Why The IoT Industry and Axe Throwing Are Similar

Like axe throwing, IoT is new, risky, and requires you to forge your own path.

Last weekend I did something fun and different. A group of friends and I went axe throwing at a place called Urban Axes in Philadelphia. It is pretty freaking cool and highly recommended. Set up in an old warehouse in Kensington, there are a bunch of lanes similar to a bowling alley but with chain link protective fences to cut down on decapitations. As we flung hatchets through the air towards a fixed point, my mind naturally drifted to finding comparisons to the IoT industry.
The IoT industry is similar to axe throwing

1. It’s Still Pretty New

One of the coolest things about organized axe throwing is that it is still pretty new. That means that there are no experts. I like sports where everyone starts off on the same basic level, unlike bowling with my friend Tyrone Brown who was featured on ESPN as a bowling phenom and will throw out a random perfect game.

Even though IoT is far from new, the Internet of Things and the Internet in general are still in their infancy. According to Quora, the term “The Internet of Things” was coined by Kevin Ashton in a presentation to Proctor & Gamble in 1999.

And while in the great timeline of human work, IoT is new, experience matters so much. If you are thinking of partnering with anyone in the IoT industry look at their combined IoT experience. If a company has experience, they know that the hard road is paved with real solutions as opposed to hacks that won’t stand the test of time.

The IoT industry is risky, just like axe throwing

2. Risky Business

Both of these things involve some risk. For axe throwing, it was signing my life away on a waiver. For the IoT, the risk involves whether your product or service is ready for the marketplace. Too many solutions, services, and softwares are introduced to the market before they are ready for the end user.

3. Both Require Finding Your Own Path

When I first started throwing the axe, I was flat out awful, often bouncing the handle off the plywood target, having it come flying back towards my feet. Over time, I loosened up and found my own throwing technique. The same is true for companies in the IoT industry. There is no fixed path to direct success. Companies trying to duplicate the success of others will fail.

The IoT industry is similar to axe throwing, forge your own path

4. Both Can Be Messy

Working in the IoT industry is not glamorous and can be messy at times. It requires long hours and hard work. The details matter tremendously. It takes great leadership and foresight to find a path towards success. While Axe throwing was a lot less messy than I anticipated, having a bunch of amateurs throwing a blade of sharpened steel towards a bullseye is never a clean event.

5. Both Can Be Enjoyed With Beer

Urban Axes lets you bring in your own beer, wine, and snacks. The Internet of Things is equally enjoyed with beer and wine. There is a lot of pressure to perform and deliver real results in this industry, so you will find a lot of offices with multiple kegs on tap. A Philly area IoT Urban Axes meetup is actually a great idea.

Originally posted on LinkedIn.

James Calder
James is a Philadelphia based director of marketing for STRATIS, an access, energy, and automation SaaS. He writes about IoT, Smart Cities, Business, and more and is a frequent contributor on the Huffington Post, ReadWrite, LinkedIn, and other sites. He was named Top Voices on LinkedIn in 2015, out of more than 2 million bloggers on that platform.