SM: Describe some of your team building experiences. Is your management team complete now?
KR: Finding the right executive team members can be a nerve-wracking experience. You are essentially giving a huge amount of responsibility to a person who in many cases you’ve only known for a few weeks during the interview process. A key element of your company’s success rests in their hands.
At LucidEra, the VP of Engineering was a co-founder with me, and I had worked with him for many years prior to us starting LucidEra together, so there was no risk there. But, with Marketing and Sales, I spent months talking to a large number of candidates. Then, when I felt I had found the right person for each of those roles, I asked each one to come in a few times and work with me on specific topics so I could see what it’s like to work with them.
Finally, I did a lot of reference checks on them. These weren’t the references they gave me – instead, through networking I found people who had worked closely with the candidates we were interviewing, and I spoke with them. You get much more honest feedback that way.
SM: What are your thoughts about exit?
KR: I don’t spend my time thinking about an exit. We’re a growing young company, and I’m focusing on building it into a great, enduring, successful company. If we focus on building a successful company that delivers solutions that our customers love, then we maximize the number of options we create for ourselves in the future.
SM: What are some of your key learnings from this journey so far?
KR: I have two key learnings. First, simplicity is the key to success. Make sure your products are simple to set up and use. Make sure your marketing message is simple to understand. Make sure your sales processes are simple. Make sure it’s simple for your customers to do business with you. And make sure you keep your organizational structure simple.
Second, hire people for their passion. If they’re passionate about your company’s vision, they will be able to achieve amazing things. They will overcome obstacles, identify creative solutions, and delight your customers. And, they’re also more exciting to work with, because their passion is infectious.
SM: You’ve seen my definition of Enterprise 3.0. Thoughts based on what you are seeing in the market?
KR: I wrote something similar about the four walls of a traditional company coming down. Check this out.
SM: Excellent story-telling, Ken. Very insightful!