Some of our customers are doing such important, innovative, and amazing things with their spaces online that we can’t help but ask them to share their secrets.
Inefficiency.sucks is a blog written by Minneapolis-based tech start-up Operation Incredible, co-founded by Veronica Cary. By snagging the eye-catching and memorable domain name for their blog, Veronica and her co-workers are able to dole out their unique and creative brand of technological tips and tricks that aim to make your life more efficient.
We chatted with Veronica about Operation Incredible, the inefficiency.sucks blog and the lessons she has learned from being an entrepreneur.
What is Operation Incredible’s story?
We are a new company that makes websites and web applications primarily focused around government. We cater to a group of people who are currently using ancient technology and are really struggling with it. It was a natural extension of us being bummed about the quality of technology that we had available to us at our jobs, so we decided to start making our own.
The inefficiency.sucks blog came out of me wanting to create something full of tech tips for human services staff at my day job. I wanted to build a blog to help them navigate through seemingly-complex tech stuff — even just how to use Outlook or how to format a Word document. Ultimately, my day job nixed the idea and said they didn’t want me to do it, so we just did it on our own. That’s where inefficiency.sucks came from!
How did you decide on the name of your blog?
The blog came about when we were just getting started. We had acquired our hardware, formalized our team, and were trying to find clients. One of our teammates suggested that we have a separate domain specific to our blog. We wanted something clever, and we decided that the .sucks domain was just so cool. We thought that inefficiency.sucks really stuck out. Everybody uses a .sucks for something negative; it’s typically a complaint thing. We thought that if we created something positive in that space, it might stand out.
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned from being an entrepreneur?
To quiet down and let the team talk. I’m an ENTJ personality type, a people pleaser. We’re the people who don’t want anybody else to talk. And that doesn’t actually work so well if you’re trying to get somewhere in business. If you’re single-minded, you’re not going to get very far. I think the best thing that I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is to sit back and listen.
Why is an online presence so important for building a brand?
It’s pretty significant. We’re primarily focusing on Minnesota right now and we’re trying to get human services agencies to contract us for development. These folks are spread out over a gigantic amount of space, so the absolute best way we’ve marketed our services is through social media. The tools that social media provides for focused advertising are just immensely powerful. We could run a print ad and it would cost ten times as much and deliver half the responses we get out of a single Facebook ad. The only marketing element that works on par with that is peer marketing – word of mouth. Word of mouth is really successful. But you’ve got to get clients in the first place, and social media has been a huge part of that.
What inspires and motivates you?
Right now we work out of my basement and I feel like it’s the typical start-up story that you hear about – a whole bunch of people working in a garage. I do take a lot of solace and comfort in the quintessential start-up stories, like Facebook in a dorm and Apple in a garage. That’s been a big motivator for me. Also, we are a female-owned company and all five of the people that work here are women. Personally, I find that to be motivation in and of itself.
What’s the bravest thing you’ve had to do as a business?
A lot of people don’t get far enough to work on a business plan. They see all of the pieces involved and they get scared and back down. We’re not backing down. I have a goal that within the first two years of the company we will be able to quit our day jobs. It’s a little ambitious, but we can do it if we work really hard.
Do you have any advice for young entrepreneurs?
I wanted to do web design and web development since I was a teenager. I learned HTML when I was 11 or 12 years old and started building websites for my friends in middle school. I was so fearful that it wasn’t a real method of success and that I couldn’t make money doing it. If I would have followed my passions back then, I could have avoided a lot of missteps in my career. So don’t be afraid to jump into something you’re passionate about and to ask other people for help in making that passion a reality. If you want to be successful you can’t be afraid of risk. You have to work through the fear.
What do you think of the new domain extensions?
With the new domain extensions, you have the potential to allow your brand to really stand out and get noticed. My favourite examples of this are last.fm and the Minnesota-based vita.mn.
There are just so many opportunities for companies to brand themselves uniquely without a .com. To me, .com is quintessential 90’s. Our company started out with operationincredible.com. We started writing out our email for people and we realized how challenging it was. We opted for the shorter opinc.io and we’re just so impressed with how it looks. It looks clean, it’s simple, and it looks futuristic. I think that’s very helpful for branding.
How did you hear about rebel.com?
I’ve had many poor experiences with a lot of Rebel’s competitors. I actually just took to Google and looked up reviews of domain providers. Everybody who used Rebel said they would never switch to anything else. I wanted something better, and we saw that Rebel was “getting it”. We feel that Rebel is actually interested in their customers. We can call you and talk to you right away, which is actually a pretty big deal. I’m pretty smitten with Rebel and have been since the beginning.
What are your plans for the future?
Our mission statement is to contribute to a world where user-oriented technology is both efficient and beautiful. Our goal is to help make government technology, which is currently neither of those things, be just that, and to set the bar higher. Government agencies shouldn’t settle for something horrible just because they’ve been told that something is the best option. We want to provide a reasonable alternative. I think that we’re making progress towards that end and, with our upcoming products, we’ll continue to do it.