How to Build a Profitable IT Company: Three Questions with Laplink CEO Thomas Koll

3/8/10Follow @gthuang

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“Upgrade Assistant” feature in PCmover in conjunction with the release of Windows 7. This allowed customers with Windows XP computers to easily perform an in-place upgrade from XP to Windows 7— even though this scenario is not supported by Microsoft. Since then, customers have purchased many copies and PCmover has received numerous favorable reviews and endorsements from the press.

And no, we are not unique in many ways. Business goals are to create profitability, serve the customers as best we can, maintain employee satisfaction and have high integrity and morals. Most companies of our size don’t just chase the Internet bubble, the wireless nirvana or the ultimate adaption in social networking. Most follow business principles to create sustainable business. So are we.

X: What kinds of lessons does Laplink hold for IT companies?

TK: After 27 years in business we have certainly shown continuity and customer focus. We have always concentrated on current customer needs. In retrospect we have—unlike the first 10 years where everything was cutting edge—not concentrated on the “cool stuff” of future technologies, but what gaps exist with PC usage and filling those gaps with easy-to-use product.

Our motto has always been “to make the everyday life of the PC user easier,” and customers could always turn to us to find useful “utilities.” By doing that we created a worldwide brand and products of high recognition.

Not sure if it is a lesson, but certainly we proved that “small and focused” can create a sustainable business.

X: So how are things looking in terms of growth and profitability?

TK: Over the years Laplink has had good times and challenging times. In recent years Laplink restructured its product focus, renewed the product line and has regained profitability. 2009 was a challenge, but 2010 shows healthy growth rates.

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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