I just finished reading “Life’s A Pitch: How to Sell Yourself and Your Brilliant Ideas” by Stephen Bayley and Roger Mavity. The basic premise of the book is: ‘Life is not a pattern of gradually evolving improvements. It is a series of longer, fallow patches punctuated by moments of crucial change. How you handle the long fallow stretches doesn’t matter much. How you handle the moments of change is vital.’ And they conclude that how you handle these big moments of change plays a major role in your ability to establish and build trust. How you ‘pitch’ your idea during that time is what really makes the difference.

As we come to the end of year five at CloudMargin, I believe that there are one or two really important decisions for us to make. We have moved on from worrying about where the next dollar is coming from. CloudMargin now has over 75 clients, more than 80 employees and consultants working in locations around the world and generates significant revenues on a recurring basis. Thus far, we have been able to successfully handle the big moments of change and earn the trust of our clients and partners.

Earthquake Moments

We have been discussing the way forward for CloudMargin; taking input from investors, customers and people we listen to.  An influential lawyer in the City of London who has worked with virtually all of our customers, potential clients and partners reflected on this recently when we were discussing the importance of the network sale, a utility approach and whether a go-it-alone or consortia is best. His view: going it alone rarely works. I believe Bayley and Mavity are right on target with their core premise; the major steps in your life boil down to the key moments where someone is assessing whether they can trust you and if you are self-aware enough to recognise the key issues and be decisive.

So, what next? CloudMargin has always tried to set the agenda in the space in which we operate. We never want to squander the chance to make a meaningful impact.

Where we sit as a cloud-based collateral workflow tool means CloudMargin is ideally positioned to bring this industry together to solve some big problems. This is not a vision solely focused on the management of collateral, but one where a cloud-based platform can be utilised to solve several critical problems that impact the OTC derivatives industry, from pre-trade optimisation, collateral data normalisation and revolutionising the way counterparties communicate and work with one another. The problems facing our industry today require big ideas and bold solutions that employ the newest technologies that evolve with the rapid change in today’s fast moving world – technologies like the cloud.

I see CloudMargin evolving into a revolutionary networked solution where the sell-side firms leverage a bi-lateral portal to seamlessly communicate with their collateral counterparties on the buy and sell side, sharing one platform that simplifies the information exchange, reduces operational risk, builds more profitable sticky relationships and ultimately generates more revenue. Oh! And, on top of that we will continue to provide a bloody good collateral workflow tool that can save you money. This can only happen with a consortia approach, with our partners and key players in the industry joining together to make it happen.

Can we motivate our friends to change from what they have been doing to become a disruptive, real-time platform where data exchange issues are virtually eradicated and consequently the need for expensive reconciliation evaporates? That is what we will continue to push for.

CloudMargin’s commitment to building Trust

Life’s a Pitch gave me a sharp reminder that creating and delivering a persuasive pitch and gaining trust from people – whether they be a key hire, a customer, an investor or a partner — is not easy. Telling our story is more theatre than information. It’s not just about data, track record, stats. Even the most logical of our prospects and partners will base their judgements on whether they trust our vision of the future. Whilst numbers, stats and strategies are important, the core judgment will be influenced heavily by whether people believe in us and that we have the energy, the expertise, the team and crucially the insight to succeed. People buy people.

It is not the originality of the idea which drives most business success, but the commitment to making that idea happen.

At CloudMargin, we believe we have the energy; we have and continue to have great ideas. We are building a proven track record, now we need to take the next steps to get it over the line. Working harder at building trust.

Bayley’s and Mavity’s book made me rethink what I am doing. This is an important time for CloudMargin; my role is to help our team  focus on what we do well – build technology, to continue to listen and to be at the forefront of new ideas and then execute. The book has many more thought-provoking ideas. It has been an exciting year, but the one ahead is when critical decisions will be made.

If you read the book, I hope you enjoy it. Have a great time this holiday season. Here at CloudMargin, we wish all our friends a safe, happy and prosperous time.

-Steve