James is the founder of the web analytics company Omniture, which sold to Adobe for $1.8 billion, last year. This is easily one of the best speeches I’ve ever seen a successful entrepreneur give. James eschews any pretense and speaks honestly and openly about the thrills, rigors, and sacrifices of entrepreneurship.
Some key takeaways:
- Self-confidence. James isn’t cocky, but there is never a question that he is fully confident in his abilities and intelligence. In fact, when asked during the Q&A if he ever thought he would be this successful, he says absolutely.
- Evolution. Throughout the speech, James alludes to the evolution of Omniture as a company and himself as a leader. His first startup built simple websites at low hourly prices, however, when he saw an opening in the analytics market, he evolved the business and attacked the space. Again, after seeing more upside on the enterprise side, he essentially shut down Omniture’s small business operations and focused exclusively on larger clients. Then, when Google entered analytics with a free option, he evolved his pitch and continued to win big clients. Everytime he was faced with a threat, he continued to evolve the business until its successful exit.
- Constant Studying and Learning. James speaks at length about the volumes of books he’s read about every facet of business and entrepreneurship (he lists some must-reads). He also cites the valuable advice he gained from mentors and other successful entrepreneurs. It’s evident that James never stopped learning throughout his experience at Omniture, even after he was extremely successful.
I think everyone will really enjoy this. Also, for more on James, check out his recent How I Did It in Inc. magazine, which is actually what led me to find this speech.