Waaaaayyyyy back in 2005 I hitched my wagon to a little-known company called Jive. I was the 7th employee, with the aspirational title: ‘Global VP of Sales.’ After learning how to spell ‘wiki’ and what a ‘forum’ was in a software context, I was plunged back into my early career activities such as making cold calls and having the 1-800 number on the website forwarded to my belt-holstered flip phone. Matt Tucker, Bill Lynch and Dave Hersh were the co-founders. Jive was a wild ride that ultimately successfully IPO’d in 2011. It was a leap of faith at the time, and ended up being a ton of fun to carve out a new product category with the industry leading product.
Fast forward to 2019, and I’m back at it again with Koan. About 2 years ago I heard that Matt was formulating a new idea: A software-driven way to help managers be better at what they do. That idea eventually evolved from a much better way of doing weekly status reporting and 1:1s, to objective management for the enterprise. That’s when I got really excited. I’ve been a part of many organizations that struggled with this, and am still shocked that the problem hasn’t been solved using software, until now.
It goes like this: Management holds a quarterly meeting (sometimes an offsite) and sets goals, to-dos, priorities, etc. Increasingly frequently they are adopting the Objectives and Key Results methodology created by Intel, and popularized by John Doerr (Kleiner), along with Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. The goals get written down in a document, assigned owners, and there’s an ill-formed, loosely-defined process for updating progress toward the goals. Three weeks go by and something disrupts the process, no-one can find the document, no-one trusts the progress updates (if they are updated at all), and management goes back to focusing on whatever short-term emergency requires attention. At the end of the quarter, no-one looks back to the original goals (except for Revenue, of course!), or they discredit the goals by saying they were not set correctly, and the cycle goes on, and on, and on…
As Marc Andreessen says, ‘Software is eating the world’ and Koan is leading the effort in this arena with a modern approach to a ubiquitous problem; how to communicate organization goals, and consistently measure and monitor progress towards those goals. Our vision gets much bigger from here, and we believe Koan will become a critical way for every company to set their strategic cadence and make work more purposeful. The challenge is to make the solution useful, and daresay, liked, by end users. That’s where Koan shines.
TLDR, I’m once again partnering up with Matt Tucker at a seven employee startup, carving out a new category with an industry leading product. It's already been a ton of fun and amazing to see the traction we’ve had at this early stage!