No Titles, No Problem: Stackdriver Scores $10M for Cloud Monitoring
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He came from e-mail archiving firm Sonian, where he was director of product management, and previously worked at VMware and Microsoft. “Izzy” is Izzy Azeri, his co-founder who came from EMC and VMware, by way of Bain Capital Ventures as an entrepreneur-in-residence.
A key early hire was Phil Jacob, the founder of social-shopping startup StyleFeeder, which was acquired by Time in 2010. In addition to his engineering skills, Jacob “brought discipline to our recruiting process,” Belcher says, “ and helped us weed out more candidates that wouldn’t be a fit.”
Belcher says the culture at Stackdriver is one of transparency and “laid-back intensity.” The startup gets its share of paintball and Formula One racing days, but it also has no job titles. Zero.
“It keeps the team focused on the right thing,” Belcher says. “Instead of, ‘Why don’t I get an office?’ or ‘Why am I not a senior engineer?’ And from a recruiting perspective, it’s a great filter. People who come in and ask about a VP title, it might as well be a revolving door.”
For the record, Belcher works on product and marketing, while Azeri handles sales and back-office duties. (I would imagine the company will need to add a lot more hierarchy as it grows.) Stackdriver has about 25 employees now and expects to hire 20 more across sales and engineering over the next year.
On the eve of his company’s expansion, I asked Belcher what his challenges are and what he worries about. Company structure is one thing. “We have to get the right processes in place and make decision-making more systematic,” he says. The team will also bring in people to take on leading roles in sales and product management (but still no VP titles).
Maybe more important: listening to customers and making the right decisions, he says. “We have to be responsive to customer requests, while also investing in automation and making big bets in customer value long-term.”
He’s talking about balancing the daily business with the need to keep innovating in analytics and intelligence—eventually so the software can do things like automatically recommend a course of action for customers.