Last Tuesday, Gil Zimmerman, the Founder & CEO of cloud cybersecurity provider CloudLock, joined us at our Entrepreneurs Club Speaker Series. The ‘cloud’ was an unknown term in 2008, now it is a $200 million market, according to Zimmerman. He shared that it is an exploding industry because all organizations will adopt some kind of cloud security as they WILL be using the cloud.
Zimmerman highlighted some key aspects a startup should consider:
1. Team – when Zimmerman is hiring for CloudLock he asks himself the question whether this is someone who is on the path as someone he would work FOR.
2. Intelligence/drive – always be learning, try to learn from others, and some lessons you learn on your own.
3. Skills/experience – build a team of people who are already inspired and motivated, skills can be easily taught, but inspiration is harder to instill.
4. Grow your abilities not your headcount – at one point Zimmerman fired half the company, completely rebranded, and lifted all anchors from the premise. Zimmerman talked about nurturing relationships, establishing rapport, and over-delivering.
5. Product market fit – align with your customer objectives and they will accelerate your growth. Zimmerman says that the best $’s are customer’s $’s.
6. Launch/Listen/Learn – Zimmerman talked about customer development, latching onto big players with big waves shows instant value. For example, CloudLock locked in a huge deal early on with Facebook over a phone conversation.
7. Give yourself a chance to get lucky – whether you’re an intrapreneur or entrepreneur, ‘trepreneurs (the term Zimmerman used in his slides) need to be prepared to do what they did not actually set out to do. Be willing to listen to your customers and pivot. ‘trepreneurs require discipline and a state of mind.
“Make sure that you own your own destiny.” – Gil Zimmerman