Earlier this year, AOS’ Flemming Tinker was interviewed by CEO/CFO magazine. This article is part 2 of the conversation.
CEOCFO: In the industries where you have a presence, are the companies aware of AOS? Do they understand you are the quality resource that they should be turning to?
Mr. Tinker: They are becoming more aware. We are finding that we are gaining some brand recognition in the fields we work in. We know this because we get inquiries from around the world from companies that we have no prior experience with. They have found us; either because of another colleague sharing our information with them or recommending us or purely from literature searches. We are reasonably well published and searchable through our website. We get a lot of business this way. Therefore, we know our visibility is growing. Although we are still a young company, we are very aggressive about the complexity of problems that we take on and we are very eager to grow, but there is a limit to what we can respond to today. Fortunately, we do not have to invest a great deal of time in promoting and marketing the company. We are finding quite a lot of business right now from the spectrum of customers that we have worked with over the past five and six years and the new companies that are finding us.
CEOCFO: Is there a solution for everything that someone comes to you with and just a matter of figuring out how?
Mr. Tinker: I would like to say yes, but, we have very ambitious and sophisticated customers – the solutions are not always clear at the start of a project. Our customers are trying to do things that other people have never done before. When that is the case, solutions can be elusive. Part of the reason for coming to us is for a team of creative people that can find solutions and can allow our customers to progress in their research. Sometimes solutions are incomplete. Therefore, I would say yes, but sometimes it is an incremental solution. I often use the analogy of climbing a mountain in the fog. You know where the peak is and you climb towards that peak, but sometimes you can only see three or four steps in front of you.
CEOCFO: On the business side, what has surprised you as the company has grown and evolved?
Mr. Tinker: One of the surprises is that I did not expect our business would take on such an international flavor. I expected that in this business many of our projects are very high risk and include a lot of unknowns. In such an environment business is very relational. That is that customers will come to you because they know you. They are accessible. They can participate with you in the project to manage risk along the way. I expected that because of this our business would be almost entirely domestic and the opposite has actually taken place. We tend to do more business in Europe than we do in the United States! This has been the largest surprise to me.
CEOCFO: Why choose Aperture Optical Sciences?
Mr. Tinker: You choose AOS because of the team of people that we have assembled. You choose us because of our collective creativity, because of our sense of innovation, customer commitment and because of our expertise – evident in we have been able to accomplish in a small company in a very short period of time. The value that our people provide for our customers is ultimately the deciding factor in choosing to work with us and the deciding factor in coming back for the next project.