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Dry Powder: The Private Equity Podcast

Back to the Future with Vista’s Robert F. Smith

In part two of our interview series, we explore Vista’s approach to AI and how it connects to the company’s founding story.

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Back to the Future with Vista’s Robert F. Smith
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On the previous episode of Dry Powder, Robert F. Smith, the chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, explained how he’s been able to defy the down market and continue doing deals at an astonishing pace.​

You can listen to this episode of Dry Powder and catch future episodes by subscribing on Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsSpotify, or wherever you may listen.

Today on the show, I ask Robert to what extent the breakthroughs in generative AI are fueling his optimism. “I will say it’s probably the most meaningful technological advancement really since the migration to the cloud,” he argues.

We then explore how Vista stays on the cutting edge of software deals, by going back to the firm’s founding days. We’ll see how Robert has shared hard-won insights across a fast-growing team and how he’s created a learning culture that develops talent from scratch.

“Eighty-five percent of my VPs started as analysts or associates,” Robert says. “So if you think about it, we grew them from the time they came out of college—and we didn’t teach them bad habits of losing money.”

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