Alan, Jim and Kristina talk about a rare phenomenon in technology -- slowing down sales -- intentionally! Faced with the need to undertake some major software refactoring, we chose to put the cap on new sales while we raced to update the platform. This caused real tension between the board, sales management and the engineering team. Come have a listen as we talk about the details of this successful effort.
We recently had to find a home for a legacy client/server accounting application, running in a location that was far, far away. The software came to us through an acquisition of another company. Our ultimate goal is to migrate the parent and child to a single, unified cloud-based application. In the near term, however, we needed to allow the remote team to access the software as per usual, right alongside the finance team back at headquarters. And, we needed to insure that the software was backed up properly and secure. The solution turned out to be Amazon's WorkSpaces product.
Jim and Alan talk in detail about the Valley of Anguish and how to survive it. All large projects (ERP implementations, software re-writes, data center moves) start out with heady expectations and hardy enthusiasm. Inevitably, as your teams start tackling the stickier issues they slide down into the Valley of Anguish -- all willing to abandon the project and go back to doing things the old way. As operating partners, we've had tons of experience in the valley -- and can help you and your teams survive and thrive -- and come out the other end of the project with smiles on their faces. Also, we talk about Alan's really bad hat.
Devin and Jim discuss the seven deadly sins of private equity -- sins that will turn a good deal into a bad deal.
-- Pride: Don't admit what you don't know.
-- Envy: Make a bad acquisition.
-- Lust: Overpaying for a deal.
-- Greed: Trying to do too much, too fast.
-- Wrath: Market turns on you.
-- Gluttony: Taking on too much debt.
-- Sloth: Failing to move fast enough on management problems.
Devin interviews podcast darling Kevin Fitzgerald on his return to private equity after two years at Harvard Business School. Kevin talks about why he went, what he learned, how he landed his summer internship, how much the whole thing cost and whether or not getting and MBA was even worth it. Just like his last podcast talking about the Associate job, Kevin spills the beans on business school and returning to the industry as Principal.
Jim talks with our old friend and colleague, Dirk Shimpach about the most common mistakes we make when implementing NetSuite. We've done six implementations across six portfolio companies over the past five years -- so we've learned a thing or two about getting NetSuite up and running. Dirk gives CEOs, Founders and CFOs a quick primer on the most common speed bumps and how to avoid them. We're about to start two new implementations at two different ParkerGale portfolio companies. Our plan is to dive deep into these two projects and give you the blow by blow as we get them going. While we've covered this topic before, we plan on going deep, deep, deep into these projects -- so stay tuned.
Alan and Jim discuss DevOps -- the intersection of software development and managing the deployment and operations of software. We provide a simple layman's definition of DevOps and then address common misconceptions and fears. It's not fatal if you are not doing state-of-the-art DevOps or you haven't completed automated the build and deploy process. Instead, we given you a simple set of suggestions for getting simplified DevOps in place in order to limit system downtime and speed up re-starts.
Devin and Jim spend some time talking about the "Failure Mythology" -- the idea that you need to fail in a big way on the path to building a great company. (Aka "The Steve Jobs Story") It's a popular myth in the venture space, but not at all common for private equity deals.
Small change of pace. Here's a replay of Kristina's WGN Business Lunch interview talking about private equity, being a mom and other fun stuff.
Devin sits down with Dave Will, the founder of Peach New Media, a software company he founded, bootstrapped and recently sold to AccelKKR. Dave gets philosophical about building culture and stepping aside after the sale. A good listen for founders and CEOs alike. We’ll definitely have Dave back to chat more.
Devin and Jim talk about Unicorns -- not the mythical horse with
a horn, but rather
the club of billion-dollar-plus tech companies. How is this market different than the late 90s?
How do Unicorns affect buyouts and smaller companies, both positively and negatively? These
are just a few of the questions we discuss on today's show.
Devin and Jim welcome their partner Kristina to her first podcast where they talk about how to run a good board meeting. Who to invite, what to cover, what to avoid and how to manage your PE board members.
Alan and Jim spend some time talking about tracking events and errors in application software logs. Most companies are at least monitoring their web logs and database error logs these days -- but we'd argue that this is just the tip of the iceberg. With easy access to cloud platforms, cheap computer cycles and disk storage the time is right to up the ante. Capturing user traffic and events at all layers of your application stack can pay big dividends in customer satisfaction, software performance and system reliability.
It's our annual March Madness show. Hosted by two guys that don't know a THING about college basketball -- so our March Madness is all about Private Equity. This year we are starting with the Elite Eight and working our way down to one winner. It's EBITDA Multiples versus Revenue Multiples, Debt versus No Debt, Private Equity Owned Businesses versus Founder Owned Businesses and Backing the Founder versus Bringing in your own CEO. Come join Devin, Jim and the Commissioner -- Ryan Milligan as we argue our way to a winner.
Jim and Alan spend some quality time talking about the most common technology challenges that we uncover when we acquire a founder owned technology company. This is not a criticism of how these companies are run, but rather a testimony to how much a small team is able to accomplish when they put their minds to it. Given that we buy smaller companies that we end up selling to larger companies -- these are the most technology issues that we need to address during our ownership period. We both have a pragmatic view of how difficult it is to keep all of these systems/processes up to date -- we don't let good become the enemy of great.
Devin sits down with Chris Morgan, the founder of Lantern Partners, an executive search firm focused on hiring C-Suite executives at PE-backed companies. We cover how to get in the candidate flow, what characteristics are required for the job, how much you will get paid and other lessons from our collective experience looking for and hiring management teams.
Alan and Jim spend some quality time talking about the Shiny New Toy problem (SNTS) in software development. The tendency for software teams to pin their hopes and dreams on leading edge technology that will solve all of their problems -- easier, faster better. We discuss the problem in detail and offer non-technical founders strategies for dealing with SNTS.
Jim and Alan spend a fast hour talking about technical debt. It's everything that a CEO/CFO/COO or Founder needs to know about technical debt -- and how to start paying it down. What causes technical debt? Is technical debt the result of a bad development team? Is it possible to develop a software platform without incurring technical debt? Is the solution to technical debt a complete platform rewrite or can you pay it down without "dry docking the boat"? These are just a few of the questions that we answer on today's show.
Jim and Alan talk about the Cloud. Private clouds versus public clouds. Should you ditch your own server room and move everything to the Cloud? Start small and build ... or go "all in" on the Cloud. Can you control performance and scaling in the Cloud? Relational databases or NoSQL in the Cloud. In case that's not clear at this point, we'll be talking about the Cloud on this week's podcast. Plus, West Wing, NYPD Blue, Kelly's Heroes. Kiefer and Donald Sutherland in Foresaken. Take a pass on "Assassin". Spoiler alert: We're both passing on the trifecta of remakes; Point Break, Roadhouse and Ghostbusters.
Jim and Alan discuss the history and details of exchanging data between companies and applications. Email might be the easiest and quickest technique, but find out what it's not very secure or reliable. Learn about the differences between FTP (not very secure) and SFTP (pretty darn secure) and whether DropBox, Box or Amazon's S3 is a reasonable option. Finally, we end up chatting about Web Services as the modern developer's tool for exchanging data securely, reliably and in Goldilocks sizes (hint: Just Right). Shout outs to Dropbox, Box, Amazon and HighJump. Plus Jim goes one for three in Alan's movie quiz.
Jim talks with Alan, Simon and Tiago about the myth of the full stack developer. Alan plays the role of the database and webservices architect. Simon is the user interface and client-side maven and Tiago is our resident network, security and back-end guru. We ask the key questions -- can any single developer master EVERY layer of the software stack? Should a CEO or Engineering manager expect his/her developers to be knowledgeable about every piece of software? We also learn that Alan hates art and white wine, but likes red wine. Plus shout outs to the Back to the Future trilogy, Poland, La Sardine in the West Loop and Ocean's Eleven.
Jim and Alan talk about the technology trends for 2016. What's on the rise? What technology is falling out of favor? What will be the most hyped technology in 2016? Jim asks the questions and Alan answers them on this latest episode of America's favorite technology-oriented, private-equity-themed, weekly podcast. It's IoT, Elastic Search, MongoDB, RavenDB, Java, Cassandra, Hadoop, Ruby on Rails, Node.js, PostgreSQL, jQuery, Angular, Amazon RDS and even the Apple Watch! Plus, shout out for Carson McCullers "The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter"
Jim spends a fast hour talking with the Developertown crew about all things mobile. Should you develop native iOS and Android applications? Is it better to standardize on responsive HTML5 solutions? PhoneGap vs. Xamarin? These are just a few of the questions that we discuss, plus, shout-outs to Angie's List Founder Angie Hicks and Angela Lansbury. Also, we talk about the Roomba (spoiler alert ... it's awesome).
Description: Cass Gunderson recently joined ParkerGale as an Associate so we check in with her about how she landed the job, what she did before she joined us and talk about her early reactions to the new job. From time to time we'll follow-up to see how Cass is doing.
Second part of our two-episode series on the Operating Partner role in private equity. In this second episode Devin and Jim talk about engaging with the portfolio companies and their management teams on projects and initiatives. At the end of the day there are only three types of projects that we work on; cost cutting/efficiency, revenue enhancements and risk mitigation.