When I was 11 I remember being holed up in the garage watching my brother put-back-together a go cart he had painstakingly built the previous summer. Just the day before, without his knowing I had taken a dusty sheet off “the beast” and dragged her up the hill to the top of my street.
The first run down was fine but ho-hum. I wanted more. I wanted speed. My tween understanding of friction mechanics told me that a liberal dose of oil makes everything go faster.
I raced back inside to the pantry, grabbed the gallon can of olive oil and liberally applied it to the axle, the steering hinge and for good measure, the rims of the wheels. Those exact same rims that brake pads are squeezed against when you want to bring the cart to a halt.
So I got my speed up just fine, but three quarters down the hill I realized the brakes weren’t gripping. The oil between the break pad and rim provided for layer of slick lubrication, keeping them spinning along and me hurtling toward the neighbor’s brick fence.
Saving myself I performed a dive role that Bond would have been proud of; walking away from the scene without a scratch. The cart however, had rolled several times smashing into the brick wall and now lay in three pieces coated in a layer of rancid olive oil, dirt and grass.
Being brothers, I copped the inevitable beating that came my way and out of 11 yr-old guilt retreated to a safe corner of the garage to pay my respects and watch the effort to put The Beast back together again.
What stayed with me all this time was not the thrill of the ride, or the adrenalin of escaping serious injury. It was the way in which all these inanimate bits and pieces could be assembled into something new and powerful and alive.
Something much more powerful than the sum of its parts.
And that of course is theme we see time and time again, every day and throughout history. The United Nations is a stronger force than the sum of its member countries. A Long Island Ice Tea is (trust me) stronger than its ingredients alone and everyone knows what happens when scientists start splitting atoms.
The same is true when it comes to managing growing businesses.You have a sales team off closing deals, a project team delivering on the service or product, a billing team collecting money and a support team keeping the customer coming back for more. Put each activity together into a unified operating environment and you create value. Keep each activity at disconnect and value quickly erodes.Why then do we see time and time again businesses engaging in discrete apps to manage each department?
The sales team is living in Salesforce, project team hooked into Basecamp, billing is still pumping out excel spreadsheets and support is forever jumping on whatever help desk software is flavor of the month.
How does the project team get insight into critical sales conversations, or the support team instantly access a customers’ entire history? And at the end of the day, where does the actual customer fit into all of this?
Only by consolidating your entire business operations into a unifying software platform can business get the instant, deep insight into a customer and across teams that is needed to grow a business, to keep everything moving forward with minimal friction.
And that is what WORK[etc] is doing. We’re building the environment that pulls all the discrete activities of your business together to create value, something much more powerful than the sum of its parts.