Posts Tagged 'CEO'

April 21, 2010

Building the Better Company

If you had the opportunity to listen to SoftLayer’s CEO, Lance Crosby, speak at this year’s Parallels Hosting Summit you definitely were able to obtain a key understanding as to his views on building solid companies in and through the hosting space. Some of the key points from Lance’s notes in regards to building sustainable businesses in the space were:

•Have a solid plan in place and use it as your guideline

•Create Systems that are scalable and metric driven

•Diversify the personnel and surround yourself with people that are experts in their functional areas and are sound characters. Don’t be a leader that thinks he is everything to all groups within the organization.

•Stop and look for mistakes, quickly correct the root problem and learn/adapt from those mistakes and repairs.

Lance’s message in his speech very closely aligns with a recent blog I read, “How to Build Your Own $23 Billion Company ,” which details the chairman of ASUS and his company’s ability to obtain significant market share in a once closed competitive environment, building a company from the ground up and with significant growth plans for the future. Jonney Shih, Chairman of ASUS, lays out his five rules that he believes are the basis for building any company, be it $500,000, $5,000,000 or $23,000,000,000 (as in the case of ASUS). Similarly to lance’s messages he states the following:

1)Sharpen the Sword – Build a plan and stick to it. Don’t jump from place to place. Have a focus and be the best at it that you can.

2)Ride the Right Wave – Seize the market opportunity. As Softlayer was able to seize the on-demand computing/virtualized data center market, ASUS was able to seize their market position in a time that built the foundation for their company to flourish.

3)Choose the right partners – Shih’s message of personnel is fundamental to his long term growth. “You need to really factor in their innate character,” Shih says. “You are going to work together for a lifetime, hopefully, and their character is as important as their technical knowledge.”

4)Recruit the best team leaders at the very beginning – As Lance’s speech mentions, the opportunity to build your company with a baseline of educated, experienced leaders with true functional, front line expertise will shape your organization for years to follow.

5)Drive the right strategy and confront the brutal facts – Not knowing the bad/ugly parts of business can compound these problems into downright disasters. Having people around you that are willing to look at mistakes with the idea to quickly correct these and move on will dramatically propel a company’s opportunity for longevity and growth. Ignoring things that can be addressed can only be negative in the long term.

Here at Softlayer, we have the good fortune to support many of the thriving hosting providers, VAR’s, managed service providers, and other niche based businesses that are gaining in both size and scale in the industry and really helping the hosting industry move from niche to mainstream. Many of these firms have humble roots such as Softlayer or ASUS in the example above. The key to continuing the mass adoption into the mainstream of the hosting space is to ensure that the leaders of the companies driving the growth are fundamentally sound and built on a proper foundation to achieve sustainable growth. SoftLayer’s groundwork has been laid to help support this growth throughout the industry. In our efforts to become the dominate force in the industry we hope that we have the opportunity to support the endeavors of those businesses and who knows, instead of ASUS, we may be talking about your company and how you have become the next $23,000,000,000 business.

March 29, 2010

Motivation by Lance

SoftLayer has now been around for over four years, which is just crazy! I remember when there were less than twenty employees with just a hope and a dream. NOW LOOK AT US! There are many reasons why SoftLayer has become so extremely successful. The people who work here really care, they are extremely intelligent, and we work in a great, fun, and committed environment. I thought it would be funny to go back and look at some of Lance’s old emails, sent out to our teensy-tiny sales team back in the day. I got a kick out of this, because it was extremely entertaining. Lance never hesitated to shoot us an email reminding us how hard we needed to continue to work for our goal. Some of the things we were excited about back then boggle my mind. Here are a few highlights!
Example # 1 --
Sent:Fri 2/17/2006 9:57PM
From:Lance Crosby
Subject:It’s Official
“We just sold our 100th server……well actually we are at 102!!”

***This is hilarious and adorable looking back, considering we now have 24,000 servers in production and 1,000+ in inventory.

Example # 2 --
Sent:Thurs 3/30/2006 5:35PM
From:Lance Crosby
Subject:Changes
“Lots of changes to keep up with in the portal……
Check out graphing from the customer side – now has daily/weekly/monthly/billing and table data!
Automated OS reloads are live for customer control!
Click around a bit and see what the dev team has put together over the past few weeks.
Good stuff!!”

***We were excited about bandwidth graphs and automated OS reloads, which is a regular staple now! This is not to mention all of the amazing features our development team has added to the portal since then. These features include, but are not limited to, purchasing servers, hardware control, monitoring configuration, DNS management, public and private port control, firewall setup and management, CDN management, IPMI Management & Stats, etc. etc. etc. THE LIST GOES ON AND ON!

Example # 3 --
Sent:Fri 9/8/2006 2:59PM
From:Lance Crosby
Subject:Ding!!!
“We just crossed the $6M recurring revenue mark!!”

***Sure, it takes baby steps, but now we have reached $110 million in recurring revenues, which is absolutely nothing to sneeze at.

Example # 4 --
Sent:Sat 10/14/2006 1:39PM
From:Lance Crosby
Subject:Job Well Done
“Hats off to all the folks that worked last night to build the 33 Pentium D’s. Not only are we server building experts now, our build team cleared the build queue within two hours of arrival at the Infomart last night.
It’s a good thing…..because Sales is on fire today………13 Servers by 1:00 on a SATURDAY!!”

***Our build team has done nothing but improve even from near perfection back then. They have been known to build out 100+ servers in the recent past within a few hours. The same definitely goes for our Sales team, who do you think sold all of those servers to be built out after all?

Example # 5 --
Sent:Tue 9/25/2007 9:10PM
From:Lance Crosby
Subject:Big 4-0
“Hit 40 tonight and I will buy the Steak Finger Baskets and Blizzards for lunch/dinner tomorrow!!
Yip – that’s DQ Country Style”

***This is classic Lance, who knows true motivation is through the belly. For those of you who are not familiar with Dairy Queen, their big red sign is the true “Texas stop sign.”

It is great to be a part of a fast-growing company such as SoftLayer. Keep up the motivation, Lance!

February 19, 2010

More Strange Dreams – This Time with Explosives!

So there we were at Lance’s New Year’s Eve party and all of us are having a great time and enjoying some of Sam F’s delicious 3-Bars BBQ. We at some point decide that it would be a good idea to jump into Lance’s pool for a little swim. This is when Lance whips out his fancy new scuba diving outfit that he has custom-fitted with a Camelbak that’s full of Miller Lite*. Why you would need a Camelbak full of Miller Lite while swimming underwater breathing a tank full of oxygen, I don’t know, but I’ve seen weirder and more inventive things with this group of people, so I move on. A few of us try it on and swim around underwater while drinking delicious Miller Lite from the Camelbak and we’re having a good ol’ time getting ready for the fireworks show. I then notice that there are a lot of people showing up for the annual fireworks display – a lot – like people are flying in on helicopters. This is when Lance announces his big plans for this year’s fireworks display to us all.

He has made himself a homemade rocket suit propelled by crazy amounts of giant fireworks. Once lit, it will thrust him straight up into the air. It should be noted that Lance is not a small man and the amount of fireworks strapped to his homemade suit was ridiculous in size and by no means safe, to him or anyone within a 10 mile radius for that matter. The fact that he had a SoftLayer-themed biker’s helmet on (I assume for safety?) accompanied with tons of explosives strapped to his body was also – ridiculous. I’m thinking Nathan, our CTO, had something to do with this idea. The idea was that Lance was to reach the proper altitude, and then the fireworks would be released from him like the space shuttle’s booster engines when entering orbit and the fireworks would burst into beautiful explosive visuals and spell out “SoftLayer” in fire in the sky. How he was going to get down safely remains a mystery, because at this point in time someone lit Lance’s rocket suit and sure enough, away he went, straight up into the sky as planned, leaving sparklers and pretty fireworks bursting in his wake.

It was then that I had woken myself up, giggling at the thought of Lance being shot up into the sky with tons of explosives strapped to him and in a biker helmet and I emailed myself the contents of this yet another strange dream.

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