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Find Your Glider Bike – Paths to Successful SaaS Transitions

I am constantly surprised at how much my 4 kids teach me, but sometimes it’s really cool!!!

Owen, my youngest is a typical 3 1/2 year old boy, energetic, physical and fearless. He’s been riding on a glider bike for the last year, and loves to blast down hills with his feet in the air, scaring the daylights out of his Dad.

For those of you unfamiliar with glider bikes, it’s basically a pedal-less 2 wheeler that you propel like a scooter with your feet. I’ve been watching him scoot around on his glider wondering how he would do with pedals, would he need training wheels at all?? Would he be faster than his 3 older siblings at getting on a “real” 2 wheeler? (they all transitioned from training wheels at ages between 5 and 6, one with virtual ease, one with a few tries and one with 6 months of struggle. )

On Tuesday this week, the answers became clear. Owen said, “can I ride Addie’s bike?”. I said, OK sure. Owen hopped on, I gave him a little push and he was off pedaling, with the balance already second nature. Amazing, 3 1/2 and riding a two wheeler already with NO teaching, no back breaking run alongs, no leaning the wrong way for balance.

So, what did I learn? First I kicked myself for not having glider bikes for the other 3, oh well. Second I marveled at the effectiveness of learning balance and pedaling separately, and how it eased the transition in a way that training wheels fail miserably at. Third, I learned that the boy is crazy fearless, but I kinda already knew that from his accumulated trips to urgent care and many other sorties in playgrounds and parks.

This episode got me thinking about transitions, especially ISV to SaaS transformations, and how to ease the pain and difficulty. Certainly, doing this requires a good deal of fearlessness and courage to change mindset, organization and tactics, as I’ve blogged extensively about. However, I think most organizations can find a glider bike or two to help speed the transition and avoid losing organizational balance in the process.

For example, one client of mine who has been incredibily successful with this transition, was already selling their product in subscription mode 90+% of the time. Perpetual to Subscription is a huge and often challenging business problem. However, for this client, it became a glider bike to SaaS. Pricing drives many sales and customer behaviors, my client rode this glider right into the SaaS model.

Another glider bike to SaaS might be your go to market model. Do you focus on customers getting a taste of your product through download or guided demos? This focus on direct product experience can be your glider bike to SaaS success.

What other glider bikes are out there to help speed this business transition? Would love to hear your stories…

In the meantime, we will be shopping for a new bike for Owen this weekend, and hopefully not going to urgent care!!!

Cheers
Ken

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