This week on How Success Happens, I spoke with Godard Abel, co-founder and CEO of B2B software marketplace G2. Before G2, Abel built cloud CPQ software pioneers BigMachines (acquired by Oracle) and SteelBrick (acquired by Salesforce). He has an incredible career full of trials and tribulations, and I was curious to find out more about his journey — both professionally and personally — as a five-time entrepreneur. You can listen to our full conversation below, and I’ve pulled out three key takeaways. I hope you’re as inspired as I am by Abel.
1. Surround yourself with people who inspire you
Abel’s father was instrumental in kindling his entrepreneurial spirit. One of his more notable childhood memories is seeing a computer for the first time — a novelty brought home by his dad, an early enthusiast of technology. This exposure to his father’s business ambition and cutting-edge technology became the cornerstone of inspiration for his career.
Abel always understood the significance of collective wisdom and inspiration. Hence, he never wanted to found a company alone. Much of his team from his first startup BigMachines worked together at SteelBrick and again at G2. For him, it’s less about ego and more about invaluable perspective, support and understanding. This ethos, combined with his father’s influence, was key in shaping Abel’s entrepreneurial journey.
Timestamp — 1:30 and 12:10
2. The most successful people aren’t immune to the highs and lows of life
Even successful entrepreneurs can wrestle with deep-seated anxieties and fears, and these feelings are a common part of the entrepreneurial journey. Abel recounts the persistent doubt and fear of failure he experiences as an entrepreneur, even amidst the celebration of company successes. Although the sale of BigMachines to Oracle was an important milestone in his career, it was also a difficult transition due to his deep personal connection to the company and his always-on mindset. Through conscious leadership and his spiritual journey, Abel now faces the lows head-on and celebrates the highs in a new way.
Timestamp — 10:00 and 24:30
3. Every day is a new learning opportunity
In the world of entrepreneurship, you’re always doing a hundred things at once, so inspiration comes from everywhere. The most successful people are those who have a curiosity and passion for learning. Despite the substantial progress of G2, Abel still feels the journey is only halfway complete. The world of software is continuously evolving and expanding, requiring platforms like G2 to remain adaptable and forward-thinking. Entrepreneurs should always have a pulse on future trends and echo Jeff Bezos‘ “day one” mentality — the idea that a company treats every day like it’s the first.
Timestamp — 30:25