Prairie Portrait: Steve Roatch of Twentyseven Global
Name: Steve Roatch
Bio: Founder of Twentyseven Global in 2008 and specialize in consulting, software development, .NET, open source and mobile development. Married to Lisa Roatch. Have two boys, Jake and Cole. Love skiing, mountain biking, travel and live music.
Title: CEO of Twentyseven Global
Residence: Overland Park, Kan.
Intro music: "The Girl I Love She Got Long Black Wavy Hair", by Led Zeppelin
Silicon Prairie News: What factors led to your decision to leave your previous gig and start Twentyseven Global?
Steve Roatch: I had spent my entire career at Accenture. It was a great run from new analyst to managing partner. But as the company grew, it became more bureaucratic and harder to innovate. So I joined a small software company as the COO, turned it around and ran it until we sold it. I found that I liked the small business environment and had several of my own ideas I was anxious to implement.
SPN: What have you found to be the biggest challenges to working with offshore delivery centers? How about the most significant benefits of it?
SR: The biggest challenge, not surprisingly, is culture. I don’t mean the music they listen to, but how they react in business situations, like, when will they speak up or will they offer an opinion. And these types of culture differences vary widely across outsourcing destinations like India, Russia, Vietnam, Eastern Europe. The biggest benefit is access to skills that are hard to find locally.
SPN: What did it mean to see Twentyseven Global recognized earlier this year as the No. 8 company in the inaugural Flyover 50?
SR: Vindication! Anyone who has started a company knows that the first couple years involve a lot of uncertainty — about the market, about your product, about your business model. Growing as we did in 2011 and winning the award truly validated what we’ve been trying to accomplish. It turns out that there is pretty good demand for quality software engineering!
SPN: Your clients include several Kansas City area startups. How, if at all, does your approach to working with young companies differ from the work you do for more established clients?
SR: For startups we might be the entire IT shop, whereas for more established companies we might be supplemental to an existing team. But the process is the same. We’re an “agile” development shop, which means we deliver our work iteratively, in short durations. That way clients can see progress and we can react to new ideas and feedback early and often. Gone are the days of the 18 month “waterfall” project.
SPN: As someone who's fond of skiing, mountain biking and live music, what are your favorite destinations for each of those activities, and why?
SR: Skiing: Steamboat Springs, Colo. I’ve had knee-deep powder in April. Mountain Biking: the Kokopelli trail just west of Fruita, Colo. That’s Wile E. Coyote country. The views overlooking the Colorado River are amazing, and the 6,000 foot altitude is easier on us flat-landers. For live music I like the smaller venues where you can really appreciate the musicians’ talent and emotion up close. Kansas City is a treasure trove. My favorites are The Uptown, Crossroads KC, and BB’s Lawnside Barbeque.
Credits: Photo courtesy of Roatch.
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