Roman Stanek has over 20 years of technology experience and is the Founder and CEO of GoodData, a “BI Without the BS” SaaS business intelligence company. Prior to starting GoodData in 2008, he founded over 5 tech companies including Systinet Corporation that was sold to Sun Microsystems and NetBeans, Inc that was acquired by Mercury Interactive and later HP.
The Systinet sale in 1999 was heralded as “one of the best exits in the web services/SOA space.”
icrunchdata talks with analytics leaders and technology company founders about their careers in data and we explore personal interests outside of the data. We recently sat down with Roman to discuss the 7 year journey at GoodData and the changing perspective of the cloud, his history of successfully starting up tech companies, and his interests in cycling and photography.
Roman, thanks for speaking with us today. Let’s get going…
There is not one specific moment that I would point to in order to best illustrate the success of GoodData. Instead, it is the whole journey of those seven years. It is the changing perception of the cloud as customers and the business community more broadly began to take cloud seriously. That change is what really increased the momentum of the company.
So, what is the moment that made people take cloud seriously? We recently closed one of the largest deals ever with a leading credit card company. When I see one of the largest technology companies in the world that has some of the most demanding requirements choosing and thriving with our cloud solution, I know that the technology has truly taken off.
Given that we most recently opened our International Data Center in the UK, England and Ireland are at the top of the list for countries in which we are considering office expansion.
As a private company, we do not comment on IPO timeframes. We are building a great, high-growth company for long term sustainability and strength. It is unknown what the IPO market conditions will look like in one month, let alone, one year.
It is important to weigh the combination of the product and the market. Some companies create point tools that are one or a few components of a larger set of tools necessary to address a problem. These companies are not meant as stand alone solutions. Systinet and NetBeans were always meant to be one of a set of tools accessible to a developer.
In fact, it was exactly that utility that made those large enterprises approach me to acquire the companies. My companies fit into and added value to those companies’ portfolios. I don’t talk about selling my companies - I talk about how my companies were bought. The difference there is huge. With the right offer, someone can always say yes.
At the end of the day, I think government is the sector most ripe for disruption. Technology has the potential to directly impact democracy, improve transparency, efficiency and fairness.
Twitter makes you like people you don’t know and Facebook makes you dislike people you know.
The airport in Madrid would be my favorite spot for a 4-hour layover. It is the most architecturally stunning airport out there. As a child, I dreamed about grandiose edifices like that and when I actually arrived in the airport there, I remember feeling as if I had entered my childhood dreams. Also, given my interest in photography I have to say that I would adore the opportunity to take hundreds of pictures there.
First, I recommend you wander around the Old Town. This will give you a sense of the history and culture of the city.
Second, I recommend you familiarize yourself with the high tech scene in the Czech Republic. Visit a company like Seznam.cz. Not only is the company one of GoodData’s customers but they also successfully compete with Google in the Czech Republic. While they are not known internationally, understanding the company will help you understand just how good the Czech people can be.
Finally, you must go and have a Czech beer and spend time with Czech people in a pub. One such pub is U tygra.
I like both road and mountain biking. In the summer, when the roads are dry and the days are long, I prefer road biking. In the winter, when the sun sets earlier so it’s harder for drivers to see bikers and the road is perhaps slick from rain, I prefer to traverse mountainous terrain.
My favorite route to ride is King’s Ridge in Sonoma, California. It is an amazing route with gorgeous panoramas where I can bike for hours without meeting anyone.
This photograph from Old Town Square in Prague is my favorite: https://instagram.com/p/zw5y2UG0iA/
Roman, we have to end on that incredible photo. Thank you for speaking to us today.