Snowflake CEO: Why you must 'declare war on your competitors'

Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman has been at the CEO game long enough to learn a few things or two on how to create a successful business.

In his new book "Amp it Up," Slootman contends business leaders must "declare war on your competitors and incrementalism." Looked at another way, dream big, hire the right people and get after it.

"Raising the standards drive intensity. Leaders will set the pace, they will set the standards. It's important if you have to attract and retain talent that you have an environment that is highly energized and apolitical. Otherwise you just can't hang onto people. You don't want to be in companies surrounded by mediocrity and slowness," Slootman said on Yahoo Finance Live.

To be sure, Slootman has the résumé to back up what he preaches in the book.

Slootman came to the U.S. from the Netherlands in 1984 with $100 or so in his pocket, and recalls in the book cleaning toilets as a teenager to make ends meet.

Some 38 years later, Slootman is worth a reported $2.7 billion after successfully selling Data Domain to EMC in 2009 (where he was CEO), taking ServiceNow public in 2012 (where he was also CEO), and most recently bringing Snowflake to the public markets. In his spare time, Slootman is an avid sailor.

Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman writes in his new book 'Amp It Up' that companies must hire great people and weed out mediocrity.
Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman writes in his new book 'Amp It Up' that companies must hire great people and weed out mediocrity. (Amazon)

But it's data cloud player Snowflake (who counted Warren Buffett as an early investor) — which many tech experts believe has ground-breaking data analyst technology — that has put Slootman in the spotlight of late.

Snowflake shares exploded 111.61% to $226 (priced at $120) in their first day of trading on Sept. 16, 2020. The stock zoomed to more than $400 a share by mid-November 2021 after a series of promising earnings reports showing strong wins among large customers and client retention.

Although shares have dropped to $287 amid a broader sell-off in software stocks, the Street remains very bullish on Snowflake's prospects.

"We maintain that Snowflake's are substantially ahead of its competition at this time," says Mizuho analyst Gregg Moskowitz. The analyst sees fair value for Snowflake at $450.

Slootman believes the sell-off in software stocks is overdone, at least based on Snowflake's momentum.

"Not, not at all," said Slootman on whether he is seeing anything in Snowflake's business to warrant the recent sell-off.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and anchor at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.

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