Entrepreneurs: SIIA Maximize, Day 1

Entrepreneurs: SIIA Maximize, Day 1

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

kg_charles-harrisYesterday was the first day of the SIIA Maximize Conference (Software and Internet Industry Association) and it was fantastic, in spite of starting with an apparent mistake.   Mine, not theirs…

I thought I had registered for Software Pricing’s 4-hour seminar with Jim Geisman, an expert in how to price software products, both SaaS, on-premise, embedded and other models.  Apparently I hadn’t, since I wasn’t on the list, but In spite of that I was allowed to participate.

The session was intimate and excellent and Jim provided a lot of deep information and practical advice for how to think around the price-setting challenge.   The audience was comprised of CEOs, CFOs, VPs of Marketing and Sales from large companies and startups alike.  It was exceedingly interesting to see how pricing is a problem across several different sizes of companies and industry segments.

There is no question that Jim and his partner Chris Mele are the most knowledgeable people with regards to software pricing I’ve come across after more than two decades building software companies.  The importance of pricing optimally—setting the price in a way that entices the highest number of customers without leaving money on the table—is a discipline that I’ll definitely pay more attention to in the future and I’m sure to use Jim’s services to ensure we don’t make any mistakes in this important area as we go to market.

SIIA’s Rhianna Collier and her team from the software division put together tremendous networking opportunities with both arranged meetings and speed dating sessions.  It was some of the best networking I’ve experienced, yielding several additional companies to round out a set of initial test users for the system we’re launching in September.  This is very exciting, as finding initial customers is one of the most challenging parts of releasing an enterprise product. 

When selling to organizations, the challenge is to have managers and executives allocate their and their teams’ time and resources to iron out the wrinkles in a new product.  This is not a trivial challenge for a startup. 

The networking was valuable not only for me, but also for people from companies such as HP, InformationBuilders and SAP, with whom I spoke.

I’ll end with a story that proves once again just how small the world really is.  As I was standing in the first part of the arranged networking I started speaking to Shannon Murray from Totango who was surprised when I knew of the company.  It’s a small company who just received their Series A financing, but they are in an interesting space called Customer Success software. 

I explained that I followed their blog, as probably thousands of others do.  The blog is written by Ellis Luk who, together with their CEO Guy Nirpaz, has created a company blog that is helpful and instructive by enabling their customers to speak about their problems and how they are dealing with the challenges around enabling their customers.  This is crucial for a SaaS business to get right as renewals are completely dependent on this.

The first day was very good and I’m looking forward to the following two.

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