In Bill Gross’ TED talk, he cites timing as a key factor in the success or startup. A great idea, married with great execution, is still reliant on the macro trends that can either carry it, or leave it dead in the water.
This has played out for us in meaningful ways. While we’ve been investing deeply in building the best business we can, we’ve had to accept that much of our success – or challenges – are due to the nature of the world around us.
When we first entered our primary market, the industry was thirsting for a fresh CRM. We didn’t realize it back then, but our ability to quickly gain some notoriety, earn the affection of key influencers and customers, and face minimal competitive resistance was largely due to the landscape circa 2012. That window was short, as since we’ve gained a foothold, I’ve seen a number of other entrants pop up. If we started Contactually in 2014, I do not believe we’d have made nearly the impact we’ve had.
Strategic shifts in the company have also come at a perfect time. In some cases, we only realize this in hindsight. In others, we are able to detect early that something around us has changed, and quickly react to it.
Timing has also been critical for me, personally. Our company has evolved to the point where much of my role is business development in the industry. Very rarely do I control the timing of the opportunities that the team works on. My relationship marketing ensures that, when the time comes, that we get the call. More times than I can count, it results in the late-night phone call, the unprompted introduction, or the hallway conversation, that our proactive efforts would never have yielded.
We’ve been making more concerted attempts at trying to read the currents – what is happening right now, how that’s changing, and what might be happening in the foreseeable future. This ends up falling heavily on me – an exciting proposition. Rather than being reactive, how can we understand what could be happening, and set our sails in the right direction?