Sunday, May 19, 2013

On Execution

Systemic problem in the startup culture is that people have plenty of ideas but no execution. I'm incredibly lucky to be passionate about software engineering and that I have the ability to build products (on my own).

We all can't be great at everything and I'm a firm believer that people should focus on their strengths while on a day-to-day basis keep improving their weaknesses. For me,  I kept following my love for software engineering (I've become both technical and design focused); therefore, my weakness is really the sales and marketing side. After hanging around plenty of software salespeople -- I've come to realize that their primary strengths boil down to inside connections, confidence, and presentation.

Thomas Watson (IBM) once said, in order to sell software, you have to look like the person you're selling to. IBM at the time was selling "punch carded tabulating machines" which were used in many law and financial offices.  This was when an IBM salesman was distinguished with their navy blue suits and wing-tipped shoes. Thomas Watson and his son were amazing salesmen. They were so dominant in their field of expertise that they could close only a few deals and have their quotas filled for the year. Many salesmen at the time were all about a large volume number of small deals here and there (less risk) but the Watsons closed the big deals.

Based on the couple of projects that I've tried tackling, I've come to learn that the only way to really push your product into the hands of people who can provide constructive criticism is to be disruptive, aggressive, and 'in your face'. Never be shy about sharing what you've built and don't worry because embarrassment is key to improving. Push forward, be bold, take risks, and most of all, learn to sell the vision of your MVP in order to encourage constructive criticism.