How to be a serial entrepreneur: Think people first
What is it about stress and long hours that make one eager to do it again and again? I’ll admit the risk has a certain thrill, but the primary motivator for me is the high of working with talented people who are as keen as I am to find an elegant solution to a complex problem; it’s the satisfaction of working with a group who share the same passion and are willing to put in the long days (and evenings) required to turn a concept into a solution.
Being a successful serial entrepreneur, in my view, is about recognizing and developing the talents of people around you. Here are a few of my thoughts on the topic:
Irritation is a by-product of enthusiasm
Culture is key: If you build an enjoyable workplace and allow the free-flow of ideas, people will respond and give you their best. My position as CEO is secondary to my role as the guy who builds and nourishes the ideal environment for my team to flourish. No matter how great the idea, if your culture is toxic, your company will suffer.
Only work with smart people you trust: Sounds like a remarkably obvious point, but then why do so many entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who don’t complement and advance their own skill set? Errors happen along the way, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing: make a mistake, learn from it and move on. Arguments and second guessing chew up time and morale. Leave the second-guessing to your competitors.
We’ve been lucky to assemble a lot of the same people we’ve worked with in the past. The NEVEX team is comfortable with each other and when new ideas come to the table they are freely discussed. Fresh ideas are the backbone of any tech business, but ideas can only evolve into awesome products when you are working with a team you trust—and it helps to have an understanding wife who doesn’t throw dishes when you come home at midnight.
Does our team clash at times? Definitely, but that’s all part of building a great business, a lesson Rayan Zachariassen—one of my partners here at NEVEX—and I have learned over the years. There are times when irritation emerges as a by-product of enthusiasm, and when frustration boils over—as it inevitably will—I turn to my Rule of 3:
Steve’s Rule of 3. Wait three seconds, three minutes or three hours after any disagreeable exchange. I’ve found it’s better to take time to process the information and then respond logically, not emotionally.
Each startup is a journey, not a commute
There have been times when I wished that developing a product and taking it to market was a simple A-to-B trip. But what I’ve found is that it’s more of a meandering journey with plenty of twists and turns along the way. If you bear in mind that your first technology idea is never the end product, you’ll be comfortable following a general path to start. The exact destination becomes clear later in the process.
Until next time,
Steven Lamb, CEO
NEVEX Virtual Technologies
As a long-time serial tech entrepreneur, Steve Lamb has been involved in the development of several fast-growth technology firms. Now, Steve is building MaRS-based NEVEX Virtual Technologies into a business application acceleration powerhouse, helping enterprise overcome lost productivity challenges as a result of poor software performance. See more…