The Founder Formula
The Founder Formula

Episode · 3 years ago

Why You Should Listen to The Founder Formula


One of the leading indicators for technology that’s going to hit the market is whether or not it comes out of the major VC firms.  

It’s very rare that the proverbial unicorns come out of a vacuum or one angel investor.  

Typically the path runs through one of the top 50 VC firms in the world.  

On this podcast, host Mark Campbell, Chief Innovation Officer at Trace3, will be sharing the journey of some of the founders who have taken that path. 

He’ll talk to founders from all stages of the journey: those who are just starting, those who are just now hitting the market, and those who are hitting the inflection curve as their companies grow. 

Listen in to hear what you’ll get out of this podcast.

The founder Formula Brings you in behind the curtains and inside the minds of today's brave executives at the most future leaning startups. Each interview will feature a transformative leader who's behind the wheel at a fast paced and innovative tech firm. They'll give you an insiders look at how companies are envisioned, created and scaled. We hope you're ready. Let's get into the show. Hey, welcome everyone to our episode zero of our PODCASTS. I'm here today with Mark Campbell, who will be the host. Hey Mark, Hey Todd, how are you doing, buddy? Just survived comic on? I did. I did survive comic con and you know, maybe we can go into some more details, but you'll be have to know I didn't dress up again this year. Well, first for everything. Hey, you've everyone some context. My name is Todd Billina, I'm the producer of the PODCAST and today we'll be discussing what you, the listener, can expect from this podcast and how you can even get involved. But before we do that, mark, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? Yeah, so I'm the chief innovation officer over here at trace three, which is sometimes kind of an odd title, but at trace three we have such an emphasis on new and emerging technologies that the job of chief innovation snopsters certainly keeps me hopping. Trace three we look through literally thousands of startups every year looking for trends, looking for areas that things are being disruptive, some early ripples in the Matrix, so to speak, that we can bring back to our customers and compare that against the troubles that they're seeking to solve. Look at the challenges that they have today and the challenges they anticipated in the future. Will we kind of see a line up between the trends coming from the supply side of the market matching up with trends ...

...from the demand side of the market? That's really where where we start to differential are ourselves from other other providers on the market. Thanks for that mark. For those of you who don't know, trace three is a technology consulting firm that walks alongside it leaders wherever they might be on their journey. Of course, that journey usually starts in the data center and ends. In our case was something we call ceio services. In one of those services includes exposing ceios to new technology. That's just coming out of stealth mode, that's just coming out of the Silicon Valley Mark, and you tell us more about your role in this experience and maybe some of the things are listeners can expect to hear? Yeah, sure so. Certainly we find that one of the strongest leading indicators for technology that's going to hit the market stem out of the major VC firms in the world. It's very rare that the proverbial UNICORNS strike up out of a vacuum or are seated by one angel investor and become a big success. Typically the path runs through one of the top fifty VC firms in the world and we've got very close ties and partnerships with that venture side of the equations. so by staying in touch with what they're investing in and sometimes, more importantly, what they've stopped investing in, it starts giving us indicators are of what's what might be around the corner. Now it's very great to have new and wonderful startups, but if there's no clients out there with a pain for that band aid, then then all of the investment in the world isn't going to pay off. So certainly by US spending an equal amount of time with our customers finding out what what the current challenges are, maybe, more correctly, what is not being solved by the solutions on the market today. That that's really that that tip of the sphere. When we find these...

...startups, many times they are the proverbial two folks and a power point, you know the some of these companies don't even have their name yet. Some of them have early round funding. A lot of them are in desperate need of real customers to help them temper and own that solution, making sure that it's pointing exactly at the use cases customers are wanting. Being that bridge in the early stages of a startup could be very interesting, to be very frustrating. There's an awful lot of, let's just say, good solutions that fall on the editing floor, but it is rather rewarding from time to time that we do see companies go from a white board to a prototype, to Alpha testing, Beta testing, going to ga for the market, being adopted by those first customers, those first logos that appear on their website, all the way through. Several of the companies that we've worked with over the years have made it to their IPO and are multi billion dollar companies now. So certainly something we're looking to do on this podcast is shared the journey of some of those founders that took the chance, quit the day job, went out there, started a new company, maybe failed once or twice, but eventually got their start up off the ground and on its way. Going to be looking at a couple different companies and founders out there that are in various stages of maturity. We're going to have on founders that have started companies several decades ago that are now industry stalworth. We're going to talk to founders who have just kind of hit the market and are just now experiencing that inflection curve is their companies begin to grow. We're quite fortunate to have made this journey with a number of different companies and a number of different founders that have, you know, truly impacted the market, truly impacted traceres customers. But I think what... the key story that resonates with the IT folks that I talked to, and certainly what would have resonated to me at various stages of my career, isn't just the sales pitch. Hey, here's a cool new product that does XYZ what I find more fascinating is the journey that that actual founder took. What was that precipitating event that caused them to quit the day job, give up a life with paychecks and benefits and kind of roll the dice? How did their families react? How did they figure out who their co founders were going to be? How did they go to get VC funding, or did they go for VC funding at all? How did that pitch process go? What was it that really locked them in? Did they nail it the first time out of the gates, or did they get rejected twenty times before someone took a chance on it? I think that journey resonates with a lot of folks like myself that spent many years on a keyboard or with a production pager, always dreaming about, you know what, I should just start my own own company. I think I could do this a little better. No one is tackling this side of the problem or no one's bringing this approach in. I think talking to the folks that have actually done that, that's that's that's compelling journalism to me. Yeah, I know it. I think it's super compelling and people are going to get a glance into a world that, like you said, they only fantasize about. You know, mark, one of the things that you mentioned is one of the ways that we actually kind of help with these founders is we're bringing real life cios into the conversation to help these founders kind of dial in their product to make sure they're hitting the mark. And this is something that you have not been doing just for a little while, this is something you've been doing for years. Can you tell us a little bit about that? Sure, my am my first job out of the blocks was out of startup. I knew no better, so to speak, and the roles that you have to play when your employee number eight are...

...rather challenging and certainly for someone fresh out of college, the learning curve was very steep for me. That company, I'd love to tell you, went on to become a huge success, but that just is not the case. So that was a good teeth cutting exercise, so to speak. Over the years I did have the opportunity to work with very large dood contractors, large telco companies, large software companies, but I also, in the midst of that, have the opportunity to work with at a small startup that was acquired by another small start up early in its development that some of the folks listening and may know. That company was BEA systems and they went on to be the fastest growing software company in history. So going through that curve took me through a number of different roles of very roller coaster and rockets led type of a career maturation, including moving my family over to Amsterdam to start up a services organization that grew into an eleven country region. So having gone through some not so of successful startups and some successful startups, and certainly getting on board with trace three five years ago and switching over from the actual the implementation of new technologies solutions over into the watching the development of new technology solutions has been a compelling journey for me. There are many contributors that help a startup go from, you know, two guys in a power point as you described, to really a offering that a ceio is interested in. What other items outside of technology contribute to the success of a startup? Yes, I think that's a very good question, todd certainly a lot of people focus on the technology and a certainly folks it a better on the IT industry for for any amount...

...of time will realize that many times the company the succeeds in a certain market space doesn't necessarily have the best technology. Maybe they don't have the all the bells and whistles, but what drives them over the top is, you know, maybe it's the user experience that is just seemless, maybe it is the marketing that is just more pervasive. But I decided at one point several years ago to put that question to one of our VC partners and hopefully we'll get him on the show later's. I won't do any name dropping, but a very successful vc out there. I pose the question to them that if you could, if you didn't know anything about a company and you could ask about one characteristic of the company and then make an investment decision, what would it be? And I thought the answer would be something like total addressable market, or maybe it would be how many years of experience do they have in that industry? Or maybe it would be have you actually created a revenue stream, or something very nuts and bolts. And the answer I gop that was a bit shocking. This VC said, well, if I could only know one thing about the company, it would be who's the founder? And do I know them and have they been at small companies and big companies, and what's their passion in the field and and is this what stops them from sleeping at night and also gives them their motivation to get out of bed in the morning? If I just knew that, that's more of a determination for success than all of the other, let's say, fundamental and stochastic type of analysis, that objective side of it. So I found it to be very compelling. In tracking this particular investor over the years, who has done rather rather well, you will also start to see these patterns of where you have some of these entrepreneurs that haven't just hit one home run, they followed that up with...

...another home run and maybe a third. Not that they have the MIDAS touch, but they do have that that founders instinct, that passion, that drive, that work ethic, and that seems to be something that is the that's where the true magic lies. So our podcast is trying to tap into a little bit of that magic. How can we listen to some of these folks that have been down the road, some of them up to four times, and what is that? One of those differentiators, and I certainly if our listeners are a lot like me, and I I believe that to be true. When listening to that, you'll hear certain things ago, oh my gosh, that's just like me. That's exactly what I've been thinking. There are certain things that we're going to explore with our guests that I do think are going to resonate with a lot of folks out there that have toyed with the idea of starting their own company. But it does take a certain amount of courage and I think by listening to folks that have summoned that courage for themselves, taken the leap and not wound up dead at least, that that that can be quite encourage yeah, we're hoping to reveal all of that on this show and yeah, like you mentioned, we're going to have some people on whom may have gone three, four, three or four for four, and we're going to have some people on that have gone on hundred for four, and they're going to share some of those failures, maybe the first or second time that they've tried to do this, until they figured it out. And sometimes, as you said earlier, we learn more from our failures than our big successes. Okay, so listen. I ask you million questions, but we want to get some questions from our listeners and we're excited to even get suggestions on guests. And so can you share with our listeners how they can get in touch with us? Mart yes, certainly, if you can just drop us the line at Innovation at Trace threecom. That's TRAC numeral threecom. Also social media quite active. My twitter handle is hype sniper. That's hype...

S N Y P are. Excuse me. So why hype sniper? Well, one of the things that becomes very relevant when looking at emerging technology is one of the biggest fears are customers have. Are the two main fears. Are these guys going to be around in six months? And the other one is do they really do what they say that they do? Certainly it's a lot easier when you're a small start up to create great wonderful power points, a little bit more easy than creating great and powerful solution. Sometimes we do run into cases where the company's hype gets out a little ahead of ahead of their solutions. We also see where the especially with the mainstream tech media, where a particular term will get hyped up, whether it's artificial intelligence of machine learning, or whether it's digital transformation or whether it's devops or what have you. The proverbial hype cycle certainly plays a role. If you're a start up out there, the temptation to jump onto that hypes, that hype cycle and to kind of ride that way and don't worry, our products will catch up with the hype at some point. I wish I could tell you that that never happens, but it is very prevalent. So one of the screening or qualification steps that we go through here at trace three is to actually bring these products in, the most promising ones in their field, kind of lift up the hood, see what makes a tick and trying to separate the height from the heat. And that's the valuable role. When you talk about trying to discern the next technology. You so hip Sneiberg an appropriate name. I get it. This is episode zero that just wanted to thank everyone for listening into the special episode. From here on out we're going to be interviewing tech founders, VC's and maybe even a few people that have created some processes to vet and create the next new technology. Thank you for listening to the Tech Founder...

Journey Mark. Thanks for hopping on. Well, thanks for having me talk you bet, and we'll catch you guys on episode one. Trace three is hyper focused on helping it leaders deliver business outcomes by providing a wide variety of data center solutions and consulting services. If you're looking for emerging technology to solve tried and true business problems, trace three is here to help. We believe all possibilities live in technology. You can learn more at trace threecom podcast. That's trace, the number threecom podcast. You've been listening to the founder formula, the podcast for all things start up, from Silicon Valley to innovators across the country. If you want to know what it takes to lead tomorrow's tech companies, subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time,.

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