Today at Orbotix we finally transitioned from taking reservations to taking orders.
Orbotix is a very different company.
Normally my equation for running a tight business machine (TBM) is:
O - order = roles identified, optimal work environment, ample resources
P - process = task broken down into manageable work units, repeatable, proven and well documented methods to accomplish work
R - rhythm - predictable progress on work, resources operate at known times, work output is a function of resource availability
TBM = O x P x R
Perhaps the military made me value these things - or my mom (I think my mom was a drill sergeant in a former life). Anyhow at Orbotix we have about 80% of each item - which means the Paul TBM score says we should be operating at 51%. But we’re not. In fact in the seven businesses that I have run - this one is getting more done, faster with less resources than any other business I’ve managed. And it all has to do with the extreme focus on hitting the one big goal.
This isn’t a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) - is a very specific point in time with a very specific accomplishment.
Our goal is to ship Sphero in 2011 (for the holidays). Everyone knows this in the company - everyone knows that when the product ships they need to take pride in what we’ve built and feel that the product - while it can be better (everything can) - is pretty damn awesome as is.
Surprisingly this adds order to everything at Orbotix. What we lack in process we make up for in focus. There is no ambiguity in what everyone is working on. No one feels like they are just drifting. The pressure is high, the tasks feel doable but just barely, and the excitement is real. It is a race and the magic date is not now, nor ever was a guarantee - but we are working hard to hit it. And as of last night - the goal is in site and it now feels like the momentum we have built over the last year will carry us over the line.
So while Orbotix is the least on the Paul TBM scale - it is first in getting things done. I recognize this magic is only possible because everyone in the company has signed up to hit the common goal. Once we launch, we will have numerous goals: V2 of the product, support for V1, expanding distribution, building hype, on-boarding developers, promoting apps, customer support - all of which will require more discipline to manage.
But for now, we just have one thing left - ship!
And this picture says it all: Ross, as well as Jim and Gerrad, spent the night (another 5 people stayed until 3:30am) just to make sure the web site launch went smooth and our fans could easily convert to paying customers. As Ross said before he went home to shower, “Orbotix is my life.” Yep - he’s single. I’m proud of our team.