Nothing makes you more productive than pure tenacity.
Chris Wiegand is CEO and Co-Founder of Jibestream, one of the early pioneers of the indoor location industry. Jibestream provides an indoor mapping and location platform that is used by some of the world’s largest retailers, hospitals and corporate campuses to enable IoT-driven experiences and indoor location intelligence. It’s clients include the US Army, the Pentagon, GGP Malls, OneMarket and Kaleida Health. Most recently, the company was acquired by indoor intelligence provider, Inpixon.
Chris has always been an entrepreneur – prior to co-founding Jibestream, Chris ran a successful waste-management company. During his tenure with a traditional print company, Chris became involved in transitioning the firm to a full-fledged multimedia-communications organization. This experience fueled his vision for what would later become the world’s most advanced indoor mapping and intelligence platform.
Chris lives in Toronto, Ontario. He is a member of Peerscale, a community of tech CEOs and executives whose mission is to join tech leaders together in a network that empowers success. Chris also sits on the board of Directors for the Wishing Well Sanctuary. On his free time you can find Chris spending time with his wife, daughter and 2 dogs.
Where did the idea for Jibestream come from?
The main problem we set to solve in 2009 was to provide a dynamic solution to the antiquated printed paper maps in malls to help people more easily navigate while creating efficiencies for mall operators. Our original concepts included a touch-screen kiosk, interactive digital maps and facial recognition to allow us to display a relevant advertisement based on the person’s age and gender. Aside from the obvious social flaws of using facial recognition, we have continued to find ways to ensure that we are sending the most relevant message to the right person at the right time. Today, our offering includes many map related use cases beyond navigation, across several industry verticals and has exponentially benefited from the now, wide availability of location services.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
All before 7 am, my goal is to have taken my two dogs for a walk, gone to a CrossFit class followed by some stretching and meditation. This morning ritual is what really sets up my day for productivity. After that, I update a daily list of things that are the highest priority and I do my best to stick to that list as close as possible. At the top of my list are strategic actions and revenue generating activities.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It’s all about our team working out what ideas should be brought to life [market]. Each week we have a product meeting where we discuss new product features that will add more value and in some cases be transformational to the product and company. With any idea, big or small, we follow a disciplined process of determining “Who needs it” (value), “Can we build it?” (feasible), “Can we afford to build it” (viable) and can we sell it (viable).
Once we have gone through these steps and an initial estimating process, our management team votes on the ideas with ‘product bucks’ similar to monopoly money. The ideas with the most bucks get prioritized for development. For other major initiatives, we typically involve at least a couple levels of our team to work through the concepts, how to take them to market and ultimately sell and support them.
What’s one trend that excites you?
For years, I have been excited about IoT. Finally, we can all be legitimately excited about it because the enabling ecosystem and more importantly, the market demand is at a point that we are realizing the true value of IoT. Our technology is infinitely more valuable when integrated with 3rd party systems and data to enable use cases that rely on real-time data. I am also excited about the trend towards Conversational Interfaces. I see a big trend in ‘app fatigue’ and the desire to call information on demand via voice or simple requests without having to open a native app. In the back-end, the data can be easily pulled with a RESTful API, making it easy for end users and the application developers.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Nothing makes you more productive than pure tenacity. High-growth tech start-ups are hard and there are lots of ups and downs. No matter what the circumstances, as an entrepreneur you have to just keep going and ruthlessly prioritize your tasks and time.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Go get a job instead of starting a business! Just kidding…I love what I do and wouldn’t change anything other than making sure that family and meaningful life experiences are never missed in vein sitting behind a desk. Sometimes in my earlier days of the business I would relentlessly work 24/7 to keep things moving. Don’t get me wrong, I work very hard and make sacrifices, I just have a higher qualification filter now on what is truly worth missing personal time for
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
A plant-based diet is the single best thing that you can do for yourself and the planet.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Prioritize and calibrate based on changing circumstances. You have to have a plan and consistency is important but when it’s not working, change course quickly (or die).
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Other than finding the best people you can find inside the company, we have always had partnerships as a big part of our core strategy. The types of partnerships change with the size and goals of the business but the goal with partners has always been to gain greater access to target customers. At times, our partners are enabling technologies (i.e. Indoor Positioning Systems) or OEM’s (embed our product in their product). A combination of the right partners is a great way to increase your revenue capabilities much faster than working ‘single-handed’.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
My biggest fail, which I’ve been challenged with at different times throughout my career, is not believing in myself enough and looking to outside help for the ‘silver bullet’ to solve a problem, take it to the next level, or dig out in tough times. There is no doubt you need to surround yourself with great people and problem solve with the right people, but as the CEO and founder, there is no one that is more intimate with the details, vision and passion for the business. Trusting your instinct is the foundational step to making the best decisions.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It’s not an original idea but we need more vegan sushi restaurants! I have only seen a couple and they are always slammed. Our oceans are in dire shape and it won’t be long before the mainstream will be looking for vegan sushi over traditional fish options (and more plant-based food options) … get in now and take first mover advantage ????
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A child seat carrier for my bike… I now can drop my daughter off at daycare on my bike… no matter what else happens in the day, that time is a bright spot!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?
It’s pretty basic but I live by my Evernote list. Everyday, I try to empty my inbox and create a backlog of things that need to be done and then constantly prioritize the list.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
“The Hard Things About the Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz. If you are building a technology company, this book nails it on the realities of what you will experience as a Management team while you are out there street fighting to bring your company to the prime time. I also love Geoffery Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm”. There is timeless advice on how to go to market and the product/buying life cycles.
What is your favorite quote?
“In vino veritas” (in wine, there is truth)
- Success starts by taking care of your body and mind.
- Exercise the 80/20 rule by focusing on the small number of tasks that have the most impact potential.
- The best ideas are achieved through collaboration and teamwork. Hire people that are smarter than you.
- Tenacity and perseverance are paramount. Learn from failures, adapt and overcome.
- Be selective of the personal time you sacrifice, it’s just as valuable as your financial success.
- If you own, or are starting a company (specially in tech) read “The Hard Things About the Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz for the realities of what you’ll experience on a management team and Geoffery Moore’s “Crossing the Chasm” for how to go to market and understanding buyer life-cycles.
- Enjoy a glass of wine every once in a while (or more).
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