I was recently invited by one of the Hadoop vendors to give a talk on my experiences at Aster Data and the challenges we faced when making the leap from our early, tech-centric customers to the broader, traditional enterprise market. One of the biggest challenges for startups making that leap is learning to bridge the gap between where your product is and where customers expect/want/need it to be. Here are three lessons that can help you to “mind the gap”: Continue reading
Back in April, I left Aster Data following the close of our acquisition by Teradata in order to embark on a new adventure. As part of my journey, I launched this blog with a promise that I would try to post something every week or so. I managed to keep that up until late July, when I went radio silent. So what happened?
Before I recap last week’s Hadoop World conference, a quick acknowledgement that, yes, it’s been awhile since I last posted (almost four months by my count ). In the next couple of days, I’ll let you all in on what I’ve been up to for the past few months and why I’ve been so radio silent. In the meanwhile,…
Ping Li Announces $100M Big Data Fund
Last week, Cloudera hosted the 2011 edition of Hadoop World in NYC. This highly anticipated conference capped a whirlwind year that saw the spinoff of HortonWorks from Yahoo!, Oracle’s official foray into the Hadoop/NoSQL arena, and a plethora of impressive funding announcements (including $20M for MapR, $9.5M for Hadapt, $6M for Karmasphere, and $5.7M for Platfora). Cloudera kicked things off by announcing their own, massive, $40M Series D, while Ping Li of Accel Partners took to the stage to offer details of a new $100M fund allocation for Big Data.
Several weeks ago, MySpace announced that it was being acquired by Specific Media, with the purchase price rumored to be a paltry $35 million. Both MySpace and Specific Media were early customers of Aster Data, and if you had told me four years ago that one of them would eventually buy the other…well, let’s just say this wouldn’t have been the outcome I would have bet on! There’s no doubt that the rise and fall of MySpace will soon become a mainstay of MBA programs everywhere, but while we wait for the inevitable onslaught of postmortems (including, in a new twist, a possible crowdsourced history of MySpace), I can’t help but notice one aspect of the story which mainstream media has yet to discuss:
Everyone knows that in business, the best advertising is the advertising you don’t pay for: word-of-mouth. Good entrepreneurs develop a culture that focuses on making customers happy, in order to create vocal advocates for our endeavors. Truly wise entrepreneurs realize that happy employees are a strategic advantage as advocates in and of themselves.
On a recent visit to Italy, I stumbled upon a fantastic family-owned osteria that provided a case study of a company that had achieved a rare triumvirate of word-of-mouth advertising: happy customers, happy employees, and happy former employees.