Editor’s Note: Sam Bayer is the founder and recently retired CEO of Corevist, a Durham-based bootstrapped software company launched in 2008.  Bayer launched his career in 1980 working for IBM, which he left when he founded his first entrepreneurial endeavor Axiom Systems in 1987.  Axiom would eventually be taken public through an initial public offering.  Bayer notes that his entire 42-year professional career was guided by his determination to negotiate win-win value with his customers and fueled by his thirst for knowledge and scientific approach to problem solving.  Now, he will be recounting his entrepreneurial leadership experiences in his “Stories at Work” series for WRAL TechWire.  You can also follow Bayer on instagram @sam.bayer and at sam.bayer@gmail.com any feedback about this series.

His blogs are the latest addition to our Startup Monday package. WRAL TechWire would like to hear from you about views expressed by our contributors. Please send email to: info@wraltechwire.com.


DURHAM – My bedroom window faces due east and overlooks a mile wide swath of a 30 mile long man made lake in Southern Virginia.  My floor to ceiling windows offer a bird’s eye view of the miracle of the dawning of every new day.  Each morning, an invisible hand guides the celestial dimmer switch to relinquish its grip on the previous night’s darkness.  Ever so slowly, the dawn’s early light illuminates that day’s emerging work of art. As I prepare to start my day, I ponder the complexity of nature’s simple beauty.

Earth revolves around its axis and the sun.

Water evaporates into clouds.

Clouds are dispersed by wind.

Light is refracted and reflected.

‘Stories at Work:’ Introducing a new series on entrepreneurial leadership

Each day is a work of art

This all comes together to create a unique work of art for the day.  It happens every day and no two days are the same.

Armed with this sense of awe for the miracle of the universe, and fueled by my gratitude for being afforded another day to experience it, I’m ready to face another day at work.

And it doesn’t take long before this state of serenity is challenged.

I am the founder of a B2B eCommerce company and our clients use our technology to place billions of dollars worth of orders every year.  I’ve come to learn that what we all take for granted … if I place an online order I’ll receive it when it’s promised… is actually a technological and supply chain miracle.  One that has an almost infinite number of ways of breaking.

Let’s start with that “buy” button.

‘Easy button for co-owning vacation homes’ debuts: Plum CEO unveils vision at open house

Every combination

It needs to look and work the same regardless of the type of device you’re using (desktop, laptop, tablet, phone), regardless of its operating system (Windows, Linux, Mac, Android, iphone), regardless of the browser your using (Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Opera, DuckDuckGo) and regardless of the network you’re on (Fiber, Cable, Wifi, Cellular). The “buy” button has to work for every combination and version of these technologies.

It’s a miracle.

Along the way, the “buy” button will have to securely access and store (either temporarily or permanently) data that will be needed for that transaction. A variety of technologies ranging from firewalls, database servers, network and security protocols, to redundant data centers will be called into action. All have to work in concert.

It’s a miracle.

Now let’s assume that the “buy” button is trying to purchase a physical good like a replacement part for a piece of industrial machinery. Making sure your client buys the right part, and that it’s available on time, could make the difference between hitting their daily production goals or answering to a plant manager for the irate phone calls that are piling up.

What could go wrong there?  Bad part descriptions and images? Wrong pricing on the website? Out of date inventory information? Dropped handoff to carriers who mess up the shipment?

Our innocent little “buy” button can be derailed at any point along the path that governs the flow of either information or physical goods.

It’s a miracle when nothing goes wrong.

Fear of failure: How startups deal with that constant threat

When things go wrong

But because we live in Murphy’s world, inevitably, something does go wrong.

The choice that we all have to make is how do we react when things fail?

Do we believe that every failure is caused by a person and they need to be found and reprimanded?  Or, is our starting point that:

  • No one comes to work with the intent to sabotage the system,
  • It’s a miracle this stuff works at all, and Murphy has paid us another visit, and
  • We’ve happily uncovered yet another opportunity to get better!

I believe it’s the latter.

Start your day with awe and gratitude. Believe that people are fundamentally good and willing to get better. Assume that the source of the problem is in a process that needs to be improved. Foster the continuously learning culture that will sustain you to see all of your future sunrises.

Starting each day with awe and gratitude provides you with the perspective and resilience to withstand the never ending reminders that life is really only a miracle.

From depression to gratitude and happiness – how a three-decade journey changed me