Vivek Ranadive, CEO, TIBCO

Vivek Ranadivé is Chairman, Founder & CEO of Tibco He is an entrepreneur, tech visionary, author, philanthropist, and sports team owner recognized for his outside-the-box thinking.


Nov 14, 2014

Vivek Ranadivé is Chairman, Founder & CEO of Tibco. He is an entrepreneur, tech visionary, author, philanthropist, and sports team owner recognized for his outside-the-box thinking. He has led the advancement and use of real-time technology in business operations and decision-making, earning him the nickname "Mr. Real Time" in technology circles. Mr. Ranadivé is dedicated to the vision that if you get the right information to the right place at the right time and in the right context, you can make the world a better place.

In 1986, Vivek founded Teknekron Software Systems, which focused on creating the stock trading floor of the future. Teknekron went on to automate Wall Street and that technology became the engine for most of the world's capital markets. In 1997, he founded his present company, TIBCO Software Inc., with the mission of bringing real-time computing into the mainstream.

Today, TIBCO technology helps more than 4,000 customers thrive by powering everything from the web to airlines, financial services, utilities, communications providers, manufacturers and governments. As a global leader in infrastructure and business intelligence software, TIBCO helps its customers combine Fast Data with real-time information to provide immediate awareness and enable instant action. With revenue run rate of over one billion dollars, TIBCO is one of the fastest-growing software companies in its peer group.

Vivek has authored three books that are New York Times and global best sellers, both widely read in business and academia. His most recent book is titled "The Two-Second Advantage: How We Succeed by Anticipating the Future – Just Enough." His previous book, "The Power to Predict," explores how companies can break new ground in their quest to anticipate customers' needs, capture new opportunities, and predict and avoid problems. "The Power of Now" covers how winning companies sense and respond to change using real-time technology.

A native of Bombay, India, Vivek watched a documentary on MIT and was inspired at the age of 16 to leave India for Cambridge, Massachusetts, arriving with only $50 in his pocket. After earning both a Master's and Bachelor's Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he obtained an MBA at Harvard, where he was a Baker Scholar.

Vivek is a huge basketball fan, which started when he coached his daughter's middle school team. Vivek's coaching success was highlighted in a New Yorker magazine article by Malcolm Gladwell, as an example of innovators who win big by doing the unexpected and breaking the rules – the ultimate "David beats Goliath." He started his foray into the professional side of basketball when he became the co-owner and vice chairman of the Golden State Warriors NBA franchise. In 2013, he became the first Indian majority owner of an NBA team when he purchased the Sacramento Kings. Vivek believes he will soon realize his dream of taking the sport of basketball to India and making it "the" global sport of the 21st century.

You can interact with Vivek on Twitter at @Vivek.



(00:04) Hello, welcome to CXOTalk. I am Michael Krigsman with my co-host Vala Afshar. Vala, how are you


(00:19) I’m great. I’m a little bit stunned with that intro but go ahead.


And Vala we are going to have a very interesting show today.


Honored. I cannot wait for the show to begin, so please with the introductions Michael.


(00:30) We are here today with Vivek Ranadive, who is the founder, chairman and CEO of the software company Tibco as well as the lead owner of the Sacramento Kings. Vivek, how are you?


(00:48) I’m good thanks. A pleasure to be here with you guys. You know my two favorite hosts in Boston, in fact one of them just passed away, one of these MIT guys. I think they were called click and clack and they were experts. And I might have to update kind of that. you guys are awesome. Mike and Vala I love it.


(01:09) Well as we were saying before the show, all that really matters here is that I’m the nice co-host and he’s the ugly co-host. And if you can remember that then we’re totally good.


(01:21) That’s awesome.


(01:24) So Vivek, tell us briefly about your entrepreneurial history, your background, how you came to found Tibco. I say briefly it’s a very long and interesting story, but just set the stage.


(01:41) Sure, so grew up in Bombay. I know Vala is from Iran and the pivotal moment in my life was when I was a little boy, and it was many years ago and I had my ear plastered to a little transistor radio and I heard these magical words, one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. And it was at that moment, who were these people that were able to put a man in a box and send him 250,000 miles away to land on a rock, flawlessly the first time. What brilliance, what perseverance, what courage and what creativity. So as a little boy that was the pivotal moment in my life when I decided that I wanted to study science and technology. I wanted to come to America and that’s how my journey started.

(02:42) I went to Boston, I know that’s where you guys are from and I went there to study engineering and kind of followed my dreams. I was Harvard engineer but I was frustrated with how software was done.So I came up with this notion of that why not do software like you do hardware. So if you look at a computer or a chip, there’s a back plan on a bus and you plug cards into it.

(03:07) So the big idea that I had was to create a software bus and that’s how my journey started and now of course the bus runs some of the largest companies in the world. And if the bus went down banks would stop and airlines would stop, phone companies would stop and that became Tibco


(03:29) Vivek you ave written several New York times and global bestselling books. Your latest is ‘The Two second Advantage: How we can succeed anticipating the future’. Can you talk to us a little bit about that concept and also the fact that you love basketball, but how that love of basketball came about was somewhat of an unusual circumstance.


(03:52) Well that’s right. The two second advantage is a very simple premise that a little bit of the right information just a little bit beforehand is more valuable than all of the information six month after.

(04:03) What’s the point of knowing that you’ve lost a customer after the customer has gone. What’s the point of knowing that there’s going to be fraud committed after you lose the money, or that there’s going to be a power outage when you’re already sitting in darkness?

(04:07) So it’s really about getting that right information beforehand and combining it with historical insights and then being able to take advantage of opportunities or prevent disasters. So that’s kind of the premise behind the two second advantage, and of course our technology helps do all of that.

(04:36) Now in terms of basketball I grew up in India so I never touched a basketball. And about 10 years ago as a single dad I wanted to find ways to spend more time with my 11- 12 year old daughter. So I foolishly volunteered to coach for a basketball team.

(04:56) So I showed up at this gym. It was a huge facility in Redwood City, and I looked around the room and there were all these other coaches and they were ex-division one, seven foot tall, Stanford players, new players and there was me.

(05:12) And there was also given me the girls that nobody else wanted. They had this thing called a draft, which I didn’t know about at the time and they drafted all the best players and gave me the girls that no one wanted.

(05:26) So the first day I stood there in front of my daughter and her friends and was terrified that I was going to make a complete fool of myself. Literally, I didn’t know what a lay-up was. So I just looked at the girls and said, girls today, we’re just going to run, and so I made them run for the whole hour.

(05:44) Now I went back tothe drawing board, and being a math guy I converted the game into a math equation and I hate to lose. So I figured out a way that we ended up winning every single game and taking the team to the National Championship. So that was how my love for basketball started.


(06:05) That’s amazing. I watched the 60 minute piece and as someone who actually played varsity basketball and I love the sport. I mean love the sport. I couldn’t believe that a full court press and a ration of turnovers would ultimately dictate a winning strategy. That was brilliant, so absolutely brilliant.


(06:26) So Vivek, Tibco now, your user conference, you spoke about something you call civilization 3.0 and you spoke about five different forces; extreme service, mobility, the rise of social platforms, and the growth and expansion of agent economies.

So maybe give us a sense of what that is, what were you driving at and why does it matter and why is it important?


(06:54) So I believe we are entering a new and exciting era and I call it civilization 3.0. Civilization 1.0 was the start of modern civilization as we know it and people were farmers, shopkeepers, painters. It was really the age of the artisan.

(07:14) Now with the industrial revolution we ushered in civilization 2.0 and it became the age of the corporation and it was all about corporate efficiency. We are now living at a time when the first largest bookseller has no book stores. The world’s largest music seller has no music store. The world’s largest taxi companies own no cars. The world’s largest hotel company owns no hotel rooms.

(07:40) So we’re entering this era that I call civilization 3.0 and in many ways it’s back to the future, where the individual contributor can now reach large audiences. So it’s the age of extreme service and it’s all about delivering that extreme value. And in many ways it ends up looking like that basketball team that I have.

(08:03) So I believe that as you think about civilization 3.0 you have to understand what are the forces that guiding his new era, and how do you harness those forces.

(08:15) and as you mentioned there are five forces, and one is the explosion of data. So if you look at the amount of data that’s been created from the beginning of mankind to a couple of years ago, you call that X. then you look at the last couple of years it 10X, and that trend will only continue where there’s an exponential increase in the amount of data being created.

(08:36) The second is the rise of mobility. So it took 100 years for there to be 1 billion landline phones. It took 10 years for to be a billion call phones, and just one year for there to be a billion smart cell phones.

(08:53) So now, we live in a time where very soon billions of people on the planet will have these smart cell phones. And new cell phone will have more computing capacity than NASA had when they put man on the moon more than 40 years ago.

(09:06) Now the third force is the emergence of platforms. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter, YouTube, and the iPhone app store where individuals can now reach large audiences. It used to be that you had to be a large corporation to do that. but now you can get on Twitter or get on Facebook or the iPhone app store, and all of a sudden you can reach tens of millions or hundreds of millions of people.

(09:31) The fourth force is the emergence of the Asian economies. A few hundred years ago China and India were about (unclear 09:38) the word economy. And most economists say that at some point in the century we’ll work to that kind of situation.

(09:46) And the fifth and final force is kind of my favorite is I call it math jumping science, where you don’t have to know the why, you simply have to know the what, as in what is the pattern. If A and B happen then there is a high likelihood that C will happen. So when scientists were trying to find how the aids virus mutated, they tried for years and years and couldn’t figure it out. They converted it into a math problem, converted it into a game called Fold-it, and within a week, the game found the answer.

(10:05) So when you look at these five forces and you say okay, what does that mean for my business. And in many ways, I think Vala you’ll get a kick out of this. Every business looks like my basketball team. So when I look at a basketball team and people say to me, well you’re crazy. Why do you spend so much money on your basketball team? I look at them andsay well, I think it’s undervalued. It’s really not a basketball team. What it is is a social network and it’s a type of perishable inventory.

(10:40) So if you think about it, every business is a social network. It’s really an ecosystem of customers and trans and then all of your products are perishable. So whether your selling basketball tickets, airline tickets, hospital beds, hotel room, consumer electronics, they’re all perishable – they decline in value.

(11:00) So the companies of the future are going to use technology to engage and capture and expand that social network on the one hand, and then marry that to all of that perishable inventory on the other.

(11:17) When you look at businesses like Uber they have cracked the code, and I like to talk about how every business will get uberized in the future in civilization 3.0, where the cost of supply is free and the cost of your demand is free. So when you’re able to do that then you’ve created a civilization 3.0 company.


(11:38) So when you were looking at the Sacramento Kings you were viewing it from this perspective that you just described.


(11:50) Yeah, I looked at it and said, wow, this is an amazing social network, and I’m a huge sports and a huge basketball fan and of course there was more context to it. I was involved with the warriors, I live in the Bay area, and the people in Sacramento called me and said, help us keep this game in Sacramento. It’s a well-known story that Steve Ballmer was going to buy the team and move it to Seattle.

(12:19) Sacramento is our state capital it has no other sports team. It doesn’t have a football team, it doesn’t have a baseball team. And the basketball team was the whole deal for the city. Now, I came to California with no money. So everything I have I owe to this country and I owe to the great state of California.

(12:38) So at some point I said you know, maybe this is something I need to do and maybe I need to buy the team and build an arena, keep the team in Sacramento, and that’s what I ended up doing. And we have the very best fans in the world.

(12:54) In terms of the values and so on, and basically when you think of it as a social network then the value is multiples greater. And the other factor to consider is look, in 15 or 20 years, will I still be using my iPhone – I don’t know. But will I still be watching NBA basketball without a doubt, and that’s the value of a sports game.


(13:19) Yourinvestments in the new stadium if I’m not mistaken and purposefully keeping it to a 17,000 intimate size. So even although you see the potential and the power of the social network, it’s not all about size. It’s about keeping it connected and well engaged community. And that’s a challenge for in sports – the NFL is a client of mine, and because of high definition of television, and just the cost of taking a family to a game, you had steady decline of in-stadium attendance even for the most popular sport in the country.

(14:03) So as you think about cultivating this social network, especially with the exciting new stadium, what are your thoughts in terms of making sure that, you know, every fan has got a computer with them now. And I don’t care what Mark Cubin says. Good luck telling his kids who checks the phone 400 time a day, that you can come to a game and get disconnected for three hours, and that’s just not reality in my view, but how are you thinking about this challenge and really engaging the incredible Kings fans that you have.


(14:35) So first of all I just wanted to say that I believe basketball will be the premier sport of the 21st Century. It’s one that can be played indoors and outdoors, and it can be played by one person or a few people. It can be played by boys, by girls. It can be played in cities, in villages. You don’t need a lot of space like you do for a cricket field. It can be played in rich countries in poor countries and without question it’s the greatest show on earth. When you see a basketball game up-close and you see the shear athleticism, the action, just the none stop excitement.

(15:13) So I believe that basketball will be that global sport. Football has competition because of soccer, so those are largely American sports, whereas basketball, the audience is only growing. We were just in China where we played the Nets ,and there is 300 million plus players of basketball in China, that’s more than the United States.

(15:43) So that’s just one element. Now we want to also engage our social network and whether you’re sitting in the arena or you’re walking through an airport somewhere and you should be part of that experience and this is the 21st-century communal fireplace. This is where people come together to enjoy, to celebrate, to be entertained.

(16:13) And we are also building as you mentioned the world’s smartest building at our new arena, is going to be the first arena that’s going to be built indoors and outdoors. It’s going to have more computing capacity and the whole arena is going to check-in to you. So it’s going to remove all the friction, and when you get to the arena, when you park, and get your seat, you know, what is the shortest line to the bathroom. It will be (unclear  16:36) , it will be frictionless and in fact you won’t even have to get your phone out – that’s too much work. So the arena will recognise you as you walk in.

(16:47) So we’re trying to create the world’s greatest communal fireplace. Is going to be this iconic structure, and we believe we can extend that out beyond the 17,500 people within the arena and include all of Kings mission in that network.


(17:12) Okay, let’s connect some dots here. So earlier, you were talking about every business being a social network, that were tied to perishable inventory and all inventory is perishable, and the need to optimize that perishable inventory with connection to social networks. And this connects to your view of basketball and to the Kings as one of the perspectives that you were looking at that initial period. So maybe bring this together for us, and maybe tell us a little bit more about that concept of perishable inventory and then let’s link it back to sports and the fan experience.


(18:12) Sure, you know just time that within the sports, you know if you are at one of my games and you Tweet you had cold pizza, then we would pick it up. But then we also know that your family, your kids are coming to the next game and you don’t have parking for the next game. We have access to VIP parking, which is perishable. And it’s late on the first quarter, and it turns out we have too many hot dog for the game and we are not going to be able to sell them.

(18:50) So even before you have a chance to become unhappy, we’ll give you parking for the next game, we’ll give you some hot dogs. It’s all perishable inventory and will make you happy.

(19:02) So that’s something that we are doing with retailers and we are doing with just about every single industry imaginable. So how do you marry your asset base, your perishable products to your customer base in the most optimal fashion so that we keep your customers really happy.

(19:28) Now one of the things that owning a sports team to me is that if you are running a bank or have an airline, or hotel rooms then you have customers. Now as one of the Kings I have fans – big difference. Fans will paint their face purple. Fans will evangelize 24/7. Fans are engaged, and fans are talking about the Kings all the time.

(20:00)So what every business is striving to be, is be a business that can convert its customers into fans and that’s with technology comes in. If you can engage and give people exactly the right offer at the right time, at the right place.

(20:17) And we have a secret sauce and I call it the psychological router, where we are able to pick up sentiment and sale care in what things we have to do to convert that sentiment into potential. So sentiment might be that I would like to buy a set of golf clubs. Then what do I need to do in order to convert that into that I’ll go and buy a set of golf clubs. And what do I have to do to convert that into I bought a set of golf clubs.

(20:39)  So we look at a lot of information. We look at where you are, what draws you to the store and away from the store. And you know, I might look at are using an iPhone or an android, what version are using and what is your family history look like.

(20:56) So really it’s not a nuisance offer, it’s something that makes sense. No the other side of the coin, you also have to look at where can the corporation get the maximum bang by leverage in that perishable resource. So what is the lifetime of the customer if you are in a hotel or an airline? So, there are many many great examples of this, and if there is a high chance that somebody will do something then perhaps we’ll make the offer. But if there is only a 20% chance then you might want to give them some incentive.

(21:36) So so it’s really a science and we call it loyalty science but it has evolved well beyond that. And again to me, it is all about the math you know, the answer lies in the math and you can use it to prevent for and you can use to make customers happy and make them fans. You can use it to stop power outages, but that we are thinking is applicable in a variety of fields and including by the way – you said you were going to see LeBron later tonight and how do you defend against LeBron.


(22:10) Well that math, hopefully the Celtics will have that figured out, but I’m guessing he’ll have his 30 points plus tonight. So we had an incredible data scientist on the show a couple of weeks ago. Dr. Michael Wu of Lithium Technologies and he talked about maturity of organizations that are data driven. Descriptive analytics to predictive analytics to prescriptive analytics, where you can take data to insight to rapid decisions and actions to deliver value to a customer. So I’m going to go to the Celtics tonight to watch the team play against LeBron and every time I go to the Celtics I buy my clam chowder before the game starts. I would love to at some point get to the garden and were foursquare check-in and Tweet that I’m there, and have the Celtics or whomever offer to deliver the clam chowder that I get at every game and I go to lots of games, at my seat. Because if they invest in a CRM solution, if they have a social analytic tools, and you want me to turn from a mid- fan to a raving fan it would be awesome.


(23:18) So we do all of those things Vala, those are the kinds of things that I’m talking about but even beyond wards you’re saying, so you won’t even have to get your phone out. The building will recognise you and in between, when you come to the game it will direct you have to get there, where to park and how to get to your seat. If you are a regular it will ask you, do you want your usual. So that’s the layout and we are talking about going well beyond that and those are the things we already do.


(23:52) For the Kings or the NBA in general.


(23:54) The Kings and we will be helping other teams, so we will be working with the Bulls, and after with Manchester United and so on so we have a few schemes to help them. You know, is the backend that matters and they have to be fun and engaging and has to be something that people want to use but then the secret sauce is the backend. The backend is where you can look at each person and create a profile of that person and the predictive and the prescriptive – all of that is what I call the psychological router. So it goes well beyond and just come into the games and I’m always getting clam chowder.


(24:41) Do you see gamification principles during the three hours that the folks are in the stadium for example you know bid for the headband, or the sneaker of the athlete at the end. You have a leader board and the highest bidder gets the sneaker and donate something to charity, now you have folks who are super engaged while they are watching the game.


(25:02) Yeah, so we are completely gamifying everything and we are using the state of California that sports betting is not legal yet, but what we are doing is using loyalty points to do all of that. So you keep getting loyalty points and those loyalty points can be redeemed for Chris Muller. Or if you get a lot of loyalty points you get a ride on a plane to an away game.

(25:29) But we are also in parallel working with the governor’s office to really push the envelope and how we can legalize sports betting and I know that Adam Silver wrote a piece in the New York Times I think yesterday on this very subject.

(25:47) So the kind of gamification you are mentioning is that we are doing a lot of that already without having to actually cross over to make it sports vending by using things like loyalty points.


(25:56) So the connective tissue then for all of this is the ability to collect data and then to determine how to use that data in some meaningful way.


(26:12) That is absolutely right, so you have to collect the data and often at times a lot of the older companies they will have you believe that big data equals big data base, but a lot of that is transactional data. Often at times the real-time data is much more valuable because that’s what gives it a lot greater context. So if you are working on a person who is walking away from the store, that might be important context to have.

(26:45) You know if you are not with your usual group and with a bigger party, that could be important context. So what we do is what I call fast data for you we are looking at real-time data and then combining that with historical context. And then come up with the exact right thing, and I call that fast data. So all the kinds of things you are describing Vala is exactly what we are doing.

(27:15) I believe that you need that data to make it extremely contextual, because if it is not contextual then it ends up just being spam.


(27:27) As you were thinking about that and use the word fact, certainly you need the technology and you need lean processing and you need empowered employees, but you also have to ensure competencies will the NDA now start to hire data scientists to be part of their marketing organisation.


(27:43) Without question. Most NBA organization are already heading that direction, and the same software that we use to find combination of drugs will cure what kinds of cancer. The same software is being used to how do we give fans the same experience and make them offers and that they become as you say raving fans.


(28:16) We have a couple of questions from Twitter and we love Twitter because they are our constituency. So we have an interesting one from Zachary Geans who says, the concept of marrying perishable inventory with customer experience, how does that play out in the realm of nonprofit.


(28:42) In the realm of nonprofits, well you know we actually work with people with doctors and actually that’s a great example because there is actually no difference than any other business. Their inventory there is the time of the doctors and the demand of the doctors. So the supply and the demand, you can marry those two together.

(29:20) So nonprofit would be able to deliver much greater value and benefit to their constituents if they were able to on the one hand capture the demand side of the equation, you know the people who need the help from the nonprofit you know those are their hands. On the other hand capture the supply side, which in the case of doctors is that the doctors are volunteering, and that is perishable. If you do nothing this weekend that you could have been helping somebody then that time has gone. That’s perishable.

(30:03)So I think that the nonprofits can actually be transformed to thinking of them as a social network married to perishable inventory.


(30:15) A question regarding technology and fans engagement, I know that there are companies that are looking at – and this is a rugby example with the referee that is winning Google glass and streaming his view to other fans who are wearing glass in a proximity. Do you see at some point NBA referees perhaps wearing glass like technology, where you can have the actual feeling that you are on the court while you are watching. Or Oculus Rift with virtual reality, where you can have courtside seat experience streamed to the folks that are wearing the technology. Is that something that you will see potentially in the next few years?


(30:58) I don’t know if you are aware of this Vala we became the first NBA team to do both actually. So we became the first team that actually have players and our dams team and like me sitting in the front row wearing Google glass so people could get a view of what I was looking at. Or what our cheerleaders were seeing, or we even when the players were out there. So we became the first NBA team to do that, and we also became the first team to actually use oculus rift.

(31:33)So we use oculus rift extensively in everything that we do. Including you can put oculus rift on and actually walk through our new arena and pick up the seats and see what the view is going to be like from those seats. So we do all of that and we provide multiple views to all our fans. So you will be able to pick out which view you want to look at, from which point of view you want to see the game, see the ball, see the players and of course that will include those views as well.

(32:11) So the things that you are talking about we actually became the first team in sports to announce the views of oculus rift and Google glasses. We actually became the first team to say that we would accept bitcoin. So we are pushing the envelope on all of these areas.


(32:28) Remarkable, you are so far ahead. I mean again I have the privilege with working with several leagues and teams and its stunning how far ahead you are.


(32:42) So we have another question from Twitter and I’m passing on the questions because I’m trying to think of this systematically because you are laying so much on it and I just – I wish we had a few hours…


Vivek is dropping a lot of science on us.


(33:01) Exactly, to drill more deeply. So we have a question from Frank Scarvo who is one of the top enterprise software industry analysts and he’s pointing out that you are describing these kind of strong overlaps between what you’re doing with Tibco and what you are doing with the Kings. And Frank is asking, what you are doing with the Kings in a sense are indeed practical applications or other ways of the same for Tibco, and how do you think about that.


(33:40) He’s 100% right. So basically, everything I’m describing we use the technology that we do. In the old days, you know, you would do a demo and we have a briefing centre where we can say, look just imagine how this could transform your business.

(34:01) Now what I do I just take them to a Kings game and say let me show you what we are actually doing. So he is 100% right, it’s the same technology that we are using and that the Bulls will be using and some of the other teams will be using and this actually is a showcase.

(34:19) But to be fair there were other people who actually preceded us. The first company to actually do this with Tibco was Herrah’s, my friend Gary Loveman who runs Herrah’s. Where basically they have a problem with customers coming to Herrah’s to lose money, so how do you get them to keep coming back.

(34:42) So they applied all of these concepts and have got the technology where we were able to predict what the tolerance was for losing. And their was all these perishable assets, you know seats at magic shows and restaurant buffets and how do you marry those.

(34:57) So it started over there and we worked with Citibank and we helped Citibank with it and then we worked with some hotels and airlines. So now with the Kings we pushed it even further and we keep pushing the envelope, but he’s absolutely right there. It’s one and the same and the Kings are great showcase for us in terms of what these businesses will be able to do in the future.


(35:23) So let’s change, we have about 10 minutes left. So let’s change gears for a moment and we at CXOTalk love start-ups and entrepreneurs, and of course you’ve been an entrepreneur or for many many years. So to what extent does Tibco or you personally or the Kings invest in start-ups and enterprise working with start-ups.


(35:49) I do a lot of that. I do on my own and with Tibco, so we are great believers in that and looking at things. So you have got to do it directly or indirectly with others involved like with Google or with Yahoo and a bunch of early success stories and I’m doing this right now.

(36:10) I think we live at a time where there is unprecedented opportunity. This is an incredible time to be an entrepreneur. The next 15 years we are going to have more change than be so even in the last 15 years. And the earth is going to be a dramatically better place in 20 years from now. So this is a fantastic time to be an entrepreneur. It’s a fantastic time to invest in start-up companies and I will continue doing that.


(36:38) What advice would you give to entrepreneur who is watching this show and you know, they want to connect with you and they want to be able to acquire your interest in what they are doing. What advice would you give an entrepreneur?


(36:58) I love smart people, and I’m dumb and surrounded myself with people very smarter than me and so I love interacting and talking to smart people. I love their ideas and I’m open to their ideas and people who are smarter and people who have talent and they have passion and they have energy. And people who are open, those are the kind of people that I think succeed in the entrepreneurial game.


(37:32) Is there a particular – you know we have talked about mobile platforms and social technologies, wearables, Internet of things and is there a particular area that you feel you have a passion – of course big data and fast data and certainly analytics is a cornerstone to the work you have done. Is there a particular area that you see forging in the next 5 to 10 years ahead of the other megatrends?


(37:57) Well I think that the application of data to print fields and how those fields get disrupted. So I like things when there is an opportunity to go non-linear with something.

(38:15) I believe that all the areas that you mentioned will cause that kind of nonlinearities. So we recently invested in a company that is going to basically manage all the LEDs on the planet. So the outside lights will be replaced with LEDs, and once you do that it’s a smart light and it has a sensor. It puts out information and you can have a call service managing all the lights.

(38:38) So when you are driving through a shopping center, it will sense the car coming and the lights will come on as you drive through.

(38:45) There is another company that is basically moving to big data for agriculture. So rather than surrounding the entire field with water and fertilizer, you are able to pinpoint each plant and give each plant exactly the right amount of water and the right amount of fertilizer and nutrients. So that’s big data for agriculture.

(39:06) Another company I invested in is causing a disruption in storage space. It’s a guy that started it used to work for me and is one of the smartest guys I know and what happened with virtualization with servers will start happening with virtualization of storage. And I just said, you’re a smart guy, whatever you do I’m writing you a check, take it and let me help you. And that company has taken off like a rocket.

(39:35) So I like big ideas and I like things that cause disruptions and I think there is a lot out there right now. In fact my friend Martin Gleeson, likes to say that he likes to invest in bad ideas, because there are big companies that are already chasing the so-called good ideas. So when he sees somebody with a bad idea that gets him excited, and that’s a good way to put it. I like guys that are big thinkers, non-linear and have the smart, passion, and energy to make it happen.


(40:14) Do you see these investments, or just in general either Tibco specifically or more broadly or do you see these types of start-up and entrepreneurial investments being a kind of supplement to the innovation efforts inside corporations and inside of the company.


(40:38) Yeah, it’s no secret that many of the jobs created by small companies and it used to be that it would take 65 or 70 years to have turnover for the average SMP, 500 company. Now it’s happening every 15 years.

(40:59) So we’re at a time – you know we don’t even know, Google is already a legacy company. Facebook is already a legacy company and somebody out there is going to shock them.

(41:13) So I think that it’s much harder for bigger companies to have that kind of innovation. Now at Tibco we succeeded in doing that, so when I look at five years out in five years ago I said there are a couple of products that I don’t have to day and I made that happen consistently. So it’s not as easy in a bigger company but certainly it can be done.


(41:37) It’s amazing to think that a 15-year-old Google and 10-year-old Facebook and maybe a seven year old Twitter as legacy company’s. You have the Uber’s of the world and you know are out there in the billions and really transforming businesses and combining mobile, social cloud technology all aimed at improving the user experience. I mean are we just living in an experience economy, where convenience will win always and therefore as you innovate you really need to think about the user experience as top of mind goal in terms of any product or solution you build.


(42:13) Sports events is about extreme value and extreme service, no question about it. So, 15 years ago who would have dreamt that you could be sitting in your house and you could just press a button and then a black car would show up a few minutes later. Or who could have dreamt that you could order any product from the comfort of your couch and have it show up the next day.

(42:46) So certainly convenience and ease of use and the less fiction the better, so all of those are important. But at the end of the day you also have to have a great product and a great service, because everybody discovers everything much faster now. So if it’s good they will find out fast and if it’s bad they will also find out fast.

(45:06) So I think that is an important part of the equation and I just think we are living in a time where it’s all about the data. So if you look at what the world might look like in 15 years, there isn’t an industry that is not going to be disrupted.

(45:22) I predicted that in 15 years most medical diagnosis will be done by a computer. I predict that many of the diseases that we are facing today, aids and Ebola and so on, malaria will actually be behind us. So the planet will become a significantly better place in 15 years. By the way, in 15 years, wearables will be legacy because people will have more time to to have implantable or tattoos and so the world is going to be evolving rapidly.


(43:53) So we have literally one minute left, so maybe can be close - you tell a story of your first meeting with the Salomon Brothers and selling to them and you use the phrase, having fire in your eyes. What does it mean to have fire in your eyes?


(44:12) Well when I was a little start-up, my first big deal was with Solomon and what we had was called a takeoff and we competed with big companies like IBM. And there was a final meeting where the head of technology asked me to come to New York and have lunch with them and he said okay, tell me why should I give you the order. I said well I’ve got the technology, it’s real time and it scalable and he was puffing a nasty cigar, and he said you know, tell me and he blew smoke in my face.

(44:46) So I said I  kind of rewound started feeding on the reasons and he looked bored and blew more smoke in my face. So finally, I looked at him straight in the eyes and I said you know Mr managing director, the fact that my technology skills is the best and it’s real time and all of the other reasons. Those are not good reasons, there is only one reason why you should give me the order. So he stopped and he put his cigar down and he looked at me. I said it’s because I have fire in my eyes.

(45:13) He said huh? And I said yeah, go and look at my engineers who were on the trading floor and you are never going to find people who are more passionate, who are going to work harder and are more committed to your success than we are. That’s fire in the eyes. So if you are going to start a business, have the fire and keep the fire and you will be successful.


(45:39) That is inspiring beyond belief.


(45:41) That is the great way to end. We have been talking with Vivek Ranadive, who is the founder, chairman and CEO of the software company Tibco as well as the lead owner of the Sacramento Kings and Vala?


(46:00) I’m going to have to stop rooting for the Kings I can’t believe I said that.


(46:07) I can see the crowds gathering outside.


(46:17) I’ve just lost about 10,000 followers on Twitter who are Boston fans. Thank you so much for sharing your vision and your wisdom and truly inspiring and I can’t wait to learn more and it’s just an honor to talk with you. Thank you.


(46:27) It’s my pleasure and my privilege guys. Mike, Vala, thank you so much.


(46:31) Vala, as always, you know CXOTalk is the highlight of my week and I want to thank everybody for watching and urge you to come back next time on CXOTalk, bye-bye.


Companies mentioned:








Lithium Technologies:

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Vivek’sBook:                    The Two-Second Advantage: How We Succeed by Anticipating the Future. by Vivek Ranadive and Kevin Maney.

Published Date: Nov 14, 2014

Author: Michael Krigsman

Episode ID: 87