Appian’s Matt Calkins Shares Insights on Building a Tech Business in Greater Washington at Jan 25 Titans

On Jan. 25, 2019, about 300 members of the region’s technology community were present at the Ritz Carlton, Tysons Corner for a Titans breakfast featuring Appian Founder and CEO Matt Calkins in a fireside chat with Appian Board member, major investor and Novak Biddle Venture Partners General Partner Jack Biddle, an early investor in Appian.

Calkins discussed how Appian was founded and emphasized how he always aimed for long-range growth with a focus on the customer, rather than seeking investors early on. He argued that working within financial constraints forced Appian to think critically about how and when it would grow.

Jan 25 Titans.
Appian Founder and CEO Matt Calkins

He also discussed how important culture is to Appian’s success and ability to recruit and retain talent. He shared that he still interviews as many potential candidates as he can. In addition to cultural fit, the three things he always looks for in any new hire is a history of success, talent and someone who is customer focused.

Calkins was asked about how going public in 2017 impacted the company. He stated that Appian now receives more public attention and increased relevance in the marketplace, yet he also must work to ensure the company doesn’t become too reactive to investors instead of continuing to base decisions on its customers.

Jan 25 Titans
Appian Founder and CEO Matt Calkins

The event closed with a Q&A session with the audience during which Calkins spoke about Appian’s growth internationally and how to integrate international offices with the company’s culture. He closed with a discussion about how Appian broke into the federal market and offered advice for those just starting out in their careers.