The New Possibilities

You would never know
If you could ever be
If you never try
You would never see
—Lupe Fiasco, All Black Everything

A year ago I wrote about a very special entrepreneur, Christian Gheorghe, who escaped Communist Romania, migrated to America, and—after starting here with $27 as a limo driver and construction worker—eventually became a computer scientist and an entrepreneur. I indicated that just as he broke from an oppressive, totalitarian regime, he planned to free his customers from the oppression of enterprise software. Today Christian announces his new company Tidemark and I finally get to tell you how he will redefine and reinvent enterprise performance management and, more broadly, data analytics.

As we enter the age of the cloud/mobile platform, Tidemark provides a compelling example of why future applications will be far superior to the current generation. By properly using the bursting capabilities of the cloud, Tidemark benchmarks out at 1,000 times the performance of current solutions, which sometimes take 6 or 7 days to consolidate financials across a business. By using the iPad as the primary user interface target, Tidemark is highly accessible to business people and not just data analysts.

Both of these advances turn out to be critically important. If it takes a week to consolidate financial statements, then any scenario planning will be stale by a minimum of one week. In today’s real-time business environment, that’s ridiculous and certainly uncompetitive. Anybody who has been in business for any length of time knows that the data represents a portion, but not all of the business. In the same way that a map is not the terrain, the spreadsheet is not the business. As a result, having data analysts analyze data and the managers of the business attempt to make decisions on that basis is far from optimal. By making the data and its analysis directly available to the people with the knowledge, Tidemark transforms decision quality.

Beyond these platform advantages, Tidemark changes the nature of data analytics by ditching the two fundamental and problematic questions on which the existing industry is based:

What data do I have?

What reports do I want?

The trouble with these questions is that a) it is highly unlikely that you’ve gathered all of the relevant data in the right schema and format prior to needing it, b) businesses are not best represented in reports and c) the reports generally say very little that’s interesting about the future. As a result, companies that analyze their businesses with off-the-shelf products tend to do a far worse job than companies like Google who use data to achieve massive competitive advantage through teams of brilliant engineers.

Christian replaced these two ancient questions with far better ones:

How does our business work?

How do we want to measure it, understand it, and predict what will happen next?

Tidemark’s software begins by literally capturing a blueprint of the customer’s business. If you think of a business as a series of processes executed by a variety of people designed to create specific, measurable outcomes then you get the basic idea of how Tidemark defines a blueprint and aligns itself to the business. It’s a great alignment, because when you think about it, processes cover the import aspects of a business—product development process, sales process, financial planning process, etc. Tidemark enables companies to capture their process architecture and the related key performance indicators in software. Once Tidemark understands how a business works and how the company wants to measure and understand it, it can help the company forecast future results, scenario plan, and continuously improve.

For those of us who have been around this kind of software for years, Tidemark’s breakthroughs are breathtaking. It’s a product that delivers on a 30-year vision in the same way that the iPhone finally fulfilled the dream of the Newton.

Christian is the shining example of why an open and benevolent immigration policy for oppressed peoples is the right one. Before he is done, he will make thousands of U.S. businesses more competitive, employ many Americans, and lead the way for other companies to follow and improve their approach to software. And all we had to do was give him a chance.

 

 

 

The views expressed here are those of the individual AH Capital Management, L.L.C. (“a16z”) personnel quoted and are not the views of a16z or its affiliates. Certain information contained in here has been obtained from third-party sources, including from portfolio companies of funds managed by a16z. While taken from sources believed to be reliable, a16z has not independently verified such information and makes no representations about the enduring accuracy of the information or its appropriateness for a given situation.

This content is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as legal, business, investment, or tax advice. You should consult your own advisers as to those matters. References to any securities or digital assets are for illustrative purposes only, and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Furthermore, this content is not directed at nor intended for use by any investors or prospective investors, and may not under any circumstances be relied upon when making a decision to invest in any fund managed by a16z. (An offering to invest in an a16z fund will be made only by the private placement memorandum, subscription agreement, and other relevant documentation of any such fund and should be read in their entirety.) Any investments or portfolio companies mentioned, referred to, or described are not representative of all investments in vehicles managed by a16z, and there can be no assurance that the investments will be profitable or that other investments made in the future will have similar characteristics or results. A list of investments made by funds managed by Andreessen Horowitz (excluding investments and certain publicly traded cryptocurrencies/ digital assets for which the issuer has not provided permission for a16z to disclose publicly) is available at https://a16z.com/investments/.

Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others. Please see https://a16z.com/disclosures for additional important information.

Want more a16z?

Sign up to get our best articles, latest podcasts, and news on our investments emailed to you.