Build with the End in Mind

Build with the End in Mind

Cellphone 2004It was 2004 and the words such as “text messaging” and “mobile technology” or even “mobile applications” were barely in use. Let’s face it, most of us had an old device with b&w or early color screens no greater than 1.5″ in height or width. And most phones were still a cross between analog and digital signals with only a bar or two of signal. Yet that didn’t prevent me and my business partner from thinking outside the box and beyond to what future trends would accurately predict: a connected mobile experience.

Confronted with a few applications of a new technology we mastered around text message marketing, we made an important decision from the onset: start two businesses that would provide us with greater options in the future (marketing, investment, spin off, sale). Our marketing plan was simple: release a compelling solution for a specific industry: real estate. The solution was called CellSigns and it allowed real estate agents to provide real-time information on their property for sale. It was an idea we had within our real estate brokerage Home Marketsite after looking for ways to provide a greater level of service to sellers and buyers of homes for sale in PA.

You must look past the here and now. Start looking out 3-5 years to form your vision. ~ David Geipel

While developing the concept, we knew there was something greater at hand – an entirely new interaction. So we formed the parent company called QWASI (which I initially coined as Questions With Answers and Simple Information). At the same time, we formed CellSigns and placed it as a wholly owned subsidiary of QWASI. This gave two entrepreneurs the ability to focus on a specific solution for real estate (CellSigns) while keeping the Intellectual Property or IP within the main technology company QWASI. The rest was history.

Begin with the end in mindI’d like to say the process we took was one based on a favorite book of mine, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. A principle he focuses on is called “begin with the end in mind” and it happened to be a principle I greatly relied on in the past with excellent success. It turns out, it was one that really helped our company too.

CellSigns became the first fully interactive mobile real estate application which later won awards including the Inman News Innovator Award (Most Innovative Technology) in 2005 edging out Re/Max and Google among formidable competitors. It became a full mobile search engine and mobile marketing platform for a single industry while QWASI continued to grow it’s backend to support multiple industries. Then in 2008, we launched QWASI into a SaaS platform for mobile interaction later adding Social Networks and other data sources to interrogate the data and make decisions based on those outcomes.

A Lesson Learned:
The lesson we took away from our startup was simple: build it with the end in mind. As the real estate market took a turn in 2008, the company was positioned in such manner to switch completely to its universal mobile platform that as of today powers over 60,000 SMBs and enterprise clients. If we only developed a single use application for one industry, we may not have been able to weather the downturn. Rather, the story is completely different and our strategy paid off. This is just one example of how our decision to plot two parallel companies worked out but yours may be different. The point is, build with the end in mind.

Conclusion:
All companies, their products &/or solutions will take on its own unique look & feel and arrive at different destinations. Along the way, never underestimate the end game. Keep focused on it. Pave new roads and paths forward and always build with the end in mind.

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