It’s been about a year and half of working in Atlanta Tech Village (ATV), and being in the office full-time. There are a lot of advantages touted about when working in a co-working space/ startup hub. Being one of the largest spaces of its kind, ATV boasts some great strengths including:
  • Fantastic facilities with the latest tech gear (this is Atlanta TECH Village, of course)
  • Energy from 300 startups, >1,000 people buzzing about
  • Networking opportunities with companies in similar stages as well as a bevy of individuals who have “been there, done that”

I had been in and out of ATV before joining SalesWise, so I was well-aware of many of the benefits. Prior to then, I worked out of Starbucks quite often, and camped out at other offices of companies I knew. But as I said, 18 months working full-time at ATV has taught a few things I didn’t consider before…
  • A sense of normalcy amid fast pivots and new “tests”. Though many elements of an early-stage company change (sometimes on a weekly basis) it’s nice to have the grounded effect of having a place to call “home” – a desk, a chair, a place to eat, etc.
  • Feeling of inclusion. I’ve connected with other entrepreneurs, heads of sales, rising customer success teams, etc. It’s like a “Cheers” episode – people know your name, people know your business, people know the aches and pains and opportunities…
  • Just as easy to stay focused and disappear. There can be a lot going on at ATV at any given time. Case in point: Easter Eggs were hidden everywhere the Friday before Easter. However, it’s just as easy to come in, get sh!t done, and then leave, without ever interacting with another soul outside your company. The opportunities to stay isolated and to connect are equal. Take advantage of what you want.
  • The shiny features that everyone talks about are rarely used. All those ping pong tables, video game stations, beer on tap, etc., they’re rarely used. Recruits and passers-by admire and talk about these amenities. But once you’re getting down to brass tacks, the real work amenities (like kitchen, fast internet, whiteboards) are what you really care about.

Check out a co-working space near you. Coffee shops are great, but when you need a place that can be quiet, a regular place to call home, co-working spaces have your back.

Ah, we’re back already for Thanksgiving. Not sure where this year went, and it won’t be too long before I do my end-of-the-year post.
It’s cheesy to write a post giving thanks, but that’s exactly what I’m going to do anyways. Last year‘s post already covers many of the same things I would want to cover now, so I won’t list them again. 
Here are five fresh thankful things:
1.      Ever expanding connections from anywhere and everywhere. This year, I’ve picked up projects from meeting people at UK Consulate events, Starbucks, and the like. Doesn’t matter where I am, people have been happy to meet, talk shop, and stay connected.
2.      Adding odd experiences to my CV. This year, I’ve been pulled into FOUR different photoshoots ranging from school magazines to company collateral. Never done that before.
3.      Keep On Getting Up. Early part of this summer was brutal for me – I’m Tired of Faking It, But I Want This War. But after realizing I was at a soul-crushing place, I put in elements to catch myself and get back up.
4.      New experiences, and continual self-confidence and awareness. I’ve been pushing a lot of openness with others. It’s been a continuous practice in being self-confident. Meanwhile, sharing my journey has inspired others, too.

5.      Being in Atlanta. Atlanta is one of those places that has got ups and downs. I love that. It’s weather offers seasons. The transformation of the Beltline is invigorating. Meanwhile, you can get in touch with just about anyone you want to. The small community and cultural desire to help each other is vibrant. Forever, I love Atlanta.
What would your cheesy Thanksgiving giving thanks post say? What’re two things you’re thankful for?
The 3rd annual Mobility LIVE! Conference (the largest mobility technology conference in the southeast) took place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta October 28-29th
Wrapped up Day 2 (the final day) of Mobility LIVE! at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. The annual event brings together thought leaders in the mobile space in a series of speakers and panels.
I recapped Day 1 on Thursday. That was exhaustive. For Day 2, I’m going with 3-5 take-aways per talk and panel. Except, I’ll add a brief intro to each speaker/ panel to summarize.
Yesterday was all about the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables. Today was a continuation on IoT, but also more focus on mobility as a whole and startups.
Kicking us off was a chat between Glenn Lurie, AT&T Mobility President and CEO, and Eddy Cue, SVP of Internet Software and Services at Apple. In many ways, these two helped usher in the mobile world as we know it today being key members along with Steve Jobs and Ralph de la Vega in bringing the iPhone to market in 2007. Glenn and Eddy recall those negotiations between AT&T and Apple and the relationship between the two ever since…
  • The initial discussions between AT&T and Apple were anything but amicable. Neither company understood the other’s business and vision. Apple wanted to completely upend the way carriers operated with phones (iPhone, specifically, of course), but never once showed AT&T the iPhone till AFTER the deal was done. They reached common ground by understanding each others’ needs and metrics for success over time. They built world-disrupting models on personaltrust. You can see the strong trust and relationship in their interaction together on stage with the quips and remarks – fun to watch.
  • The first “OMG THIS IS GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD” moment came when Glenn and Ralph finally got to touch the iPhone (after negotiations, mere months before launch). The second occurred when Glenn and Ralph heard of the App Store when iPhone 3G was releasing. Eddy and Steve only thought there would be 100s of apps… they didn’t fathom the beast the App Store is today and how it’s created whole new businesses, industries, and more.
  • Other phone manufacturers at the time were hardware-focused. They saw software as a “necessary evil”. Steve and Eddy saw the opportunity in software to do so much more. As we know today, the iPhone is a great device, but the software and the App Store are the greater opportunities.
  • Apple actually started developing a tablet before the iPhone. However, after first pinching and zooming, they realized the bigger opportunity to implement touch on phones. They pivoted towards the iPhone immediately. In fact, AT&T’s phone specs didn’t have any place for touch… specs all illustrated buttons. Apple didn’t want any buttons (except maybe the one for Home).
  • Apple’s mission, as instilled by Steve, was to not make iterative improvements to solve problems. Instead, they wanted to hone in on large problems we allencounter, or build the platforms to allow others to solve more specific, complex problems. Eddy and Steve believed you can’t be iterative when it comes to innovation.
Michael Zito, General Manager of AT&T’s Smarter Cities, moderated a two-person panel of David Cummings, CEO of Atlanta Tech Village, and Charles Curran, Senior Director of Qualcomm Ventures. Michael was the keynote speaker of last year’s Mobility LIVE! Day 2, and speaking as a former entrepreneur who exited, Michael peppered Cummings and Curran on startups and venture investment, especially in Atlanta.
  • Atlanta is “best of breed” in many areas including internet security, marketing technology, logistics companies, finance technology, and payment processing. Having the 3rd highest concentration of Fortune 500 companies helps. Processing 70% of all payments in Georgia helps. Having Georgia Tech as a “secret weapon” helps.
  • There needs to be more involvement from the big companies around ATL (the Fortune 500s) to engage with startups and entrepreneurs to solve problems. There has been growing involvement, though, as seen in innovation centers from Coca-Cola, The Home Depot, AT&T, Georgia Pacific, and the like all at the Tech Squarecorridor.
  • Yik Yakis a great Atlanta consumer story which is very outside the norm – Atlanta is a big B2B startup hub. The founders of Yik Yak had the idea in college, launched in Oct. 2013, and had 60K college students by Feb. 2014. They’ve raised ~$70M with no revenue, and show no signs of slowing down as a major consumer success startup calling Atlanta home.
  • 0.3% of venture-backed startups make 95% of the profits… only 0.1% of startups raise venture capital. Yikes!
  • On advice to ATL entrepreneurs: Atlanta needs big hitters (those who have been very, very successful in the past) to support startups and entrepreneurs. Also, capital can be attained from anywhere with “mobile capital” àsmaller investments across geographies, greater meritocracy.
Consumer Products and Connect Retail panel moderated by Jeffrey Sawyer of Accenture. The panel included Tom Daly of The Coca-Cola Company, Tim Henderson of Microsoft, Nicu du Plessis of SportsMobile USA, and Lee Wagner of AT&T. The panel focused on how IoT is influencing their companies and their companies’ clients. 
  • There are many challenges to IoT and connecting everything. Starting “small” with one connected retail store is a challenge. However, the challenges get exponentially more difficult once you bring scale to the equation (think Moore’s Law). The largest hurdle is and will be security.
  • Retailers are trying many different technologies to add value to their businesses from social to mobile. Retailers like Macy’s, in particular, and Bloomingdales are leading the way with iBeacons, smart fitting rooms, interactive kiosks, and more.
  • As everything gets more and more connected, true value will be realized when there is greater interoperability (systems talking to one another). However, there will be a “creepy” factor where people will be fearful of “big brother”. The key to overcome this, however, will be the value-add. What was once feared in mobile banking before is now replaced with ubiquitous mobile banking adoption – value > creepy.
  • Example of ThyssenKrupp including sensors on their elevators. The company measured everything about their elevators from weight to cable tension to time from button-push and elevator movement. Given 40% of the world’s power consumption can be attributed to buildings and 10% of that energy consumed by elevators, ThyssenKrupp has the data to now lower meaningful energy consumption. ThyssenKrupp can now mitigate energy costs for its customers.

Mapping Mobile Commerce – From Online to Offline and Back panel moderated by Asif Khan, Founder and CEO of Location-Based Marketing Association. The panel included many media/ advertising executives including Duane Smith of 22squared, Kelly Hogue of Millennia Media, Ed King of MaxMedia, Robert Russell of UPS, and Steve Solari of Skyhook. With the large number of advertising agencies present, the panel was able to discuss technology in several environments. UPS added another element not necessarily from the traditional brick-and-mortar, but with location services for its trucks. Skyhook, then, provided insight as an infrastructure partner. And given Asif’s organization, there was a distinct locational interest to proceedings.

  • “What does location-based marketing mean to you?” was the first order of business. Across the panel, proximity/ location helps drive relevance of advertising content to viewers. Location can identify audiences and provide insights.
  • There are lots of technologies to identify location. Some are more accurate than others, but is the cost for more accuracy worth it? In stores, you can evaluate point-of-sale (POS) data, dwell time, compare campaigns of location-captured and non-location-captured, heat maps, etc.
  • As said earlier, location drives relevance. Retailers aim to drive traffic to their brick-and-mortar stores. Once there, the retailer must create an engaging customer experience to increase dwell time and drive conversion. But post-sale (or after the customer leaves), retailers need to re-engage customers to drive return visits or even visits to their online stores.
  • Evaluating technologies can be difficult. Many technologies sound good, but can be difficult to tie to specific use-cases. Also, scaling technologies like iBeacons can prove to be difficult. For tech considerations, retailers must ensure tactics and tech is directly tied to metrics. Also, retailers must consider privacy and security concerns.
  • An audience member looking to present business cases for retailers around retail technologies asked about metrics to evaluate the success of technology within the four-walls. A quick list: return visits, recency, frequency, distance traveled (from home to store), emotional, Net Promoter Score (NPS), foot traffic, online activities, and even social magnification (shares).

Jim Bailey, Global Managing Director of Accenture Digital Mobility, took on the daunting topic of Insights on the Future of Mobility all on his lonesome. Armed with slides of statistics after statistics, Jim painted a picture of a connected life… Or more specifically, what Accenture dubs “Living Services”.

  • Here are some numbers: 212B sensors by 2020. 50B connected devices by 2020. End of 2014, 80% of Fortune 1000 companies would have public APIs. 31EB (that’s exabytes = one billion billion bytes) per month in 2020. A BMW 5-Series uploads 1GB of data per 10 miles driven. 89% of businesses (across the globe) believe IoT will have a fundamental impact on their businesses, but only 7%have a comprehensive strategy for IoT.
  • 1990s was the internet and web era. The 2000s was the age of mobility. 2010’s ushers in living services. Living services is the combination of Digitization of Everything (products with built-in smart tech) + Liquid Consumer Expectations (cultural shifts raising our expectations for best-in-class experience across categories).
  • Living services requires three components: 1) Knowing your customer; 2) Flexing technology; 3) Design. Up till now, we have been in a “process-led” innovation world. Tomorrow, we’ll be in a design-led innovative world.
  • Can you guess what he views as the biggest risk to all of this? (It’s security.)

The Investors Perspective on Mobile was moderated by Dr. Phil Hendrix, Founder of immr. Hendrix spearheaded a diverse investor panel of Sig Mosley of Mosley Ventures, Blake Patton of Tech Square Ventures, and Alan Taetle of Noro-Mosley Ventures. The investors range in experience from 1 year and 5 deals to over 122 deals spanning 20+ years. Being an entrepreneur, I was excited about this one.

  • Given the disparity in experience, the investors have seen varied levels of investment evolution. Mosley, the most senior, recounted the much longer time to develop products and bring them to market compared to today. Costs are significantly cheaper… what would’ve cost $50M to build a successful company 10-20 years ago may only take $15M today.
  • In mobility (and indeed, in general), the investors see lots of opportunities. Blake is high on IoT. Alan is high on healthcare. Sig is high on virtual reality and security. To this point, the investors stuck to their “guidelines” 99% of the time… rarely did they break into unfamiliar territories. When/ if they did, investments usually didn’t end well.
  • As touched on before, the investors rarely played in new sandboxes where they never played before. The investors, with the exception of Alan, were reluctant to enter healthcare companies due to the complexities – capital intensive, regulations, insurance, etc.
  • There are goods and bads in ATL as an investor, of course. The investors explained ATL’s exponential growth in entrepreneurial activity to be a ripe condition for investments. Sig and Blake, especially, are early-stage investors, and have been very active. Long-term success of investment in ATL will depend on the ability of startups who attract early-stage funding to attract later-stage funding outside of ATL.
  • Motivations for investment in early-stage startups or startups, in general, was very straight-forward for this panel – the entrepreneur/ team. They test the passion of the entrepreneur as s/he will invariably “wander in the desert”. Will s/he find his/ her way and stay focused to see the company to success? The investors also test for coachability especially for early-stage entrepreneurs who need the guidance. Alan remarked: “Intelligence + Self-Awareness” over Experience.atlanta, startups, entrepreneurship, mobility, internet of things, investors, venture capital

The 3rd annual Mobility LIVE! Conference (the largest mobility technology conference in the southeast) took place at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta October 28-29th
Just wrapped up day 1 of this year’s Mobility LIVE! event held at the Georgia World Congress Center. This year marks the 3rd installment of the annual convergence of mobility leaders from all over. With over 1,200 registrations for this year’s event, it’s proven to be a big hit (3 times the number of the first event).
I attended the event last year, and like last year, I’ll hit the highlights of the sessions I attended. Last year’s event was heavy on mobile payments. This year, we’re concentrating on the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables– two areas I don’t know have much depth about, but do have a degree of depth.
But in addition to mobility, Mobility LIVE! showcases Atlanta’s unique and advantageous position at the heart of the mobile world. As one of the few, the proud, the native Atlantan, this event resonated proudly with me.
So let me start…

  • 3 trends in mobility: 1) Software and software development àBetter, faster, cheaper; 2) “Mobile is eating the world” – 10 years ago, we were using Amazon as the paradigm. Now, we’re using Uber and Airbnb; 3) Internet of Things – “Everything wants to be connected”. By 2020, 25-50B “things” to be connected
  • We’re in a “software defined” world. We don’t need to carry around a flashlight, calculator, or alarm clock. Instead, we just have a phone that does it all – the modern day Swiss-army knife
  • “Georgia Tech is a ‘crown jewel’ of Atlanta”. AT&T works closely with Georgia Tech on many initiatives including funding the first online Masters in Computer Science and other Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)

  • 24,000 technology jobs in Atlanta last year
  • 250 mobile startups in Atlanta
  • 18 Fortune 500 companies within and around the metro area
  • Stressed the need to not only attract millennials, but need to retain them

Panel Discussion on Mobility
  • Moderated by Reed Peterson, Global Head of Strategic Engagement at GSMA
  • Panel included Joe Mosele (VP Business Developent – IoT Solutions at AT&T Mobility), Edenilson Fleischmann (President and CEO of Indra USA), and Edgard Sammour (Sr. Product Manager at GE Digital Energy)
  • We’re still in a people-to-people world (social)
  • Getting to IoT, we will one day not even *think* about internet. It’ll be so ubiquitous
  • IoT: sensors à things communicate with one another àthings understand each other on their own
  • What’s missing? Sensors and power consumption. Think, especially, about the *things* that are currently not powered that will need to like water meters
  • Another opportunity/ challenge is interoperability. That is, how everything ties back together. It’s “communication intelligence”. Think: electronic medical records (EMR), fitness wearables, alerting doctors or 911 in an emergency event
  • A lot is still left to be done in security with IoT àleverage how mobile banking was once viewed, but now, it’s widely accepted
  • Security is driven by cost, too. It’s much different to secure thousands of devices versus millions or billions
  • Industrial IoT has an easier time to adopt due to the business case àefficiencies and cost of maintenance opportunities
  • Most exciting part of IoT? It’s the *THINGS*

  • Acquired Weather Underground 3 years ago that brought on 30-40K personal weather stations
  • TWC can forecast on-demand up to 2.2 BILLION precise locations (up from 2 million just a few years ago)
  • TWC draws data from barometric readings from phones, state Department of Transportation sensors, 650+ aircrafts
  • Bio-meteorology is the study of how weather affects plants, animals, people
  • Data without insights is useless… Chris cites how his heart rate jumped to 195 beats per min on a run… but what does that mean?

The Future of Wearables Panel

Lunch Keynote – Focus with Entrepreneurs and Startups Panel
  • Moderated by Jennifer Sherer (VP Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Metro Atlanta Chamber)
  • Panel included Brooke Beach (CEO of Kevy), Jon Birdsong (CEO of Rivalry), and Jesse Maddox (CEO of TripLingo)
  • Atlanta has done a good job bridging the two ecosystems of big companies and startups
  • To find and keep great talent, give team members ownership and ensuring they know they’re part of something big
  • Atlanta can help startups and entrepreneurs get more introductions to the larger companies
  • Getting customers enabled by: great relationships and making software easy to use and consumable – Birdsong
  • Is there a lack of capital in Atlanta? $500M was raised in ATL last year
  • There’s an increasing number of angel and seed funds in ATL àthis used to be the most difficult part of raising; now, it’s VC money
  • Atlanta has a brand awareness problem. However, Atlanta is ripe with startups who develop traction and have a solid business before raising capital
  • Atlanta’s startup ecosystem is vibrant and communal which fosters serendipitous connections

Wearables in Fitness and Healthcare Panel
  • Moderated by Chip Standifer, CTO at Virtual Design Group
  • Panel included Todd Charest (Chief Innovation and Product Officer at Ingenious Med), Joel Evans (VP Mobile Enablement at Mobiquity), and Francis Hoe (Commercial Operations at Misfit Wearables)
  • Asked if we’ve reached a “base” feature set of wearables, Francis doesn’t believe so. Instead, we’re still trying to define/ identify what a wearable is. There may, instead, be sub-categories such as wrist, patches, clothing, etc.
  • Today, 33% of wearable owners abandon their wearable within six months! 1 out of every 10 wearable owner in the U.S. owns one, but doesn’t even use it
  • Price and incentive (losing weight, being more productive at work, etc.) will be heavy influencers of wearable buyers tomorrow
  • Battery life of wearables is a massive opportunity
  • Interoperability of wearables is another big opportunity – how sensors on shoes, clothing, etc. communicate to show the whole picture
  • Are there other form factors beyond Wearables 1.0?
  • Asked if doctors are starting to trust the data, it’s based on liability understanding. Wearable data is yet another dataset that can reinforce prescriptions. The data still needs to all be connected and then be predictive
  • Wearables illustrate a back-end problem – connecting datasets across platforms… currently, there is no standardization, but there will need to be to be more medically supported

New Age of Video/ Media Consumed via Mobiles Devices Panel

Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Internet of Things Panel
  • Moderated by Rupen Patel, CTO at Mercurium
  • Panel included Jim Stratigos (Founder, CEO at Cognosos), Dennis Mehta (Managing Partner at Unity Group), and Dr. Deepak Divan (Georgia Tech and Varentec)
  • IDC cited market spend in IoT to hit $1.7T (yes, T = trillion) by 2020
  • IoT must span Software + Hardware + Analytics + Networking
  • Companies that best exemplify IoT today include those in automotive, business sector, industrial, and Nest (the only consumer story mentioned)
  • The best areas of IoT entrepreneurs can attack today include: high-value components like machinery (track these systems), sensors, and batteries
  • Wireless/ connectivity standardization was cited as a standard that can help IoT expand in the way TCP/ IP and HTTP elevated the internet
  • Emerging markets also represent significant opportunities for IoT
  • Toughest questions this panel of entrepreneurs faced from Board of Directors and Investors include: What are you going to be profitable (can be tough depending on ROI schedules between the market (utilities companies may have 10-year cycles) and investors (half-year cycles))? Why are you doing hardware?! (Competition fear à cost from certain markets)
  • Advice from the entrepreneurs: “just do it”; “jump now or sit on the sidelines and let others make the money”; and “convey your idea and value on one slide”
  • The analytics layer of IoT represents another golden opportunity
Thankful for a lot this Thanksgiving
Welp, it’s Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. No frills, pills, or chills with this post, but listing a few things I give thanks for this year.
  • Friends– I put friends first because I’ve had a couple really close friends who have been great supporters and motivators over the last year especially with Body Boss and Dee Duper. Everyone always seems highly engaged in what I’m working on, and offering some tremendous support including helping me learn how to program.
  • Family– Always able to be counted on, my family has largely been a great support system. Though, I do have family members who believe I’m bat-shit crazy for continuing on my low-income-pursuit-of-my-dreams. I know that in the end, they just want me to be happy and comfortable. We haven’t seen eye-to-eye in some other cases, but overall, they’ve been exemplary to lean on especially when I’m dying from food poisoning and bed-ridden. Yeah.
  • The Body Boss Fitness Team – Okay, so these guys are already pretty much captured in the above with Friends and Family (yes, they’re in both because that’s just how close we are). They’ve been a great team and are highly skilled at what they do. Everyone’s largely moved onto new paths, and it’s apparent the high quality these guys are with each joining some incredible startups even spearheaded by two of (who I call) the Atlanta Entrepreneurial All-Stars.  
  • Brookhaven Police Department – Shout out to the newly incorporated city of Brookhaven’s police department for responding to my 9-1-1 call back in May when I had a break-in at 4AM and woke with a stranger standing in front of me as I woke up — read “When a Break-In at 4AM Inspires 5 Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned“. The other night, I woke up thinking I heard something. False alarm, but it was enough for me to relive that night. Needless to say, I didn’t go back to sleep the rest of the night. Not going to lie – that night was scary, but glad the officers responded quickly and professionally.
Scene from “The Walking Dead”… the only picture I could really find of a legit guy hiding under the bed. This might’ve happened when I woke up to a break-in at 4AM
  • Atlanta’s Startup Community – I once read, “only entrepreneurs understand entrepreneurs.” True story. Not many people really understand the ups and downs of entrepreneurship, so it’s great to have a growing, vibrant startup community here in Atlanta that is tight-knit. I’ve met some great people ranging from startup employees, founders of all levels (early, growth, failed, successful sales), lawyers, etc. Most everyone has been happy to meet or introduce me to others. Very thankful for the connections.
  • Great Tools and Resources to Learn How to Code – I’ve only started programming in Apple’s Swift since August, and I feel I’ve been able to get up and running pretty… swiftly (get it?!). I’ve been able to pick up these new skills thanks to free YouTube channels, One Month [Rails], Stack Overflow, Parse, Facebook, etc. Especially for the platforms like Parse and Facebook, they’ve been very easy to integrate into.
  • Fantastic Professional Network From a Life Before (and kinda still) – Every once in a while, I need to fill up the coffers to keep my entrepreneurial journey going. Though to an even greater degree, I’ve wanted/ needed to know I’m still capable of doing great work, even if the startups haven’t quite reflected that. So, it’s been great to be able to pick up the phone and tell prior colleagues that I’m up for some consulting work, and every one of them has been eager to bring me on asking, “How many hours do you want? When can you start?” I’ve been fortunate through my prior life as a consultant to have formed some stellar relationships and built up good, adaptable skills.
There’s a number of others who I’m leaving out, and for that, apologies, but know you’ve been helpful on my journey. The ones I put above are those I’ve been thinking about for a while now, and many are likely to be staples to my Thanksgiving posts year in and year out. However, it’s good to call them out anyways, and thank them. Hopefully, this won’t be news to others if I’ve shown my appreciation throughout the last year.
And finally, THANK YOU! for reading my blog posts. If you have any questions or comments, I’m always up for hearing or connecting. Just give me a shout either via Twitter @TheDLuor email me at
Who/ what are you thankful for this Thanksgiving? How are you showing appreciation not just on this holiday, but in your interactions?

John Wooden, legendary UCLA coach who won 10 NCAA championships in a 12-year period including seven in a row once, said one of the most resounding things I’ve ever heard:

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

I think I’ve heard a variation of this from somewhere that goes on, “If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, you must have time to do it a second time.”

I looked up local entrepreneur-turned Atlanta hero, celebrity, and savior (for startups and entrepreneurs, at least) David Cummings on his blog for any tidbits of sage advice.  I searched for “features” and found a few, and really appreciated one particular post — “Consider Future Manual Labor When Adding New Features“.

In essence, Cummings talked about realizing the ramifications of building new features, especially when considering the manual labor downstream.  Pushing for features to go out the door quickly for testing is part and parcel to the Lean Startup process, but there must also be a careful consideration about the effects downstream as well.

As we build Body Boss, we’ve come to realize there were a few features that were just wholly cumbersome to use, especially speaking with coaches.  Each time we considered new features, or even existing ones, we have to take a careful look at whether or not we’re really addressing the problem in addition to if we’re just putting a bandaid.  Because in the end, our customer-partners will tell us if they don’t like the new bandaid vis-a-vis complaints or low adoption.

However, if our customer-partners continue to clamor for the better, simpler design or robust feature, it signals that it’s not that the feature is poor, it’s that the implementation is poor.  Much like Cummings blogged about, as we build out features (you, too), careful consideration should be done to understand whether or not the actual implementation is just a bandaid or if it goes to actually building a better feature, and in these days especially, is the feature SIMPLE???  Simple not just for the users, but also for you the Company — the builders.  Simplification leads to higher adoption.

So going back to Coach Wooden, if you don’t build your features and your product right the first time (and you’ll know it), when will you have time?  If you hear your customers clamoring for it, but they aren’t using it, chances are, you haven’t implemented it the right way.  Look at it from your customers’ perspectives, and if you start struggling with the feature, chances are, too, that your customers have the same hang-ups.  Let’s just hope that when opportunity comes knocking that you have the chance to still fix it the right way; else, your customers may just look for someone else that IS willing to do it the right way.

What are your thoughts on building out a product or a new feature?  Have you had trouble where you’ve built features, and haven’t seen it adopted despite customers wanting it?  If so, how, and how did you remedy it?