Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Xenia von Wedel, Sanjay Zalavadia, Dana Gardner

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
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
UAS, drones or unmanned aircraft, no matter what you call them — this was their week. Our news stream was flooded with updates on the newly announced rules and regulations for commercial UAS from the FAA. So, naturally we have dedicated this week’s top news round up to highlight some of our favorite UAS stories.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
Apixio Inc. has raised $19.3 million in Series D venture capital funding led by SSM Partners with participation from First Analysis, Bain Capital Ventures and Apixio’s largest angel investor. Apixio will dedicate the proceeds toward advancing and scaling products powered by its cognitive computing platform, further enabling insights for optimal patient care. The Series D funding comes as Apixio experiences strong momentum and increasing demand for its HCC Profiler solution, which mines unstruc...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...