I’m passionate about excellence. Because it’s fun. Because it requires focus and intensity. And because I think it’s the key to success in Silicon Valley.
To me the success formula is simple:
- Pick a problem domain
- Solve it better than anyone else in the world
- Build up and out from there
Bullet #2, of course, is the tricky point. You don’t just need to do it, whatever it is. You need to do it better than anyone else in the world. For real. You can’t kid yourself. You need to do it better than the 20 guys buried somewhere within Oracle, IBM, and Microsoft who inevitably are doing the same thing. Better than the dozen other startups funded by herdish venture capitalists. Better also, perhaps, than an open source community attacking the same problem.
Excellence is how two 27 year olds in France launched a company that beat Oracle in Oracle-based reporting tools: Business Objects. Excellence, for that matter, is how Oracle crushed not only prior-generation DBMSs like IMS and IDMS, but also its relational competitors such as Ingres, Sybase, and Informix.
There’s always a temptation in high-tech to build what I call a “moldly sandwich.” Well, the ham’s a bit old, the mayonnaise is turning, the cheese has little spots on it, and the bread is starting to mold. None of the components are the best, but heck, it’s a sandwich — and isn’t that what people want to buy? Not ham, bread, and cheese. People want solutions.
Well yes. And no. It depends what they’re made of and how hard they are to assemble.
At Mark Logic, to continue my metaphor, we make great ham. My friend Eric Bregand at Temis makes great cheese (text mining). Our other partners make great bread, great mayonnaise, and great pickles. Our services partners are the chefs, putting those ingredients together to make great sandwichs.
That’s why I’m happy to have been selected as Temis Partner of the Year 2009. To me, it’s a testament to focus, excellence, and partnership. Mark Logic, to quote the body paintees at our company picnic, makes the biggest, baddest, fastest XQuery implementation. Temis makes world-class text mining. Together, they’re a great combination.
Is anyone else getting hungry?