ERP Holiday Letter: Did you get one in your vendor's card to you?

What happens when a software CEO with an oversized ego writes one of those holiday card letters and sends it to the company's customers? Who could write something like this?
Written by Brian Sommer, Contributor


You know those letters friends and family include in their holiday cards to you every year? Well, while I get lots of cards from software vendors, none of them ever bother to put one of those self-congratulatory letters inside them. Why should friends and family be the only ones to go ego-centric and narcissistic? So in case your favorite software vendor forgot to include their self-obsessed, back-slapping, brag-a-line missive, I offer this generic version for your holiday enjoyment:

Dear Sucker/Valued Software Customer:

This holiday season is an important one in the history of our firm. We’re particularly proud of the following achievements. First, we made over 220 acquisitions of other software vendors this year. In doing so, we laid off almost 4,000 software sales people, 2,400 software developers, and countless others. Those ‘involuntary retirements’ were especially helpful to our bottom line and my personal bonus this year. So, thanks to all the investment bankers, lawyers and others who helped me make all of these deals accretive so fast no matter what personal consequences they had on others in this economy. This lack of humanity and our wheeling and dealing brought us record earnings in the worst economy ever. Way to go team!

Speaking of the economy, did you notice that we raised our gross margin on software maintenance now to 94%? While I am particularly proud of that number, I’ve already told our team that this represents an A- and I won’t be satisfied until we achieve 100% margin. Sure, that means customers like you won’t get any support or new releases but since so few of you can afford to do upgrades in this economy anyway, what’s the problem?

I’m also really proud of the way we’ve managed to innovate around our marketing messages. While other companies deliver some great products (that we’ll copy in 8-10 years), we’ve done an outstanding job of talking about innovation without delivering much of it. This way, you have been lured into paying us maintenance while we deliver top-rate lip-service. I tell you, our Marketing team has done more for innovation this year than any developer ever could.

Speaking of Marketing – did you see the great job they did writing my autobiography this year? They also wrote a book about my thoughts on the Internet. I can’t wait to read both of these books this winter when we vacation in Aruba.

This year was a year for breaking records. For example, this year we sent more sales people than ever to our President’s Club in Bali. You know, nothing adds value for our customers like several hundred software sales people on a week-long drunken orgy in an expensive, exotic resort.

Credit for our record revenue increase should go to our pricing quant back at headquarters but I must confess I did give him the idea to pound every customer with ILFs (incremental license fees), COLAs (cost of living adjustments), and, my favorite, the conversion of every support call to a paid consulting gig. I got the idea from this airline I read about in Robber Baron CEO magazine. If airlines can charge for seat assignments, aisle seats, checked bags, etc., then why can’t we join the nickel and dime club? That extra $120 million in revenue/quarter just enhanced my stock position in this company by over $420 million. My thanks to all of you for making me richer still.

Of course, we here at GreedCo Software, plc do, in fact, have a conscience. It’s not much but it did flair up briefly for a few hours before our user conference. At that time we decided to donate 0.0000000000000000000000000004% of net profits to a couple of charities that I control.

We also went green this year. That’s right – we’re only accepting customer payments in currencies that use green ink. Specifically, we like U.S. bills as all of them are green.

What’s next? 2010 promises to be another banner year. We’re already planning our next users’ group meeting tentatively titled “Innovation Obfuscation 2010”. We are also developing a new ad campaign featuring the Gordon Gecko movie character and his catchphrase “Greed is Good”.

On a personal note, I’ve got the firm's web development team building an extensive web persona for my son Biff. They’re carefully crafting an erudite web presence for the lad so he can get into an Ivy League college next year. If that doesn’t work, I might have to get philanthropic and use some company stock to fund a building or something.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading this letter as much as I loved talking about myself and my accomplishments.

Happy Holidays from your favorite Software Company CEO

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