Twenty Five Years to Mars
This past month Katapult had an all-hands meeting. We knew something big was brewing because our fearless leaders Andrew and Jeremiah had taken a number of off-campus meetings to discuss this big thing that they were presenting. We knew it had to do with our future, but we weren't prepared for what went down. It went a little something like this:
Thanks for coming. Today we want to talk to you guys about a change we have made in the way we lead, or at least how we as a company have in the past failed to lead. Historically we've only looked into the future and planned about a year in advance. But, today...Today, we are laying out our vision for the next 25 years. Something that has never been done here before.
I thought to myself...Cool, sounds like fun, are we getting a new kitchen? Are we finally going to build an amusement park? Ehh probably not...Jeremiah continued:
With that said, we are on a trajectory that lands Katapult on Mars in 25 years.
As you can imagine, most of us thought it was a joke, and thought our bosses lost their minds. But after they went through a short but very thoughtful and visually appealing presentation, I began to understand what was going on. My mind started racing as to what our future might look like and how this will change the life of the company. How I would start the conversation with my wife when I got home is a whole different story.
To put all of this into perspective, we are a small company based in South Central Pennsylvania. Not Silicon Valley. Maybe someday they give a nod to our statesman William Penn and will refer to this area as Silicon Woods, but I don't want to get ahead of myself. That still doesn't answer the question of how on Earth will we get to Mars? And why would we want to? It's cold, lonely and not super sustainable for us humans...yet.
So, here's the rundown.
Vision, goals, market positioning... these are all factors that go into planning and decision-making. If someone called us the day after having this meeting and said, "Hey, you guys do stuff with photos right? I want to hire you guys to take over picture day at my kids’ school", we would say, “Sorry, but that isn't on our path to Mars.” Now, of course, we would love to serve our local community, and maybe we would enjoy taking on a project like that. But probably not...The bottom line is that when you are leading a group of people on a path if you know where the destination is when you come to forks in the road, it becomes easier to choose which direction to go. If the company has a goal with clear objectives along the way, it gives the leadership something to shoot for, and it also allows members of the company to begin to groupthink ways they can add value to the company to achieve these goals.
Before having a vision, I would look to our leaders and ask "Am I doing a good job? Am I adding value? Am I missed when I'm gone?" Now with having a vision, it changes the conversation, I can now say "Am I contributing to achieving our goals? Am I helping us get through phase 1 and on to phase 2? Man, I am really missing out when I'm not at work." Do you see the difference?
Audacious goals like putting us or something we have built on a different planet before we retire is incredibly motivating. But more so, we are really excited about what this means for our community, how each of us will grow throughout the process, and the people we’ll interact with along the way. The path we’re embarking on will have us using some very exciting technology and innovation that we’ve been wanting to use for over a decade. We are finally doing it. The great thing about this plan is that it doesn't change our bread and butter, and it doesn't change our day-to-day work culture. We can now just call what we have been wanting to do what it is, and close on projects so we can begin to develop for the future. We can't see any further into the future than we had before, but now there is a reason to look for those opportunities that do come along, and we can also begin to go after short term goals that bring us closer to that next step along the path. Do I believe that I personally will make it to Mars? I have to. I might not personally get a chance, but I will be able to say, “I had a hand in making that thing possible, and someone else is able to rely on the work that I did to get there.”
As a company, I have noticed a change in the halls. There seems to be a new kind of sense in the air... it feels a lot like what I think purpose feels like. A feeling that is hard to put a finger on, but something we are all looking for in life.
In this blog and in our upcoming #25Y2M webisodes, we are looking forward to discussing the various technologies on the horizon across our ever-expanding landscape of innovation around the world, and how it relates to us in the present. We spend a lot of time oohing and awwing at everything Elon Musk touches, but when it comes down to it, with the right team and an incredible focus, we can also put out great products and services that impact the future of this world, and possibly the next.
If you are curious about how you can get involved or would like more information about our vision, contact us. We are always looking to add talent to our team.
Director of Marketing