In July 2007, I was very fortunate to be introduced to Bill Malkes and Vig Sherrill, two entrepreneurs starting a traffic company in Knoxville, TN. It only took a few minutes to see their passion, and they promised their technology would be disruptive and unlike anything the industry had ever seen. It would be ORIGINAL.
Despite the fact neither founder had experience in traffic, they understood there was a need for changing how traffic was done. That is what entrepreneurs do. They see things others don’t, and they take risks that others won’t.
The early days of developing and selling a single camera solution were not easy. In fact, they were plain hard. Over 100 investors said no to funding; competitors said it would never work; industry ‘experts’ were skeptical, but no one at GRIDSMART listened to the naysayers. The idea was phenomenal. Customers were excited to see something new, and we were willing to put everything we had into making it work.
We made mistakes; we had a few wins, as well as our fair share of failures. But more importantly, we had GRIT – a “never say die” attitude. We figured things out, and we approached problems differently. Simplicity was our grounding, and we’ve never wavered from that core.
As we were readying the GRIDSMART System for launch, I remember overhearing an engineer once complain being SIMPLE was too hard, and the customer would just have to do a little extra work. Jeff Price’s response was, “We do all the hard work so the customer doesn’t have to. That’s what makes us different.” (Note, that engineer didn’t make it very long.)
And it’s that commitment, to do the right thing, to do the hard stuff, to never give up that makes GRIDSMART ORIGINAL.