Archive for December 15th, 2005

Geoffrey Hansen and Reg Nordman founded Rocket Bui…

Geoffrey Hansen and Reg Nordman founded Rocket Builders Canada Ltd. in 2000.
Its objective: advise technology-based companies on how to recognize and
build upon market opportunities.

With the so-called tech bubble bursting, “People up and down the coast were
phoning me, saying they needed help to focus on revenue,” said Hansen, who
was then employed with the Ventures West firm’s Western Technology Seed
Investment Fund. “So I called Reg,” who had parlayed a UBC mining
engineering degree into numerous hardware-and software-industry jobs, “and
said: ‘There’s an opportunity here.'”

One of the first things the pair did, though, hardly involved rocket

Vancouver, like many other communities, was awash with techies wondering
what had hit them. Hansen and Nordman’s response was to order beer and
pretzels and invite the reeling geeks to weekly gabfests.

Their sessions drew 15, then 30 and, by 2004, up to 60 attendees before a
reviving tech economy reduced the frequency. But when Hansen and Nordman
called another get-together at the Roundhouse Community Centre Nov. 30,
almost 150 folk turned up.

They’ll likely get an attentive crowd from the investment community Jan 12,
when they present their annual Ready To Rocket report on B.C.-based private
companies they believe will capitalize on growth in the
information-technology sector.

The do is by invitation, but an inquiry to might get
you on the list.

Firms on the 2005 list ran from Air Games Wireless Inc. to TAP Solutions

Calling it North America’s only such predicted list, Nordman said 10 of the
25 are often partnered with Microsoft in some way. In a break with pattern,
though, only one of last year’s 25, PureEdge Solutions Inc., was acquired by
a larger firm (IBM). Usually, he said, three firms rated by Rocket Builders
are snapped up.

Rocket Builders’ mainline business, though, is to help clients make money.

The risk that entails, of course, is taking assignments from outfits that
aren’t making any.

“We have now minimized the number of worthless stock certificates sticking
to our walls,” said UBC graduate mining engineer Nordman, 56, who has a
three-decade record with hardware and software firms.

Such risks notwithstanding, Hansen and Nordman needed only two years to pay
back the $200,000 seed capital their firm’s anonymous “angel” furnished in
2000. They have operated on cash flow since.

Rocket Builders has two typical types of clients, Nordman said. “One:
revenue falls, sales leads fall, sales decline. Two: brand-new product, new
market, and they want to get to revenue quickly.” The ideal, though, is
“three years old, with over $1 million in revenue, maybe eight employees,
and they want to get to $5 million in two-plus years.”

As for that final step, “We are very familiar with how engineers fail to see
marketing opportunities,” Hansen said.

Not surprisingly, the first two titles in a six-book project the two have
launched are: How a Company Can Develop a Marketing Ploy and Business For

They hope to self-publish the series with all the irreverence and
promotional brio of author and marketing guru Seth Godin. “But let’s put it
in perspective,” said Nordman, “We still have our business to run, and it
takes money to buy whisky.”

Meanwhile, they are still buying beer and pretzels and prodding a
once-sputtering local industry back into orbit.

Lets Get Real or Lets Not Play. The Demise of 20th Century Selling &

Lets Get Real or Lets Not Play. The Demise of 20th Century Selling & the
Advent of Helping Clients Succeed. Mahan Khalsa. 1999. ISBN: 1883219507.
Buyers don’t trust sellers. Because they aren’t trusted, sellers have to
guess, and often guess wrong. Buyers prove themselves right and create
higher hurdles. And so it goes, with neither client nor consultant
achieving success.

Helping Clients Succeed™ is fundamental to the success of any business.
This program teaches you to become totally client-focused, break down
the barriers of dysfunctional business development, and find rewarding,
productive business relationships. With honesty, clarity, and
authenticity, Mahan Khalsa cuts through the nonsense and focuses on
getting results and helping clients succeed. This is avery useful book.
It really helps the salesperson stop guessing and ask those questions
that need to be asked. It truly means getting real.

Mike Peck pointed this book out to me and it ties into a few others i am
reading at the moment as well as work we are doing on improving lead
generation. It all ties into “truth based” marketing and sales.