At the start of Thursday evening’s Tech Talk on the Internet of Things, a good many of the 50 or so people present admitted they weren’t sure they could define the Internet of Things. The program soon eliminated that uncertainty.
In the first segment of the two-part session, presented by WaveRider Design, the first featured speaker described a future in which systems, appliances and gadgets will be connected and coordinated electronically. This so-called Internet of Things, said K4 Connect co-founder Scott Moody, will simplify a person’s life by being programmed to perform routine tasks as they are needed, from adjusting a home’s temperature to opening a garage door or even pouring a welcome-home drink as the homeowner arrives.
In the second segment, the company’s other co-founder, Jonathan Gould, explained to the audience just how such networks can be constructed and how they work. Raleigh-based K4 Connect, which plans to offer such systems, is readying its first product, K4 Life, for the market. It is aimed at individuals with disabilities, designed to save steps and effort.
In addition to talking about his current company and the benefits of the Internet of Things, however, Moody offered some frank advice to the entrepreneurs in his audience at University of North Carolina Wilmington's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. His pointers drew on his experience as the co-founder of the successful startup Authentec, which was purchased by Apple and whose technology now allows owners of new iPhones to log in using a thumbprint.
"Success involves some level of luck; no matter how hard you work, you have to have a certain amount of luck," he said, citing the series of events that led Apple to take an interest in his venture's thumbprint authentication technology.
Moody said that, while his first company was successful, he can't assume he will replicate that success in future ventures. So he shared with his audience the "Three Ws of Startups" he says are essential to "having the guts to go forward" to turn an idea into a successful company.
The first is "Who."
"Who do you do [your startup] with? What team do you hire? You need partners," Moody said. "You need a pool of brainpower, skills and personality. I don't care what my playbook is if I don't have a team that can execute."
Next comes "What."
"What are you going to do? You have to have the right product and the right strategy, and you have to spend time to understand the technology and the competition," Moody said.
And finally, "Why?"
"What is your motivation for doing what you're doing?" Moody asked. "At Authentec, we weren't thinking about the money. We wanted to make lives simpler and easier, and that is our motivation at K4 Connect.
"Most of your days [as a startup founder] are going to suck. You're going to feel stuck. That's why it's important to know why you're doing what you are doing."