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Strategies for Growing Your Business to Sell, Even if You’re Not Ready Yet

Whether you’re looking to sell in the future or just want to position your technology business for maximum growth as quickly as possible, we’ve got an interview you won’t want to miss.

Paul R. Ruppert, Growth Consultant at Global Point View Limited, spoke with Tigerpaw’s West McDonald about his experience maximizing business valuations. Here’s real-world advice from someone who grew a start-up from zero and sold the company for nearly $500 million in five years. Find out how he did it, plus:  

  • Get a Presidential perspective. Insights gained from Paul’s conversations with five U.S. Presidents and five Vice Presidents in his first career in politics 
  • Think globally. The importance of having a “global” mindset, even when starting regionally 
  • Understand how history illustrates success for emerging technologies. How the birth and proliferation of SMS text messaging demonstrates the value of maximizing growth in ANY emerging technology sector 
  • Play outside your comfort zone to win big. When the risk of playing it too safe far exceeds the risk of going all-in 
  • Blitz-scale. How to use the concept of “blitz-scaling” to grow fast and large 
  • Get that when you’re winning, efficiency is overrated. “If you win, efficiency is important, but if you LOSE, efficiency is irrelevant.” 
  • Understand how Metcalfe’s Law applies to your business. How the value of a business increases geometrically with the addition of each additional business node 
  • Learn the value of living on a pivot. Constantly adapting to micro-changes in market and customer conditions 
  • Hear how to harness the energy of a startup, even if you’re not. Applying a “startup” mentality for massive growth regardless of how long you’ve been in business 
  • What to read next. Paul’s suggested readings for dynamic and powerful growth for business growth 
  • Learn why company founders sometimes have to step away. Sometimes founders need to check themselves for ego-based decision making, knowing when and where to step away 

While you’re here, be sure to check out more educational content from Tigerpaw designed to help you grow your technology services business. 

0:00:04.1 West McDonald: Well, hey, everybody, West McDonald here, and I want to thank you for tuning in to another episode of TigerTube. And if you can’t see us, that means you’re listening to us on Tigerpaw Radio, and I want to thank you for listening in. And Paul, I’m so excited to get you on today because one of the things that we were talking about when we were setting up this podcast is this idea of companies, especially right now looking at building value in their company, looking at their valuations. And I think importantly, to start looking at their companies, no matter what stage they’re at and building them to sell, even if they’re not. Just so really excited to have you online. But as is my habit, I don’t really like to fully introduce the guest. I’d like to I’d like to have you introduce yourself. And if you could make sure you had one interesting thing about yourself that people may not know.

0:01:15.3 Paul Ruppert: Oh, OK. Well, West, first off, thanks very much for the invitation to share my journey and my experience with your audience. And I hope they find it both valuable and at least a little bit interesting. I’ve been in the telecommunications, specifically the mobile messaging aspects of the telecommunications business, for a little over 24 years. This was in Silicon Valley. We were based in San Jose. We were one of the first seven GSM operators that were launched in North America. And as a result of that broad experience, but also the very narrow experience in the context of being in Silicon Valley, I was able to get into that mix, that vibe, that culture of looking for new opportunities and, you know, developing a soft spot for renegades, pirates, mavericks and rascals, if you will. And I jumped from being in a large Fortune 100 multibillion dollar entity company, which is now known as AT&T Wireless, and jumped into a startup. And that startup became phenomenally successful within five years we sold it. It wasn’t our intent to be able to position it to be sold, but five years later and we sold the company for a little over almost $500 million, around $472 million.

0:02:33.9 Paul Ruppert: I’ve had the opportunity, the privilege to meet five US presidents and five US vice presidents. Just for the record, I’ll go through the list. So I met Ronald Reagan. I met George Herbert Walker Bush as a result of my running or being involved in his political campaign. I met Bill Clinton when I was oddly enough working for a cabinet secretary who then was running for vice president. And then I met George W. Bush when I was helping running an inaugural event for his father. And then I met then Senator Biden when I was working for Senator John Danforth and Senator Biden’s office was down the hall from ours. And this was on a late August afternoon and August back then was on Capitol Hill. It just dries up. There are no people. And here we’re playing catch and all of a sudden one of the doors opens up, which is the hideaway door, meaning a direct access to a Senator’s office and out comes Joe Biden. He’s looking at us, you know, and we’re thinking, oh, we’re screwed. This is it. You know, any aspirations that we might’ve had are now done. And he looks at us and goes, throw it here.

0:03:45.6 West McDonald: Absolutely incredible. I mean, one interesting fact, having met one president that would have exceeded my wildest expectations. That is so cool.

Paul Ruppert: Of all those, the last Reagan was the one that I spent the least amount of time. And then oddly enough, Clinton and George W. Bush, probably the most amount of time.

0:04:05.5 West McDonald: What an incredible experience to think, you know, from early on in your career in politics and then moving into what became one of the largest telecommunication companies in history, to then moving into startups and building a startup to sell for half a billion dollars and then onto helping other people do the same thing. It’s absolutely incredible, right?

0:04:26.8 Paul Ruppert: Yeah. I can’t keep a job and I can’t keep focused on the same industry.

0:04:30.1 West McDonald: That’s probably what it reflects. Wow. But what I want to move to now is maybe just talk a bit is that, you know, obviously with your expertise, you can help startups to grow their valuations to, you know, to the point that maybe some companies didn’t really think possible. But in our space, when we’re looking at technology companies, often times starting on shoestring budgets or, you know, as a favor to a friend because they needed some technical help or anything else. You know, what kind of ideas do you have to share with them to say, why should they be thinking about building their business to sell even if they’re not? And this concept is, I’m seeing it more and more, right? That this idea of even if you’re not selling something to build it as if you are, and in my mind, at least that is the startup world, right? When you’re building a startup. So maybe share a little with our audience about how you feel about that.

Paul Ruppert: Well, the premise, you know, keep in mind, this reflects my own personal journey and the places that I landed as a result of being where I was and then moving to the next opportunity.

0:05:33.4 Paul Ruppert: As I mentioned, we were in an emerging technology that at that time was text messaging at the early stages. We’re talking about 1999, 2000, 2001 timeframe. I had been involved in text messaging inside a mobile network operator. So I had already pretty good sense of what messaging was all about, both on a voice side as well as tech side. Landed in this startup and it was presented to me by a venture capitalist. And he said, you know, I think they’re missing the fact that they’re just focusing on the domestic US market. The premise essentially is that a text message could be sent from what is now T-Mobile US, it used to be called Voice Stream back then, to Verizon. And Verizon back then didn’t even have the means to process SMS because SMS was native to the GSM radio format. Now we’re getting into too much technology here, but the reality is that it didn’t exist. And we came to Verizon saying, we have a solution that is going to be able to offer a greenfield play for you to be able to get into this game. And here’s why this is important. So if you look at what’s going on in the Nordic countries right now in Scandinavia, there’s this thing called text messaging that’s really starting to take off.

0:06:47.3 Paul Ruppert: We think that this is going to be a much more global phenomenon. We being not just guys who were pirates and rascals and renegades, but guys who’d been inside, men and women who had been inside mobile operators going, yeah, well, we already see this trend developing. It’s just a matter of time. Now, did we think it was going to be at that scale that it eventually became? No, of course not. Something as historical and culturally impacting as text messaging? Not at all. But we also knew that 160 characters was very glimpseable. We had already seen places like in the Philippines and elsewhere, at least I had, that was showing that people were sending upwards of 100 text messages a day, which was phenomenal in 2001, 2002 to think that people are spending that much time on a mobile phone sending text messages, really?

0:07:39.1 West McDonald: And that much money, by the way, because I can remember the early days.

0:07:42.7 Paul Ruppert: And even in the way that people avoided paying money, especially in some of the developing economies was also quite remarkable. And so I came in and again, because of my international perspective inside a mobile network operator, most of the time I was traveling, to be honest, meeting with the other mobile network operators, I saw a global perspective or gained a global perspective. My perspective when I came to talking to the board and the founders was you need to go global from the start. You can’t really think about this as a domestic US opportunity. You got to think about how the rest of the world is going to want to access the US marketplace. And the board agreed. And they were like, sure, okay, what’s it going to take? How much time and money? And my perspective there was, well, you know, the reality is that the market is up for grabs. So the risk isn’t inefficiency here. The risk is playing it too safe. And if you, and now since then, I mean, this is in 2002, 2001 timeframe, there’s an entire cannon around these kinds of things. So, you know, minimally viable product. Reid Hoffman has written a great book called Blitzscaling, you know, which I’m going to echo in much of my comments.

0:09:01.8 Paul Ruppert: But these things were things I kind of discovered and pursued, and then others were able to leverage it to a much higher level and then start writing books about it. But, you know, that doesn’t take away from their vision, which was if you win, efficiency isn’t important. Okay? If you lose, efficiency is completely irrelevant. And our perspective, when I first moved into my office, I put up a sign which was global domination. That was the objective, pure and simple. So that’s the direction, the piece of wisdom that I would provide to your listeners. And then I would probably back that up with, you know, when you blitzscale, you deliberately make decisions and commit to them, even though your confidence level is maybe substantially lower than 100%. So if you’re playing, you know, the game of, well, let’s define, which is the traditional startup mentality of let’s define either what the market terrain looks like, or let’s define what we do, and then make the investments in that. And then we’re very focused on going from zero to one, the minimal viable product. And, you know, Eric Rees is spot on in all that. I’m not taking anything away from that.

0:10:26.9 Paul Ruppert: But the reality is that you really want to move from one to a billion. And you want to move it fast. And you start looking at the opportunities. And again, in my space, one of the things that is an advantage of being in my space is the reality of network effects. And so by even with a mindset, there’s non-business, this is something that we’ve used for many, many years, it’s called Metcalfe’s Law. And Metcalfe’s Law is essentially a reflection that the value of a network increases geometrically with the addition of each node. So every time I would be signing up a new network operator who is going to be part of our network, and we started off with five and then 50 and then 25 and five years on, we were up to 175. Now that’s not bad out of 1,100 operators because just like everything else, there’s this 80-20 rule. 20% of the world’s operators are generating 80% of the traffic. And we had focused on what were those 20 for whatever reason in terms of our initial opportunities. So we then pursued that with vigor, as they would say. And that was the mentality.

0:11:48.9 Paul Ruppert: And there were questions that came from the board as to, what do you mean you’re going to spend $200,000 on travel this year? It was, okay, yeah, we see what you’re doing, and this is essentially an operating gain. And even when I described all of this as part of the strategy to the board, I was laying out the reality that it’s both offense and defense at the same time. Because when you engage in this kind of blitzscaling or going global from the start, you take the market by surprise. And this was an opportunity. This type of technology was something that was a greenfield play. As I said, there was no such thing as messaging interoperability. Now, wasn’t we were the only guys who were doing this? The nature of technology usually isn’t unitary. It’s not one person that emerges. It’s usually a bunch of them. Green shoots develop, and they’re all kind of similar, but they may be a little bit different. And then there’s that traction that occurs that I mentioned going from zero to one. But we decided, okay, we wanted to play the game faster rate. We set the pace. We then were able to leverage our lead to build long-term competitive advantages, which is exactly what you were talking about as to, how do you position yourself for the sale?

0:13:14.4 Paul Ruppert: Well, we didn’t think of that. We thought of a sale as a liquidity event. And the liquidity event could be an IPO, or we could be bought by somebody because we were a fast-growing, sexy little company, and we had a different vision. And when I presented all this to the board in terms of our strategy, I did discuss the reality of this would be accretive. That, again, back to Metcalfe’s Law, the power of our network that we will build out will give us an advantage, not only in terms of serving our customers, ie. Those mobile network operators, but also creating a moat from others being able to take advantage of it. And in many cases, I had the other aspect of this business is that it’s collaborative and cooperative at the same time. Because, as I mentioned, there are 1,100 operators. And the way the business was for the first three years, we were all getting our own beachheads. And some of us were getting beachheads offshore. So we had more beachheads than the other guys. But at the end of the day, there were certain beachheads that I couldn’t get to, and there were certain beachheads my competitor couldn’t get to.

0:14:30.0 Paul Ruppert: So we had to cooperate to be able to say, yeah, okay, you’re serving AT&T at the moment. We’re serving Verizon. I can get you messages into Verizon. You’ll have to send them directly to us. If you go to Verizon, they’re just going to go, we want you to talk to Infomatch first, because they’re essentially our agent. And the same thing, if I had wanted to talk to AT&T at the time, AT&T would have said, well, you need to talk to MobileSpring, who is managing the same type of service. So that aspect became another differentiator in the game. And then the last piece in all this, as we discovered, as you are establishing that leadership role, you get more interest from investors because they like to invest in leaders. And that became another dynamic, and others. Companies came to look at us, and we weren’t thinking about selling. But eventually, somebody came with a very interesting offer. A smart guy named John Chen, who was at the time the founder and CEO of Sybase, which was an enterprise resource planning and customer relationship management company. And his vision was, I think I can utilize text messaging in our software platform.

0:15:50.7 Paul Ruppert: And you guys could be providing that to me. And that was the aha phenomenon. Even the sphincter phenomenon as to, damn, why didn’t we think of that?

0:16:03.6 West McDonald: I love it. And I’ve heard a few things here, and I just want to make sure I’m on the right track. But I think most companies are capable of doing that zero to one. It’s kind of like figuring out if you actually have something. And it’s like, yeah, it looks like we’re obviously doing something. But that acceleration, that leadership that you’re talking about, that’s the part that I think most companies miss. And if I’m correct, that’s what you’re saying is they’ve got to really focus on that acceleration, that leadership. And in the end, when people see that leadership in the marketplace, that also drives value in the company.

0:16:36.3 Paul Ruppert: That’s right. Part of my training as a political operative and political manager was listening to a lot of military strategy, because it’s just part of campaigning. And so I went through a program that brought in military strategists, et cetera. And how you apply military campaigning and war fighting in the same context as running political campaigns. Well, guess what? The same thing can be applied to marketing and the private sector. Ok? And that dynamic was driven by, I remember, a mantra that I started to really embrace, which was shoot, run, maneuver. Meaning take the shot, move to another position, and then start thinking about where you need to go next. Repeat, repeat, repeat, which came from guerrilla warfare fighting. So it’s the same concept of if you’re looking at this as an incremental play, then you may be doing this for a very long period of time. If you want to be looking at this in a different fashion, you’ve got to be able to shoot, run, and maneuver, or constantly pivoting. And then also even in the context of shorter timescales, I looked at when I was first tasked with segmenting the marketplace, as I mentioned, at the time there were 1,100 mobile network operators out there.

0:18:14.2 Paul Ruppert: And one of the board members was like, well, how are you going to attack this market, especially since it’s just you at first? So what I did was essentially segmented out in terms of the dynamics of the American market and the offshore market. And this was an easy thing for a telco guy to do because all I did was look at long distance voice calling and the distribution of voice calls all around the world because I knew that messaging was going to mirror that distribution of traffic all around the world and then be able to go to the next level down as to which operators are getting most of this business. And at that time it was enterprise related business, meaning road warriors, business guys who were doing this. And so it was an easy thing to be able to segment and then brought to the table as to I’m going to engage in what I called parallel priorities, which is complete misnomer. I mean, there’s no such thing as parallel priorities. They’re priorities. They’re not a whole bunch of priorities. But my perspective was the pivot aspect. So that I looked at that 1100, condensed it down to 125, then condensed it down to another 25 and then engaged those 25.

0:19:33.5 Paul Ruppert: And then if need be, I killed my children. And what I mean by that is I started looking and if I got traction with, let’s say T-Mobile UK versus Vodafone, which was exactly the phenomenon. I discarded Vodafone as a priority. And then I pivoted my resources, meaning my time, my money, my people, my talent, even the technology to land that first beachhead opportunity which was T-Mobile UK, which is exactly what we did. That took six months. Vodafone took two and a half years.

0:20:09.1 West McDonald: Wow. Yeah. It strikes me what you’re saying. I’ve heard a similar kind of approach in sort of customer management, right? The ABC model where obviously you groom your A customers, you do everything you can to keep them happy. Your B customers, you’re grooming them to become those A customers and your C customers, you’re chopping them out. So it sounds like the kinds of relationships and partnerships and strategy go off, you have to have that same pivot mindset, which is don’t be afraid to cut the chafe. Exactly. And you touched about partnerships as well, again, because I started applying the things that are in lessons I had learned in the political world back to the partnerships, which in the political world, in the policy world, you’re talking about coalition development. Coalescing people that may have divergent opinions, but getting them marshaled around the common goal and common objective. And so we did the same kind of thing. So I started looking at the suppliers of the company that I was involved in and most of what we did, we didn’t create it ourselves. We were essentially building a stack of functionality, wrapping it all together and going to market with it with these various partners.

0:21:20.9 Paul Ruppert: Well, I had already known that those various partners were often times suppliers of services or technical solutions to mobile network operators. So I started to try to influence the influencers, go to them directly and say, look, I’d like to have this intro in terms of referral. Here’s what the opportunity is. Here’s where we’re going. And that’s how we opened additional doors and we’re able to pick up our pace and close more deals.

0:21:48.0 West McDonald: Yeah, that’s amazing. And I think our listeners can really grab from that when you have these parallels, which things they may recognize from the outside world in politics and military, such as coalitions and how important those partnerships are. And I love what you said earlier. I think that we really do have to do actually maybe it’s a segue into my next question because I was thinking that when you’re a startup and you work with them and tell them, hey, look, you’re going to go to zero to one and then we’re going to go from one to a billion in a hurry. Well, they don’t have any legacy. A lot of people watching this have been in business for a long time already. They’ve already had slow growth or maybe they’re not growing the way that they want to. What advice might you have for them to start behaving like a startup, even if they’ve been in business for a long time?

0:22:35.6 Paul Ruppert: That’s the toughest thing as a consultant that I’ve been involved in. I’ve done probably over 100 different consultancies over the last 15 years or so. The reality is manifesting that change is clearly the most difficult thing to do. Ideas are great, but execution is everything. It becomes a matter of how can we do this in parallel. There’s a great book by a Harvard Business School professor named Clayton Christensen called The Innovator’s Dilemma. It talks about companies that focus on their performance engine exclusively, meaning companies that are legacy players in an environment and they’re attending to how well are we doing as compared to yesterday to where we want to be tomorrow based on what we’ve been doing for the last 25 years or 10 years or three years or five years, whatever it might be, in the premise of your question. They fail to realize that they’re adjacent players, similar technologies who have a little bit more aggressive mindsets who then attack what they’ve been doing and steal the business away. He wrote a number of different books along this premise. Another one is called The Innovator’s DNA. I would recommend it to anybody who’s trying to face this at the moment.

0:24:06.3 Paul Ruppert: It’s essentially a guide to be able to think differently, act differently because that’s really what your premise is. That’s a very difficult thing to do because as human beings, we become quite accustomed to that or we’re just maniacs who are going from one thing to the next, the serial entrepreneurs so to speak that we all run into. And God love them for what they’re doing. If you’ve got something where you’ve gotten traction, then do you want to abandon that or how can you do both at the same time? Another way of accomplishing that is bring somebody in who can help you along, essentially like a consultant or perhaps the right type of talent that has been in that type of environment relative to let’s call it a run and gun startup so that you can then build upon their experience and their expertise and draw upon their instincts that aren’t going to clash with yours.

0:25:10.9 West McDonald: I love that and it’s this idea that there’s a story, I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s certainly a great urban legend, which is that Henry Ford was invited by journalists who were actually trying to trash him to illustrate how silly of a person he was and how terrible he was as a businessman. He set up a schedule and said, sure, come into my office on this date and when the reporters came, he made some small talk for about five minutes and eventually said, okay, before you ask any questions, just give me one second and opened up the side door and walked 10 people, other great minds and people that were helping and they said, well, that’s not fair. We came here to interview you. His answer was responsive as well. If you’re here to interview me, you can’t do that without talking to these people because I rely on them for what they do.

Paul Ruppert: There’s a great book by a guy named Stanley McChrystal, who’s a retired four-star general in the United States Army who retired at the peak of his career because of issues that he made about President Obama at the time, but those things happen.

0:26:22.6 Paul Ruppert: He was the head of the Special Operations Forces, Special Operations Command for the entire military. He covered everything from Air Force guys to Green Berets to Navy SEALs to the helicopter pilots, the whole nine yards. While he was prosecuting, he was responsible for prosecuting the war in both Afghanistan and Iraq. He put together this concept of teams of teams because every day he had a meeting and his meeting had a thousand people at times involved in it. He essentially had, I think there were 35 different American intelligence elements in his efforts and over 70 from the allies, especially in Afghanistan. What they would be doing is snapshotting the activities of the attacks every night, meaning the American attacks looking out for Al Qaeda, etc. Every day they were doing this. Every night there were Special Operations guys who were engaged in this. He was able to put together a process and it wasn’t him alone. He wasn’t having a thousand people talk for three minutes in this meeting. He actively, I’ve listened to him, read his books. They’re really, really good and speak specifically to you’re only good as the team around you.

0:27:49.6 West McDonald: Yeah, I love that because you said also you can either hire someone to come in or a consultant. You can get someone who has expertise like you do to be able to help them build that roadmap. It just really opened up my mind in the sense that sometimes it’s not we that have to do the things to change. Sometimes we just actually have to bring in the team that will do that for us.

0:28:13.3 Paul Ruppert: I’ll speak to this directly again from my own experience. This isn’t to take it away from the power, the influence and the capability of founders. I’m going to take this again from McChrystal. He’s interviewing a guy who is a former CEO of Ford. I just remembered walking listening to this as a podcast. The Ford executive, I can’t remember his name, but he was the one who was CEO of Ford and then left Ford and then became head of the Michigan University System for a little while. He pointed out that often times founders who are on the edge of the commercial activities because they are founders and they are rascals, renegades, et cetera, they may not follow process very well, but it’s really good that they execute quickly. But often times they think they have a unitary perspective, meaning the only perspective and the greatest perspective and greatest value in a decision making process. While the guy who might be more of the process, commercial, large entity background, he’s going to have a perspective of, well, I need to get the best information I can from the best people that I have. So they gather all that together and it’s not one decision that’s being made.

0:29:32.2 Paul Ruppert: It’s one decision based on multiple decisions that have already been made. That takes a lot of efficiency. That also takes a lot of ego busting, especially from a founder’s perspective. But that addresses exactly the question and the point that you were being raised. Step away so you have a better sense of what do I need? And that’s why consultants exist.

West McDonald: And I got to think that when we’re talking about building your business to sell, whether you are or not, and correct me if I’m wrong, but what you speak of when a founder remains the founder and they start building these teams of teams, I got to think that somebody buying a company would say, we need to know this machine can run on its own. That regardless of who’s at the head, that it’s built in such a way that what we’re buying is going to be good. Is that true or am I missing?

Paul Ruppert: Absolutely, it’s true. So again, from my own experience, I’ve been in the startup that I mentioned that became very successful. Within six months of my arrival, it turned out that all three founders had been exited. And the people that were being brought in, including myself, were much more experienced executives in the space.

0:30:51.7 Paul Ruppert: Why was that? Well, they took the VC money and the VC’s money was essentially saying, we’re going to be changing some things. There were some other circumstances involved as well. There’s no such thing as pure as the driven snow. We’re all human beings. But the reality was that the VC’s put a different management team in place, which then shepherded its growth and development over the next five and a half years, which eventually led to that liquidity event. In another environment, I’ve been involved in a number of different mergers and acquisitions, primarily in larger companies and one that I was involved in is called Cineverse. And it’s very well known that Cineverse has a growth mentality that’s based on acquisition. That’s their corporate growth thesis. And they do it quickly. And in each case, I was part of the team that would be doing the rationalization, the due diligence, making those decisions as to who’s going to stay, who’s going to be leaving, et cetera. And in almost every case that we acquired a company, and I think I went through four acquisitions and they were pretty substantial, upwards of $720 million on one of them.

0:32:06.4 Paul Ruppert: And within about a year, the founders or CEO or the management team of that company were gone. And that’s part of culture, but that’s also a matter of that’s how they assimilated and rationalized and made the acquisition a creative as fast as possible. That’s just part of it. It’s not always that case.

0:32:28.9 West McDonald: But I love this idea that, and I’ve been through an acquisition myself, an organization that I had some interest in myself was acquired and everything else. And I was, I guess, an early sort of cog in that wheel and not necessary for the continued growth afterwards. Nothing personal. And it just gets me thinking that there are different roles, different people for different stages of growth. And if that’s an important way to set up your company for that kind of growth is to keep that in mind.

Paul Ruppert: It’s really tough for any founder, again, not taking anything away from them. In fact, this is praising them in the context of that’s a really tough thing to do, to step back. There’s a great course at Harvard Business School that I took called Leadership. And one of the things that I remember from that, that was now 30 years ago, where the professor was like, you need to be able to step outside of yourself. Like you’re watching yourself dance on a dance floor and you’re floating above that. That disconnects you from all the froth, the hubris, the ego, whatever it might be, and allows you to make a better decision in terms of being a leader.

0:33:41.1 Paul Ruppert: And I was like, wow, that’s really good. I’m that, you know, that made a big impression on me.

0:33:49.3 West McDonald: Yeah. And I think especially for, like I said, in the technology space with the organizations that I work with on a regular basis is that there’s nothing wrong with being a smaller organization as some people would call a lifestyle business or something else. But if you do want to grow, that I think what I picked up from this, any rate, is that that team of teams mentality, that understanding yourself, your role, either as a founder or some other part of that growth strategy, understanding where it is, how to pivot and when to get out of the way. Right?

0:34:20.9 Paul Ruppert: Yeah. You know what you forgive me, but you you’ve just hit on. So we started talking about, you know, the beginning of this conversation, Chinese New Year, right? Yep. And we’ve talked a little bit about strategy and we’ve talked about vision and we’ve talked about military engagements and military strategy and political strategy. And so, you know, there’s a Chinese general from I think it was 500 BC. So I think his pronunciation is Sun Tzu. Sun Tzu, you know, for those Lao ways, meaning white guys or, you know, foreigners as the word translates in from Mandarin, Sun Tzu, for those of us, for those of you listening out there, know thyself, know thy enemy. Do not fear a hundred battles. We just how prosaic is that?

0:35:17.7 West McDonald: Yeah. Yeah. That’s what you’re in for. So I love it.

Paul Ruppert: Yeah. Brings it all around.

0:35:25.3 West McDonald: Well, that’s great. And hey, listen, I know in respect for obviously yourself and for our audience that we are starting to wind down to the end of the interview here. And I would say that I think it’s important sometimes I like to call this the impossible question for everything that we have, you know, sort of talked about.

Paul Ruppert: I saw this coming and I’m still I thought maybe you might, you know, I would get lucky and avoid that.

0:35:50.3 Paul Ruppert: But go ahead with your question.

0:35:52.7 West McDonald: Yes. The impossible question. If you had just one piece of advice for people to get started on this journey of building their businesses as if they were going to sell them, even if they’re not, what would that be?

0:36:03.8 Paul Ruppert: Who dares wins. So who dares wins is the motto of the special air squadron, which is a special forces office element of the British Air Force, the RAF, the Royal Air Force. So in that same vein of who dares wins, don’t hold back. This is a multi answer question to a single part or multi answer to a single part question. Don’t hold back. Follow your vision and don’t hold yourself back. Embrace that opportunity. Go be a global dominator. It’s possible. You know, if not you, who? If not now, when?

0:36:47.5 West McDonald: And Paul, I cannot thank you enough for joining us today and for sharing your expertise on strategy and growth with our listeners and viewers.

0:36:56.1 Paul Ruppert: Well, thank you, West. I very much enjoyed it. And I hope that your listeners and viewers enjoyed it as well and learned something, had a takeaway from it. It was a delight having the conversation with you. Thank you very much for the invitation to be here.

0:37:07.9 West McDonald: Well, that’s great. And for everyone out there in Tigerpaw land, remember, keep learning.

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