Perpetually Evolving

February 16, 2017 David Gray

Daxko is a software as a service (SaaS) business. One thing you’ll hear us and other SaaS businesses say is that the product is never “done.” It’s always evolving to meet the needs of our customers’ ever-changing requirements.

That’s one of the key value propositions of SaaS…you pay a subscription fee and not only do you get the product as it is today, but you reap the benefits on ongoing enhancements and innovation.

Simply stated, what was good enough yesterday won’t meet the needs of tomorrow, so the product must change to meet those future needs.

I find this to be equally true on two other fronts… our company itself, and me as an individual.

I recently heard Jason Fried refer to his company as a product. Just like a SaaS product, you have to continuously innovate, tweak and evolve your company. I couldn’t agree more, and I’ve always thought of Daxko in this way.

In fact, the intellectual challenge that comes with this is a big reason why I remain as engaged and intrigued as I was 14 years ago when I started this journey.

Defining, maintaining and continuously evolving the organization is the single biggest thing I’ve spent my time on over the past 14 years. I typically loosely refer to this simply as “culture.” It’s how we work, how we communicate, and how we’re organized. And it’s always changing. The fundamentals remain basically the same, but you must adapt the approaches. As Andy Stanley says: “Date the model, but marry the mission.”

More recently, I’ve really started to give a lot more thought to the same thing as it relates to me individually as a leader, and how I can share approaches and learnings with others around me.

How should I work differently as my role evolves to meet the needs of our team members and our customers? Where should I focus my attention to drive our company forward in the right way? How do I effectively spend my most precious resource (time) to drive the greatest impact? How do I create a personal “framework” that takes into account my family, health & fitness and faith?

My “research” has included things such as, hosting two of our largest customers’ CEOs at the Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit, reading The One Thing, learning how Jeff Bezos requires his team to prepare for meetings at Amazon, attending The Basecamp Way to Work workshop, or discussing these questions with the likes of Bill Wagner and Chris Fowler.

Also, I’ve always been a believer in the power of “think time,” and I’m attempting to be more disciplined about time blocking. In fact, inspired by a TED Talk, we’ve implementing a version of this with our monthly, 4-hour blocks of “Hyper-Focus Time” where we create a meeting-free zone company-wide to give people the gift of uninterrupted time.

Finally, as the leader of Daxko, a way I help determine where I should and should not be focusing my efforts is to ask myself: “Am I only doing the things that only I can do?” Of course, then the trick is to have the discipline to focus on those things only.

In future posts, I’ll share how this part of my journey is progressing and what I’ve learned.

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