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Letting Customers Design The Product: Cornerstone OnDemand CEO Adam Miller (Part 2)

Posted on Friday, Oct 7th 2011

Sramana: How long were you able to keep that crazy schedule?

Adam Miller: I did that for almost three years. It was intense. When I look at the pictures from back then, I can tell that I did not sleep. I did have a very good time because I got my closest friends from high school to come and work for me at the restaurant.

Sramana: Were you able to sell your shares from the restaurant?

Adam Miller: We were not able to sell the restaurant and we eventually ended up shutting it down.

Sramana: What did you do after you finished law school, business school, and running your restaurant?

Adam Miller: I had a semester left when I realized that I had never had a real job up to that point. I felt I needed a credible job so I worked at a boutique law firm. I met a woman named Emily Card who was running the firm and we were working primarily with female entrepreneurs and people who had recently inherited money. She was also a writer and she found out that I liked to write. Within a few months we were writing two books together, one about managing your inheritance and the other was called Business Capital for Women.

By that time I had graduated and passed the bar examination in New York. I also took and passed the CPA exam at the same time. I was 25 and I had five degrees along with two book advances but no other commitments or assets. I felt that if I was ever going to travel that there would be no better time to do so. I ended up taking what became a two-year trip around the world.

Sramana: Where did you spend most of your time while you were traveling?

Adam Miller: I hit six continents and spent my time fairly even across the planet.

Sramana: What insights did you gain from that two-year trip?

Adam Miller: It really taught me what it would mean to have a global business. The world is very similar and people are the same around the world. Generally, you can trust people. The balance between good and evil tips for good. I also learned that people have many biases and expectations which are local. If you build a global business, it has to be local.

Sramana: What did you learn about yourself in terms of where you wanted to go you’re your life and career?

Adam Miller: It gave me a lot of confidence. I was alone and traveled by myself. It was a good lesson on independence. I felt that there was one other thing that I had not learned, and that was finance. I wanted to understand what it meant for a company to go public, to do mergers and acquisitions, and raise money. I felt that was a black box and not something that was taught in business school. For that reason, I got a job on Wall Street as an investment banker.

This segment is part 2 in the series : Letting Customers Design The Product: Cornerstone OnDemand CEO Adam Miller
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