The stock price of Concur dropped before the dot com bust, but while the rest of the industry was faltering, Concur began to climb.
SM: You changed course in 2001. Was that due to the market? SS: The change actually happened in 2000, and it was due to our business strategy transition. The market did not like the idea of us changing our business model. We hit a low point of 28 cents a share after the announcement, and the stock before was $30.
Over a period of a couple of months we saw the stock descend rapidly. We were a very thinly traded stock, so when we saw one of our larger shareholders get out, the stock took a very significant hit. It also recovered shortly thereafter.
The point is, we told our investors, the right way to capture this market and build long-term value was to align the economics and the delivery model in a way that was beneficial to the customer. This concept, of on-demand computing, was new at that point.
One of the things I will tell you that I am happy about is that every quarter since that change, literally every single quarter now for seven years, our business has improved.
Much of the hard decisions we made in March of 2000, other companies had to make in March of 2001. Our view is that you must confront the issues that exist in your business as soon as humanly possible, and solve them.
SM: Looking at the stock price chart you hit bottom from 2000 to 2001, and started rising when other companies dropped in 2001 and kept going down. SS: That is right. It took a long time. Some investors are more risk oriented than others, but it took a long time to re-earn the trust of our investors at that point.
SM: It is difficult to make those types of changes as a public company. SS: It is. Honestly when it comes down to it you really have a very simple decision. Either deal with the challenges or hide from them.
SM: Were you already the CEO? SS: I became the CEO in 1996.
SM: So you were the CEO through this timeframe? SS: Yes, all of those mistakes were mine.