Bob Barker Talks about His CEO Coaching Business
Where are you from originally?
Born and raised in Corpus Christi (graduated from Calallen High School)
What university did you go to?
BA with Honors, UT Austin; attended one year of Ph.D. program at Princeton before leaving to pursue a career in software
What brought you to Austin?
The first time was attending UT Austin and graduating BA with Honors (psychology major, math minor); moved to New Jersey and attended grad school at Princeton, then moved back to Austin; recruited to Richardson in 1987; recruited to Michigan in 2003; recruited to Austin in 2006
What is your passion and strength?
Developing a clear vision for growth and supporting it with productive partnerships
What need does it fulfill?
Working with the CEO to clearly define an exit strategy, together we craft a vision for growth aligned with the requirements of potential acquirers. Working with the management team, we produce and implement action plans for partnerships, acquisitions, and strategic products that accelerate the company's move toward an exit.
What exactly do you bring to startups?
Senior management experience at several startups and several major companies in product strategy, strategic partnering, marketing, and business development
What type of startup would benefit from your strengths?
High tech, searching for the right growth strategy, needing to partner with high profile companies for marketing clout, access to customer base, bigger combined solution, etc.
What was the most challenging aspect of starting up a business?
The toughest part for most tech companies is finding a repeatable sales model, i.e. defining a narrative that resonates with and produces value for a clearly identifiable group of prospective customers. Once that’s done, you can focus all your energies there.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs?
Focus on the business value you provide rather than the technology. Of course, starting off as a “tech head” I definitely place a high value on great technology, but you dramatically increase your chances of future misery and low ROI by pursing an “if I build it, they will come” strategy. Find the pain and gain a deep understanding of it as early as possible, then let addressing it drive product and services development.
What Austin-based resource have you found to be the most helpful and why?
Austin is blessed with a multitude of great resources for entrepreneurs and some really knowledgeable people who want to help you get started. Choosing the right ones to work with is highly dependent on the stage and type of your venture.
Just to mention a few: Austin Technology Council, ATI, Austin Entrepreneurs Network (of course!), TechBA, TechRanch, Texas Venture Labs, Vistage… the list is long!