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Blue Gecko co-founder Chuck Edwards, left, interviewed by NextCast’s Jeff Dickey

Life as an accountant wasn’t quite enough for Chuck Edwards, so when he was given the opportunity to learn Oracle and grow his database skills, he jumped at it.

Now he’s at the forefront of data management after spending 12 years growing his own startup, Blue Gecko.

What did he learn along the way? It’s all about value — the importance of corporate values, the value of a great team, and of course, the value of a fantastic product.

  • Chuck’s got plenty of advice for other startup leaders, since he spent 12 years growing from a small “bootstrapped” team doing outside consulting work to make ends meet to becoming a successful player in the database world. “It takes a lot of perseverance,” he says. (6:18)
  • One key tip he has for startup leaders with multiple co-founders: ““Founders need to be on the same page and check in with each other on their personal goals.” Which makes sense – as the company grows, so do the people who run it, and priorities should be out in the open. “As the founder’s personal goals change, it influences where they want to steer the company.” (7:12)
  • When it comes to values, Chuck says, “Maintaining high values is kind of easy — just don’t compromise them.” Decide what’s important to you as an organization and never, ever deviate from the values you set forth. (8:25)
  • For Chuck, company culture is what can be hard to pin down, but is so essential for success: “We’re a technology service company, so your technology competence is sort of a given, but within that there is a wide range of people who either fit or who don’t. You can put a bunch of really really smart people in a conference room together, but if they don’t get along nothing’s going to get done.” (10:03)
  • At the end of the day, to Chuck, having a successful business and product is all about what value you can offer your customer. “You want to be a value add,” he says. “I don’t mean being the condiment on top of the hot dog; you are the hot dog. If you’re providing value, you’re probably going to be okay.” (13:40)

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. [Editor’s note: GeekWire is proud to partner with Jeff Dickey who produces the Nextcast entrepreneur interview series].

PreviouslyMatt Hulett’s startup advice: ‘Money makes you soft’Rand Fishkin of SEOmoz on search, startups, sticking it outEntrepreneur Dan Shapiro: Startups aren’t a science

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