Really awesome story had to repost. Single customer interaction can change your company…
Several years ago, a single problem customer changed the fate of my company. Here’s the story.
In business, we’re often all about the numbers–occasionally to a fault. I’m not saying statistics and metrics aren’t useful tools. Sometimes, however, the success or failure of an enterprise comes down to individual interaction–say, a handshake or a phone call.
Let me give you a good example.
In 1995, I bootstrapped a tech company, Broadcast Software. We created digital audio and automation software for broadcast radio stations. After four years, we had 16 employees and customers in 40 countries.
But we were at a transition point. If companies need to grow or die, we were in need of a transfusion. We had grown beyond my ability to fund future growth out of my back pocket, and it was time to get outside capital. It also turned out to be time for the tech bubble to burst. Our potential funding sources instantly disappeared.
I was a hands-on CEO. I had written the original code and knew many of our customers personally. I had told my employees that the buck stopped with me, that I’d be willing to speak with any customer they couldn’t help or satisfy. If need be, they should even give out my personal number.
Professional social network LinkedIn, which originally submitted its S-1 filing with the SEC in January, has just posted an amendment to its filing that includes 2010 revenue numbers (previously the filing only included 2010 revenue until September). As we wrote earlier, the maximum proposed total offering price is $175 million but this is just a placeholder amount.
From 2009 to 2010, net revenue increased $123.0 million, or 102%, to $243 million. Net income increased $19.4 million, or 487%, to $15.4 million. The company took a $3.9 million loss in 2009 terms of net income, with 2010 as the first profitable year for the network.
According to the filing, 42 percent of 2010 revenue came hiring solutions ($101.8 million), 33 percent came from marketing ($79.3 million); and 25 percent came from premium subscriptions ($61.9 million).
It’s a positive sign that revenue sources continue to increase and the company is now making a profit. It should be interesting to see how much the offering will be when LinkedIn goes public later this year.
With over 90 million users representing over 200 countries around the world, LinkedIn is a fast-growing professional networking site that allows members to create business contacts, search for jobs, and find potential clients. Individuals have the… Learn More
Very interesting article from McKinsey. I have been working in integration space for almost 15 years now and the article is spot on. You cannot have a successful M&A without an integration strategy of IT systems.
Understanding the strategic value of IT in M&A
Many mergers don’t live up to expectations, because they stumble on the integration of technology and operations. But a well-planned strategy for IT integration can help mergers succeed.
Exhibit: Often, more than half the synergies available in a merger are strongly related to IT.
Sidebar: Key questions for Day One
With the number of mergers and acquisitions expected to rise over the next few years, many companies are looking for ways to improve their M&A skills—especially their ability to assess and integrate target companies successfully. We’ve all heard about deals where the stars seemed aligned but synergies remained elusive. In these cases, the acquirer and target may have had complementary strategies and finances, but the integration of technology and operations often proved difficult, usually because it didn’t receive adequate consideration during due diligence.
Happy New Year, starting the year with great talk by Barry Schwartz.. What Barry is saying is so true in corporate life too. Sometimes companies make too many rules, they need to make it possible for employees to use their wisdom.
Clouds, big data, and smart assets: Ten tech-enabled business trends to watch
Advancing technologies and their swift adoption are upending traditional business models. Senior executives need to think strategically about how to prepare their organizations for the challenging new environment.
AUGUST 2010 • Jacques Bughin, Michael Chui, and James Manyika
Trend 1: Distributed cocreation moves into the mainstream
Trend 2: Making the network the organization
Trend 3: Collaboration at scale
Trend 4: The growing ‘Internet of Things’
Trend 5: Experimentation and big data
Trend 6: Wiring for a sustainable world
Trend 7: Imagining anything as a service
Trend 8: The age of the multisided business model
Trend 9: Innovating from the bottom of the pyramid
Trend 10: Producing public good on the grid
Two-and-a-half years ago, we described eight technology-enabled business trends that were profoundly reshaping strategy across a wide swath of industries.1 We showed how the combined effects of emerging Internet technologies, increased computing power, and fast, pervasive digital communications were spawning new ways to manage talent and assets as well as new thinking about organizational structures.
Since then, the technology landscape has continued to evolve rapidly. Facebook, in just over two short years, has quintupled in size to a network that touches more than 500 million users. More than 4 billion people around the world now use cell phones, and for 450 million of those people the Web is a fully mobile experience. The ways information technologies are deployed are changing too, as new developments such as virtualization and cloud computing reallocate technology costs and usage patterns while creating new ways for individuals to consume goods and services and for entrepreneurs and enterprises to dream up viable business models. The dizzying pace of change has affected our original eight trends, which have continued to spread (though often at a more rapid pace than we anticipated), morph in unexpected ways, and grow in number to an even ten.2
Just read the article "The Quick Wins Paradox" by Van Buren and Safferstone Todd in Harvard Business Review – Jan 2009. It is a good article focusing on things that can make newly appointed leaders successful.
We all agree that new leaders need to show quick wins to gain confidence of their direct reports and the higher level management. Authors suggest 5 main reasons new leaders fail are Focusing too much on details, reacting negatively to criticism, Intimidating others, Jumping to conclusion and Micromanaging.
According to the author new leaders can be successful if they focus on collective quick wins instead of individual wins. They way to achieve collective quick wins are by making people believers not bystanders, understanding uncertainty, showing humility and learning about the team.
The article is very good and you should surely read if you like the brief intro here. Order Here…
One of my close friends recently decided to leave Microsoft and start his own company. He has been with Microsoft for a long time and the change from MS to a starting a new organization will be a big one. When I started thinking about this change I started thinking about my own journey through various organizations. Every organization has an character, a heart and a soul. What do I mean? Let me take you through my journey through these organizations and explain…
Baan(1997-2000): A Successful ERP company trying to accept globalization and experimenting with distributed development across NL, US and India. In 1997 that was tough thing to do with infrastructure limitations and also cultural limitations. There was still frictions between different teams on ownership of work. This instability was not just in development but also in management originally the company was run from NL then it was taken over by management in US. Management styles are very different between NL and US. It was a great learning experience to see how a successful company was struggling to cope up with time.
Nortel(2001): Again a successful company trying to survive in economic downturn. There was chaos everywhere. The goal seemed to be survival to fight another day. It was tough with major layoffs going on in every division. Moral was low and people spend more time in worrying rather than working.
e-Emphasys(2001-2005): An entrepreneurial venture trying to define itself. Are we Consulting company or a Product company? Should we focus on long term strategy or short term gains? How do we refuse lucrative consulting projects today and just focus on product development for long term benefit? It is amazing how this conflict impacted every decision we made. Basically we just could not decide what we were. Some employees loved consulting and working closely with customers other did not like traveling as consultants and were happy doing product development but for a startup you do not have choice you make your call based on daily needs. The key learning was define your strategy and follow it. You cannot do everything successfully and grow.
SAMSys/Sirit(2005-2006): Another small entrepreneurial venture in RFID space struggling to raise capital and survive to see brighter days. We all could see the hockey stick but the rapid growth in industry was just not happening. Finally we just ran out of money and Sirit took us over. The key lesson was raise capital when you can and not when you need it most.
Microsoft(2006-2008): Amazingly successful company trying to maintain alignment across all its products. Think about it when a new release of Visual studio is planned you have to make sure it is compatible with the latest under development release of SQL, Share Point and Office. When new version of BizTalk is built it is also dependent on SQL, Share Point and Office and Visual studio designer. Did I miss the Windows releases. How do you keep all this in sync. It is a complex problem to solve and I think the company does pretty well to maintain this alignment.
Alignment is really crucial for overall success but I personally think it takes too much time and effort and affects time that can be spent on innovation. I am sure someone higher up in the organization thinks about it.
So this brief info about companies I have worked for. What about your companies? What was/is your company like? What does its character look like? Do share with me… Until then enjoy…
Read a good article on businessweek.com. They have predicted 10 things that won’t happen. It is amazing because people like to predict things that will happen. Here is it other way round but it is really interesting stuff. Following are the predictions. Please read the detailed article by following the link below.
The writers won’t win the current strike
DreamWorks isn’t going to leave Paramount after all
Business Week has started a great new section on their website on Management. The section covers managing career, team, company and board. It is a great site with some good case studies and videos. I have subscribed to its blog too. Hopefully the site will have tons of good information going forward. J