Nearly 3 years ago when we started Cloud 66 we embarked on a mission to make developers lives easier. We felt the pain caused by pre-cloud tools used in the days of instant VMs and unlimited storage infrastructure offered by cloud providers. We started Cloud 66 dreaming of a day when we could give Ops guys the power of the tools we enjoyed as developers.
The next chapter
Today we're taking the next step in making that dream a reality: I'm very excited to let you know that as of April 1, 2016 Cloud 66 is joining BMC.
BMC is a leader in management products and services for enterprise. With a global footprint and products used in 8 out of 10 top 500 firms in the world, BMC is the best home for Cloud 66 to enable our team to innovate faster and build better products.
What does it mean for you?
While our team is finding a new home at BMC London and New York offices, we'll be shutting down all Cloud 66 services by May 1, 2016 to focus on building the next enterprise container management as a service for large enterprises.
As a valued Cloud 66 customer, I would like to thank you for your continued support and business, but more importantly to offer our support and help to migrate your stacks away from Cloud 66.
What does it mean for our industry?
OK, so in the spirit of it being April fools, this post was meant to be a bit of lighthearted fun. We're clearly not selling up or shutting the service down. I'm not going to insult your intelligence and pretend an April 1st joke like this is original, or announcing a sale of our company and shutting down our services is even remotely funny. But it did get me thinking more seriously about the sad reality of our industry: this happens way too often to be considered as lighthearted fun.
Here's why. Every day we see companies with great product ideas launch into the market with no clear revenue model, raising a boat load of cash from investors and burning it on subsidizing their product to their "customers" for free. It's not difficult to get a lot of people to use a free product and those large numbers of users or "Github stars" seem like a good justification for huge valuations of those startups. Until of course those companies need to act more like real businesses (ie make money) and then the Penny Gap kicks in, breaking most projection models they've used to raise capital.
Lucky founders of those companies find new homes for their teams and sometimes their products. They join the elite group of entrepreneurs who've had an exit under their belt and sometimes enjoy the proceeds of the sale.
While this is great news for the team and the founders, it's not always so good for the users of their product. Those early adopters who helped them shape their product, fix the bugs and sometimes risked their reputation by adopting a new technology at work.
I've been burnt like this many times. From consumer products like email clients or picture sharing ones, to B2B and open source tools. That's why I no longer consider myself an Early Adopter. I know what's going on in the market and I try all new products, but rarely use them when it matters until I'm sure of the business behind them. This isn't good for new companies trying to break into a market, but my past experience has made me think differently.
What are my metrics to measure longevity of the business behind those products you might ask? It's just common sense: can I make sense of their business model and how they make money? And sometimes contrary to the common belief in our industry, raising a lot of cash from top tier VCs works against this measure. Is the company in danger of being complacent in building a reliable business because of their bank balance or the promise of a soft landing because of their top tier backers if things don't go according to plan (and they usually do in startup land)?
Let's build lasting businesses
Let me be upfront: we've raised a little money from very good investors for Cloud 66. We raised that money to accelerate our growth, but more importantly, we raised it from investors who share our vision in building lasting businesses.
We're in this for the long run and many of our most important business decisions at Cloud 66 - from our choice between offering Cloud 66 as open source or closed source, our pricing structure and our paid support plans are firmly based on this foundation.
We're grateful to have so many amazing customers who support us. They help us by paying for our product, which keeps us grounded and attentive to their needs. So whether this includes powering the 'AirBnB of restaurants', or helping recruit the next generation of digital forensics experts for the Dutch National Police, our focus remains on being customer-centric so we can continue to deliver value-based services.
We're here to build a lasting business and would love to help other founders who share our vision. Get in touch and let us know what you think?