“I was supposed to be an accountant,” says Marc Barros, who’s now the co-founder and CEO of Contour, one of the fastest-growing technology companies in the Pacific Northwest. The former University of Washington soccer player set out to solve a simple problem — find a way to shoot high-quality video while skiing.
From that simple idea, Contour was born. It now employs 55 people, and in September the company announced that its Contour+2 helmet-mounted video camera would be distributed through Apple stores.
What are the biggest lessons the 31-year-old has learned on his startup voyage? What technology would he get rid of “in a heartbeat” if he could? Find out in this episode of Nextcast.
- What’s Marc’s secret for founding a successful company? “We wanted to solve our own problem,” he says, explaining that he and his friends sought a better way to shoot video while skiing the slopes. He found something he was passionate about and strove to create the best product he could.
- To Marc, the foundation of your company is everything. It comes down to asking the right questions, he says. Instead of asking “what do we have to offer?” he suggests thinking this way: “Why does our company exist?” Having a core set of values and vision will always lead you in the right direction. (3:13)
- Marc says all of his success has been tied to one mantra: “Don’t give up.” That, and constant self-reflection and feedback. You’ll save a lot of time if you can take advice from a trusted source. “I appreciate when people give you the honest truth because it saves you a lot of time.” (7:40)
- “I think the best entrepreneurs have a gut instinct,” Marc says about running a successful startup business. Learning as much as you can and bringing on investors and advisors to keep you on track is always good, but listening to your instincts can be your secret weapon. (10:50)
- Without hesitating, Marc says: “I think email’s the worst. I’d get rid of it in a heartbeat.” (12:40) He maintains a good work-life balance by never checking email on his phone or when he’s trying to take time off from the office. (6:13)
Nextcast founder Jeff Dickey is passionate about technology, business and philosophy. He works as the chief cloud architect at Redapt, a Redmond-based cloud and big data infrastructure company. Additional reporting by Kate Stull. [Editor’s note: GeekWire is proud to partner with Jeff Dickey who produces the Nextcast entrepreneur interview series].