A podcast by students of Stanford University's Business and Design Schools


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Mark Leslie, founding CEO of Veritas

Mark grew a $6 million investment into the fifth largest software company in the world.

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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."
Please keep those comments and emails coming and thanks for listening!

Update: transcript available!




Anonymous said...

Hey Julio and Matt-
Great job again. Is it possible that we suggest questions for you guys to ask for the upcoming interviews on our behalf?
That would be an interesting way to engage the rest of the GSB community and the listeners in general... my 2 cents!

Doug Williams said...

I took Mark Leslie's sales class and I think he's great. He's both professional and down-to-earth simultaneously and is one of the few people that is comfortable leading large corporations and small companies.

Archie said...

Great interview guys. In particular I enjoyed hearing Mark's comments on improved leadership through transitioning from politician to statesman. In the future, pushing your interviewees toward actual, practical suggestions for improving as an entrepreneur, to backup (or expand upon) those lofty directional concepts, might be useful to your audience as well. Perhaps these guys (Mark, Andy, et al.) have their own books, blogs, podcast sites or mentoring sources to recommend in turn.

Keep up the great work!