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The Founder Formula
The Founder Formula

Episode · 3 years ago

Kumar Ramachandran, Co-founder CloudGenix - How to Pivot a Startup Without Losing your Way

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Today’s guest is Kumar Ramachandran, CEO and Founder of CloudGenix

In this episode, he talks about the balance between pivoting and persistence, why Silicon Valley is a special place for startups, the joy of making your customer the hero, and how to maintain your company culture as you scale and hire.

One of the things that makes looking value as great auts that this is really an ecosystem where there's a whole bunch of entrepreneurs who are all these that who give advice, lenda support, lenda connections, lend access to the eventual community, and so you know, it's definitely a very, very unique place. The founder Formula Brings you in behind the curtains and inside the minds of today's brave executives at the most future leaning startups. Each interview will feature a transformative leader who's behind the wheel at a fast paced and innovative tech firm. They'll give you an insiders look and how companies are envisioned, created and scaled. We hope you're ready. Let's get into the show. Hey, everybody, welcome to episode three of our podcast. Mark, we're still here. We're still here. It's we're going into our third episode so far. This is working. Yeah, no, I'm very excited. Certainly, I think today's episode is going to be no different from our previous really excited to get our guests. Yeah, so am I, but check this out. Before we get to our guests, we actually have a few questions from our listeners. Not One. We have to questions. That's great, that's great. Well, faraway, okay. So let's get to the number. To the first question. It says there are a lot of DC's in the film Acon Valley. Which one do you choose to work with and why? Well, I think that's pretty good question. Certainly there are vcs outside the Silicon Valley, but one of the things that we discovered several years ago when exploring this space and how can we best use it as a factory for leading indicators, is that even the venture capital firms that are headquartered, let's say, on the East Coast, particularly out of the Boston area or from the south or out of Israel or out of China and India, do have regional offices in the Silicon Valley, maybe not on Sandale road itself, but in that area. So by focusing on that, we wind up being able to touch as many vcs as as we desire to. When we go to take a look at our VC partners, the ones that we work with the most, and examined and followed their portfolio very, very closely, there are a couple things that we look for for stopfore partnered with about fifty of the top VC firms in the world. When we take a look at them, we have a specialty that we're looking for. We're looking for enterprise it specifically honing in on the core practices that have the lions share of the budget for our customers. Right that said another way, these are the areas with the largest problems to be solved, areas like infrastructure, network computers Orridge, it operations and devops, cloud, cyber security, obviously huge Iot data intelligence. These are the areas that we're finding our customers growing the fastest in and grappling with some of the largest problems. So when you take a look at the venture capital firms that are investing in solutions in those particular areas, you'll quickly see the same name start to come up over and over again. Some of the the large firms out there have been doing this since the s. They figured out a thing or two. There's even a few like endowment funds that are out there that go back to the N S, that have been doing this even longer, all of which have offices near or around the Palo Alto Stanford campus area. So in those spaces we've identified those companies that have had the greatest impact in our industry, VC founders that started companies like Oracle and Intel and apple and...

Amazon and facebook and Linkedin those names that everyone is very familiar with. Those all started with a VC pitch around sand hill road. Now, certainly the companies that we are seeing pitching today are modest and all of them have aspirations to be those household names, but we found that a out fifty of them. When we have that, when we have that sort of an alphabet to make words up out of, that seems to cover the market fairly well. So mark what I'm hearing is when you talk about startups and DC's that cater to technology leaders, anything that might be kind of in the data center or catering to a CIO, you're seeing the same names. Where if someone was coming up with some type of, you know, video streaming APP for at a consumer level, that would be going to maybe a different a venture capitalist firm, Yeeah. Certainly on the consumer side it'll be a lot of the same firms we partner with. It will be different organization or a different fund within that. Venture capital side just happens to be an industry that that we don't really focus on that much and therefore we tend to kind of run around in the same enterprise it type circles inside the VC's that we are perfect. Okay. So before we get to our guests, as I mentioned, we have another question mark. Here we go. If you're a new startup, do you have to go through a VC? Are there any who haven't? Well, the short answers, you don't have to go through a VC. There have been a number of companies that have been boots trapped by their founders and have turned into the proverbial household names, but they by far the vast, fast fass minority. But when we look at non VC companies, there's a couple things. I think they're important point now. One is there a lot of options available today that weren't available even as short as ten years ago for starting your own company without vent or funding. Certainly the typical thing we've seen throughout its history is that footstrapping effort. This typically happens when one of the founders has had a successful exit from a previous company and so has a rather large war chest to draw upon. If that is the case, then they are starting their their second or their third. That serial entrepreneur type of situation when you see those folks. There are a number of companies out there that have been able to forego for go VC funding and just use that that self funded seed drown but something that's getting new as alternate forms of funding nowadays. Certainly one of the ones that's cut a lot of the headlines are initial coin offerings or ICOS, where companies offer blockchain based coin offerings. These come of various flavors as a method of raising money right up front. There's even been a handful of kind of crowdsource, crowd funded ones, like with applications like kickstarter. Those, by the way, tend to be quite rare in the enterprise it space, but certainly there have been a number of companies that have offered ICOS out there to get that initial kick. We do see that with companies that from their base funding, for my ICEO's, many of them do come back years later for better funding, for later round funding when they hit that proverbial hockey stick of growth, so that they can acquire additional capital for that large expansive in the scale up things. Okay, wow, so shame on me. I'm hearing is for the first time. So cryptocurrency people are are getting their seed around through that. Yeah, minting their own coins. Okay, well, thanks. Ay. So, anybody else who wants to set a question to mark, all I got to do is send an email to innovation at trace threecom and that is Trac, the number threecom.

Hey. So let me introduce our guests. His name is Kumar Ramashandren and he is the CEO and founder of cloud jenics. Hey, welcome to mar bla. Do we hear? Thanks for having me. You're welcome. Okay, mark, you ready to roll, buddy? I am ready to roll, all right. So, Kumar, it's amazing having you on the show. I think we first bumped into you back in two thousand and fourteen. You guys are kind of lining up the a round with Charles River, and we got introduced and we've had a beautiful history together and I really want to dive in a little bit more on on kind of what that journey's been like for you know some of the challenges that you've gotten through. But just a said a little bit of context and you tell us a bit about cloud genics and why you started. Absolutely. So let me give you the thirty second commercial cloud genics and then we can remind a little bit on the journey that got us to where we are here today. So you know, we are the business of the what we call the cloud delivered branch. So the business a cloud Genex is them is ensuring that all the infrastructure you need for running your remote office, your branch offers it can genuinely be cloud delivered. So, to that end, we have two flagship products that we deliver to the market. One is our autonomous St van product and the second is a platform that we call cloud blade. So between these two, what they allow a customer to do. So if you're in a retailer or a bank branch or a healthcare hospital or manufacturing facility, what you're able to do is you're able to get your network, Your Wide Area Network, you're able to get your security, your operational tools, your access to multicloud, access to applications, happen or any kind of vand connectivity, including broadband or lt you're able to have direct access of all these applications out in the cloud and data center, while taking advantage of infrastructure that's sitting in the cloud. Right. So your branch footprint becomes really, really lightweight right to the cloud, genex capability and everything else as a cloud delivered service, and we focus a lot on the fortune find that fortune two thousand customer base early on did really, really well, extremely large global deployment and then subsequently speat our wings in the in the rest of the market. The company was founded early two thousand and thirteen and it's just been an incredible journey from the very first day when I first, along with my co founders, left my job at a larger company and go into this to seeing where we have come today. And it's a journey that the journey has taught me and I think it's been that if you stay focused on customers, partners and employees. But things happened right and I remember meeting you early in that journey, all the way back in two thousand and fourteen when we still were I think that the all four version of product that I thank and it just been a really, really good engagement all along the way. Yeah, I think when we first bumped into you, the the product that you guys had ready was the Silicon Valley's most powerful coffee maker. I think that that was your first investments. Totally impressed us. But Anyway, let's talk a little bit about you kind of mentioned that you and your founders left a larger company to found flout jenets. When did you know that you needed to leave your day job and go do your own individual adventure? Tell me about how that decision was made. Yes, I think you know. I'll share both the professional or work related thought process as less a couple of very personal position making that I think all entrepreneurs have to go through. From a professional perspective. Right, I think we saw a massive the opportunity for...

...a massive transformation right where you look at networking and as an industry, for the last thirty years, forty years hourlong enterprise class networking has been around. It's really been focused on hardware, really been focused on using, you know, trading and delivering a lot of complexity the customers candidly and what we saw in the marketplace was just a massive opportunity for disruption. All the way from our Indiand you're looking for two or three things when you want to start something. They're trying to see are you ten X, at least ten x better, and better can be faster, cheaper or more functionality, but are you at least ten x then your competition in that case, or alternatives. In that case it was really the incumbent networking rout based models. And then the second thing that you're looking for is is there or the big horizontal market forces that work in your favor? Because oftentimes what happens is you can come out to the new widget that's tenex faster, better cheaper, but most seaires they are a list of hundred different it projects they can execute on any given day, all of which will have the promise of Tenex, paster, better, cheaper. The really three or maybe five that make it any given quarter or any given year, and that shortlist of three or five is going to be based on horizontal market forces that caused the cios to, you know, truly invest in those three versus the remaining ninety five, right, and if you're not in that, in those three or five, is going to be really hard and tough go. So in our case, the big back we were really making was that enterprises would migrate substantial amounts of their workloads to the cloud. It's funny how fast time flies and it when you even lens back to two thousand and twelve. I mean right now it feels like of course cloud is a given right. Nobody's a suvant for saying, you know, cloud is here and wow. But you lend back to two thousand and twelve and the jury was still very much out in our industry. Right. The button the industry was yeah, maybe that test work clothes will move to a w as certain burstay loads in retail to take advantage of peak retail traffic. That might need some elasticity in the cloud. You know, maybe it's for the sand, for the smaller customers. The big beat, teammate, was we said, you know, even the most conservative banks, the most conservative manufacturing companies, global companies, fortune ten companies will make massive migrations to the cloud, not only for their customer facing properties but also for the internal light functions. And that's been a bet that's worked very much in our favor because as customers transition their workloads, data and applications to the cloud, you need a new model of network for the remote process that accesses all these capabilities and we couldn't get the energy at the older networking companies to react to it back then in two thousand and thirteen because it was going to be very disruptive to that model. Of selling hardware, coming back to the customer every three or five years with a new piece of hardware. It's a drug that keeps some of the sales revenue going and what we were doing was going. You know, migreator software my gage were cloud delivered models and that proved to be very disruptive for Nadia companies. We thought both of it traded great opportunity. They had good technology differentiation, big market forces and something that was disruptive from a business model perspective to the older companies. That's the perfect set of market forces that you actually want to start something. At a personal level it's much tougher, right, because everyone's life circumstances different and you have to make the choice that I'm going to dive into the unknown and, you know, not going to have a salary for a while and living in the bay area. These things are not easy right, because the bays are not an inexpensive place to live...

...in, and so that became at the personal level, it becomes a very interesting and tough decision. But I have to say Silicon Valley, one of the things that makes a look in value as trade, as the test, is really an ecosystem where there's a whole bunch of entrepreneurs who are always that to give advice, lend their support, lend their connections, lend access to the venture community, and so, you know, it's definitely a very, very unique place that allows an entrepreneur who has a good idea, a good market opportunity, a good team to be able to make that leap into the unknown rather than, you know, feel a little maybe intimidated by the impact of not getting a paycheck every fifteen days. Earlier see you mentioned embarking on this journey with a couple of your co founders. How did you select your co founder team? Was it you know, I need a bunch of folks that are like minded, or I need a bunch of folks a totally different views? How did you go about picking that founding team? That's a great question. One of my mentors, in fact, told me that if you don't think you have the right team, doesn't matter how great you think the ideas, doesn't matter how great to think the opportunity is. Don't do it simply because infrastructure projects, they're going to take longer than you think it's going to take. It going to be harder than you think it's going to be going to be more rewarding, but the just the amount of effort and lift required its splinters teams, right. So in my case we were very, very fortunate. I work with the my cofounders in various capacities before, so we knew each other had a lot of respect for what we brought to the table. It was a very well balanced team. So we're looking for someone that understood the business side, the go to market side of it. We had someone that could run engineering, build strong, powerful engineering teams, and then we had a couple of folks that were that brought technical CTO architecture death. So we were really, really fortunate that we had a balanced team across some of the cool functions and the team had work together. The thing that makes our team tike, I think, is that, despite having known each other for a long time, work with each other for a long time, we don't cut each other flak, meaning that what often times happens is that sometimes when you work with someone for a long time, you very quickly grant them the benefit of the doubt, even in a technical argument. Right, we would give each other technical give each other the benefit of the doubt in terms of intent right, that they had a high trust, that the intent was always good. We trusted each other's just a ethics, integrity, etc. But we question even today, I'd go at it hammer and tongues and by seversa in having a coold be technical discussion whether it's go to market, its product. That's capability and I think that helps us a lot because that ensures that you know you're not allowing fuller decisions to happen just because you know each other. It doesn't build this baggage where you're like man slowly. Sometimes you see teams build resentment towards each other because you didn't question the other person and you really should have. So we have a really good open relationship. Very we you know, those rigorous debate, lots of questioning, but then once we hit go, everyone just aligns and it becomes okay, you know, we just excluding like a lean, mean mution and that was how it wasn't early days, and then hopefully that's the kind of culture we're built, even as the company I've gotten much bigger today. Yeah, that's I think that's probably key, certainly in the companies that we look at that that's one of the special spices you have to have in the recipe. So when you and the founders got together, okay, we're going to do this. Everyone's...

...quit their day job and convince their families that not having a paycheck for the foreseeable future is a good idea. Now you go into some of the venture firms, you're going to make your pitch. How did that go? I mean, did you walk into one company, you knocked out of the park, they wrote you a check and you all went to lunch, or how exactly did that journey? You know, the reality was that in less than eight weeks from leaving jobs, we got fund but you know so often times when I talk to people that I can't was really quick and easy for you guys. The reality actually felt very, very different. Right. I felt like I out my rear end handed to me the first couple of weeks on Sandal road, and the difference really was there were two tweekly differences between some of the other pictures had made and pitching to the VC's right. Usually, when you're pitching in hours at a larger company and for various projects raised substantial amounts of resources, funding, etc. Usually of pitching to an exact that still very much in the industry understands your networking and your industry in that etc. When you're pitching to a V seat. Now you know why we we were selective and pitching mostly to infrastructure. We see, at that time van and branch networking wasn't a sexy topic by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, there was one. We see that. You know, when we spoke about networking, there were three minutes where they thought we were talking about social networking and I was like man, I made a mistake in my homework. Right. So we really had to cross the barrier in terms of making sure that they're communicating the opportunity, the problem the solution in a way that even someone that doesn't do networking for that day job can understand. And that's on me right. That's on the entrepreneur, because we see expertise is not going to be in every technology domain that crops up. That expertise is really in being able to identify great team in great problems, great pattern matches and make her back on what's going to work out. So one of my mentors, she had you know, she gave the advice and you know her advice was, come on spend a lot of time thinking through how you would describe what cloud genics does as we are the X of y right. So you you you'll hear start up pitches where someone comes and says, okay, we're the U were for food or we are the Uger for scooters or whatever it is, and some of it is stright and some people get turned off by but if you can actually have something that's meaningful, it's very, very powerful, right, because it very quickly tells someone that, okay, this is a zip code in which you're trying to operate, this is a problem statement that you're trying to solve. For as long as it's done in a artful manner, in a thoughtful manner, I think that becomes very powerful. So just that whole communication, that was one half of the problem and then the other other half of a challenge, and communicating early on the first two weeks of the ree was really what is the time frame that I be see is looking at. Right, if you're pitching a project within the context for a large company, your company is thinking about, okay, takes eighteen months to produce something. How is this part going to do in the market? So let's say, a couple of years after that. There is oftentimes, you know, you're pitching to trough deep infrastructure. We see they actually and take the long view. Right. They can take the long view of okay, it's going to take you twenty four months, if not more, to produce a great product from scratch, and then the life of the product in the three to seven years after it. So what's the value of this company in a after seven years? Right? So they're looking at potentially a much longer time frame and I landing to that and understanding that thought process can be a...

...little bit of a journey that, you know, at least we had to go through. So one of the exciting things you were talking about is pitching the CEIOS and pitching the VC's is completely different. When did you feel most gratified in Cloud Genex when talking to to ceioh there must have been a moment when you solve the tremendous problem for somebody and you had kind of that first gratifying conversation. Can you share with us what that might have been? So doesn't mean that's been one of the absolute delights of this journey. Right, level level of customer engagement, forming deep relationships the customers. I'll give a couple of specific examples of absolute gratification. There's in a one with a very, very large manufacturing ends like fortune thirty manufacturing company. We've done a global deployment in the quick time with them and then they had a ceio change. The new CIO joins and say hey, I really need to meet with your team and you know we need to me to review this the clouds next night. So we were not completely sure what was going to be a positive meeting or not. You know, maybe the new person comes and under the prior delition. So we go in and, you know we're a little nervous. We're talking about what we've done so far and then he stops us. He says, listen, just what happened when the team, you know, he was in a different part of the organization than our project first God approved. I said when the team came and said we're going to execute cloud genecs global across I think highland, sixty countries and thousands of sites, we're going to have it deployed in six months, I told them don't make that commitment because you guys are never going to able to make it. Make it twelve months, you're still going to be a heroes. I says. This team going done in five months, and we we just got selected as the project of the year and highlighted by our CEO in the news, latter to our shareholders. Right. That was a phenomenal moment for us because in the end we're not in the business of trying to be heroes ourselves. Our job is to singularly make our customers heroes. The fact that the new CIO, the entire team that would their time, effort and investment in Cloud Jenics, they get, you know, a mention, a very, very top line, mentioned at that level, going out to all the shareholders thanking them for their effort, was huge for us, right, and they also got monetary and promotion towards SIDILY, the vother customer, more recently, where we'd engaged with them all the way back in two thousand and thirteen when, you know, the concept of cloud jennings was still a glint in the I and recently they moved to not only having the floyed cloud jennings across that entire stores, but they've completely eliminated all other physical infrastructure in the store point of Salis moved to the cloud. Everything is in security is moved to the cloud. Voices moved to the cloud. The only footprint today is cloud jenics. Right. They moved from having five pieces of hard back now to just having the cloud jennings software in the branch. Everything else cloud delivered. And the CIO sent a d out saying, Hey, my team had this vision five years ago jointly. They have not excured against it. Like just seeing that vision come to us to fruition for the customer and the customers business and the team get that. It what there's nothing more gratifying than that. That's incredible, huge, huge validation to why you started the company and ultimately why you built the product into you built the product for. That's awesome. So thank you to more for sharing that. Of course it's my pleasure any time. Yeah, and you know, we certainly, in looking at the startups we work with, have noticed that there's a little bit of the worship of the proverbial pivot, right. So a lot of these startups are like, well, we tried this, it didn't work out. A pivot, pivot, pivot, and they...

...kind of pivot themselves out of existence. Have you guys face that. Where you've been, you know you've come to a point you like. I think we need to either pivot our target market, our product or what have you, or has things kind of gone towards that original plan that you laid out? When you talk to the VC's, you know you're asking a question that is probably one of the toughest questions that any start up faces through its entire existance, right, and it's going to face it multiple times. I think when I look at us, both me personally and several folks on our team, we are big properance and other ends of the lean start up methodology. Right. Had the great fortune of taking a course with Steve Blank back at you see Berkeley on customer development and I think a lot of his material or fishes theory really became embedded in the practice of the lean start up by a recreaes. And you know what has helped us is that we've had a when I look at us all the way back from our very first pitch deck, and I still have very first pitch deck with the in elegant drawings, etc. Are To not has not changed at all. What we pitch to the VC's early two thousand and thirteen. From a knot perspective, what we were the problem we were solving. It's remain unchanged right. What has undergone a few twists in the tail, is really the solution side of the house. And you know, that's one thing that both I keep reminding myself and my team is that as a startup we really want to focus for spending. If you have ten hours in the day, focus mine hours on the problems you're solving, one hour on the solution space, because as long as you know that you're solving beet problems, then the solution can change but you're still going to be solving a real problem. So we spent a lot of time in the early days very fine validating this problem statement. We actually ran experiments on our customer base in a very structured manner against the problem statement, taking out some of the biggest risk areas, biggest hypothesis, and you know there was one. It's a little in the tech leads, but from a product standpoint there was a easy way to deliver a solution. Why? You could take the data path of the customer and, you know, make sure that its process through a node in the cloud that you own. And that was an easy way to solve some of the problems, but be verified with our customers and validated that I created new problems. So then we had to prevent to an architecture within three months of where their datapath and control path look at completely cleanly isolated, right, and that was a pivotal decision be made. That's fuel success in the Fortune Two Tho segment, right, because those customers are very security conscious. They don't want their inter one of the data pass being exposed in the cloud, so to speak. And so that decision was a very, very important and powerful one. And it only came because we were following the lean startup methodology that we create these product releasas to experiment with customers, get the feedback and pivot only based on that customer feedback. You know, while pivoting takes a lot of courage, I think there is something to be cyd for persistence to and it's a hard balance between persistence and pivoting and I don't think that is too its science to it. There is some amount of art and some amount of luck that comes into play. Yeah, I certainly think that's a little bit honest. I think every journey that we've looked at. There's kind of a different path. One of the things, though, that is a good problem to have to solve this scaling right. Do you've got the customer demand, you're now getting some revenue. How do we scale up? And still, you talked about your true north has remained, you know, fairly constant. How do we maintain that to north, maintain...

...our culture, keep that customer loyalty ball growing a market and ever changing. How do you do that, yere, you're right, I think you know. One of the most important things on that topic, I found is really knowing what market segment you're addressing. Right, because, let's say in the networking book, right, you're starting, if your start point is the start point on Marachy right, which is addressing a problem statement really in the SNB and the smaller set of customers early on, then you're scaling problem. Statement looks very, very different. Right. Then you're saying, okay, any given customer probably has and a fight and location stops maybe fifty apis or hundred apiece and but I do have to manage a large number of many, many small customers. Right. And then that's the scaling problem. You are to solve for now. In our case, we were very, very clear early on that our initial target market is the global two thousand, right, which then meant it's a very large number of globally distributed branches, customers with thousands, if not tens of thousands of locations, all of which had to be manage in about and manner. Right. So, because they had that problem, statement like laid out from day one. Or engineering team, even for the very first customer, had to solve for that right now. If we were going after the SNB customer, that would make no sense. Then you'd be wasting resources in solving for a scaling problem that you know you wouldn't take for the next five years. But as far as this was the scaling problem with the very first customer right, our very first customer out on the East course, was the one of the largest investment banks on planet, or they manage, having closed to a trillion dollars an assets. And we were like, okay, if you're solving for that, there's a certain security expect patients, rigger expectation, scale expectations, and that became our MVP, right, which is very different from the MVP for that. The MVP would have been for a Maraki, our MVP, was foundationally different because we were going after the biggest, baddest customers on planet, or so I think. Knowing the target customer and solving for that customer, the scale in the context of the of them, I think is helpful, lends to apply. And how does that reflect on Scaling Your Company? You know, employees, office space, you know we've got to get another powerful coffeemaker. How do you go through those various growing pains inside cover? There is good problem to have, but how do you have you addressed? So the you know, and it's almost tried to say that the single biggest scaling Problem Finding Company's Culture. But it's true, right, because for the better of the world, when you're small, you have a very definitive culture. Right. There's very few companies that are ten, twenty people that you can't point to and say, you know, this is the culture of this group of people because often times as people with some amount of prior experience, Shad life experiences, that have come together and you know they share a very similar culture. Now, if you like that culture and if it's actually working for you and your customers, then you want to preserve that as you as you know, scale out and I found and that the culture is one of these difficult things. It's very, very difficult to influence it. Post factor. One of the most powerful ways we can influence the culture of your company is really through hiring right, that you hire people. You don't necessarily want to hire everyone that is a things for like or beag like or looks like any stretch of imagination, but you have to ensure that there is there are two or three elements that are criticality of culture. One, identifying them, taking the time on the effort to write it down and then taking the time and effort to incorporate it in your interviewing...

...and hiring process. It's really, really difficult. Right, the last five years I've been a great market for employees. Right, very, very tough hiring market, whether you know, the economy has done well and a lot of people in high tech we have multiple options to consider. So, even in that environment, just staying through to certain things that you believe in and finding our creative ways in which you can explore that, because often times everyone is can be great in a thirty minute interview, figuring out ways of sufcing the things that matter to you out, not just by asking questions. One of the things that we found very, very effective and hiring was doing experiential hiring, meaning that if you're you're hiring for sales, we do role place right where, you know, the day before or we give the person or allowed a person to choose what kind of scenario gets painted, and it can be a product she or he is very comfortable with, and then we literally rot place. If it's finance, you'd actually have a little workshop. We get on the wold together, we actually run through certain scenarios of how we'd work with each other. Same thing with marketing, and I've just found that actually taking the extra effort and time to go through that in the hiding process that has been the single most important thing in scaling up without losing your culture. Also of that scaling is, you know, relatively easy. It's hard, but it's relatively easy. The tough thing is getting the right people and in this kind of a job market, you know that's been the difficult thing and if you invest the time and effort, I think the good results, but it's really really hard to stay trough to it. Well, certainly it's been rather exciting for us to you know, from the outside, watching how that the market that you're in is solidified, how St when has become very prevalent. Obviously cloud genics at the front of that charge. Do you keep an eye on the other players in your market or are you just full steam ahead? How does competition kind of factor into yours? That's a great question. So it's a bit of both. Right, we definitely our paranoid about the competition where it's incumbents or any other end entrance. In any hot market you're going to see a lot of entrance where their pretenders or other wife. They make an impact on the market. So we do pay a lot of attention to what the incumbents, the larger vendors to but you know, when all is said and done, I think it always comes down to the problem. Statement right that if you're solving big customer problems better than anyone else and you can keep building on your differentiators, you know, then discult for fathers to catch you. The tough part really is when you start in a market like I Stevan, where because the market has become very exciting. Way You noisy, you get a lot of people link claim to the the market segment. Then there's a temptation to say, Oh, let me focus on this completer, let me focus on the other one, let me build a still whichet, let me'll build the other widget. You know. Most the reality is more products and they die of indigestion, then of starvation, meaning that usually a product, if it gets too bulky as to you know, trying to be everything to everyone, it starts to fall apart. So we've tried to stay through to our market segments. We serve. We serve enterprise, we serve now the smaller customers to we serve them in a way that customers can manage. That the paract directly. There is a powerful simplicity to it and as long as we stay focused on what makes us great and unique in the way we solve our customer problems, that's definitely the number one thing. Now I don't think the comparative angle is limited to product and technology alone.

Right. I think in today's Day and age, the other vectors are about how do you structure your organization to take advantage of different GEOGRAPHIES AT DIFFERENT COST efficiencies? For instance, you know a lot of startups they like to place their inside sales teams, their business development teams, you know, Co located with their headquarters. Right. So win Silicon Valley, you're going to put your early inside sales seams also in Silicon Valley. We took a little bit of a different approach. We said, you know, we're very comfortable not having our inside sales seem colocated, but our corporate office. They don't need to be seeing our sales teams every day to know that they're doing great work. So we actually, very early on, chose to open a second office in Raleigh in North Carolina, and what it allowed us to do was be able to attract other great talent where there's three great universities that two much like the bay area, and we were able to attract a lot of great talent, quote from some of the other companies that as well as from university. And it also gives us some both talent advantages scale advantages, but some of the other companies or industry didn't have right. So I think on both the product side US lass on the go to market side, there are opportunities to outexecute your competition. We will coop are I think it's been very exciting to kind of come along your journey with you. Obviously you're far from the end if your journey. I think that is safe to say that there's great things ahead for cloud jenics. Is going to be fun to watch that. I can't thank you enough for taking time out of your busy day to come and chat with us and looking forward to other other collaborations with you and seeing where this journey arrives. Like my thanks for times for having me and told visit. Pleasure to talk to you. Thanks tomorrow, of course. Trace three is hyper focused on helping it leaders deliver business outcomes by providing a wide variety of data center solutions and consulting services. If you're looking for emerging technology to solve tried and true business problems, trace three is here to help. We believe all possibilities live in technology. You can learn more at trace threecom podcast. That's trace, the number threecom podcast. You've been listening to the founder formula, the podcast for all things start up, from Silicon Valley to innovators across the country. If you want to know what it takes to lead tomorrow's tech companies, subscribe to the show wherever you get your podcasts. Until next time,.

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