First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Darren Leno: Thanks for asking. My family and I are doing well, staying healthy, and adapting to new social practices. It’s challenging, but we know it is important for our own safety and those in our cohort.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Encryptomatic
Darren Leno: I began Encryptomatic LLC after a career with Microsoft in business development and business product management. I just reached a point where it became personally important to strike out and try some new ideas that I had been incubating in my head. The first couple of years were daunting, but slowly things came together. We listened to our markets and eventually found our groove.
How does Encryptomatic innovate?
Darren Leno: We innovate internally, but our secret weapon is our Jira support database. We get a lot of good ideas from users, and we invite their feedback on our products. We record all of these interactions in as much details as customers are willing to provide. Our products cut across many different vertical markets, and our customers are experts in their markets. So we listen when customers bring ideas for improving the fit of our products for their verticals.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Darren Leno:We are a distributed company for over a decade, so coronavirus has not impacted how we operate. So far, everyone here has stayed healthy. We probably work more, since there are fewer places for us to venture out to, sadly. We have clients at major corporations who have had to adapt their work situations dramatically, which means we have had to adapt to their new schedules. Other than that, we have not seen a dramatic change in how we worked prior to the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Darren Leno: Because of our business model, we have not been forced to make the difficult choices that many brick and mortar businesses have had to make. The lesson learned is that during a pandemic, its good to be an established, distributed software innovator and services provider with a broad range of products. Our business model has allowed us, so far, to escape the worst economic impacts of COVID-19.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Encryptomatic in the future?
Darren Leno: I’m not great with stress. I seem to have two responses to it. I either let it consume me and press through the situation that is causing me stress by working overtime, or if no path through it is clear, I simply put it aside and work on something else I have more control over. This might not be a great thing to say to more organized people, but many problems will go away if you ignore them. Certainly not all, but many.
In the case of COVID-19, I am dealing with it by taking the reasonable precautions that I can take, like wearing a mask in public, while also re-inventing a new normal with my family. New routines and activities are slowly replacing the old in our personal life.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Darren Leno: We have a range of competitors across many vertical markets. Maybe we should, but we really don’t focus too closely on our competitors. We remain attuned to our customers and listen to what they need. I’ll also add that we have long sought out customers who are a great fit for our products because it is just too much work to take on customers who don’t fit well. If our products don’t fit your market or use case, we will tell you so upfront. It saves us both time and money. We have even recommended competitors, where we are certain they are a better fit than our products. For example, we regularly turn away government buyers because they are so expensive to do business with, their processes are so slow, and our products and services are not priced well for those buyers. We can serve three or four private sector businesses in the time it takes to satisfy one lumbering government customer. There are exceptions, but not many.
As a small company, our greatest strength is our ability to move quickly for our clients. We will stay in the game by listening to customers and bringing additional value to existing products, and where necessary, spin-off new products to address new opportunities. Being a nimble small business, we have the luxury of being able to address the needs of mid- to small-sized markets that giants like Microsoft will pass over, or only address very broadly.
Your final thoughts
Darren Leno: Thanks for contacting us. We are glad to share but even happier to learn from others.
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