Excellent article by the CEO of LatticeEngines about the importance of finding early customers outside of the Valley, helping to validate your product using more “real world” users (i.e. not early adopters).
Enterprise tech is another level of difficult. The deals are few and far between in the early days. You struggle to find anyone willing to listen to you. Then you have to fight through organizational morass that does not favor startups. But each deal makes your product story clearer and your sales execution sharper until you hit that inflection point where deals start to pour in.
In corporate IT, procurement processes have not traditionally been aligned with rapid development cycles and cloud-based services, which are easy to source and deploy. Developers that are accustomed to working in fast-moving environments with scalable, easy-to-implement products have long since been impeded by outdated procurement processes for new vendors, which slow down prototyping and time-to-market.
Frustrated by procurement, developers in corporate IT build and use solutions inside organizations without explicit organizational approval. This is known as shadow IT; they use the services they need when they need them, but this leads to the danger of teams and management losing control of deployed services.
This is analogous to the “shadow apps” used by business people (often in sales and marketing groups) to get things done. Sometimes I ask people in large enterprises if they use Dropbox or Evernote for work purposes, and sheepishly they will respond yes. Eventually the need to get something done outweighs the need to maintain corporate IT policies. That is the new reality of IT departments, the fact that it is users, and not their processes and rules, that are choosing the tools that the business will use.
Peter Thiel was not the only one inferring that certain tech company executives were taking illicit substances…