“Rich, you’ve been a storage guy for 15 years, why make the switch to a self-service analytics company?” – ask my family, friends, and co-workers.

There are three large changes sweeping through the IT industry. The first is the commoditization of all-things infrastructure — hardware, OS, virtualization layer, database, or storage. The second is cloud computing has exploited the commoditization of infrastructure, and its maniacal focus on operating infrastructure at scale. The third is the emergence of the software-as-a-service industry, where every major application required for businesses to operate is being built on top of the cloud and provided on a subscription basis for all to consume. It is these three trends that, when taken in combination, will radically alter the enterprise IT computing landscape forever.

This tsunami of change threatening the very existence of every single “classic” IT vendor, whether it be compute, networking, storage, virtualization, database, or applications on top of this stack. Specialists are emerging at every single layer of the IT application stack to provide world-class applications, all utilizing cloud-based infrastructure, and all leveraging subscription business models to deliver compelling economical solutions to their customers.

The era of 60 points of gross-margin, expensive direct sales forces, and on-premise IT is coming to a close. It’s a subscription world with try-and-buy software offerings hosted in the cloud and frictionless business models that encourage consumption. It will, of course, take years to complete the transition, but for a long-time infrastructure guy such as myself, it was time to look for something new.

As I contemplated the trends in the industry, a picture emerged of my ideal company:

  • A startup with an emerging business,
  • Utilizing the cloud for infrastructure,
  • Building an end-to-end application that was fast and easy to use,
  • Focused on interactive tools for solving the problems inherent in scaling a business,
  • With a brilliant team and great attitude, and
  • Where my years of experience with enterprise storage, distributed systems, and startup experience would be an asset.

Why interactive tools? At every major company, business decisions are communicated up and down the chain with PowerPoint. But the problem I have with PowerPoint is that the moment you commit a metric or chart to a Powerpoint presentation, it’s out of date, and can’t be explored into or modified in any way to give the viewer a better understanding. And it takes precious time to generate those charts, and god help you if you want to drill into the metric to see the data for yourself.

Why end-to-end? As a “storage guy” looking at the world, I really became fascinated with Big Data and the infrastructure therein. But the classic Big Data stack is really complicated, with a zoo full of animals to install, configure, and feed. And you literally need PhD’s on staff to make this thing answer simple questions.

Why fast? I’m a fan of Butler Lampson and his observation on system design loosely paraphrased “If you can’t make it general, at least make it fast”. It resonates with me 1000%. I’d much prefer tools that work fast, give usable answers to questions they are designed for, than suffer through waiting for something general to compute its way to a correct answer.

So, enter Interana. Here we have a team building a fast tool, focused on analyzing event data, doing it in real-time, with a drastically simplified computing stack, packaged in a way that virtually any business owner can leverage to grow their business. Add in a great set of founders and early employees with a passion for excellence, getting things done and having fun while doing it, and it was an easy decision.

I’m here because Interana has a: passionate driven team, great technology, a focus on speed, and a product designed for making data analysis simple . This is Big Data for mortals, and I couldn’t be more pleased to be here.

I’ve only been here a few weeks, but I can unabashedly admit that: it’s chaotic, it’s hectic, it’s a different set of challenges every day. However, the environment is so energizing. I’m challenged each and every day that I feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to have this much fun and be paid for it too. Hopefully the CEO and Board of Directors won’t read this and ask for their salary back, because that certainly helps to take the edge off of the crazy cost of living here in the Bay Area.

We have energy, a novel and unique take on solving interesting questions in the Big Data space, and more potential customers than we know what to do with right now.

Join us. You’ll feel the same way!