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Feels like the Seattle economy is on the cusp of an expansion

Written by on November 7, 2011 in Blog - Comments Off

I had a great week last week that left me feeling incredibly optimistic about the Seattle economy.

First, Techstars Seattle Demo Day. What a super event, lots of coverage of it. Great young companies, enthusiasm, great pitches, good progress in fundraising. Big audience with great energy. Super job by @andysack and everyone involved, a model for everyone else in the Seattle community who wants to nurture startups. We need more of these events, not just in cloud/web. I’ve seen a lot of entrepreneurship events at UW and they are constrained by mentoring, hiring, seed financing — exactly what the techstars guys are providing. One of the companies, Romotive, has also done a great job leveraging Kickstarter and have generated a lot of early revenue — the rise of crowd-sourced pre-sales/funding is a fascinating and positive evolution.

Everyone was hiring at the event. As an indicator of how desperate people are to hire, I had two guys try to hire me. If you think I am the answer to your problem, you are pretty desperate.

Then I spent the better part of a day in a meeting with the UW College of Engineering Visiting Committee. Some great data on the College of Engineering — most programs are massively oversubscribed, turning away students in bunches, doing a great job placing students. Great evolution in programs, great facilities, great staffing. The College could probably push out many more engineers and is constrained by state economic policies; with tweaks to tuition and governance, it seems like the pipeline could open much more broadly. And we also had a chance to listen to President Young speak who seems to have a very open attitude about IP licensing, he seems to recognize that getting IP out of the university and to work is important.

I left the two days feeling like a lot of piece parts are coming together fast. Seed funding. Crowd sourcing. Mentoring. Training/Education. And with iteration and tweaking, we could see an explosion of economic growth in the Seattle area. Exciting times.

Hadoop World is here and we invest in Cloudera

Written by on November 7, 2011 in Blog, individuals - Comments Off

With the second annual Hadoop World this week, taking place November 8 and 9, it got me thinking about a few things I’d like to share. I attended Hadoop World last year and there were around 1,000 attendees; this year’s event is sold out.

It seems that an overarching theme for conferences this year is the move from definition to implementation. For example, at VMworld last year I noticed the majority of the conference was dedicated to defining the cloud while this year’s conference in Las Vegas featured sessions that illustrated “how-to’s” and cloud use cases.

In my experience, this transition always is a key metric of a specific type of technology gaining velocity. Makes sense right? Conferences begin to reflect what the majority of people are talking about. Imagine, in 2009, there were hardly any cloud computing conferences and now it seems as if they are sprouting up daily; some better than others obviously.

Based on all of the real customer interest and accelerating deployment of Hadoop, we decided this year to join the momentum as an investor. We are proud to now be part of the Cloudera investment team. We made this decision based on the company’s desire to produce a true platform for data. Our partnership has deep expertise on platform building including DOS, Windows, Internet Explorer and Windows NT/2K, and Xen at the API and hardware level.  A platform by definition is something upon which other things stand.  A data platform is what Cloudera is all about.  Great applications will be built on that platform. The Cloudera team is going in the right direction and we’re excited to help accelerate that. See the press release here. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cloudera-nets-40-million-in-series-d-funding-round-led-by-ignition-partners-2011-11-07

So for the conference last year I noticed that the sessions were responsible for educating the audience. This year’s agenda has an overwhelming number of sessions defining the specific types of problems Hadoop is solving and features new and innovative ways in which people are using the technology. It seems that increasingly we are seeing organizations, including startup Tresata, introduce new capabilities that would not have been possible without Hadoop. Its elastic processing capability is so adept and I’m sure there will be many discussions around it.  

This year’s event is sure not to disappoint and I’m really looking forward to the keynote from Cloudera’s CEO, Michael Olson, and to hear about the future of the project. And again we’re excited to be part of it!

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