The Industrial Revolution of software: Alan Trefler, CEO, Pegasystems

Alan Trefler, CEO of enterprise vendor, Pegasystems, discusses digital business and the relationship between IT and business functions.

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I see just too many folks who are forced to sell at a level that they consider premature, and inevitably in a year or two later they’ve left the companies at the bottom and are unhappy – they may be rich, but at one level their dream has not been fulfilled. Their customers in the B2B world, in the world that I sell to, are devastated by these acquisitions. Customers hate these companies being acquired, because they know what happens, they know that the innovation is going to leave, the maintenance levels are going to be jacked up. They’re going to lose all the benefits that made them want to work there.

                        (42:18) I think it’s actually beneficial to be able to show and live the level of passion that it takes to be either a startup, or a company that doesn’t take venture money or takes it from sources that don’t have that fuse on it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vala:               (42:33) That’s terrific advice, and any final thoughts perhaps about cultural venture capital.

Alan:               (42:38) Well you know I think the culture of venture capital it’s all about the Benjamin’s, right? And you can find ones who care about customers and products and if you’re going to work with one make sure that you’ve checked the references and that you’re getting one that will actually take pride in their work.

                        (43:02) I think that you know pride in your work is for me one of the fundamental values that separates great employees from average employees who do a job and separates great companies, from companies that are just going to punch somebody’s ticket. And ultimately I think making sure that you’ll be able to have pride in your work is something that I find that is powerful in terms of what motivates me.

(43:34) I think most really successful entrepreneurs will share that characteristic.

Michael:         (43:40) You know, we’re just about out of time, so let me ask you one final question. Are you yourself investing in startups? Do you have relationships with startups and how does that work and what’s your thinking on that?

Alan:               (43:54) I have on occasion, but not very much. You know the reality is that I am prettily heavily invested in Pegasystems from both a time and energy point of view. So the startups that I have invested in have mostly been charitable ones trying to do work to really give something back. We have a new charity that my wife actually just launched, which is an amazing idea around basically enabling people to donate clothes and have them go to a charity of their choosing, and getting a full tax deduction all automatically taken care of for them.

(44:34) So, really it’s more about trying to help organizations like the special Olympics, which we are working with etc. but any organization that will be able to raise money for charity. If folks are interested I would like to put a plug in for Union and Fifth. It’s a great new idea, and that’s the sort of place that I have been investing my time and money.

Vala:               (44:50) That’s terrific

Michael:         (44:50) That’s fantastic well Vala it’s unfortunately that time again. This conversation could go on for a long time.

Vala:               (45:01) That was the fastest 46 minutes of my week and Alan, you dropped a lot of science on us. Thank you so much and an incredible thought leader and thank you very much for spending a Friday afternoon with us.    

Alan:               (45:14) Well Vala and Mike, all I can thank is that you not having learned in the past and gotten to this point by watching your show, hopefully being on it will just make it that much better.

Michael:         (45:24) Yeah, you know CXO-Talk there you go. We have been talking with Alan Trefler, who is the CEO of Pegasystems, the company he bootstrapped 30 years ago. It’s a $600 million company now. I am Michael Krigsman this has been episode 104 of CXO-Talk. With my fabulous co-host Vala Afshar, and Vala, it is with a heavy heart and disappointment that I say goodbye to you… Until next week

Vala:               (45:58) Thank you Michael, thank you Alan, thank you.

Alan:               (46:01) Thank you all.

Michael:         (46:02) Thank you everybody, thanks for watching and we will see you same time, same place next week. Bye bye.

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