Barrie Hadfield’s Modus Operandi

Written by Ainsley

Our very own serial entrepreneur, Barrie Hadfield, has been grilled by about co-founding SkyDox and the lessons he’s learned by founding four companies. He’s come up with some answers to some very tough questions like these ones:

MO: Learning from mistakes is critical for entrepreneurs. Can you share some lessons learned from your past or how you would have approached things differently?

Barrie: It might sound cliché, but the biggest lesson I learned was very early in my career is to follow your instincts. In the late 1980s I worked as a salesperson for a major UK-based hardware supplier. Each month, the top salesperson was given the opportunity to arrive to work in helicopter that landed on the roof. I realized the helicopter ride was not an incentive for me; my passion lay in the art of solving a problem efficiently and intelligently. After that, I decided it was better to work for myself — and I’ve done so ever since.

Barrie Hadfield150 Px

MO: What inspires you both personally and professionally? As an innovator, how do you bring your ideas to life?

Barrie: Inspiration is best when it’s unexpected, so I always keep myself open to surprising moments of creativity. For instance, I read the manuals of all my new gadgets from cover-to-cover before switching on the device for the first time. This exercise has resulted in a good many “aha” moments for all areas of my life. At other times, just sailing my boat gives me a certain tranquility that lets my mind wander and the ideas will start to come. You have to be open to inspiration no matter what you’re doing.

Once these ideas emerge, they have a way of simmering in the background. For product ideas, I like to try things out in discussion groups, as an informal sounding board. If the idea seems to have merit, I’ll pull in our user-interface team and start experimenting with screen shots that bring to life how the user would interact with the idea. I believe that software has to be seen to be understood. This is why I like focusing on the user-interface first. It forces me to think through a lot of the details. The next step is bringing in a range of our customers and development partners for feedback. After this, it’s a matter of integrating this idea into the development schedule, keeping in mind customer demand. Then, it’s show time.

If you want to find out more, check out the full interview here and don’t forget to vote!

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