While you are most famous for co-founding Double Click which sold to Google you started as an entrepreneur right out of college. How did you know Intercomputer Security Systems (ISS) would be a hit? It eventually sold to IBM.
I knew I wanted to start a company so I went and talked to a lawyer who connected me with Chris Klaus because he thought he had an interesting product. Chris was 20 had dropped out of Georgia Tech and was living with his grandmother. He had already signed up 10 Fortune 500 companies for 10k each, just by talking to them and showing them where their system had vulnerabilities. It was a brilliant technology but I don’t think Chris, or any of us, knew we could build a billion dollar business.
I remember trying to sell it to my old company for 20 million. We thought it was too much but we thought we had a good product, but it was early day of the internet, a lot of companies were still not connected.
Tell us about your experience taking DoubleClick public, laying off 1,200 employees and then selling to Google.
I never focus on exit strategies, going public was never the end goal. My belief is that you build a great company, focused on solving a big problem, and then you have a lot of options. I remember the day we went public, being on the floor of Goldman Sachs as DCLK went on the market was a rush.
The downturn in the internet forced us to make some difficult decisions but also created an interesting period of innovation. Our decision to sell off a piece of our business that was 90% of our revenues, when we went public, dramatically
I was no longer with the company when they sold to Google.
You wrote a book The Map of Innovation: Creating Something Out of Nothing, what’s the biggest takeaway?
Focus and find the best solution for the biggest challenge. I use a technique called brainstorm prioritization technique (BPT), which I outline in my book. It’s the quickest way to access the best ideas in the room and narrow in on your goals.
You’ve just started a comparison engine, FindtheBest.com that compares more than 700 products & services (even blogs like Under30CEO!), what are you most excited about at this venture backed company that receives 4M unique visitors monthly?
We are going to make the internet a better place for making decisions. As the internet has grown it’s become overwhelming and cluttered. It’s hard to make any decision online without running into marketing bias. This a a big challenge and FindTheBest is creating a solution.
We are building a truly great company and I’ve never been more inspired than by the people at FindTheBest.
Category: Entrepreneur Interviews