Sure, you could latch onto one of the many waves rippling through the tech ecosystem… making its way into the social fabric. You could grab-on and ride it for all it’s worth.
But is that as far as you can see?
At Vertex, it’s never been about the latest trend du jour. Saw that movie before. Instead we like to find the preconditions that point to the next wave. The one that really changes things.
Because the rebels who get there first pave the roads for everyone who follows.
That’s what we did in 2008, for example, when we saw that the snowballing problem processing larger and larger volumes of data was not going to be solved by building larger and larger computers. The market forces of the time — the rise of commodity computing, real-time data, and inexpensive software — were key clues. There had to be a different way of addressing this new and emerging challenge.
Today, the company we helped build to address that challenge, Cloudera, is among the leaders in Big Data infrastructure. More broadly, the approach that Cloudera [or Hadoop] pioneered — distributed computing and distributed analysis — has taken hold as the dominant methodology for data processing and analysis. .
Seeing farther is what we do. We take pride in our ability to synthesize market momentum and bet on the next wave. Our inclination to partner with a team is based on a shared conviction that not only resonates not only with the entrepreneur, but, perhaps more importantly, with where we think she ought to be going.
Seeing farther enables you to be better able to gauge and analyze the potential warning signs and liabilities of a would-be transformative product. Being able to do this, however, requires an uncommon background.
One that’s much like our own, here at Vertex Ventures.
For us, our careers have always been an extension of our hobby: the love of all things technology. We feel passionate about what’s changing, and seek to understand the Why and How behind it. We are constantly researching, studying, and learning. This deep curiosity is part of our entrepreneurial DNA, allowing us to see ideas and trends earlier than most.
Which we hope in turn provides the opportunity to build them into enduring businesses.
Inflection points is a popular term.
We know these moments don’t just happen.
Sometime, somewhere, a brilliant entrepreneur will make a dent in the status quo
with a small but critical change.
Change is inflicted.
What was it, exactly, that sparked the movement away from packaged, enterprise software towards open source? From on-premise services to SaaS? From the minicomputer to the PC? From batch processing to real-time streams of data?
It’s hard to know for sure. But there are several other major industry tipping points that we happen to know intimately.
Like the time not long ago when developers sat on one side of the room and operations on the other. They were supposed to build services together. Very crappy karma.
Which is why at Facebook we brought these two functional areas together in project-centric teams — resulting in more efficiencies, less redundancies, less overhead. By changing nothing less than how and why the company did things, we fundamentally altered the organization. And created the model that’s in use throughout the industry today.
Other work at Facebook tackled the problem of optimizing the way Internet services and applications got built. Since the industry wisdom had it that it was not possible to design systems that controlled all aspects of operation — application, operating systems, hardware, and the building itself — we decided to go ahead and do exactly that.
And then, believing that Facebook’s infrastructure was not its competitive advantage, we created the Open Compute Project, to share these ideas with the larger community. Today, thanks to our involvement, the Foundation is extremely engaged and successful in promoting the design and delivery of the most efficient server, storage, and data center hardware designs for scalable computing in the industry.
They ask the best and only question that needs to be addressed: ‘What does it mean to win?’
Amr AwadallahFounder, CTO at Cloudera, Inc.
You didn’t get where you are today without being confident in your ideas and vision. You’ve worked hard. No, really hard… could you use a push?
At Vertex we continually push ourselves to improve, to strive for perfection; and we’ll push you just as hard.Thats because we see our investments not merely as a numbered percentage of ownership, but instead, as a sweeping, all encompassing engagement – with a more meaningful involvement that compels you to think bigger than you actually are, in order to make your idea successful.
Whether we’re helping you think about the next important hire, breaking down important-versus-critical product features, or sharing wisdom on compensation programs, we see ourselves as guides and teachers, sitting next to you in the passenger seat as you learn to drive.
This allows us to mentor, support, remove roadblocks, and point out not only what’s important, but — importantly — what’s not important, as well.
We can do this because we have been good managers ourselves in our operational roles at past companies, understanding what motivates people, what gets them excited and passionate, and then propelling them toward realizing their vision.
This confidence is felt by our entrepreneurs, who then, in a virtuous circle of advancement, are further motivated to push themselves toward success.
The need to scale will break and reshape computing while creating never-before-seen challenges. Our world has quickly evolved from batch processing to real time analysis to streams of data that are always on and always mixing.
At Vertex Ventures, we seek IP-driven competitive differentiation. We love technologists who want to not only solve a meaty problem, but a certain class of worthy problems. What will the software-defined datacenter look like? How do we deal with security in this new world? And what happens when merely Big Data becomes truly Ginormous Data?
This is our sweet spot — where we can offer experience, insight, wisdom, and a dash of humor, as well as a keen eye for disruptive ideas that can leave an enduring mark on the web.