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Hi. I'm Scott Crabill, partner at Thoma Bravo, and this is Beyond the Deal, and I'm here with the President & CEO of J.D. Power Dave Habiger. Dave, this is an opportunity for me to ask you some questions about inspirations in business life, but if listeners want to hear more about how our partnership came together, have a listen to our full episode of Behind the Deal, and in case people are joining without having heard that episode, Dave will tell us a little bit about J.D. Power and the customers you serve.
Sure, we, uh, have two general lines of business. One, market research. So, uh, we call that Voice of the Customer. So we're doing research on an industry auto, airlines, uh, finance, banking, and then doing a, a subscription that we sell to those customers who want to understand their customer and how to build better products.
Our majority part of our business is our data business so that's, uh, auto, and everything about auto. What a, what the car's worth, how to value it, we sell to banks, insurance companies, and then VIN description e- everything on a car. So if you think of that as a, you know, a thumbprint we're, we're identifying that, that vehicle and, um, doing a full deep dive on all the bits and pieces, uh, about that and then we have a subscription typically we sell to the auto industry.
So, Dave, you were introduced to technology at a young age. When did you know you were destined for a career in technology?
Uh, I was probably in college. I had, um, several jobs, one of them was media services, so, a room like this except old analog tape decks, et cetera, and, uh, started doing documentaries outta college and realized I liked the, the gear and the tech more than, uh, the storytelling and I wasn't really good at the storytelling side, but, um, I think that was where I kind of, you know, early on figured out that's, that's probably a fun place to, you know, work and do business.
Tell us more about the documentaries. Anything interesting? Anything that we -
No. It turns out that's really tough to, you know, tough business to make a, a, a living in. If you, if you watch a commencement speech from about 10 years ago there's, one of my failures was, uh, documentaries and so I was dealing with, uh, uh, this is right during Dances With Wolves so I was cold-calling Kevin Costner to do the voiceover and, uh, the person who wrote the Dances With Wolves book. (laughs) I got his number from Kevin, it was, a- learned a lot, but yeah. It wasn't very profitable.
Okay, so we have a- rapid fire, and, uh, if you're not in PE, you can't do, not only Thoma Bra- they say you're banned from the private equity, doesn't exist. What career would you be in? What would you be doing now?
I, you know, when I was, when I was younger I thought I was gonna be a doctor. I liked, uh, science, math, um, and I liked the idea of kinda seeing patients and helping people and socializing in, in that way.
When I got to, to college, I gravitated a little bit more towards engineering, and then finance for my first job, and I was in San Francisco so I kinda caught the technology bug. So now I think if I couldn't do private equity I think I'd want your job, to be CEO, entrepreneur of a technology business, software business, data business-
I'd go to Chairman-
... or CEO. Let's do that.
Let's, that works, I yeah -
Let's do that.
... I could use a break for a little bit.
I, I'd probably fall flat on my face, but-
I would like the idea of running a technology company and trying to, you know, build a big business, a market-leading business in a space and be a leader of people.
And do all the things that you do at J.D. Power.
It's a fun job, generally.
Dave, what's something you wish you had known at the start of your career?
You've gotta figure out how to scale. If you're building a business and you can't know everything, like, I, I'm probably the worst example of it 'cause I think I'm, I'd be a C-player at ever- I'd be a C, f- f- you know, CFO, a C salesperson, a C, like, I have not d- I mean, literally all I've really, this is most of what I've done. And this job's kind of a sales/people job, but I wish earlier on I would have realized you can't, there's just no way any human being can know what's going on everywhere at every part of the business and that, that, that's not a good way to, uh, lead people or manage.
It took me about, you know, 10 years but I, I got there about 20 years ago.
That's good (laughs)
I'm still getting there.
That was a tough one -- same question to you.
I think there a, a, a bunch of things I'm sure, but I think the one thing is I wish I had been better at stress management earlier in my career. I think I learned that a little bit later, that you can be a type A personality and very driven and intense, um, and at the same time, you know, manage, manage your level of stress whether it be through-
I've never seen you stressed.
Eating healthy, sleep, exercise...
It's a - I'm like a duck, you know? Very calm on the surface and paddling aggressively underneath.
So that's - if I could tell my younger self - I'd tell him to come up with some stress coping mechanisms.
A little bit sooner
Don't sweat the small stuff.
I think we all relate to that one.
Do you have any favorite movies?
Home movies of the kids.
That's a good one.
Yeah, that is a good one, yeah. 'Cause who know, like, your favorite book? Or, you know, your favorite TV show? These things change.
You get that kind of questions - and that one I'm ready for and go straight to - and it's probably true.
Home movies with the old camera (inaudible)
I'm not that old.... There was tape involved, there wasn't an iPhone, there was, like, but my kids are, you know, they're 20 so they, there's a lotta tape. (laughs)
Awesome. Well Dave, thanks for coming on Behind the Deal and Beyond the Deal, we really appreciate it.
Good having you.
Thanks for being good partners - And I enjoyed the session.
Perfect. Thank you.
The executives were not compensated in connection with their participation, although they generally receive compensation in connection with their roles and, in certain cases, are also owners of Thoma Bravo portfolio company securities and/or investors in Thoma Bravo funds. Such compensation and investments subject participants to potential conflicts of interest.
Certain statements about Thoma Bravo made by portfolio company executives are intended to illustrate Thoma Bravo's business relationship with such persons rather than Thoma Bravo's capabilities or expertise with respect to investment advisory services. Portfolio company executives were not compensated in connection with their podcast participation, although they generally receive compensation and investment opportunities in connection with their portfolio company roles, and in certain cases are also owners of portfolio company securities and/or investors in Thoma Bravo funds. Such compensation and investments subject podcast participants to potential conflicts of interest.