November 16: On reinventing Qualtrics

Looking at big decisions through the lens of one-way and two-way doors.

Suggest a topic for a future fact.

Source: Harvard Business Review
Published: July 2021

On reinventing Qualtrics

“At Qualtrics, we have always tried to look at big decisions through the lens of one-way and two-way doors. Run as fast as possible through two-way doors, but everyone should stop and think carefully before passing through a one-way door.” 

- Ryan Smith, Founder and Executive Chairman of Qualtrics

An example for entrepreneurs:

  • One-way door: The distribution of equity because once you’ve given it, you can’t take it back.

  • Two-way door: Introducing different pricing models because you can iterate and change over time.

In 2012 Qualtrics made a one-way-door decision by transitioning from a single-product company (an academia survey tool) to a multiproduct company focused on customer and employee feedback for corporations.

Bonus: Three days before Qualtrics was scheduled to IPO in 2019, SAP offered $8 billion to buy the business. SAP took Qualtrics public in 2021, and the company now has a market capitalization of $20 billion. Yesterday, Qualtrics and AWS announced an expanded partnership where Qualtrics selects AWS as its preferred cloud provider, and Amazon will use Qualtrics to analyze customer feedback across all business lines.

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