Patrick Taylor – Chief Executive Officer at Oversight Systems

Wait for the opportunity that you just can’t stand to not do and then stick with it.

Patrick Taylor is an authority in the convergence of business analytics, information security and the implementation of technology to boost organizational performance. Patrick recognized that most IT-security and financial-system controls focus on user access and role management, but don’t address how to convert ERP, CRM and other financial transaction resources into plain-language, actionable insights. After speaking with executives from across the country, Patrick launched Oversight Systems to pioneer the concepts and technology for continuous transaction analytics.

As a thought leader in predictive business analytics, Patrick has spoken at a wide variety of conferences. He has held leading positions at Internet Security Systems (ISS) and Symantec as well as ORACLE, Red Brick Systems, GO, Air2Web and Fast-Talk. Patrick has a bachelor of mechanical engineering degree with honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration.

Where did the idea for Oversight Systems come from?

Noticed that as much money as people spend to stop hackers they actually statistically were losing more to fraud. We adapted the “intrusion detection” concept in information security to create Oversight.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Often starts with a meeting for coffee or breakfast (coffee’s more time efficient) then into the office for email, calls and meetings. I try to avoid unnecessary standing meetings and really try to minimize them at the company at large. Meetings can become an end unto themselves if you’re not careful.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I try to “sell” them. I will work the hallways to pitch an idea to various constituents to get their feedback and hopefully buy in. Depending on the idea may replicate the pitch/feedback/buy in process with external parties. Then you have to get the idea an owner and a “birth date”.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Broadly, artificial intelligence, whether it’s machine learning based or leverages human expertise the potential to gain leverage in our lives is tremendous. While I enjoy driving spending tonight’s commute in traffic in an autonomous vehicle, even if I only took a nap, is a big pick up in leverage.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m an “integrative” type of thinker which lets me look across domains and trends to identify a good idea/course of action etc.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Wait for the opportunity that you just can’t stand to not do and then stick with it.
And on the practical front, take more business law courses, you’re going to spend a lot of time dealing with contracts.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on?

As a business you should give an unconditional service guarantee. If you’re not happy with my product/service then I don’t deserve your money. A customer shouldn’t be stuck with a crummy product/service because I insisted on a long term contract.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Give people a chance to perform. You may even have to let them “skin their knee” a few times. Now you can’t put them in a position where failure hurts them or your company but you have to take some chances to achieve real growth.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Becoming more prescriptive with customers. As it turns out we spend way more time thinking about the problems we solve than our customers can. Going to a prospect and saying “this is what you should do” is powerful and really a higher level of service for them.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Well I wish it was one failure…… at one point we were hanging on for a very large deal to close and we lost it. We retrenched (as in cutting 1/3 of expenses), focused on other smaller deals and survived. We really should have cut back sooner and then even if we won the deal taken our time to build up capacity to handle it. It’s one of those “pick your problem”, we should have picked the problem of being behind in scaling instead of the problem of being too far ahead in expenses.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Many, many customers require vendors to go through security due diligence. From the vendor perspective it’s the same information that your submit in slightly different formats over and over and over. It’s incredibly inefficient for vendors and probably for the customers too. There has to be a way to establish some sort of clearinghouse for this information exchange.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Don’t know if it was exactly $100, but Amazon Prime. Amazing how that transforms your approach to shopping. I’ll order things I know I could drive and find but if you get it in a day or two why get off the couch.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

It’s old school but Salesforce. Keeps me on top of our deals and our customers (aka retention).

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Competing Against Luck by Clayton Christensen. As an entrepreneur this books really explains how you need to nail the “Job To Be Done” that your customers are looking for. In my view it’s the best lens for understanding opportunities.

What is your favorite quote?

“Nothing starts until somebody sells something” – John Imlay (one of the first successful Independent Software Vendors)


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