WE CREATE AND SUPPORT TECH STARTUPS
WE HAVE AN
WITH A PROVEN
WE HAVE AN EXPERIENCED TEAM WITH A PROVEN TRACK RECORD
WE HAVE A
TURN GOOD IDEAS
INTO GREAT PRODUCTS
WE HAVE A FORMULA TO TURN GOOD IDEAS INTO GREAT PRODUCTS
WE WORK WITH
A NUMBER OF
WE WORK WITH A NUMBER OF CONCEPTS AT DIFFERENT STAGES OF LIFE
IN TO THE
WE'RE PLUGGED IN TO THE START UP COMMUNITY
IF YOU'VE GOT A GREAT IDEA, GET IN TOUCH AND SEE IF WE CAN MAKE YOUR VISION A REALITY
IF YOU'VE GOT A GREAT IDEA, GET IN TOUCH AND SEE IF WE CAN MAKE YOUR VISION A REALITY
As the innovation arm of Sorenson Media, an international company that specializes in online media, broadcast, advertising and emerging technologies, we provide the experience, framework and resources to quickly validate and develop concepts into successful businesses.
Originally created as a way to evolve ideas within Sorenson Media that were not core to the business, the principles were extended externally and Sorenson Foundry now offer support to technology based start-ups at a number of levels. We also work with academic and commercial institutions to introduce their technology into new sectors and international markets.
Sorenson Foundry is led by a team of successful entrepreneurs, who have created, sold and floated several companies. In total they have returned over $1b back to shareholders, including one of the most lucrative private equity deals in Utah history.
As part of Sorenson Media we're able to leverage numerous relationships, including strategic international agreements with major Networks, Advertisers and Consumer Electronics Manufacturers. We also have access to a number of different funding options.
Jim is a renowned entrepreneur, business leader, and social investor and has built multiple highly successful companies in industries ranging from technology and life sciences to real estate and private equity investment. Jim is the founder and former CEO of Sorenson Media and Sorenson Communications, with the latter sold in one of the most lucrative private equity deals in Utah history.
Currently also CEO of Sorenson Media. Marcus has served as an executive in the digital video and television advertising industries for 15 years. Marcus founded Inuk Networks, which was acquired by Move Networks in 2009. Marcus was later appointed CEO of Move Networks, which provided online video solutions to clients like ESPN, ABC, Comcast, and Fox. Marcus most recently served as President & CEO of Xumo.
Dai has almost 20 years at the leading edge of online media and digital advertising, with a specific focus on OTT services and smart devices. Prior to creating the Sorenson Foundry he was CTO of Xumo, a company focused on delivering video and advertising solutions through internet-connected TVs. He has also held executive technical positions at Move Networks, Blockbuster and Yes Television.
Jamie has over 20 years of management experience in the entertainment and technology industries, having worked as a ‘C’ level executive for companies including Campus Book Rentals, WebVisible, Move Networks and Stamps.com Inc. He also is also a Certified Public Accountant and served in various finance-related positions for Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and Arthur Andersen LLP.
An important part of Sorenson Foundry is the Formula, which is a framework of strategies, techniques, tools and methodologies that we have refined over the years to support the creation of successful start-ups. Building upon Lean and Customer driven principles, the Formula is structured around small, iterative and measurable experiments.
"Formula: a method or procedure for achieving something"- Oxford English Dictionary
The evolution of a concept to a business is basically a series of these small experiments, contained within larger gated stages. The Formula isn't a rigid process, but it does provide a path with numerous validation points. From this we can learn, adapt and fail early if needs be.
Dai Evans. 20 May 2016
Fail Fast, Fail Often has become somewhat of a mantra of late with startups and innovation in general. At the Sorenson Foundry we adopt a similar philosophy of Fail Early, but given the possible misinterpretation and negative connotations, it is something that needs explanation.
"If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again"
There is still some debate on where this saying originated, but as an overarching principle it is a good start. Most successful entrepreneurs have a collection of failures behind them, but they keep going and ultimately succeed. As an illustration there is a great story about Thomas Edison supposedly taking a 1,000 attempts at the first working light bulb prototype. When asked by a reporter: "How did it feel to fail a 1,000 times?", he responded: “I didn't fail 1,000 times, the light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”
This is more about mental attitude and perseverance, since the issue of repeating the same mistakes over and over should be fairly obvious. A possibly more accurate quote is given by Maverick (the cowboy):
"If at first you don’t succeed, try something else"
Whilst a bit simplistic, the principle here is that if something fails, accept that failure. Learn from that failure. Make improvements. Try something else. Carry on.
This is the essence of the Lean build-measure-learn philosophy, but it also comes back to attitude. People don't like to fail. We have a genetic predisposition against it. In the worse case this results in us either hiding failure or denying it, perpetuating the problem and going down a rabbit hole. The key is being able to recognise and acknowledge when things aren't going right.
The other issue with our aversion to failure is being too scared to take a risk in the first place. The prevailing wind is that great success depends on great risk, so it logically follows that small success depends on small risk. As such there is always risk, it is just a matter of scale... and with this risk there will always inevitably be some failures.
You'll often hear entrepreneurs say that they've learnt more from their failures than their successes. I'm not so sure if that is strictly true. I've got my fair share of failures behind me (trying to steer Blockbuster towards streaming services being towards the top) and whilst I have learnt from each, I wouldn't say I've necessary learnt more from a business perspective than the successes. What I did learn though is resilience. The ability to accept risk and the failure that sometimes follows. The ability to learn from that failure and adapt.
This is an attitude that is fundamental to any startup, and as a little side thought, I believe there is also a geographical and cultural bias towards this attitude. Operating out of both Cardiff and Salt Lake City, the Sorenson Foundry is active in the startup communities of both Wales and Utah. Both have a similar population (around 3m), a similar number of universities, similar GDP and a similar pool of talent. Utah, however, has a far higher number of technology start-ups than Wales. Why? Actually there are a number of reasons (which I'll address in another article) and this is by no means towards the top, but there is definitely a difference in mentality. Wales has less entrepreneurs that are prepared to take that risk.
Having accepted that risk and the inevitable failures, we're now back to failing early. The misinterpretation here is to think that we're somehow advocating or glorifying mistakes and errors. We're not. We're aiming for success, but we must identify problems as soon as possible and adapt. If we can't adapt or the cost to adapt is too high, we either need to wait until the given market matures or shelve it. The key is being analytical and not to throw good money after bad. Maybe an even better quote to summarise this all up is by W. C. Fields
"If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There’s no use being a damn fool about it"
Dai Evans. 12 May 2016
It is commonly accepted that most startups don’t fail because they lack a technical product, they fail because they lack the customers who want their product and a viable financial model. IDEO's human-centered design does a good job of representing this challenge by viewing solutions through the lenses of Desirability, Feasibility, and Viability. The aim being to create products that live at the intersection of the three.
If we're honest with ourselves we haven't always got this balance right. We've always had a very strong technical background, but this has sometimes slanted us towards building stuff that was cool or clever, rather than something the market actually needed. To mitigate this we now build our teams around three leads representing Design, Business and Technology. All have equal voice and whilst discussions have been known to get heated, between them it ensures the balance is maintained.
This balance also extents our our internal processes. What we refer to as the Formula is a framework of strategies, techniques, tools and methodologies that we have refined over the years, but importantly it includes a blend of Lean, Customer Driven Development and Agile. Each of which supports one of the three key aspects of any concept.
The "Holy Trinity" of Business, Design and Technology is at the core of everything the Foundry does, from the way we think and validate, to the way we structure teams and work... and even our logo. It is our fundamental belief.
Sorenson Foundry is an international company with offices in Salt Lake City US and Cardiff UK. Sorenson Foundry core team is based Cardiff.
Sorenson Media, Inc.
25 East Scenic Pointe Drive
Draper, Utah 84020
Sorenson Media Ltd
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