Last summer I did a blog post titled My Startup Anniversary: 3 Years In Blog Posts. The goal of the post was to provide a journey through my personal blog as written while starting and growing CloudHealth Technologies. I thought I'd update this post for my 4th year.
And So It Begins (2012)
I had originally thought of starting CloudHealth in 2010 after deciding to leave Dell. I suppose it was obvious to explore creating a business at the intersection of my two interests: cloud computing and infrastructure management. But while exploring the market, I was simultaneously talking to interesting cloud companies. After taking an 18 month detour to be a VP of engineering at an Amazon-backed cloud startup, I returned back to the idea of starting a company in spring of 2012.
- Movement in the Cloud - I decided to make my resignation official with this post.
- Amazon Reserved Instance Calculator - I guess you can call this my first MVP. Good idea, not so good execution.
- 9 Tips To Improving Your Lean Startup Validation - The Lean experimentation began, and with it a post on what I learned.
- A Cloud Is a Terrible Thing To Waste - I was always intrigued by the stories of cloud dropouts. They were and remain canaries in the mine.
- 10 Steps To a Read Only AWS User - I needed least-privilege credentials for a concierge service I ran, and decided to document this for other AWS users.
- The $18 Billion Disruption - My first public rumination on the target market for my business.
- Burning Your Boats and Bridges - I knew the next phase required a new level of commitment. This post signaled my decision to raise a round of capital and hire a CEO.
- 6 Steps To Running a Lean B2B Experiment - By this time Dan had joined as CEO and I had my first two paying customers. The Lean experimentation continued.
Early Company (2013)
In 2013 we raised a series A round of capital, hired our core team, and launched the first official version of our product (although in truth we had paying customers since the previous November). This was our toughest year, since we had to build the product and figure out how to market and sell it. This year went by in a blur.
- A Cloud Management Taxonomy - The start of fund raising found me spending an increasing amount of time on thinking about how to position us in the market.
- My VC Thought Experiment - We signed the term sheet for our series A around this time. This post was me lamenting on the challenges of getting investors to see an entrepreneurial vision.
- Goldilocks and the Three Startups - It always amazed me the wildly conflicting opinions we received from investors.
- Cloud Fratricide - Thinking about the single greatest point of failure in managing large scale cloud infrastructure: people.
- Recommended Reading For Entrepreneurs - I'd read dozens of books on startups / entrepreneurship prior to and during starting the company. This post included some of my favorites.
- My Lean Startup Journey - With the term sheet signed, we were waiting on closing the round of capital. I decided to pass on some tips from the early phase of my journey.
- Product Management Is a Company, Not a Department - My early thoughts on how I wanted to run product management in my new company.
- The Importance of Weekly Demos - The genesis of our Demo Day in engineering.
- Top Reasons To Like the 02210 - In spite of the fact I never found the $5 per day parking Dan insisted existed in Fort Point, I decided I liked the Innovation District.
- Confessions of a Resume Profiler - Guess what I was spending all my time doing?
- The Death of the ITOM Suite - More thinking on the market my new company was disrupting.
- On Recruiter Sales Hooks - Recruiter humor.
- 10 Immutable Laws of Cloud Computing - My attempt at cloud humor.
- 5 Tips to Hiring in Boston - When will the recruiting end?
- Day 1 at re:Invent: Sold Out - We were too cheap to get a booth at re:Invent, but had great customer / prospect traction in our hotel suites. We bought too few passes and I am embarrassed to say: had to share passes to the show floor.
- My Jeff Barr Interview - Melodye scores a hit by getting me a video interview with Amazon's chief evangelist. Thanks to Greg Arnette for the tip.
- Day 3 at re:Invent: Disruption Achieved - Thoughts as I headed home after re:Invent.
- Cloud Escape Velocity: PaaS on IaaS - More thinking about the power of AWS's latest service announcements and how it a would shape the future of the cloud.
- On Startup Execution & Adversity - Personal reflections on my mother passing away the previous year, right in the middle of trying to start the company.
- Cloud Evolution: Cloud 2.0 - More thinking on the future of the cloud.
- 2014 Predictions for the Cloud - Every VP of marketing is obliged to make their CTO make predictions.
- The String of Pearls - Sharing my thoughts as we converged toward product market fit.
- Google Glass: Day 1 - This had absolutely nothing to do with my company, but was a digression on my lifelong pursuit of becoming a human cyborg. I plan to attend re:Invent 2020 with my mind clone and a body made up of 10% machine parts. ;)
Product Market Fit (2014)
This was a break out year for our company. We achieved product market fit, had substantial growth in our business, and signed a term sheet for our series B round of capital (although the closing occurred the start of 2015).
- Top 10 Ways To Know You're a Cloud Hoarder - More cloud humor. I think if I didn't write software, I'd secretly like to be the Mark Twain of the cloud.
- Agile Product Management - I spend a lot of free time thinking about one of the weakest links in previous product teams: the product management process.
- Reflections: 1 Year Post Funding - My lessons learned a year into my series A funded company.
- The Return of On-Shoring - When the company was just me, I had a small offshore team I used to supplement me writing software. As soon as I had the capital to hire local engineers, I immediately moved to an onshore model. I have had on-shore and offshore teams in my past and there is nothing like a local team.
- Cloud Computing’s iPhone Moment - A cloud milestone: it becomes cheaper than physical infrastructure.
- Top 5 Ways To Know If Your Recruiter Sucks - Will the recruiting ever end?
- 10 Commandments of Startup Product Management - Continuing to think about how to create effective product management processes.
- Top 9 Ways To Improve Your Startup Product Management Process - You'd think I'd tire eventually of all this product management talk.
- The Cloud’s 99.9% - Taking a moment to reflect on how early we still are in the cloud revolution.
- What To Do In Response To Code Spaces - This was a wake up call for all of us in the cloud.
- The Agility Volume Knob - Our focus is on optimizing throughput over predictability.
- AWS Revenue Slip? - Observations on the cyclical nature of AWS revenue.
- Sprint Planning at CloudHealth - Overview of our sprint planning process at CloudHealth.
- The Four Phases of Cloud Optimization - Observations on the maturation of cloud customers.
- Conviction - When I started the business, it was based on a contrarian point of view around freemium. Sometimes it's important not to follow the herd.
- Hacking at CloudHealth - Our first hackathon.
- Entrepreneurship: The Chicken and the Pig - Steeling myself for raising a round of capital in spite of all the talk about a "Boston B round crunch." Hint: I'm the pig.
- Finding the Minimum Viable Feature (MVF) - The concept of MVF was deep in our DNA by this point.
- Notes from Google Cloud Platform Live - Checking out what Google was up to.
- Day 1 at re:Invent, Day 2 at re:Invent, Day 3 at re:Invent - We decided to pony up for a booth this year. The event was a great success.
- The Heterogeneous Cloud - re:Invent always spawns one or two thoughts on the future of the cloud market.
Our $12M series B round of capital closed at the beginning of this year, led by the west coast Scale Venture Partners. We gradually are moving from a stealth startup to one recognized within the industry.
- The LinkedIn Search I Wish I Had - Recruiting. Need I say more?
- Coffee Talk from the Silicon Valley - Returned and recovered from raising capital in the Valley, I decided to pass on some chatter.
- 5 Requirements Not Found In My Job Descriptions - What I hire for in a blog post.
- My Entrepreneur Not To Do List - My solution to the classic founder scale problem at this phase in a startup.
- MVF: The Importance of Not Over-investing - Worries that we were losing our MVF edge.
- Finding Your Founding Customers - Visiting my founding customer.
- Springing into Action for the 2015 Hackathon - Another Hackathon.
- A Lean Journey Into Agile Documentation - Lessons from my personal foray into documentation, from which I returned alive but slightly abused.
- Software: The Process Is the Constraint - I'm not a fan of prescriptive software process. To me, it's about the people.
- 9 Tips for Getting Your First Software Job - Can you tell I have been hiring new grads?
- 7 LinkedIn Profile Tips for New Graduates - If only the new grads made getting a job easier on themselves.
- 3 Steps To Making Good Group Decision - As we continue to grow, it's critical to ensure we continue to make the best decisions across the organization.
- Integrity Is What You Do When No One Is Watching - Had an incident occur that reminded why working with people with high integrity is so important in startups.
- The Psychology of Being an Entrepreneur - One of the underserved topics in startup community is the psychology of being an entrepreneur. Starting a business is one of the most irrational acts a person can perform. These were some of my lessons.
- Software Development: Adjusting Execution To Need - As we scale we started to lose our risk-taking startup edge. I introduced a framework to allow us to adjust execution to the business need.
- Clear Skies at re:Invent 2015 - It's time for AWS re:Invent, our biggest conference of the year. We brought a big team this year, and had a great success.
- Beginning of the End of Shadow IT - We continue to see rapid enterprise adoption, and with it an increasing growth in IT departments looking to govern the cloud without adversely impacting LOB agility.
- On Clouds & Containers at Structure 2015 - I took a breather from the grind to pick my head up and go to Structure Conf.
- 5 Things Google Can Do To Get Back In the Cloud - People think I don't like the Google cloud. I do, but think their strategy needs some tuning if they want to be a player.
- Founding Secrets - The chapter Secrets of Peter Thiel's Zero To One was for me like the moment in The Matrix when Neo saw the fabric of the virtual world. My secrets were pivotal to starting my company.
- Founding Stories - I am a student of founding stories. They carry with them lessons that help steer your company.
- Starting a Company the Lean Way - Took a moment to reflect on the 2012 moment of creation of my company: when a Lean experiment designed to fail accidentally succeeded.
More Growth (2016)
With revenue growing quickly and business processes continuing to drive efficient growth, we continue to scale. We closed a $20M series C round of capital in May to support the expansion, led by the west coast Sapphire Ventures.
- Passions, Interests & Jobs - Great accomplishments require great effort. I understand that working in a startup is just a job for some people. I just don't want them working in my startup. ;)
- Collaborate: Do Twice the Work In Half the Time - Collaboration is key to our company DNA. As we grow, I continue to try ways to ensure we maintain this.
- 5 Rules To Maximizing Team Transparency - Transparency is one of the core tenants of our company culture. As we scale quickly we have to work harder to maintain it.
- Picking a Company Name - Recounting the story of how we came up with the name CloudHealth Technologies. Few people realize we closed our A-round of financing with a different name.
- NewCo Boston: A Startup Journey - We hosted a session at our offices for NewCo Boston. I presented my entrepreneurial journey, including all the mistakes and best practices I learned along the way.
- On Venture Rejection - We raised the first round of venture capital for our business back in 2013 in record time. I tell the story so much that I forget to tell the real story. Here it is.
Related Posts: 9 Tips To Improving Your Lean Startup Validation