"It's not real until it's written down": Lessons from Kate, Part 1

Kate operating heavy equipment.

Kate operating heavy equipment.

Last week, I met my friend Kate Cheng, President and Co-founder of Gauss4D. We like to shoot the sh*t about entrepreneurship, careers, and family in a sort of therapy. While we've only know each other for a couple months, we've developed a rhythm of rapid, honest ideation, and I am genuinely excited every time we chat. I think it's because Kate and I share a vision of the world that the future version of the web is spatial. Her company is in the high-precision map-creation business, while my company organizes and creates experiences for end-users based on location.

In a twist, our backgrounds suggest that I should be running her company given that I used to sell high-precision map creation systems, while she has vast experience in experiential marketing initiatives for consumers, all the way to utilities, locates, and construction. We both have services companies that have product initiatives. Maybe that's why we get along so well. 

Anyhow, we began talking about our Covarian platform project, specifically what it is, use cases, the marketing strategy, the product plan, etc. We got really far down the rabbit hole, and I got really excited about executing on it immediately. However, Kate stops me and says,

"It's not real, until it's written down".

This took me aback at first, but then I realized what she meant. So often, we have these grand initiatives in our heads, a sparkling, direct path to success, and of course it all makes sense in your head, right? However, by forcing yourself to write it down, it does a few things:

  1. It connects all the dots in the grand plan. You soon realize all the gaps.
  2. It forces you to communicate it very clearly to other people. You soon realize that your plan isn't so clear. 
  3. It allows for collaboration. For a company plan, no one can do anything alone so more brains on the challenge, the better.   

Kate could not have told this to me at a better time. Our grand Covarian platform project has already started, but my co-founder Sonal told me that we require more clarity on the requirements, timeline, and budget. Plus, investors and customers have asked for more details, even when we're not selling or even considering fundraising.

You know what's the crazy part? there's a part 2 to this story. Kate actually came in the next day and wrote out on the whiteboard what our Covarian platform does, all the features and capabilities, how you can throw any use case at the platform and which features it would use, what we should build first based on use-case priorities, ALL IN A TWO-HOUR EXERCISE

She just did a product roadmap, a use-case market testing strategy, a timeline, all at once. It was freaking phenomenal. She saved us like six months because it sets up a marketing strategy, a sales strategy, a go-to market strategy, and a product strategy right away based on any use-case you throw at it.

I still haven't wrapped my head around her method, but this story has a part 2, and I'm going to try for a part 3.

Thank you, Kate! Amazing, you are.