How do you decide between data and gut on what to build?

Clint Oram / November, 2017


Clint Oram, Co-Founder and CTO of SugarCRM explains the balance between taking decisions based on data and/or gut.

Video transcript:

How do you decide between data and gut on what to build?

I always talk about this frequently within the company. I come back to Henry Ford, if I listen to my customers I build a faster horse, not a car. At the end of the day, the data gives you directional views of what’s happening behind you but it’s your job as a CTO, as a founder, as an innovator to be looking to the future. So yes, you will selectively choose to ignore the data. Because again the data represents yesterday’s view, and you need to be thinking about tomorrow.

Taking that thought a bit further, how do you collect the data, do you collect the data? Absolutely, because if you don’t have an accurate view of what your customers and the marketplace around you are thinking and telling you, you’re not going to have the insights necessary to come up with that new idea. So I really liken this to a classic product management process, this is something I talk about my product management team. My product management team’s job is not to define the solution, it’s to define the problem. My engineering team’s job is to define the solution It’s really spending time listening to the marketplace and listening to the problems that are out there and characterizing it with data is incredibly important. But it’s your job, it’s your job as an innovator to look past the data and see where the hockey puck is going as opposed to where it is. I think if you look around the Valley that’s been our MO here in Silicon Valley since day one.



  • Clint Oram, SugarCRM
  • November, 2017
  • 1:48
  • Startup Basics

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