What I’ve learned during my first year as CEO of floLIVE
This time last year, I hadn’t yet started at floLIVE. I had just finished 12 years at AT&T, 4 years as the GM Israel, as well as growing domestic teams in the US. As part of the technology leadership of the company, I could definitely appreciate the strength and span of AT&T in the market, but I also felt that specifically in IoT, where things were still maturing and there were so many different use cases, more flexibility and innovation could speed up the market.
Then I came across floLIVE, saw the great value proposition and market fit, the deep and wide technology capabilities, and the great people, and I was hooked.
Our vision was clear: deliver best-in-class global cellular connectivity and 5G solutions for IoT.
Getting used to start-up life
The truth is, that it isn’t easy to switch from the largest telco in the world to a start-up environment. In a large company, everything is structured and set up, with resources a’plenty to get you what you need. In contrast, at a start-up, you’re building and selling on the go – it’s all about the hustle. On top of that, you’re constantly looking for ways to differentiate and to be distinct.
A huge part of this year has been focusing on that differentiation. We kept asking, “how can we deliver something that’s truly meaningful for the customer?” It was never going to be enough to have a plain global IoT connectivity solution. As the year has gone on, we’ve found our sweet spot – iIn order to build the best network in the world, we must work tightly with the operators and form a new model of partnership that works well for all parties.
Understanding this new model
Instead of simply going to operators and saying, ‘join us’, we’re saying ‘use us!’ This bi-directional relationship, where we provide our platform to mobile operators to serve their customers, and they give us their assets to better serve our own enterprise customers in turn, has become foundational to our success and where we fit in the market. You could find other IoT platforms, other connectivity management platforms, sure. But, a solution that takes the two different markets, and adds value for both operators and enterprises? That’s rare, and that’s a use case that can really make our already great technology, sing.
Making this happen in a start-up is different from making it happen in a large company. Without downplaying my input at AT&T, a start-up is a whole different pace of change. I can speak with a customer first-hand in the morning, understand their needs, and then immediately, on the same day, turn towards my tech assets and get started. I can then draw something up, get feedback and formalize it as a new value proposition or market offering, all within days. Therefore, what takes years in a large organization can take a few weeks in a start-up.
This is one of the key things I learned in 2020, to be appreciative of the short cycles, the nimbleness that’s only possible in a start-up environment.
Learning how to operate alongside a pandemic
There is no way to discuss 2020 without talking about COVID-19. I’d like to share with you my own personal journey, and the vast difference between the first half of the year, and the second.
When COVID-19 hit the headlines, like any business leader, I was worried. I had to be agile, think quickly about how to adapt in this crisis situation. I really see the first half of the year as an exercise in being flexible; how to react, how to find opportunities where they existed. The second half has been different. In a way, the market demand was contained in Q1, with everyone shoring up and waiting to see what would happen.
Now, organizations have adjusted to COVID, and are ready to start doing business. There are many opportunities out there for companies who are smart and nimble, as the pandemic has caused great growth in the demand for connectivity services, and networking services, too.
For floLIVE, I strongly feel that the measures we took early on in 2020 have helped us to preserve and build the right capabilities, whether that’s fine tuning our value proposition, polishing our technology and product offering, building infrastructure… it meant we were exactly where we needed to be to release our solution to the market in the second half of the year.
As a result, I’m happy to say that despite the pandemic, we are closing the year with great momentum and looking forward to a strong Q1 and Q2 for 2021.
I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has been a part of these last 12 months, and wish you all a happy holiday season, and a successful new year.