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Building a Unicorn - Why an “Exit-Only” Strategy Kills Value Creation December 12, 2016

If I had a dollar for every time I was asked, “what is your exit strategy,” I’d probably have a small fortune by now. The early advice I received, “don’t chase the money,” has stuck with me since we started Synechron in 2001 and while building it to a 6,000+ person organization with $450m in revenue - without taking in any investment.

After all, would we have companies such as Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Uber, etc. if their founders had chosen to “exit” their firms? I do not believe that we would. Each of these companies got to where it is on the back of the obsessive passion that their founders had for what they were doing – and that is the ultimate way to create value. Focus on the passion, and be obsessive about it with a sense of urgency as if the world were about to end.

5 years after starting the company, we received a buyout offer for $50m. It was a greater sum of money than I had ever imagined, and I was elated. But the excitement quickly turned into depression after realizing that if we exited the company I would lose my sense of purpose. Not knowing what to do after waking up every morning was a thought I could not fathom.

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