June 15th, 2009 at 4:52 pm
If you’ve ever started a business–and especially if you’ve ever used a laptop computer while starting this business–chances are you’ll appreciate Kirk Ladendorf’s interview with longtime Austin entrepreneur Gary Pankonien. He led the team that developed Compaq Computer Corp.’s industry-first notebook computer many years ago. He’s kept it moving since.
You have a range of experience in technology ranging from Compaq Computer to several small startups in Austin. How does that help you as CEO of this young company?
After you’ve ridden a few rides – and fallen in enough holes – you learn what to expect.
Many of the issues are second nature. You still have to develop the plan and solve the hard issues, but you learn how to anticipate the next moves. You learn very early that cash flow is almost more important than your mother.
What are the right traits for a technology entrepreneur? Is it technical knowledge, market savvy, organizational discipline or something else?
I think a major trait of being an entrepreneur is being able to wake up in the morning looking forward to the challenges of the day and not knowing if your business is going to live or die.
The unknown is always changing, and how you handle the change usually predicts success.
You have to process a lot of data, usually not a with a complete data set, and make decisions that will significantly impact your future.
What’s fun about running a startup?
The first time you open the mail and see the check from your first sale, it’s a good day.
I once was standing in a checkout line behind two ladies talking about this great company her husband was interviewing with and the future they were looking forward to. She eventually said who it was, and I realized that it was the company our team had built. Yes, we did hire her husband.