Why growing a startup is similar to hiking the backwoods

Why growing a startup is similar to hiking the backwoods

Photo: Daniel (bottom right) on the way to 5th of July Peak (North Cascades-photo by Brant Murdock)  

Written by our CEO, Daniel Daoura, read the original article here

Backpacking in the northwest has been one of my favorite activities as of recent years, thanks to my brother Marco and amazing friends.  The thrill of exploring new territories, abundant nature and facing challenges that lie ahead are just a few experiences that I cherish.  Heaps of planning prior to trekking that trail involving weeks of coordination with close friends.   You get out in the wild, and begin your journey with confidence, yet excited to face any challenges with grit and perseverance. Raw nature in far reaches of the wild come at a cost of hard work and dedication. 

Sheep Lake - near Mount Rainier

The goal is to reach that far but sought-after destination. One that may take several days, weeks or months. The more prepared and experienced your team is, the better the outcome. With all that weight on your back, you keep moving ahead one foot after the next with one goal in mind; reaching your destiny together with your team.  

Camp site at Larch Lakes during sunrise (photo by Justen Fauth)

You celebrate your successes every day, and set camp until dawn, then to continue your journey. Every day brings new challenges contrasted with abundant beauty. When fatigue sets in, you take a break, sit back for a moment and look around, reminding yourself of the nearby attractions.  

You may reach a trail block. And you’re forced to make detours, causing delays and new challenges. But you have a clear vision and a team that supports you along the way. You’re focused to reach your planned purpose. Your team is there for you, to support you along the way. These are people you trust with your life. You depend on each other. You keep trekking, no matter what challenges you’re faced with.    Without that trust and dedication, you lose traction, and faith.  

Near Fifth of July peak (photo by David Keller)

Running  has been similar in many ways to backpacking. You’re always faced with challenges. So long as you have focus and your team supports your vision, you will reach your destination, together. There are many levels of success, each summit or destination is a milestone of success.  Pebblebee continues to reach its milestones, and I’m emphatically proud of my team for supporting our vision. In 2012, I briefly lost track of our daughter in an amusement park. A devastating feeling, I wouldn’t want to wish upon anyone. We set out to create the best trackable device on the market to help parents keep track of their loved ones. Nick, my business partner, and I set out on a mission. That mission was rooted by our vision: help people connect with their loved ones. We quickly realized that cellular was not an option at the time. In order to reach our destination, we decided to take a few “camping spots” along the way. One of those stops was creating the best tracking solution for helping people finding their valuables. In 2012, we created the Honey Bluetooth tracking device. Shortly after, Pebblebee was officially established in 2013, built on a strong Intellectual Property foundation.  We continued to innovate and fulfill our commitment to improving and delivering the best user experience.  But our vision continues to be, as it always has been, helping people connect with their loved ones. 

Friends enjoying camp fire at Larch Lakes (photo by Marco Daoura)

As of 2017, we set out to explore a dozen or more wireless solutions including new IoT cellular families. We’ve partnered with big carriers, such as Deutsche Telekom, T-Mobile and KDDI. Dozens of new designs, prototypes and years later we’ve discovered and proven a game changing technology. One that allows people to stay connected with their loved ones at a fraction of the cost, and with battery life that can last a year or more on a single charge!  It was very challenging to get there, and it required a very strong partnership with experts in this field. 

From left to right, Daniel Daoura (Pebblebee CEO), Soracom team, Eugene Kawamoto-San (Soracom Americas CEO)

In 2019, we established a strategic partnership with Soracom – a worldwide leading IoT connectivity provider with a commitment to transparency, offering a suite of solutions to enterprise partners.  We are now able to offer our customers a new and very exciting way of tracking their valuables and most notably staying connected to their loved ones. After months of research and development, we’ve identified our modem and bill of materials for these new series of Pebblebee products. But the one challenge we faced was battery life. We consulted with numerous experts, trials and errors, and of course the well-known online search engine Google.  It was surprising to see so little information on how to demonstrate very low power consumption reliably and consistently over cellular connectivity.  

Placid Larch Lakes with friends

My team and I worked directly with Soracom for several months on integrating and developing new highly efficient, low power tracking solutions with cellular range. The results were amazing. Stay tuned for next post with details on how great partners like Soracom can make a big impact on helping your company, ultimately improving customer experience. I’ll explain what we discovered and how we were able to solve for power hungry consumer electronics.