Former Citrix Exec Mark Templeton: Courage, Customers, Commitment … and Code
… important to have personal experiences with the technologies so you don’t rely on blogs and someone else’s opinion.”
Some of the technologies Templeton sees tomorrow’s partners focusing on include blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning to reinvent how their customers approach and solve their problems. Ever the technologist, Templeton insists, “You must have a ‘hands-on’ opinion to offer. Only this gives you credibility.”
“All of the most amazing people I’ve met who are considered risk-takers don’t consider themselves to be risk-takers because they have such deep belief and understanding in what they’re doing,” explains Templeton.
“Be humble that at least half of what you do is based on luck,” he advises. “You create a high bar for how you go about things. From a leadership perspective you’re under such a microscope as a role model. When you lead an organization with that mindset, it ups everybody’s game because you’re setting a pace.”
His perspective on digital transformation is far more pragmatic than most. Templeton sees today’s Digital Revolution as a virtual analog to the Industrial Revolution. Similar to the way the cotton gin changed the way things were done by changing physical infrastructure, the world is now undergoing transformation in the information world through code. “There were things that made things incrementally better and then there were things invented that completely changed the way things got done. Much of the human element was removed as they also eliminated moving parts, which makes everything more efficient and more reliable. The same thing is going on today in the digital world, both incrementally and some revolutionary changes, too.”
The Role of Code and Developers
“I believe developers are the most pervasive form of today’s entrepreneurs and they are changing the world with software,” says Templeton. “I like to be part of things that have human impact and change the world for the better. Code is the foundation of software and software is the foundation of changing everything.”
He points out that you cannot get a design degree of any kind today without having to code and that code is becoming a second language of generations of people around the world.
Looking back at his own transformation from premier application-delivery company to leading a premier application development and deployment company, Templeton remembers that time 25 years ago when he first joined Citrix and partnering really meant selling products that a third party made. Innovative partners could deliver business value by creating context for those products and integrating them together.
But as distribution and sales volumes grew it wasn’t about the products, which were becoming more and more commoditized. What customers really valued was the intellectual aspect of putting things together. The IT channel became much more driven by services-oriented partnering on top of products, which led to where we are today.
“We’re now entering a stage,” suggests Templeton, “where there’s a bit of a throwback, where there are first-party cloud services that customers need to know how to onboard and adopt, [a situation] which requires a somewhat product-like resale of cloud-based products. Instead of up-front revenue it’s a subscription relationship with …