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Chad Cardenas, Founder & CEO, The Syndicate Group – Connecting Capital: Scaling Startups Through Strategic Networking

Case study - Empowering Channel Growth: Grip Security's Journey with TSG

Not a Zero-Sum Game

Many times in life, as in business, individuals and organizations are too quick to assume that for one idea to win, something else has to lose. The success of one person or company must inevitably result in another’s failure or loss. While this can be the case, taking it for granted that it’s true can stunt the growth of bigger ideas that have exponentially more potential for positive disruption.

After being immersed in the enterprise IT industry for 20 years and studying startup growth, engineering, and emerging tech go-to-market strategies, a few things have become quite clear to me:

  1. I don’t have all the answers;
  2. there are massive gaps in the innovation life-cycle flow, which hurts everyone; and
  3. doing business in the IT industry does not have to be a zero-sum game.

The rate of change in technology today is like nothing we’ve ever seen before and it’s gaining speed every day. Technology is changing the way we live, but it also modifies our expectations of the various industries where we’re simply consumers, directly or otherwise. This change is forcing corporations everywhere to adapt and transform their businesses accordingly, or potentially face extinction. But these transformations can only be successful with the help of enterprise technologies that enable cost savings, increased productivity, improved customer experiences, and stronger security.

It’s important to realize that said enterprise technologies don’t appear out of thin air. There is an entire community of incredibly talented entrepreneurs who provide a never-ending flow of ideas, products, and companies aspiring to meet the most pressing needs of growing organizations. These efforts are funded by venture firms who also endeavor to provide services such as talent search, board advisory services, mentoring, and more.

When a startup is formed and funded and a product is developed, a go-to-market strategy needs to be executed successfully. In the case of most enterprise-based products and services, these efforts are almost always served at least in part by ecosystem channel distribution partners. Consequently, there are consumption models: how do corporate IT groups find, test and implement the right solutions for their businesses?

It seems logical that all of these main constituencies supporting the innovation lifecycle would be connected and communicating in an efficient way for everyone involved, right? But many times, that is not the case. And it brings us right back to the beginning: what’s holding back progress is the widely-held misconception that for one party to gain, another has to lose. Does this mindset foster within each stakeholder constituency and inward focus on fortifying their position in a zero sum game? A much too narrow focus on innovation only within one area of industry, with no consideration of networking or the ripple effect? Or is it simply the case that the right model has yet to be developed? Few parties involved can imagine how the puzzle pieces would fit together without tearing each other apart.

The Syndicate Group was formed to be the change the industry has been searching for, by organizing the interactions between CIOs, channel partners, VCs and startups. By disavowing ourselves of the zero-sum game mentality, we leverage the power of many for the greater good of all.

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