The one true entrepreneur secret

When we wanted to add a VC perspective to UNTETHER, there was one name at the top of the list. Rick Segal has been a longtime patron of mobile startups and is notable for being an entrepreneur himself. He’s also a great writer. Expect more to come.

You can read thousands of blogs packed with tons of advice when it comes to being an entrepreneur. Lots of it is good; some of it is even amazing.

In 30+ years of doing my thing from U.S. Air Force dude, Big Company Dude (Aetna), Lovingly Evil Empire Dude (Microsoft), Venture Dude (JLA), and A Number of Startups Dude (currently Fixmo), I’ve zeroed in on the one thing that consistently separates the wins from the losses: responsiveness.

Moving faster than the other guy is ‘duh’ but being truly responsive goes beyond just a speed thing. It’s being deadly efficient with email – short with sweet being optional. It actually is responding to email when you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, sitting in a middle seat flying cross-country if it means Wi-Fi on the plane. Being a maniac about checklists and responding always in an under promise, over deliver manner.

Being responsive means watching your people and immediately responding to a situation. Don’t “order it”, go get it. While you are bragging about finding the used whiteboard on eBay, nobody is writing on the whiteboard. Yell at me about saving money and I’ll nod in agreement while in the same breath I’ll tell you to immediately go get a roll of butcher paper and nail it to the wall. People around you need to know you move fast and you will respond. Your customers know you have a mobile device and expect an immediate answer, respond. Set the pace for your team. Be responsive. Fix the coffee machine now, go get soda for the fridge, now, while emailing customers, etc, etc.

You get the point. Killer products, check. Killer people, check. Money, check. Slow response, death.

Be responsive.

About the author

Rick Segal

Rick Segal, is the co-founder of Fixmo. Prior to starting Fixmo, Mr. Segal was a partner at JLA Ventures, a large Canadian Venture Capital fund. Mr. Segal was President and Chief Executive Officer of Microforum, a leader in providing integrated e-business solutions in a wide array of industry verticals.

Mr. Segal joined Microforum in July 2000 from Chapters Online Inc., a leading Canadian e-commerce company, where he held the position of President and Chief Operating Officer (1997-2000). Mr. Segal began working with Chapters Inc. in 1997 as a consultant on the technical development of the Chapters e-commerce venture. Based on this successful collaboration, he was named the President of Chapters Online in August 1998.

Prior to joining Chapters Online, Mr. Segal was a partner at the international firm of TMS Consulting from1996 to 1998. Mr. Segal worked at Microsoft Corporation in Redmond, Washington from 1992 until 1996 as Director of technical services for the Internet Customer Unit. Mr. Segal is also the author of four books on Network Management and Windows software development.

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