Q&A with Brian Cook and Karl Redenbach
1. Brian, do you recall the first time you met with Karl?
BC: Yes, it was a Microsoft Conference in Seattle Washington back in 2006. I was with Brett Campbell, co-founder of Nintex, exhibiting our product on the other side of the world, in amongst the big guys of our industry, feeling very out of our league. We bumped into Karl and Pete, two Aussies from our home town in exactly the same situation.
2. Karl, anything you want to correct or add to Brian’s account of your first meeting?
KR: The only thing I’d add is that, even at the time we met, I was very impressed by how accomplished Brian and Brett were as business people. While it may have felt to Brian like they were out of their league, it certainly didn’t seem that way to me.
3. How did the LiveTiles/Hyperfish acquisition come about, and what excites you the most about the merger?
BC: CJ (Chris Johnson co-Founder of Hyperfish) and I were looking at options for where we take the company. We had a significant funding offer on the table to grow the company independently, but also wanted explore opportunities to be part of a company that could help us grow faster. LiveTiles was one of many companies we spoke to. Pretty quickly into the conversation we realized LiveTiles was such a great fit for many reasons, culture, financial, product and vision.
KR: LiveTiles and Hyperfish are definitely two like-minded companies. Both companies are founded on extremely innovative tech, and both have some of the world’s best developers. Both companies are also filled with people that have a passion for seeing enterprises and customers succeed. Both were founded with a people-first sensibility, and both have a truly multicultural workforce. It’s quickly becoming obvious, too, that with the merger of the two companies, that the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.
4. Why do you both see LiveTiles and Hyperfish as a good fit?
BC: LiveTiles was one of many companies we spoke to, and not long into the conversation it became pretty obvious that bringing the businesses together would be an exciting prospect. The Hyperfish platform fits nicely into the LiveTiles Intelligent Workplace and the businesses are such a great culture fit.
KR: At LiveTiles, we are trying to revolutionize the world with intelligent transformation. The Intelligent User Experience (IUX) is the foundation of what we do here, and I see Hyperfish as an integral part in extending and completing that experience. We have a vision to truly change the way people interact with tech. One of great things about Hyperfish is that it addresses some of the human imperfections that we see in data management, identifies what’s missing, and with the power of AI, works to solve these problems. IUX is here to make everyone’s life a lot easier, and Hyperfish certainly fits with that ethos.
Karl Redenbach, Co-founder and CEO of LiveTiles
5. How are the cultures of LiveTiles and Hyperfish alike, and how is it maintained despite continued growth?
BC: There is lot of similarity between the cultures. At the heart of it is a “can do” Australian attitude to both businesses. Not a lot of egos, just a bunch of people who love working together, and building and selling exciting software. The way to maintain a great culture through growth is to have a clear set of values that everyone lives by, and that you continue to be disciplined about who you hire into the business and why.
KR: Both companies are very multicultural, with employees from all around the world. We revel in this diversity, as it brings us a great range of people and skills. We’re very fortunate to have very motivated people as the lifeblood of both companies. In addition to this, we have great leadership teams that are driven to keep these companies on their very impressive growth trajectories. Essentially, the nucleus of both companies, i.e. the people and culture, are the driving forces that are pushing us to keep growing. It really is a very exciting time here.
6. Tell us about how important that friendship and familiarity is when doing business?
BC: It helps a great deal. Sharing the experience of growing a business with friends is fantastic. Friendships also help you to be more open and honest which each other.
KR: This merger went through very quickly, and at a point where both companies are on fast-growth trajectories. Despite that, it’s been a quick, seamless, and painless merger. That wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t understand each other. We’ve had shared experiences throughout the years, and it’s this foundation that has given us the trust in each other that makes things much simpler.
7. Karl, Hyperfish is the first acquisition by LiveTiles. What set Hyperfish apart from other offers that have come your way?
KR: Two key elements made this merger a great opportunity for us. Basically, it’s the people and the tech. Hyperfish has some of the best people working in the industry, and the tech is far and away the best in class in the world. These guys definitely stood out from the crowd. added to which, we all share a great deal of trust, faith, and understanding in each other’s visions.
8. What can customers, partners and the industry expect to come out of this combination?
BC: Customers and partners can expect our pace of innovation to increase and improved global support as Hyperfish becomes a key part of a much bigger organisation.
KR: From a product point of view, this merger helps us move from a pages-and-bots entity to a company that is able to offer a full stack intelligent user experience. The intelligent data collection that is enabled by Hyperfish will allow our customers to keep their data constantly up-to-date. The benefits of this intelligent data collection will be felt exponentially, as Hyperfish takes advantage of the rich integrations to other software applications that LiveTiles offers. There’s really nothing out there that compares to what we are offering now, that really pushes for complete user adoption to make all our lives easier.
9. Brian & Karl, do you recall what first brought you to SharePoint?
BC: We were introduced to SharePoint before its first release and were immediately inspired to use it as a platform to create collaboration solutions. SharePoint was such a ground-breaking product at release, it effectively democratized Intranets which in the past had been expensive and complicated to produce.
KR: We were drawn to Microsoft simply because of their track record. They’ve proven year after year for at least the last two decades that they are the unequivocal leaders in the enterprise space. We saw SharePoint as an extremely robust platform with myriad capabilities. Instead of competing with that, we felt it would be better to provide improved experiences by augmenting the platform. As Isaac Newton said, “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”
Brian Cook, Co-founder and CEO of Hyperfish
10. You’ve both founded and led multiple successful businesses focused on SharePoint Solutions – what’s the attraction to this industry and its customers for you both?
BC: It’s a huge customer base and community, and Microsoft is a great organization to partner with. The SharePoint eco-system continues to evolve and grow which provides further opportunities for products and services.
KR: During our lifetimes, we’ve witnessed the digital transformation happen. We believe it’s time to step up to the next phase, what we call ‘intelligent transformation’. We’re motivated to drive change in business, not just for profit and efficiency, but more than anything to make life better for all workers. We see a world where, because AI can take care of many of our tasks for us, people have this great opportunity to go back to being social creatures. Like most technologists, we’re not driven by selfishness or hereditary power, but by our dreams for a greater world. We’re driven to give back to the people. We want tech to improve living standards all around the world. I think we’re at the forefront of an industry that is in the process of disrupting the way the whole world works. It’s an amazing time to be involved in AI.
11. Brian, is it true your former services business competed directly with Karl & Peter’s?
BC: Yes, we did. While at the time I’m sure we wanted to kill each other, in reflection the competition drove us both to innovate and work harder which led to our later success.
12. Brian & Karl, you are both avid musicians. DO you think this passion has had an impact on your business success?
BC: From my perspective, I think having a background in playing live music in front of an audience has led me to treating business presentations and speaking engagements like a show. The audience deserves to be entertained, the performance is just as important as the content.
KR: You can learn a lot from music that you can bring to business. Art requires creativity, and the most successful businesses are those founded on creative thought, the businesses that push the boundaries of what people think is possible. Also, music is often a collaborative thing, where people come together to create something new, to bounce ideas off each other, and to work as a cohesive group to innovate. When our LiveTiles band played in Vegas, it was the first time that we’d all come together as musicians, we were able to play off each other’s strengths. That mentality, of teamwork and cohesiveness, is the foundation of any good business. Above all, music is fun, and it helps us not take ourselves too seriously. Even the most serious business people need to know when to laugh and enjoy life!
13. I hear you performed together at LiveTiles’ After Party at Microsoft Inspire. How did that come about, and when is the next performance?
BC: Karl organized a show with rap legend Tone Loc and some very talented LiveTiles folks. It was great fun, most of the band I met for the first time the day before the performance. There’s talk of a world tour 🙂
KR: This wasn’t the first time I’d spent time with Tone Loc, either! I was fortunate enough to have Tone Loc perform at my 40th with the band. I seriously think he’s the best ever 80s artist. It was a lot of fun. Not only that, but our gig was really well-received when we played in Vegas. I’m not dropping any hints but watch this space for more musical awesomeness to come.