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FCW : May 15, 2015
found that West Coast investors are more reluctant to invest in such oppor- tunities. Given their ultimate bottom- line orientation, they must feel that the chance for outsized returns is less in the enterprise market. The one cur- rent exception is companies that make cybersecurity products. • Speed vs. completeness. The ori- entation in Silicon Valley is to quickly build a minimally viable capability, deploy it to get feedback and then incrementally improve from there. This is taking agile development beyond software to the business of building a company. As I have learned from having par- ticipated in a number of startups, test- ing and refining your capabilities with potential and actual clients is the foun- dation for success. Almost no one gets the killer app right at the start. It is the refinement through use and feedback from customers that is the key to cre- ating a successful product or service. Unfortunately, as those of us who have worked in federal IT know all too well, this is not how the government typically buys. That is the critical rub and why many early-stage companies (no matter where they reside) are averse to selling to the government. On a final note, I was recently pitch- ing to one of the major venture capital firms on Sand Hill Road. Overall, it was going well — until we started to dis- cuss our market focus. One of our tar- get markets is the federal government because I believe our capabilities are well suited to support it. The investors’ reaction was very negative, which is indicative of how government is viewed by many West Coast investors. Even though we have certain orga- nizations — for example, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate — that are working to bring innovative technologies to gov- ernment, the government as a whole continues to lag behind in technology adoption because it is not attracting young, innovative companies. This is by no means an easy prob- lem to solve, but any meaningful procurement reform should seek to address how to enable the most inno- vative firms to access the government market. n May 15, 2015 FCW.COM 29 2015 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES ALMANAC The Almanac is your one-stop resource on federal policy information — used annually by thousands of federal employees to reference the latest 2015 rules, regulations, and procedures. NOW IN STOCK - ORDER TODAY! Single copies start as low as $23.95 Federal Soup subscribers save an additional 10%! FederalSoup.com/FedStore • 800-989-3363 0515fcw_028-029.indd 29 4/22/15 9:07 AM
April 30, 2015
May 30, 2015