Who would have imagined Dubai would have a serious debt crisis? Of course, pundits are all over themselves declaring they knew the bubble was about to burst. Many have asked me, what’s the next bubble to burst? This reminds me of not long ago – the real estate bubble, the Madoff bubble and not too far back – the dot com bubble. Is China also a bubble?
Much of our actions – personal or business – are based on reputations. Bernie Madoff had a good reputation and friends put their money with him. Dubai had an impeccable reputation as a destination for investments and as an investor itself. Dubai Ports were actually awarded the management of six US Ports in 2006 till of course the hue and cry in US Senate and Congress got them to sell off their stake to AIG.
Reputation is a double-edged sword. Madoff earned it and Dubai earned it and they leveraged (pun intended) that to the hilt to further their business interests. But somewhere along the way, they lost it. And it had very little to do with poor luck or the misfortunes of the global economy. It had to do with one hard fact – a leveraged model. And along the way, there was also a soft scorned fact – lost Integrity. Madoff thought he could bluff his way through a Ponzi scheme once he felt secure with his reputation; Dubai thought growth with mostly borrowed money could be everlasting once they felt the world was beholden to them for their wealth. Were they naïve? I don’t think so.
I guess it’s time to come to grips with the hard reality that success built on leveraged models is risky; and that reputation alone is not good enough. Just as size is no guarantee for survival, reputation is no guarantee for intrinsic integrity. And a highly leveraged model with scorn regard for integrity makes a strong recipe for a bubble to burst.
At Solix, we may be small but we are not leveraged. We do not operate with VC funding or with borrowed money. We hold integrity dear to our heart; it’s a non-negotiable value at Solix. The first lesson of integrity to us is we exist due to our customers and the value that we deliver to them comes first.
Last month was a milestone in Solix journey. We celebrated our 100th customer win. We also launched the Solix Customer Advisory Board. The Board represents customers who have implemented Solix EDMS for different ERPs across different databases and for different data management functions: Database Archiving, Application Retirement, Test Data Management and Data Masking. The charter of this Board is to guide Solix through its future technology and product roadmap, feature enhancements and partner validations.
A hundred customers and two significant OEM relationships – for Database Archiving with Oracle Financial Services and Data Masking with Voltage Security – is a strong testimony to the solid foundation of Solix EDMS technology and the confidence they all have on Solix. Over the long run, good technology and good products succeed and endure a long life; weak technologies, even if their parentage is strong, eventually die. A few of our recent successes has been through competitive switch of a product that is likely to be phased out as it does not appear to fit in with the acquirer’s product strategy roadmap. This is another truism in business history that should not be missed when doing product evaluations.
- Size is no guarantee for survival. Neither is a glitzy reputation guarantee for any integrity.
- Greater the leveraged model, higher is the risk of failure (or a bubble burst)!
- Weak products fail irrespective of parentage. Conversely good technology, well accepted by customers, most often outlive their creators.