It’s about Winning, Not Taking Part

Is that a controversial statement?  I don’t think so, although I do find myself at odds with my kids’ school, where there appears to be a fear of encouraging kids to beat each other at sports.  “It’s not the winning, it’s the taking part” seems to me to be a very British sentiment, and one that harks back to a bygone age of polite conversation over cups of Earl Grey.  But it’s fundamentally NOT what life is about.  To pretend winning doesn’t matter is, in my view, a state of denial.

Today, I’m excited to say, Mimecast came third in the Deloitte Technology Fast 50, a ranking of the 50 fastest growing technology companies in the UK. Rankings are based on average percentage revenue growth over five years and Mimecast grew 7579% percent during this period.

We’ve had a pretty sensational run of wins just recently.  We ranked seventh in the Guardian’s Tech Media Invest 100, sponsored by PWC, followed by coming second in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100.  We also just had the fillip of a Gartner report listing us as the fastest growing archiving company in the world.

At our company meeting in London on Friday, we talked about our vision for the future.  I’m not sure if I really captured people’s hearts and minds during my talk, but as I was finishing I received a text confirming a major order with a big British blue chip customer.  The response from our entire UK workforce – not just those in sales – was rapturous. It wasn’t quite a standing ovation, but it was a spontaneous outburst of joy and pride that comes from winning. “Aw, shucks,” said the abashed sales hero concerned, followed by a sharp reminder that we were to keep this win under our hats for a while.

There are no prizes for coming second, you see.  Which is why, arguably, we shouldn’t be boasting about all these awards at all.  We came second to an online gambling company in the Tech Track 100, and today?  Well, sure, I’m reasonably happy with 7579% growth, but the winner did 26,885%.  Close but no cigar.  We must do better.