by Garrett Hill, CEO, X2nSat, Inc.
Minus John Candy’s over-the-top antics, my September was very much like that iconic 1987 road trip movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
In my infinite quest for efficiency, I decided to take advantage of a scheduled speaking engagement at VSAT 2014 in London and make it a three-week “road” trip, creating the opportunity to visit friends, vendors, partners, and even a few competitors, at points on the map beginning in Petaluma, California, (that’s me in the photo at our Petaluma hub) and then heading east from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, traveling furthest to Brussels, Belgium.
With one extra stop in there to bless the impressive two-year renovation just completed at X2nSat’s East Coast hub in Atlanta and congratulate our Network Operations Manger Joey Loftis and his team for a job well done. The facility looks fantastic and I was able to approve the improvements with my “white glove” test. We now have a facility that provides our clients with a state-of-the-art teleport that goes above and beyond expectations.
The philosopher Martin Buber said “all journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” Well, since my executive assistant was in complete control of my travel arrangements (what would I do without you, Audrey?), I’m not sure we can call any of my destinations “secret,” but I’ll assume Mr. Buber’s meaning was a figurative one.
To me, his comment means that once you leave the familiar, comfortable confines of your office and get out there in the world, you likely will learn and encounter things you might not have expected. (And I’m not talking about Ebola, which did not impact my experience – a fact for which I am grateful.)
So what did I learn? When I was meeting with people we work with, as well as some of our friendly competitors, and touring various facilities in our industry, I heard a lot of questions … questions about the unknown. In the spirit of the Halloween season, I’ll make clear that they weren’t referencing The Unknown, a 1927 silent horror film starring Joan Crawford and Lon Chaney, which is super creepy, by the way.
What I did hear from competitors were questions such as: “What should we invest in? Is it time to sell our business? What does the future economy look like for the satellite industry and at large?” My immediate thoughts are that, if these questions are being asked and if a significant investment hasn’t made into research and development or new products in the past five years, selling might be a good move. Particularly for businesses that haven’t focused on differentiating what they provide.
My advice, correct grammar or not is this: If you act like the competition that you’re worried is going to beat you, then they’re going to beat you.
X2nSat is always looking at the unique needs of a hospital or a pipeline, versus the needs of a three-person, stationary office, for example. We’re positioned to help businesses, networks and enterprises stay connected on a larger scale. During my travels, I was reinvigorated and reminded that we’ve got to constantly stay laser-focused on what’s important to our client base, and not on what’s important to everyone else in the world.
Read Part II of this blog in two weeks, and learn more about the acronyms IBC and VSAT, as well as what went on there!