Week 6 – Steering the Ship
Hope all is going well and everyone enjoyed St. Patrick’s Day yesterday (both my Irish friends and colleagues and those who pretend to be Irish so they can enjoy the adult beverages). This is not a big day for me as: 1) I’m not Irish and 2) I am not a big adult beverage consumer. I feel the same way about Cinco de Mayo. To me, March is one of the toughest months. There are no holidays during this month so there are no days off (yes -even when you own the company, you like to get a day off). For my U.S. readers, we are also dealing with losing an hour of sleep due to Daylight Savings Time. I don’t know about you, but my sleep schedule gets so thrown off even it is only an hour. It has become worse as I have grown older (not sure why). It will take me about two weeks to adjust. Even though March normally feels like a long month, it is flying by quickly. Spring will be before you know it!
I wanted to give you an early heads up (as a loyal blog reader) that we will be announcing some key additions to the company’s advisory boards in the next few weeks. We are always excited about having new people joining us on our journey. There is nothing better than onboarding great quality people that truly believe in your mission and technology. These advisory positions are important as these folks provide an independent viewpoint as to where the company is doing well, where it could do better and insights as to how we can move the company forward into the future. I am always one to seek out opinions since I don’t know everything (surprising I know, right 😊). This announcement will likely come in the week of April 4th. As we get closer, I will let you know the official date of the announcement. There will likely be a few more announcements in the upcoming months as we look to strengthen our company in several key areas.
As we continue to transform the company, I cannot help to think about where the company started to where it is now. Even more specifically, how I have evolved over time. To be honest, when we first started the company, I was first and foremost a scientist that was trying to figure out how to run a business. It was such a crash course and we were trying to learn on the fly. There was so much that I didn’t realize I didn’t know. Only now do I look back and wonder how did we get past the first several years. I think that getting grant funding from the government when we started helped give us some time to learn the ropes. We also didn’t have to worry about employees since it was just us. We were also forced to do everything ourselves, and that baptism by fire made us tackle things that if had we thought about it, we would have turned tail and ran away.
I have never been scared to ask questions (at least for the business, on the personal side Tina handles that), get people’s advice and try to make the best decision possible. I have met many people over the 18+ years of the company’s existence. Most people have left a lasting impression, leaving behind knowledge and information that I continue to use, likely something that they will never know. I cannot thank them enough. A small group of these people showed me, unintentionally, of what not to do. I thank them too but for different reasons. There are some points over the years where I let some people’s viewpoints overshadow my own instincts. I think these experiences made me realize that I can lead and have to trust my own intuition. That doesn’t mean we have not made mistakes over the years. On the contrary, we made quite a few. Where we’ve been fortunate is that our mistakes did not result in a major issue. My fear has always been that since I didn’t have a business degree that I could not effectively lead. Over the past 3 to 4 years, I came to sort of an epiphany that I need to lead and, for good or for bad, I need to drive my vision. I tell you this because I want to let people know that if you are thinking about doing something crazy like starting a company like we did, there’s hope for you.
The reason I went off on this tangent is that I am thinking about where the company is heading and it is a course that we have set. We are steering the ship. As I said, for good or for bad, we are heading down this path. I am hopeful that based on some of the feedback we are getting plus all of the activity in the company, this decision will pay off. Many years ago, I still would have been trying to spend as much time in the lab as possible and let the business sort of take care of itself. I have learned that the company needs the scientist to take a back seat and my focus needs to be on making the business the priority. I have made more slide decks, summaries, etc. over the past 2 years than over the previous 16 years. All of this effort does not assure success, but we are giving this company everything we can. As they say for an athlete, we are leaving it all out there. I am excited about where we are at, the team we have with us on this journey and the support of so many people.
Make sure to check out our next #FactualFriday March 25th. We’ll see you back here on April 1st (not kidding, April Fool’s Day).