5 Facts Why I Want to Work at DataStax

Dec 02, 2014

I was reading an exceptional book some months ago called: “Think and Grow Rich” written by Napoleon Hill, where I learned a fundamental thing to command the course of your destiny: focus, determination and desire and I want to apply that to know where I want to work: After “thinking” for several days and months about this, looking for a company with enough potential to grow to become in a global success which is part of the Big Data revolution, is embracing and it’s part of the Cloud wave, and has a strong vision for the next 10 years; one name came to my mind: DataStax. You should be thinking that I’m wrong saying this openly, but for me it’s not the case: simply I’m focused, determinated and with a strong desire to success. If you have read Andy Rachleff “2013 Silicon Valley Career Guide” (Chairman at Wealthfront) to evaluate a company in the valley, you should know why I want to work at DataStax, declared by Andy like one of the Middle-Size companies with Momentum, but this is not the unique reason why I want to use all my efforts to work at DataStax. How I arrived to the conclusion that this company is the right one? The upcoming words are to explain my decision, how I researched the company, its current and prospective customers, how I understood its potential growth and more. I will describe this like the title of the post in facts, analyzing one by one each of these points.

Fact # 1: DataStax’s blood is Open Source

This is important for me, because after be a proud user of many Open Source software (Linux, PostgreSQL, Apache Hadoop, Apache Cassandra, Mozilla Firefox, Python, R and many more) since 2006; I´ve seen the evolution of this movement to become in a huge wave, right now unstoppeable and Apache Cassandra is one of the best examples that I love to mention in the Database and NoSQL field. DataStax has a strong commitment to Open Source, organizing meetups around the world, sending experts to these events to help current and prospective users of Cassandra, sponsoring Cassandra users groups everwhere, and having Cassandra commiters in its payroll. But there is more. They released first a program called DataStax MVPs to recognize leaders in the Cassandra community, with a deep expertise, and now the program have had an evolution to named DataStax Heroes. If you want to embrace the community, you should aspire to become in one of these great fellows.

Fact # 2: DataStax can be relevant in almost every industry or business

The awesome group of customers of DataStax come from Retail, E-commerce, Social Networks, SaaS, Gaming, Internet of Things. To mention just a few:

  • Instagram
  • Activision
  • Zonar Systems
  • eBay
  • Intuit
  • Netflix
  • Glassbeam
  • Sony Network Entertainment
  • Orange

Apache Cassandra, for its incredible performance, has become in one of the best choices for Big Data Management, not only for that, but its seamless integration with tools like Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark for Real-Time Analytics (You should see Evan Chan’s talk how Ooyala use Spark and Cassandra) and Apache Storm. For that reason, a lot of companies or organizations are considering Cassandra like its main data hub, and of course, each one of these orgs are looking for a strong partner to see for an Enterprise-ready Cassandra-based product, and here is when enters DataStax Enterprise 4.5, focused in incredible performance, a lot of improvements, security features, and more great things. DSE integrates in a great way three of the most successful Open Source projects in a single battle-tested product:

  • Hadoop for Batch Analysis
  • Cassandra for Real-Time Analysis
  • Apache Solr for Enterprise Search capabilities

To know more about this version, I encourage you to see all talks in the past Cassandra Summit 2014 related to this new version (You can’t miss Jonathan’s keynote about the state of Cassandra). For all these features, more and more companies of several industries are more interested in Cassandra, so for that simple but powerful fact, I think that DataStax will become more relevant in the upcoming years in the Big Data revolution.

Fact # 3: Apache Cassandra has the potential to become in the best choice for “Internet of Things” Data Management platform

Reading a recent whitepaper from DataStax called “The Internet Enterprise — Making Data the Centerpiece of your Business”, you can taste the vision that the company follows:

In addition, DataStax knows that Internet Enterprises need advanced tools and functionality for large-scale, global production applications. Because of this, DataStax Enterprise delivers tooling, and advanced functionality designed to keep complexity and operational management costs incredible low. That translate to a very low cost of ownership, and more importantly, to agile, fast development cycles for application teams.

In these words, you can analyze the type of customers that DataStax wants to help, and the new wave of IoT is not an exception for the company. For example, you can read the interview to Jesse Young (VP of Software Development) and Josh Hasnen (System and Application Architect) from Zonar Systems, which offers a safety inspection system and telematics for heavy fleet vechicles, and collects data around every 18 seconds, from 300,000 vehicles, so the total of the data is 100 PB+ and growing. They explained to Matt Pfeil (Co-founder at DataStax) how they were looking for a better solution to support its massive datasets. Two of the critical things that made them to select Cassandra were:

  • They needed a system that had built-in in multi data-center replication
  • They needed to be able to quickly expand storage and store this data in Real-Time without any bottlenecks

Or you can see the past webinar by Michael Franco, Co-founder and CEO at RiptideIO, where he explained brilliantly how his company is using heavily Cassandra for its Always-On Internet of Things platform to save the Planet and Millions of Dollars. So, DataStax has a strong foundation here to deliver fast and reliable solutions based in Apache Cassandra and DataStax Enterprise for this upcoming wave of companies and products.

Fact # 4: DataStax has a well defined vision and a powerful team to back it

When you talk with Patrick, Diego, Scott, and every member of the team, all them know very well what they want to achieve, and all the tasks they have to do for that. I particularly admire the Engineering team behind DataStax when you can find experts in Cassandra, Hadoop, Solr, System Engineering (my background), and more, where all work together to deliver one of the best Data-Driven products that I’ve ever used. This is one of the strongest reasons why I want to be part of this team, because I know that everyday working inside this team, I will learn something new and interesting, which I would use to spread the word around the web, or using outbound and inbound marketing tactics.

Fact # 5: Apache Cassandra & DataStax Enterprise are simply gems for a Data-Driven Product Marketing guy

I’ve worked with Databases since I was an University student, and immediately I felt in love with this field. Then, the upcoming wave of Big Data came, and changed everything. Apache Hadoop, MongoDB, HBase, and then I meet Apache Cassandra, where I was looking for a better solution to store more than 8 TB of data, and use it for Real-Time Analytics. When my team and me saw the amazing features that Cassandra was offering to us, I began to focus my eye on it, and I began to followed the evolution of DataStax (since its former name: Riptano). After several years on this, right now, it’s the right time to get on board of this boat for the upcoming years. But what position I want to take? Several months ago, the HR team posted a position at LinkedIn called Head of Product Marketing with the following description:

Description: DataStax, the leading provider of Apache Cassandra to the Enterprise, is seeking an exceptional candidate to lead the Product Marketing team. Reporting directly to the CMO, we are looking to hire a stellar product marketer who is passionate about technology, and understands how to communicate to both the LOB and IT. This individual is a forward-thinker and has a proven track record for continuously exceeding expectations and never settling for “good enough”. Essential Job Functions:: The cool stuff you will do
  • Work with the industry´s most innovative product marketing team to evangelize and drive the adoption of DataStax enterprise-ready Cassandra
  • Own and drive the marketing launches of new product innovations
  • Establish DataStax as a leader in the ODBMS and HTAP markets
  • Work with DataStax customers and partners to showcase their innovative use of our technology
  • Evangelize DataStax to the world
  • Distill key functionality and benefits into core product marketing messages
  • Ensure all aspects of DataStax´s positioning are incorporated in outbound communication and in demand generation campaigns
  • Work closely with the corporate marketing team to execute online marketing campaigns, SEO/SEM, and web design
  • Create killer sales tools that help the sales teams in all phases of the sales cycle
Job Requirements:: The stuff you will need to succeed (skills)
  • 8–10 years’ experience in outbound product marketing in a high tech environment
  • Ability to work cross-functionally and to motivate others to champion initiatives on your behalf
  • A great presenter and compelling communicator
  • Experience in owning and driving the marketing product launches
  • Experience in competing against traditional and legacy technology providers
  • Dynamic confident personality with ability to successfully drive projects with minimal guidance
  • Experience marketing using social media (Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Google) and its applicability in the enterprise technology market
  • Proven creative thinker that can generate and execute on innovative “breakout” marketing ideas

Based in these requirements, I would focus what I would do like a Head of Product Marketing at DataStax. Many ideas have come to my mind.

1. Become in the first Hyspanic evangelist for Cassandra

Latin American region is growing to an accelerated rythm, and there are a lot of tech hubs that are becoming in great environments to create a business. To just cite a few: Mexico City (I will talk later about this city), Santiago de Chile (Chile), Montevideo (Uruguay), Botoga/Antioquia (Colombia), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and more. I could create a strong brigde about DataStax’s Engineering team and current/prospective customers in the region, even, we could launch new Cassandra Users groups focused in technical talks about the platform, use-cases and many good things. I talked about this when I wrote about why DataStax and Red Hat should be partners, because they have a strong presence in the region and we could create joint marketing campaigns with common customers, talking about scability, cloud-based analytics, high performance, secure Real-Time Analytics and more. I think that this could be my most important contribution to make in the first year in the company, including of course, the management of the DataStaxES Twitter account.

2. Help to launch the first Cassandra Summit focused in the APAC region

DataStax has an office in Sydney, so that city could be the launch point for the first Cassandra Summit APAC. But you should be wondering why APAC? I’m not the only one who think that this region has the major potential for growth in the Data Management field, mainly focused and concentrated in the large quantity of Mobile users in the region. You can read the Ericsson Mobility Report, or simply read Gil Press’s article about this topic here, or you can read a great research paper written by NYU Stern Professor Anindya Ghose and CityUHK Professor Sang Pil Han called “Estimating Demand for Mobile Applications in the New Economy” where they did an incredible job in this topic, saying that in just two years, the Global Mobile market will grow to $150 Billion. To put in perspective this, I will let you some stats here:

In US, 31% of Online Sales ($418 Million) in Thanksgiving Day, are predicted to be generated by smartphones and tablets [CMO.com]China’s Alibaba Singles Day breaks record: $9.3 Billion in sales [Tech In Asia]
China has more than 500M Mobile Internet Users (80%) [KPCB’s Internet Trends]
Mobile penetration by region is huge in APAC: Central Asia (90%), South Asia (72%), Southeast Asia (109%), East Asia (92%) and Oceania (94%) [We Are Social]
“Mobile is eating the world” [Andreessen Horowitz partner Ben Evans]
“Mobile is going to change not only marketing, but business completely.” [Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s VP of Global Marketing, Businessweek]
“Your Customers Are Mobile. Shouldn’t You Be, Too?” [Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe]
“Global mobile-broadband penetration increased from 9% to 32% in the last five years” [Measuring the Information Society Report 24 November 2014, ITU]
85% of people say that mobile devices are a central part of their everyday life — and 90% of those aged 18–24 agreed.”, 2014 Mobile Behavior Report by ExactTarget]

So, when you see companies like Xiaomi (China and Singapore), Alibaba (China), WeChat from Tencent (China), SingTel (Singapore), Tokopedia (Indonesia), GrabTaxi (Malaysia), Yello Mobile (Korea), Carousell (Singapore) and many more; growing its sales and services like crazy everyday, mostly by its massive Mobile users, an it’s not crazy to think that Cassandra cpuld help to all these organizations to scale quickly and efficiently its Data Hubs and translating in more sales every day. So, we need to do this in the next months to spread the word about the platform in the right locations. And of course, to create a DataStaxAPAC Twitter account to spread the word. But, there’s more. If you are looking for partnerships to make a reality this event, you should talk with two teams in the region: the guys of Willis or <a href=”mailto:%20terrence). Both teams have a strong experience in this kind of events, so, they could be very good partners for it.

3. Create a new section in DataStax’s Dev blog called “Waiting for Cassandra 2.X and DataStax Enterprise 4.X”

If you read Hubert depesz’s blog (from the PostgreSQL community), you should note that he has a popular section called Waiting for, where he always write posts about the upcoming PostgreSQL version and its major features (the new RC1 for PostgreSQL 9.4 was released). Using the same principle, the members of DataStax Enterprise Engineering could write about major features which will be present in the upcoming version of the product, looking to always to raise the bar about Apache Cassandra.

4. Grow from Head of Product Marketing to APAC Regional CMO in the next 5 years

With the obtained experience in the first three years, I think that I could move to the APAC office in Sydney to take the role of Head of Product Marketing for the APAC region, and then in the next two years, to create a compelling Marketing strategy focused in the region. How? My strategy is not a simple one, actually it’s a tough one; but makes me to be more excited about it. I think that every professional who doesn’t make a strong plan for its career, it’s a sign of failure since the same beginning. I knew that I wanted to become in a CMO since I wrote a review of the great book written by Lisa Arthur (CMO at Teradata Applications) called “Big Data Marketing: Engage Your Customers More Effectively and Drive Value”. This incredible text is full of insights, tips and advice for current and prospective Marketing professionals, and when I understood the importance to combine Analytics, Big Data and Marketing to obtain a better Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI), I knew that’s what I want to work. Then I began to search for the right team to achieve this, and now the answer is clear: DataStax. But how to do it? I will put some ideas of this here:

  • Work with my friends Gaelen and Melinda from Social to create a compeling Global Marketing campaign for DataStax Enterprise focused in the Internet of Things/Internet of Everything sector (You must read the whitepaper written by CITO Research, MapR and Cisco called “Optimized Data Engineering: A Crucial Challenge for the Internet of Everything Era”)
  • Convince to some key professionals with a deep business expertise in the APAC region to join to the DataStax APAC team. I will not post the names, because all they are some of my 1st Level connections at LinkedIn, just their titles: a Cloud Computing expert at Red Hat APAC, a Business Development Manager at Socialbakers SG, a Technical Sales Engineer at Palo Alto Networks SG, a Social Media Marketing expert at HootSuite SG, and a Marketing Manager at Spotify SG.(I will not accept a NO for answer, I will try hard to get them on board) Why this particular team? This combination of professionals (and their contacts) could revamp DataStax Marketing and Business Development efforts in the region, because, they are much better than me, and they know which are the right markets to begin to spread the word about the platform, and with my System Engineering background, we could create a highly targeted Technical Marketing campaign to these particular markets like Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Japan. Then, we could divide us in major events, focusing in one-to-one meetings with founders, technical leaders and Software Architects to help them to embrace Apache Cassandra like its main data hub for their respective business. (Do you remember the whitepaper related to Internet Enterprises? This region is very rich in this kind of customers). My picks for the upcoming days and months:
  • Echelon Malaysia by E27
  • Startup Asia by Tech In Asia
  • SoftLayer Asia Roadshow — Beijing Chapter
  • Venturecon Taiwan 2014 / Asia Beat 2014
  • Founders Drinks November 2014

5. Create a partnership with 500 Startups

DataStax has a strong commitment to help startups to success and Cassandra Free Tier is live prove of that. But what about if you build an exclusive partnership with 500 Startups to deliver a better approach for Big Data Management to teams inside this accelerator?. 500 Startups has a very good presence in major regions around the world, including Southeast Asia with 500 Durians and Latin America with 500 Luchadores (in Mexico City), and if DataStax could help to these companies since its foundation, it could be a very good deal, at least from my perspective. But there’s more. Now, 500 Startups launched a new Mobile-focused 10M micro-fund, managed by former Dolphin Browser VP of International Business Development and former Director of Corporate Strategy Edith Yeung. This initiave is called 500 Mobile Collective and this is a synonym of opportunity for Mobile-focused companies and DataStax as well. So, I think DataStax could bring a lot of expertise, and work with Edith and Khailee Ng (Managing Partner at 500 Startups for APAC region) to help startups to embrace better strategies for Mobile Analytics using DataStax Enterprise to do it, and in the mean time, to create events, meetups with DataStax current customers in the Mobile and Telecomms fields to discuss challenges, use-cases and technical approaches for particular Data Modeling problems with Cassandra.

Final Thoughts

So, it’s simple, I know that you don’t have any open position for Product Marketing, but for me that’s not an issue, it’s an opportunity to do a job that none is thinking to do it, and do it right. So, I can’t wait to start to put in practice this strategy to make Apache Cassandra and DataStax Enterprise the most compelling solution for Big Data Management problems. Thanks for your time and I hope to be part of the team at DataStax very soon !!! BTW, I have to thank again to Diego, from DataStax UK team for send me these beautiful gifts for my contributions to the spreading of #Cassandra using my Twitter account. Thanks for your time !!! Marcos Ortíz Valmaseda about.me/marcosortiz @marcosluis2186