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In this episode, we talk to Silicon Valley icon Mark Leslie, the founding CEO and Chairman of Veritas Software. (To listen, click play above!)
Mark took over Veritas in 1990 and brought the company from 12 employees and $95,000 in revenues to 5,500 employees and $1.75 billion in revenues. Veritas became the fifth largest software company in the world and eventually merged with Symantec in a deal valued at $13.5 billion. Mark is now the Managing Director at Leslie Ventures and is also an advisor at El Dorado Ventures.
In addition to being an accomplished leader and strategist, Mark is as an expert in sales management. He has pioneered the concept of the Sales Learning Curve which VC David Cowan described as "some of the best startup advice." Ross Mayfield says "every manager should get their arms around this."
Here are some quotes from the interview:
- On people: "I don't believe that I have the ability to change character... it's as imutable as intelligence."
- On hiring decisions: “at senior levels they either do their job or we get someone else to do their job... I don't believe in improvement programs"
- On innovation: “the hallmark of great companies is their ability to transform themselves”
- On Sun: “I don’t know if they still have time for transformation”
- Responding to Andy Rachleff's question from our previous episode, "where can a venture capitalist add value?": Mark says, "it's only about the money."
Update: transcript available!