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Surfing. Storage. The Lessons of One for the Other

By June 11, 2018 No Comments
Surfing
Lior Gal, CEO and Co-Founder, Excelero

Lior Gal, CEO and Co-Founder, Excelero

Ah, summer – the time we let our other passions fuel our work. For me summer is about beaches, more family time, a few summer movies, and surfing.

So how is that related to storage, and what’s it mean for you?

I have been surfing since middle school. Almost anything passionate about my life growing up surrounded the ocean. I have surfed Australia, Hawaii, CA, Costa Rica and many other locations looking for my own perfect wave.

As a surfer you need to be aware of your skills and limits. It is dangerous (or at least painful) to deal with the wrong brake at the wrong time. The search for the perfect wave can only start when you know who you are and what will make you enjoy your full potential.

Founding a company and helping it grow in some ways feels like looking for that perfect wave. We started four years ago to build the best product we can and find the market where mission-critical applications would gain a sizable advantage using our solution. However we were a startup. Even with solid financial backing we couldn’t be everything to everyone.

In a surfing world, the equivalent is looking the right brake at the right time – the timing in the wave’s strength, size and speed is just right for your skills to align with. So many waves. Which to choose?  So many locations.

We developed the company by preparing our product, sales & services for our special waves, in the form of demanding, tough to address use cases. We knew there are markets where our technology solves a problem that can’t be better addressed in any other way – with advantages in product, price and integration.

Two months ago we hit one of these amazing swells at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas. Media & entertainment is a key focus market of ours, and in fact it rather found us, than vice versa. At NAB our partners Quantum, Intel & Pixit Media demonstrated how post-production houses can run NVMesh to achieve unparalleled performance & price/performance running their demanding 4K and beyond workloads. Technicolor shared its customer success story with all to demonstrate the scale, efficiency & performance in its operations. Millions of people have watched several blockbuster feature films this year whose creators at Technicolor relied on our software.

I have done NAB many times before. This year it wasn’t me surfing NAB 2018 – Excelero was riding a few perfect waves:

  • The rise of distributed NVMe Flash storage, enabling media & entertainment companies to make maximum use of the NVMe storage they already own, with our own unique capabilities such as doing this at local performance.
  • Integrated, end-to-end solutions that partners can provide to their customers almost without needing us. This is huge, because we don’t force either the customer or the partner to change the data center environment – and we don’t sell our solutions in any other ways but through partners. Change is risk to any sizable organization. Many IT solutions providers sell a similar value-add, but require that the customer change just about everything. With NVMesh, if accounts want to keep the same file system as the interface to their application when deploying NVMesh – they can do that, while boosting performance and future-proofing their infrastructure at the same time.
  • Simplicity – so that enterprises can move from a demonstrated high Quality of Service (QoS) solution that only works in FibreChannel networks – to an even better alternative based on IP networks.

Our experience also framed several important takeaways on business waves that we rode successfully to get us there, and that can lead anyone to business growth.

  • Know your target. Aim to the center and lean forward with all of your resources to solve a problem that needs to be solved for the market. Hyper-focus on your area of value so that you can shine with minimal to no effort – instead of competing where the currents are too strong.
  • Ride the trends carefully. Today the magic is in software, not appliances based on proprietary hardware, and in scale-out options. Know the market well so you are part of the upswing.
  • Partner wisely. Selling point products is so yesteryear. Enterprises need integrated solutions that are tested, work as advertised, and readily deployed. They will find it easier to buy a solution coming out of an emerging technology company if it solves a real problem that needs to be solved now and it is significantly better than other solutions. That said, choose the partners that can take you to market and influence your future customers with care.
  • Remember who you are. Sell only what you can deliver, and target those who need it most.

 

Lior Gal

Author Lior Gal

CEO and co-founder, Excelero

More posts by Lior Gal

Lior Gal

CEO (co-founder)

Lior Gal is a seasoned enterprise IT leader who has grown numerous storage innovators from concept to proven product and multi-million dollar revenue streams and, in several cases, successful exits.
Beginning in technical roles at EMC and Amdocs, he led sales at Exanet, Illuminator, Crescendo Networks, and most recently was global vice president at Data Direct Networks, where he achieved dramatic revenue growth from the world’s largest web and cloud customers.

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