Disruptive Companies, Passionate Teams

I’ve come to the realization that I like companies that try to disrupt a market. Whether it be phones, IoT devices, or software. Love rooting for the next up and coming success story, even if it means some growing pains along the way. I tend to be a very passionate person when it comes to technology.  I find myself pouring over details, specs, and features with each new thing. It’s rewarding to engage their teams over the details, as you get to see their drive and dedication.

The products trying to disrupt the market are often ones that bring in their own special flare. Even though they may not offer all the same features as the industry leaders, you can tell they are making a difference through the details. The communications coming out of these teams show their passion.  They don’t often generate hostility. As a result, their message tends to be softer and they normally try to rally others to join them.  As a result of a more neutral tone, hoping to rally people together, you often find that these teams often offer the best support. With good support comes a good and lasting impression on the market, because the best form of marketing is word of mouth.

Because of my passion for technology and great products, I often find myself going out of my way to find these new and upcoming products or technologies.  Over the years, I’ve bought into or crowdfunded numerous products that were either help achieve a personal or professional need.  I don’t always buy into products solely for the product itself, I often do it for the experience and the support. I’ve had the opportunity to follow a number of companies who were just starting out to flourishing into companies now competing against some industry leaders or going through large acquisitions. These teams were huge on gathering feedback and interacting with their communities or “evangelists”.

The realization that I like disruptive companies came to me as I was watching the launch event for the new Oneplus 5. For the last few years, I’ve been rooting for Nokia and Windows Phone to have success. Although they have come a long way, I think it is now safe to assume that they’ve thrown in the towel to focus on other verticals where they could be more successful.  Not that there is anything wrong with the current industry leaders, like the Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, or the iPhone, but I feel like I would be settling by going with one of those phones.  One of the things I liked about Windows Phone is that the OS was terrific and had a lot of features, sadly it lacked the apps. While the OnePlus doesn’t have a unique OS, it tries to still differentiate itself by small but noticeable tweaks.

As I dive into more IoT devices, still somewhat of a niche market, there are plenty of teams looking to generate traction and get their product out there.  The next up and coming product on my list of crowdfunded products is Glance Clock. I’ve bought into them just as they launched their Indiegogo campaign, having closed their funding at more than 800% over their goal! They’ve sent over 20 emails since then with updates. Each one so full of details, that it has me grinning ear to ear. These guys pour their life and soul into every detail.  The latest email describes their entire hardware testing process, tolerances, and how they want to make sure that each person gets the absolute perfect clock.

The products that have a great community are normally the ones that tend to have the most growth potential.  Some of these products may be good, but missing details to become great.  Lack of trying is not normally the cause of a product not meeting its fullest potential. Sometimes the team may not be experienced in those areas.  Other times, they see opportunities in their community helping their cause. SmartThings is a great example of a product that is good, but made great through the community.  One of the reasons I’ve chosen SmartThings is due to the fact that they enabled their community to build such strong integrations that have impacted their product in a positive way.  ActionTiles is a great example of a community powered feature for SmartThings.

Although not all companies find the success they were hoping to achieve. You come to truly admire the drive and dedication of the people behind the products. They exhibit passion and pride that you wish you’d see every day, it’s infectious and uplifting!  This is why I find myself checking out the small coffee shops, the mom and pop shops, or support the teams trying to disrupt the market.  I relate to these people the most, as I tend to come off very passionate about my work or products that I support. So passionate, that at times I’ve been referred to as a cheerleader for the product. And I am not ashamed of it!

Although I’ve named only 3 products which I’ve been supporting since the beginning, there are dozens more. What are some products or companies that you’ve been supporting or following, hoping they become the next big thing?