DevReady PodcastDevReady Podcast E38 – Using Navy Principles in a Startup with Kurt Alexander

On this episode of the DevReady Podcast, Andrew and Anthony talk to Kurt Alexander, founder of Quick Safety, a company dedicated to making electrical regulatory compliance easy.

Born and raised in Wyoming, Kurt describes a childhood that fostered his analytical nature. A Navy veteran, he worked on nuclear submarines while he was in the service. Working in sonar, he learned a lot about electrical engineering before launching careers in consulting, furniture, retail, and eventually the tech space.

Over the course of the episode, Kurt tells the story of Quick Safety and how it has revolutionized the electrical industry in Australia. Beyond just explaining the mechanics and the need for Quick Safety’s digital electrical tests, Kurt offers advice to startups on how to stay focused, why you have to hunt for opportunity, and why you need to empower your business first.

A main takeaway is that you need to know your customers. They have to understand the value of your product. Quick Safety is an electrical regulation compliance company that streamlines the testing process so electricians can determine the safety of systems more quickly, efficiently, and reliably. This all helps the homeowner and asset owner to avoid potentially life-threatening electrical situations.

Topics Covered:

● Kurt’s time in the military during the Cold War.
● The issues that the electrical industry faces.
● The 8 tests that electrical regulators have to conduct on new dwellings.
● You have to actually seek out opportunity; it doesn’t just come to you.
● Founders have an opportunity to connect and make things happen online.
● The difference between incubators and accelerators.
● Quick Safety validates the test information.
● Quick Safety’s tech makes electrical tests easier and protects electricians and homeowners.
● You have to attribute the cost of your product back to the asset.
● People get a little too focused and fixed on the product.
● Data dumping to get the support of tech companies.
● Ensuring all your processes are correct to drive revenue and empower your business.
● People are happy to share, but you can lead the conversation, too.
● The effectiveness of “small teams” and load sharing.

Key Quotes:

❏ “89 days was the longest that we stayed submerged.” (6:32)
❏ “I made the mistake of spending too much time in the business instead of on the business.” (15:00)
❏ “My time on the forklift gave me a chance to think—what do I really want to do?” (19:01)
❏ “The retail industry is more consumer-focused.” (24:15)
❏ “You have to put yourself out there and you have to network.” (36:10)
❏ “Most of the electricians prior to Quick Safety were doing all the math in their heads.” (46:50)
❏ “The real target customer is the asset owner.” (51:05)
❏ “If you’re going to be pushing your product, you have to make it as easy as possible for a customer to come on and off of that system.” (56:25)
❏ “Your vision and product should be developing all the time.” (1:00:10)
❏ “You only have to develop the nucleus of your company once.” (1:10:31)
❏ “You want to get from conception to revenue as quick as you can.” (1:11:05)
❏ “The real drivers in the team are those that will take responsibility.” (1:21:45)

Social Media Clips:

1. Kurt’s career experience leading up to Quick Safety. (14:00 – 16:00)
2. What the state electrical regulators actually do. (27:20 – 28:51)
3. Incubators and accelerators. (38:40 – 40:31)
4. Founders and their relationships with tech companies. (1:03:50 – 1:06:45)

Contact Kurt:

● Find Kurt on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kurtalexander/
● www.quicksafety.com.au