pace your execution to your hype
Startups like to think that we have inspired ideas. By definition we have to be storytellers for all we have is a story when we first begin this journey. No real team. No real product. No real customer. No real money (revenue). In essence we are writing the script and acting in a movie.
Over time however that "movie" about the startup has to become the "documentary" about the company. We have to make real what our dream turned into a movie. Transitioning from the dream world to the real is the tricky part. Things don't pan out as the script. Yet somehow we find ourselves stuck marketing and playing the same movie to the public and creating a hype that we just cannot keep up with. Sadly, we feel that creating and keeping the hype is the way to the real product, customer, and money.
Yes, you need to be prepared at all times to tell the story but it takes discernment, courage and discipline to rein in the hype and focus entirely on the customer and the product. At CASEQ, we spent two years doing just that. The only people that saw us were our brewery partners and our team members. Who do you most need validating your product or service? For us it was the brew staff. All the hype in the world wouldn't matter if we could not develop a product that the brewer enjoyed using.
How many layers of development do you need to go through before you can show viability? Our main layers included harvesting, separating, purifying and liquefying. Each of these is a product in itself and the output of one serves as input for the other. A bad output amplifies within the next stage or deteriorates the performance of the subsequent. So we had to get each one right.
Our biggest design constraint was cost. How do you make a process that is energetically and economically expensive available to the “long tail” of craft brewing — ones producing 5,000 - 150,000 barrels per year? We had to first gain a deep understanding of the composition and behaviour of fermentive emissions before designing a mechanism to peel away the constituents until we were left with pure CO2 for liquefying.