People often ask me what types of clients we work with. The simple answer is, “We work with startups.”
That simple answer is a bit misleading, though. As it happens, we work with a lot of early-stage companies, but we also work with later stage companies, public companies, Fortune 500 companies, and even governments. When I talk about startups, I’m using Eric Ries’s definition:
A startup is a human institution designed to deliver a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.
We of course still do the same kind of old school agile development that was my stock in trade when I was at Pivotal Labs, and we definitely do a lot of work with early stage companies, often right from the time they receive their first funding. We really like working with early-stage companies, as that’s where a ton of innovation happens. When what you’re building is the core of a whole new business, every decision counts. When you’re small, you feel the impact of every decision, and Lean Thinking in some ways comes easier when the impact of a wrong decision can be company ending.
But there are a lot of smart things happening in big companies as well. And no company is so big that it is immune from changes in its environment. The fact is, big business and governments are learning a lot from the innovator mindset, or are ignoring the lessons of innovation at their peril.
What our engagements have in common is innovation: When you’re breaking new ground, flexibility and fast feedback are the keys to success. The same principles of innovation that apply to new companies also apply at scale, and in real terms, the stakes are even higher, as are the rewards.
The other thing they have in common is a rock-solid implementation, ready to scale to the customer demand we’ve helped our customers to validate.