Not just the investors but people who
barely knew me.
People expected me to share confidential
details of what was happening
at my company. I call it the „Valley Disclosure
Agreement“ (VDA). The belief
that an idea itself is worthless and only
gets valuable through being discussed,
sharpened, and then the persistence to
bring it to market. Lesson two: None of
us is as smart as all of us.
The first startup got acquired. Even
though we had made a ton of mistakes,
VCs became more interested in us. To
them it wasn’t a failure but a learning
experience. When I became a CEO the
second time, investors only had one
rule for me: grow. A focus on profits
was viewed as a lack of belief in a large
market. Without focusing on growth –
even ten x growth, they didn’t believe
Foto: shutterstock 588813473
we would challenge the status quo.
Lesson three: Growth is a mindset.
2. SPARGEL SHOCK
My third startup was acquired by
SAP. I soon learned that my Silicon
Valley mindset lessons didn’t translate
well into SAP. As a public company,
pursuing growth without considering
profitability just wasn’t practical.
I struggled my first year until I became
better networked and could learn
by watching how others operated. I got
lots of good advice on how to survive –
and even thrive – inside a large German
company. Here are some highlights:
• Informal relationships are often
more important than reporting lines.
Who you know can matter more than
your role or even your title.
• Spend as much as time as you can
networking – just remember to give to
the network before you try to take from it
• Power is distributed and often bottoms
up. The legal structure of a German
company is different than an American
one. Board Areas are more like
divisions than like functional groups.
This means decisions within one board
area are easy and streamlined. But those
which impact the whole company
require much more syndication. Which
means they take longer.
3. CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Revolutionary implies sudden change –
without warning and without prep. But
that’s not really the case. Revolutions
seem like they are sudden, but in reality
they are a long time coming.
„Spend as much as time as you can networking –
just remember to give to
the network before you try to take from it“
56 PALAIS BIRON NR. 25 | SOMMER 2017