Sramana: I definitely remember those days. There were a lot of things happening back then!
Bill Daniel: Yes! I remember that we were on Triton Drive in Foster City in a one story building that you would think was an industrial manufacturing building. It had a loft and we put two foosball tables up there for our engineers. Right up the street was a Taco Bell and so every Tuesday and Thursday we worked until 10 PM at night and used that fast food restaurant to keep us going. That is how we got our product out so fast.
Sramana: In 1998 you had a third exit. What did you do after that?
Bill Daniel: There was a time between Datis and Wallop where I took a year off to travel around with my family. I found that I loved doing what I do and I did not want to take off every Tuesday morning at 10 with the 70 year old crowd. The Netscape browser had just come out. All of my friends were in startups or were getting ready to start a company. I could not stay away and that is why I started Wallop, and I never intended it to be such a short stint.
After Wallop I decided to do the same thing. I wanted to take some time off and spend time with my family. I had met a company called Vignette. The product that became a success for Vignette was StoryServer which was a content management server product. Before StoryServer they had been working on a product called StoryBuilder which was a direct competitor, from a functional point of view, to the product we had built at Wallop.
After we sold the company they contacted me and told me that they needed someone in the Bay area to help them build partnerships with folks like Oracle, Sun and WebLogic. Vignette’s CMS needed to run in conjunction with their products or on top of their products. I told them I would be happy to help them and I started off with a few consulting gigs. Before I knew it I was asked to join the company. I found out at that time that the founders had decided to bring in a new CEO, Greg Peters. He was an individual I knew and Greg asked me to join the company full time as the business development guy for the Bay area. I thought that was a cool opportunity.
Vignette was a story of meteoric growth. We went from 3.5 million in 1997 to 370 million dollars in the year 2000. As that growth started to accelerate we went public in 1999. Things really took off after that. At some point in 1999 Greg called me up and asked me to move to Austin. That is when I made the move to Texas. We have been here ever since.