Software Executive Magazine

February/March 2018

Software Executive magazine helps software executives grow their businesses by showcasing the business best practices of our readers, executives from established and innovative software companies.

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leader, but these aren't the words that come to mind for a stereotypical tech founder. Maybe it's because he founded his company in Boulder, CO, ranked one of the happiest, healthiest cities in the country that's far away from the fast-paced, high-stress culture that breeds so many tech startups in Silicon Valley. Or maybe it's be- cause he can relate to the passionate, artisanal nature of his brewery-owning customers, many of whom also left their "real" jobs to pursue their passion for making good beer. Regardless, Norman's penchant and patience for building a sustainable, scalable business model isn't common in today's world of hyper-growth SaaS compa- nies and quick 10x exits. So how did a senior Google engineer chart his course to founding a POS software for breweries that is dou- bling its revenue every quarter? The first part of that answer is that he almost didn't. Originally, Norman had his heart set on a consumer-facing app that would al- low customers to order a beer and pay for it from their tables using personal mobile devices. The application was designed to solve the frequent problem of bottle- necks and slow order deliveries. He says, "We were get- ting close to actually having a working MVP deployed in the field when the first brewery we had partnered with said, 'This is great, but we have an immediate need. We can't seem to find a point of sale we like; would you guys build one?' To which our natural answer was 'no.' The avid Norman spent nearly nine years in senior engineering roles with Google, where he cut his teeth on e-commerce application development. Being a lead engineer on the Google Payments team isn't a bad gig — it sounds like a dream job for many young, aspiring develop- ers. But what Google engineers don't have are close customer relationships, especially not with customers who can serve you a high-quality craft beer while they give you feedback on your software. And that's exactly what Norman has been doing since 2015 — sipping brews and getting out of his engineering comfort zone to amass face time with customers. Nor- man is the CEO and founder of Arryved, a point of sale software application for breweries and taprooms. It's proven to be a sustainable, profitable, enjoyable venture even if it is a far cry from Google. There are endless tales of sharp engineers who leave their safe, cushy jobs at Fortune 500 companies to an- swer the entrepreneurial call in their hearts. It takes a certain kind of confidence — bordering on arrogance — to think your startup won't be one of the 90 percent that fail. Norman is anything but arrogant. His self-de- scribed "conservative nature" isn't exactly formula- ic for brewing up a software company from scratch. His patience and humility are hallmarks of any good ENGINEERING A NICHE STARTUP A B B Y S O R E N S E N Executive Editor @AbbySorensen_ STARTUP SUCCESS exclusive feature By A. Sorensen ENGINEERING A NICHE STARTUP SOFTWAREEXECUTIVEMAG.COM FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018 24

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