Archive for November, 2011

No more email….

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Love this article….exactly what I believe in (although not sure about the technology choices)

http://news.yahoo.com/tech-firm-implements-employee-zero-email-policy-165311050.html

Moving fast….so much fun stuff to do

Friday, November 25th, 2011

The new company is going great so far. Amazing how quickly you just jump right in, feel confident to make decisions and start accelerating forward.

Already at the point where there is more work to do than available hours to do it, but I made sure not to sit on the laptop during Thanksgiving yesterday (just the occasional iPhone email….well, and a little laptop in the morning).

Sorry that the 49ers lost yesterday, but pretty much to be expected – a 4 day week and a trip across the country – that’s tough for even the greatest teams to overcome. Best thing for me was that they appeared to emerge unhurt – after Alex Smith took so many sacks it’s a small miracle that he wasn’t hurt.

Next week….pricing, roadmap, engineering, hiring, marketing, operations, finance…..yep, all the good stuff.

The good and the bad about my first week

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

First the bad….I was so sick on Monday and Tuesday that I didn’t make it into the office. Can you believe that….what CEO calls in sick on their first days at a new job (figured it was better than being known as the CEO that made everyone else sick).

The good….everything else. Cool company, cool people (although have only met about 1/3 of company so far), cool technology.

TONS of work to do (of course)…..but that’s what I enjoy.

Looking to bring on board top talent quickly.

PS I’m not allowed to tell you where I’m at yet because they want to wait a couple weeks to announce – which is fine by me.

Congrats to my friends at Boundary

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

They announced their funding today and were written up in The451.

I really like Ben (founder and CEO) and they have great investors as well – good luck guys!

Blogs – what’s real and what’s marketing?

Monday, November 7th, 2011

The other night on the Chelsea Handler show, she asked Justin Bieber “Do you write all of your own tweets?”. Justin replied “yes” (somewhat tongue in cheek) to which Chelsea sarcastically replied “Well, so do I then”.

Of course, pop stars flying around the world, Hollywood A list etc, I understand why they don’t have time to write their own 140 characters but it got me thinking about Blog posts from technology company executives.

I wonder how many are actually written by that executive versus how many are ghost written by marketing and simply published under that executives name?

In a prior company, I was told that “all blogs are written by corporate marketing and subject to legal approval” to which I politely replied “count me out” (they actually then allowed me to continue writing my own). Blogs/tweets I believe have to be a reflection of the individual and their personality not just the message that the corporate marketing folks want to deliver. If it is a pure corporate marketing message then publish it under the name of the company, not the individual. I understand if we want someone to fix it up grammatically, I understand if a public company wants to get it OKd by legal but….the basic message has to come from the individual (we are people not robots).

So, as you read blogs by technology executives, stop and think “real” or “sham”.

Often you will find that the more polished the writing, the less chance that the executive had anything to do with it – hence you will quickly realize which category this blog falls into.

Employment beckons – super excited

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

It’s interesting how life works sometimes. About 6 weeks ago, I had stopped looking at companies to join and decided to do my own start-up. I loved the idea that I had (still do), had developed a prototype, put together a rough plan, spoken to investors, pulled together a founding team and was on the verge of closing a term sheet when…..a recruiter that I’d worked with in the past called me.

The call went something like this “Gary, I know that you told me not to call you because you’re committed to your own start-up, but I have an opportunity that appears to be a perfect fit for you”. I listened, got excited, decided to open the door and investigate this new opportunity.

Many meetings later with a combination of investors, founders and executives and I’m more excited than I was at the start of the process. Very impressed with the founder/executive team – super smart and highly dedicated and from everything that I know, really outstanding engineering team.

I cannot say too much about what the company is doing right now (not yet launched) but you can be sure that I wouldn’t be joining unless it was set up to (1) Deliver incredible value to customers (2) Disrupt some huge markets.

As of yesterday, I accepted the CEO position and cannot wait to get started.

Enterprise or Consumer

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

As I’ve been pondering what to do next with my career, I’ve often thought about crossing into the consumer space as opposed to the B2B space that I’ve done for most of my career.

Of course you see the dramatic growth of companies like Dropbox, Zynga, Facebook and others and consumer looks really, really exciting.

But, I also think the recent situation at Netflix should serve as a warning – not only to would be executives such as myself but also to investors.

The Netflix executive team is highly experienced, very smart and have built an amazing company over many years. They cannot be accused of being young and inexperienced, this is not their first rodeo and yet even with such an experienced team, it appears there may have been some mid-judgement.

In my opinion, this shows what a fine line there is between hero and goat in consumer driven businesses. Groupon….darling a few months ago, to goat and maybe back to darling again? Zynga…..darling and yet, their latest financial results had everyone wondering if the company was losing its shine. Facebook, goes from strength to strength and yet, how many times has Facebook upset its users – having to backtrack on multiple ocassions.

If you were to think about the Enterprise (B2B) space; I think we’d all agree that the manner in which some enterprise companies treat their customers would mean that they deserve to be out of business a long time ago. Horrible support or forcing customers to purchase more than they need because of leverage that they have on other products or trying to catch customers out through the use of complex contractual language or price hikes that come out of nowhere.

Anyhow, the only point that I’m trying to make is that historically enterprise companies grow slower but also have greater sustainability due to “customer lock in”.

But, I believe that will change. I believe that the consumerization of IT will mean that enterprise customers will have choices and will be able to switch providers much easier than in the past. This also unlocks the door for new, innovative enterprise suppliers to grow much faster than they have historically

And I believe that enterprise suppliers need to hold themselves to a higher standard than they have in the past. They need to hold themselves to a “consumer-like” standard where they need to think that customers are free to stop using their service at any time and they have to deliver value every day.

So, I’m sure I will stay in the Enterprise space but, whatever I do, you can be sure that the customer and customer satisfaction will be front and center.