Andre Durand

Discovering life, one mistake at a time.
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Creating Wealth

December 11, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

Scott Davis, one of my EO brothers had a great quote last night.

1. Concentrate your position to create wealth.
2. Diversify your position to protect wealth.

I don’t know that I’ve quite appreciated the beauty and simplicity of these statements.

Balancing Extremes

December 11, 2009 By: Andre Category: Entrepreneurism, Musings

One of the hardest things to do as a CEO is to determine where in the shades of gray to land between long-term and short term, between strategic goals and tactical mandates. And how to change the mix as the market changes, resources change and competitive situations change.

I’ve heard two great quotes which summarize the extreme endpoints of the decision making spectrum, as it relates to product related decisions and quality.

1. Anything worth doing is worth doing well.
2. There’s nothing worse than doing well, that which no-one cares about.

In an early stage company, you’re not quite sure what the market wants, so it’s not unusual to go a bit broad, and a bit shallow. In this period of the product life-cycle, you’re essentially trying to avoid mistake #2 above.

As the market matures, and as the customer feedback loop matures, one has a better understanding of what the customer wants, and then you need to make sure that you don’t forget to circle back around, and close the loop on #1.

Berkonomics

December 10, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

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Dave Berkus was one of my first mentors, and was an investor and board member of my first company, Durand Communications (circa 1993-1998). Dave is a true entrepreneur, who’s been coaching and mentoring entrepreneurs for the bulk of his professional career. His practical advice and pattern recognition on what it takes to succeed in business is exceptional. Now he’s consolidating his knowledge and is offering it from a new blog, in addition to a recently published new book.

I read his blog regularly and if your a budding entrepreneur, I recommend you do the same.

Measuring Success

December 07, 2009 By: Andre Category: About Me

A new email acquaintance asked me a fairly profound question the other day, “how do I measure success?” I found myself introspective and realizing that my answer depended on the context of course, but also realizing that my answer has changed with the years.

Recently, I find myself keeping score differently. I’m evaluating my contribution (and measuring success) over the big picture more than I have in my past. I value the movie more than the single frame snapshot. In business, this translates my valuing sustainable growth over simply ‘growth’ at any one moment in time, with the emphasis on ‘sustainable.’

Let me explain why.

I believe that productivity gains through specialization is a wonderful thing, but when things become very compartmentalized, one unintended consequence is that it can distance people from the outcome, or the downstream ramifications of their decisions. When cause and effect become too distanced, we lose track of the true cost of any one action. This, in my opinion, is a bad thing. Much of the default credit swapping that was going on prior to our recent meltdown showed how when you push risk too far from those that should care about it, bad things can happen.

While not a precise analogy, the notion that a factory could produce cheap goods while emitting a lot of pollution showcases the problem. The factory get’s rich, people who purchase the goods benefit from cheaper prices, but those that live in or around the factory bear a health cost that wasn’t fully accounted for in the profits taken by the factory. In effect, the factory has externalized a cost of doing business, making it ‘someone else problem.’ If one measured ‘success’ and only accounted for the profits of the factory, you would say the factory was successful. However, if you measured success and accounted for the factories true societal cost of doing business (bad health in and around the factory), you’d come to a different conclusion.

Fact is, when you measure success over a longer horizon, you’ll notice that it’s harder to get rich quick and not create externalities (e.g. costs) that have to be born somewhere, often times to society as a whole.

Responsible growth is growth that can be sustained.

I respect that.

A long ways to go…

November 30, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life, Musings

Over the weekend, I got a call from a very close friend who is on the verge of losing his home. I have several other friends who are on the brink of their own financial meltdown. I have other friends in the commercial real estate sector who confirm for me everything I’ve been hearing about the impending commercial real estate collapse. And now we’re beginning to understand how all of the craziness we’ve read about for years with private equity firms buying up various corporations is going to come crumbling down under the shear weight of the debt they brought on their various acquired companies.

And I can’t tell you how many baby-boomers I know of who have little to no savings, or have been riding the good times on their over-inflated home valuations.

All of this to me spells a lot of pain in our financial future as a country.

I’m sick and tired of seeing new shopping malls erected. We need more real businesses producing real goods that compete on the world stage, not more ways to spend money we don’t have.

Health Care Reform

November 02, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

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I’ve done a poor job keeping myself informed on the current status of many of our nations most pressing debates. Health care is just the most recent. And then I came across this 54 slide presentation, which BTW was apparently voted one of the best presentations in some recent contest.

King of Pop = Gifted + A LOT OF HARD WORK

October 31, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

mgWent to see the new Michael Jackson movie that just came out with the girls last night. I highly recommend it. Not because it’s entertaining, but because you get a glimpse into the mind of clearly the most talented pop singer ever. No question about it. The guy’s talents are so off the charts he might as well be from another planet.

But that’s not the inspirational part. A guy like Michael could easily just decide to walk on stage and free-form a concert, no problem, but the amount of work he put into practicing every single move (all 50,000 of them), the lighting, the music and his crew is so ridiculously insane so as to be nearly unbelievable unless you saw it.

Want to be great? You’ve got to do the work. Want to be a superstar? You’ve got to have Gods gifts, AND do the work. The bar is high to live that large.

Lake Powell 2009 with EO Forum

October 22, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

Once a year I get together with 8 of my fellow entrepreneurs organization forum members for a retreat of self-exploration, reflection and goal setting. The entire group is amazing, and the trust we’ve built over the years is rare and special.

This year was my turn to organize, so I took them to Lake Powell on our off-season week. It was a bit of a crap shoot, the weather could have been 40 or it could have been 80. We lucked out, and got the 80 degree weather.

Here are a few of the memories.

PingFederate Express is here!

September 15, 2009 By: Andre Category: Ping Identity

Over in PingLand, we announced PingFederate Express today. It’s the culmination of 6 months of work, and represents a breakthrough in single sign on speed and control.

PingFederate Express exists because companies wanted a simpler way to SSO enable their applications. With PingFederate Express, a company can do that now in minutes, and the entire thing can be remotely managed and configured with a central installation of PingFederate.

The demo’s are truly impressive. Download, install, configure and test standards based single sign on in less than 5 minutes. It’s insane.

See you at Digital ID World – Vegas

September 10, 2009 By: Andre Category: Life

We’ll be working of course… but also having some fun. Thanks to Mike for finding a picture that captures my future.

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