Henry Ford — innovator extrordinaire

Henry Ford — The First Sharpenite


I’m excited to do my part in filling Medium with insightful content surrounding customer experience. What’s good, what’s not so good, what it could be, and the vision we at Sharpen are working to realize.

Since we’ll be spending a good amount of time together in the future, I thought it a good idea to explain who Sharpen is.

The nutshell version is: Sharpen is a group of really committed people (at the time of this writing, there are just over 50 Sharpenites) who are working to enable perfect customer experience. We know it’s a tall order, but we believe it’s finally within reach. We have the tools, we have a plan, and we’re not afraid to use them.

One person who provides a lot of drive around our headquarters is Henry Ford. He’s kind of our One-Eyed Willy… that pirate from the Goonies who posthumously inspired a small group of people to challenge convention and defy some corporate fat cats so they could improve the lives of everyone around them (except the fat cats).

Mr. Ford has a deep library of quotes attributed to him, and there are a few that help paint a good picture of Sharpen’s mission and vision. I’d like to share three of them with you.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” ― Henry Ford

Sharpen serves the contact center industry. We do this because it’s an obvious treasure trove of customer experience. With 44,000+ contact centers in the US alone handling 55 billion interactions every day, there are a seemingly endless supply of companies who could use our help.

The thing is, the contact center industry started in the 1960’s, and many of today’s systems are little more than polished-up versions of the same old methods from more than 50 years ago. We’re with Henry on this one. If the contact center industry is going to change, it needs someone to approach it with fresh eyes. (Us.) Someone who would look at issues and needs first. (Also us.) Someone who refuses to just port technology along through the decades and slap a price tag on it; who instead could use modern tools to create elegant solutions to actual problems. (Yep. Us.)

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” ― Henry Ford

We love talking to companies who have an itch they just can’t seem to scratch. The jaded. The disenfranchised. The tempest-tossed, yearning to breathe free. The ones who’ve almost given up hope. THOSE are the problems that can only be solved with bona fide innovation… not just the buzzword version. (I’m looking at you, every company who claims to be innovative but knows good and well they aren’t.)

What we’ve found, though, is that these companies have spent so much time fruitlessly searching for a solution, they’re convinced they’ve exhausted all possibilities. That they’ve already seen every option, and none of them work. That’s where Sharpen comes in.

Our favorite problems are the ones where we have to start from scratch, step back, refocus our vision a little, and let the solution present itself. Then, we roll up our sleeves and build that thing, because…

“Vision without execution is just a hallucination.” ― Henry Ford

/See also:/ “the proof is in the pudding;” “put your money where your mouth is;” “well done is better than well said.”

We love a problem. We love finding the solution. THEN, we love ordering pizza and pulling all-nighters until the work is done. Because we are 100% sold-out on getting stuff done. We love the satisfaction of a finished project. We love the Christmas morning glee on our users’ faces when they unwrap the miracle they never thought they’d see. (We also love pizza.)

The real beauty of the Sharpen way is it lets companies differentiate themselves based on who THEY are, not based on the system they may have bought before their competitors did. Every company in the world could use Sharpen uniquely. And honestly, we won’t be happy until they’ve all been given the opportunity to do so.

It’s pretty simple, really. We reject tired assumptions. We create unique solutions. We work hard. We do all these things for contact centers because by doing so we can help to make a lot of customers happy.

Written by Murph Krajewski, VP of Marketing at Sharpen.