Have an Important Problem or Opportunity? Find Your Joe!

January 23, 2012

My wife’s Story

My wife came back from a trip to New York on Friday.  She went there to find some specific fabrics for her fashion line project.  She was ecstatic walking in the door.  “I found Joe!” she proudly told me.  She went on to tell me that she had specific fabric examples, didn’t know exactly what they were, and needed to find a place where she could identify and purchase each and every one of the fabrics.

She had been to an amazing fabric store in New York and found her “Joe”.

Joe identified each of her fabric examples, identified where they were in his store, and then build two “fabric keys” (one for him and one for her) that specified the exact fabric that she purchased and will make it easy to purchase more over the phone.  All she will need to do is call and say “I need 10 yards of number 1.”  Nice!

Joe is the perfect person and completely solved her problem.

Who is Joe?

When my wife told me that she found Joe, I knew exactly what she meant.  Joe, short for Joseph or Josephine, is a fictitious person that I came up with years ago.  Whenever I need something or have an unique issue that I need to solve, I imagine that there is a person named Joe that is the exact expert that I need to address my need.

With that person in mind, I set off to find that person.

The key, I have found, is to not settle for someone who isn’t Joe.  Putting the time into finding the exact Joe that I have in mind is always better than spending the time with someone that doesn’t have the expertise I am looking for (I have a lot of experience with both finding Joe and working with someone who is not Joe, and finding Joe is always better!).

I have also found that sometimes I think I have found Joe, but I am wrong once we get started.  What I generally do once I think that I have found Joe is to figure out how to work on a very small project with the person.  If it really turns out to be Joe, I keep going.  If it turns out not to be Joe, I thank the person for his/her work, and move back to finding Joe.

Have an important Problem or Opportunity?  Find Your Joe!

Startup companies always need to add capabilities and solve new problems.  If you want to address your need quickly and easily, you need to find your Joe so that you can move onto the next problem.

Want to improve the usability of your product?  Find Joe, the usability expert that has the experience with your target users and your technology stack and also has the experience addressing this need quickly.

Want to improve your direct marketing to your target buyers?  Find Joe, the direct marketing king/queen, that has direct marketing experience addressing your target buyers in your target customer segments.

Want to put in place a simple, yet solid, performance management system for your employees?  Find Joe, the performance management expert that has experience developing performance management systems that are appropriate for your type of company.

You get the idea.  Identify your need then find your Joe!


Finding your Joe is a really simple, but powerful idea.  I have passed the idea on to a lot of people over time, and many have come back to me and proudly announced, “I found Joe!”

What is the issue that is keeping you awake at night?  You need to find your Joe to address it!

Founder & Partner

As the founder of OpenView, Scott focuses on distinctive business models and products that uniquely address a meaningful market pain point. This includes a broad interest in application and infrastructure companies, and businesses that are addressing the next generation of technology, including SaaS, cloud computing, mobile platforms, storage, networking, IT tools, and development tools.