Dharmesh Shah

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The CEO Should Be The Chief Experience Officer

By Dharmesh Shah on November 15, 2011

Earlier this week, I was chatting with my friend, co-founder and CEO of HubSpot, Brian Halligan. We were doing one of our ad-hoc strategy sessions about the business, and working through some things.

After that conversation, as I was driving to a dinner meeting, an idea occurred to me. The phrase “Chief Executive Officer” doesn't convey much, if anything. There's a better way to describe the role.ceo wrench

I will posit that in a technology company, the CEO should be the Chief Experience Officer.

If the CEO can make the following set of experiences amazing, by definition, she will make an amazing company.

1. Product Experience: What is the experience like using the product and getting value from it? Does it solve the problem simply? Does it make users happy, productive and hopeful when they're using it, or does it make them frustrated, angry, agitated and depressed?

2. Purchasing Experience: What is it like to go through the sales process and buy the product? Was it easy to figure out whether the product was the right fit? Was the pricing straight-forward? Was the buying process smooth without unnecessary steps and complexity?

3. Brand Experience: What is it like to interact with the company's brand? Does talking about the company with others ignite passion? What kind of emotions does it evoke? When people see the logo online or offline, what's the visceral reaction?

4. Support Experience: What is it like to receive support from the company? Do people dread having to call in and get help? When they do make contact, do they feel like the company cares not just about appeasing and pleasing — but that the actual problem is addressed?

5. Exit Experience: What is it like to leave the company, return the product, or cancel the subscription and no longer be a customer? Sometimes you can tell more about a company by how it treats customers on their way out, than on their way in.

6. Employee Experience: What's it like being recruited by the company? Working for the company? Being let go from the company? If you have a terrible employee experience, you will not attract the kinds of people that will make the customer experience amazing. It just doesn't work.

Notice that most of the above experiences are all about the customer. How does the customer experience the company? I think that's the primary set of experiences the CEO should worry about. The reason is simple, by improving the overall customer experience, everyone wins. Including the investors/shareholders (and yes, the CEO also needs to manage the shareholder experience too).

So, Don't just improve the product, improve the experience. This is one of the points I made in my Business of Software (2010) presentation (I think it was one of my better ones, full video and transcript available).

What do you think? Am I over-thinking the importance of the overall experience? Any lessons learned or tips on how to measure and improve the end-to-end experience?

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The Backuisition and 9 Other Types of Acquisitions [humor]

By Dharmesh Shah on November 11, 2011

It's time for some Friday fun.  The following list was sparked in part by my hatred of the term "acquihire" (which no matter how many times I try to train myself, I can never say it correctly in my head when I read it).  

Hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed coming up with them.

big fish10 Types of Acquisitions

1. Backuisition: A few rogue employees from BigCo went off and started their own company (NotAsBigCo) a couple of years ago. The CEO never got over it, so worked out a deal acquire their startup to get them back.

2. Crackuisition: BigCo is addicted to acquisitions. If more than a few weeks go by where some sort of deal isn't consummated, the twitching and shakes start. They need their “fix”. Like right now. Before somebody gets hurt.

3. Hackuisition:

BigCo: How many hackers do you have?”

NotSoBigCo: “You mean programmers?”

BigCo: “No, we need more hackers. People that read The Hacker News blog. Do you have hackers?”

NotAsBigCo: “Um, sure, we have hackers…”

BigCo: “Great! We need to get ourselves some hackers.”

4. Sackuisition: This is a deal that's all about the customers or the IP or anything other than the people. Once the deal is done, most of the people get laid off. [Not to be confused with the deal where most of the people get laid. That's the mythical, inthesackuisition]

5. Shaquisition: BigCo has a company basketball team consisting mostly of white guys that can't jump. They're embarrassed and want to remedy that.

6. Packuisition: Executives in corporate development at BigCo are used to traveling a lot. For some reason, they looked at their calendar and saw that there were 3 straight weeks with no travel coming up. This would drive them and their family insane. So, they go off looking for an out-of-town acquisition to do. Choice of potential company to acquire depends primarily on two variables: weather and availability of golf courses.

7. Snackuisition: BigCo tends to do really, really big deals. The kind that get written up in all the newspapers and magazines (and also, in something called “blogs” that the executives have heard of). But these big deals sometimes take time, and in-between, their blood sugar can get low.

8. Knackuisition: When a deal is done because the company being acquired has a particularly valuable and rare knack for doing something. Like building operating systems. Or natural voice recognition algorithms. Or the ability to use MongoDB successfully while resisting the temptation to eventually simulate SQL-like features.

9. Attackuisition: A deal that's done specifically to attack another company in a particular industry, primarily out of spite and CEO arrogance.

10. Frackuisition: When the value trying to be extracted from the deal is so deep, it requires knowledge of hydraulics and a really good PR firm to convince the world that you're not going to destroy the company, the industry and the world in the process of getting to this value.

 Do you have any of your own that you think I missed? 

Topics: humor
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