Like many other companies, we have a “Why … ?” section on our website.
“Why Vortex?” was originally written to explain to our visitors what I recently learnt is called Unique Value Proposition (UVP) i.e. what unique reason(s) would make you decide to buy from us instead of from our competitors. You can learn more about Vortex’s UVPs on our website but I’d rather like to talk about a more interesting matter today.
In a recent chat with our colleagues of Climate Scale (CS) I misinterpreted Duarte’s question “Why CS?” as “Why does CS exist?“. This mistake generated a deeper debate about the ultimate aim of our companies, and about our personal motivations too.
At first glance, one could be tempted to say that they were created with the objective to serve our customers and solve their problems. This sounds very good but, in our case, it’s certainly not true. When we founded Vortex we were not sure if we were going to have customers. In fact, we were full of uncertainties at the time: What if we are not able to run models properly and efficiently? What if our model results were not of interest to anybody?
However, from the beginning, we were all convinced that, to a certain extent, wind could be modeled and we believed that it was worth trying to prove that. And, more importantly, we believed that it was worth giving it a go because we enjoyed doing it. Even when the initial results were not as encouraging as expected (or sales not as fast).
“Enjoying what you are doing” is, to me, a motivation as valid as (and not at all incompatible with) “doing something good for the planet“, for example, and much better than “trying to guess our customers’ motivations”. In fact, customers’ motivations are many times a mystery to me and I feel more comfortable talking about our motivations. But, as the company evolved and we got to better understand our customers’ needs, the feeling that both motivations many times are aligned sparked a little magic and made this human interaction run smoothly.
Later in the same chat, someone asked “But why would customers care about our motivations? They just want their problems to be solved“. I don’t agree. Obviously, customers want their problems to be solved but I’m a customer myself too and I care about also how my providers treat the planet or their employees, or if the love they work (or just care about profits). At the end of the day, those are clues as to how they ultimately treat me.
Ana then very aptly pointed out that “enjoying your work“, “treating your employees well” or “helping the planet” are three independent motivations that don’t necessarily have to come together. Yes, it’s true, but in my case, I don’t think I could enjoy my work if it implied treating my staff badly (or destroying the planet). I’m a sociable person and I enjoy myself when surrounded by people enjoying themselves too; like, for example, when we “meet” to play music.
Music? If you have read until here you may still wonder why Richard Branson (yes, it’s him) appears with Mike Oldfield in the photo at the top of this post? Good question since I don’t especially like Mr. Branson, a billionaire who was convicted for tax evasion. Well, he’s there because I do like one of his quotes:
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients”
It’s a nice statement to be heard from your boss, even if it was formulated with the growth of his fortune in mind. By the way, my next post will talk about “being a boss” which has a lot to do with all the above.