Learning to Celebrate Success & Blow Your Own Trumpet!
They say the British in general are far too polite to be so vulgar as to celebrate success. They say the Welsh do not blow their own trumpets enough and that we would rather knock down our champions than build them up. They say you cannot create a successful storage software company outside the valley. They say big companies only buy from big companies. They say, they say, they say…
Whilst it’s true that the Brits, in general, are very polite, queue nicely and celebrate with a nice tidy handclap, we have over the last decade learned that showing emotion is a good thing.
It’s true that the Welsh do not celebrate their success to a global audience, we believe that modesty is a virtue but sadly modesty does not attract inward investment for new customers. We can, however, blow trumpets when the occasion arises.
It’s true that it’s a lot harder to build a software company selling B2B products when you do not have the resources, expertise, and cash that flows around the Californian Valley. What we do have though is a different set of valleys (green and lush ones) that bred in some a determination to succeed, an ambition for more and a never say Dai (die) attitude. Being based in the UK (may not be true for long!) can be most beneficial in that most of the world’s content creators have a presence here. We are in the UK and people buy from people.
It’s true that big companies used to only buy from big companies until some of the biggest of big companies started to die as they lacked the vision, agility, and passion that comes from a smaller more agile, more passionate entities with tonnes of Vision. Saying that there are companies and publicly funded bodies, in the UK today who prefer to send business outside the UK and not help grow/nurture local talent. It baffles me but it proves there is work to do in order to convince the ultra risk averse that their daily job will be more rewarding by taking on board new and exciting partnerships. We will be pointing them here
from now on to find out why companies buy from Object Matrix.
A “What Constitutes Success” Poll?
- Selling your company for a billion pounds, hitting the beach and writing tonnes of motivational drivel on Linkedin and Twitter every single week?
- Creating something from nothing, sustaining it for over 14 years, regularly employing many highly skilled staff and having the world’s largest companies trusting you with their valuable assets?
OK, I’m going for both personally. Sometimes getting out of bed on time is a success to be celebrated! Joking aside the one thing OM have been terrible at is celebrating success. When BT first became a customer did we hit the champagne or take some time out to reflect? Neither. Instead, Mark and I opted for the Morgan’s Monster breakfast in the local Caerphilly cafe. Just to be clear a monster breakfast is 4 of everything: 4 sausages, 4 pieces of bacon, 4 pieces of black pudding, 4 eggs, a bucket of chips (yes chips, proper UK chips!) .. you get the picture, more “Bloated on Castle Street” than “Wolves of Wall Street”. We finished it and it finished us!
One of the reasons I am writing this post is because every success should be celebrated. Life is too short to not allow yourself a pat on the back, ring a bell or go for a pint/cake/coffee to celebrate. It’s good for you and it’s good for your team also. Too often errors are raised, discussed and dissected to death leading to drooped shoulders and stressed faces. Rarely are the good things acknowledged or celebrated. My recommendation is: celebrate and learn to recognise your achievements then feel free to tell the world about it.
Some History/Trumpet Blowing
Object Matrix was started in 2003 by Jon, myself and Francisco.
Like a bunch of geeks, we spent 3 years building a product without knowing how to sell it.
When we did get a chance to sell it we were rubbish at it. OK, I was rubbish at it.
Broke, and in desperation, we decided to focus. Focus on a market, focus on a territory.
We decided if you cannot sell locally you have no hope globally. Sell local, think global.
We brought on a sales pro who taught me a lot about the sales process and asking brass neck questions. Mr Andrews* helped me solve my very British problem of asking directly for something. DO YOU HAVE BUDGET AND WHEN CAN WE SPEND IT? Mark and I fell out when he left OM, all his fault of course! As with all small companies passions run high and opinions differ. A painful lesson to learn is you will not get it right every time, draw a line under stuff sometimes and give credit where it is due.
We were desperately early to market with our technology and our commercial models. We had APIs in 2005 and a software only model for storage before it was healthy to do so.
We stopped trying to be all things to all people. Saying no was a tough thing to do but again it brought more focus and better results in the long run.
Pioneers generally get remembered for suffering or dying in the act of pioneering. We did our very best in this vein.
Some Very Un-British-Like Boasting (for which I apologise profusely)
We constantly innovate and lead in the market. Being agile makes that possible.
We created the second commercially visible object storage platform and the first to run on any hardware.
We are leading the charge on DCG (Digital Content Governance)
showing it’s what you can do with the data that matters and not just how it is protected.
We founded the O.W.N (Open Workflow Network) with cool partners like Cantemo
. Fed up with industry dinosaurs dictating workflows and partnerships we decided to make our own gang but one that was open to all. The industry has become a lot more open as a result but there are still some sticking to the past.
We also co-founded the WIG (Workflow Innovation Group)
in 2009. October this year will see broadcast and post-production professionals from across Europe coming to Cardiff once more to discuss video workflow challenges. The same in New York in November.
We went from 2 customers in 2009 to over 120 today across all continents.
It took us 7 years to deploy our first combined petabyte. Last month we sold 2 to one customer.
The founders went from no pay to pay. This is a good step that I highly recommend.
<WARNING: EVEN MORE GRATUITOUS SHOWING OFF SECTION>
The world’s largest telecoms companies,
The world’s largest banks,
The world’s largest broadcasters,
The world’s largest news organisations,
The world’s largest content creators,
The world’s largest energy companies,
All trust Object Matrix Digital Content Governance platforms to ensure their data is available even when bad stuff happens.
I am very proud to label that a success. It might have taken 14 years, a shed load of mistakes and some new grey hairs but yes we have done a great job… so far.
Off to hide under a rock now.
Thanks for reading
* If you are a small tech company needing some sales help/consultancy (from the Netherlands now) or you need to break into the EMEA market then do get in touch with Mark and you might get ‘some’ of his time