Pivot and pursue your goals


“A bend in the road is not the end of the road unless you fail to make the turn”
Dr. Shirley Jackson

I have had the unpleasant entrepreneurial experience of getting it wrong the first time. 

I spent my initial seed capital of $150,000 on developing highly customized multimedia applications and did not have a dime in profit to show for it. Investors were threatening to sue. 

Our landlord had given us an eviction notice. And we did not have enough money to meet another payroll. 

We needed to create a service that delivered a stable reoccurring revenue stream. 

I was about to leave my 200 square foot office one afternoon when I heard a radio broadcast that transformed our company from a struggling start-up into a market leader. 

A popular local radio host was complaining on the air about the deluge of paper files in his office and his inability to store them. A disgruntled county court employee from Sac County Iowa was listening to the broadcast and called into the station to tell the radio host his courthouse was drowning in paper court records. 

Fortunately, I was lucky enough to stumble onto the realization that the same CD’s we were using to store voice, text and, video for multimedia applications, should also be used for paper record storage and retrieval. 

I called the District Administrator in that county courthouse to arrange a pilot to electronically store court documents onto CD’s. 

I was able to quickly demonstrate to him that it would be safer and more cost efficient for the county to use its current budget to store their court records electronically. 

Our data storage and retrieval technique spread to courthouses and companies throughout the state. 

Bottom Line: "Very" "Very" few gets it right the first time. You have to unrelentingly feed your will to pursue your goals with the highest level of intensity and passion. You cannot relax, relent, or be satisfied until you meet your goals, answer your challengers and silence your doubters. This is your back up plan when you don't get it right the first time!

Bruce Hunter is the Executive Director of the Office of Intellectual Property Optimization (IPO) at Rensselaer.