For many of us at NuLabel the arrival of Easter, robins, and bunny rabbits have nothing on the true herald of spring….March Madness. Yes it is that time of the year again when college basketball gets its 5 minutes of fame (personally think they deserve more), and every office lunch room is abuzz with talk of who will win this year. Monopoly money is being put into office pools, and every computer is turned to CBS, TBS, and ESPN8 the Ocho.
I think a lot can be taken from these games besides the over indulgence of beer and nachos. What does it take to become the winner of Big Dance? Since 1985, when the NCAA Tournament expended to 64 teams, 62% of the winners have been number 1 seeds. To me that is a pretty low number, that means that the best of the best fail 38% of the time in the most important outing in a college basketball season. Another fun fact, only 4 times since 1985 have all top 4 seeds in each region survived the first round. That means almost every year, at least 1 team of the top 25% loses their first game…ouch. You can blame it on the difficulty of the schedules, or the more likely answer is that you do not have to be the best team to win the NCAA Tournament. Now I could go all cliché here and talk about how its focus, perseverance, defense, and grit that wins tourneys, and a big part of me thinks that’s true. But I think it is really a combination between talent, hard work, team chemistry, focus and a decent chunk of luck.
And there is another, more important question here. What does it take to win the NCAA tournament consistently? What does it take to be the Duke and Kentucky of this world? (Sorry UCLA fans, I know you have the most wins, but I am afraid you’ll have to win one in this millennium before you get any credit from me.) The true definition of success is not doing the incredibly difficult and even unlikely once but doing the incredibly difficult and even unlikely consistently. And that my friends is what a startup company is all about.
NuLabel is not a number 1 seeded company. We just don’t have the size. We have 22 people, all of us with multiple roles. We overcame hurdles in the beginning rounds. We pulled off some truly stunning upsets and shocked a lot of people watching. Proving at places like PackExpo that the holy grail of activatable adhesives for packaging was not only possible but beneficial for end users. We may have cut down the net, but we haven’t won the championship yet. We are more focused and as determined as ever to get more of our products in the field and win the title for activatable adhesives. Call us the No. 8 seed 1985 Villanova Wildcats who won the NCAA Tournament in arguably the biggest upset of college basketball history, taking down two No. 1 seeds on the way to winning the finals.
And the beauty of NCAA Tournament and working at a startup like NuLabel?
Well, that is easy. Next year will be a continuation of what was built on this year, and we will come back ready to compete and win all over again, maybe next time as a number one seed.
Nikolai Voicechovski, Production Chemist