Minor, low priority housekeeping matter today… but I thought I'd explain.

I changed the subtitle of this blog from

"Making sense of Web 2.0 technologies, and what it all means for the future of work and play"


"The reality of Web 2.0 entrepreneurship and building new technologies from someone in the middle of the action."

I thought the change was necessary given my primary interest (Web 2.0 entrepreneurship) and the fact that new technologies are pretty well covered by popular press and the blogosphere.  It isn't to say that I won't make observations on new technologies… I just will focus my time & energy on the good/bad/ugly of Web 2.0 entrepreneurship in the present environment.

It struck me that I needed to make a change to my blog after speaking on a panel at the Seattle Tech Startups group last night…

I was asked to share some details on my experience on the acquiring side of a tech acquisition.  It was quite a crowd — probably 60 or so eager local tech entrepreneurs in attendance.  No less than 10 current Microsoft employees were there also for what it is worth.  I sat alongside some great folks all of whom had some really insightful things to say about all angles of the acquisition process… positioning yourself for acquisition, getting bought out, the integration process, how companies are "chosen", the inevitable culture clash between acquired companies and their acquirors, etc.  I can say that I learned at least a few different things from each fellow panelist… it was a great event.


  • You can't just set out to be acquired.  Focus on excellence from your team first & foremost.  The only thing that will really matter in the long run is if you can do the things you say you can do.
  • In the meantime, get out there and meet people in larger companies.  Gain their confidence.  Don't be smug or overprotective of what you have.
  • It's a "people" business.  Be good to your own staff, partners, and potential acquirors.  Just about everyone doing something interesting in our industry is smart… you're probably better off hanging your ego at the door on your way in to work every day & being real and straightforward with everyone around you.  Strike the balance between humility and brilliance.
  • Once you have a good relationship with colleagues in larger companies, let them know that you're willing to be acquired.  While acquisition may be top on your mind, it is probably last on theirs.  They can't and won't read your mind.
  • Acquisition decisions tend to fall around a few criteria:  team fit, product/technology fit, price.  It's incumbent on you to make it work.
  • If you have an offer to be acquired, understand that the process of integration will turn your company upside down.  You can't imagine the level of disruption it will cause… you'll have anxious employees who won't know much about their future, you'll have a ton of work to do to answer due diligence questions, and you'll have every stakeholder around you bugging you to make sure they are taken care of.

Being acquired by a larger company can be a tremendous benefit to you both personally and professionally, but it doesn't come easy at any stage of the process.