Rob Saric

Software entrepreneur.
Unrelenting optimist.
rob@saric.ca

Good Things Happen to Good People

The Journey of Building a Startup (Part 2 in a Series of 4)

Comic book heros

This story starts shortly after my sophomore year of high school. It’s about human potential, serendipity and why I believe that good things happen to good people.

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Building Something from Nothing

The First Leg of Our Startup Journey (Part 1 in a series of 4)

dreams

Our story started a little over a year and half ago after a phone call.

It was my high school football coach, Harry Lumley, on the other line. “Rob, I think there might be something you’d be interested in.” – Harry said. “There is a coach from Texas named Doug that has done some incredible work putting together a football learning program for players on his team and coaching staff. I’m flying down to Dallas to meet with him and check it out. We’ll need someone technical to get this online, and the first person I thought of was you. You should call him.”

I have a tremendous admiration for Harry, as do many of the athletes that he has coached over the past 40 some odd years. Harry is what I refer to as old-school. His coaching style, attitude and success on the field are directly related to how much respect he earns from his players, peers and fellow coaches. He truly epitomizes the word integrity. Our teams traditionally are neither the biggest, fastest nor most talented, but we are one of Canada’s most successful high school football programs because we have an unrelenting will to win, not just for ourselves, but for each other.
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Why You Need Alignment and Focus to Produce Great Work

lioninacage

When you arrived at work this morning, were you excited? Did you wake up motivated and couldn’t sleep because you were so pumped to start your day? Do you love what you do? What about the people you work with – do they make your day better?

For those of you lucky enough to say YES to most of those questions, you understand what it feels like to work somewhere that matters with people that matter to you. For you, work is not merely a job, but rather a passion with purpose. You know what it feels like to be challenged, and to do fulfilling work. There is no 9-to-5 in your life. It’s doing whatever it takes to do great work, and helping your team succeed.
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Surround Yourself With Genuinely Good People

steve-irwin-quote

Several years ago I remember sitting across the desk listening to my manager give me a lecture about my priorities. My Dad had been battling some serious health issues, and my employer thought it was important for me to understand that this job is your priority. Obviously, our priorities were drastically misaligned. I realized there is no value (nor time) in life to give considerable thought to inconsiderate people. Shortly after that inflection point, thankfully, I moved on to blaze my own trail as an entrepreneur.

I spent a tremendous amount of time evaluating what I want in life, and designing a plan.  As, Jim Rohn said, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” In most cases, this is very true. The choices you make now, the people you surround yourself with, they all have the potential to affect your life and directly influence the quality of your days.
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Respect Is King

respect is king

Last week I had the opportunity to pitch a startup project that I’m proud to be a part of. We had selected a small group of investment partners that were genuinely good people. Beyond the potential for funding, we knew that these individuals would be great champions for our company.

After the meeting, I wanted to share a few thoughts I had on the importance of mutual respect. Whether you recognize it or not, all successful small-to-medium sized businesses, regardless of what they do or sell, have one thing in common: their owners/founders know how to build and maintain authentic relationships.
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Startups Are Hard

startups-are-hard

It has been nearly 4 years since we started the journey as independent operators of a business. Meaning that we started from nothing, and our only sources of income came from the value we generated for clients. We ventured into the business world as 3 software entrepreneurs, who had experience working with companies and building things, and now we’re a team of 8. Most of our revenue (~80%) comes from our managed services that we provide to large enterprise software companies supporting their sales enablement and execution strategies. We’re entirely self-funded, we have a respectable revenue per employee ratio and I’m certainly proud of how much we have accomplished bootstrapping and working hard.
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Careers Today Are Patchworks

careerpatchworks

Freelancers make up a third of U.S. workers and Millennials will have 15 to 20 jobs over the course of their lives. To stay competitive in this economy, you will need to continually disrupt and reinvent yourself. And if you don’t believe in your own abilities, no one else will. You need to buy into your own story and define your identity.

This, of course, makes us all in the business of sales. We are selling ourselves, our skill set, our vision, every day — when we’re looking for a new job, angling for a promotion, meeting a new client, competing for new business, etc. And as any sales professional knows, you’ve got to use and love your product.
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Entering Beast Mode

In the late 80’s there was a video game developed by Sega called Altered Beast.  The player(s) control a centurion, and as you make your way through the levels fighting creatures you begin to progressively increase in both strength and size. When you get to a certain point near the end of the level, the centurion turns into a beast, hence the term, “beast mode”. It’s a state in the game, where you are fully powered up, close to invincible and can dominate your opponents.
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Don’t Give Me a Piece of Bubble Gum and Try To Call It a Meal

Forced perspective is a photographic illusion generally used to make two or more objects seem to be a different size than their actual size. A classic example of this is when you see a picture of someone pushing against the Leaning Tower of Pisa and it seems like the person is actually supporting it from falling. Forced perspective, however, doesn’t only apply to photography in my opinion. I find that it also occurs quite often in the business world.
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Treat Contractors Well

We’ve all had them.

They come in all shapes & sizes: needy ones, demanding ones, ones that know too much, ones that know too little, ones that don’t pay – most of us have experienced at least some form of these problematic issues when dealing with clients.

This is not one of my personal rants about the challenges with providing great services to clients but rather, what patterns tend to exist in truly successful client and service provider partnerships. (Note that I purposely emphasized the word ‘partnership’.)
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Posted on January 22, 2013 in Leadership by Rob Saric
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