It was about 12 months ago that I formally elected to step down from the company I started in 2002 to go full time at Ubco Bikes. Rather than being a sudden change, it organically happened over a period of nine months, starting from the middle of 2015.
One of the key motives was to continue to learn about what it really takes to develop and successfully commercialise a product and build a company around it. I have been fortunate to work with some really talented entrepreneurs and business people that have built companies. I have learnt a great deal from these people and experiences, but it is always different doing it yourself. The challenges will always be more confronting and the learning more permanent.
Over a period of 15 years, most of the products and technologies that Locus has worked on are either first to market, disruptive, or created new market segments. For many of these opportunities, they need a business built around them; even those that were born in large enterprises, otherwise they would simply not get enough oxygen to succeed in a true sense. The experience often reads like a chapter from Clayton Christiansen’s Innovators Dilemma (on repeat!). Many of these ideas had the potential to be platforms, helping to create multi-dimensional businesses, if they had the resources to do it. So, when the opportunity to take an innovative product (the 2×2) and build it into a business arose, it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
The decision to step down and take the opportunity to run Ubco was only possibly due to the unique group of people that work within Locus. This team have built on the approach that I developed at Locus and have extended it. Respecting the core parts that, to me, are essential, but at the same time developing their own perspective through their work.
Riding the roller coaster with some of our Venture companies (Ubco Bikes, Roholm, Balex Marine) has probably been one of the most intense periods of business work I have experienced. Regardless of the outcome (not all have succeeded) our team have stood next to these businesses, supporting them, providing them help and critical skills as well as input across technical and commercial domains. This has been the same through the incredibly difficult periods and the good ones. It is certainly not an exaggeration to say that they would not exist without this team of people.
Alongside of all this work, the team has continued to create new relationships, work with new companies on pure product development and innovation consulting, and to develop new ventures that continue to grow our portfolio. Behind the scenes, the company itself has grown up and developed, with the creation of a board (thanks Jon!), a future investment structure, delivering a digital strategy, including this new site, and even moved studios.
And then it comes to one of my most important measures: quality. The team have maintained our core philosophy on this across the board.
Roughly, they have achieved the equivalent of juggling fire sticks whilst unicycling down the famous Karapoti rock garden without dropping a single one. So, to Dan (and Lindsay), Tracey (and Shane), Mike, Caroline, Simon, Robin, Krissi, Teresa, and Nick: thank you for your skill, intelligence, passion, and perseverance. I look forward to what we can achieve together.