I had the pleasure to speak with Jeff Hausman of CloudPhysics, who took over the CEO role from founder John Blumenthal.
This interview is a follow-up of my interview with John a while back, when he was still the CEO.
I interviewed Jeff about his go-to market strategy, views on the global market space and CloudPhysics’ product evolution.
WTH: Thanks very much for taking time out of your day for me. How did the CEO change between you and John Blumenthal come about, did John approach you directly?
JH: I have actually known John for many years, as you probably figured out. I uncovered at one point that there was a search going on. John and I got together and talked about what it was they were looking for. He really sold me on the opportunity to come in and help drive the organization behind the team. I got to meet with the founders of the organization, the board members, to really make sure it was a good fit.
The way I view the process in hindsight, is a kind of serendipity of potential timing, based on where I was at the time with Symantec.
WTH: What are you focusing on specifically right now?
JH: What I am focused on right now is taking the platform that we build, continue to enhance and drive that forward. In June 2014 we announced a set of new storage analytics. We have recently introduced the Data Store Contention card and the VMware IO contention card.
You know that we have the analogy of a deck of cards; a card represents a particular analytic, for instance surrounding snapshots or space savings. We introduced some new interface changes to them; the card will give you a visual indicator if there are items that need attention on the card itself.
So let’s say there are two items that need attention, two areas of snapshots you approve. Click on that and it will automatically show you those in the frame and give you the ability to understand what the problems are. Additionally we introduced Daily and Global insights.
Daily Insights allows you to log in and see for all these key cards, what the items are that require attention. This enables you to get to where the problem is fast, without having to navigate all those different cards.
We also created what we call Global Insights, where you can benchmark your own environment to what is happening with the global dataset.
These areas are a starting point for what we want to do. To better expose the information of people so they can make actional decisions quickly.
WTH: It sounds like a real nice gradual evolution. Is it fair to say that John has more focus on product with you at the helm?
JH: Yes, it has allowed John to focus on products. In fact, that is the domain that he really likes and enjoys.
We have seen quite an uptake in customers, both direct and via our partners. These partners are interested in our product for understanding their customers environments better as a part of their pre-sales activities and post-sales implementation.
WTH: Are we talking about large system integrators that you are working with? Are you also speaking with known OEM’s?
JH: I can’t get in to the specifics, but I would say that we have a range of partnerships that we are exploring.
The variety of partners we are talking to are system integrators to traditional Value added resellers. We are seeing great opportunity in that broad spectrum across. And by the way, we have partners coming to us wanting to become a partner.
WTH: It makes a lot of sense, it is a great sales tool.
JH: Yes, what I also see now with our SAAS based product is a democratization in IT. If you are a costumer and you want to work with a particular partner, in the past there was a lot of geographical focus. You would either work with partners that were regionally located, or you had large multinational or global partners that you could work in local geographies.
With the SAAS model, any partner with a particular set of expertise can be enabled. That is a new opportunity.
WTH: Will you be focusing on a primarily indirect on a Sales model in that way or will you be employing local Sales forces?
JH: We have a mix right now and I see both of those continuing over time.
That said I certainly see great opportunity in keeping our approach channel friendly. When I was at Veritas I literally in one year shifted sales from 70 / 30 direct to a 30 / 70 indirect. So we went to an indirect model and we enabled the partners and grew that business dramatically through the years.
There is great opportunity to scale with the partner in the eco-system. We will always support costumers who will come directly to us. That is just the nature of a SAAS application. But there is an ability to do both. This is really where I can see it us going.
WTH: How does your product relate to Virtual Instruments, I spoke with them a while back.
JH: I think we are different. The things that Virtual Instruments are doing is going deep into the physical infrastructure. (Laughing) Which is ironic considering the name.
I don’t see us going there. Our focus is literally virtual environments. We are looking at platform expansion, as you would expect. I know you talked with John about this in the past. We started with VMware because of the pedigree of our founding organization team, but we certainly have our eyes on other hypervisors and other markets. Whether that is moving in to the open environments are things that are on our roadmap and thoughts process.
I think the focus for us right now is on HyperV, maybe at a later phase Dockers. In fact one of the things that we find is a lot of people that come to the side and give us feedback: “this is great, where do you have the HyperV version, so I can use that? Because I am not a VMware shop.”
WTH: Aside from the US and Europe, how do you view the Asian Market?
JH: I see it as a very strong opportunity for us. One of our very early adopted costumers that is going on for years, is actually a service provider in Australia. So we have relationships there. That service provider is also working with us and helping to promote, and get others in that geography. Ironically my Head of Sales is also from Australia. We also have pretty aggressive activities going on with very large partners and very large costumers over in Japan.
In past companies I have done much business in Asia, so I see the same opportunity for us here at CloudPhysics. Asia is definitely the fastest growing market. Something that cannot be ignored.
WTH: How about China specifically?
JH: We haven’t focused yet on China. China is always an interesting one to crack. Not being a large multinational ourself, it is a little bit harder right now. Given we have so many other opportunities and the investments required over there. I am focusing on the easier countries to execute now and we will figure that out as we go.
JH: Actually, we have a partner in India that reached out to us that we are establishing a relationship with. I also spend a lot of time in India, having development teams over the years. So there are additional relationships that we have. India is a little bit easier to get business going than with China. I did have development teams in China in Symantec, but it is still a little bit harder to get in.
WTH: On a personal note, do you have a family? How do you manage your time with social and work? How do you do that?
JH: How do your balance your time? Well, that is always a challenge, for anybody that is in a leadership position. You know, having been SVP’s, VP’s and CEO’s in other companies, I certainly appreciate that is always a challenge.
I do have a family: I got two kids and a lovely wife. They are getting a little bit older, which makes life a bit easier. My wife, by the way also is in a start-up organization in a company called House, which recently launched in Europe. They bring together people that are doing remodels or construction on their house with contractors and designers. They’re doing pretty well.
So we both work full-time, my typical day wouldn’t surprise you. I will get in the office pretty early, right after the kids are brought to school, depending who is doing the drop-off. Then later at night I check if they completed their home work.
It’s busy but I love it.
WTH: Thank you very much for the open talk and taking time out of your day for me, Jeff.
JH: Welcome, thank you. It was nice to meet you visually.
WTH: When I’m over in the San Francisco Area, itw would be great if we could see each other.
JH: Absolutely, keep me posted and let us know. I would love to buy you a cup of coffee.
WTH: Great, I will take you up on that.
Stay tuned on more news about CloudPhysics!
For more CEO interviews, check out my CEO series here