Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Build Something That Matters: 8 Things that Drive Our Business

When you listen to venture capitalists, investors and budding investment hopefuls they use the term Lifestyle Business as though it was a 17th century plague to be avoided at all costs.

Well – maybe it is, (from the investor’s point of view) but that discussion feels like bell-bottom pants and a tie-dye shirt at a Republican Convention: Out of place and dated.

People run businesses for all kinds of reasons these days. In my experience most are motivated to do something that matters and to do it in a way that creates value for employees, customers and investors. It is not a lifestyle business just because you don’t put investors first! Some of the greatest success stories of the last decade prove this point.

With the start of our business, Innotrieve, the first thing we did was develop a simple statement about why we were starting a business. Here is what we said we wanted to accomplish:
  1. Put our technology to work in an area that is interesting and solves an important problem
  2. Respect and support the freedom for individual employees to work the way they work best
  3. Build products that allow us to work in areas we are interested in
  4. Do interesting work that can have an impact on the way people work
  5. Leverage artificial intelligence to make work more more interesting, and more empowering
  6. Extend our ideas and intellectual property through valuable products
  7. Build something a lot of people can gain value from
  8. Be an important member of “The next Industrial Revolution:” The digital/data revolution
I don’t know if these principles make us a lifestyle business in the eyes of some investors, but I do know that my partner and I are motivated by a range of interests, and that won’t change. To build a better business, you build something that matters to you.