Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, David H Deans, XebiaLabs Blog, Dana Gardner, Sematext Blog

Related Topics: Agile Computing

Agile Computing: Article

SYS-CON Survey: What Drives Successful Technology CEOs?

Is it SOA, Virtualization, RIAs, User eXperience...or the sheer challenge of successfully pioneering software development?

What drives a technology CEO or CTO to success in today's constantly changing Internet-driven technology ecosystem? We look at the question through the lens of the many interviews and articles we have published at SYS-CON.com which deal, sometimes only in passing, with exactly this issue.

Executives quoted include Appcelerator CEO Jeff Haynie, Nexaweb Co-Founder & Chairman Coach Wei, the founder of Internet.com Alan Meckler, and the Chairman & CEO of Parasoft Dr Adam Kolawa.


When Jeff Haynie (pictured) and Nolan Wright co-founded Appcelerator in 2006, for example, their impetus derived from a classic sense of frustration with the status quo and a desire to Make Things Better. In a recent interview, Haynie expressed it thus:

"We were frustrated by the state of Web development platforms, surprised by how little change had occurred since the Web 1.0 meltdown. ...  you have to build your platform before you can build your app – we wanted to change that."

Coach Wei, who co-founded Nexaweb way back in 2000 and served as its CEO until summer 2003, leveraged his own profound technical competence so well that it helped him take his company (despite starting it at the bottom of the 'dot-bomb' burst) on a trajectory that eventually brought $18M in financing. That technological savvy, above all, is what he believes helped drive him and Nexaweb. Here's how he explained when I interviewed him last year

:

"I learned so much coping with the 'nuclear winter,' raising $18M in financing, working through all the challenges associated with the market, dealing with investors and everything else. ... In this industry, I cannot stress enough the importance of decision-makers having a strong technology background. The reason is very simple: in this industry, technology is business.  Technology and business are so intertwined in this industry that no sound business decision can be made without a strong technology foundation."

Alan M. Meckler, the co-founder of Internet.com, managed - within just a few years after selling Mecklermedia - to cram in what most business leaders would happily have accepted as their entire lifetime's achievement. When I asked him in a 2006 interview whether that was a function primarily of the Internet, or primarily of Alan M. Meckler, here was his reply:

"Hard work pays off. The harder you work the luckier you get (they say!). But it is better to be luckier than good."

Prescience pays off too, it should be said. Because Meckler predicted back in the September 2000 issue of Business 2.0 — in a piece entitled "I Want My N/TV!" — that it was only a matter of time before trade print magazine would go the way of the dinosaur and that the future of B2B publishing was 100% online. His own experience at Mecklermedia with converting print titles to Web sites in’96 and ’97 got him to thinking about the death of print (for Tech) — which was a sure shot by 2000. And his education background served him well:

"I am a trained historian (Ph.D. in American history) and have had the advantage of observing and working and then making strategic decision based on what I have witnessed and trends that are appearing."

Another academically brilliant CEO, Dr Adam Kolawa of Parasoft, also noted in a recent Exclusive Q&A that his theoretical physics background has been useful over the course of his career, co-founding and building out Parasoft into a globe-spanning corporation:

"The main thing that I take away from theoretical physics is the process of building a theoretical model, and never believing in its validity until you confirm that it really works. All my life I was guided by these principles. You take a roadmap and build a theoretical model, then you test it to see if it really works. As you get feedback from the experiments and applying the model in real life, you modify the model and drive it forward. That’s how I’ve always operated."

So...impatience with the status quo, sheer through-and-through technical competence, hard work, luck, and a good education - just some of the drivers that have helped propel these particular executives.

What other qualities are helpful? Let me know and we'll re-examine the issue later in the light of reader responses!

More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Success of Failure 02/20/08 06:27:27 AM EST

How come no one interviewed mentions *failure* as an essential driver? Good CEOs are often good because they've come to wisdom through failure. Very little wisdom, by comparison, accrues from success.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Data is the fuel that drives the machine learning algorithmic engines and ultimately provides the business value. In his session at Cloud Expo, Ed Featherston, a director and senior enterprise architect at Collaborative Consulting, will discuss the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Pulzze Systems was happy to participate in such a premier event and thankful to be receiving the winning investment and global network support from G-Startup Worldwide. It is an exciting time for Pulzze to showcase the effectiveness of innovative technologies and enable them to make the world smarter and better. The reputable contest is held to identify promising startups around the globe that are assured to change the world through their innovative products and disruptive technologies. There w...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...
Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more business becomes digital the more stakeholders are interested in this data including how it relates to business. Some of these people have never used a monitoring tool before. They have a question on their mind like “How is my application doing” but no id...
Personalization has long been the holy grail of marketing. Simply stated, communicate the most relevant offer to the right person and you will increase sales. To achieve this, you must understand the individual. Consequently, digital marketers developed many ways to gather and leverage customer information to deliver targeted experiences. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Lou Casal, Founder and Principal Consultant at Practicala, discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) has accelerated our abil...
With so much going on in this space you could be forgiven for thinking you were always working with yesterday’s technologies. So much change, so quickly. What do you do if you have to build a solution from the ground up that is expected to live in the field for at least 5-10 years? This is the challenge we faced when we looked to refresh our existing 10-year-old custom hardware stack to measure the fullness of trash cans and compactors.
The emerging Internet of Everything creates tremendous new opportunities for customer engagement and business model innovation. However, enterprises must overcome a number of critical challenges to bring these new solutions to market. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Michael Martin, CTO/CIO at nfrastructure, outlined these key challenges and recommended approaches for overcoming them to achieve speed and agility in the design, development and implementation of Internet of Everything solutions wi...
Cloud computing is being adopted in one form or another by 94% of enterprises today. Tens of billions of new devices are being connected to The Internet of Things. And Big Data is driving this bus. An exponential increase is expected in the amount of information being processed, managed, analyzed, and acted upon by enterprise IT. This amazing is not part of some distant future - it is happening today. One report shows a 650% increase in enterprise data by 2020. Other estimates are even higher....
SYS-CON Events announced today that 910Telecom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Housed in the classic Denver Gas & Electric Building, 910 15th St., 910Telecom is a carrier-neutral telecom hotel located in the heart of Denver. Adjacent to CenturyLink, AT&T, and Denver Main, 910Telecom offers connectivity to all major carriers, Internet service providers, Internet backbones and ...
SYS-CON Events announced today Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
Smart Cities are here to stay, but for their promise to be delivered, the data they produce must not be put in new siloes. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mathias Herberts, Co-founder and CTO of Cityzen Data, will deep dive into best practices that will ensure a successful smart city journey.
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
There is growing need for data-driven applications and the need for digital platforms to build these apps. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Muddu Sudhakar, VP and GM of Security & IoT at Splunk, will cover different PaaS solutions and Big Data platforms that are available to build applications. In addition, AI and machine learning are creating new requirements that developers need in the building of next-gen apps. The next-generation digital platforms have some of the past platform needs a...
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - comp...
19th Cloud Expo, taking place November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterpri...
I wanted to gather all of my Internet of Things (IOT) blogs into a single blog (that I could later use with my University of San Francisco (USF) Big Data “MBA” course). However as I started to pull these blogs together, I realized that my IOT discussion lacked a vision; it lacked an end point towards which an organization could drive their IOT envisioning, proof of value, app dev, data engineering and data science efforts. And I think that the IOT end point is really quite simple…
Identity is in everything and customers are looking to their providers to ensure the security of their identities, transactions and data. With the increased reliance on cloud-based services, service providers must build security and trust into their offerings, adding value to customers and improving the user experience. Making identity, security and privacy easy for customers provides a unique advantage over the competition.
Is the ongoing quest for agility in the data center forcing you to evaluate how to be a part of infrastructure automation efforts? As organizations evolve toward bimodal IT operations, they are embracing new service delivery models and leveraging virtualization to increase infrastructure agility. Therefore, the network must evolve in parallel to become equally agile. Read this essential piece of Gartner research for recommendations on achieving greater agility.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Venafi, the Immune System for the Internet™ and the leading provider of Next Generation Trust Protection, will exhibit at @DevOpsSummit at 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Venafi is the Immune System for the Internet™ that protects the foundation of all cybersecurity – cryptographic keys and digital certificates – so they can’t be misused by bad guys in attacks...
For basic one-to-one voice or video calling solutions, WebRTC has proven to be a very powerful technology. Although WebRTC’s core functionality is to provide secure, real-time p2p media streaming, leveraging native platform features and server-side components brings up new communication capabilities for web and native mobile applications, allowing for advanced multi-user use cases such as video broadcasting, conferencing, and media recording.