Vertica – Remembering the Early Days

I had an awesome visit @ Vertica earlier this week for lunch. Cool new space in Cambridge and so many fantastic new people. Thanks to Colin Mahony for the invite and to all the talented engineers and business people at Vertica for building such an amazing product and a great organization!

Couple of memories that came to life for me during my visit:

Reading the draft of Mike Stonebraker‘s  “One Size Does Not Fit All” paper and thinking:  “This is the mission of an important new company: to prove that One Size Does Not Fit All in Database Systems.”

During my first meetings with the “Vertica professors” – Mike, Dave Dewitt, Mitch Cherniack, Stan Zdonick, Sam Madden and Dan Abadi – thinking “We have an unfair intellectual advantage.”  The technical hurdle was set early by this fantastic team.

Looking up at the new duct work from our original server room (at our original office), which Carty Castaldi vented into the conference room because the conf room was so cold and the servers were running so hot 😉

Inspired Duct Work by Carty Castaldi

Inspired Duct Work by Carty Castaldi

Getting early offers from a bunch of big companies to buy Vertica and thinking “These guys don’t realize how important Big Data is going to be and how great our product is and how incredibly talented our engineering team is.”  Thank you to our BOD for resisting the early temptation in spite of tough economic conditions at the time and thanks to Chris Lynch for negotiating such a great deal with HP.  The thrill I felt the first time that I watched SELECT work on the Vertica DB 🙂<

Our first Purchase Order. Thanks to Emmanuelle Skala and Tom O’Connell for that one and the many more that followed and made it possible to build such a great product 🙂

At our first company summer picnic at Mike’s place on Lake Winnipesaukee: taking Shilpa’s husband Nitin Sonawane for a ride on the JetSki and him being thrown 10 feet in the air going over a wave. I thought he’d never talk to me again. So glad that he didn’t get hurt and that he talks to me regularly 😉 

Our first big customer deal with Verizon and then the first repeat purchases by V. Thanks to Derek Schoettle and Rob O’Brien for building such a great telco vertical and for doing deals with integrity from Day One.

Sitting in the basement at Zip’s house in Chicago with Stan, Zip and Mike as they jammed Bluegrass music and we all ate Chicago-style pizza until the wee hours.   Thanks to Zip and to everyone at Getco for being such a great early customer and partner.

Relief I felt when Sybase admitted that Vertica did not infringe on their IP 🙂  Thanks to Mike Hughes and everyone else involved for the truly awesome result.

During lunch on Wednesday, realizing that Vertica’s product is truly world-class and has proven that one size does not fit all. Special thanks to every engineer at Vertica, especially Chuck B. : you all ROCK!

I have a much more detailed post in the works, about the early days of Vertica and what I as a founder learned from the experience.  Stay tuned for this post in the next few months.

This entry was posted in Big Data, Companies, Enterprise Software, Founders, Information Technology, Innovation, Start-Ups. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Vertica – Remembering the Early Days

  1. Vertica was also an early adopter and proponent of social media marketing for B2B technology products. Kudos to co-founders Andy Palmer and Mike Stonebraker for their vision and leap of faith in embracing this new method, and to marketing exec Andy Ellicott for his leadership and vision.

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