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Bootstrapping from Indiana: Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha (Part 6)

Posted on Tuesday, May 8th 2018

Sramana Mitra: It sounds like when you did the cloud strategy, you almost did it with a different product. Even though the technology was the same, the positioning was quite different. The board technology was for the cloud software.

Paroon Chadha: As an organization, we made the jump from being a Windows company to a web company, and from a web company to a cloud company, from a cloud company to a mobile company, then from mobile into social; there’re not a lot of companies that can do that. There’s a reason for it. People who build that technology and who come up with that strategy have a firm world view. You have to destroy your own world to get to the next level.

We had to do that at that point. When Chris left the organization, we huddled and said, “The future is cloud.” We could have built a board portal company on the same board platform, but we were going to build something new that was cloud and mobile first. We took our learning from our initial take on enterprise portal and applied it to this space. We have finished that journey. The board product is doing extremely well.

We are backtracking and taking the board product and saying, “Can we apply this to meetings? Can we apply this to the entire enterprise?” There was an inflection point where we had to make a conscious choice. You better make believers out of a lot of developers and sales people. Some chose not to take the next phase of the journey with us.

Sramana Mitra: There is something else that you did which is very smart. You packaged it differently. You positioned the cloud product in a different way. That allowed you to not cannibalize any of your earlier customers and having to explain to existing customers what you were doing. They were doing the portal software and that’s fine.

Then you were bringing another product with the same technology, but the positioning was different. From a market messaging point of view, that’s actually much easier to do than having to go back and explain to all your existing customers that you are now moving to the cloud. A lot of companies now have had to go through that exercise. The market now expects that transition because the whole market is now attuned to the cloud architecture.

Paroon Chadha: I think it was interesting just because there was a founder change as well. When it’s happening to you, you realize how it feels so odd. You are not only destroying what you’ve built, but it almost sounds like you are destroying what the other founder built. You’re trying to actively say, “That’s not what we’re trying to do here.”

This segment is part 6 in the series : Bootstrapping from Indiana: Passageways CEO Paroon Chadha
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