August 26, 2020
Image: Jhonatan / Protocol
Welcome to Protocol Cloud, your comprehensive roundup of everything you need to know about the week in cloud and enterprise software. This week: What makes the four enterprise tech companies that just filed to go public tick, why open-source technology is making waves in Hollywood, and why Salesforce is feeling better about its prospects over the rest of the year.
Also, please join Protocol for two upcoming virtual cloud events: Computing at the Edge on Sept. 1 and State of the Cloud on Sept. 10. For the first one, I'll be moderating an exciting discussion between Simon Crosby of Swim.ai, Rob High of IBM, Nancy Ranxing Li of Cox, and Farah Papaioannou of Edgeworx on the forces that are shaping edge computing and artificial intelligence at the edge. More details still to come on the second one.
A pandemic is raging. The U.S. economy is teetering on a razor's edge. California is on fire. Yet four prominent enterprise tech companies took a look at the state of the world in August 2020 and decided: This was the week to test the public markets.
Cloud services have enjoyed huge success over this incredible year, and these IPOs are yet another reminder that even if the pandemic accelerated the roadmap for companies modernizing their infrastructure, there's still an enormous amount of growth left in this market. With their decision to go public, Snowflake, Asana, JFrog and Sumo Logic are all capitalizing on different parts of this technology shift, which continues to upend traditional infrastructure philosophies in favor of those born of this era.
So how did they get here? Here are a few important things to know about these four companies.
Snowflake is probably the best-known of the four, having raised $1.4 billion in a series of mega-rounds that eventually valued the company at $12.4 billion.
Asana's project management tools sit within a crowded space, with companies like Atlassian, Airtable, Microsoft and Smartsheet also vying to be the central hub for product development.
Software organizations, especially ones operating on the cloud, now talk about their "velocity," the ever-increasing speed at which they build, test, deploy and monitor their applications. JFrog's tools were designed to help companies keep that up.
Of course, if you've chosen a database and a product management tool, and embraced DevOps, you still need to make sure everything is actually working. That's Sumo Logic's business.
The run-up over the next few months to the public market listings of these four stocks will likely be one of the most uncertain periods in recent history, and that's saying something. But these modern infrastructure tools have never been a more essential part of running a business, and there's no going back. The question for them once they list will be whether they can maintain the upstart mentality in the big leagues.
Join us online Sept. 2-3 at SpringOne — the premier conference for modern software development — to learn how the U.S. Space Force and Blizzard Entertainment built game-changing apps for the cloud. Featuring two days of speakers, sessions and workshops solely about getting apps to production.
Register now for your free pass.
Data pipeline: Even as companies gobble up databases and data-analysis tools to improve their businesses, they're neglecting data when it comes to one of their most essential needs: hiring. Zoe Jervier Hewitt of EQT Ventures told Protocol's Kevin McAllister why that's a big mistake and how to move forward.
Pull request: More and more movie studios are using open-source technology in their production work, but could they also use open source to improve the diversity of their employees? Janko Roettgers took a look at how a new open-source foundation is calling on Hollywood to make some important changes.
Moar Gs: 5G hype has been with us for far too long, but the promises of the next-generation wireless technology are starting to become real. Mike Murphy examined how 5G networking could open up new possibilities for edge computing and data analysis in this interview with Mo Katibeh of AT&T Business.
What was your first tech job?
I studied engineering at CSU Northridge, and my first jobs in tech were in aerospace at Lockheed. I worked as a composite structures engineer and a propulsion installation engineer. Later, during post-doctoral work, I got to briefly work on the Mars Pathfinder project.
What's the best piece of advice you could give to someone starting their first tech job?
It's the same advice I'd give anyone starting a new career: Don't focus on your next job, but on the job you're doing today. If you do your current job well, opportunities for your next one will show up. Early in your career, try to pursue as many different opportunities as you can that surround your interests. Don't be afraid of lateral moves. Ultimately, know thyself. The more you understand what you're good at, what you're not good at, what you want versus what you need, and what you can accept versus what you can't, the more success and satisfaction you'll have in your career.
What was the biggest reason for the success of cloud computing over the past decade?
Businesses and their employees need the flexibility, mobility and convenience that the cloud provides. Attitudes have also shifted as sharing and open source adoption are much more accepted and ingrained, so as more tools are democratized, users will have to face whether they want to jump onboard or fall behind. Consider this: Would you rather be a Blockbuster or a Netflix?
What will be the biggest challenge for cloud computing over the coming decade?
The cloud is not one-size-fits-all. It needs to be tailored for different verticals and customer usage, and we're learning that firsthand. Second, data privacy concerns will continue to be front and center issues for adoption and access, so while cloud models become more widely accepted, companies will also need to grapple with protection.
Will the pandemic usher in a new era of remote working, or will we all come back together when it is safe to do so?
I think the way we work has changed forever. Among our customers, we're seeing industries like manufacturing and construction come back to life, but not the same way. For instance, we had customers who had never used our cloud-based solutions start to leverage them, and now they're not going back. As we head into next year, I expect there will be a lot more changes as people go back to work, especially with the acceleration of digitization in industries that were traditionally slow to adopt digital processes.
Register now for your free pass to SpringOne.
Thanks for reading — see you next week.