The Tale of Two Companies:
Or… How Partnerships Enable Market Dominance
Our story takes place in Davos, Switzerland at the world Economic Forum, January 2000.
150 of the top fortune 500 CEOs are in attendance. There was a B to B commerce panel consisting of:
John Chambers – CEO, Cisco
Chad Holliday – CEO, DuPont
Fred Smith- CEO & Founder of Fedex
Mark Hoffman – CEO, Commerce One
Me – CEO, Ariba
At the time Ariba and Commerce One were direct competitors fighting for market share in the B2B eCommerce industry. The French panel facilitator opens the floor for a discussion on eCommerce, “who wants to talk about B to B eCommerce first.” Fred Smith stands up and declares, “we put $.04 per share to our bottom line this quarter because of Ariba.” And sits down. John Chambers stands up, “We were Ariba’s first customer” and sits down. Without standing, Chad Holliday then says, “We use Ariba too.”
I put the final exclamation point when I slowly turned to my nemesis, Mark Hoffman, and gently said, “Mark, why don’t you go next?”
What is the moral of this story?
Top Executive love to talk about their results. And when they quantify your value proposition in a crowd, magic happens. This magic is turbo charged when it is in front of global leaders. As a result, the winds of the tornado whip even faster and everyone wants to jump on board.
Today, $1.3 trillion of commerce goes through the Ariba Network on annual basis (more than e-bay, Amazon and Alibaba combined)…
Commerce-One filed for Chapter 11 in 2004.