Are you By-Product curious? Maybe you should be…

I’ve recently had the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and spend time in the ‘low power/long range/long life’ wireless industry. I’ve found it very intriguing and am going to focus on this industry for the foreseeable future. Why? A five-year old company in my home town, Synapse-Wireless, seems to have quite the tiger by the tail and all the right gear to tame it.

But, rather than spend time on this specific company, I think it’s important for ‘my business owners’ to learn how Synapse-Wireless got to where it is today…or really where it started.

But first…a word from Microsoft:

Young Bill Gates, 1977, Mug Shot

Young Bill Gates, New Mexico, 1977

Hi, remember Me? Bill Gates! I first started Micro-soft (yes, originally, I used a ‘hyphen’ in our name) as a programming language company. My first product was a Basic Language Interpreter and my second was Xenix (a variation of Unix). My third product was a Tools application, called Word…which somewhat started the original What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) visually oriented word processor. But, my real bread winner was MS-DOS…several years after agreeing to create DOS for IBM in 1981.

So, Microsoft became successful on Bill Gate’s second variation of its FOURTH product. And MS-DOS was actually a by-product of DOS, which Micro-soft was contracted to develop. Due to IBM’s poor thought-out licensing deal AND several successful IBM-BIOS re-engineering from Compaq and two other companies, Microsoft’s ‘by-product’ sales exploded.

There are other examples of by-products actually being the big bread-winner for companies. In one case, the by-proudct producing billions in revenue was deemed ‘not viable’ by the founders. You may have heard of a small company called Google. Google has billions of dollars of revenue from a by-product idea that wasn’t even the company founders’ own because they were originally against the concept.

Google Founders Brin & Page

Sergey Brin & Larry Page developed their main idea, a better search engine for the web, at Stanford in 1996. They founded Google in 1998, the same year they had both published a research paper as students denouncing the use of an “Advertising funded search engine” model. Today, the overwhelming market leader in Advertising Funded Search Engine revenue comes from Google Adwords, generating 90%+ of Google’s entire revenue…but clearly a business model that cannot succeed. I wish them luck. 😉

At the start of this blog post, I mentioned a local company called Synapse Wireless and their snowballing success. What by-product has been generating their success? Really, the entire company is a ‘by-product’ of the CEO’s first company, an engineering services firm. One project he accepted exposed the limitations and constraints of developing applications for embedded wireless solutions such as industrial control, home lighting, long-range sensor monitoring and more. To complete the project, they ended up having to develop better development tools…which then evolved into a better architecture and superior mesh network operating system. It could end up being the “MS-DOS de facto standard” of the low-power, long range, long life wireless space. If the CEO had only published a paper totally denouncing the concept a few years earlier, I’d bet my house on it. Instead, I’m just going to bet a few years of my life on it. 😉 🙂