Ryan Goodman joined the startup in the early days of the business intelligence and analytics market in 2003 as a specialist helping large customers adopt this new technology. This startup was acquired by the successful BI company Business Objects, which was then acquired by the huge software company SAP. Ryan left to start consulting and build niche add-on “feature products” in the SAP Business Objects ecosystem.
They experimented with product ideas and consulting services before finding an opportunity to help Business Objects users easily visualize data on Google Maps. CMaps Analytics grew fast as an add-on product selling to large companies all over the world, reaching 700 customers and $1.4 million ARR. But new BI platforms and technology changes slowed their growth and completely changed the market opportunity.
Ryan talks about the pivots and experiments they tried before deciding to shut down the company and sunset their core product. He shares his difficult decision process and the emotional journey, including lessons learned and perspectives gained in hindsight.
Best quote from Ryan:
“The biggest mistake we made, that if I could have the do-over and do it differently, is that we got away from clear goals and objectives when the market changed and it started to feel like we were losing grip. The thing that got us to where we were was having crystal clear, quantified goals and objectives. And then we deviated from that, just like grasping.
“That probably would have led us to a more fruitful pivot instead of shutting down the company. Trust me, I spent a lot of time, thinking about it and sulking. And there’s an emotional thing that you go through when you experience mourning and failure, right?
“We had data, we had goals, we had objectives, we had advice. And we still went with our gut and it didn’t work. It was like shiny object syndrome with new technology and that set us back.”
In this episode, Ryan explains:
- How he started in the pioneering early days of business intelligence and analytics for big customers
- Why he left SAP after being acquired twice to start his own add-on software business in the Business Objects community
- How he experimented and survived long enough to find a compelling product opportunity that quickly grew to over $1M ARR
- How the market changed and how that eventually led him and his cofounder to shut down the business slowly
- How he feels about the successes and failures of his software startup journey
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