A strong community can promote new ideas and ensure accountability. It can also act as motivation, support, and even provide a little friendly competition. The power of community is undeniable and the Okanagan tech community is no exception.
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Introducing, The Faces of #OKGNtech. A showcase of Okanagan tech entrepreneurs, partners, supporters, and cheerleaders designed to fuel more connection, more growth, and more excitement. Follow along (on the blog and on Instagram @OKGNtech) to learn more about our growing community and what makes them awesome.
Meet Scott. Scott McMillan is the founder of XCO, a company that makes products for sport performance training and concussion assessment. Scott isn’t somebody that you’ll find sitting still. When he isn’t busy working on his business you’ll find Scott mountain biking, playing hockey, or training for a triathlon.
We recently caught up with Scott to learn more about his background in human performance and his experience building his business XCO.
What is your favourite thing about being a founder?
“I love the excitement of bringing something new to the market. I really like the potential. I like that a lot of people will use the product and that it will bring a lot of value, whether it measures hockey performance, Parkinson's or a concussion. Whether it’s better health or better performance, I love that I’m able to help somebody get better ”
How would you describe the experience of building a business?
“Building a business is an absolute grind and there are always going to be ups and downs until you really get going so it’s important to be prepared to keep working away at it. Something that has helped me be resilient is focusing on the end goal. For example, in hockey when you’re on a long shift and you get hit for the third time, the people who really excel are the ones who that don’t dwell on that, they don’t see the fatigue, they see the opponent - they just see the goal.”
Can you tell us about your background in Human Performance?
“I have been in this industry pretty much since University. I actually started in engineering and ended up fascinated by biomechanics. I was more into how humans work rather than how a machine worked.
After University, I got my masters degree in biomechanics in Minnesota and the opportunity to work with the United States Olympic Committee, where I worked on developing different technologies for jump assessment. I guess I’ve always kind of been in the world of developing new technologies. I also worked for the Adidas innovation team where we developed new technologies. That was pretty fun, and that is where I got a lot of my product experience.”
Prior to creating XCO, did you view yourself as an entrepreneur?
“I mean, I still don’t think of myself as an entrepreneur. I don’t know why? I see myself more as a sports scientist and technology developer. The real truth is, I am a bit of a risk taker; otherwise, I would have stayed at Adidas and kept working on their innovation projects. But I like taking the lead and taking some risk. Even right out of University I started a small sport training company. So yeah, by definition I guess I am an entrepreneur.”
What advice do you have for early-stage entrepreneurs?
“My advice would be, that obviously you want to be really passionate about what you’re doing, but you need to balance that with “is there really a market for that?”. Then you need to figure out how to actually communicate your product or service to your market. Before taking that leap, it’s important to figure out a rational way for you to take that risk, make sure that you know what you’re getting into. Once you’re in it, it's like studying for a final exam or going to a race. Hopefully, you’re nervous going into that exam or that race because that means it's something important to you. It has to mean something to you.”
Can you tell us about the making of XCO?
“Building X.co has been really fun for me. I knew that it was really hard to do motion analysis because I have a background in human performance, so we basically invented a new way to do just that, then we patented it. We’ve continued to develop and grow that business, and now we are able to do a comprehensive assessment for somebody, whether it's to make them a faster skater in hockey or helping them with their Parkinson's disease.”
What is one word that describes you and why?
“I would describe myself as adventuresome, whether that is adventuresome in technology - so looking for new technology, or adventuresome in learning - so learning about new things. I get bored at jobs that are repetitive; I enjoy discovering new things; that's why I’ve always been into science. It’s actually, the same reason that I enjoy sports, I mean I obviously wasn’t an Olympic gold medalist or anything, but I’ve always had the desire to do better. I am also adventuresome in business, which means that I am not just working for a pension, but I am motivated by continued growth, I definitely have trouble sitting still.”
Can you share some advice for early-stage entrepreneurs?
“You don’t have to know how to code to start a tech company. You just need to find the right people! You can contract your own developers, or you can hire somebody to hire somebody for you! Don’t let that be the reason why you don’t get started. ”