Decisions: Dr Michael Lynch - Autonomy - Founder and CEO of the award-winning software company

MY BEST ... One of my best decisions was hiring our CFO, Sushovan Hussain. He is completely on top of the numbers but also understands the business in great detail. Without someone like that it would be very difficult to grow the business.

Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

We had been at the same school but went our separate ways - he'd gone off around the world in the oil industry. But when he came back, we got in touch. The main things are his enthusiasm and energy. I'm a great believer that if you've got those two to start with, you're a long way there.

Another good decision was getting the timing right on acquiring our main competitor, Verity, in 2005. When Autonomy was founded, Verity owned the space, but our technology was better. Over time, Autonomy was taking market share and eventually surpassed Verity in software licence sales. We had to pick the right time to do that deal: not so late that Verity was too damaged, but not so soon that we'd be paying for a depreciating asset. I think we got that timing right. MY WORST ...

Let me take you back to 2001 when Yahoo! was the major search engine. Internet advertising was just taking off. We'd produced a consumer search technology that was considerably ahead of what was on the market and it was doing very well. But then the internet advertising market collapsed and lots of futurologists were producing reports saying online advertising would never work. For the first time in my life I listened to these idiots, and we killed the project.

Of course, what actually happened was that, after a little while, internet advertising came back with a vengeance. I wish I hadn't listened to these people. It was one of those things where the company was growing so fast and everything was happening so quickly that I was less confident in my own gut instinct than I had been in the past.

So now I like to take advice from people who have something to lose when they get it wrong. No-one knows what's going to happen, so follow your instincts. None of the stones are ever set in place, especially in technology.

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