They begin in a similar way: Someone sneaks down a hallway, stealthily opens a door, quietly comes down stairs. Then everyone starts screaming and hugging and someone almost always cries.
Over the past few days, people have been tweeting videos recorded as they surprise their loved ones who didn’t expect them to be home for the holidays. The reveals have become so prevalent that Twitter made a moment to mark the trend.
Watch a selection of the surprise videos below and let them warm your heart.
The death toll from a tsunami triggered by a massive underwater landslide on an Indonesian volcano rose to 281 on Monday, as rescuers using heavy machinery and their bare hands searched through debris in the hope of finding survivors.
“And as much as the first time shooting Wonder Woman was amazing, this time was even more unique and special.. We shot in 4 very different locations in 3 countries, and I’m so soooo proud of the almost 1000 crew members who came to set every day, giving everything they have into our movie.” Read more…
A large chunk of the southern flank of the volcanic Anak Krakatau island may have slipped into the ocean just minutes before a tsunami hit an Indonesian shore, killing hundreds of people, scientists said on Monday.
John Chambers, Chairman Emeritus of Cisco (now founder of JC2 Ventures), knows a thing or two about tech acquisitions: he bet his career on a first one in ’93, and went on to complete 180 M&As during his 20 years tenure.
It took about 20 years to Amazon to challenge WalMart, barely 10 to Airbnb with hotels and to Uber with taxis and car ownership. The next wave might just take 4–5 years. Since no company can invent everything — even Apple or Google buy startups routinely — you’ll need to either buy or partner seriously with startups (more on that later).
2. Tech Is Entering Every Sector
‘Every company you’ll acquire over this next decade will probably be indirectly or directly a tech company’, said Chambers.
Non-tech companies need to get up to speed on how to work with tech, and startups. Many of the corp dev executives who attended our last event were not from tech.
I met recently power tool companies from US and Europe . They had just set up CVC arms. They were looking into acquisitions, saying ‘we don’t know software’. They’d better tackle that M&A learning curve quickly!
3. Your Customers Can Tell You What To Buy
There was only one Steve Jobs, who just knew what to build. For others, your customers will might you what to buy. Listen to them and pay special attention to market transitions to buy next generation products.
Like Chambers experienced early in his career at IBM with mainframes, and at Wang Laboratories with mini-computers, missing a critical shift might be the end of you! The corollary for startups is: do something cool for key customers of a corporate, and you’ll get on their radar in no time!
4. Pick The Right Match
“When you buy a company, everything is negotiable except strategy and culture”, said Chambers.
Oracle has mastered takeovers but for most others, acquisitions can fail due to a poor alignment of vision for the industry and each company’s role, cultural mismatch, geographic distance or lack of integration of systems (once you scale your number of acquisitions, having different divisions or subsidiaries use different software will make your CFO insane).
There is generally more than one possible M&A target, and Cisco often walked away from potential buys for the above reasons. It also developed efficient processes: ‘I used to view process at bureaucracy, but process done right can give you speed that others cannot match’, Chambers added.
5. Build Your Playbook(s)
Back in the 90’s tech M&As were often failures. Chambers and his team researched why and built Cisco’s playbook, then tweaked it for 2 decades. According to Chambers, most of it can apply to other companies. So save yourself some time and costly attempts by getting his book 😉
Interestingly, they approached the leadership transition in the same way: they studied what made them work or fail, and made it as smooth as could be when John stepped down in 2015.
6. Do Your Homework
One common trait of experienced corp dev teams is the amount of work they put in before they approach a startup.
Not only are they aware of many through their own research, their customers, business units, CVC arms or the media, but also via extensive networks, including with VC firms.
Like investors, you’re only as good as your deal flow. Corp devs then model the value a startup might bring, and pay the right price for it (more on this below).
7. Pay For What The Value Is To You
A hot startup can command a high price, but is it worth it for you?
If it offers no complementarity or synergies, it might in fact be of negative value. On the opposite, the current revenue of a startup might be irrelevant if you can blow their product through your channels and make it 10x or 100x.
The company Chambers bought in ’93 for close to US$100million only had US$10 million in revenue. It paid off in droves.
8. Keep The Talent
When you buy a tech company, you must try and keep the talent — especially founders, emotional leaders and engineers.
Understand ‘Leaders Currency’: Track record, Trust and Relationships. So involve your HR team to answer key questions and help define attractive career paths within your organization for the acquired teams. If you fail to do so, people will leave or underperform, and you will not get the new products you hope for.
At Cisco, about 1/3 of the top leadership came from internal promotions, 1/3 from recruiting and 1/3 from acquisitions. At peak it likely had about 100 former CEOs on payroll!