Our company had just taken on some strategic partners and a capital infusion – and our investment bankers had just told our management team what they felt our company was now worth. This was shaping up as the single greatest day of my business life.
Calmly, even gently – she asked, “Can we spend any of it now?” Sputtering, I answered, “not yet, but…” and then my voice trailed off. All my nagging doubts became real for me in that moment. I knew the company and many like it had become so focused on positioning, strategic alliances and other marketing imperatives – that the notion of actually delivering something of value was often put on the back burner.
Carolina was right – we couldn’t spend any of it. A year or so later, I left the company – owed several hundred thousand dollars – dazed and confused.
What happened? How could we be in the executive dining room at one of Wall Street’s most prestigious investment banking firms one April – and missing payroll twelve months later?
By this point in my career, I was an experienced entrepreneur. I had worked inside and for Fortune 500 companies – I had multi-million dollar sales experience and I was unique – with a strong background in marketing, sales and technology – seemingly well equipped for the intense revolution in business services that was shaping the global economy at the turn of the new millennium.
We had worked with some of the world’s largest automobile, furniture, education and legal services companies – all looking for a guide through now unfamiliar territory.
Our board had seasoned senior executives and venture capital veterans. The stars, moon and – it appeared – Wall Street had lined up behind us – ready to make us all very rich. Looking everywhere – it seemed – others were making fortunes. Why not us?
A Look Back
Today, I know that these memories are shared by many thousands of other business leaders in high-tech and other “soon-to-be revolutionized” industries of what is now referred to as the “dot bomb.” Since that time, I asked myself – and anyone who would listen – what was there to learn from this incredibly expensive education. Not, “what happened to dot-coms?” – that’s a story well examined elsewhere. No, the story that interested me was far more fundamental than that. An important and potentially groundbreaking business story.
The dot-com era saw no lack of ideas – even great ones – and some that eventually fulfilled the exaggerated speculation that fueled their origins. Yet – so many ideas failed. A broader question hit me – is this only a dot-com thing? As I contemplated that, I realized that the dot-com era simply accelerated something else that was going on. One picture that formed in my thinking was of a man falling from the Empire State Building – with a jetpack pointing the wrong way – smack! into the pavement.
The principle of gravity – the reality of falling – is not a “jetpack” thing. The jetpack is for those times when smart people make many fast and wrong decisions. It is a “gravity” and “pavement” thing. Businesses launched before and since the dot-bomb – some succeeding – many failing. And – many of those failures are in larger and already successful companies.
So – a few questions started taking shape – “How can big and great ideas get launched – sanely and successfully? How are buying decisions being made in businesses today – and if I’m marketing or selling – what should I be doing differently?”
In the years since that April evening and the immediate shock of the unsustainable and oftentimes ridiculous business climate of that time – I returned to my roots – high-tech products and services, thoughtful planning and the actual delivery of products and services that did something.
My journey took me to one of the most respected names in technology research, where I brought strategic resources to bear for some of the most important names in business technology – seeing the development of visions and plans up close. I later worked with smaller, more entrepreneurial business-services companies – how could they overcome the challenges of size, reach and name recognition?
I asked questions – many questions – in many powerful discussions with business leaders and in-the-trenches professionals. Friends, confidantes and my own experience kept telling me that marketing and sales thinking was already mature – “done” – and there was nothing new to say about it. But guiding my search was a single thought – the question behind all the other questions:
What if there was a way to organize and pull together marketing and sales ideas into something new and powerful – something where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts? What if?
A New Way
It came together in pieces at first – some of it “basic” – some of it very complex. As it came together I knew that ultimate validation would be in the “doing” – and so I took these ideas on the road – with clients – and kept asking questions.
My passion was business-to-business – so I focused on that. And what I found was a need for a new way – a new path – for developing go-to-market initiatives that were strategic, practical and successful. The path started taking shape around connecting all key people and all key processes involved with the development and taking to market of new products and services.
But even that wasn’t enough. I knew that pulling people and processes together was a limited and operational view. What about the “art” of marketing? People, process and the power of ideas – now that was more like it!
From that point forward, I committed my resources toward providing great support for some great companies – some large, some small – and to documenting this approach. Initially, it was notes and pictures. Eventually, it was a manuscript, then a book – and now, it is a full training program supported by a cloud-based application we call Accelerator.
To the future – with better value for customers and companies alike!”
Jose Palomino, Founder and CEO, Value Prop Interactive
Learn MoreMembership in the Value Prop Growth Program gives you access to more than 20 live, in-person, half-day Workshops and an online platform that will keep your team together and your go-to-market initiatives on track!