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Founder Stories: How Taser Defeated Failure and Built a $500 Million Monopoly

Founder Stories: How Taser Defeated Failure and Built a $500 Million Monopoly

In the aftermath of learning his friends had been gunned down, Rick Smith searched for a non-lethal way for homeowners to defend themselves. Thus was Taser born.

Looking back, it seems so easy – all public safety agencies now use Tasers. But in the early days it was so bleak that founder and CEO Rick Smith was sure the company was going to fail. And he had reason to worry. Homeowners weren’t buying enough of the product, and the police told him his zappers didn’t work – some dangerous suspects were not subdued by the early versions of Tasers.

Luckily Rick’s dad hadn’t lost faith and took the bold move of mortgaging his house to keep the company afloat. In this video Rick talks about the company’s start, his approach to problem solving, and how to keep a company moving forward, in his case with new Axon and products. Take these three lessons home today to keep you on your path:

1.  When the chips are down, get back to basics. When the cops told Rick his product failed, he went back into the lab to figure out how to make Taser work effectively.

2.  Learning from mistakes is never-ending. It’s interesting that after all the trial and error Rick went through to make Taser a must-have product, when he brought new products to market he still flubbed the initial launch. There is always room for improvement.

3.  Keep solving problems and you’ll keep growing. Rick re-energized Taser with new products designed to solve further customer problems. If Taser was the way to make incidents nonlethal, then he knew Axon was the way to decrease incidents before they started. He solved more problems and kept his company growing.


About Robert Jordan

Robert Jordan has been launching and growing companies and helping other entrepreneurs do the same for the past 20 years. He has authored book and audio series including How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America (RedFlash Press), featuring 45 leading company founders who've created $63 billion in value from scratch, and How They Did It Nightingale-Conant audio program . His startup, Online Access, the first Internet-coverage magazine, landed on the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing companies. His newest endeavors are RedFlash, a strategy execution team, and The Association of Interim Executives, which champions interim management as its own global specialty. You can also find Robert on Google+ and Twitter. View all posts by Robert Jordan

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