This year marks Wise Telemetry’s fifth anniversary. In that time, we’ve grown from a startup in a garage to now monitoring thousands of industrial gas assets across the globe. As with any venture, there have been great ups and downs, and it’s been an incredible journey so far. We’ve learned (and continue to learn) so many valuable lessons along the way, and I thought I’d share five of them – one from each year.
2016 Don’t be afraid to take a risk
When we were first considering the gas telemetry market, we received a lot of advice and opinions. Some people felt there was an opportunity, however many felt it couldn’t be done. They cited many valid concerns and barriers to entry such as competitive landscape, scale, funding. However, we kept finding people looking for an offering that didn’t yet exist, so we decided to take the plunge. If we had been too afraid of the risk, we would have never started.
2017 ‘Failure isn’t fatal’
Of course, the people who had doubts weren’t entirely wrong, and 2017 proved to be a year of great successes but also great setbacks. We gained our first customers and launched new products. We also had difficulty with bugs in our first units and challenges with high-profile product demonstrations overseas. These setbacks were anything but easy. There were occasions where it was discouraging, but the confidence of mentors, the patience of early customers, and the desire to succeed kept us going. Winston Churchill once said, ‘failure isn’t fatal’, and he was right.
2018 Feedback makes you stronger
We took 2018 as an opportunity to refine our technology with a strong focus on incorporating customer feedback – whether good or bad. Out of those efforts came the Elite Series, our first platform capable of monitoring any industrial gas asset. More and more customers began adopting our product. Their number one reason? It now had the features they requested.
2019 Adapt quickly
As we entered 2019, we learned that one of our competitors was leaving the industrial gas telemetry market. This meant that all of their former customers needed to find a new solution. This was a great opportunity for us, but at the time none of our products worked seamlessly with the previous provider’s equipment. We needed to adjust our product’s form factor, and we needed to do it fast or the opportunity would pass us by. We came up with a solution in under a month that allowed us to gain 33% of that previous competitor’s market share. This product wasn’t without its own challenges, but in the end, it was worth it. Adapting quickly was the only way to make this happen.
2020 Relationships are king
2020 was the year no one expected. How do you continue to grow when you can’t connect with potential new clients? It became clear that the relationships we had built with our clients, partners, and vendors before the pandemic were the answer. For example, one of our customers who worked with us in the early days urgently needed a new software feature for managing oxygen deliveries to hospitals. We got them that feature in under 24 hours. Other customers we had helped in a pinch recommended us to their friends who then became our customers. Vendors for whom we had always tested new products returned the favor by expediting their supply chains when we suddenly needed a large number of sensors for monitoring hospitals in Colombia. In each of these cases, the relationship with that partner carried the day.
We’ve learned a lot in the past five years, and I’d like to sincerely thank our team members, partners, and customers for that. We can’t wait to see what new adventures and lessons are yet to come.
About the author
Eric Wise is the founder and CEO of Wise Telemetry, a leading gas monitoring company.