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Don’t be afraid of failure

9 Josh James

The chief executive officer of software company DOMO, a man worth an estimated $100 million, gave a speech Tuesday to a youth audience in Phnom Penh.

At the age of 33 on his birthday in 2006, Josh James rang the bell at the New York Stock Exchange, taking his web analytics company Omniture public. He sold that same company to Adobe in 2009 for $1.8 billion.

James told the youth group to work hard and don’t be afraid of failure.

“You have to believe in yourself, certainly, but it is also about the amount of work that you do. We started seven different businesses before we finally created Omniture and some of them were very bad ideas,” James said.

“I like to make mistakes faster than anyone else and learn from those mistakes faster than anyone else,” James said in his speech. “One of the lessons I have had to learn over and over again is to dream bigger.”

James dropped out of university to go into business, doing websites. Earlier, he had spent time working as a Mormon missionary in Japan.

“Compared to asking thousands of Japanese if they wanted to learn about Christ, I knew it would be easy to ask people if they wanted a web page. And I remembered that if you believe – anything is possible.”

In 2010, James founded DOMO, a software-as-a-service company that helps other companies in the business intelligence market. He also started up CEO.com, a company that provides information about chief executive officers.

In an interview after the speech, James told of some of his secrets to success, including hiring great technical people – and learning lessons about employees along the way.

“As entrepreneur in the first couple years, you want to treat everyone very well, and then you realise that that doesn’t work with unscrupulous. It is hard to figure out who they are. You start to figure out the types of people who are genuine and genuine at executing. There is a whole class of people you can manage well if you give them guidelines and boundaries,” he said.

James explained that DOMO, which has 300 employees, makes relevant information easier to get.

“We take all of the data in someone’s organisation and make it available to the execs across the company. It is all available in dashboards and in real time,” he said.

His previous company Omniture functioned in a similar fashion to Google analytics.

“We charged fees for the data we collected.”

James says Cambodia is in a good position to leverage technology from the internet.

“One thing cool about the internet is it compressed the time that it takes for developing countries to become competitive,” he said.

“Mobile web is really interesting. That’s what we’re doing now for companies. Being able to take a company and have all the data available in real time is light years ahead of things even five years ago. Everything lives digitally in disparate and isolated systems. We tie all those systems together via the web,” he said.

“Now you can run your company in real time,” he told listeners.

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