Recently two service provider execs had conversations with me where they told me they hate the mentality of today’s VoIP market. Everyone it seems is talking “exit strategy.” Now I am sure everyone wants to be the next company Cisco picks up but what concerns service provider executives is — how do you run a company if your goal is to be retired on a beach in Hawaii in the next few months.
After all, is an exit strategy what you should be aiming for? What about a customer acquisition strategy? A profit generating strategy or even better, a success strategy? We all went through one bubble where companies did their best to get picked up before they had any real customers. The focus was more on impressing VCs and other investors/acquirers and not on actually doing anything useful at work. How about a successful PR strategy aimed at customers? A marketing strategy aimed at those that will purchase from you?
Has the entire VoIP market become a breeding ground of companies that are only selling to one another? Are there no customers out there? I have to hand it to Packet8 and Vonage who shifted their strategy immediately to focus on consumers when service providers weren’t buying. They showed entrepreneurial spirit and drive. They didn’t throw in the towel and just try to unload technology and the company.
What really scares me is due to the shortsighted nature of many of the companies in the VoIP space, some enterprise and a service provider customers are only considering purchasing from companies that are publicly traded. Can you see how damaging this can be to start-ups if all customers were to adopt this purchasing position?
This is why I am sounding the alarm bell early. Stop talking exit strategy. Who cares?!? Customers want you around for the long-term so you need to be focusing on a success strategy.