"It's Bigger Than Money" -- The CEO Who Turned Down $500 Million


The Motley Fool talks with Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith, one of Forbes' "Most Promising CEOs Under 35." Ryan's online data collection and analysis platform has enjoyed meteoric growth and success in its quest to "help companies be right."

A full transcript follows the video.

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Brendan Byrnes: As I mentioned earlier, you turned down the $500 million for the company. Why did you do that, and how difficult of a decision was that?

Ryan Smith: When you build a company to keep, or you build a company with a long-term vision, and you're profitable, and you bootstrap, you're going to get a lot of offers. Those are going to continue to come. I think that's part of it.

But we've been, historically, a single-product company. We're building on our entire platform and we're launching new products. Most of our revenue was U.S.-based. You start looking at it and saying, "Wow, this is a billion or multi-billion dollar opportunity." I've been around enough to know that those are rare.

Aside from the money, I think we're doing something great. We're changing the way people do research, and we're changing the way that data's being collected and digested and turned into insights within the organization.

Watching that, it's bigger than money. It's actually pretty fascinating.

Brendan: With this big opportunity -- you mentioned multi-billion dollar opportunity -- people notice that. The big companies notice that, but yet you have some big companies also, that are your customers, like Microsoft .

What are some competitive advantages that Qualtrics has that can maybe fend off if one of these deep-pocketed giants -- maybe Google , say -- want to come in and try to do the same kind of things you're doing? How do you fend that off?

Ryan: This is the million-dollar quest. The billion-dollar question.

Look, I think this is what we focus on. This is what we do. This is who we are. Now, organizations have always tried to do this but, I think, number one is we develop great products that are phenomenal. We've got great customer experience and support within our org.

But, look. I don't spend a lot of time focusing on them. We're busy focused on what Qualtrics is going to do, and how we're going to dominate, and everything that we're going to come up with. That will take care of themselves. I can't spend much time worried about what Google's going to do.

The article "It's Bigger Than Money" -- The CEO Who Turned Down $500 Million originally appeared on Fool.com.

Brendan Byrnes has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Google. The Motley Fool owns shares of Google and Microsoft. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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