Steve Cakebread has taken three companies public as a CFO which include Salesforce, Pandora, and the current company he serves, Yext. Steve’s new book (2020) is The IPO Playbook, and you don’t need to be a public company CEO, CFO, or board member to enjoy it. By the way, I don’t think this is Steve’s last book.
Steve Cakebread’s Background
In addition to Steve’s 3 CFO roles at Salesforce, Pandora, and his current company, Yext, He serves on the board of Bill.com, which went public in December 2019, and sat on the boards of SolarWinds, and Ehealth as they made their initial public offerings.
The IPO Playbook is written in the first person and is far from a technical read. The book flows easily and can be categorized into 3 sections – before, during, and after the IPO.
The Book is Also for Leaders Not Running Public Companies
- Attention to detail
But a lot of what going public is just reaffirming what you’ve already done in your business, because valuations, whether you’re private or public come from the hard work you put in, of setting up your business and running it.Steve Cakebread
Getting Good Systems in Place Early in the Business
- Cheaper to implement systems in the early stages rather than waiting
- The cloud makes this much easier
- Leads to automation
- These systems have better output – data and information
- Salesforce started with a beta version of Oracle
- Key point in the book – be willing to bend to the system
First Board Actions – Establishing Moral and Operating Standards
- Lines have to be drawn
- “Here’s how we do it … how we want things done.”
- The story of the person in the restaurant business and his hardest job
I also talk about when Mark Benioff and I were talking. He made it very clear, ‘I have a vision. I need you to implement that vision, not modify that vision for me.’Steve Cakebread
I really took that to heart because, if you’re a business owner, you have a vision about what you’re trying to do, and you don’t need to hire people that come in and modify that vision.
- The boardroom
- The history surrounding the exchange
- The energy
- Nothing better than standing on the podium
- Mark loved the brown Buick story
- Go public sooner rather than later
- Steve comes from a family of entrepreneurs, and his current family business runs it like a big organization
- Steve’s unique way of benchmarking against other companies
- Educating stockholders
- The first earnings call
- Insights for other CFOs wanting to follow in Steve’s footsteps
- Steve shares some of his favorite books
Image Attribution: all photos used with permission from Steve Cakebread and his publicist.