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Passion: The Entrepreneur's Wings to Success

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Vivek Ranadive
Vivek Ranadive
Founder, CEO, 
Tibco Software
For any entrepreneur, the hardest part is to crack the first major deal. In my journey as an entrepreneur the first deal was selling the trading floor at Salomon Brothers (now part of Citigroup), I was competing against IBM and other such big companies. They threw all their might on winning the deal. I had a final meeting with Head of Technology, and he asked me, "You are a small company, why should we work with you?" I was expecting this question and I had the answer prepared and I gave him that. I told him the technology was better, double the features, the scalability and he asked me the same questions again, "Why should I work with you?" I thought he did'’t understand, so I repeated the reasons and he looked bored! So I stopped and said, "You know you are right. The reasons I gave you are good but not good enough, and there is only one reason for you to work with me. It is that ‘we have fire in our eyes'. Look at me and my people, you are never going to meet a more committed, passionate group anywhere on the planet, and we are going to make this work for you." So he gave us the $20 million contract and that was a start. That was the defining moment. Our first deal. We became the gold standard, and that's what got it all going.

Staying ahead, staying focused
It may sound bold, but I have always believed and worked based on this belief that in five years 80 percent of my revenue will come from things I haven't yet invented. So, first challenge is 'am I innovating fast enough?', but that has been my history, if I look at my revenues now 70 percent of it is coming from things that I didn't have five years ago, and so I know in five years 70 – 80 percent of company's revenues will be coming from things that we are starting to invent now. And so, am I moving fast enough? Am I focusing sufficiently on innovation? Am I hiring the kind of people I need to facilitate that innovation? It is like the great hockey player Wayne Gretzky said, "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been," so I need to do all those things that is going to position me for that. That is probably the number one thought that occupies my mind. The next factor is am I moving fast and have I done enough things, have I been responsive to my customers’ needs not just today but what they will be in the future, and am I moving fast enough. It is important to stay paranoid to these factors to a great extent. Someone in a garage right now could be inventing a product that could be threatening to me.
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Reader's comments(1)
1: This is brilliant. We Indians have got too used to scratching our own backs because of this cost arbitrage. America became what it is because of its industry, innovation and entrepreneurship .That's the difference between an original and a good copy.
Posted by:Sanjay Doshi - 31 Jan, 2012

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