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On this episode of From Idea to Done, Josh and Erick discuss Network Center and playing nice with your competitors. They talk about recently having made connections with the folks over at Network Center and share why it’s beneficial to interact with the competition.

VO: Get ready for your semi-regular dose of random ideas from the guys at Codelation. We like to talk about big ideas companies that are winning, and those that aren't along with current events in our crazy world of software startups. So come along with Erick and Josh, who challenge you to think big, start small and turn your ideas into something on this episode of, from idea to done.

Josh: Hey everyone I'm Josh

Erick: And I'm Erick and today's idea is playing nice with your competitors. Josh, last month you spoke at the envision conference. Can you give a brief overview of what you spoke about?

Josh: Absolutely. Uh, the title of the talk was seven steps to startup success. Uh, what we wanted to do is to give an idea of how you can win by thinking like a startup.

Erick: What was interesting about this to me was for ne this was for network centers conference. Can we talk a little bit about network center and what they do?

Josh: Yeah. Network center located here in Fargo. I know they've got some other locations as well. Um, basically anything that has to do with computers or technology for your business, they can help with. So things like, um, from help desk and support to infrastructure, design implementation, uh, even development surfaces are very similar to us.

Erick: And then what was interesting to me because we were there basically direct competitive or of ours. And when we got there, we were chatting with the person at, for network center that was in my exact role. And we're talking about a project that we both bid and our team actually, we ended up winning the contract and everyone was really happy about it. And it was a very good but weird conversation. And this kind of takes us back to one of our core values and that is community.

Josh: Yeah. And that's something I've, I've been able to learn about networks center over the last quarter is that we have a very similar culture and approach things the same, same way. We don't see each other as competition. Um, but at the end of the day, we're just trying to do what's best for the customer. And in

Erick: All of my various sales roles, I've always kind of considered no one competition. It's up to me to find the right customer it's up to me to win their project. And then our team has to crush it. So they don't even listen to bids from other people for future projects. I mean, that's an interesting philosophy and it's easy to say, and it's kind of tough to execute them.

Josh: It is, but it's also easier as we continue to find our niche as consulting and development for startups, whether that's a true startup, you know, two guys in a garage or an existing business with a new idea that they want to tackle

Erick: And if I see one of our like competitors and I just did some air quotes, which doesn't make sense when we're doing a podcast, but if someone in our field wins a bid, not finding that person to even talk to or get on the bid list or not doing enough work for on our end to have them consider us like that's on our team. It's part of my role. And if people don't know about us, I need to do a better job of telling our story and our work to everybody.

Josh: Yeah. It's all about brand awareness and understanding of what we do as a company. You know, uh, probably five, six years ago, we tried to say, here's all the litany of things that we do a large list. And, um, it's, it's really easy to say that was really hard to back it up. And it's ultimately confusing on how a small team can fulfill against that. You know, also other things that are kind of unconventional things like this podcast or random video series helps us to differentiate ourselves as a team and show our culture a little bit as much as anything

Erick: I, and I actually connected with their marketing person at the event. You know, I said, we both have to kind of mark it. Something has terribly unsexy as app and website development. And I have a meeting with her next week and we're just kind of going to tread chat strategies together. I'm really excited to bounce ideas off of someone else who kind of has my job. And it kind of goes back to our core value of community. I just wanted to take a moment here to thank network center for being like-minded and open to collaboration.

Josh: Absolutely. They've been really great to get to know this last quarter of 2019. And, um, I imagine us as companies doing a lot more together as 2020 rolls around.

Erick: Well, let's hope so. So yeah. Thank you for listening to this episode. If you know a startup that could use some random advice or thoughts, have them subscribe and leave a review on iTunes.

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About the Show

Erick and Josh talk about big ideas, companies that are winning and those that aren’t, and current events in the crazy world of software startups.

Josh Christy


Erick Roder

Director of People
and Nerd Culture

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