Sam speaking at the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network event at the McMenamins Kennedy School in Portland.

It was a great moment for Sam: he had just installed the first Indow Windows prototypes into his window frames. Here was a way to block drafts and make his 1906 Craftsman bungalow more energy efficient. He had invented something to address his long-standing worry about climate change.

It was so simple, he told the crowd at the recent Oregon Entrepreneurs Network event titled “School of Hard Knocks” where entrepreneurs from around the state shared stories of perseverance and tenacity in creating their companies.

The elation he felt when he went to bed evaporated the next morning when he came downstairs to find the acrylic inserts had all flopped out of his windows. That disappointment was the beginning of a long road. He quickly realized most windows are out of square, slight trapezoids and parallelograms.

For his simple invention to work, he would ultimately have to help develop a complicated software program so people could precisely measure their out-of-square windows all over the country.

Talk about something simple turning into something really hard.

That whole experience played a role in defining the company values later on: creativity, discipline, confidence and humility.

“Creativity helps us come up with completely innovative new solutions that help us do things in new ways,” he told the crowd. “Discipline helps us make six-foot-by-four-foot polygons that are going to fit perfectly in a home in New Jersey and aren’t going to have to be shipped back to the factory for a rework.

“Confidence allows us to dare to risk new things. Humility allows us to learn from the mistakes we dare to make. “

And those values fuel us toward an important goal: lowering our price to $15 a square foot while raising production wages and maintaining company gross margins – all so that we can continue to make the built environment more energy efficient!