Clarity and ‘20/20’ Vision in 2020

Posted by Stephen Oachs on December 30, 2019

With the turn of each new year, it is tradition, and part of the human spirit, to reflect on the past and look forward to the next year. We’ve learned from our mistakes, celebrated our successes and from our past experiences, we know the importance, and look to holding the bar high for the challenges that lie ahead.

The year 2020 seems especially apropos for reflection and clarity. Setting new goals is easy enough but what about something more…more consequential? The idea of zooming out, going beyond merely watching for icebergs – far enough that you can see the curvature of the future; enough distance that the details fade away and new ideas and directions are not clouded by preconceived notions and the imbalances of the daily grind. The type of vision that helps guide you toward the next steps on the road to success. This is often a road with few clear signs, riddled with potholes and hairpin turns; with ideas that excite you around every turn, while deep down inside scare you a little bit, too. The type of change that disrupts our comfort zone and pushes us in new directions.

Fifteen years ago, we bought a domain name and embarked on such a mission. We had no preconceived notions or daily grind. All we had was an idea, a vision and a lot of determination. We had no idea where this journey would go, how long it would last and if it was even viable. We knew the odds were against us yet we worked hard to avoid those moments of doubt and fear creeping in. After all, “fear is the thief of dreams” and “doubt has killed more ideas than failure ever did.” Two meaningful and inspiring quotes that I learned along this journey that gave me inspiration.

With a bootstrapped founding, KickFire was officially born in the fall of 2005. We didn’t realize it at the time but the decision not to pursue venture capital would be a blessing and a challenge. Challenging in that starting and growing a profitable software company in the heart of Silicon Valley would prove to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. Yet, in an era of fast cash venture capital funding and buying logos in a battle where your very survival hinges on achieving cash flow neutral, I’m thankful for those who coached and guided us in those early, formative months.

Over the past 15 years, KickFire has remained true to our core competencies and has built an incredible data platform that serves as a critical pipeline to a large number of sales and marketing platforms that encompass the Account-Based Marketing world today. In many ways, we have been ahead of the curve from the beginning, which you don’t always recognize in the moment and if it wasn’t for early adopters and one hell of a tenacious team, I might not be writing this letter today. But I am, and we are zoomed out and tuned in to our 2020 vision.

The maturity of our technology is greater than it’s ever been and the strength and knowledge of our team has never been richer. There is something pretty amazing about a team of people who believe deeply in our mission and have invested years of their careers to be part of a team – a team that has defied the odds to create something meaningful. Something consequential. Case in point, the person that helped me craft this letter was the very first employee of KickFire (not me).

And of course, our growth is also marked by a robust roster of customers who are as crazy about quality data as we are. Business models that span a wide variety of industries who have helped to build and shape KickFire with use cases that allow us to dream together to create new products and services that often border the fringe of innovation.

And now, as 2020 begins, we embark on the next chapter of KickFire. We know we must be steadfast in our goals, as there are surely many roadblocks ahead – but we are strong, confident and optimistic, and we understand opportunities don’t just magically happen, they are created.

 

Happy ‘20/20’,

Stephen Oachs, 

Founder & CEO of KickFire