Stackdriver’s Izzy Azeri on Creating an Open Culture

Tuesday Nov 27, 2012 by Susan Johnston - Contributor, VentureFizz

Earlier this spring, while an executive in residence at Bain Capital Ventures, Izzy Azeri started brainstorming with Dan Belcher about starting a company. “One of the markets we were attracted to was the public cloud,” says Azeri, who has previously worked at software companies including VMWare and Acronis. “We did a bunch of research on companies running mission critical applications in the cloud to better understand their pain points.”

Azeri says he and Belcher discovered that “even though the cloud is supposed to be this elastic center that can scale up and scale down very quickly. These companies were running into issues around performance, security of their application, and availability.” As a workaround, companies were hiring dev ops engineers and writing their own scripts to solve similar problems.

Azeri and Belcher designed a solution that became the genesis for Stackdriver, their cloud-based company now in the prototyping stage. They’ve raised $5 million in funding from Bain Capital Ventures and expect to launch sometime next year.

As of early November, Stackdriver had nine people and Azeri says they plan to have 13 by January. “We try to focus on culture when we interview candidates,” he adds. “We’re trying to find people that are passionate about technology and also trying to find people who are willing to be part of an open and transparent culture.”

Azeri and Belcher both worked in the open, transparent culture of VMWare, so they’re cultivating a similar environment for Stackdriver. “There are no offices, everyone sits outside on open tables,” says Azeri. “There are no titles, no managers or VPs, we’re making sure people are aligned and working towards the same goal. There’s no reason to focus on hierarchy when those are our goals.”

As the company grows, Azeri says a hierarchy may develop later on, but the current focus is building a team and encouraging transparency. “We share everything within the company,” he adds. “Most of our team sits through the user interviews and every employee interview. We share our financials with employees from a cash burn perspective. We don’t share compensation or equity but everything else is all out in the open.”

Susan Johnston is a journalist and contributor to VentureFizz.  You can follow Susan on Twitter (@UrbanMuseWriter) by clicking here.

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