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8/9/2007
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High Five: Meet Seth Ravin, CEO Of Rimini Street

Rimini Street CEO Seth Ravin has survived forming an IT consulting startup as a teen and receiving death threats while brokering trade agreements in Russia. Extending the life of a company's software investments, Rimini's focus, is just a walk in the park.

Seth Ravin
CEO Of Rimini Street

Interview by Larry Greenemeier

Seth Ravin, CEO Of Rimini Street --  Photograph by Bryan Haraway/Getty Images

Photograph by Bryan Haraway/Getty Images

1
CUP HOLDERS
PeopleSoft, where Ravin was VP of customer sales, created and soon killed off its extended software support program in the late 1990s, fearing that it would keep customers from buying the latest apps. "When software was less mature, you needed to upgrade frequently. That's not the case today, when a lot of new features are just nice to have, like heated cup holders in a car."

2
HIGH MARGINS
Ravin left PeopleSoft in 2001 to co-found TomorrowNow, a provider of third-party PeopleSoft app support. "Software maintenance has a 90% profit margin," he notes. In 2005, SAP bought TomorrowNow, and Ravin went off on his own to form Rimini.

3
SUIT'S UPSIDE
Ravin isn't surprised that Oracle has sued SAP and TomorrowNow--it claims they downloaded Oracle documents they had no rights to--but he's disappointed his former company's management team "failed to properly execute its responsibilities." The suit, however, doesn't challenge the usefulness of third-party support. "If anything, the lawsuit validates just how big the independent support market truly is."

4
KEEP IT REAL
Ravin co-founded Real Computing at the age of 13 and acted as a computer consultant to his own school district. "We told the district that someday everyone would have a word processor on their desk, and they didn't believe us."

5
DANGEROUS DEALS
Before becoming a software entrepreneur, Ravin, who has always been passionate about politics, worked to connect the post-Cold War Russian government with U.S. defense contractors. It was a dangerous job, and Ravin received death threats. "There's nothing like a death threat to hone your negotiation skills."

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