Archive for November 17th, 2010

If I had to ‘get a job’ it would be at Opzi.

November 17, 2010

As an entrepreneur you have backup plans for the backups plans. If this domino falls then I’ll do ‘x’. If that project doesn’t go through, I’ll do ‘y’. I’ve recently been evaluating worst case scenarios as part of my by-yearly ‘doomsday scenario’ planning session.

So the question arises:

If I had to go get a ‘real’ job, where would I want to work?

Considering how many engineers I’ve spoken with in the last six months, I might look at that question from their perspective: What problem most interests me right now? Other than ‘CR’ (what I’m working on right now), the problem most interesting to me is the one Opzi is trying to solve. It’s not an obvious choice (obvious = Airbnb, Groupon, Facebook, Palantir, or Quora).

For those that don’t know, Opzi is a Y Combinator funded startup and a recent Techcrunch Disrupt finalist. Their plainly stated mission is to: “Change the way people at companies share knowledge.”

In the last 2 weeks I have had two separate conversations with high level managers in large companies who both expressed the problem that siloed information is creating in their organizations. One of these managers mentioned a recent summit attended by 150 people in the company from around the world. They were meeting on one specific issue, and when they stepped back and looked at what everyone was doing around the world, there were dozens of instances of major overlap between teams. This inability to decipher who is working on what and capture those leanings, has cost this company millions and perhaps tens of millions of dollars. Just imagine how much that summit of 150 people cost!

Another friend who is a senior member of a major Silicon Valley law firm expressed a similar concern. Lawyers working on similar cases, across many different offices around the country and the world, have a very difficult time finding who is working on what. This inability to share resources wastes time, and probably more importantly time saved that would give a huge law firm another competitive advantage.

My own corporate experience echos those shared above. Big companies are hugely ineffective with information, and if you can solve their problem, they will pay handsomely for it. So while I’m not looking for a job, if my wife told me today I’d better find one or else, I’d probably head down to Opzi in Palo Alto and see what they have brewing. I’m excited to see what kind of traction they can achieve.

It’s one of a thousand problems being solved in the valley right now. It’s just particularly interesting to me based on my experience.

What startup would you go work for if you had to get a new job tomorrow? What problems are you experiencing that you’re most interesting in?