I took the time today to re-watch a video posted by the Commonwealth Club with Steve Blank today – “How to Build a Great Company, Step by Step.”
Steve is a smart guy, with a nice sense of humor, and I’ve always valued his insights. Several of his key points ring true to me.
- I like the quote from the video, “there are no facts inside your building, so get the hell out of it!” – Steve called it a lesson hard learned in Silicon Valley. At Ziften most of our key execs are out with customers and prospects on a weekly basis. We are a young company and understand it is critically important that our business model have a realistic view of our market, and how we can add value.
- Listening to our customers is the most important thing we do. In the video Steve points out how hard it is for entrepreneurs to listen rather than dumping their IP on anyone willing to listen. I regularly counsel my staff on the value of listening over talking – after all, customers and prospects are far more interested in hearing how we solve their problems than how smart we are!
- Steve speaks about how innovation is treated in America, versus the rest of the world. This is one of my core beliefs. We are blessed in America with an attitude that previous failures, from which learning occurs; make an executive “experienced” and more valuable in startups. Fear of failure is the death knell to innovation.
I encourage my people to take risks without fear of reprisal. It is making the team much faster at getting to our goal of bridging the gap between security technologies and really effective enterprise client security management. There’s a big difference – we are on the verge of sharing additional information on our unique value proposition in endpoint security management, so watch this space!