I quoted what I believe is a great blog post below by Michael Stanton. It relates to our company as well because we work primarily with non-profit organizations. Business or NPO, you work with a company online and it’s a relationship and not a transaction. You share a vision, or it won’t work. Period.
Does your RFP ask what their vision is? What their mission is? Or just for a copy of their financial statements?
Yes, software really is a mission. For our company I call our overarching beliefs and values our vision statement. The reason I look forward to work versus showing up early but only for a paycheck and jetting out the door at 5:51 is the vision. You can’t sustain 15 years for the money. Here is our vision statement:
“To Connect and Organize the World’s People. Do Good.”
When reading the article below replace the word “mission” with “vision” and it is a fair test on if you should do business with us.
If you don’t share that vision, then it won’t work. It just won’t. Sure we will make you money because we are really good at the whole marketing thing after years of study (15 years old, 30+ employees, 400+ clients, there is a reason agencies are constantly trying to steal our people and buy our company! Curious why I say no? Because I don’t believe in THEIR vision. I did the 9 to 5 thing at companies I didn’t believe in. It was hellish.)
Call it a vision. Or a mission. Whichever, yet THAT is why you should or should not do business with a company. Because I promise you as our CEO that the vision drives Tendenci 100%. And we don’t hold much back from the Tendenci open source for non-profits either. Here is the full quote from the article:
Software as a Service is no longer an accurate description of the paradigm of innovation, of the relationship between customer and service provider. We need a more accurate term.
Software as a Mission.
Software can move so fast that customers are not only not buying a static product anymore, they are also not subscribing to a defined service, they are now believers in a mission and hanging on for the ride. And the ride is fast enough to be a bullet train, but can also be a roller coaster. Companies that seem promising can suddenly get acquired, or go down in flames from premature scaling. They can get a strong competitor coming out of left field.
The question is no longer “Do you like the product?“ As much as: “Do you believe in the company? Do you believe in their direction? Do you believe in the team?“
And if you bet on the wrong horse, it’s not as big of a deal as it used to be. You just take your credit card to the next one doing the thing you wanted doing. No big deal. The cost of implementation is usually just people hooking up their identities and choosing a password, at most uploading a spreadsheet.
By the way, this also means you won’t just have one vendor for what your communities or teams need. You’ll likely have several, and functionality will overlap. We’re going to have to be Zen about that.
So, let me ask you this question: think about your vendors. Picture them. Do you believe in the company? Do you believe in their mission, their direction, their team? Believing is so important because great teams can ship software really quickly, and what you have next year will not be what you have this year. Believing is important because small teams of people can now produce software that millions of people use. (At one point there were almost 2 Million Twitter users for every Twitter employee, same goes for Instagram.)
(excerpt from Michael Staton)
And I’d like to highlight one part again. Because oddly enough it applies in both directions. We have a sales incentive program that does not discern between clients who share our values and those that don’t. You can look back at every deal that unwound and it is either communication or a lack of aligned values. In the next paragraph, repeated from above, i have replaced the word “vendors” with the word “clients” and changed the audience to our employees, outsourcers, vendor partners and to the extended tribe. To (slightly) misquote Mr. Stanton again:
So, let me ask you this question: think about your vendors. Picture them. Do you believe in the company? Do you believe in their mission, their direction, their team?
While it is a common saying for us to “get to “no” fast if we aren’t a good fit.” I think the same goes for prospects. IBM was the biggest so the saying in the 80s was “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM hardware” even though it cost a premium. Yet that also wasn’t the key to great success. Dell seemed invincible. And right now the only PC company I see that I think “cares” about what I do, that I believe every employee shares the vision with, is Apple. And Steve isn’t there anymore. Yet the vision remains.
Purchase the proprietary market leader for your NPO if you are there for the paycheck and not the vision. And while the message might be self serving given Tendenci was started by our company, it is worth noting that the White House is now powered by Drupal. They believe that the company that powers Drupal, and that Dries himself, believes in the importance of open government from top to bottom. I believe it too. It really is software as a mission as