Commercialization strategies to move products from the inventor’s lab to the consumer’s hands 




Experienced business executive instrumental in the development and commercialization of numerous early-stage companies. 

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Fail Fast and Count Your Garbage Trucks: Startup Success Tips

As an Executive-in-Residence (EiR) with the BC Venture Acceleration Program at Wavefront, David Christie helps technology startups grow fast and thrive. So it may be surprising that one of his primary pieces of advice is “fail fast”.  

David advises companies like Lifebooster Inc. and Lionsgate Technologies. He also instructs the Market Validation Program and develops “Go-to-Market” plans for his clients. “These market validation concepts are simple on paper but difficult to implement. Our motto is ‘Fail fast or get cash flow positive fast.’ This means testing your idea with the market quickly and effectively, pivoting and correcting your mistakes until you hit gold or fail fast trying.  

David encourages founders to know their market inside-out. He draws on one of his most successful tactics to successfully implement a new business strategy - counting garbage trucks. 

When David took over as General Manager of Laidlaw Waste Systems, the company’s $30 million yearly revenue, 200 truck operation was barely breaking even. In less than two years, David and his team took their division from 0% to 16% return and established it as a top service provider across North America. How did they do this?

  1. In-depth market research, the tangible way – “We drove through all the nooks of Greater Vancouver and counted the competitors’ garbage cans. Then we flew over the city and counted competitors’ garbage trucks."

  2. Technology - David led the integration of wireless weighing devices into the trucks to allow for daily operational efficiency tracking and per trashcan expense measurements. Adjusting the company's pricing strategy to match expenses rapidly elevated revenue and profit.

  3. Alignment – Good relations between all stakeholders in the value chain is crucial, especially in a logistics business. David introduced a ‘money back guarantee’ for customers. To encourage a higher level of commitment among drivers, he implemented a roster system where all missed pick-ups were posted on a public wall. This drove friendly competition among drivers and operations went from a 10% failure rate to 0% within 90 days.

David also recognizes that the success of entrepreneurs has a very personal side to it.
His career advice includes:

  1. Be passionate about your work. Money follows passion, not the other way around.  

  2. Work hard but not slavishly. Your work is there to enable you to have a life—the life you want—so work-life balance is key.  

  3. Do your absolute best at what you are doing currently. Even if your current job is much less than perfect, do a great job at it and you will earn the freedom to choose what you want to do next.

To find out more about David Christie and learn about the Wavefront EiR program visit the Venture Acceleration Program website.


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