Thursday, August 18, 2005

Omniture CEO Luncheon Notes

Josh James, CEO of Orem web analytics giant, Omniture, spoke this afternoon at a luncheon co-hosted by the Utah Valley Entrepreneurial Forum and the Mountain West Capital Network.

A couple of highlights --

Just say "No." James said that he "truly became a manager" when he learned to say "no." When employees requested extensive time off, extensions on deadlines, and other small favors that were cumulatively destructive to Omniture's goals, James began saying "no." He called the first year of his new-found assertiveness, "The Year of No."

The story was not meant to encourage dictatorship management or unreasonable management. On the contrary, Omniture has what James calls a "No Jerks" policy. James' point was that the best leaders will not always make everyone happy. A manager is duty-bound to do what is best for the organization. Sometimes, fulfilling your duty as a leader will require you to make decisions that will upset some people.

Take your time when hiring key team members. James likened hiring management team members with marriage. "You'll be spending more time with your key team members than you will with your spouse," James said. "You wouldn't get married after two dates, would you?" When he hired his sales VP, James interviewed him nine times, took him to dinner several times, and met his family.

Have fun. Throughout his address, James laced in entertaining stories about office antics that make working at Omniture fun. A crowd favorite was one he told about how team members were given silly words like "tighty whities" and "grasshopper" to use during important client presentations.


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