NOTE ON MANAGING A TECH COMPANY &
JOURNEY TO BILLIONAIRE #2
After weekly sharing session, team Katsana Advanced Telematics had the chance to go through a post-mortem of 2016.
We simply ask everyone present to jot down:
– What sucks in 2016
– The best thing in 2016
– What can be improved in 2017
Simple as that. Being a transparent company, everyone can just write anything that cross their mind. I then categorise input into:
– Product & Engineering
– Customer experience
– Office culture
I then go through each list with everyone to make sure that all their comments are heard, and discussed as a team. We are a team, and we always act as one.
### 2016 – Lack of Focus ###
In 2016, common theme revolves around engineering. The year was chaotic as we kept pushing ourselves to meet deadlines and new scopes. Even more so in the first 2.5 years of KATSANA as we were not funded and the management had to make quick decisions to ensure revenue is a top priority. It is not a surprise that in the list of ‘things to improve in 2017’, a majority of the comments request for better timeline & focus.
i certainly feel that we can do better in 2017. Right at the end of December, we had a meeting among the Head of Departments. We have decided to simplify product offerings and create stronger distinction between consumer and enterprise solutions. This will allow the Product & Engineering teams to focus on specific features without having to support both sectors at the same time, on the same platform.
How do we do this? We make a decision that KATSANA Track™ users should only access KATSANA from our mobile app – simplified for consumer use, and KATSANA Fleet™ will have all the extra goodies fit for enterprises through our web platform – focusing on reports and behavior profiles.
### 2016 – Cramped office ###
Another set of complaints revolves around our old cramped office space in MCOBA Building. In 2016, we have grown our team 3x. We are just so lucky to have moved to a much better and fitting office right next to Lotus Cars Damansara, Ingress Auto/BMW, Volkswagen and Mofaz/Honda. Plus, we can see supercars (Ferraris, Astons, Lotus, Bentleys and others) daily right at our ground floor. We couldnt have asked for a better office than this.
### 2016 – Awesome team ###
When asked about the good things in 2016, most responses share similar opinion.
– We have an awesome, close-knit team
– New teammates that contribute new set of experience and expertise
– New exciting features being done
We have always put a strong emphasis on selecting talents that can work well as a team.
I specifically put ***KATSANA is a team effort*** in the company’s core value to remind everyone that no single person owns KATSANA, yet every single person must have ownership of KATSANA. This sense of ownership must emanate from all areas of KATSANA, be it from design of the product, to infrastructure, to customer support, our branding and everything else. Always take pride in what we do.
### 2016 – Numerous new features added ###
Although 2016 was chaotic, we have reached the 100th version of our product at the end of the year. This would mean we shipped roughly 30 new versions every year since 2014, or 2-3 versions per month consistently.
With clearer timeline in 2017, I do not actually wish for us to double or triple our productivity. The team should instead focus on delivering features that matter to our customers. We should not be adding fancy new features, but we should do the hardest thing of all; that is simplifying features to make it sensible for users.
You know, adding new features is easy. Try making them simple for once, and see how complicated it is to do just that.
### 2017 – Bring it on! ###
With most of the hard part (in term of engineering) done in 2016, it is now time for us to go all out on marketing & sales exercises. We have made a decision to revisit the consumer market since we are now funded by Axiata Digital Innovation Fund (Thanks ADIF!).
Consumer retail sector posses certain challenges that lead us to abandon it and focus on the more profitable enterprises market in 2014-2016.
We have identified these issues when it comes to consumer retail products:
– distribution channels
– price affordability
– customer support
– managing user expectations
We have some hypothesis to tackle the above, and these will be examined through our experiments in 2017.
God willing I hope to be able to share the result to all of you here that read my notes.
Adios, till next time.
Stay safe with KATSANA.