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Solve Your Customer’s Problem — Nothing Else Matters, A Founder’s Story with PorterLogic’s Jonathan Porter

I’m part of the fifth generation of my family born in Tucker, Ga. — just outside Atlanta — and have chosen to stay in Atlanta to build my technology company.  


Inspired by my entrepreneurial parents, I started my first business when I was 15, building websites and marketing collateral for Atlanta-area real estate agents. After graduating with a degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Georgia Tech, I worked implementing warehouse management technology and business intelligence software across large firms, such as Manhattan Associates, and startups for six years. 


To help high-growth bands and 3PL modernize their supply chain technology and better manage their supply chain operations, I founded PorterLogic, a workflow automation software for the supply chain, in November 2020. 


Tell us about your childhood and where you grew up?


My family’s entrepreneurial spirit is generational, and I grew up watching my parents grow a residential construction company. So, I thought all families’ Saturday night dinner conversations centered around business. 


Their work ethics have always inspired me, starting with my first job, which was actually for their company. I followed my uncle, the foreman, around job sites and helped clean up houses and finish some projects. I even hammered a copper tube once. I appreciated the chance to earn my first paycheck and learn on the job.


When I was growing up, I always knew that I would start a company. As I got older, I just didn’t know when and what problem my business would solve. 


How did you get started as an entrepreneur?


When I exited my last consulting role in December 2019, I knew the timing was right to start my own company, but I didn’t know what I wanted to create. I was open to anything, so I started attending entrepreneur classes and seminars at ATDC — Georgia Tech’s technology business incubator. I immersed myself in startup theory and Lean startup and read a ton, such as Steve Blank and Eric Ries’ books. 


I quickly realized that it would take a lot longer than expected to build a product, and I needed to get some revenue coming in. So, I started a contract software development company. At first, I was doing just about anything anybody would pay me for: I built a website for my cousin’s boat repair businesses, and I put in a bid to implement a new work order system at the local auto repair shop. Luckily after a couple of months of talking to anybody who would take my call, I signed my first main software development contract in February 2020. Finally, revenue was coming in, and I could pay my bills. 


About a year later, my contract business had stabilized enough for me to start developing the product that would become PorterLogic. Before I started building the solution, I was very focused on finding a problem. I wanted to create something that people needed. So, I interviewed about 35 people who worked in the supply chain across my network. Whether they were on the client side of the industry or the implementation and software side, I talked to anybody I could. I tracked every conversation in a spreadsheet to record what people shared about the main problems and challenges they had with supply chain software. When multiple people were talking about the same problem, I started seeing a pattern: more than 60% said integrating and customizing systems were their main challenges. 


If that is the problem, is there a solution I can be build to solve it? That’s why I created PorterLogic. When I found a repeatable solution, I built the minimum viable product (MVP) that I remember showing to people well before the solution worked. I wanted to get feedback and validate the solution to make sure PorterLogic solved a pain point.


PorterLogic helps you reduce costs and streamline operations in your supply chain. Our workflow automation software addresses processes you’ve outgrown and unique requirements other systems don’t handle. Our visual drag-and-drop toolkit enables you to automate manual processes, connect disparate systems and systemize operations.


What is one business lesson you would tell a startup founder?


You have to be hyper-focused on your customer and product. As a technology person, I would love to code 12 hours a day, but that’s not how it works. You have to solve a problem that a customer is willing to pay you to solve. It does not matter that you have a beautiful, finished product if it does not solve someone’s pain point. So, build the bare minimum and start validating your solution. 


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