Meet Kut Akdogan – the managing partner of Gaussian, a technology holding company that both builds and consults with nimble B2B companies. They enable “incremental moonshots” – long-lasting businesses that, despite disruptive visions, are profitable at each step. They’ve built the Visor suite of research and strategy tools, and have advised companies on product, tech, transformation, org, operations, and finance, across domains like MedTech, AI, work tech, robotics, SaaS, industrials, and hard goods.
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Thank you so much for giving us your time! Before we begin, could you introduce yourself to our readers and take us through what exactly your company does and what your vision is for its future?
Kut Akdogan: Gaussian Holdings is a holding company based in New York. Each of our arms does something slightly different
- Strategy and innovation consulting for nimble, owner-led companies (Gaussian Consulting)
- SaaS strategy & research tools (Visor/Sapium)
- Incubation & frontier tech investment (Newton Three)
Our view is that the future will be increasingly noisy and uncertain – so we try to advise companies on how to build and execute strategies that accept and incorporate uncertainty, instead of being victims to uncertainty. Our SaaS arm seeks to build software that helps companies do this. And our incubation arm seeks to leap deep into this uncertain future and foster certainty in certain key sub-industries like materials, Medtech, and space tech.
NO child ever says I want to be a CEO/entrepreneur when I grow up. What did you want to be and how did you get where you are today?
Kut Akdogan: I wanted to be an astronomer (not an astronaut, because enough with that noise, I thought). This seemed to stem from a deep and persistent fascination with the Moon. Years later, I became an aerospace engineer. Then I realized that I wanted to solve whole problems, not narrow pieces of enormously complex problems, so I made to move to strategy consulting at Bain, and founded a couple of companies and incubators after that, including Hero Health, a consumer medical device for medication management.
Tell us something about yourself that others in your organization might be surprised to know.
Kut Akdogan: The purpose of our entire operating organization is to snowball cashflows until we can afford to launch multiple smallsats into low-earth orbit.
Many readers may wonder how to become an entrepreneur but what is an entrepreneur? How would you define it?
Kut Akdogan: Someone who translates problems that they perceive into workable solutions. Part of that translation is about understanding pain and customers. And part of that translation is about doggedly executing on the most important things – which means saying no to many other important things that just aren’t important enough. Prioritization without saying “no” isn’t prioritization. Good entrepreneurs are amazing prioritizers.
What is the importance of having a supportive and inclusive culture?
Kut Akdogan: They say that a startup is 99% team and 1% idea. This is wrong, it’s 100% team – because ideas come from teams. This makes the sole goal of company managers to foster the most effective team dynamics possible, and the most productive team interactions. This can only be done through a persistent focus on support and team enablement and inclusivity. If a team isn’t inclusive and doesn’t represent a diverse range of perspectives and backgrounds, is that team truly at its best? And is that company truly at 100%?
How can a leader be disruptive in the post covid world?
Kut Akdogan: Prioritize. Say no to important things so you can focus on more important things. And watch out for the noise. The signal-to-noise ratio is lower than ever – we must avoid groupthink.
If a 5-year-old asked you to describe your job, what would you tell them?
Kut Akdogan: I pretend to know the answers, all day long.
Leaders are usually asked about their most useful qualities but let’s change things up a bit. What is your most useless talent?
Kut Akdogan: I can hear really well. A curse, really, when multiple people work from home.
Thank you so much for your time but before we finish things off, we do have one more question. If you wrote a book about your life until today, what would the title be?
Kut Akdogan: “Incremental Moonshot”
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Kut Akdogan for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Kut Akdogan or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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