NEW PODCAST! ROBERT F. SMITH (VISTA EQUITY PARTNERS) STORY - BILLIONAIRE

https://www.vernehq.com/post/robert-f-smith-vista-equity-partners-story-billionaire-software-pe

Colin and Brent discuss Colin's operating manual for Robert F. Smith & Vista Equity Partners with $75m AUM: https://colinkeeley.com/blog/robert-f-smith-vista-equity-partners-operating-manual

Join Colin's Micro-PE Course & Community at IndiePE.com.

[00:00:00] Colin Keeley: All right. Hello and welcome back. This is Colin Keeley here,

[00:00:06] Brent Sanders: And I'm Brent Sanders.

[00:00:07] Colin Keeley: and we are two guys buying and building wonderful internet companies.

[00:00:11] Brent Sanders: Yes, indeed. And Collin, you've been doing some homework. It's okay.

[00:00:15] Colin Keeley: Yeah. So I take a lot of notes personally, the way different people operate. And so Robert F. Smith, Vista equity partners is a well-known one is the. Wealthiest African-American wealthiest black guy and he is famous for the quote software companies tastes like chicken. They're selling different products, but 80% of what they do is pretty much the same.

[00:00:37] Brent Sanders: I'm coming around to that. Actually. I know I was very negative about that at first, but the more I think about it, the more I think he's right. Especially as we've been looking at, different deals and as they get bigger, you're like, all right, there's data in the database. There's, UI to, put the data there and there's functions happening on that data.

It's okay, it either runs or it doesn't.

[00:00:56] Colin Keeley: And as you get bigger and bigger, it matters less and less. That's not the reason you're going to do or not do a deal generally.

[00:01:02] Brent Sanders: It's like buying a car in it and being like really worried, vintage car. And you're like really worried about the engine versus buying a fleet of cars. You're not going to be worried about the engines anymore. It's just whatever they run, you can hire mechanics to fix them, oil it up, whatever you gotta do, what you do.

It's a known quiet.

[00:01:16] Colin Keeley: And then, so Robert, he Invista, they focus all the recent ones or like the last 10 years, I think, or like all multi-billion dollar companies that are purchasing. Yeah, they're not that concerned about the engines at the scale.

[00:01:27] Brent Sanders: I guess before we dive in, like where do have you been able to find the information on somebody like this? What are your sources.

[00:01:32] Colin Keeley: So I read everything I can, a lot of these guys are pretty secretive, so there's only generally a few articles. So I read all the articles I send the Instapaper I highlight and all that gets sent it to Rome. Pretty recently, Robert was on a podcast, which is super cool. Cause none of these guys ever go on podcasts except for Chamath or something.

So yeah, listen to that and just taking those notes and then compiling it all together. I ran it by a few people that have worked for Vista equity companies in the past, but I would say almost all this stuff was publicly available knowledge.

[00:02:05] Brent Sanders: It's not like you're getting some secretive scoop from the inside. It's this is stuff that's out there that your aggregator.

[00:02:10] Colin Keeley: Effectively. Yeah. So I do this just for myself, and put it all into Rome. And so I would say I'm a really quick writer in a really slow editor. So it just takes me forever to clean up my messy words and make it, appropriate for public consumption.

[00:02:25] Brent Sanders: That's a really good combination though, because I have the opposite and I never get started or I never finish a first draft. So It's Ugh, forget it. That's why I podcast. Cause I prefer to talk to them.

[00:02:34] Colin Keeley: It's definitely faster.

[00:02:36] Brent Sanders: Yeah. Yeah, it's definitely faster.

But you say, it's a little bit harder to edit anyways.

Before we jump in one other question, why him, why Vista, why Robert.

[00:02:45] Colin Keeley: So I stumbled into this industry through Andrew Wilkinson and tiny, and he is very much. Management by abdication and so through Andrew, I heard about, Mark Leonard and constellation software who is very similar management by abdication like a super decentralized organism effectively. Robert Smith is the.

So those guys are buying kind of small sleepy or companies that are really good companies, but not going to be explosive girl and Vista equity focuses on one of the only people that have actually focused on these big high growth tech companies. And they're super, super involved. So they're known for their 110 point playbook.

So they go deep into the companies and they basically assembly line style, improve them, make them more profitable and then flip them generally, not always flipping. Generally flipping them for a good amount, more money.

[00:03:37] Brent Sanders: Interesting. So let's dig in. I assume Robert Smith, before, before Vista, there's a background usually, and I don't know if he's has a storied and as diverse as a past as Mark Leonard, but, what was his background? What got him into, this sort of software, private equity.

[00:03:55] Colin Keeley: Yeah. So growing up a son of two PhDs who became Denver school principles, very into education. He went to Cornell to study chemical engineering. From all accounts, a very good student. He got an internship at bell labs. So he went there and then he what'd. He do, he had some engineering jobs, Goodyear tire, Kraft general foods, where he was working on coffee.

Machine technology actually got two patents, one for a stainless steel filter and another, for a brewing process to make a crema, which is like the layer of foam on top of an assessor. And then from there, he decided to go to business school. So he went to Columbia business school and he learned that while inventing things was a great way of life, capital and utilization of capital can actually be much more effective.

So after business school, he got into Goldman Sachs in the mergers and acquisitions, moved out to San Francisco vies companies like Microsoft and eBay. The most interesting thing during this time was he was part of the team that helped recruit, Steve jobs back to apple.

[00:04:55] Brent Sanders: Ooh, that's a pivotal moment. Obviously for apple, if you remember, I lived through it when that was going on, the major change that basically birthed apple to what it is now, and that must've been a very interesting, I'd love to, to have sat in the room that, those conversations were going on because, as we all know, chops burned more than a few bridges.

[00:05:15] Colin Keeley: And for perspective, he's 58 years old. And so he ended up starting Vista around[redacted]I guess the next question would be is that golden things are going well. They're heading towards an IPO. Like, why didn't you stay at Goldman?

So while he was there, he was working with a lot of software companies and he found this one, Houston auto dealership, software maker called universal computer systems. And its margins were way better than every other software company that he's seen. And he figured out that it was because they had these standard operating procedures.

And that company was wildly profitable and they were just plowing all their money into CDs. So these certificate of deposits that, return like nothing basically. And so he persuaded the founder of this, auto dealership, software maker, Robert Brockman, to buy other software companies. And so he Brockman's I don't really want to do it.

I'll back. You I'll commit a billion dollars in two different phases. If you run this for me and he went back and forth, he's Goldman's going IPO. I'm going to make a bunch of money, I'd never forgive myself if I didn't. So he stole some of his coworkers, some business school classmates and went and did it,

[00:06:28] Brent Sanders: Wow, and going back to this, and so this is probably what your 1990 something, or is this in 2000?

[00:06:34] Colin Keeley: In 2000 is when they committed the money to them.

[00:06:37] Brent Sanders: Wow. It just reminds me of, and I think the timing lines up pretty closely of these old sleepy software makers have like office space, in a tech and, there's just a room for all full of developers and then there's a room full of salespeople. And just that era of what software was in like the late nineties, early two thousands, especially in Houston.

So he quit. A pretty sweet job and you have to think the timing is right. I would assume right around the crash. What was the first.com bust was late nineties, early two thousands. I'm not remembering, but I'm just trying to understand what was the climate around software at the time. People were gun shy around these like.com companies, but that wasn't what this software was.

This was unsexy car dealership, software, right?

[00:07:26] Colin Keeley: Yeah. So back then software is still pretty new and no one really appreciates as like an asset class or like something to really focus on and invest in. People are really pumped about semiconductors and like tech services. There was really, it seemed like a lack of awareness around software and like why it is attractive.

And there was a thinking that like, there's no way you could do leveraged buyouts. So leveraged buyouts, you have to get your debt and you put up a little bit of equity to buy out these big companies, which is popular, like the eighties. But no one had ever really applied it to software. And everyone's like, why are you trying to do this?

There's zero chance you're ever going to get a debt to do this. So it's just, it's going to be a bad business. Don't leave Goldman. We're going to IPO soon. You're going to make a bunch of money.

[00:08:10] Brent Sanders: That's brilliant. And I remember from, I've already read here your article, but in classifying this as an asset class, right? Like these software, these monthly or annual software fees, I think, what does he say that it's better than first lien debt, Right. This is people will pay for their software first.

And then go on to kind of other debts. So it's mission critical software. It's stuff that the business runs on. It cannot run without it. It's manufacturing, not paying the lease on their machines, but better yet. You can't just come and grab the machines, but it's very easy to turn the software off.

So the threat of, and not that we're going down that route where people are getting their software turned off, but, we were just talking about slack being exposed. If you don't pay your bill, it just, it goes back to the free mode, which you know, is missing all those features you want or need.

And if you're relying on that, guess what? You're paying slack every month.

[00:09:02] Colin Keeley: Yeah. And this is like the big discovery recently with pipe. There's a bunch of people that want to invest into the. Software contracts and you don't have to do an equity. You can just do it in debt. And, these software companies can finance all their growth, without going out and raising more venture capital or something like that.

[00:09:19] Brent Sanders: Got it. Got it. And just for all the listeners debts, talking about that to the non MBAs, that means, going out to a bank and almost like thinking like a mortgage for a business, it's you're going to go out and say, Hey, I have this money coming in all the time.

It's worth this. It's not going anywhere. It's stable. Will you let me loan money again?

[00:09:35] Colin Keeley: Just for simple math, you could get a hundred thousand dollars in debt, 6% interest rate. So you get a hundred thousand dollars upfront and then you have to pay the bank like $6,000 every year. So how leveraged buyouts work is you? Like you get all that loans and then you buy a company and then you use the business to pay off the loans.

And back in the eighties, it was like crazy amount of debt, very little equity. And then you just cut costs. And even if the companies were flats, there would be significantly more profitable and they would have enough money to. Pay off the debt at least. And then if they increased it all in value, it's just enormously magnified by the debt.

And you could have crazy returns with like minimal improvements to the business.

[00:10:20] Brent Sanders: So Vista comes in and different from constellation or Mark Leonard is it sounds like they want to get that get in the nitty gritty, put it in their own. People run their own playbook around this, and they have a pretty substantial playbook, which I assume comes from, the engineering background, but also maybe some of the Goldman experience, how.

How has this shown to play out? Cause if you're highly leveraged, right? If you're in your words, let's say you use this a hundred thousand dollars analogy, you're paying, you got to pay $6,000 a year to service this. And if the company is flat, all you gotta do is find 6% of savings and you have a free company.

Over overly simplified. Of course.

[00:10:58] Colin Keeley: Right over a period of time. Yes.

[00:11:00] Brent Sanders: Yeah. What's their playbook like.

[00:11:03] Colin Keeley: So this is what they're known for. It's gone by different names. Vista standard operating procedures or Vista best practices, I think is what it's called now. Or, they off often been called 110 point plan. So it's a closely guarded secret, but I, my understanding is it's actually just like traditional best practices and betas go down the list of these different three to 10 page documents with tons of attachments and examples.

And they're just like, all so how is it? Sales compensation calculated. No, that's not the right way to do it. This is the right way to do it. And here's like a million examples to do it. And this is how we up sell products and it's all I don't know if in MBA driven companies, this is what would be there, but these are software companies with their funky founders and like legacy issues in the startup culture.

So it's just missing best practices. And so they are known for paying high prices for businesses, but they're, very confident that they can increase the value. Yeah. So they buy things that are like $20 billion. Like you'd assume they'd be pretty well run, but they put these best practices in place and they, seem to be able to turn them around and make good money on everyone.

They've never lost money on a deal, which was pretty unique because they've done 500 plus.

[00:12:19] Brent Sanders: That's amazing. That's amazing. Yeah. At that scale, I just don't really know what you're going to have in a playbook. Isn't known, I guess maybe it's just Hey, you have, at that scale, maybe there, there are factions and you have some kind of more sensible things that will, you know, Hey, we're not even gonna think about this.

This is the way we do it. I think about like on a smaller scale, cause I've obviously never worked at a $20 billion company, but, The distractions that come up in companies are in my mind. That's the thing that these playbooks can help keep you away from the rabbit holes, keep you away from thinking about things that should already be decided upon.

But yeah, we'd love to, to get a car, crack it, seeing what's in there. And I wonder how much of it applies to companies of all sizes. If you're saying it's like, Hey, this is basic MBA block and tackle. We do certain things a certain way. Because they're the most optimal. That makes sense. But it's just hard for me to fathom that it applies to everybody, but it sounds like it does.

It sounds like they're able to get it to, to work for everybody.

[00:13:19] Colin Keeley: So some of the big things are cost cutting product development and connecting peers. So cost cutting is basically if someone's, if a company is based in like San Francisco or something, they'll relocate part of the company to the less expensive city like Dallas . And many employees won't make the move.

So they'll basically be a way of getting rid of people and then they could hire cheaper replacements, product development. So often these businesses are made by like some technical person that was really good at solving a problem, but they don't, they're definitely not like professionally trained in product development.

This is something that we've seen as well is just like people are really working, but they're not necessarily working on the right things. Focusing on creating value for the end customer product development and then connecting peers. So what they do with a lot of their companies, even from the very beginning is getting people that are doing similar jobs together to share best practices.

And they do that monthly, across most of the companies

[00:14:14] Brent Sanders: Wow. Okay. We've seen examples of that and it seems that is a, an interesting place to play, because that does make a ton of sense where Hey, we're all dealing with the same financial issues, dealing with the same software, know, whatever it is, pick a part of a company and sharing best practices or sharing experiences is likely helpful.

But it's funny, a lot of companies there's there, there are drawbacks to that. There are like, you can maybe create a culture where, they are complaining about a lot of the same things, or I shouldn't say complaining, but when you're acquired by somebody, w what is that set of constraints that are introduced to around cost-cutting specifically?

It's like, how do we operate? So they must, have value, add enough that people can get together. And if that much creates. Because in my mind, there's this idea of putting these companies, in a portfolio makes sense, and then put, forcing them to play nice is it can be tricky and nuanced, but that's a really interesting part of their playbook to create.

Sort of cross company, cause what's the incentive for anybody to share across a portfolio. They're not incentivized. They work for company a and company B is a separate entity and why should I, it's

[00:15:22] Colin Keeley: Yeah, it's a bit of a mix. So they are incentivized to cross sell. It sounds and they have a structure in place to incentivize that you have similar customers, you could sell, this business, B's a product and make some money by doing so, and then they also have this Vista consulting group. So it's basically like an in-house McKinsey.

That's a little over a hundred people. Now. It sounds like which is roughly equal to the investing side. And that's who runs the training testing and kind of implementing of those places. So they dive into a company, make all these changes really quickly. It sounds like right upon buying it, they do it.

And then they turn it around and sell customer companies within the first four years, which is much faster than other folks.

[00:16:07] Brent Sanders: Interesting. I wonder, I'm just thinking in my head, like you look at constellation where they do none of this, it just seems a lot easier to do that. And it seems like just the opposite approach from constellation. Who's getting better returns. And as I understand it, they're roughly the same returns.

So it's you can do all this work, you can put all these things together, but it's pretty hard to understand, what is the long-term impact.

[00:16:35] Colin Keeley: Yeah. . So which one's more successful, was your question.

[00:16:39] Brent Sanders: Yeah. Which one's more success.

[00:16:42] Colin Keeley: I think it seems to be roughly the same. So Robert Smith has consistently generated 30% rate of return for its investors since inception. So since 2000, Mark Leonard would be something similar, but the scale is very different. So Vista has $77 billion under management.

Now. And they will continue. It's basically like a fundraiser game. So if you're like, what do you think Robert's up to day-to-day it's probably meeting with like super wealthy LPs and try and amaz raise money for bigger and bigger funds. Mark Leonard has just compounded the money he was initially given.

Maybe he is texting CLIA a better performer since he's just compounded it and hasn't had to raise outside capital, but I believe Robert, yeah, Smith is significantly wealthier because he's just playing with more chips and buying big company.

[00:17:28] Brent Sanders: It's interesting. And does this have a traditional fund model where he's, holds these companies for, three to four years and then dumps them? Or is it, does he hold them for a long time?

[00:17:39] Colin Keeley: The average hold period is 4.7 years after purchase compared to Blackstone, which is 5.7 years. But they also have a bunch of different separate funds. So they have permanent equity vehicles where they can hold things forever. They are IPA IPO in some of these big businesses.

So then they continue to hold equity if they want, they have a debt fund that finances, some of these deals like it's just a traditional, almost like Blackstone or KKR. Where you get so big, you just allocators of capital that are, well-trusted by big LPs. And so you raise every version of every fund.

You can just to put more, assets under management.

[00:18:14] Brent Sanders: Yeah, and it sounds like they even filter all the hires too. You have a more traditional style where you're buying these companies, juicing them, selling. And with that, you're trying to optimize for a certain outcome within a certain period of time. But that being said, you're bringing in new people.

And so with this big consulting apparatus, you have, these cost cutting measures. You have these consultants come in, you have this sort of cross selling. I shouldn't say cross-selling, but yeah. I mean it's across it, right? You're getting these companies jive with one another for a period of time until you, they find them an acquire, like what happens to these businesses?

From a personnel perspective, I was looking at this article and it sounds like, the consultants come in, they make improvements and then they screen all new hires or do they do it to existing?

[00:18:59] Colin Keeley: Yeah, so they do it to existing folks, which is always contentious, especially with older people. So this is known for this. They basically, when they buy a company or for all new recruits, they have a personality and aptitude test, which is like an hour long test that assesses technical and social skills, gauges, analytical and leadership potential.

And so the goal here is really to determine which people are suited for which jobs. And they have silly things like obviously salespeople are better off being extroverted software developers, better off being introverted.

And so this kind of bypasses where you went to school, your race, your gender, anything like that, it's a great equalizer. And so what they're known for is obviously they don't hire Ivy league folks. As often, they often hire really smart people that went to like state schools. And those people are willing to do a job for like $75,000 that maybe an Ivy league person would expect twice as much.

And they call these people high-performing entry-level workers. And the results are pretty impressive. Like 35% of Vista's portfolio company, employees are women. And then women run two of the five, vistas funds, which is super unusual in private equity, which is very male dominated. Just looking at my course, even I think 3% of the people that have bought it are women.

And that's there's no bias there. That's just who interested in buying it. Or maybe my audience on Twitter or something like that.

[00:20:21] Brent Sanders: Interesting. So that's actually a really, when I first was understanding the concept of testing, I was like, oh God, this is, it sounds like big brother put you through math problems or whatever else, but it seems like it's a, a huge value add, right? Cause your people are your biggest asset, right?

Let's just assume that, sure. It's a software business, but people build it, run it, operate it. And, it sounds like that's like where their focus is like maximizing the people capital human capital that they have.

[00:20:50] Colin Keeley: Yeah. So the negative take on this would be, it's basically an excuse to hire young people and fire old people because young people, right out of college are more accustomed to taking tests, more likely to score highly. So you hired them and then. People that score low aren't fired, but they're less likely to be promoted.

[00:21:08] Brent Sanders: Interesting. It seems like it's playing out for them pretty well. In the sense of like the assets under management is super heavyweight here, right? This is it's gobs and gobs of money. This is is this the largest software private equity firm?

[00:21:22] Colin Keeley: It would be them or tama. Bravo. So that's the real, only company. They're basically the same size. They focus on these high growth software companies and they're the only ones playing in that space. So who's better. It would be debatable. I don't know.

Their returns are probably very similar. But they're both doing very well.

[00:21:41] Brent Sanders: And in terms of, they come in, they buy these companies. They, it sounds like some of the more senior players may exit more junior people get promoted up. And that's got to have an effect on culture and what have folks at Vista portfolio companies said about that culture? Does it, is it private equity sort of balls to the wall, hard charging culture or is it, mixed?

Like what happens when you make these changes?

[00:22:09] Colin Keeley: So anecdotally I've heard different things. Some people say almost nothing changes. We were already based in Houston or whatever. They didn't fire anyone. They just started growing remotely and nothing changed. Other people said it was more like slash and burn save a bunch of costs and it was significantly less fun.

And they were like, go. We're selling this. So I guess the answer is, I don't really know. I could say what Vista equity is. Culture is And people say it's much like Robert F. Smith. So it's a mixture of formal and informal. So he always wears a three-piece suit. And so all his little minions also wear three piece suits as they show up at like startup offices, which seems like a, not a great match, but that is what they do.

And then they're all super friendly. So they greet each other with. Or meetings start and end with hugs. That was a fun one. And then when they sell a company, Smith gives a CEO and expensive Swiss or German watch, and that's supposed to represent the system they created together. So finding the right people to do the, be the best gear in the machine,

[00:23:10] Brent Sanders: That's great. I like the hugs I'm into that. I'm into hugs. We should do hugs at all of our meetings. It would be weird cause it's just the two of us. But,

[00:23:17] Colin Keeley: Starting in every meeting.

[00:23:21] Brent Sanders: I like that. It sounds like a warmer side of private equity, that might also, I could see that potentially also being, a farce, right? It's you're firing somebody, these are board meetings, so maybe it's less. So you know what it's like to be at a company, but it, they've hard conversations, hard decisions that need to be made.

And I guess it's like, Hey, that's business and we're still people. So the hug is perhaps a symbol.

[00:23:46] Colin Keeley: Yeah, he definitely looks like a hugger. He's like this big jolly looking guy. If I were to say this guy hugs,

[00:23:52] Brent Sanders: this guy hugs.

Yeah. As you've posted this, have you had any interesting feedback? I know you put it on, Twitter and a couple of other spots, like what's the feedback been.

[00:24:02] Colin Keeley: Yeah, so the people like these they're like these operating manuals, I think people get a kick out of them. The most dramatic stuff with him is so he divorced his wife, that he had three kids with any married, a former Playboy playmate of the year in[redacted]So hope Smith, you could Google her and see images.

She's very attractive as you would imagine. And then the other reason he was in the news was because he settled, I think the largest tax evasion case ever. So he was hiding, I think he had to pay 200 million in penalties. I think some of his LPs. Billions and penalties.

[00:24:34] Brent Sanders: Oh my God.

[00:24:35] Colin Keeley: so I, I don't include negative stuff in my manuals is not, I'm not trying to emulate tax evasion.

And maybe I should though. I don't know. But that was like, that was the biggest pushback on Twitter and elsewhere that it, you're not including, that is a a big tax evader.

[00:24:51] Brent Sanders: Wow. Was it, obviously at that point it's intentional, right? Or is it just a, I missed, a zero or a decimal point, rolling with this big of a cashflow, but it sounds like it was coordinated across his LPs of how they were operating the fund.

[00:25:04] Colin Keeley: Yeah, maybe they were saying like, this is going to be earmarked for charities and they didn't actually give to charities with that money. It would be my guests because I think he bought a bunch of homes with it or something along those lines. Other interesting thing he did was in. 2019, he paid, he was giving the graduation speech at Morehouse college, a historically black that's like the black Harbor.

And he paid for all that 400 students, loans. So he paid them all off and now he has a weekly zoom meeting with that class still, which is, yeah. So that was super cool. That was like $34 million of his, and that frees up people to do entrepreneurship and stuff.

[00:25:42] Brent Sanders: Oh, absolutely.

[00:25:43] Colin Keeley: loans hanging over them.

[00:25:45] Brent Sanders: Absolutely. That's like the greatest gift. We won't get into student loan debt, but there's just such a major difference between, those who have it and those who don't and the freedom that you can take in your career. You can't take chances if you've gotta, Cover that nut and rent and everything else.

It's just like a, ball and chain. They got to drag through your twenties or thirties, some people until they're I know even doctors that still have it, and then they're in their late forties.

[00:26:13] Colin Keeley: Yeah, that's a mess doctor. So share. So now that you know all this stuff about Robert, like what would you like to take away? What would you like to put into practice with us?

[00:26:21] Brent Sanders: Ah, that's a great, that's a great question. It, the biggest question is how involved to get, cause this is, that's like the thing I've been honing in on is do you touch these companies and I'm. We talked a lot about the startup studio and my experience around that. And I'm of the mindset that you don't really, you set the right people in play and kind of the management by application.

And I think that's my takeaway, learning more about this because the returns are roughly the same, the asset class performs, enough on its own, as long as you don't fuck it up. That's my mindset around this. Don't come in, change a bunch of things and put people in a negative.

I would say the playbook is probably really valuable. I think it's here's the rules. These are parameters in which you don't go down rabbit holes. You're not going to reinvent something or be the best in the world that something you're not meant to be best in the world. But for example, You no sales commissions, here's the sales mission.

We're going to give you this to you. We put thought into this and we're not going to let every company have to go through this. And so those are the value ads in my mind, where that are great things in the playbook to have already even have a playbook. And I'd say that's to me, number one is start developing that it's like, Hey, how do we do accounting terms?

Or, all these things that software companies have to deal with and either pay lawyers to do or whatever else. I think that's the biggest one. How about.

[00:27:41] Colin Keeley: Yeah, I think that's spot on. I think the reality is it's like a lot of work to start an investment firm. And then do you want to start a studio or like consulting firm at the same time? And the answer is no, unless you have a billion dollars allocated to you immediately, do you have the money to do that?

So

[00:27:55] Brent Sanders: yeah.

I, would argue like that's a fee generating thing. Obviously some of it's going to come from fees from investors and some of it's going to come from portfolio companies. That is a sort of a fee generating too. Definitely a great way to maximize your profits out of this But, if the rate of turn all things the same, it doesn't necessarily make an impact.

[00:28:17] Colin Keeley: Yeah,

[00:28:18] Brent Sanders: that's true or not, but if you compare just these

[00:28:21] Colin Keeley: I think it definitely does because you need all these people to implement stuff on a smaller scale. Like I want this trading of knowledge and I think building out a checklist is something I've already started doing, myself. And then you just make it share across companies.

And it's like a hundred points where you can do in diligence. Is this company optimizing all the things that should be, it's no, they're missing, 70 of the a hundred things. So you can be pretty confident that you can dramatically improve a business almost from the outside. Like before you.

And then you hand over this playbook to the new CEO you hire, and it's you don't have to do all this stuff, but here's 70 ideas that you probably should do to actually, make progress and hit your marks.

[00:29:05] Brent Sanders: I think that's right. I think that's right.

[00:29:07] Colin Keeley: And that's where I leave it as there's enormous value in that playbook and maybe not necessary to do, people implementing it as much.

[00:29:14] Brent Sanders: So any kind of final notes or thoughts on Robertson? I guess my one question for you before we wrap up is who's next. Anybody else on the road?

[00:29:23] Colin Keeley: Thoma Bravo was interesting because it's very similar. No Brent Beshore and permanent equity. It was interesting. I don't know. I already have existing notes on a number of people and it's who is worthwhile to do next? I wasn't planning on doing anyone immediately. This I wanted to do just as like an offset of Mark Leonard and constellation.

Cause it's the opposite. I dunno whoever, strikes my fancy, I guess I'll do next, but no time pressure to do anyone else you think is interesting?

[00:29:49] Brent Sanders: I don't know, this is I've been really, I didn't really know about this, Robert Smith, at all. So I, I'm getting exposed to these folks through you. I'll have to think of somebody out there. It's a, it's a private space, it's hard.

These aren't people that are popping up on my radar all that often.

[00:30:09] Colin Keeley: Yeah.

I'm most of them are very private. I don't know why. I think the private equity is changing. Venture capital has changed and Andreessen started that where they have a big media arm and get a bunch of press. And we're using a much smaller extent, like the Andreessen playbook of building in public, getting press going on podcasts and like getting deal flow that way.

But the rest of the private equity folks don't really do that except for Andrew and tiny, I guess he does. But most other people are pretty quiet, Brent beach, or as doing a similar playbook. They just, they're not targeting tech companies at all. They have really good content on this kind of stuff.

[00:30:47] Brent Sanders: Yeah. Interesting. Let's keep it up. I think, I'm all about doing one of these again, if you, if you find the right title,

[00:30:55] Colin Keeley: Yeah. Hopefully people, if, anyone listening, if you have anyone, that's super interesting. You think I should dive into, hit me up. I'm open to, taking requests for sure.

[00:31:03] Brent Sanders: Awesome. Thanks for listening everybody.

[00:31:05] Colin Keeley: Yeah. Take care everyone. Bye-bye.



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