One of the best pieces of advice I got, when I started my own company, was: “Don’t be tempted down side streets.”
This caution was given by a car trade entrepreneur, not surprisingly, and I’ve always remembered it. It can be easy, in the early days of a business, to find a revenue stream and pursue it, without considering how that will impact the bigger picture.
But what if you’re on the wrong road?
When do you know the difference?
The chat I had with Grant MacLennan highlighted all this to me. He got in touch after reading the Bad Dinosaur article, as he operates in a similar space with Glasgow-based Neu Studio.
I’d asked Russ then, and I asked Grant now, “why not take all your tech expertise and make your own millions?” Turns out that’s quite a tricky question.
“When I was 15/16 I loved making stuff, then I did an economics degree and went into investment banking. I hated it and started coding in my evenings and weekends,” he said.
He quickly realised he could make a decent living “making stuff” and worked with some pretty big players, like Tennents (with the “Binder” app).
Neu Studio was the result of all that experience and a partnership with Jamie Sunderland, who had a design background, and they worked on big client projects until they realised they’d strayed off their path.
“We looked at these amazing projects and asked ourselves, do we want to be a big agency or a nimble studio?” he said.
There’s a buzzword entrepreneurs use: “pivot”. The joke is that it’s code for failure, but I’ve never accepted that. I think it takes a brave person to look at a picture, realise it’s not right and act to change it.
Grant and Jamie are keen to focus on building products, from the ground up, and have launched OneRoof. If you’ve ever had issues with a factor, you’ll love it. It’s a free tool to help individuals, neighbours and property managers stay on top of building issues.
I think what’s interesting about Neu Studio’s approach is that they recognise their skill is in building a product, not necessarily the client services that go with being the tech partner of a large organisation. It’s such a fast-moving space that this approach makes perfect sense to me. There’s room for lots of different studios, agencies and developers in the enormous tech space – it’s just deciding which road you want to speed down.
What do you reckon? Drop me a line: firstname.lastname@example.org