Transcript – How Two Co-Founders Stopped One Thing To Change Everything
To listen to the episode, click here.
To get your Value Builder Score, click here.
John Warrillow: Next up Rob Daly and Paul Duvall, the founders of Stelligent which they sold in 2017 only to have the acquirer turn around and sell it again 18 months later for $25 million. In this episode you’re going to hear about the dangers of hiring gig employees, 1099 people, that aren’t full time employees, the importance of specializing early on and getting over the hump of feeling like that’s going to limit the size of your company. Rob Daly talks about the leechable partner and how that can be a tremendous rocket to your growth and how to find an advisor, particularly an M&A professional.
John Warrillow: Paul and Rob share some really interesting insight there. And you’ll also get a bit of a breakdown of the number of businesses they target on their long list of potential acquirers, down to how many offers they got and I think that proportion can help you think through as you’re developing your own short list of potential buyers. How many names you need to have on the list? Here to tell you the rest of the story is Paul Duvall and Rob Daly. Rob Daly, Paul Duvall welcome to Built to Sell Radio.
Paul Duvall: Thanks for having us.
John Warrillow: You guys built this company Stelligent. I love the name by the way, I just like saying Stelligent. What did Stelligent do? I kind of know because I saw the note but you got to explain it in a lay-person’s way because I had to read it slowly about four times before I really understood what you guys do.
Paul Duvall: Okay, I can start and maybe Rob can add some color to it. But I’ll start with the non-layman’s version and then get into the layman’s version, how about that?
Rob Daly: Sure.
Paul Duvall: But we do professional services, we’re a technology company. We specialize in dev ops automation on Amazon Web Services.
John Warrillow: That’s where you lose me, right there.
Paul Duvall: Exactly, don’t worry.
John Warrillow: You had me right up until professional services.
Paul Duvall: So AWS is a part of Amazon but it has a $30 billion run rate, not a lot of people know that. And we’re what’s called a premier partner with AWS. But what we do, we have software system engineers and we help enterprise customers deliver their software features to end users faster.
Paul Duvall: What we do is we automate the end to end software deliver lifecycle. So, if you look at it from the perspective of you have a programmer. Programmer creates some software and then you have some end users. The end users get the value out of the software and usually there’s this lengthy process. Once the programmer breaks their code. They’re going to build it, test it, deploy it and release it out to their users.
Paul Duvall: And so what we do is we help automate that process, among other things between when the programmer writes the code and once it gets out to users. If you look at it … The layman’s version of this, if you look at from the perspective of an assembly line.
Paul Duvall: You have an assembly line, what we do is we help our customers create the robots for their assembly line, it happens to be software. So we’re not doing anything on an actual manufacturing line. And then we help them incorporate everyday practices to optimize these processes.
Paul Duvall: So in the end, instead of getting software out to users every few months or every few weeks. It might be once a week or several times a day based on the work that we do.
John Warrillow: Got it and so would it be fair to say that this automation, I think you referred to it as dev ops automation is a methodology as opposed to your own software itself. Is it a way that you accelerate this lifecycle or this time to market? Or is it actually your own proprietary product that you’re deploying?
Paul Duvall: It’s definitely not our own, it’s an industry. It’s sort of a mindset, methodology might be going a bit too far. But basically the idea is you have developers, broadly speaking by the way. You have developers on one side and they’re creating the software. And then you have operations on the other side and they’re operating it or ensuring that it’s stable.
Paul Duvall: So you have the creativity and stability sort of how you generally have looked at it in the past. But as companies want to get software out the door more quickly and get feedback from users more quickly. The idea is to start to breakdown those silos so everyone is working together.
Paul Duvall: So when I say broadly speaking, you got developers. It’s developers in QA, it’s people that are doing database work, it’s on the operations side managing that kind of activities. And the idea is to get everyone to ultimately work together and have the same goals so you can have both speed and stability once it actually gets out to users.
John Warrillow: Git it and that’s helpful. For people listening along, think of Rob and Paul’s business like a professional services company where they were basically offering a service to folks who are using a consistent platform, AWS. And of course AWS would compete with guys like Rock Space is another big competitor in the space, right.
Paul Duvall: Azure and Google couple that platform, yeah. Those are the big ones.
John Warrillow: A few big platforms out there but you guys chose to specialize. Now tell me how the history between you Rob and you Paul. Maybe Paul, do you want to give us the backstory on how Rob came to join the company?
Paul Duvall: Yeah sure, so Rob and I go back a couple of decades and-
John Warrillow: Because Paul, you started the business right?
Paul Duvall: So Rob and I founded Stelligent in 2007. It was based on my vision. So, that kind of starts a little bit before I met Rob. But I was working at a large system integrator at one point. And it took two years, we’re talking about nowadays, you can do it multiple times a day. You can deliver the features to users that quickly through all this automation.
Paul Duvall: But way back when I started my very first project it took two years and I was actually involved in the installation. It was a really large medical logistics system. And I was pretty frustrated by that fact that it took two years but I was also pretty excited by the fact that the users were actually using what I helped build.
Paul Duvall: And so based on that frustration, I got involved in kind of what I consider to be the behind the scenes part of software development. Ultimately I ended up working for a few other companies but in 2000 I think it was. I joined the company that Rob had co-founded and I think that was going on six years prior to that.
Paul Duvall: It was a company called Number Six Software and they had this great reputation and I think I was employee number 12 or so. I worked with Rob for about three years and he exited the company in 2003 and then I guess Rob, if you want to pick it up from there.
Rob Daly: Sure, kind of just align with that. We at Number Six, we’re very similar to Stelligent focused on one thing. Our thing was that era was object oriented software design. Was a relatively, what is now standard in terms of practices. It was pretty poorly practiced, their exercise. Just as dev ops automation today might be poorly practiced by people without some real good expertise to support them.
Rob Daly: So Paul came into Number Six, I exited Number Six shortly after that. That was actually my first exit, learned a lot with the whole business. But then went on almost immediately started a second company, 5AM Solutions with some other people. Also, I’ll call them post Number Sixers.
Rob Daly: And Paul actually, I think he worked on a key book during this very time which ended up being the Jolt award winning book called Continuous Integration. Another buzz word that you have to kind of swallow but it’s actually a key element to what Stelligent practices today. It’s as well kind of a given today by most advanced software engineering teams.
Rob Daly: But anyway, with 5AM I was pretty tied up with once again the application of good software engineering practices but we dedicated ourselves to one domain, life science research domain. And that was kind of having its own life and its own pattern when Paul had an opportunity to really launch Stelligent. He and I had already kind of founded a company on the side to work up concepts that were basically improvement in automation generally.
Rob Daly: It was called at the time automation for the people often. A name they probably came up with and coined authority themselves. Anyway, the long and short of that is the company that he had been CTO at was actually folding and it was clear that they had a good start to what would one day become what Stelligent is.
Rob Daly: So we co-founded it together as Paul noted but I was active with this other company 5AM at the time, somewhere around 2007. From there I’ll say Paul was really ahead of the curve. This is very visionary stuff. There were very few people practicing it. There was probably a handful of really key people that were in Paul’s circle at that time that all knew each other and knew of each other.
Rob Daly: And you had to be, as far as I know, a company that was going to adopt this. You had to be an early adopter to be using what they were doing. So as you can imagine, when you’re kind of ahead of the curve like that. You have a bit of a struggle because you’re finding there are already adopters, things are very squishy. Basically for about seven years I’d say Paul did great work with the people and the people that he built into Stelligent at that time.
Rob Daly: But the results were back and forth a bit because it was so early. Now, he of course refined and refined and refined until around 2013 when I was able to exit the other company and then joined him actively with Stelligent at that time.]
John Warrillow: Yeah let’s talk about the 2007 to 2013 phase of the business, Paul, because at that time you are running the company. Rob was sort of in the background a little bit. How would you characterize that period if you could just deal it down to sort of a sound bite. What would you say that those seven years were like or six years were for Stelligent’s history?
Paul Duvall: A slog. No, I had a great time, I mean. When we started the company … What we started the company on and what we founded it on is really what we do today. Even though we’re much much bigger as a company. But what we founded the company on was ultimately to help enterprise customers speed up their ability to deliver software and increase the competence that they were able to do that with.
Paul Duvall: So the tools in terms of how you do that have changed dramatically. So, when we first started working with … From the very beginning we were working with these enterprise marque customers that you’ve heard of. And we were helping them do these things like Rob said. In some cases it was a challenge and then when I got introduced to the Cloud or in particular Amazon web services, but the Cloud in general in 2009.
Paul Duvall: It was still relatively nascent but when I saw how quickly that you’re able to get access to an environment for example. And this would be kind of a compute environment where software systems would run. What I was used to at the time in working with operations teams. It would take six plus weeks just to get a simple environment where you could run your software.
Paul Duvall: And then with AWS we were able to get that done … I could do that in five minutes. I did that at my desk and it was one of those ah ha moments. And then from then on, that’s ultimately what we wanted to do from a technical perspective. But from the business side, it was … Typically, we would be working on one or two large customers at any point in time.
John Warrillow: And what would your revenue had been in and around that time. Like 2013 number of employees or revenues, some proxy for size.
Paul Duvall: Say around when we started we were in 2008 when we really first started operating I guess into 2009. I think we were around $700,000 in the very first year. Rob calls this a thermostat where we had gone up in some cases to $2 million down to $1 million. But we had in some cases people that would work on small projects or projects for stints for example.
Paul Duvall: So we didn’t have necessarily seven employees at any given point in time but we might have a handful of people like what Rob was talking about before. So, I would say around 2013, when Rob started talking about coming to Stelligent full time and basically running the operation being the CEO of the company. We were around a million or so.
John Warrillow: Got it and then what happened? It sounds like there was a bit of an inflection point of a bit of a change in direction in 2013, 2014. Not only did Rob come in but it sounds like you made some strategic decisions and changes. Maybe talk about those would you Rob.
Rob Daly: Sure, well first of all the crucial ones that Paul made even before I locked in and we would talk on the phone but these were all coming from him and focusing exclusively on the Cloud again. It can’t be over stated because for the first time, you could just focus on one environment and not worry about for instance a customer at that time was a large retailer that had its own server farms.
Rob Daly: An entire organization dedicated to stuff that now is behind the wall. We don’t even think about it because it’s all problematically done. So the ability to really build up assets and consistent ways of doing things was heightened tremendously by zeroing in on this emerging AWS, so it’s crucial.
Rob Daly: But the other things that I kind, that I feel I brought to it is I was very comfortable taking a little more risk than Paul. So he was hesitant to hire full time employees. He had I think it was four total employees when I kind of kicked in with him around the beginning of 2014.
Rob Daly: And I joke that one was a nephew and two others were there. And they were really strong people. But that was the extent of the permanent Stelligent and the issue with all these subcontractors was just like with the rest of the thermostat. A job comes in, you tool it up. You have these guys that are wonderfully working together, it’s like a gig to them and then they disappear.
Rob Daly: With them goes your culture, your history, your knowledge. And no, there’s no consistency. So the very first rule we said make it some real simple things. It said let’s build a team, that was our one strategic aim for 2014. We’re not going to be hiring 1099’s anymore. If we do, it will be a temporary to hire kind of situation.
Rob Daly: And that was a very straightforward rule for 2014. And 2015 I think we said let’s make sure our processes are captured and we tool it up and that was our next major goal during 2015. And then by that point, you’re growing and you’re getting consistent and repeatable. Again, all before some real crucial decisions Paul had made just prior to me stepping in.
Rob Daly: And then we were just really basically able to execute on what that vision was and again. I’ve been through this a couple of times with service businesses doing that build that is not rocket science as long as you stay focused, dedicated, thinking about the customer and so on.
Rob Daly: If you’ve got something valuable which is what was crucial, right. Having a really strong clear vision about what we could provide as value. The rest just kind of falls in line.
John Warrillow: Paul, I wonder if you may comment on Rob’s assertion that you were a little risk in 2000, leading up 2014. I think a lot of people listening would relate to your apprehension around hiring full time people. Could you give us a little color on that and how you sort of got over that risk aversion?
Paul Duvall: He’s absolutely correct. I definitely was risk adverse. We had, in some cases … We were working on this one engagement where we had four people working on it and then all of a sudden the funding. This was a US Government project, the funding just completely fell through within a day.
Paul Duvall: It was experiences like that that caused me to be risk adverse throughout the years. There were cases early on working with some of these large enterprises where maybe the checks wouldn’t come through immediately. And it was usually an administration issue more than anything.
Paul Duvall: So there were a number of times where the viability of the company. This is early days like Rob said. I was talking to enterprises about the Cloud or about this new dev ops way of doing things. And sometimes there are the blank stares and things like that.
Paul Duvall: But going back to that time I think as Rob talked about, one of the crucial decisions was really influenced by you John. But this was also influenced by Rob. Even though Rob was not an active part of the business in terms of behavior. He wasn’t an employee, he was basically an advisor but he still had ownership in the company because we had co-founded it.
Paul Duvall: But it was the summer of 2012 and I was going into a prospect meeting. And it was sort of the old school or old guard type of systems integrator. And knew beforehand this is probably not a good way to go into a meeting. But I knew beforehand that the Cloud and that kind of thing wouldn’t resonate with them.
Paul Duvall: And Rob mentioned he thought you’ve got to drop everything that you’re doing. And I want you to get this book Built to Sell. It’s going to change your whole perspective on everything. So I did that and sort of the rest is history because that then influenced us to go all in on AWS because one of Ted’s tips, the very first one is don’t generalize, specialize.
Paul Duvall: So we made the decision when we were finishing up with that large retailer in the beginning of 2013 that we were going to accept. We’re four people like Rob said at this point. We were going to accept doing any work unless it was running on AWS. And we were doing all this enterprise work.
Paul Duvall: I think a couple weeks after that we got this really large company, networking company and they wanted to do business with us. They said we’re not going to do the cloud. So we turned them down and I turned down a number of perspective customers. But what ended up happening, it took some time. And this was also around the time that Rob joined the CEO’s. It’s really a confluence of events.
Paul Duvall: It was both having that specialty, that niche. And by saying no to these projects. We ultimately started getting more work at the same time that the demand within the industry was going up for the work that we were doing. And then from 2014 to now, the demand is really high growth, high demand business. And part having to do with the tight partnership that we have with AWS.
John Warrillow: Rob, would you add anything to that?
Rob Daly: Oh no, I think … I could probably go on but I don’t want to take us off track either. But I think Paul summed that up pretty well.
John Warrillow: I find it fascinating. First of all congratulations and I’m glad they book helped. Talk about the fact that after a little bit of time the idea that you were specialized actually started to accelerate your growth because a lot of people are listening to that and going, you know. I could never do that. I offer a bunch of different services. There’s no way that I could drop all of them to specialize in one.
Paul Duvall: So the misconception is that want to be customer centric. So the customer is asking us to do this thing. But the way I’ve looked at this and the way we ultimately looked at this as a company is that if you get really good in something. If you’re one of the best if not the best in that thing.
Paul Duvall: And in our case, we invested highly in that both in the area of dev ops and continuous delivery and AWS. Our entire company is 100% certified on AWS for example. And by investing in that, when we say no. We’re doing it in the customers best interest.
Paul Duvall: If they say they want to use some other Cloud provider or another way of doing things. In my mind, we’re actually serving their best interest. We are being customer centric because we’re making sure that we’re the best at what we’re providing.
Paul Duvall: It’s like maybe a general practitioner saying that they could do heart surgery and saying well the patient said they wanted heart surgery so I’m going to do it right. We made it a point to say no, we’re not going to do something unless we’re the best at providing that capability to you.
Rob Daly: I’ll add to this one. I think something that I’ve learned even since our fist company was that it really helps to have what I call and it’s a misnomer. I call it a leechable partner. When you’re a little dinky services firm with great people but you don’t have any exposure. No one knows who you are, they don’t see you. Finding good and engagements is crucial. By actually becoming very good with something that you’re own people believe in, in this case was AWS and committing to them.
Rob Daly: You can just see the distance right there. Multi-billion dollar company with all kinds of reach, huge sales channel. And if you can good for their customers and them. Then the business just flows and it comes very naturally. And I think that that also goes very well with your need to specialize.
Rob Daly: I was just talking to a company the other day that is doing just what Paul mentioned. They’re responding to customers, they’re adding capabilities. Not a half hazard way but on an as needed basis. And it distracts them completely in that same way.
Rob Daly: Again, the core stuff that’s been Built to Sell. What to do, what not to do. And I always give people this advice, it’s like find somebody you really believe in that you can dedicate yourself to and let them help you. Especially in the early days to get some great access to some great customers and have some really good experience. And you can’t help but grow in that situation. Anyway, that sounds like a bit of a soapbox.
John Warrillow: No, I love it. I love the leechable partner idea. That’s a cool sort of-
Rob Daly: It sounds like you’re taking and so I like it because I can remember it but if I wanted to give you a more boring name, I’d call it a mutually symbiotic strategic partner.
John Warrillow: I’m going to stick with leechable partner.
Paul Duvall: I do to.
John Warrillow: What other ideas, I’m now curious. What other ideas from Build to Sell did you apply?
Rob Daly: Paul, I’ll let you go.
Paul Duvall: Well say no to projects. I think that’s one of them. We did come up with a three year business plan. And then there was the other one around two year financials and that was … Our virtual CFO which was Foresight CFO which was part of the value about our system. They really help get our books in place prior to us actually selling Stelligent in 2017. So there are a couple-
Rob Daly: A really big one though Paul because I’ve now been through it with different business partners is that we both were able to specify our exit terms. And we basically did our envelope with our magic numbers but way back at day one.
Rob Daly: And we were fortunately very aligned when we did that. So it made the process of building the organization and achieving the exit of very known quantity. There was not a lot of … You know how sometimes people reach their destination without knowing how they were going to get there.
Rob Daly: We had a pretty crisp and easy to handle situation because we had all of two decision making partners, organic and bootstrap. So we didn’t answer to anyone. We defined the culture, we defined everything we wanted ourselves. It makes it very easy and we could just stay deadly focused on achieving that game. That drove our decision making whenever we would get together and plan for the next quarter, for the next year.
John Warrillow: That’s fantastic, I’m glad you’re working with the guys from Foresight who are certified value builders. So let me remind our listeners just a bit of a back story on Module 12. So within the value builders, it’s in their 12. You need Module 12, it’s called the envelope test where you’re really prompted to come up with your magic number.
John Warrillow: Basically the number, your walk away number essentially. And so it looks like Foresight had you guys think about that independently and when you came together there was a reasonable amount of consistency around it which sounds like it helped.
Paul Duvall: Actually in reverse, we actually did that on our own before Foresight. We brought Foresight in when we were starting to grow and the books were looking like they could really use some strategic help.
Paul Duvall: So we were looking for really just a CFO at the time. They fortunately came completely aligned because the very first day we learned of them. That happened to be a CO coaching group. So I met their main guy Kirk Barron and he had me take a value builder assessment, which I did with respect to Stelligent. It was just so aligned because Paul and I already thought that way. We just knew that they were the right guys to bring on.
Rob Daly: And it was a fantastic relationship.
John Warrillow: Fantastic, talk a little bit about the decision to sell. I’d love to know roughly where you were at and I understand you sold in 2017. What was the first inkling that hey, maybe now is the right time to sell? Was it some sort of events that occurred?
Paul Duvall: A couple, one thing. We were probably about half of the revenue generation that we expected to be at the point we were going to start to consider it because I’m very comfortable taking their business to a $10 million value, right. But after that, it gets out of my comfort zone. And also the funds start to end for me because it gets too big and can easily lose its charm that the smaller, more dedicated organization has.
Paul Duvall: So we really thought we were going to go a full other year but our space was so hot. You have to understand that even saying the word dev ops was kind of something that made people’s hair on their backs stand up because they knew it was such a marketing sounding word at the time it was starting to be used.
Paul Duvall: But we did adopt it but that topic was a very hot topic and AWS, very hot topic, come along will say the Spring of 2016. And we started getting so much inbound calls. You know you always get these calls that you reach a certain milestones in terms of size, revenue, whatever.
Paul Duvall: People start to notice you and you start getting inbound calls asking about are just in selling? Do you need representation? All those sorts of things. We were getting so many of them we just thought it would be best to take it seriously and take a look at it.
Rob Daly: In fact, we got five. I think it was within a compressed period of time. It’s like a couple weeks around the beginning of the summer of 2016. And we started looking around and going. Is someone talking to someone about us, it all came in so fast.
John Warrillow: So you’re getting these. Roughly where are you at in terms of size or number of employees at this stage? I’d be curious to know when you, yeah. I’ll let you answer that.
Rob Daly: We were probably in the 30 range where less than 30 were actually billable. We were run pretty tight. So we only had maybe four people that didn’t actually get out there and bill. But we were probably hinting around 30 when we were getting those calls. And although we were hiring fast from our perspective, being bootstrapped.
Rob Daly: We were probably building ourselves much slower than we could have had we had greater resources. We target, just based on our current bill rates and so on. About 50 billable engineers would get us to … We figured that revenue size that we thought would be respectable and make us desired by a larger organization that was looking for a pretty solid repeatable business.
Paul Duvall: Did that answer the question?
John Warrillow: Yeah, so you’re roughly 30 employees at this stage?
Rob Daly: Yes.
John Warrillow: Give or take. Got it, okay. And you’re getting a ton of inbound requests. What happened next? What was your next step in this process?
Rob Daly: Well because we’d been through this in different ways before. And we were working with our Foresight CFO and we were doing it specifically to prepare ourselves for what we thought was a year after. So we really just consulted with each other first about let’s go find someone that can represent us. Help us put together a confidential information memorandum, a book to help us with the identification of potential buyers. To help us build through those potential buyers.
Rob Daly: They would run that process and keep us a part from it. The usual broker advisor kind of function that helps us to stay focused on the business while the broker advisor is out there trying to figure out who’s serious and who’s not. And what we can find from potential targets for acquisition or our next step.
Rob Daly: Does that make sense? So we basically looked at six advisors probably. We knew a few of them already in the DC area. We found some … I’ll give you a shout out not only for our advisor, we’ll eventually mention. But one that we did not go with actually helped to find our eventual acquirer HOSTING.
Rob Daly: And that was Harbor Capital out in California and somehow Cyrus had found us there and introduced themselves as a potential advisor for us. But in the end we ended up choosing MobileSolve and Steve Gaynor. But that process was probably a couple of months, would you say Paul? Just picking who was going to take us?
Paul Duvall: Yeah so, within that two week period around June when … It was a couple strategics that came after us, all system private equity firms. In some ways with some of the private equity in particular I think we were gently encouraged. We can expedite this process and maybe not use an advisor. That kind of thing.
Paul Duvall: And immediately again, we thought Built to Sell. Get your advisor and so that was the next step that we went through. And that ultimately I guess in July I think, 2016 we spent. Yeah probably, at least a month or so interviewing different candidates that mainly I think, Rob, that you had found through your network.
John Warrillow: And so how did you choose Steve over the others? You mentioned his name was Steve Gaynor, is that right?
Rob Daly: Steve Gaynor, yes. He works out of Tucson Arizona amazingly. He’s been all over the place. Well first of all he was highly recommended by Foresight CFO. So he came to us … We didn’t know of him until they brought him to our attention.
Rob Daly: But then we also got to talk with Steve and everybody puts together their own little pitch for you and some people do a better job of that than others. Steve, although I think our space was new to him. He might imagine what will solve the name we kind of laugh at a lot because his typical space is telecom and mobile stuff.
Rob Daly: That’s where he’s usually helping deals happen. But he got what we did pretty quickly. He really got it and he went really with a very crisp message back to us about what it was going to be. He wasn’t the cheapest and he wasn’t the most expensive.
Rob Daly: But he had a very very solid way of describing what he did and ironically, typically I should say. Paul and I would go hear a pitch from a potential. And we’d walk out and one of us wouldn’t like one of the others. And with Steve that was the first time both of us were like, this guy sounds good. And we knew it just sounded right.
Paul Duvall: And he was a late entry. We thought we were going to be making a decision based on whatever that first group of five or six or whatever it was.
John Warrillow: And did Steve give you a sense in that early conversation in what he thought the business was worth.
Rob Daly: Oh definitely, yeah. And that was the interesting thing because he basically gave us what he thought would be a pretty big range. But even his low end range did not laugh at us when we told him what we thought we could hopefully achieve or what we aim to achieve.
John Warrillow: What did he say you thought it was worth and what did you guys have in your mind that you wanted to sell for?
Rob Daly: Paul, why don’t you answer this one because I’m going to let you kind of put it in your terms. But basically his range was … Our number was inside. Our magic numbers were inside of his range. So, that’s the crucial thing.
Paul Duvall: Yeah, that’s accurate.
John Warrillow: Got it and so you guys … We talked a little bit before we hit record. You couldn’t talk exactly about what the business sold for. But you kind of gave a sense of what similar companies roughly, just a broad range of what you thought it might be? Kind of in the range of.
Paul Duvall: For the type of company that we are and the work that we do and the high growth, high demand kind of work. That usually you’re going to find a multiple two times revenue. So, when we were hearing something like a two times revenue and especially based on our current trajectory in terms of revenue.
Paul Duvall: It was going to align with our needs based on our magic number that we had. Rob did we actually put it in an envelope. I think we did it at Starbucks or something like that.
Paul Duvall: You get enough apparently.
John Warrillow: Awesome, and so Steve kind of thought that was reasonable and didn’t balk at that or fall out his chair when you said that?
Paul Duvall: Correct, as a matter of fact he encourages to press on and so yeah.
John Warrillow: And talk to us about that Starbucks meeting because I guess a lot of people listening will struggle with the question, what’s your walkaway number? It seems like you guys were pretty aligned and you came to it relatively quickly. Maybe talk a little bit about some of the thinking that you did to arrive at that number.
Rob Daly: Sure, do you want me to go first Paul or-
Paul Duvall: Sure.
Rob Daly: So I’ve done the magic number with my first business as well and in that case it didn’t actually take it to an outside sale. We brought in a CEO to run it for us because my partner and I in that business. We’re what I would regard more like Paul in this business.
Rob Daly: The technical vision came from my partner and I both but we were total goops when it came to running a business. We had to learn everything as we went and he always shied away from doing the business stuff and I part grudgingly in part because I’m not that great of a tech. I actually moved into more of the leadership side but I still am completely uncomfortable.
Rob Daly: So I brought in a CEO who in turn brought into a great CFO who also had great connections to private equity. So the business was happily running. My partner in that business, it was a 50/50 thing. He was happy to just kind of kick back and do his thing and let these guys run. And I felt like I think I’m done with this. I want to move on to the next thing.
Rob Daly: So again, I’ve been chided by my advisor Brian Burns that we’re coming up with the magic number. And saying that this is my magic number, can we make this work? And I knew it was outside the balance of what that company was worth. But because there is such potential without a broker. We did it on this great machination and came up with fake ways to get me that number even though the value was not quite there.
Rob Daly: So in a similar way coming into Stelligent the experience was already there about, well that’s a pretty good magic number but now. That was fun but let’s see if we can push it a little more, at least from my perspective. They can get a little bit more out of it right out of the gate. And then also just having an understanding of … I’ve heard people say stuff like I don’t want to work ever again or something like that.
Rob Daly: But I just wanted to basically look at the business and go I can either stay in this business and earn what I call an entrepreneur salary for 10 more years. Entrepreneur salary meaning you’re not taking out of the business. You’re totally reinvesting, you’re bootstrapping so you reinvest it as you go. And you’re not giving yourselves huge vacations, huge salaries or anything like that, bonuses.
Rob Daly: You do that deliberately because you need to have and you’re looking for that exit. There’s plenty of people out there that never want an exit. They want that business for ever. In that case, they take a different approach to make sure that business really generates the right cash for themselves personally along the way. Hopefully they do.
Rob Daly: But the key thing here being that it’s just literally a magic number that would kind of sustain our families’ lifestyle and what we wanted to do given that I could be spending time doing something else. So I literally look at what it takes to invest five, six, seven years in a business. And then make sure that I’m getting that effective reward for it. But Paul, would you like to explain your magic. How you came to your magic number.
Paul Duvall: Yeah, I think we picked an even number ultimately. No I mean, I think it was what I looked at was enough to be financially comfortable. I had no plans on retiring or going off into the sunset. But I also had a reticence to build the company past a certain point.
Paul Duvall: Kind of like what Rob was talking about in terms of how sort of the comfort level of how big a company. And 30 people or so is kind of starting to get to that point. We are also, I’m sort of jumping ahead because the act. When we actually sold and when we started getting approached by people that wanted to buy us because then that changed the view a little bit as well.
Paul Duvall: But it didn’t ultimately change the magic number. Ultimately, something in which we were still comfortable in terms of the size of company. We were bootstrapping it so we knew that there would be some pressure, financial pressure in terms of building that past a certain point.
John Warrillow: Got it, got it. Okay, that’s helpful for sure. I think people do appreciate the thought process behind coming up with the number. So let’s get back into the sale. So you engaged Steve, what happened next? Was Steve successful in bringing you some offers? What do they look like?
Paul Duvall: Yeah, well how many companies-
Rob Daly: Yeah we actually thought it and put it down in a list. Might have exceeded 100, you know.
Paul Duvall: Something like that, yeah.
Rob Daly: It got a little dicey. At times you’re wondering the very people that you think might be interested in you are the ones that you don’t necessarily want to know that you’re thinking about this. It’s a touchy little situation so we kind of juggle with that for ourselves. And kind of did some self filtering on our own of ones that we didn’t think would be appropriate or not.
John Warrillow: How did you stick handle that because it’s a really important question, right? There are people out there who could be. It could be a problem if they know you’re selling. How did you deal with that? Can you give me a specific example of somebody?
Rob Daly: Oh sure, there is … Again, we have very close relationships with some, I’ll call them frenemies, competitors that you know and you run across all the time. And when you have a close relationship with them you tend to be more open and honest. I personally am not afraid to have those conversations with those organizations.
Rob Daly: So you have to know their drivers and have them vetted at least personally to feel good about sharing things like or not. For others when we perhaps didn’t know any of the key players and we knew they were really present in our competitors set.
Rob Daly: It really was a pretty simple decision to just kind of stay away from them because they either weren’t big enough to substantially identify something. They were really close in terms of size or they were right in our space and probably best not to go that route.
John Warrillow: How did you determine if someone was too small to approach as a potential acquirer? [crosstalk 00:43:26]
Rob Daly: If they were similarly. The ones that were similarly organic in bootstrap probably did not … Actually one of our offers was what I would call a roll of similarly sized businesses but it was being driven by a private equity firm.
Rob Daly: So that was the large wallet was out there but in other cases where people are still solo and they’re still relatively small. I don’t know if that’s a good decision or not but you kind of dismiss them as they’re not going to have the pockets to handle this. We weren’t looking for a roll up necessarily.
Paul Duvall: I remember we did get some guidance from I think Steve and maybe John and some others over at Foresight in terms of the size of company too. I think we were targeting maybe up to 100 million dollar range and not much pass that. And then also not too small where it wouldn’t be-
Rob Daly: Yeah, not too small.
John Warrillow: At Value Builder we do this thing called the short list builder where we identify companies that are between five and twenty times your size.
Paul Duvall: There you go, that’s exactly what they do. That’s what it was.
John Warrillow: Is that what you guys did, short list builder? So short list builder, it’s five to twenty times and that really. If it’s less than five times the size. It’s that the company decision, that means it’s very hard for a company less large to make an acquisition.
John Warrillow: And any more than 20 times is really not going to move the needle. So that doesn’t always hold true but sounds like in this case, that’s sort of how they oriented around who the likely buyers would be.
Rob Daly: That’s actually a lesson learned in this case because it’s actually true that this was such a unique service that some rather large companies that dwarf that number were interested in participating. So I think that’s … so again, maybe there was either a strategic need or for a component of their business. Or where they thought they needed to go that definitely came into play. But yeah, we did follow that general guideline.
John Warrillow: So you got to the offer stage. How many actual firm offers did you get for Stelligent?
Rob Daly: I think, correct me if I’m wrong.
Paul Duvall: It was three.
Rob Daly: But I think, yeah three.
Paul Duvall: So we had ultimately a list of … so between August and November of 2016 we had that list that we were going through. I think it got to around 50 or 60 companies that we looked at as a possibility and I think we ended up meeting. I’m sorry, we had calls with close to 15. Somewhere between 10 and 15 customers. And then we had in person visits during that point in time. And that was about, I think about six or seven companies.
Rob Daly: Seven.
Paul Duvall: Yeah seven companies that we actually visited in person. Did the management presentation, that kind of thing. And then in November we got letters of interest and then in December a letter of intent.
John Warrillow: What’s the difference between the two?
Rob Daly: One’s binding no shop, once the letter of intent was the no shop clause kind of stuff comes out where the letters of interest we were continuing to just kind of … We’re hearing from people but they were not getting commitments back from us to not keep looking.
Paul Duvall: And they also painted the broad how much, basically a two page letter that would go over generally what the purchase price would be, retention, things like that. Kind of a broad brush on what the deal would ultimately look like.
John Warrillow: Let me talk directly to my listeners here. So letter of interest, a little bit more vague. A letter of intent, Paul mentioned or excuse me Rob mentioned the no shop clause essentially with most LOI’s or letters of intent. There is a no shop clause which means that you basically agree that for a period of 30, 60, 90 days usually. You do diligence that you agree not to continue to market your company or negotiate with anyone else. That you’re essentially getting into bed or engaging to be married with one acquirer.
John Warrillow: And it’s at that point you lose your negotiation leverage. And so it’s a not a decision you want to take lightly and clearly in this case, you guys did not do that. You took that quite seriously it sounds like.
Rob Daly: Definitely, one thing I’ll not though is going back to lessons learned. We talked about but did not require a breakup fee because once you lock into that one organization you’re kind of burning some cycles and if it doesn’t go through it would be nice to be able to at least recoup the energy devoted and the cost.
Rob Daly: We were discouraged from doing it by our advisor which was great because he’s been through enough of these and only because he thought it was going to … He had read the situation and thought it would be wise to just skip that. So I don’t know if that’s a lesson learned but it was something certainly to be aware of.
Rob Daly: That it’s not a minor process to do diligence and all these other things. And it’s something that would be worth having. We lucked out because we concluded it favorably but had it not come through. It would have been time and money lost.
John Warrillow: Yeah so break up fee, I think you’re absolutely right in a large enterprise situation. Like IBM is going to buy, I don’t know, HP or GM is going to buy Ford. There would definitely be a breakup fee paid if the deal didn’t go through. And the kinds of deals that we talk a little bit about on this show.
John Warrillow: I would say it’s rare. I don’t think I’ve ever heard, we’ve now done over 200 episodes. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a breakup fee being successfully negotiated by a seller. It’s something that is almost always removed because there just isn’t the leverage from the seller’s perspective to get it done. I don’t know if you guys have seen experiences. Was that sort of what Steve said or something similar?
Rob Daly: Probably.
Paul Duvall: That was very good insight John.
Rob Daly: I had no clue about size mattering in that case as long as the fee was reasonable. But absolutely, that probably is where his head was at having been through it and knowing exactly the same sorts of things that you know.
John Warrillow: Interesting, so you got three offers. As you read through the offers, what was your reaction?
Rob Daly: One stood our financially and that’s not the first time we’ve seen that. Somebody really wanted it and that was interesting. And they were really varied. There was different characteristics, culture fit was phenomenal in this one. The proximity was really good on this one.
Rob Daly: The client base was good on that one. It’s a different element of what’s going to make this a good deal. They were all very different. Paul, is there anything else that you want to add?
Paul Duvall: Yeah I mean somewhere also what was really important to us as well is how our employees would be treated and so in some cases there were incentives around that for some of the key employees for example.
John Warrillow: So one of the offers stood out financially. Was that the one you ultimately went with?
Rob Daly: Yes it was.
John Warrillow: And so what else made that the winning bid? So it was financially the most lucrative but were there other things that made it stand out as being attractive?
Rob Daly: Yes, no earnout was crucial. I don’t know if this is a detail we’re not supposed to share but they arranged for timed payments but a lot of deals are often predicated on the fact that the growth will continue and you’ll hit magic numbers going forward.
Rob Daly: Once you’re in another organization, having control over that kind of goes away. You’re giving up control and it puts a lot of deals at risk and therefore a lot of what seems on paper to be reward, very risky.
Rob Daly: And I understand the reason why an acquirer might want to put burn out kind of details on but that was just something very specific that makes a deal look less attractive. And so in this case there was definitely a metering but there was to a direct tie. The company knew and knew very well what they wanted to do with Stelligent. And were able to accept that that was not necessarily something they had to kind of dangle in front of us as a carrot.
Paul Duvall: Yeah and I’ll add a couple other things. One is the company host in this case that was acquiring us is a managed services provider and so they had … One of the things we had tried to and it was elusive for us. Was to prioritize our services more. Kind of standardize the services for providing so that we could ultimately help more customers.
Paul Duvall: And they had a thousand plus customers, different types of customers. But I saw that as a potential opportunity for us to help even more because at the time we had probably 10 customers or so. They were all enterprise customers and it’s relatively large projects for them.
Paul Duvall: As a type of company we are, so that was a draw. Also the people we met, the executives that we met. Through and through, just a great group of people. So I felt we were very much in sync with what they wanted to do.
Rob Daly: I’ll add that I let Paul make the final decision. He was the larger shareholder and this to me was Paul’s company and I was simply a helper. And so it was crucial that Paul made that call and I can tell you without being specific that we did have differences of opinion about what would be …One path or another would be ultimately the best.
Rob Daly: Minor and definitely agreeable with everything but it was crucial that again, if some of your listeners are out there and you have to make multiple owners happy. That can become really tough to make a decision, a good decision because once again.
Rob Daly: You have a point where you have to align and in our case it was crystal clear. How do I make this decision? It’s his company. He’s going to be able to drive it and whether or not I was in 100% in agreement or not didn’t matter. And being to go into it with that mindset made the decision making much easier.
John Warrillow: Rob, you sound quite differential to Paul. Throughout the interview, you’ve been very quick to make it clear-
Paul Duvall: He usually not like that, I’m really surprised.
John Warrillow: Paul, was the real leader and visionary here. You’ve started a couple of businesses yourself and had successful exits. And so I wonder if … Well first of all I just wanted to say that’s refreshing. A lot of entrepreneurs its hard bizarre not to take credit. Is that intentional on your behalf that you’re taking that position?
Rob Daly: It’s genuine, Paul’s right. I’m kind of hard to work with just in case anybody’s out there and looking for somebody to help them out. And I think Paul has quoted today, he was like “Remember this. Don’t get into business with Rob again.” Other than that, I definitely believe, and I’ll tell you this is funny.
Rob Daly: Once again, you are on Brian Burn’s B2B Leadership podcast as well. And I finally heard and I knew he was talking about me. When he said my friend, my buddy and he’s wrong by the way. But when I exited I knew exactly what I was doing and I wanted to take it easy on this one.
Rob Daly: Afterwards and really think about what I was going to do next before jumping in. But what I’ve decided, he has this phrase he uses. He goes you keep making these little sand castles like a kid and then running through the place. And every time you sell them, before you give them a chance to really mature and get bigger.
Rob Daly: And again, he doesn’t understand the way our business is operated necessarily. I know he’s a very good business insight but he’s not in the trenches with it. So he doesn’t get that. But I did decide … I’ve realized that hey, I do have a kind of a skill to help people that are very technically focused to take away the unsavory stuff. And contribute that kind of what I think a technician typically finds unsavory.
Rob Daly: And kind of fill in the gaps for the stuff that is either less attractive or maybe is just daunting or inexperienced. Whatever, you name the combo. But it also allows the person with the real vision, the technical vision. The value vision to be able to focus on providing that, defining it and helping to be the culture of the whole organization with the really meaningful stuff.
Rob Daly: And then this other stuff, especially for a small service of business is fairly. I don’t want to call it expendable but it’s fairly straight forward. As long as again, you just don’t do something stupid. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. You can move along pretty well and I think it’s absolutely true.
Rob Daly: Like deferred upon on all of this as far as this is his business. The reason it was successful and it’s his vision. But I was just there to help give it some guard rails. So moving forward rather than run through another sand castle I’ve now got a concept of finding more pods if you will.
Rob Daly: And bringing them in into the core business and let the core stay beyond an acquisition or an investment into the pod. And let the pod go from a very small state to a very mature state. So get it up over 10 million in value before it moves on and departs or detaches from the core. I don’t really have a title for what I’m conceiving there but I call it “any stupid idea” at the moment is a working title.
John Warrillow: You might need to tighten that up a little bit but-
Rob Daly: Yeah I’ve been advised not to use that name.
John Warrillow: Just to go back to the acquisition. So you had these three offers. One stood out both commercially but also to your point, Paul, about some of the deal terms. Did you try to play one off the other a little bit and get a little bit of extra value by creating a little bit of an auction?
Paul Duvall: That really occurred I would say prior to the letter of intent. Or are you talking about the letter of interest?
John Warrillow: Well either way, I’d be just curious to know how you did that.
Paul Duvall: I wouldn’t say we specifically played one off the other. At least I don’t recall that. I do know that we continue and that’s one of the challenges. You’re continuing to run the business as you’re trying to sell the business.
Paul Duvall: And I think during that time in some cases we were … For example, we had a very large well known strategic customer, a large bank that we had signed during the process. And so in many ways that elevated at least our own perceived value. But I don’t really remember having one go off the other.
Rob Daly: All that though that Steve actually ran a lot of this process for us. He was having these kinds of conversations and he’s quite depth at knowing what to exploit and what not to exploit. And I can almost recall that at least in a couple of occasions he did exactly that.
Rob Daly: He kind of made mention of respected values what was probably going to work, what wasn’t going to work. What we liked, what we didn’t like and so on. To try and influence refinement and improvements in the office.
John Warrillow: One of the things that I’d be curious about was the decision to focus on AWS. Obviously AWS is a juggernaut, it’s grown. Amazon, obviously a massive and successful company that’s just increasingly in value over time. How did the decision to focus exclusively on AWS impact the conversations you had with acquirers?
Rob Daly: Every one of them was excited about that, there’s no question. One, only one I think was not truly dedicated to that.
Paul Duvall: Yeah, they wanted to know if we were open to working with other Cloud providers. And I think the answer at the time was we were always exploring. We’re always looking at the market but it was only for the most part. It was only perceived as positive especially when it got narrowed down to a few.
John Warrillow: Were you in any ways dependent on AWS? Did you have the flexibility to switch horses and go to Rackspace or one of the other, Google?
Rob Daly: Well actually internally we felt both of the other two competitors as you’re in the Google Cloud platform were relatively immature and business space was not that great yet.
Rob Daly: However, we were in open conversations with Google Cloud platform to basically have some of our engineers get educated on basically the similar functionality that where we work in Stelligent. And be prepared as that competitor came into prominence and the same with Azure.
Rob Daly: We had people that were equally interested to spend time with it but we weren’t being approached by Azure to do anything like that. At least to my knowledge. I don’t remember us being approached.
Paul Duvall: Yeah and the other part wasn’t just technical. It was also the deep relationship that had been built over, what was that, six years, five years at that point. Where we had relationships across all facets of AWS and that led to in some cases a majority of referrals that we would get would come through AWS.
Rob Daly: But that’s also why we kept the awareness quiet and kept it very much a Skunk Works thing and we in no way did we want it. It’s true we definitely were dependent on AWS. It was a large chain, it was our reachable partner. We had as Paul noted, just built up a lot of good will and good relationships with a lot of people there.
Rob Daly: And there’s plenty of AWS partners who are much more agnostic but we thought it was really important that we kind of remain dedicated and send that message publicly to all of our customers and prospective customers as well.
John Warrillow: That’s helpful for sure. You know it’s a fascinating sale. So the sale went through I guess in early 2017. Hosting bought the company. They ran it for a year or so but recently Stelligent was in turn acquired or HOSTING divested of it. And Mphasis bought the company according public statements for 25 million dollars. Just curious to know what your reaction was to that announcement and what Hosting did with it and ultimately the emphasis of acquisition.
Paul Duvall: So we went through and in this case it was me and the new CEO. So Rob had left Stelligent after the integration. So, basically around September of 2017. And so in the beginning of 2018 or so, we went through a very similar process. Different advisor and company and it was run through HOSTING and in the private equity firm associated with HOSTING.
Paul Duvall: And so we visited again with probably seven different companies in person. There was a lot done for us behind the scenes as well but myself and the CEO of Mphasis Stelligent now went through this process. And ultimately what we decided because when we were working with HOSTING, we were sort of going down market in terms of the types of customers we were working with. And applying dev ops on a AWS.
Paul Duvall: As a separate Stelligent brand, we were focusing on enterprise work. The same kind of work that we had been doing over the year and effectively tried to make it work. How do we make this work with smaller and mid sized companies?
Paul Duvall: We made a decision ultimately that we needed to partner up with another company that was like minded in the sense of the types of companies we’re working with. And so, we went through the whole diligence process with Mphasis.
Paul Duvall: So I was very much involved in that along with our CEO Bill on that. But now we have very similar types of customers. Financial services, large banks, things like that. And so it’s very much I line with the type of work that we do. And then from the Mphasis side it’s really investing in the Cloud and in AWS in this case. So that’s one of the reasons that we were attracted to them.
John Warrillow: I guess maybe to put it another way, was there a part of you at all that thought, that’s a big number? Maybe we left some money on the table.
Paul Duvall: Rob can probably speak to that a little bit. I didn’t have, I mean yes. I think about that. Yes, I think about that. When we went through the process, we had to put your number inside the enveloped number. And I felt perfectly fine with that because there’s a risk to continuing to bootstrap a company.
Paul Duvall: Every single month we were taking the profit from the company. It was fully bootstrapped, take the profit from the company. Put it back in to hire people and the way I described it is that we were threading the needle along the way. We had this high demand business and we were putting all that profit back.
Paul Duvall: If a customer didn’t pay us, in some cases that could be an existential challenge. So no, I don’t have regrets on it. Do I think about it, sure. Rob, what are your thoughts on this one?
Rob Daly: Oh, again I’ll put it on Paul. It was his decision.
John Warrillow: Here we go. It’s all Paul’s fault right.
Paul Duvall: And Rob is out of the picture in some ways at that point too but yeah. Seeing the number.
Rob Daly: I’ll tell you this too John. Paul is working on a book very diligently at the point where we got into this process. And boy-
Paul Duvall: I had stopped at that point but yeah.
Rob Daly: I know but he was really … He’s really dedicated to doing something. So he’s kind of focused on certain things that really kept him out of the day to day right around the time of the preparation for the exit. And then he came back in again to help move along.
Rob Daly: But it was certainly that and then I think I was able to put ahead a second line of credit basically provided to the company as a buffer. That’s how fast, we were growing fast but not fast enough for a bank to really soup up our line of credit. So we were kind of committing our own cash at this point to kind of cover those cash flow pains.
Rob Daly: One of the biggest things that our CFO did again was help us get better predictive tools in place so that we could avoid any kind of crunches. And really have a good full view of how things are going. But it was clear that without some sort of additional investment.
Rob Daly: Whether it was more energy or more capital. We were going to probably be in a painful growth here because we were going to exceed our ability to comfortably deal with it. And I’ll tell you this. That is the number one reason Stelligent has been able to grow as it has post HOSTING acquisitions because HOSTING was there as a wonderful provider.
Rob Daly: People don’t see it day to day but you know that HOSTING was there to basically be that cash flow buffer as needed to help Stelligent do what it needed to do to grow basically twice its size in that year and a half. So to continue with 100% growth like that.
Rob Daly: You’re going to get 100% kind of offer improvement, it’s going to happen. And the topic is still how I ball that. So I definitely, like Paul, I look at it like yeah. It would have been nice but again, do the old the reason I’m wealthy is I keep selling too early and I like living comfortably that way in knowing that we’ve taken our chips off the table.
Rob Daly: We’ve made it more relaxing for our respective families. And there’s lots of juiciness to go and do more stuff after this. This is not a one business for life kind of thing for Paul and I.
John Warrillow: I love that term Rob, did you come up with that? The reason I’m wealthy is I keep selling too early.
Rob Daly: No, one of our other advisors from the 5AM era Jonathan Catherwood. Also in Middleburg by the way, phenomenal guy. He always quotes it as being a Warren Buffett thing but if you Google it you’ll find a couple other names. The internet is just full of crap, I don’t know.
Rob Daly: I have no idea what the real source is but he often said that because here he said the other thing he sees is too many CEO’s are too confident that the chart is going up into the right and it always does. And what happens is it doesn’t.
Rob Daly: But we had a good friend who ultimately had a great exit from a company that he almost sold two other times over a span of I don’t remember, 15 years, 20 years. That was a long slog for him right. And it’s because you get to a point. It’s a good point. You know you’re in good shape. You know the market is right for what you author.
Rob Daly: And if you don’t take that opportunity, times could change. And that up and to the right mentality is just not healthy. It’s what we strive for but that’s why it’s so important. You begin with the end of mine. That magic number was something we felt was a good thing to do.
Rob Daly: So you can look at it and go again, I’ll get beat up when I go to my next dinner with Brian Burns. He’ll say you sold too early. But the point is that we got there pretty painlessly and without a lot of setbacks. It was a good deal for HOSTING and that’s really good.
Rob Daly: You’re not only leaving with something for yourself but the people that made the investment in you are also benefiting as well. So that’s really crucial to kind of leave a nice trail of successes versus somebody feeling they got the short end of the stick as well. All right, enough of the soap box, sorry about that.
John Warrillow: No, just love it. And guys I appreciate you sharing your story. Super great hopefully guys at Foresight for putting this together. It’s just a great story and I’m so happy for both of you. Is there a place that you want to point people to if they wanted to reach out on some level? Maybe we’ll start with Rob, do you take LinkedIn requests? Or is there a Twitter feed? What’s the best way if people wanted to reach out and say hi?
Rob Daly: I’m kind of low key right now but a simple Gmail address, RobertJosephDaly@gmail. My mobile is 202-657-3246. Feel free to text. And yeah, you can find me on LinkedIn. I’ll definitely accept all requests.
John Warrillow: Well that’s a first. Somebody giving out their mobile phone number. I hope that doesn’t come back to bite you in the ass.
Rob Daly: Everyone at Stelligent somehow gave out my number and so I get calls from headhunters, sales people all the time looking for someone at Stelligent. That’s painful.
John Warrillow: Paul, how about you? What’s the best way for people to reach out to you?
Paul Duvall: Yeah the best way people find me is on Twitter. So the handle is Paul Duval, P-a-u-l-D-u-v-a-l-l, that’s two l’s. And then you can find I think my LinkedIn is off of my Twitter.
John Warrillow: And I asked you earlier, any relation to the famous actor Robert and you said …
Paul Duvall: I said that I actually see him at the coffee shop from time to time. So he lives about 10 miles away from where I live.
John Warrillow: And it’s super handy for dinner reservations.
Paul Duvall: Absolutely.
John Warrillow: But no actual biological relationship as far as I can tell.
Paul Duvall: As far as I know.
John Warrillow: As far as we know. Rob, Paul this was great. Thanks for joining us.
Paul Duvall: Thank you John.