Several years ago I was part of a storage technology company that was stuck in neutral. We had a great hardware-accelerated file system that was technically superior to anything available, but our challenge was getting traction and momentum in the marketplace. I had a short hallway conversation with the CEO and asked him if he’d read the Jim Collins book, “Good to Great”. He hadn’t, but was familiar with it and impressed with the core concepts. He ended up reading it and then distributed copies throughout the company.
The key concepts that took root were:
- Confront the brutal facts: The Stockdale paradox—Confront the brutal truth of the situation, yet at the same time, never give up hope.
- Hedgehog concept: Focus on these three overlapping circles: What lights your fire (“passion”)? What could you be best in the world at (“best at”)? What makes you money (“driving resource”)?
- Technology accelerators: Use technology to accelerate growth within the three circles of the hedgehog concept.
A few quarters after that conversation our primary OEM decided to buy the company outright.
Fast forward a few years and in a new role, I was designing, deploying, and building hybrid cloud infrastructures for enterprise customers using industry-standard hardware and software. I started to hear about the public cloud, and saw increasing demand from customers for web-native, twelve-factor style Software as a Service (SaaS) apps. As part of the evolutionary plans, these customers began to feel more secure with the public cloud as a viable way to manage their overall technology infrastructures. I loved seeing this change, but started to ask, “How are these enterprises going to deal with the security compliance regime they must conform to? Were the rules and processes they used for their traditional IT constructs still applicable to the public cloud?”
My friend John Martinez is Vice President of Customer Solutions here at Evident.io and he talked with me about some fascinating work he was doing. Based on the original concepts of Evident.io’s founders, the company is working on solving the problem of securing public clouds with automated threat detection solutions. They are eliminating the need for organizations to build tools from scratch and instead use a tool that does continuous monitoring for security and compliance. I watched as they developed and built up the company and continued to have conversations on how things were going. Finally, I determined that the market is in dire need of the Evident Security Platform (ESP), and considering the maturity of their intellectual property, I saw the opportunity as huge. Needless to say, I joined as soon as I could.
I found that in addition to the “Good to Great” concepts that were critical to success in my previous startup, Evident.io also had others:
- Level 5 leadership: Leaders who are humble, but driven to do what’s best for the company.
- First who, then what: Get the right people on the bus, then figure out where to go. Find the right people and try them out in different positions.
There is no guarantee that any company that adheres to these concepts will be a great success as defined by financial performance,but success does leave clues.
My aim is to share my experiences to help others who might be making the same walk to the public cloud from traditional IT. It’s not so scary if you have a roadmap.