Thomas Charlton | Chairman & CEO | Goliath Technologies

With the intent of offering end-user experience monitoring and troubleshooting software, with embedded intelligence and automation, that enables IT pros to anticipate, troubleshoot, and document performance issues regardless of where IT workloads, applications, or users are located, Goliath Technologies came into existence. The organization believes, most organization simply don’t have enough time, tools, and staff to troubleshoot every end-user ticket or complaint. This is where Goliath comes in. With its embedded intelligence and automation, the company proactively look for events, conditions and failure points that precipitate end user experience issues. Goliath Technologies also provides broad and deep visibility across the delivery infrastructure (Citrix or VMware Horizon), hypervisor, servers, operating systems and applications to quickly identify where end-user performance problems occur and what is causing them.

As the Chairman and CEO, Thomas Charlton is responsible for the strategic direction and global expansion of Goliath Technologies.

He has most recently orchestrated the turnaround at PHD Virtual as Chairman and CEO. After multiple CEO’s, the majority shareholder, Insight Venture Partners, brought in Mr. Charlton from Shunra Software, another portfolio company. Seven record quarters of growth followed from Q3 2010 to Q1 2012 driven by the acquisition of four new customers per business day. During this time, Insight Venture Partners and a new investor, Citrix Systems, provided additional equity financing. PHD Virtual was acquired by Unitrends in 2013.

In an interview with Insights Success, Thomas Charlton, the CEO and Chairman of Goliath Technologies, has shared key insights of the struggles and journey of the organization.

Below are the highlights of the interview between Insights Success and Thomas Charlton:

“Once we establish the right market and product, our goal is to focus on the team”

Kindly take us through your journey on becoming a proficient med tech leader.

I began my career in healthcare working for US Surgical. We offered stapling instruments that dramatically shortened the time it took to complete a surgical procedure which improved patient outcomes while lowering costs. As my career progressed, I moved out West to San Francisco in the middle of the dot-com boom. For the first time I was exposed to the technology industry, and I began to read every book I could on the market and the major players. It appeared an exciting and inviting meritocracy. People didn’t care about your level of education, background, or anything subjective. The key to advancing was performance. I left my executive level position in US Surgical and took a position as a regional manager at Legato Systems. After a year, I left Legato Systems for the VP of Sales position at Tidal Software and eighteen months later I was appointed CEO of that same company. I was CEO of five more venture-backed companies, after which I founded Goliath Technologies. Now I have merged my healthcare and software knowledge by adapting our technology for the healthcare marketplace to specifically focus on improving end user and clinician experiences related to the major EHR applications Epic, MEDITECH, Allscripts, and Cerner. Today, we are known as the Health IT standard by our clients and competitors.

How do you diversify your organization’s offerings to entice the target audience?

Diversification is certainly one way to entice a target audience. While our technology is decidedly cross vertical, our healthcare clients require purpose-built technology to solve very specific issues faced by today’s Health IT departments. An enterprise IT department will have twice the budget and people to support the same number of users as the same department in a health system. And, in Health IT, patient care is ultimately in the balance if IT systems don’t perform optimally. In the products we developed for Health IT we made very deliberate decisions to add features that help our Health IT professionals address challenges that are unique to their situation. Specifically, we developed integration and support for the clinical and business applications that are critical to their end users along with automation and embedded intelligence that has the net effect of adding three full-time employees to their staff.

Have you drawn professional inspiration from other business leaders? Tell us about someone who has inspired you.

I was very fortunate in this regard. I had three men who both inspired and taught me how to lead an organization. First, my father, who was an accomplished business leader himself in the steel and manufacturing industry. He imbued me with the foundational personality traits that every leader should possess. Then, I met Carlos Babini at US Surgical who, by example and teaching, showed me how to manage teams and practice leadership. Carlos was especially effective at turning around failing divisions for the company. He was effectively the go-to executive that was put in charge when parts of the business were not performing. He educated me, over years, on how to lead teams through a crisis in leadership and back to acceptable business performance. Finally, Lacy Edwards, Chairman of the Board at Tidal Software, taught me how to be a CEO of a venture-backed software company. He offered me very specific direction on tactics, strategy, and code of conduct. These gentlemen were all equal parts demanding and instructional. Each of these men, all very accomplished, took time that could have been spent elsewhere and shared it with me. For that I am both fortunate and eternally grateful.

What values are important to you as a business leader?

I think a good business leader needs to operate with integrity, empathy, and courage. Most tech firms, especially software, are successful because of the sum contributions of their people. Without these core values, I don’t think you can effectively build or lead a great team in a sustainable fashion.

How do you achieve work-life balance?

I think stress is created as a result of people’s unrealistic expectations of and desire to achieve, so called work-life balance. If creating an even balance between one’s personal, professional, and financial goals is the objective then that is one thing. However, if one desires to achieve something great, above average, and certainly if you want to lead your own company, then the relative emphasis and corresponding time spent in these three areas is going to change over time. Read a story about the leaders of any great tech company, whether it is HP, Oracle, Microsoft, Apple, or Amazon, and it is manifestly evident that prioritization across these three life areas was not equal and therefore out of balance at certain times. But their goal wasn’t balance it was achievement.

What was your life changing event/incident that changed your life?

There were a number of them in my personal and business journeys. One, that I reflect upon often, occurred when I was going to visit a friend of mine who was attending an Ivy League University. It was homecoming at the university and I made the drive with his father to visit. The conversation turned to careers during the drive. He suggested, given that I was only attending a community college, I finish my two years and then build the lawn mowing business which I had through high school and college. His opinion was that without an Ivy League education I was relegated to a career of tending to the lawns of more educated men. I was more than mildly upset and insulted at the time but didn’t have the benefit of experience yet to know that people will attempt to set expectations for you based on their own prejudices, insecurities, and limitations, not your best interest or potential. In the United States, we have no caste system, royal family, or contrived subjective impediments that seek to prevent certain groups of people from advancing their position. In this country what you expect of yourself, and the desire to achieve, are the only limiting factors to success.

How necessary is it to align business with technology and what are its outcomes?

It is critical because technology has no value without that alignment. Successful technology companies enable better business outcomes. In fact, many technologies and technology companies fail do so because there isn’t a business benefit, or large enough one, to create sustained demand for the product or service.

What are your future endeavours/objectives and where do you see the medical industry in the near future?

This is a question that is difficult to answer in today’s environment. Emergency room visits have almost evaporated and that isn’t revenue health systems will get back. At the same time, elective surgeries have been suspended. It is a gross understatement to say this is a challenging time for health systems. Based on conversations with our health system clients, we see an acceleration towards technical solutions that will enable the provisioning of healthcare remotely. Telehealth is one such example. Health systems that had one hundred telehealth visits a few months ago are now seeing thousands. This is a real opportunity for tech companies to serve ongoing patient care by advancing their remote enablement technology. As with any crisis, there will be opportunity created for those who have the vision, awareness, and capability to act.

What advice would you like to give to the emerging tech leaders?

This is a broad question given the number of areas on which to offer advice.  From a purely business perspective there are three key pillars that support a successful company. They are marketplace, technology, and business execution. The first is most important because we don’t have the power to change it where, with time and capital, you can impact the other two pillars of success. In my years with venture capital, I would say most companies failed because there was either no market or not a large enough market for the technology to allow sustained growth. People tend to become enamored with technology and business plans. Neither of those will matter without a market pull for the technology. I look for known markets with incumbent competitors where I can introduce a technology that has a price or performance advantage that can be utilized by companies that are underserved by the current solutions.

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