The phrase, "Too much of a good thing..." comes to mind, but doesn't quite work here. "A Good Problem" seems like a better fit.... and I'm talking about the influx of business we've been getting over the past several months.
Traditionally, summer months - particularly late July and August - have been the slow times. In fact, I always kinda looked forward to July and August, not just for the agreeable weather, but also for the chance to take a breather from the pulsating software M&A business. Somthing about this summer... about this time - pseudo-post recession, in a world where tech companies still have LOTS of money to spend - has left us without a moment to come up for air.
Frankly, I'm not complaining... I'd rather be busy than bored. But, there was a headline that caught my attention, alluding to the title of "Alleycat Bankers". The 451 group is presupposing that Boutique M&A firms (like Corum) are scrounging for deals -- having to cutthroat one another and lunge at the opportunity to pitch their services to the next hot prospect.
The article further points out that Boutiques are playing less-and-less of a role as advisors. Re-worded, their services are in less demand than they were in the 2007 timeframe.
I dunno about all this. Maybe Corum is excluded from these data points based on our long history, focus, and market niche.... but I certainly have only witnessed a heavier deal flow in the past 12-18 months than previous market swells. That said... we aren't a startup Boutique, and we maintain a high market visibility for potential clients. Thats good, right?
I just browsed through the Tech M&A Banking Review from the 451 group. It was interesting, to say the least, as I realized - being an insider at Corum - how undisclosed data can highly skew, augment, corrupt the overall circumstances of a research document. We work through these same problems here and often use/site 451 data for our own projects... so I understand the increasing complications of undisclosed information.
What struck me as most interesting was that when looking at stats for Software M&A transactions, we were not ranked in the top-10 for volume. In fact, some of those who were ranked in the top-10, I know for a fact produce less deals than us.
One of my co-workers this morning informed me that she was trying to switch her personal email to Gmail (at Corum, we also have an enterprise email solution). I thought this was a nice gesture - not that she did it for me, but that she told me she was going to give it an honest-to-goodness trial. She's switching from Hotmail and she found that the import of her email and contacts was very easy. Good Start.
From there, the conversation takes a bit of a philosophical turn. My co-worker, being from a different generation than myself (and a former librarian) asked me how to structure her folders and group her emails. Things start to get a little gooey here... I can see where's she going... and I know why she's asking...... I also know that my response is going to be tough for her to swallow.
The fundamental difference between the email systems developed in the early 90's, vs. the email systems developed in the early 2000's is that the earlier versions are built on a hierarchical system, whereas the latter are built on a system of search. At this stage in technology, they are now both capable of crossing over and performing many of the functions of the other..... but, like Mac vs. PC, no matter how you slice it, they just seem to excel in their specific domain.
"Sure", I tell her, "There are labels and color codes you can add to individuals, or groups... there are even 'extensions' (apps) you can add to Gmail to make it function more like the structured, hierarchical system you are used to.... but really, that is kind of defeating the purpose." The purpose of having a searchable inbox is so you don't HAVE to make folders; so you don't have to worry about where things go, how they get there, and if they made it safely. The purpose of a searchable inbox is to give you immediate access to any-and-all emails under a simple search command. Moving from a structured environment, I completely understand why and how this can be a difficult step in retraining your brain and your immediate intentions to think and act towards email, information, data.
Both systems have their strengths... both systems have their flaws.
So... we got new company photos taken at our retreat last week. When I asked our president, Nat Burgess, if he had seen the new photos, he didn't look up from his screen, but quickly replied, "Yeah.. you and Tomoki look like damn hippies". I had really meant to get a haircut... just didn't have time.
I work in Software M&A. This is a personal / business blog.