A 1 billion man as inspiration

Acquia by Dries Buytaert (almost) reaches unicorn status

On 24 September 2019, Belgian newspaper De Tijd reported on Acquia, a company that had almost reached the status of unicorn - an unlisted company with a market value of at least $1 billion. Acquia is an American company founded and run by the Belgian Dries Buytaert. Dries Buytaert became world-famous among web developers as the inventor and initiator of the open source development platform Drupal. With Acquia he offers services to the largest companies in the world to create complex websites based on the Drupal platform. The fact that Acquia makes it to unicorn is a brilliant achievement of Dries Buytaert. With this, he joins the select club of unicorn Belgians next to Felix Van de Maele from Collibra and Jonas Dhaenens from Combell.

Dries Buytaert as a source of inspiration

A few years ago, I attended an event organised by Deloitte in Brussels. The keynote speaker was Dries Buytaert. The subject of his talk was his experiences as an entrepreneur. He shared tips with the audience and told several anecdotes from his own entrepreneurial experience. One particular storyline, and especially the way he approached it, stuck with me.

He said: "What I am about to share with you, engineers and techies - like myself - will not like to hear, but it is the reality of entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur, you spend 80% of your time, energy and resources not on developing and improving products and processes, but on marketing and sales. You are constantly promoting and selling yourself and your organisation, in short, convincing others. Of course, I am not just talking about selling your products or services. It is also about convincing banks and investors, attracting good employees, negotiating with suppliers, dealing with the media, and so on."

This insight from Dries Buytaert on entrepreneurship got me thinking. When so much time, energy and resources are used to convince others, it is better for an organisation to think about and reflect on the question: how can we become more efficient and effective in convincing others? Or to put it differently: how do we become a convincing organisation or enterprise?

This question has occupied a great deal of my time in recent years. While I was active as an entrepreneur, assisting other entrepreneurs as an advisor or consultant or whenever I had the opportunity to learn from others at home and abroad, I always tried to relate my experiences to one question: how do we build a convincing business?

The ‘Convincing Company Compass’

Over the years, I have managed to transform my insights and ideas into simple tools and simple models to work with during the continuous search that every entrepreneur goes through. I brought all these models together in a compass: the Convincing Company Compass. Read more about the Convincing Company Compass in the 'discover' section of this website.