February 1, 2013

After we stopped blushing…

BY Shirley Robinson IN Uncategorized 0 Comment

On Monday, January 31, karma got some fabulous exposure from Sarah Schmid at Xconomy Detroit, following a conversation she had with our founder JP Narowski late last year.  Sarah not only had some great things to say about the system, but the way we run our business as well.  It’s a well-known reality that small business is the great engine of the American economy, and our vision is to fire that engine with karma.  We then want to take what we’ve learned from working with other businesses to create comprehensive but very flexible resources for small businesses everywhere to improve their processes and grow sustainably.

Advantage via necessity

In her article, Sarah described us in a way that inspires us to work even harder:  responsive, community minded, lean, and agile.  What does that mean for us?  Let’s dissect those terms a little bit. “Lean” and “agile” can sometimes have connotations of haste, flying by the seat of your pants, and incompleteness, but for us that’s really a virtue.  Like the great majority of our customers, we are a small business, and like most startups, we are bootstrapping our operation.  In these situations, efficiency is not a nice thing to have, it’s a requirement if you want to continue doing business.  Large enterprises are often counseled to “think like a startup,” but for us, necessity really is the mother of invention.  Rather than bringing in a massive infrastructure, we add value by being responsive and personal.  In return, we gain value by listening to our customers and bringing them on as co-creators.  Moving to an agile-type model of software development is something we are concentrating on now, and we think it will have a lot of benefits for us and for our customers, especially as we move toward karma2.

In the real world, doing it well often means doing it well enough

When you’re creating any product, it’s very easy to become addicted to perfection.  Obviously, anything worth doing is worth doing well.  But the danger of adhering too closely to that approach in the productivity software business is that the architecture of the software becomes the end itself, and not the means.  We think of karma as being a functional thing–it meets its goals when it’s useful.  What we are learning to do is to embrace the idea that moving quickly on something and adapting to customers’ needs is its own form of “robustness.”  It’s a robustness of process and customer engagement.  There are short, well-defined cycles:  not only are customers involved, but both they and developers see the fruits of their labor quickly.

Share what you’ve learned

Do you have any success stories?  Any hard-won wisdom on iterating and innovating?  We’d love for you to share your thoughts!  Add your comment below.

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