Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Ed Featherston, Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz

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
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Major trends and emerging technologies – from virtual reality and IoT, to Big Data and algorithms – are helping organizations innovate in the digital era. However, to create real business value, IT must think beyond the ‘what’ of digital transformation to the ‘how’ to harness emerging trends, innovation and disruption. Architecture is the key that underpins and ties all these efforts together. In the digital age, it’s important to invest in architecture, extend the enterprise footprint to the cl...
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, discussed the key considerations around quality, volume, timeliness, and pedigree that must be dealt with in order to properly fuel that engine.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessio...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
No hype cycles or predictions of zillions of things here. IoT is big. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, Associate Partner at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data analytics considerations, edge-to-cloud tec...
Announcing Poland #DigitalTransformation Pavilion
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that All in Mobile, a mobile app development company from Poland, will exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO. All In Mobile is a mobile app development company from Poland. Since 2014, they maintain passion for developing mobile applications for enterprises and startups worldwide.
The best way to leverage your CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO presence as a sponsor and exhibitor is to plan your news announcements around our events. The press covering CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO will have access to these releases and will amplify your news announcements. More than two dozen Cloud companies either set deals at our shows or have announced their mergers and acquisitions at CloudEXPO. Product announcements during our show provide your company with the most reach through our targeted audienc...
@DevOpsSummit at Cloud Expo, taking place November 12-13 in New York City, NY, is co-located with 22nd international CloudEXPO | first international DXWorldEXPO and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world.
Everything run by electricity will eventually be connected to the Internet. Get ahead of the Internet of Things revolution. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Akvelon expert and IoT industry leader Sergey Grebnov provided an educational dive into the world of managing your home, workplace and all the devices they contain with the power of machine-based AI and intelligent Bot services for a completely streamlined experience.
DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo 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 ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Bill Schmarzo, author of "Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business" and "Big Data MBA: Driving Business Strategies with Data Science," is responsible for setting the strategy and defining the Big Data service offerings and capabilities for EMC Global Services Big Data Practice. As the CTO for the Big Data Practice, he is responsible for working with organizations to help them identify where and how to start their big data journeys. He's written several white papers, is an avid blogge...
In past @ThingsExpo presentations, Joseph di Paolantonio has explored how various Internet of Things (IoT) and data management and analytics (DMA) solution spaces will come together as sensor analytics ecosystems. This year, in his session at @ThingsExpo, Joseph di Paolantonio from DataArchon, added the numerous Transportation areas, from autonomous vehicles to “Uber for containers.” While IoT data in any one area of Transportation will have a huge impact in that area, combining sensor analytic...