Andrew Goldsmith’s (Forbes Contributor) article “3 Leadership Insights From A High-Tech Startup That Beat The Odds,” begins with the results of a study from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation: “The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation found roughly 60% of tech firms die within 5 years.”
DivvyCloud, now in its 6th year has beaten the odds and shows no signs of slowing down. “It has developed software that lets businesses create “bot armies” to protect and optimize their IT cloud network infrastructure. Its base of corporate customers includes Discovery Communications, Fannie Mae, and GE, and is in expansion mode.”
Goldsmith interviewed the founders of DivvyCloud and came away with three significant insights for leaders facing similarly challenging environments:
1. Hire People Who Can Succeed In A Startup – And At A Fortune 100
“DivvyCloud needed people who could bridge both types of organizational cultures. For any leader trying to steer a company in a tough market the lesson is clear: you need people with high levels of passion and flexibility, not just relevant experience.”
2. Connect One-On-One
“What the founders learned was that as important as great technology is, it won’t tell your story. A big part of DivvyCloud’s success has been its ability to capture customers’ imagination in person when its leadership team meets with potential customers one-on-one.”
3. Listen And Pivot
“A single piece of negative feedback – and how leaders respond to it – can affect an organization’s success trajectory. DivvyCloud experienced this firsthand when a promising meeting, held when the company was just getting started, started to go south.” The COO politely let the DivvyCloud team know multiple companies were offering similar solutions, some 12-18 months ahead of DivvyCloud from an enterprise capabilities perspective. “This happens when you are an early-stage business. And many entrepreneurs would have said “thank you,” and called it a day. But the DivvyCloud team didn’t do that.” Instead, it shifted gears and eventually landed the deal.
The year was 2009 and Electronic Arts (Nasdaq: EA), the $3.8B gaming company, was making a huge strategic bet by moving some of its products “into the Cloud.” The infrastructure team (including DivvyCloud founders Brian, Chris, and Andrew) were tasked with making this cloud vision a reality. They quickly found managing over 5,000 servers, in five different countries, with millions of paying subscribers in a hybrid-cloud environment to be an incredibly complex, time-consuming, and risky proposition. At the time, there were simply no tools to provide a consolidated view and automation framework for resources spread across different public and private clouds. Ultimately, in 2012 the team left EA and poured their experiences and expertise into building DivvyCloud.
Six years later, we are honored to be featured in the Forbes Leadership Blog and to be given a chance to share our experience and insights with leaders in similar challenging environments.