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What's 🔥 in Enterprise IT/VC #163
Many VC and AI research eyes are on the NeurIPS conference in Vancouver this week. What’s cool is that most of the sessions are streaming and Jason Mancuso from Dropout Labs has been live tweeting summaries of some of the more interesting talks.
This week’s news includes more on AWS and some great articles on leadership and culture.
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Importance of culture: I remember when I started in the venture business in the mid 90s that we were always afraid of sharing information with Microsoft for fear of them copying or brain sucking our best ideas. That’s all changed significantly under Satya and this quote from Microsoft US President Kate Johnson highlights his importance:
Microsoft’s soaring value is directly attributable to a culture change driven by the CEO.
At the core of that change, Johnson said, was empathy: “When he took over almost six years ago, he saw the company on the brink of obsolescence. He saw that not only did we need to play in this cloud market, but we were going to have to very quickly change so many things to fulfill this mission. I don’t think empathy was at the core of our old culture. We were the ‘know it alls.’ We wanted to become the ‘learn it alls.’”
Under Nadella, says Johnson, the company “completely opened the Microsoft ecosystem. We want to meet our customers wherever they are on whatever device they want in whatever ecosystem they want.” That’s a big change from the old Microsoft, where visitors were advised to leave their iPads at the door.
pro tip for better customer and VC pitches…Many of the founders we work with already record their customer conversations and besides great learning for sales onboarding, they’ve used it to share with prospective investors for diligence.
Why Mathilde Collin from Front (full disclosure, a boldstart portfolio co) spends 2 weeks on an internal presentation that she delivers to the whole company quarterly. Great read on why and how to do it.
Pendulum swinging back from centralized to distributed; mainframe, client server, cloud, back to hybrid - @awscloud @adrianco with Outposts, Local Zones, Wavelength - cloud, edge, hybrid bit.ly/2LCWGtw
Bob Moore from Crossbeam (also RJMetrics) shares his experiences on why your “place in an ecosystem of tech partners is just as important, if not moreso, than the quality of your product itself.” Key in my mind is that you need to nail product first and foremost but as you are designing your long term roadmap it’s important to bake in assumptions about potential partners and competitors and where you can integrate or compete. Bob with RJMetrics tried to do everything himself and while he successfully exited, it was nowhere near the $2.6 billion that Google paid for Looker.
Chetan-ism on another great enterprise software story. It’s possible to build a huge software business with $8k per customer
Amazing NYTimes video on how AI is being used for weapons creation
History of nation state attacks on industrial control systems and why it will get worse
Indeed, all the critical infrastructure that undergirds much of our lives, from the water we drink to the electricity that keeps the lights on, is at risk of being held hostage or decimated by hackers working on their own or at the behest of an adversarial nation. According to a study of the United States by the insurance company Lloyd’s of London and the University of Cambridge’s Centre for Risk Studies, if hackers were to take down the electric grid in just fifteen states and Washington, D.C., 93 million people would be without power, quickly leading to a “rise in mortality rates as health and safety systems fail; a decline in trade as ports shut down; disruption to water supplies as electric pumps fail and chaos to transport networks as infrastructure collapses.
MongoDB crushes it’s numbers and cites Atlas, it’s cloud hosted DB as a key driver. Many were concerned that AWS’s offering called DocumentDB based off of Mongo’s open source offering would siphon off customers but clearly that’s not the case.
Atlas now has 14,200 customers, more than double the 6,200 of a year ago, Gordon said. In addition, legacy on-premises customers are expanding their cloud footprints, further fueling growth. The company said Atlas revenues grew 185% in the quarter and now account for 40% of MongoDB’s total revenue as well as a 20%-plus expansion of annual recurring revenue for the past six straight quarters.
Adobe is over $11 billion of annual revenue surpassing a $150 billion market cap. Analysts are posing questions about who some of their acquisition targets may be - Zendesk, Medallia, SurveyMonkey, Yext?