Its Business Not Technology – Accelerate 2011

Tech Companies are still over focused on technology rather than business”… that was my big take away from and exciting day and two nights with a great bunch of emerging tech companies at Accelerate 2011. (#0to60) Well done Rod for yet again mustering great pool of emerging tech companies for this power networking event for rising stars.

It was great to see Rod and Sam Morgan get 5 of the lead pack to present their business and more importantly their business model. What was a disappointing was the fact that Mario Sidhe Interactive was the only one to “factualise” his presentation and come up with hard facts and show his P&L.

My take is that tech businesses, still over talk their technology and are lost on what is really important: 1) Value propositions that are relevant to clients and 2) making a buck.  Yes the technology will appeal to early adopters but the mass markets need something that adds value to end users and purchases a like. My advice check out the business model generation

We need to get more comfortable thinking and talking numbers. It was great to see Sam Morgan – (co chair of the day) nail into the guts of it : “tell us – how the numbers look when you are a $100M company” – what does the EBIT look like at that point? – is it worth while?

Hopefully next year we can get to hear more about what is really going on under the hood by others – Well done Mario.

Below are a few more of my diary notes from a great day:

Sam’s Words of wisdom:

Sam warned the crowd of creating a “Zombie Business”-  what other’s often refer to as walking dead!

Sam’s hit list this year for evaluating companies was:

  • Business model
  • Talent
  • Capital intensity
  • Sales Momentum

More take out notes, from this inspirational day were:

Sonar6 – These guys have online marketing and follow through sussed – hell they send out 9 million emails a quarter and track all of them through their process – they’re closing more sales with less sales staff than last year.

Online-Email marketing:

  • “Be likeable”
  • Don’t oversell in your email marketing – make only 1 in 4 emails about direct selling i.e make 3 out 4 about adding value. Email out once per two months.
  • Create audiences so you can avoid talking to customers 1 on 1 early on in the sales cycle –  (this is one of the 37Signals techniques documented in their book “rework“)
  • Build emotional attraction – then close with ROI

On capital:

  • Sam – key advice – always have a price in your head ready to sell.
  • Rod – take baby steps, Don’t hang out for big sale, sell and build confidence and credibility with investment community. Ready for next step up the ladder. Investors love entrepreneurs who know how to exit.

On talent Management:

  • Under 35 Year old not interested in Stock, give them cash bonuses – techo toys
  • Make sure sales people are encouraged to earn more than CEO
  • Use yammer to share stuff

USA Beachhead:

If anyone is interested in taking a seat in a San Francisco office – Sam & Rod are underwriting a lease in SFO and are encouraging other tech businesses looking to establish sale beach heads in the Bay area.

The headline on the web site for this exciting day was “ Its not the big that eat the small, it’s the fast that eat the slow”.

Awesome conference – Awesome lunch – Awesome People look out for Accelerate 2012.