Rocket Fuel is a book wrote by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters, and was recommended to me by my friend, Thomas Smale. While the book seems to target medium sized business owners and larger, I was able to apply what was taught in it to my own business doings.
As some of you know, I generally build niche software that sell in the 5 to 6 ARR range. What I learned in this book helped me solidify why some of my past businesses have thrived and others have failed.
The book explains how visionaries are generally the creative type. They are generally the founder of the company and they have their pros and their cons. Integrators are the guys that make it happen. They work directly with the leadership team in a medium sized business or larger. They have different tasks and are each an important asset to the company. The book also says that visionaries are 4x more common than integrators. I recommend you pick up this book to learn more, but first, let me explain how I interpreted the book and used it in my life.
As I said earlier, I build niche software. I’m a programmer, but I’m also a sales man. I can do both, quite well, but this book helped me realize that it’s almost impossible to wear both hats in the same company.
My take on the book is, although I am capable of doing either job, it works best if I choose 1 role, and hire the other role out. I call this hired role, my integrator. Although this book teaches in a way that your integrator has to always have someone under it, in my lean products, there isn’t. This recently has worked fantastic for me with my latest software, SerpClix. I hired a programmer, and instead of writing the code, which I could, I decided to work purely on vision and sales, and paid a programmer to do it. Occasionally, I even take on freelance programming gigs, where I’m paid 3x that of what I pay my programmer that works under me.
This is working quite well. I’m fully focused on marketing the software, using the customer feedback for vision and I simply report bugs and features to the programmer, almost like someone who doesn’t know how to code would. I’m able to make educated technical decisions on directions for the software, when needed, but I generally don’t get too involved in development.
This strategy has given me more time, made it easier to bring my product goals to life, gave me more pressure to never put this project on the “back burner” aka give up and allows me to focus on bringing in the sales. Being as young as I am, it’s hard to stay concentrated as there’s always another “shiny object” that looks more fun to execute however the method outlined in this book has opened my eyes to my strengths and weaknesses as a visionary and make me realize that I need an integrator on my projects.