Cheers,...

read more

Better Business Models Produce Better Products

Posted by on 10:43 am in Blog | Comments Off on Better Business Models Produce Better Products

Better Business Models Produce Better Products

Products are awesome. We love everything about them – looking at them, touching them, experiencing them and using them to make our lives more enjoyable, meaningful and productive. But, regardless of how perfect a product may appear, it only becomes truly great when it’s married to an exceptional business model. Take Apple’s iPod for example. The market was littered with digital music players of all kinds at the time of its arrival. What set the iPod apart and made it a runaway hit was its integration with iTunes. iTunes was, in a sense, the business model. With it, Apple created a simple and enjoyable system for filling a music player with thousands of your favorite songs. Not only was the model great for customers, it was great for Apple too. Instead of just selling a piece of hardware, Apple’s made billions delivering digital music one song at a time. I have a friend named Ray. His company, Refresh Glass, makes drinking glasses. They look nice, feel good and are enjoyable to sip from, but they’re much more than that. You see, Ray gets his glass by rescuing wine bottles from the trash bins of bars and restaurants. He then cleans them, cuts them, reshapes them and turns them into functional pieces of art. Each and every glass is unique and its purchase completes a loop that’s as good for Ray’s customers as it is for our community and environment. Both Apple and Ray have more than a product – they have better business models (Hotwire does too). What makes them better? They’ve constructed a more complete way to serve, align and integrate their business’ interests with that of their customers, employees, vendors, shareholders and the communities in which they operate. The result is a better product, a more fulfilling consumer experience and not surprisingly, sustained and improved profits. Better business models are based on prioritizing long-term results benefiting all stakeholders vs. a short-term transactional product sale. As a result, they produce intangible experiences that transcend the products themselves – they in effect become the product’s soul. When developing your product be sure to spend as much, if not more time, contemplating and implementing a business model capable of serving your highest dreams and aspirations. Your customers, employees, investors, vendors, and the communities in which you operate will be glad you did. Cheers,...

read more