Some of the best startup ideas come from necessity. It may be the need to do a task faster or find a better way to manage a customer base. It is when the need overwhelms you that you push forward to make things easier or better for yourself. When an entrepreneur finds their back against the wall and in need of an idea, some of the greatest ideas can come calling. After all, the proverb says “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
For Justin Moore, CEO of Axcient, this necessity was discovered the hard way.
Having left Stanford to start his own company in 1999, he knew it wanted to be part of the tangible energy surging through Silicon Valley at the time. CollegeJobs.com was the first venture into entrepreneurship.
Though the website failed to go far, the lessons learned from this experiment gave him the broader view of what it was truly like to start your own company. After the website, Justin ventured back to Stanford. And once more he left to follow the path to starting his second company. This time, though, Justin met moderate success. MK Global provided an innovating approach to addressing the surplus of secondary market telecommunications equipment following the dot-com collapse.
It was during the run of MK Global that Justin met with his new necessity. While preparing a presentation for a $5 million deal, his laptop crashed. The drive repair company would only salvage a small portion of the data and the rest was left in Justin’s hand to recreate from scratch. With 48 hours left until the presentation, this painful experience was what fueled the need for something more. A business dedicated to protecting others from finding themselves in this position.
With the inspiration of family and experience with exactly what his company aims to defend against, the loss of data for businesses, Justin strives to give back. Spending time with young entrepreneurs he tries to offer the same support he was given when he first started.
For aspiring entrepreneurs he urges them to go forward with eyes wide open. The glamorous role of CEO as portrayed by movies and television are mightily unrealistic. A CEO does not simply sit in his ivory tower and allow everyone else to complete the job. Justin explains that as a CEO, you are constantly putting out fires, giving up personal time to be there for employees, and even going to far as to take on the role of psychologist when the need arises, “It’s like you’re an octopus with a hammer in every tentacle playing Whac-a-Mole. You do it because you see something that can be done better that provides value back to people, and because in the end you see that your hard work will be worthwhile.”
The most important advice he can give to entrepreneurs is “You don’t know everything – that in fact you know very little. In the end, you have to make the decisions and stand by what you believe.”