Hopefully you are still here with me not simply because you don’t want to hurt my feelings by spam-filtering my emails, (believe me, you don’t need to worry about that--I’ve grown a thick skin over the years working in corporate), but because you care or you just want to see how this whole thing unfolds. Some of you have sent me emails recently, asking if I was still alive, still in the US--maybe rolling tacos at a Mexican Restaurant? Well, sorry for the long absence! I’m still here, holding on with all my fingers, nails and every morning-breath to this new path and passion. Last February marked the second anniversary of my departure from Mattel, a great prior life and experience that feels both so distant and so vivid. I feel no regret, I’m not looking back, I’m not second-guessing, and I love what I do. My wife and kids keep on supporting this dream, and that is the most important thing. So far I haven’t looked in the mirror and asked…what the heck have you done? Are you nuts? …As some people tell me with their eyes when they talk to me. What comes to my mind every morning is a cocktail of sensations: a combination of excitement for the day to come and fear about the uncertainty of what comes next, pleasure at the things I’ve learned and accomplished with our newborn company and how much I have enjoyed being closer to my wife and my two daughters, and the anxiety for the many things that haven’t happened and need to happen (like a customer payment), hoping that today is the day we get a new client--and planning what to do if it doesn’t happen. A very good friend and also customer of Ayax told me recently that our company is in what they call the “heroic phase,” the time to sleep inside the delivery truck (he works for one of the biggest bakeries worldwide). The next phases are growth, consolidation, then expansion and finally explosion (in the good sense…I hope). Those phases, except the heroic obviously, feel so distant. But when my friend was telling me this, I had a comforting feeling knowing that someone has already traced and walked this path before us, that I just have to keep walking, not looking back or sideways, doing my best and enjoying every day and knowing that each phase will happen. Maybe that is why I write this journal: to capture and remind me of the path as it unfolds, hoping I will recognize the signals that announce the arrival at the next phase or the absence of it.
Our young company keeps moving ahead; we are now six people working full-time, plus several contractors worldwide (the magic of the internet allows anyone to be global). 2011 has definitely been better than last year. Sales are on its way to double last year’s sales total, we are cash flow positive from an operational perspective and we just started paying ourselves just a little bit of a salary. We now have 4 major global companies as our customers, two based in the US and two in Mexico, with several other big and small prospects on the horizon. Also, we just launched a new web based strategic decision tool for assessing uncertainty and recommending the best course of action for strategic decisions such as: acquisitions, investments, purchasing of commodities and raw materials among others. The system is called “Previsor” (Pre-View, in English) and it is a very innovative and robust decision process and tool, which one of our customers is using within their global procurement and risk analysis department to quantitatively compare and select the best strategic alternative when buying commodities (heavy stuff that one of my partners is leading!). We keep promoting our preference based decision system “PathFinder”, which helps consumers find the right product based on the personal needs, an iPhone version is close to launch. We are very happy with our great new customer and latest toy, check this out, give us your feedback because we are testing it, and recommend it to your friends with kids, or no kids: Mattel Toy Finder. Talking about Simon, he has 40 something thousand users and we are working on a new and refined version for businesses called “Choixer”. Take a look at our new website, which gives a better overview of our company and services www.ayaxsystems.com (yes, please go ahead and look…don’t worry, I will wait). We even got a new VoIP phone system. It’s cool, it has the nice elevator music and sexy operator voice (my partner) while it connects you (in case you want to hear my partner’s sexy voice: 310.295.1925). Let me know if you know someone who might be interested in our services.
Ayax, plus the consulting on marketing and sales I’m doing for Kantar Retail customers (material for next update), keeps me very busy. I wrote you this letter on a plane, on my way to visit a customer in Canada, cramped in my chicken class 18F seat (Platinum Status was lost many, many months ago), with an un-bitable 10 dollar dry chicken sandwich, but feeling like a hero in my own mind, part of a crusade, on one more trip of our “heroic” company path.
Thank you for listening and until the next,