MESA sat down with JJ Parker, CEO of Tightrope, to ask him about his experience working with MESA.
Tell us a bit about your background, your career history, and your business. What prompted you to get involved with MESA?
A high school buddy and I started Tightrope when I was 19, about 20 years ago. We bootstrapped the company and started out writing whatever software was needed to solve our customers’ problems. Now, Tightrope Media Systems is an industry leader for media delivery systems for Digital Broadcast, Digital Signage and Instant Replay. We never had formal training in running a business which was OK when smaller, but not as the company grew to over 20 employees. With growth, the company struggled with managing both the people and product and to be profitable. We needed help to navigate strategy and to get aligned.
What was your biggest business challenge before working with MESA? Has MESA able to help you work through it, and if not, what happened instead?
The challenge was to successfully migrate from a “lifestyle company” to be a larger, sustaining and profitable business. MESA gave perspective… both in praise for our growth to-date and insight on our next challenges. Put another way, what likely “stress cracks” would form and how to best address them. MESA did a good job of re-framing issues allowing us to arrive at our own conclusions.
What, specifically, is your favorite part about working with MESA, and why?
Being paired with a specific mentor whereby the relationship can grow. The mentoring discussions were held in a casual environment with the mentor not telling us what to do but focused on asking the right questions so we could get to the right answers ourselves. This was not like working with a consultant but more like working with an advocate and friend.
If you were going to recommend MESA to a colleague, what would you say?
The experienced MESA mentors do a great job of challenging your thinking through questioning not telling.
What three words would you use to describe your experience with MESA?
Personal. Actionable. Professional.
Anything else you want us to know about your experience with MESA?
I highly recommend other software entrepreneurs work with MESA. It’s really good in helping both you and your business grow.