Context Relevant CEO Stephen Purpura is working on the leading edge of big data — helping companies use their data more effectively. But Purpura, whose company scored $21 million from Bloomberg Beta, Madrona, Vulcan and others earlier this year, followed a career path many of his peers advised him against.
After working at Microsoft, Purpura decided to go back to school, earning a degree from Harvard and studying at Cornell before returning to found his own company. He describes being CEO of Context Relevant as “one of the most exciting things that I could do in my life.”
Like many other Nextcast interviewees, Pradeep Prabhu, cofounder and CEO of CloudMunch, never expected to be the CEO of a tech company when he was growing up. “I just got into it by accident,” he says. But his knowledge and experience are obvious after 20 years spent working in the space, and now he heads up CloudMunch, a company offering continuous deployment and monitoring in the cloud. Their mission? “Let developers focus on their code.”
Though he’s only held one other job since college, WhitePages founder and CEO Alex Algard thinks he’s found a pretty good fit in his growing company. “I like the feeling of making an impact and a positive difference in the world,” he says of his role running a site that boasts over 50 million monthly users who come to them for contact information. And it’s not hard to see how he translated this into his role running a company based on delivering “directory assistance to the masses for free”.
“The watchword for the last couple of years has been big data,” says John Slitz, CEO of SpaceCurve. And the problem with big data, he adds, “is it’s big.” That’s why Slitz and his team are working on technology that makes understanding and applying that data possible. After a long career working with marketing, data, and understanding user behavior, Slitz is hoping his team at SpaceCurve can make the most of the new technology available today to make life better for individuals, companies, and even the government.
As a one-time English PhD student, Janis Machala didn’t always know her career would lead her down a business path. But now she helps other people pursue their passions and get the education they need to achieve their dreams, as the Executive Dean of Continuing Education at Bellevue College. On this edition of Nextcast, I interviewed Machala and learned how technology is changing education and why working at a big company might be a better first job for recent graduates. Plus, Machala shares her tips for creating an amazing startup culture.
Thor Culverhouse is more than just an impressive name. He's also the CEO at fast-growing cloud company Skytap, and although he's new to the company, he has has hit the ground running. With years of experience running successful teams throughout the tech industry, Culverhouse expects to "hit the accelerator even faster" at Skytap, and grow their position as the cloud for developers even further. In this edition of Nextcast, I find out just where Thor Culverhouse came from and where he's going next.
Jared Wray, founder and CTO of cloud computing company Tier3, is helping to build the future of enterprise business. A serial entrepreneur himself, Wray is most excited about how the cloud technology he and his team at Tier3 are using is able to get their customers moving faster and cheaper, and allowing for faster iteration and innovation everywhere. In this edition of Nextcast, I talk to him about his thoughts on the cloud, as well how his own entrepreneurial background and how a bus is the perfect metaphor for building a great team.
Former Seattleite Jon Jenkins, the Head of Engineering at Pinterest, has taken the lead of a “super scrappy, super agile” team of engineers building one of the biggest social networks on the web today. Using billions -- or maybe even trillions -- of data points supplied by users around the world, he and his team are curating personalized experiences for every Pinner, helping to show them new things they didn’t even know they liked yet. I sat down to talk to Jon about solving some of the most exciting challenges of his career in this edition of Nextcast; here are a few of the highlights:
Jesse Rothstein wants to help the folks who “keep the lights on” in your IT department spend a little less time keeping things running and a little more time innovating big ideas. How’s he going to do it? He and his team at ExtraHop are delivering a platform for enterprise IT organizations to manage all the applications of a complex technology system. What does that mean for you? Well, it may mean your next flight gets off the tarmac just a little bit faster...
Kyle Kesterson is a creative guy now working on the bleeding edge of technology. How did he get there? After quitting his job as a professional toy designer, he got a call from a friend inviting him to Startup Weekend. Though he initially dismissed it as too “geeky”, Kyle’s friend wouldn’t let it go. The next morning, Kyle found himself surrounded by entrepreneurs and got bitten by the startup bug.