Entries by Matt Thomas

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THE RIPPLE EFFECT

by Matt Thomas

I spoke with a gentleman a few years back who was hoping to find a new opportunity in Colorado. He was a VP at a mid-market SaaS company on the east coast. He made good money and his career had progressed steadily upward. With strong income, a stable job, and an environment that seemed to value and celebrate his contributions to the company I asked him why he was looking for something new? He responded, “You know, on the surface I am living the American dream. I’ve received promotion after promotion at a reputable company. I’ve made lots of money and for the most part I’ve enjoyed my work. The truth is my marriage is falling apart and I don’t know my kids. It’s time for a fresh start.” After a few seconds of silence that seemed to last for an eternity I told him I’d see what I could do to help. As impressive as his resume and obvious talent were, I was most encouraged by his vulnerability and willingness to do whatever it took to right the ship. He went on to share that the executive he reported to was a hard driver, expecting each of his VPs to put in 80+ hours / week plus regular travel. He hadn’t made it home for dinner on a weeknight in two years.

In a few months we found him a job with a good company on the Front Range. It was a lateral move with little to no increase in compensation or responsibility. Not the kind of jump that VPs making six figures typically make.

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THE ENTREPRENEUR’S ACHILLES HEEL

by Matt Thomas

There is only one answer an entrepreneur will give you when you ask how their new venture is going, “Great!” They may be 24 hours away from missing payroll for the first time, putting off replying to emails from disgruntled investors, struggling with a long sales cycle, and paralyzed wondering whether or not this was a good idea, but ten times out of ten they will respond with optimism and positivity. Ask anyone who has started a business and they’ll tell you, 50% of the game is just staying positive and pushing on. The ones that give up? Well, they weren’t cut out for it in the first place! Maybe. Maybe not.

We all know the harrowing statistics around business failure. A staggering percentage of new ventures will close their doors by year three, and even more by year five. In the startup world, companies are allowed, and even encouraged, to pursue funding round after funding round without any real pressure to turn a profit. Users, revenue, and brand recognition create buzz, but they don’t always translate into a viable business. Entrepreneurs believe that they have stumbled into something special. Something unique, irreplaceable, well-positioned, and right on time. Until things don’t go as planned.