Dry-erase Vision

OwnWebNow
3 Comments

My company has grown remarkably over the past few years, at times unfortunately way ahead of its capacity, and I am always asked about how our ideas come to fruition. “Do you just pull it out your a$$ Vlad?”

Truth is, every concept we have is drawn out. Out of all the brilliant ideas we have, all are either born or killed on the 25 feet of whiteboard space in an awkwardly large conference room we didn’t know what to do with. The entire team is encouraged to doodle and we all have our own whiteboards in our offices (some more than one) on which we draw out our proposals and bring to one another for review / ideas / suggestions.

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At times these drawings sit on the wall for days or weeks. We keep on adding to them. Everyone significantly contributes to them at times because it’s sometimes hard to visualize and beat down everything until you see it.

We approach business this way.

We draw out business concepts and ideas this way. Not just software. The screen above is of our onboarding process. The screen below is for our marketing workflows that we’re arming our clients with so they can demonstrate how the service functions:

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Once we’ve agreed on what we’re doing, we let creative people have a crack at it. In marketing, this is done by Stephanie Hoffman. In web and design, this is done by Judy Scmidt. We go through the doodles and they make it beautiful and consumable. Here is an end result:

Own Web Now Onboarding Process

Check it out live at: http://go.ownwebnow.com

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One thing that is very hard to convey to the young staff is how to deal with failure. Not all ideas are winners and sometimes even great things get killed by the most unlikely and unforeseen of circumstances.

The biggest challenge in business is picking yourself up when you’ve lost and moving on. The 25’ monster board is the test of resolve, consistency and ability to see beyond the problems. The goal is to constantly be drawing and focusing on the progression – dealing with what we’ve got now, what we’ll have 6 months from now and what won’t see the light of day in a year or longer. Nothing breeds creativity like giving yourself time to look at the same problem over and over.

As you’ve read here, and heard from me on the road, 2009 was hard for me personally. I had to deal with a product that wasn’t quite 100% because we spent so much time developing ExchangeDefender 5. All the while I got beaten, bruised, cursed out and called names but I didn’t sit home and let it crush me, I beat up the board hard and now we are where we are. Kicking a$$.

I am the most optimistic about our future than I’ve ever been. Even when I had big dreams, $0 money and no idea just how dumb I was 🙂

And now to 2010…

The board is blank. We finished clean and strong and now…..

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Our goal in 2010 is triple digit growth. 100%.

My goal for you is the same – if you aren’t already a partner and haven’t spoken to me, I encourage you to do it today. Right… now. In 2010, we will push our partners like we have never even pushed ourselves and it’s a challenge I am looking forward to like a fat kid looks at desert in a buffet line. Game… ON!

3 Responses to Dry-erase Vision

  1. Hey guys, I love the way you’ve communicated the onboarding process and that you’ve got plenty of whiteboards to share ideas.

    I would question your use of the word ‘failure’ since the staff have instead achieved by being part of the creative process; it just happens that their idea isn’t appropriate and maybe useful for something else instead. It looks like you all have your work cut out for 2010! Best of luck with it. Susanne

  2. karlp says:

    Love the boards. We have a few. Whenever my daughter’s in the office she wants to erase and clean them. “Absolutely not.”

    We drew up a board at a client’s office last week and uploaded a picture of it into Autotask so the techs could understand what we’re doing.

    Love your attitude toward business.

    Also love the 100% growth target. Let’s start a club.

  3. Chris Knight says:

    Interesting that with all the technology we have, we’ve yet to beat the simplicity, elegance and cost effectiveness of a whiteboard, whiteboard marker and an eraser.

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