When Chris Cook was considering taking the job of Delphix CEO, the company was described to him as ‘the best kept secret’ in the tech industry. Cook, who’s been CEO for a year now, will tell you that’s not a good thing and he’s working hard to change it.
Cook’s got a lot going for him in that effort. Delphix’s core technology solves a big problem for customers — getting new applications and new releases out the door very fast. It enables developers to quickly — and securely — spin up copies of production data to test new functions and features. And it does that without eating up lots of storage. That’s why Delphix has a cadre of big-brand customers like StubHub that have dramatically improved their speed to market.
In this installment of the IDG CEO Interview Series, Cook spoke with Chief Content Officer John Gallant about his strategy for getting Delphix on the radar of more senior IT leaders, and the company’s plan to expand beyond relational databases to NoSQL and other non-traditional databases.
You joined Delphix in April, 2016. What was it about Delphix that attracted you?
Cook: I had already left New Relic because I wanted to be a CEO. I’d always been the number two guy so I was going to take my time and look for a while to find the right opportunity. With Delphix, the first thing that caught my eye was the type of customers they attracted and the amount of money that those customers spent. It’s one thing to be able to say somebody like HP is a customer of mine, but to say they are a significant customer is a different story. I thought: Wow, if this company is able to attract people like that, they must have a lot of value. The technology was highly validated in the marketplace. Once I heard those customers tell their stories about how Delphix had impacted them, it was case closed at that point.
Give us a sense of where Delphix was when you came in and where you’ve taken it in the past year.
When I came in, Delphix had very solid technology without a long-term vision. It was lacking in executive leadership and I think it needed people who had scaled businesses before in all different parts of the organization. The third piece is people just don’t know who Delphix is. I was introduced to an opportunity as ‘the best kept secret in Silicon Valley.’ The word ‘best’ is good if you take ‘secret’ out of the equation. It’s great for fishing holes or secret ski runs or things like that, but you don’t want to be the best kept secret here.