I love creating new products. I am also passionate about helping other companies succeed with new products. As a result, I moved from being a startup founder to being a Senior Product Manager at a large organisation (Atlassian, as part of the JIRA team) and back to a startup founder and mentor to other entrepreneurs. While there is “product management” involved in all of those roles, the transition from founder to “Product Manager” in a large organisation has lots of hurdles, and not every product-focused founder will be a great PM in any organisation.
At USD 425 million, Trello is Atlassian’s biggest acquisition yet — that number represents 7.7% of their total market capitalisation, and looking at the last reports of their cash assets (USD 266 million on 30 September 2016), it’s probably fair to say that the USD 360 million cash component almost broke the bank. The earnings call on 19 January 2017 should be pretty interesting, but shareholders seem to be positive about it.
The question is, why would Atlassian spend that much money on a product that is in some ways very similar to the ones they already have? After all, Trello helps teams manage tasks in a visual way, but JIRA already has 2 types of boards that not only do the same, but are vastly more sophisticated in terms of functionality and the underlying technology.