Portfolio Spotlight: Michael Litt, CEO of Vidyard
Each month, Battery highlights a different portfolio-company CEO with our “Five Questions in Five Minutes” feature, showcasing the diversity of the Battery portfolio across investment stages, sectors and geographies.
What does your company do in 10 words or less?
Vidyard* helps organizations drive revenue with video.
What is your favorite piece of management/leadership advice?
Visionary innovators always drink upstream from the herd. The key, though, is that innovations are more than just novel ideas—they’re ideas that actually catch on. When 3M accidentally invented a removable adhesive back in the day, it had no practical use. It was inventive, but not innovative. It wasn’t until years later that this same product was repackaged as the Post-it Note. It took off after 3M’s marketers blitzed Boise, Idaho, with free samples. My point here is something that Salesforce’s Peter Coffee and many others have insisted on: innovation requires both invention and people adopting that invention.
What’s the most under-rated trend in technology, in your opinion?
Virtual reality enabled workspaces (video comms). The cost of physical offices is pushing startups out of technology hubs in California, New York and Seattle. Having virtual office space would take this enormous line item out of the budget, freeing up money to invest into growth and expansion. It’s hard to overestimate how transformative this could be.
What book made the biggest impact on your career?
If You Give a Pig a Pancake, a children’s book by Laura Numeroff. It’s a story about actions and consequences, showing the chain of events that unfurls as a young person tries to keep up with the demands of a bossy pig (an analogy for scaling teams and scaling people).
BONUS QUESTION: What’s something all of your employees would be surprised to learn about you?
Very little, I’m an open book. I think this is partly a generational thing and partly from running a company that’s all about video. A lot of millennials have grown up self-documenting via social media and video, so they’re comfortable sharing in the work environment, as well. But if I had to pick something, it would be that I married our very first customer. We take customer success really seriously at Vidyard – legal matrimony won’t scale well though 😊.