Lessons Learned L I Software C E O

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Lessons Learned L I Software C E O

  1. 1. Lessons Learned (the hard way by a serial entrepreneur) Les Trachtman The Trachtman Group, LLC 7 Tucker Meadow Road 11 Worth Road Woodbridge, CT 06525 203.848.4246 Wilton, NY 12831
  2. 2. Who is Les Trachtman ? <ul><li>26 years in the software industry </li></ul><ul><li>4 x CEO </li></ul><ul><li>Business development </li></ul><ul><li>Venture Capitalist, Investor, board member, consultant </li></ul><ul><li>EE from Union College </li></ul><ul><li>MBA & JD from Emory University </li></ul>
  3. 3. Dropping Names <ul><li>Bus Dev roles @ Comshare, Hyperion, Progress </li></ul><ul><li>CEO Gigs with Metaserver, Transcentive, eOneHundred Group & Active Endpoints </li></ul><ul><li>Board member & investor@ XOS, Metro Group </li></ul><ul><li>Consulting clients: Force3, Lastar, SupplyCore, XOS … </li></ul>
  4. 4. Not your Father’s Software business <ul><li>The software business has changed </li></ul><ul><li>License and maintenance is out </li></ul><ul><li>Recurring revenue is in </li></ul><ul><li>Hosting, complete solutions, even outsourcing is expected </li></ul><ul><li>Software is a service </li></ul><ul><li>Margins matter </li></ul>
  5. 5. Business models matter <ul><li>A great business model trumps a bad CEO every time </li></ul><ul><li>Find a blue ocean </li></ul><ul><li>Address an expansive market </li></ul><ul><li>Find a way to get paid for performance </li></ul><ul><li>Make yourself irreplaceable </li></ul>Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
  6. 6. Be Boring <ul><li>You can’t over communicate important messages </li></ul><ul><li>Unless you become bored you haven’t said it enough </li></ul><ul><li>Consistency is critical </li></ul><ul><li>If people don’t understand what you say it is your problem </li></ul><ul><li>Have a compelling message </li></ul>Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die , by Dan & Chip Heath Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win , by William C. Taylor
  7. 7. Sales requires discipline <ul><li>Complete transparency </li></ul><ul><li>Metrics matter </li></ul><ul><li>Go upstream for better information </li></ul><ul><li>Get yourself a drill sergeant </li></ul><ul><li>Trust and verify </li></ul>
  8. 8. Act like a public company <ul><li>It’s good for business </li></ul><ul><li>Just like neatness, it count $ </li></ul><ul><li>Holding yourself accountable improves performance </li></ul><ul><li>You are as you appear </li></ul>
  9. 9. Sometime employees don’t fit <ul><li>Admit it </li></ul><ul><li>They may not have changed </li></ul><ul><li>They may have needed to </li></ul><ul><li>Work the Peter Principle in your favor </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t wait to take action </li></ul><ul><li>Change happens </li></ul><ul><li>Be even nicer on the way out </li></ul>Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching, and Keeping the Best People, by Bradford Smart
  10. 10. Board members are not your friends <ul><li>Everyone needs a board </li></ul><ul><li>If you haven’t got one, get one </li></ul><ul><li>Beware of the calm before the storm </li></ul><ul><li>Business is business </li></ul><ul><li>Venture capitalists care about money </li></ul>
  11. 11. Buyers Pay for Value <ul><li>One time revenue pays the bills but won’t make your rich </li></ul><ul><li>Buyers are looking for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Backlog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Predictability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Profitability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repeatability </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Vote with your feet <ul><li>When it’s over, it’s over </li></ul><ul><li>Sticking around too long is contagious </li></ul><ul><li>Being professional on the way out </li></ul>
  13. 13. Smile <ul><li>Everyone watches the CEO </li></ul><ul><li>You are how you look </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t take yourself too seriously </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be a buddy </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>http://FounderTransitions.blogspot.com </li></ul>

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