Shantanu Narayen is one of the most celebrated CEOs running the global software company, Adobe. Google’s Sunder Pichai, Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, and a few others have also set a benchmark in a similar space on the world platform.
However, things were not always hunky-dory, Narayen told entrepreneurs while speaking at the TiE Global Summit 2022. He took over Adobe in 2007. In 2008, the company made record revenues but suffered the very next year because of the real estate bubble burst in 2009.
When the recession hit, it was a huge learning experience for the company, he said. The team realised that they were not innovating at a fast enough pace. The company’s revenue fell by 25 per cent and its market cap came down to $6 billion. Despite the challenging circumstances, he said, the team continued to rally. “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste,” he explained.
They took steps to innovate faster. Additionally, they also transformed themselves into a subscription-based Software as a Service model. This turned out to be a hit as the company’s market cap grew from $6 billion to $200 billion in the years to come. “Because things worked out I am telling you this story. Otherwise, my successor would have been here telling you what a bad idea that was,” he joked.
He also spoke about some of the qualities entrepreneurs should possess. If you are an impatient entrepreneur, it is perhaps a quality to appreciate, Narayen said on Monday adding, “Entrepreneurship is never taking a no for an answer.”
He also said that if he was starting his career in this era or age, he would never have moved out of Hyderabad to go to the United States. “A lot of opportunity exists in Hyderabad and India,” he shared.
Reminiscing about his childhood days, Narayen emphasised the importance of education. He said that high school and universities “teach you how to think.”
In the end, Narayen also shared some budding advice for entrepreneurs. He urged them to always keep their “vision, mission and purpose” in mind as well as continue to foster deep relationships with their customers.