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Move fast, break nothing: Why investors like JFrog’s approach to modern software development

If every company is now a software company, that means a lot of companies have to figure out how to be software companies. JFrog's tools help those companies ship stable software at a quick pace.

Move fast, break nothing: Why investors like JFrog’s approach to modern software development

"Every company is now a software company," says Shlomi Ben Haim, co-founder and CEO of JFrog.

Photo: JFrog

Velocity is one of the major driving forces behind modern software development, and JFrog quickly showed the public markets Wednesday why companies are interested in tools that help them go fast.

Shares in JFrog rose 47% Wednesday during its first day of trading on the Nasdaq, closing at $64.79, compared to the listing price of $44 per share. That values it at more than $6 billion, a pretty good return for the 12-year-old Israeli company's investors, who poured $226 million in the company as it grew.

"Every company is now a software company," said Shlomi Ben Haim, co-founder and CEO of JFrog, in an interview with Protocol on Wednesday. However, "every company was not created as a software company," and those scrambling to modernize their approach to software development need help making that transition, he said.

JFrog offers a series of software development tools that help companies manage the process of getting software from the idea stage to production. These tools allow companies to manage their code repositories, monitor the entire development pipeline for potential issues or problems, and deploy that code to self-managed servers or cloud services.

This entire process has grown more complex in the cloud era. Software construction used to proceed at a relatively plodding pace through various stages of development, with predetermined release cycles that introduced relatively large changes to the code base. However, the modern approach to software development involves making lots of smaller changes to the code on a more frequent basis, which helps stamp out bugs, introduce new features, and shift priorities according to market forces much more quickly than older processes allowed.

JFrog's software can be consumed as a service on all three major cloud providers or managed on a company's own servers, and customers also pay for support services. JFrog recorded $94 million in revenue during 2019, a 69% jump compared to the previous year.

The company and its investors are betting that the massive number of companies that have yet to contemplate modernizing older tech investments are starting to realize they have no choice, lest they be swept away by newer, more-nimble competitors. Tools like JFrog's are an extension of the DevOps movement, which is as much a cultural shift in thinking inside software factories as a technical one toward faster and more flexible software development.

Over the long term, emerging concepts like serverless computing and low-code development could upend the way companies think about building and shipping software, but JFrog's tools seem well-adapted for companies that built software around virtual machines — the basic processing unit of cloud computing — and are starting to embrace containers.

And as rings true for any company operating on the cloud in 2020, the cloud providers themselves are increasingly interested in providing similar tools to help big clients make the leap onto their platforms. But JFrog executives believe they can operate as a neutral party among cloud vendors and on-premises hardware vendors starting to get into application management services.

The metaverse is coming, and Robinhood's IPO is here

Plus, what we learned from Big Tech's big quarter.

Image: Roblox

On this episode of the Source Code podcast: First, a few takeaways from another blockbuster quarter in the tech industry. Then, Janko Roettgers joins the show to discuss Big Tech's obsession with the metaverse and the platform war that seems inevitable. Finally, Ben Pimentel talks about Robinhood's IPO, and the company's crazy route to the public markets.

For more on the topics in this episode:

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David Pierce

David Pierce ( @pierce) is Protocol's editor at large. Prior to joining Protocol, he was a columnist at The Wall Street Journal, a senior writer with Wired, and deputy editor at The Verge. He owns all the phones.

After a year and a half of living and working through a pandemic, it's no surprise that employees are sending out stress signals at record rates. According to a 2021 study by Indeed, 52% of employees today say they feel burnt out. Over half of employees report working longer hours, and a quarter say they're unable to unplug from work.

The continued swell of reported burnout is a concerning trend for employers everywhere. Not only does it harm mental health and well-being, but it can also impact absenteeism, employee retention and — between the drain on morale and high turnover — your company culture.

Crisis management is one thing, but how do you permanently lower the temperature so your teams can recover sustainably? Companies around the world are now taking larger steps to curb burnout, with industry leaders like LinkedIn, Hootsuite and Bumble shutting down their offices for a full week to allow all employees extra time off. The CEO of Okta, worried about burnout, asked all employees to email him their vacation plans in 2021.

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Stella Garber
Stella Garber is Trello's Head of Marketing. Stella has led Marketing at Trello for the last seven years from early stage startup all the way through its acquisition by Atlassian in 2017 and beyond. Stella was an early champion of remote work, having led remote teams for the last decade plus.

Facebook wants to be like Snapchat

Facebook is looking to make posts disappear, Google wants to make traffic reports more accurate, and more patents from Big Tech.

Facebook has ephemeral posts on its mind.

Image: Protocol

Welcome to another week of Big Tech patents. Google wants to make traffic reports more accurate, Amazon wants to make voice assistants more intelligent, Microsoft wants to make scheduling meetings more convenient, and a ton more.

As always, remember that the big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future

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Karyne Levy

Karyne Levy ( @karynelevy) is the West Coast editor at Protocol. Before joining Protocol, Karyne was a senior producer at Scribd, helping to create the original content program. Prior to that she was an assigning editor at NerdWallet, a senior tech editor at Business Insider, and the assistant managing editor at CNET, where she also hosted Rumor Has It for CNET TV. She lives outside San Francisco with her wife, son and lots of pets.

Protocol | China

China’s edtech crackdown isn’t what you think. Here’s why.

It's part of an attempt to fix education inequality and address a looming demographic crisis.

In the past decade, China's private tutoring market has expanded rapidly as it's been digitized and bolstered by capital.

Photo: Getty Images

Beijing's strike against the private tutoring and ed tech industry has rattled the market and led observers to try to answer one big question: What is Beijing trying to achieve?

Sweeping policy guidelines issued by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party on July 24 and the State Council now mandate that existing private tutoring companies register as nonprofit organizations. Extracurricular tutoring companies will be banned from going public. Online tutoring agencies will be subject to regulatory approval.

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Shen Lu

Shen Lu is a reporter with Protocol | China. She has spent six years covering China from inside and outside its borders. Previously, she was a fellow at Asia Society's ChinaFile and a Beijing-based producer for CNN. Her writing has appeared in Foreign Policy, The New York Times and POLITICO, among other publications. Shen Lu is a founding member of Chinese Storytellers, a community serving and elevating Chinese professionals in the global media industry.

It’s soul-destroying and it uses DRM, therefore Peloton is tech

"I mean, the pedals go around if you turn off all the tech, but Peloton isn't selling a pedaling product."

Is this tech? Or is it just a bike with a screen?

Image: Peloton and Protocol

One of the breakout hits from the pandemic, besides Taylor Swift's "Folklore," has been Peloton. With upwards of 5.4 million members as of March and nearly $1.3 billion in revenue that quarter, a lot of people are turning in their gym memberships for a bike or a treadmill and a slick-looking app.

But here at Protocol, it's that slick-looking app, plus all the tech that goes into it, that matters. And that's where things got really heated during our chat this week. Is Peloton tech? Or is it just a bike with a giant tablet on it? Can all bikes be tech with a little elbow grease?

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Karyne Levy

Karyne Levy ( @karynelevy) is the West Coast editor at Protocol. Before joining Protocol, Karyne was a senior producer at Scribd, helping to create the original content program. Prior to that she was an assigning editor at NerdWallet, a senior tech editor at Business Insider, and the assistant managing editor at CNET, where she also hosted Rumor Has It for CNET TV. She lives outside San Francisco with her wife, son and lots of pets.

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