Stealth is for the Air Force – not startups. We’re building things we want on the radar.
One of the scariest things about starting a new company (immediately after – “When will we make money?”) is the fear of someone stealing your great idea. Do we patent, keep trade secrets, run the entire company like a scene from a Tom Clancy novel, hide our notebooks under our pillows like that winning Mega Millions ticket?
Many companies stay in stealth for a year or more while they create their MVP and get everything lined up for launch. They assume that they know the market and it’s better to stay quiet while they build. It seems like the thing to do if you are a budding tech company. I must admit, it is very James Bond like to have “Stealth Startup” in your headline. However, we discovered quickly that there are many more reasons to pop up onto the radar than to operate in stealth!
No matter how unique your idea, someone else is probably working on something similar.
My dad always told me, “the sooner you realize that there are many people in the world that are smarter than you, the quicker you can be more creative.” Let’s face it, there have been plenty of great ideas that got beat to market by marginal ones and the marginal ones won out. The same is true for products that were first to market that get beat by someone doing practically the same thing but with better marketing. The key to creating a lasting company is to be able to learn quickly, pivot quicker, and execute quickest because someone will always flatter you by copying your work.
Working with customers is invaluable in development.
We move much faster knowing that our clients’ eyeballs are on us and are expecting great things. Since we are out there talking to clients and solving their problems through the revenue generating side of our business today (consulting), we get a tremendous amount of excitement and feedback on our software platform. Their ideas feed our development team and motivate us to move even faster because we feel connected to solving an immediate problem for a client. We are also keenly aware that we also can’t let our customers completely drive what we create as we will just have incremental improvement. Diane Greene, the founder of VMware, once told me, “If you only listen to customers and what they want, we will never do anything really cool.” Spending at least 20% of your time coming up with WOW ideas is important to the innovate and ideate loop.
It’s never too early to start marketing.
There is so much noise in the world today. Someone will invariably say they do what you do with an even more flashy infographic and spend more than you marketing a less substantive product. The quicker you get out there and start making your mark, the better. Failing quick if your early efforts don’t resonate is much more valuable than waiting a year or two to solve a problem that you think you understand in the customers eyes.
Hiring is hard when you lead with “come with me down this dark alley to our secret stealth location. We have free snacks and an Xbox!”.
Hiring the right talent is difficult enough, let alone trying to convince a rockstar to leave their job to work on something that you can’t talk about, with no marketing, and no customers. While there is always a loyal startup following that might get behind your idea, it’s definitely more difficult outside of traditional circles. We’ve built a team outside of the traditional Valley following to come up with new ideas and to enrich our “genetic developer pool”.
Starting a new business is never easy; and while serial entrepreneurs have a higher chance of success and potentially a loyal following, the reality is the market is moving faster than ever and yesterday’s ideas are old news. We can’t wait to get out in front of more customers, their ever-changing tough business problems, and prospective hires that can’t wait to solve problems.
So here we are. We’re Infonomic Data. Check us out and let’s talk! www.infonomicdata.com