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6 March 2012

Going exponential

By Andrew Clifford

Successful businesses are based on growing the value of assets.

If I am honest, I am not much of a businessman. Like a lot of people with a technical background, I don't feel at home in the world of commerce and deal-making. I haven't really adjusted to the idea of asking people for money for what I do.

But I do have one idea.

Looking around at businesses and individuals who have been successful, there are many different routes to success. But one thing that nearly all these routes have in common is that success has come from ownership.

This applies to all types of wealth. The entrepreneur who owns their own business. The shop that owns its brand and operations. The singer who owns the rights to their recorded work. The lawyer who is a partner and owns a share of their firm.

From what I can see, the key to success is to create and grow an asset, and then extract value from that asset.

This is very much the approach we have taken in Metrici. We aren't the most worldly of organisations in some respects, but we have a very clear idea of our high-level business strategy. We are trying to create and grow assets: software, materials, client base, partnership deals. This strategy drives what we do. We always try to grow the assets owned by the business rather than merely sell our time for money or to make a margin on putting deals together. We have worked to make our product offer and business model scalable, so that we can cope with growth.

What particularly attracts me about asset growth is that the rate of increase is exponential. The more you have the faster it grows. Even if you start with nothing (as we did), if you constantly create and grow assets, your business will grow. Initially, growth will be so slow you won't notice it, and there is a temptation to go off and do something more tangible, like sell your time. But gradually the speed of growth will increase, until you can see it grow every day.

We are just beginning to notice this exponential growth in Metrici. At a technical level, the materials and solutions we have built in the tool are coming together to build a more compelling whole. As more of the jigsaw puzzle of functionality is completed, our rate of development is increasing. We are adding functionality in a week that would have taken a month last year.

More significantly, we are beginning to land large deals. We have partnered with a couple of organisations, and are winning bigger and bigger deals with them. Each of these deals has the potential for larger downstream work, and most significantly of all, the work we are doing for current clients can be repeated many times over with others. And we have lot of potential work in the pipeline.

It is a difficult thing to get used to. What seems like just a few weeks ago we were plodding away quietly by ourselves. But now we are busy, and getting busier every day. It is difficult to keep up at times, but it is a challenge that we must, and will, rise to.

Next: No OS for old men

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