Skedsheet Blog

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Lesson #3: If you see a bad situation, get out fast.

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I’m examining some of the lessons I’ve learned from working at other companies – trying to figure out how experience matters when you’re running your own business.

zipdriveIomega – After working on a small renegade team within General Instrument, I hungered for more.  Several of the same folks that I’d worked with had moved over to Iomega to join a project that seemed the same…from a distance.

I should have seen some of the indicators of a bad situation ahead of time – huge building, separate executive level offices, fancy marketing materials, and a product that was cool but didn’t solve a real problem for anyone I knew.  This was a project that was geared for success in every superficial way.

The idea was to build a shrunken-down version of the Zip drive that had made Iomega so successful, something that would become the new storage for mobile devices – cameras, laptops, PDAs, and maybe someday phones. 

As I started digging into the technical details, all of the pieces I needed already had already been designed– for flash drives… which were cheaper, faster, and more reliable than the product we were building.  Despite all of the smart people who were involved, apparently nobody had researched this – and when I started asking questions, nobody was concerned.

I still feel like this was the only job where I wasted my time – I didn’t make a big contribution, didn’t learn any new skills, and generally felt frustrated.  Luckily, my tenure there was only a few months.  After a while, the team eventually produced a product, but not long after, they closed the office and the Clik! drive never made it to mass market.

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Written by Harry Hollander

May 5, 2009 at 8:25 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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