Lumo logo in cream color

    Joining Lumo: Coming Aboard a Rocketship

    Lumo content manager, Steele Roddick setting up tradeshow booth with Josh Zoland and Marc Krafft
    by Steele Roddick

    Joining Lumo wasn’t part of my life plan. 

    I have two young kids. I help run a small but thriving financial planning firm with my best friend from back home. And I have a lot more personal writing I’d like to share with the world, including publishing my first book. Running content marketing at an irrigation startup in California was not the natural next move.

    But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about career opportunities, it’s that when you’re offered a seat on a rocketship, you take it. 

    Rocketship Vibes Galore

    Devon’s story of running into water scarcity issues on his orchard in Northern California is real and compelling. He felt the pain himself and was frustrated by the solutions on offer.

    One of Lumo’s co-founders was the VP of Marketing, Bennett Fitzgibbon, because they took customer discovery extremely seriously right from the start. They went deep on validating the need and understanding the problem. They didn’t start with a technology or a pre-built solution. They did things in the right order. They went to the source. They spent time working in vineyards as irrigators, literally getting their hands dirty. 

    And as a result, they were able to build a product that creates a tremendous amount of value for growers. Not just in terms of better managing water resources, but also in hard savings on labor and energy. It’s a solution that’s legitimately ten times better than the status quo. It delivers on Lumo’s mission to dramatically improve the efficiency of fresh water usage in agriculture, and on their promise to save growers time, money and water. It produces a real, tangible, immediate return on investment.

    And evidence of that is everywhere. 

    In their first year, Lumo brought on some of the best and biggest vineyards in California. Treasury Wine Estates. Clos Du Val. Spottswoode and Wente. Many of those vineyards will be expanding in 2024 because they know the value is there. 

    I can hear it when I talk to customers. You don’t have to pull teeth or twist words to get them to say good things. Endorsements pour out of them. Words I would not believe if I hadn’t heard them firsthand. 

    When I first spoke with Lumo’s CTO, Cihan, he said he’d never seen a situation where the customers were out ahead, pulling the product out of the engineering team. That’s the way it’s supposed to work. Customers are supposed to be engaged and actively asking for new features to build on the value they’re already receiving. But even at very successful companies, it almost never works that way in practice. 

    Lumo is still just getting started, but it’s already achieved product-market fit because they went to the market first and built the product second. It was baked in from the get-go. I’ve started calling it market-product fit because that’s the right order and you can feel the difference. You can see it on prospective clients' faces when you’re talking about the product. They get it because we get it. 

    The tailwinds are strong and will only get stronger. Sustainability and managing scarce water resources is top of mind for almost every grower I’ve spoken to. The technologies are ready. Solar panels, batteries, edge computing, cloud storage—they’ve all come down dramatically in cost over the past fifteen years and have started to level out in the past couple. Which means that now is the time to make those investments. Demand for water continues to grow, while the effects of climate change undermine supply, creating a perfect storm for growers. As the push to regulate and put a price on water grows stronger, every grower will need to adapt and adopt solutions like Lumo One smart valves en masse. 

    In 2024, we intend to sell ten times as many smart valves as we did last year. Is that growth rate sustainable year after year? I don’t know. But I know this team is moving at a pace I’ve never seen. People here are engaged, getting after it, and are not burdened by bureaucracy slowing them down. It’s a high-trust, ownership culture. And it allows people to move like lightning. You can feel the alignment. 

    I’m a writer. A content guy. And the content opportunity here is like nothing I’ve ever seen.

    Perhaps above all, I’m excited about joining Lumo because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run a world-class content marketing operation. The kind of operation I’ve dreamed of running since I started out in content marketing nearly a decade ago. 

    The team has unbelievable depth, not just in technology, but also in water and viticulture and product development and entrepreneurship. Employees are eager to contribute their knowledge and share their expertise. They are already thought leaders in their respective spaces, and tapping into their insights is going to create immensely valuable content. They care deeply about our customers and the problem we’re trying to solve. They like when I ask good questions, and they want to delve deeper. 

    The customers are easy to talk to and happy to tell their story. Folks in agriculture are generally kind, humble, and hardworking. And they’re excited about coming along for the ride too, because they’ve already seen what this team can do. 

    The product is there. The mission is there. The story, the timing, the team—it’s all there. Everything. This is a rocketship and it is going to the moon.

    Along the way, we’re going to catalyze change and make a tangible impact on the trajectory of fresh water usage in agriculture. We’re going to help growers grow better crops with fewer inputs and we’re going to create a tremendous amount of value for every stakeholder involved. With any luck, we’re going to create a generational company, and if I’m lucky, I’m going to get to play some teeny tiny part in bringing that future into existence. 

    I had all kinds of reasons to say no to joining Lumo. But when you’re asked to board a rocketship, you don’t worry about the practicalities. You don’t ask questions. You don’t look back. You jump. You get on board, you buckle up, and you get to work. There is so much work to be done, but I’m excited about that work. That work fires up my soul, because I know, deep down in my bones, that it’s going to be one helluva ride. 

    Go Back to the Lumo Field Journal