Sawaram Suthar / January 27, 2023 | 25 Mins Read
Updated: January 27, 2023
Today my guest is Richard. He is the CEO of Alpha Software. Alpha Software is the only low-code product on the market that BOTH professional developers AND non-developers can use to build complex mobile apps for enterprises. They digitize and mobilize every aspect of their business; this product can easily get the job done. Igloo, Honda, GSK, Kawasaki, Baxter, Intel, and others are jumping on board.
In today’s episode, Richard will talk about his company, what they are doing, and the process of how they help build next-level low-code platforms for mobile applications. His journey is no less than a rollercoaster.
But let's hear from him more.
All right, fine. So welcome to the Show, Mr. Richard, and please tell us more about you and your company and what you're doing.
Right. Okay. So as I mentioned just before we started, I grew up in Zimbabwe and in South Africa during the Aparte time. So I was anxious to leave because, at the time, was effectively living in a police state. And also, I'm an engineer by training. And it seemed like the center of innovation at the time was in the United States. This was pre-internet becoming dominant. And so if you wanted to be part of it, you physically had to be there. So I was fortunate to be accepted at M I T to study which was a great opportunity. And so I started in the software industry in the early nineties. I was going back a long time and we've always been involved in trying to figure out how to make application building easier and mm-hmm not require as much programming and coding background. And so even though today that's a big trend, no code and low code, it's not really a new trend.
People have been interested in how do you speed up development, custom development, how do you make it easier? How do you broaden the base who can build stuff? So as the world was transitioning from DOS to Windows, we created a product called Alpha four, which competed with something called dase. Okay. So for people who go back into the nineties, dBase was in fact the dominant way that people build custom business applications. And it was very popular but we created our alpha for product, we made it file compatible so you could run on the same network and it was substantially easier and quicker. And what was interesting about it is the product was very strong, but as we all know, having a good product is necessary but not sufficient. You know, still need an innovative way to get to market. And in those days, software was sold primarily at retail.
So you didn't have a lot of control over how your software was presented and whether the salespeople were knowledgeable. And we got very frustrated. So we started experimenting with direct mail traditional direct mail, and we started with small tests, but then we finally figured out what lists, what message offer to make, and we ended up growing the company from just to maybe one or 2 million to almost 30 million in two years. So it was quite rapid growth. We sold almost a million copies of the Alpha four. And then eventually we decided to sell the company because as the world was transitioning to dos, two Windows, Microsoft was coming along. And at that point, in the mid nineties the dominant operating system became Windows and Microsoft was in control. They controlled the operating system and they therefore had the first access to the sdk. Ok. So we didn't think it was a good idea to sell, to compete directly.
So we sold the company to a Canadian publicly traded company, and I became the c e O of the public company's CEO and ran that for a few years. And as the Chinese say, may you live in interesting times, ok. And then fast forward to Alpha as it exists today. So probably about 10, 12 years ago, we saw very similar conditions emerging. The effect of the operating system had become the web. So there was obviously Mac, there was Windows, and there was still some Linux. But the effective operating system was the web. And it was the same thing.
If you wanted to build a custom application, you had to become an expert in Java or Python or yes. And it was time-consuming. So we created another product similar to Alpha four, but this time aimed at building web apps called Alpha five. And then things started getting interesting when Apple announced the iPhone and, then obviously Android emerged and it became clear that mobile devices were going to be very important for business applications. So not just for sending email or watching videos and entertainment, but to actually the real business computing. And what was exciting about that was today there's almost 8 billion people on the planet.
Almost 5 billion are in the workforce, and 55% of those people are mobile workers. I e people who work standing up, not sitting down. So this would be field service, this would be mining people, this would be construction, manufacturing, logistics, healthcare workers, hospitality. It's more than half the workforce globally are people who work standing up.
So we decided it was really important to support that. So we spent probably a couple of years on optimizing how do you build mobile apps as well as web apps. And one of the areas which we've historically focused on is if you're going to build a mobile app, you gotta be sure that when somebody who's using your app goes and tries to do work, that they are not running into a problem because of lack of proper internet. Got it. And even though in the United States and many parts of the world, there is good coverage, but you can't be sure that when somebody wants to, for example, let's say you send somebody to repair a boiler in a basement of a building, there's a good chance that there won't be signal. Or if you wanna go and inspect every lift or elevator in the world has to be inspected maybe once a year.
So when you inspect, that doesn't mean you go in and see if the carpet's clean, you actually have to go outside in the elevator shaft and check the machinery and all that. Well, you're not going to get internet, and if you're in a mine underneath, you're not going to get internet. But this is really all very important. A lot of the work in areas are checklists and inspections and things like that. So we put a huge amount of effort into the offline. We received some patents. And it turns out that most people when they build a tool for building off mobile apps, they recognize that offline are important. But typically, what they focus on is just being able to collect data when you're offline. Got it. But it turns out it's equally important to access data when you're offline. And at first, you say, well, that's sort of impossible.
How can you access data if you don't have signal? But it turns out that if you think about it, if you can predict what data somebody's going to need, you should be able to load or preload that data onto the device. And so for example, if you're going to inspect this industrial boiler in a basement, you can predict that there's a good chance you're going to wanna watch repair videos, look at the diagrams, and documentation, and also have databases where you can look at the service history and pricing. So we have built into our software the ability to do all of this work.
So over time, our core product is something called Alpha Anywhere, and it's a low-card product for building web and mobile apps. And in particular with a real focus on doing the offline stuff really, really well. But then something very interesting happened. Initially, we were all about letting you build web apps more rapidly, more easily in a low-code way. Initially, we were calling it coding optional, then the word low code became popular and naturally what it is. But when we brought out the mobile capability, we noticed that there was one particular use case that was dominant. And essentially it was you've got a backend database or system, you've got the mobile worker who each day you have to dispatch work to them, go and visit, go and inspect these bridges or go and visit these patients and check up on them or go and fix this boiler.
But everything is n norm, historically recorded on paper forms. And as part of digital transformation, you wanna eliminate paper, get more efficient, and take advantage of all the rich, richer information that you can capture on a mobile app versus paper. So the common use case was you would dispatch work to the worker via paper, and also they would record the work they did on paper. So the people wanted to turn and then turn this into a mobile app.
So the sort of process was to dispatch data from your backend system to the worker. They do the work and record everything now instead of on paper, on a modern mobile app that can take as many pictures and record sound and GPS and OK lookups and all of the wonderful things you can do on a mobile device. And then after the day or at lunchtime when they have access to signal, you're going to synchronize the information back to the original system and also possibly wanna analyze it and create dashboards and initiate workflows.
But that pattern, that common requirement, we heard again and again, and we were fortunate. So we were thinking, you know, can build these applications in Alpha anywhere and it would be a lot quicker than writing conventional code. But since there was such a clear understanding of this requirement, would it not be the question we were asking ourselves? Would it not be possible to speed that up and build another piece of software that was focused around solving that particular problem? And we were fortunate that during this time we were able to have a gentleman by the name of Dan Brooklyn join us. Okay. And if you were to Google Dan, you'll see that he was the inventor of the original spreadsheet. So the first spreadsheet that existed was actually designed to run on the Apple two. And it was what according to it was called Visi And okay.
And Viel, according to Steve Jobs, was the reason for the success of Apple too, because people would come into a store and say, I want a machine, I want a VISI machine, a machine that would run the spreadsheet. And fast forward to today, you then had Lotus 1, 2, 3, and today you've got Excel. But the basic concept of the spreadsheet goes back to <inaudible>. And Dan was the inventor of that. He's done TED Talks, but he joined us as our CTO. So we went to Dan and said, Dan, is it possible to imagine how we can solve this common mobile forms, paper forms to paper prop to a mobile app problem? And he went off and took a while, but came up with a design and we built it. Dan was part of the team, and it's called Alpha Transform. And what's exciting about it is that we can build these mobile data, modern mobile data capture apps, typically in just a few hours.
So instead of in a low code system to give you a spectrum to build a complex mobile data capture app using traditional code, you may be looking at four to six months. If you are using low-code, you may be looking at four to six weeks. If you use this product that we've created to transform, we've compressed the time to more than four to six hours. So we're able to build very sophisticated mobile data capture apps that work perfectly offline and then do the analytics and dashboards and workflow extremely quickly. And that is what is driving our growth today. Because when you think about marketing, mostly you've gotta boil it down to a very simple message that the so-called elevator pitch that when you're talking to a prospect, if people are busy, people have a d d, they don't pay attention. If you're not able to communicate what it is that you do and what's unique and special, they're going to switch off, and you've lost them.
But the nice thing about transform is we can explain to people that we can take their paper forms and turn them into sophisticated mobile apps in a few hours. And that's, people get that, people understand that. And what's interesting about it is if we were having this conversation say 20 years ago, and we were posing the question, would people still be using paper forms in the year 2022? I think, oh, probably both of us would've said, no, no, by then people would've gone digital on everything. Paper forms would be history. But the reality is that's not true. If you look around today, still paper forms are dominant. And for example, we've got two of the global automobile companies that have adopted the transformed product. And until now they were using paper forms, at least in this case, to do with the quality assessment in the manufacturing of automobiles.
They want this data to be coming in real-time. And so if there are any issues, they can fix the problem right away. Versus what they were doing before is people would collect the quality data mm-hmm on this big form, then it would have to be so firstly there'd be mistakes when you enter the data by hand, then the form would be sent somewhere, somebody has to reenter it into another system. That takes time. There's also the possibility of errors. And then finally the manager will be able to analyze the data. But this could take days, whereas now it happens in real-time.
So the interesting thing is that what we found since we've been marketing the Alpha Transform product, is that even big sophisticated global automobile manufacturing companies we're still using and are still using paper. And if you think about it, it's not totally surprising cuz if you say, look, let's take not a trivial form, but a real-world form that could be a complex form. For example, another example would be in man in construction when you are using concrete, concrete inspection form has all kinds of pieces of data and also it has the first person inspecting, then it's gotta be sent to a supervisor for checking and then somebody even above that because for more checking. Because if the concrete isn't poured correctly, bridges fall down, buildings fall down, and people get killed very badly. So it turns out it's not a trivial problem because A, you're often taking a big complex form and trying to reduce it to fit effectively on a small mobile screen.
So you can't just scan the form and have an equivalent that looks like the paper form. Cause then you'll just be pinch-zooming. And the user experience would be terrible for a worker who has to use it, he couldn't use it, and it would kill productivity. So you have to reimagine what the form's going to look like and behave like. Then there's the offline problem, and then the users really got just one hand because the other hand is holding the device. So it turns out it's a complex problem. So it's not totally surprising that companies who are committing themselves to digital transformation are struggling with getting this done. It's not that they don't understand the benefits of doing it. I think most people would understand the benefits, but actually making it happen turns out to be much harder. And so again, putting on the marketing angle what we found is we're living in a world where a lot of companies make wild claims. So people are naturally skeptical.
Don't tell me, show me, prove it to me. And the nice thing is that if one of our salespeople contacts a company and makes this claim about this wonderful product that can take complex forms and turn them into sophisticated offline mobile apps in a few hours, most people would be for good reason skeptical. Yes. But the nice thing is that if we then say, all right send us one of these forms, send us one of your complex forms and let's say it's Monday. And then suggest to the prospect, are they willing or do they have time to talk to us again on Tuesday? We can actually show them the finished, not the prototype, the working form running in the cloud. And once we've done that, then all of a sudden the skepticism falls away and then the discussion gets practical about okay, how do we take this data and integrate it with our existing systems and where does it fit in the budget and all that stuff?
But now you're getting into a serious discussion about implementation. And so it turns out the ability to prove something to prospects in a world where people are distracted, there are so many ways that with the internet and everything, people just don't have a lot of attention span. And there's also a lot of just natural skepticism, but we're able to break through this clutter.
So the company is doing very well right now and we're continuing to, so how big companies, how many people are working? I can't say because we're still private and we're in the process of bringing in boards and new investors, but we probably have a few hundred people in the company building and working with us. And we are growing nicely and we see it as a major opportunity just because no matter what industry, you still are seeing the industries, as I mentioned earlier, there's virtually no industry that doesn't. And also size wise, if you're running a say 10 person plumbing company and you send in plumbers out, you can be a lot more efficient. But also the very big companies as well. So the challenge for us is to stay focused and to grow at a sustainable rate where we can provide high-quality services to customers, not try and grow too quickly and then you don't pay attention to proper customer service and things. But it's a very exciting time for us right now, Seth.
Oh that's great. Okay. I know it's a long journey. You started working when I wasn't born and then you talk about a lot of things Apple then a lot of the windows and then this Microsoft comes and they started something. So that's really great. That's Sure. I've seen lots of ups and down and all my old journeys. Right. Ok, great.
So Richard, as a CEO, definitely you have a lot of challenges. So what is the key challenge that when you faced while you taking or maybe you onboarding the first hundred customers, I don't know whether you have more, but at least the first few customers. So what is the marketing aspect that you use? How did you approach to prospect to get or maybe onboard those people? Or maybe just if I say in a simple word then what are the marketing strategies that you use to acquire those customers, first customers?
That's a great question, Sam. I'd say that the key thing in marketing is you've always gotta put yourself in the prospect's shoes. Not think about what it's like to be you and look at your objectives, but what it's like to be the prospect. And there are two audiences, but let's focus on the larger company. So you've got, let's say use automobile manufacturing quality as our target for this example. So you're dealing with somebody who has a fairly senior position, but he or she is going to have a boss who in turn's going to have a boss, et cetera. And I think the key thing is if you're Oracle or you are some S SAP or some very established company, then there's less risk for the employee, the person in a company to suggest we should bring in Oracle or something. But the minute you're talking about a smaller vendor in life, there's always a reward, high reward also comes with risk, right?
Yeah, of course,
Yes. If you wanna make an investment in a treasury built low risk, but low return if you make an investment in, for example, Tesla, at the very beginning it was an unknown company, with a lot of risks. But people who had the courage made a lot of money, so got it. You gotta realize that let's say the quality manager that you're talking to and you're showing him how great your software is this is also a risk-reward proposition for him or her because if they decide to adopt your software and it works out, they look like a hero and they're going to get promoted. On the other hand, if they don't know ahead of time then it is going to work out. And if it doesn't work, they propose your software, and if it doesn't work out well, they've just put their career in jeopardy, right? So as long as you understand that and you structure your approach and you try and minimize the risk, for example, you may say, look, we'll do a full implementation and until it's proven we are not going to charge you anything.
So, therefore, you've minimized the prospect's risk. So that's one thing that we've sort of always focused on is try trying to understand that it's more than just the technology. There are career issues, there are political issues. You have to take those things into account. And if you do, then your prospect also going to be very appreciative that you know, have their best interests at heart. Cuz ultimately your interests are aligned. If you can make them look good and successful, you will succeed. And in a lot of things, in life relationships, everything works. If effort's a win-win proposition versus a short-term win-win-lose, those relationships don't tend to last. So I'd say that's probably the most important thing. And then the rest is just that's more what I would call strategic. The rest is just tactical. In the case of transform we realized early on that one of the key tactical assets was that we had something that could be demonstrated and proven very quickly. And that was just fortunate so that therefore the strategy quickly became to encourage people to send us their forms and prove it to them before we're asking them to go and get any approvals or put their career at any kind of risk. And it's worked out well, very well. In fact,
Wow. That's how we saw. Okay. Most companies are focusing on product lead growth (PLG). Because a product itself can tell a lot. People can try themselves without taking much help from the product. Earlier, people have to connect with someone to go through the demo and understand the product but now things changed. The best example of the no-code platform is Notion which is really great for all documentation. I am quite a big fan of them.
So is your mobile app, a no-code or low-code app builder, right? So it's available for natives or it's for a hybrid. Native means an app that supports only iOS and Android.
Well, yeah, I, when it's running, the finished app is running on the mobile device. It is a native app but it's built using hybrid technology hybrid but also our focus initially on transform was mobile. It turns out that if you want to deal with workflow issues, which emerge after the data is collected, let's for example take the case where you are a municipal worker and there's Bridges for example in the United States. And I think a lot of countries, there's big issues with infrastructure. You've got bridges that were built over different periods of time and they have to be maintained and inspected because again, and this happens there was a big bridge collapse in Minnesota maybe two years ago and many people got killed and this happens all over the world. I think even in India recently I read about some bridge collapse and
Yeah it was, it was almost more than I think 1 35 or people die
And that means the cause of careless or we can say about something that avoidable if the bridge had been inspected on a regular basis, they would've seen that there were structural issues and they would've taken action, closed the bridge, repaired the bridge, et cetera. So a big part of why you wanna collect this data in the first place is if you're not going to do anything with the data, then don't bother collecting it. You're collecting it for a reason, you know, wanna analyze what's going on. And then in the case of a bridge, if there are problems you want to kick off a workflow as quickly as possible to assemble a red repair team and work on a plan to fix the bridge. So as part of the workflow, you're sending, once the data comes in, you're sending documents and requests and budget requests internally. So you'd also then need web forms.
So we've also built, so transform is not only for building mobile apps, but also you can build web apps and those web apps obviously are native, doesn't make any sense that they're web based. So that that's sort of the technology. And then the product led growth aspect is, it's a very interesting question because typically what will start with most companies, I'll do a pilot in a pilot test. Got it. It and the good news is that the worker who historically was using paper and filling out these forms was painful. If they had to take notes, they were kind of handwriting the notes or typing them in well on paper they'd be handwriting the notes typically. And now one of the great things you get from a mobile device is voice to text and everything like that. So people find the experience of using the mobile app very positive and that's an ingredient of product-led growth where the users of the app can get excited and they tell people about it and you get that viral effect.
And especially what we are seeing in maybe not all countries, but many countries right now in the US unemployment's very low and young people who are entering the workforce have lots of options where they're going to wanna go and work. And so one of the criteria that's well documented now is obviously working conditions and pay are big factors, but also that they want to go and work in companies using exciting modern technology. So if I'm a 22 year old looking for a job and company A and company B are both interested in hiring me and they're both offering similar salary and perks and all that, but one company's using modern technology that I'll be using and another company is still stuck in the past there's a good chance that that's a differentiator. And so that's important for companies too. And that's also sort of ties into the product led growth philosophy where you want as much of your marketing to be achieved by the product itself rather than having to spend huge amounts of marketing to bring in new customers.
So it's a very interesting and important sort of strategy that again, your people present it, it's a brand new thing. It's always around going back for years and whether it's in automobiles for example, the original VW bug when it was launched in the US they didn't do a lot of advertising, but the people who bought it, they were sick and tired of big bulky cars and the people who bought it was very good in this snow which is big issue in a lot of the US it had these big wheels and high clearance. And so viral marketing or word of mouth is not a new thing, but it's a very powerful real thing. And ultimately products that work really well that cause customers to be excited and enthusiastic. I mean same thing can be said for Tesla. Tesla of the last few years has done almost no advertising all word of mouth. They have very good product and Twitter, but Ellen, Ellen do on Twitter. Yeah and I mean he may have <laugh> with his Twitter thing. Yeah, he'd also created a mistake around him and now I'm reading that a bunch of customers are now not sure they wanna buy Twitter because his behavior is turning them off. And also correct. To be honest, there's a lot more choice now if you wanna buy an electric vehicle today, you can get VW
There's a choice, but that's a whole different topic. But certainly, the growth of Tesla is, it's a great example of product lead growth.
Yeah, yeah. Great. Alright great. So I have a few things. So where do you want to take this company? What is your mission for the next few years? I'm sure you'll have something in mind and since you almost know having a long life is Definitely.
So what are things that motivate you still like that you just be there with everyone and helping each and every team and running this also because at this age it's really difficult? I know because even if I work for eight or nine hours sometimes I'm tired. So what are the things that motivate you to be motivated yourself and a healthy team to grow faster?
See now. No, that's a great question and I think
At the end of the day, in a company, you can't do anything by yourself. It's all bringing in a team. And I won't be the first person to have said this, but I think if you can bring in people ideally who are smarter then you don't wanna be the smartest rock guy in the room. That's not what you don't wanna be. That, and maybe I'm being a little falsely modest here, but we've assembled a wonderful team of people and a key aspect is not that they are just so bright and so talented, but they enjoy being part of a team. So for example, we historically have been a technology-driven company and now we're beefing up our sales and market. But if you were to talk to our developers and ask them to describe the other members of the team they're not going to try and say, well I'm so brilliant and everybody else is not as good as me.
They're all very proud of each other. It's almost like if you're in a family and you've got a bunch of brothers and sisters and they accomplish some good stuff, you wanna be proud of them say. And it's the same thing. So I think we've created a really good culture and so when we bring people on board, we obviously wanna know what talent and skills they can bring, but it's equally important. Are they going to fit in well and not be disruptive and focus on the success and mission? And the analogy I often think of it's if you think of an old-fashioned cowboy in the Western movie and you've got the state and you've got eight stallions, very powerful. You have to make sure all the stallions are putting in the same direction. And so hiring, and putting the team together is probably, to me the most important part of my job.
Strategy is one thing, but it's the team. And when things start going well, to be honest, it's fun. This is not about money, it's just when you've got a group of people on a mission and they're accomplishing the mission, it's just as human beings e, even if you were in running a nonprofit and there was some for example, you wanna bring clean drinking water to parts of the world and you assemble a team and you start making progress and you look back a year later and say there's now a million people more in wherever it is in Africa or Asia that now has clean drinking water. It's a very good feeling. And so to me that's what business is all about. And we happen to be some of our customers are, I'm proud of what we're doing. For example, one of our customers is a large hospital network in Florida. And it turns out one of the metrics that if you're on a hospital that's really important to is hand washing. You say hand washing really? And they do with, if the doctors and the nurses don't consistently wash their hand's people get infections and they die even in 2020.
Yeah, post-pandemic, it was so crazy. I remember, people hardly use this sanitizer, maybe only doctors were using it or maybe high-profile people, are using it. But after the pandemic everyone use it, and now it become a trend. It's to become normal where people just use it. Yeah, it's for safety, for very, very good, for a reason.
The doctors and nurses really have to do continuous hand washing. And so before this particular hospital was measuring this, the rates of hand washing on paper forms, now it's all digital and if there's any non-compliance, the hospital knows much sooner and can take action. So that's an example of doing something that is socially that's beneficial and to the extent that we can make companies more competitive, more productive we're in effect, we're making those jobs for people working in that company more secure and the company can be maybe more successful, more profitable, can pay people better, can give bonuses. So I do think with a lot of to be honest, with a lot of productivity software, there is definitely social good that comes out of it. Mean not as much as, let's say you invent a new drug that can cure some awful disease that's right at the top of when you go home at night and say what have you accomplished?
But we have a lot of companies in healthcare, we also have a lot of companies who are improving safety in mining, in construction, in manufacturing, if I don't know the data in India, but in the US there's still like six or 7,000 people who get killed in industrial accidents because equipment wasn't maintained properly, wasn't inspected. And to extent that there are not tools like the alpha transform that can make the workplace safer, that's a good feeling. So the objective for the company over the next few years is create more jobs and build a team. And I mean personally I have a great affection for animals. So to the extent that the more successful we are, I can get involved in helping create animal shelters and things like that, that's at a very
Personal, absolutely good.
My dream always has been, I'd love to create a dog farm for stray dogs. Cuz to me it's an embarrassment is obviously a very wealthy country, but in spite of that almost a million dogs are, they call euthanized. I tend to be more honest, killed each year perfectly healthy dogs just because the shelters are full and there's nowhere to put the dogs so they tend to kill the dogs. So I think that's an embarrassment, it's a terrible thing and it's worldwide, it's a massive problem. So that's just my personal, the more successful we can be. I mean I don't have any desire. Alright.
Alright, that's great. Thanks for everything. Okay, now I have just a few questions. Okay. So there are kinds of firechat where you just need to reply in one sentence. You don't have to reply very big so I'm sure since you admire or you inspire other people.
Who inspires you most in your career? Do you have any person who you know thinks that yes, I was following this person blindly or maybe in a business person whatever, or maybe it can be company as well? It's not necessarily that you have to talk about a person.
It's a great question. I mean part of my inspiration initially to go down the entrepreneurial path is they now have passed away. But two uncles who were both prisoners or war in war and didn't survive, then when they went into military service, they volunteered and they probably weighed maybe 200 pounds. And when they came to prisoner of war camps, they may be weighed less than a hundred pounds and they started a company and created jobs. They created maybe 1500 jobs. And so they were, in many ways I think very inspirational for me. Just okay
At a personal level. But generally, I would say that and what's interesting, I think I'm an engineer by training and I love engineering, I love technology, but I'm also very fascinated by human nature and all the different flavors of people and recognizing that there are some wonderful people. Everything to me is a bell curve. You can measure the extremes on the right-hand side, left-hand side, whether it's intelligence or humanity or decency or honesty, that can all be plotted on a bell curve. And I think what's interesting to me is not any particular company, but looking at companies that are successful versus unsuccessful and trying to understand the culture, the inner workings of these companies. And to me that's been a motivator is to be fortunate to be building an organization where a lot of that observation about how you treat people can work to your advantage.
So I'd say it's more just that observation of two companies, same product, same industry. One company ends up being very successful and one company, just as a side note, there was an interesting book published not that long ago by a Harvard professor and he went to a whole bunch of venture firms and said I know you guys like to talk about your successes, I wanna talk to your failures. And he convinced them to give them information on the failures without naming the companies. And he then did an analysis to find out why companies were failing. And he had three basic buckets you could assign companies to either they failed because the market didn't evolve the way they thought it. There was another one was their product or service wasn't as good as they cracked it up to be their bucket number. And bucket number three was there was no problem with the product, there was no problem with the market, but the team could not play nice together in the sandbox. The team was. And it turns out that the people's reason for failure was about 70% of the failures were to do with human beings, not human beings playing nicely. So that's always really interesting.
Yeah, completely agreed. Yeah. Okay. And how do you celebrate your success at the company?
Yeah, that's a great question. I don't think we have any formal way. Obviously. I think the biggest thing is it's not a one-off celebration. I think the key thing is just continuously recognizing the achievements of people and not necessarily monetarily, it's just letting people know that encouraging people and letting them know that they've done a good job or they've thought through something in a creative way. And I'm not saying that's the only formula. I mean there are some companies that are run through fear and people just work hard because they're scared. What Musk is trying to say to the Twitter people is that if you don't comply, which is going to fire you, et cetera. I think it's more recognized there's a basic principle in life. I think that you wanna treat people the way you wanna be treated if the roles were reversed.
And I think it's applying that philosophy on a day-to-day basis rather than having a picnic every six months. And then you go back to, I think what's really important is the day-to-day way people are treated with mutual respect and recognizing that it's a team, that everybody's role is important. Just like on a cricket team you know, can have a style batsman but that alone may not be enough. You've gotta really function as a team and even the greatest bowler in the world is reliant on the fielders to do their job, to catch the balls. And if they keep dropping the balls and he's borrowing fantastic balls, he's it, it's not going to work. It's not good enough.
Yeah, understood. Alright, great. And if somebody wants to connect with you, what is the way that you can connect?
LinkedIn? Yeah, I mean I still think email is LinkedIn is fine. I've got a Richard Ravens profile, but the best way is just Richard@alphasoftware.com.
Okay. Alright. So it's really nice talking to you and I'm sure you have a very good day ahead.
Well, I enjoyed it. Again, I didn't think we talk more than half an hour, but it's been, yeah, it's fun. I enjoyed it. And hopefully, it's, is it dinner time for you now? What time is it?
It's 7:40 PM Okay. And almost a night
<laugh>. Okay. Yeah. Enjoy the rest.
Sure. Thank you. Thank you so much.
And happy to stay in touch yourself.
Sure, sure. We'll be touching. Yeah.
Okay, great. Thanks so much. Yeah.