The subject of my article here might give you a pause. I literally get paid to be a cynical pain in the rear every day. My job, leading tech diligence projects for private equity firms, requires me to listen to a company pitch why their technology is so great and why they should be paid a lot of money for it. I get to peruse vast arrays of documents, presentations, and marketing sheets to learn what they are doing. Then, I get to start asking the questions.
I’ve been evaluating companies for over a decade now. The level of bull I hear is so deep I could not even dig out with a shovel. Companies tell me things like:
They never want to show you the proof behind it. If I asked to see a system outage log or any outside tests of the DR plan I am met with usually one of two answer – “Sure, I will get that to you” (which never comes) or “Just trust me, it works”. Trust you – would you trust a used car salesman trying to sell you a car for $50M without having a mechanic look over every fine detail? I would hope not.
I am that mechanic – the man that checks under the hood. Sometimes I find a real gem – maybe even worth more than they think it is worth. Maybe there is some fabulous intellectual property that they do not realize can be used to solve other problems. Oh, who am I kidding – I have never seen one hidden gem. Companies know what they have. They never hide their assets – just their liabilities.
So, if you are planning to sell your tech business and think we wont bother looking at your code – you are wrong. If you think we wont look at your software development policies and procedures – you are wrong. We even look at your executive management and sometimes we tell the acquiring company the assets are great – but you are wrong.
Don’t fear us. Do not worry about us. Be honest and maybe we will even give you pointers to get better, because this cynical a-hole will find out if you are lying!