Beyond Expectations: Embracing Unreasonable Hospitality in Tech Startups and Corporate Innovation

Hard tech startups and corporate innovation teams continually seek new ways to stand out and succeed. One approach that has garnered attention is the concept of “Unreasonable Hospitality,” as outlined in Will Guidara’s book “Unreasonable Hospitality” and related to Danny Meyer’s book “Setting the Table.”

Companies can foster an environment that exceeds customer expectations and accelerates growth by applying this principle to tech innovation, hard tech product development, application engineering, and MVPs (Minimum Viable Products).

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What is Unreasonable Hospitality?

Unreasonable Hospitality goes beyond merely meeting customers’ needs. It’s about exceeding their expectations and providing exceptional experiences at every touchpoint. It is rooted in the belief that going the extra mile for your customers will create a loyal client base and inspire your team to achieve greatness.

In the context of hard tech innovation, this philosophy can be transformative, paving the way for stronger relationships, heightened creativity, and a culture of excellence.

Implementing Unreasonable Hospitality in Hard Tech Innovation

Be Proactive in Problem-Solving

Innovation is synonymous with problem-solving, and Unreasonable Hospitality calls for anticipating customers’ needs before they know they have them. To stay ahead of the curve, teams should consistently research industry trends, gather customer feedback, and analyze data to identify potential pain points. By proactively addressing these issues, companies can provide solutions that surprise and delight their customers.

Foster a Culture of Collaboration and Inclusivity

Unreasonable Hospitality is built upon the foundation of strong relationships. In hard tech innovation, this means fostering a collaborative and inclusive environment where diverse perspectives are valued. Encouraging open communication and teamwork will strengthen bonds within your organization and lead to more inventive solutions catering to a broader range of customers.

Prioritize Customer-Centric MVPs

When developing MVPs, keeping the customer at the center of the process is essential. Prioritize features that address customer pain points and align with their preferences. Designing MVPs to solve real-world problems demonstrates that you understand and value your customers’ needs. This approach increases the likelihood of a successful product launch and cements your reputation as a company that puts customers first.

Go Above and Beyond in Application Engineering

In application engineering, Unreasonable Hospitality can be manifested through personalized support and a relentless commitment to quality. Take the time to understand each client’s unique needs and tailor your solutions accordingly. Be meticulous in your attention to detail, ensuring that every aspect of the product or service exceeds expectations. Going the extra mile will create lasting impressions and foster long-term client relationships.

Continuously Iterate and Improve

Unreasonable Hospitality is not a one-time event; it requires a continuous commitment to improvement. Embrace a growth mindset and be open to change. Continuously evaluate your products, services, and processes, identifying opportunities for enhancement. You demonstrate your dedication to providing exceptional customer experiences by consistently iterating and refining your offerings.

Conceptual Examples of Unreasonable Hospitality in Hard Tech Innovation

Here are a few simple examples of how hard tech startups and corporate innovation teams can apply the principles of Unreasonable Hospitality to achieve remarkable results:

  • A robotics company known for its exceptional customer service, assigned dedicated engineers to each client, providing personalized support and rapid responses to any issues or inquiries. This approach resulted in high customer satisfaction rates and led to invaluable feedback that helped the company improve its products.
  • An AI startup that developed a machine learning platform for medical professionals took Unreasonable Hospitality to heart by going beyond just providing a cutting-edge solution. They also offered comprehensive training, ongoing support, and regular updates to ensure clients successfully implemented the technology in their practices.
  • A computer vision company embraced Unreasonable Hospitality by offering clients a flexible and customizable product suite that could be tailored to their specific needs. By working closely with customers, they ensured that each implementation was optimized for the unique challenges faced by different industries.
  • An IoT startup made Unreasonable Hospitality a priority by offering exceptional post-sales support. They maintained an open line of communication with their clients, proactively addressing any concerns and continuously iterating on their offerings based on client feedback.

The Long-term Benefits of Unreasonable Hospitality in Hard Tech Innovation

Embracing Unreasonable Hospitality in hard tech innovation can yield numerous long-term benefits:

  • Loyal Customers: By providing exceptional experiences, you foster a sense of loyalty among your customers, who will be likelier to stick with your company and recommend it to others.
  • Stronger Team Dynamics: A culture of Unreasonable Hospitality encourages collaboration, open communication, and mutual support, resulting in a more unified and motivated team.
  • Increased Innovation: When you go above and beyond for your customers, you inspire your team to think outside the box and develop inventive solutions to complex problems.
  • Enhanced Reputation: By consistently exceeding expectations, you establish your company as a leader in your industry and a go-to provider for cutting-edge solutions.
  • Sustainable Growth: Unreasonable Hospitality can increase customer retention, referrals, and overall satisfaction, creating a solid foundation for long-term success.


The principles of Unreasonable Hospitality can be a powerful force for growth and success. By exceeding customer expectations, fostering a culture of collaboration and inclusivity, and continuously iterating and improving, companies can create an environment that breeds ingenuity and empowers both their clients and their teams.

As you forge ahead in hard tech innovation, remember that your commitment to Unreasonable Hospitality can catalyze remarkable achievements. Embrace this mindset, and watch as your company succeeds.

Nicholas Nadeau, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Nicholas Nadeau, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Founder / Fractional CTO

Nicholas Nadeau is a fractional CTO empowering startups with next-gen technology expertise, and a passion for driving corporate innovation. Stay informed on cutting-edge hard tech trends - subscribe to my newsletter. Ready to innovate? Discover my services and accelerate your growth.