5 Things I Learned Trying to Run a Startup for a Year
December 15, 2014
By Assaf Keren
In the next few weeks I will be leaving SenseCy, a company that I have help create in the last year. Tomorrow is going to be my one year anniversary in the company and when I look back at the things we have accomplished in the last year, my heart is filled with pride. It was not an easy year and definitely not a calm one but in the time that passed since the formation of SenseCy as a brand at the RSA 2014 Conference in San Francisco we have managed to tackle some serious challenges and accomplish great things.
In this year we have managed to create a brand that was unknown until then and bring it all the way to a Gartner market report. In this year we have managed to sign some very strategic contracts and establish working relationships with both large and small organizations around the globe. Most of all, though, we have managed to prove, to ourselves and to the market, that Cyber Threat Intelligence is something that has value to CISOs, SOCs, CIOs and other managers. We managed to prove that a small company from Israel, having the right set of mind, can contribute, even where other, larger companies have already been and tried and we managed to prove that SenseCy can and should be part of this market.
In the last year (and actually, in the last 6 years in which I am an active entrepreneur) I have learned a lot, from both failure and success. Here are five things which I think are extremely important for any start-up company:
Focus - Any company, let alone a start-up, has to focus. Focus comes in many variations - focus on the product, focus on the market, focus on the next steps in hand and a lot more. In the end it's the job of the founders to create this focus by guiding the work process, the marketing and the strategy of the company in order to advance the single thing that the company is doing.
People - As a manager, I tend to be a very difficult recruiter. It's a problem because a company needs people and too high a bar can create workforce issues. However, after I have hired someone, I tend to give them two things - space and autonomy. I have learned that micro-managing is a people-killer. An empowered employee is always worth more than that what they are getting paid.
Change - One of the things that happen, usually after three or four months into actually delivering your product, is that you find that you were wrong. It might have been the product itself, the pricing, the way things have been marketed or how code was written. However, change is a blessed thing under this context. Sharpening the message and rewriting code usually ends in a better message and better code.
Highs and Lows - It has been said before - life is a roller-coaster ride and in start-ups it's even more felt. One day can be an ultimate high and the other can be a complete disaster. Handling these without obliterating your fellow employees (and your personal life) is a must.
Drive - Perhaps the point that encompasses the message of all of the other four. There has to be passion, passion for doing the thing that you're involved in right now and nothing else. It connects with focus, as focus delivers passion. It connects with people since people help us drive ourselves and our companies and it helps us deal with both changes and the highs and lows.
All in all, the last year has been one of the best years in my professional career, working with a cyber intelligence operation that is very unique globally. I wish SenseCy and the people behind it great success as our ways part and hope that what we've started will continue to thrive.
About the Author: Assaf is co-founder of SenseCy, a cyber secuirty company. You can follow him HERE
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